The teachers and staff welcome you to Tiller School! At Tiller School, our teachers and staff are proud to be part of our Tiller community. Our dedicated teachers and staff are passionate about your child’s education. Our focus is the whole child. We believe in academic rigor as well as creative expression, social responsibility and environmental awareness. Our goal is to provide the best education possible for your child. Thank you for choosing to be a part of the Tiller School community!
Virginia Jones :: Executive Director
I began my career in education in 1995 after graduating from East Carolina University with a degree in Elementary Education. I specialized in reading and gifted education, and taught in the classroom until coming to Tiller as Executive Director in 2010. Since being at Tiller School, I have adopted the Responsive Classroom approach as the center of my educational philosophy, part of which is that powerful instruction engages students and a positive community supports growth for all students. I absolutely love our school community!
Anne Burbridge :: 3rd Grade Teacher
I have a BS in Middle School Education from UNC-CH and a K-6 license from NCCU. I have been involved in Tiller School since its inception in 1993, and have worked full time here since 1998. Teaching at Tiller allows me to meet the children where they are and take them as far as we can go. I encourage my students to be active participants in, and take responsibility for, their learning. I have two daughters, both alumni of Tiller School, of whom I am very proud! I love to be outdoors. I enjoy gardening, hiking, swimming, and fly fishing. I love to sing, and sometimes perform locally. I like to watch soccer and college basketball. Go Tarheels!!
Jackie Burdick :: Music Teacher
I graduated from the University of Connecticut in 2007 with a B.A. in Music and a B.S. in Education. After graduating, I taught middle school orchestra and general music in East Hartford, Connecticut. Since joining the Tiller family in 2008, I have seen many changes on campus and growth in our numbers. Through these changes, the staff’s commitment to the Tiller School Mission has remained strong. I am proud to be a part of this child-centered learning community.
April Chadwick :: 1st Grade Assistant
I joined the Tiller family in 2007. I graduated from East Carteret High School in 1988 and then attended Cape Fear Community College in Wilmington. I feel we have to prepare our students for the ever changing world we live in. I am married and we have two amazing sons. Our children keep us busy with their extracurricular activities and I wouldn’t want it any other way! We enjoy spending our summers out on the boat.
Dawn Chadwick :: 1st Grade Assistant
I have been a teacher’s assistant for eighteen years, nine of which at Tiller. I began my time here in 2004 and have learned so much from the children who have passed through our wonderful school. Aside from teaching, I enjoy reading, gardening and spending time with my four grandchildren.
Courtney Cowley :: 2nd Grade Teacher
I graduated from East Carolina University with a Bachelor of Science in Education and minor in mathematics. I joined the Tiller family in 2008. I believe all children can be academically and socially successful in a warm, caring environment. I enjoy spending time with my family, going to the beach, and enjoying the outdoors.
Mike Easton :: EC Teacher
I have a dual degree in Elementary Ed/Special Ed form Grand Canyon University. I am originally from Upstate New York, so I really enjoy the weather and scenery here on our beautiful Crystal Coast. I love gardening, amateur photography, and family time with my 7 children and 8 grandchildren. I am so happy to be a part of the positive, nurturing atmosphere at Tiller School!
Lynn Fulcher :: Finance Officer
Originally from California, I moved to Beaufort in 1986. My children attended Tiller School in the early 2000’s. In 2004, our family took a two year hiatus and sailed around the Bahamas. I’ve been involved with the Tiller school since 2000 and I love being around this community of people. My background is in Accounting, Tax Preparation and Television Production with WFXI in Morehead City. I have an Associate’s Degree in Early Childhood Education. I’ve learned, from osmosis, the benefits of Responsive Classroom and believe that children learn best from appropriate and relevant consequences and a loving atmosphere. I have a small farm in Bettie which I enjoy working on when I have the time and I also enjoy spending time with my kids and being dance, soccer and band mom.
Stacy Gillikin :: 3rd-5th Grade Assistant
I first became a part of the Tiller School community when my son began Kindergarten here. I have shared my talents in many capacities including substitute teaching, working in the after school program, and now I assist teachers and students in grades 3-5. I enjoy hiking, gardening, boating, hunting, sports.
Laura Gould, M.ED. CCC-SLP :: Speech/Language Pathologist
I was born and raised in Morehead City, North Carolina. After graduating high school at West Carteret, I attend Meredith College in Raleigh, NC. In December 2005, I received a Bachelor’s of Arts Degree in Human Communication, with a minor in Psychology. In December 2008, I graduated from the Communication Sciences and Disorders Master’s program at North Carolina Central University. I have worked as a Speech Language Pathologist in the North Carolina school system for the past 7 years and was happy to join the Tiller School staff in September 2016. In my free time, I enjoy reading, spending time with my family, and going on the boat with my husband, Shawn. I’m looking forward to a wonderful year!
Nancy Happ, OTR/L :: Occupational Therapy
I am an Occupational Therapist and the Executive Director and Clinical Supervisor for Occupational, Speech, and Music Therapy. I have worked as an Art Teacher with both regular education students and children with special needs. I received my BA in Art Education from the University of Wisconsin (1980), and a BS in Occupational Therapy (1988) from Mount Mary College, Milwaukee WI. I am also a certified Interactive Metronome and Therapeutic Listening instructor.
Caitlin Harrison :: 5th Grade Teacher
I graduated from East Carolina University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education. I have taught Fifth Grade for the past two years in Pitt County. After relocating to the area, I am extremely honored and excited to be able to join the Tiller team this year. I strive to influence students in a positive way and have an enormous passion for teaching. In my free time I enjoy spending time with loved ones, boating, and taking care of my fur babies. I look forward to meeting everyone this year!
Debbie Henderson :: Art/PE Teacher
I graduated from the University of West Florida with my B.A. and then went on to earn a Montessori teacher degree from the Montessori Training Institute. Our family moved to N.C. in 1995 and I have been teaching Art at the Tiller School since 1996.When I am not teaching I enjoy gardening, camping, the beach and Penn State football.
Heather Ivester :: Kindergarten Assistant
My time at Tiller began in 2005 as a parent volunteer in the classroom and in the PTSO. I then started helping with the after school program and as a sub until 2011 when I became full time. When I am not at Tiller I enjoy spending time with son and my dog, music, running, reading, baking and being with my friends and family. Tiller is a very special place to me.
Pat Lankpoop :: EC Teacher
I have been a teacher since 1982.I have taught Regular and Special Education. I did my undergraduate studies in New Jersey City University and UNC Greensboro in Elementary Education, Psychology and Special Education. I did my graduate studies at Gardner-Webb University in School Administration. I have taught in New Jersey and North Carolina. I recently retired from the NC Public School System. My teaching journey has afforded me many opportunities to touch the lives of children from many backgrounds. I have seen many lives transformed through a nurturing, caring environment and a well rounded education. I am excited to be a part of the Tiller staff and will continue my educational journey providing quality, nuturing, learning experiences for my students. I enjoy music, theater, reading and spending time with my loved ones.
Jennifer Lewis :: Executive Assistant
I became a part of the Tiller school family in the fall of 2003 when my twin boys started Kindergarten. The following school year I started as the Teaching Assistant for 3rd, 4th and 5th grade. However, by the end of the same year I was offered the Office Managers position. Working at Tiller has been a great experience for both my children and myself. I couldn’t ask for a greater place to educate my children or to work. This is a very special school!
Reba Lewis :: 3rd Grade Teacher
I grew up in Beaufort and am very happy to be back in the area! I graduated from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington in 2012. I majored in Elementary Education and minored in English as a second language. I am excited to be teaching kindergarten again and look forward to seeing the growth in all of our students! I believe that kindergarten is the foundation for every child’s love of learning and should be engaging and fun for all students. Outside of school I enjoy crafting, spending time at the beach or on the boat, reading, enjoying the company of my friends and family, and am attempting to keep a garden.
Joy Merritt :: 5th Grade Teacher
I began my teaching career in 1971 after graduating from UNC Chapel Hill. I taught my first year in Raleigh and the next thirty-two years in Lenoir county at Moss Hill Elementary School. After retiring with the State of NC, I taught five years at Wayne Country Day School in Goldsboro. My husband and I moved to Atlantic Beach, where we enjoy boating and relaxing with friends. I began teaching at Tiller School in 2008 and feel as though I have learned as much as my students. The Responsive Classroom approach to teaching is wonderful! I believe all children learn in their special way, and they need to be challenged to perform to the best of their ability.
Jane Moore :: Kindergarten Assistant
I have been working at Tiller School as a teacher assistant in kindergarten since 1999. In my free time, I enjoy reading, shopping and playing with my two dogs.
Jan Owens :: After School Assistant
I returned to North Carolina from Kansas in 2010, where I worked with Lee County schools. The school was for Special Needs students. I was a teacher assistant in all levels from Kindergarten to High School and a bus driver. I wanted to move closer to the coast and finally chose Beaufort as my new home in 2014. I really enjoy working here at Tiller with the after school program and on the occasion to be a sub. teacher. My daughter attends college in Edinburgh Scotland and she will be returning here next summer to work. My son and his family still live in Kansas. I love to read and go to movies. I have a Tabby cat that I adopted last Christmas.
Cheryl Poplett :: Kindergarten Teacher
After graduating from the University of Illinois with a degree in Elementary Education and an emphasis on reading, I began my career teaching in a K-12 rural Illinois school. After moving to Minnesota, I continued to teach. While there I received my master’s degree from Hamline University where I concentrated my efforts on our students’ emotional health and the impact it has on academic success. I believe whole-heartedly in the Responsive Classroom approach to teaching where our children feel safe and happy, and they are able to become creative, self-motivated learners. I feel that Tiller School is the perfect place for me, and I am so excited to become a part of the staff and community here. Hasta la vista, Midwest winters!
Michael Pruden :: Custodian / Maintenance
I joined the Tiller School family in 1999 when my daughter began attending the school. I enjoy being a part of this community, and helping the school in any way I can. In my free time, I enjoy cooking, painting and surfing.
Cristina Landis :: 4th Grade Teacher
I moved to Beaufort last year, and I am already in love with our community here. Previously, I taught middle grades ELA in New Orleans for three years after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania. While in Philadelphia, my experience working for a Hip-Hop/Mentoring Youth Non-Profit made me passionate about pursuing a career in Education, and I still feel just as excited in the classroom now as I did in 2011. I believe that every child has a story to tell, and can greatly benefit from the stories of others. When I am not teaching, you can find me reading at all hours, trying to keep my garden alive, and surviving cohabitation with an extremely moody cat named Gumbeaux. I look forward to getting to know you all in the coming year!
Kelly Riley :: 4th Grade Teacher
I joined the Tiller School faculty in August 2012 as the K-5 Technology Facilitator and co-Testing Coordinator. I received my BA in Elementary Education from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, and a Master of School Administration degree from East Carolina University. Teaching provides me an opportunity for continual growth and learning. I encourage my students to become life-long learners, to value themselves and others, and to appreciate strength of character and creativity so that they may make a difference in the world. Science is my passion! My favorite family activities include camping, boating and fishing!
Nadine Schwartz :: 2nd Grade Teacher
I am very excited to be a part of the Tiller family. In New York, I received my Bachelor’s Degree in Child Study with a Concentration in Spanish. This degree certifies me to teach General and Special Education for children from Birth-Grade 6. In addition, I received my Master’s Degree in TESOL K-12 (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages). My work experience includes: Special Education Lead Teacher in New York, teaching English to High School students in Vietnam, and teaching in a general education Kindergarten classroom. In my free time, I enjoy paddle boarding, surfing, and fishing with my family. Check out our classroom Facebook page: Miss. Nadine’s Second Grade
Robert Stevens :: Bus Monitor
My name is Robert A, Stevens Jr. (Bobby). I was born in Rome, N.Y., in 1947. I was raised in Oswego, N.Y. I completed 8yrs of school & went back to get my GED in 1991. I went into the Marine Corps in 1970. Didn’t do anything for 6months, then I went to welding school. I have done that for 20 years of and on. In 1992 I went to work for the D.P.W. of Oswego for 17 years. In 1973 I met my wife. As soon as we met, I said you are going to be my wife. We got married and had three boys. My wife’s brother got cancer so we came here to take care of him. I had retired from the DPW so I asked her if she wanted to move here. She said yes. She was a nurse in the I.C.U. in Oswego hospital for 22 years. We have been here for 10 years. We now have a home in Newport. We love it here.
Dan Stevens :: Bus Driver
I joined the Tiller School community in September of 2012 as a bus driver. The staff is amazing, and the students are well-behaved. As a married father of four school -aged children, I enjoy spending my spare time with them!
Katherine Sutton :: 1st Grade Teacher
I began working at Tiller in 2007 after graduating from East Carolina University with a degree in Elementary Education and concentration in Child Studies. I feel so lucky to teach at this wonderful school. I believe that all children can learn and that the best learning is done in a safe, positive, fun environment. We treat our classroom like our home and each other like family. When away from my school family, I enjoy painting and other crafts, reading, and being outdoors. I am very close with my family and love spending time on the water with my husband Blake and English bulldog Zeus.
Janet Sweeney :: Kindergarten Teacher
Deanna Willis :: After School Assistant
Amanda Wood :: 1st Grade Teacher