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!
Kelly Riley :: Executive Director
I joined Tiller School in August 2012 and instantly felt the strong sense of community and commitment to every child. I am honored to serve a school that believes in the inherent worth and potential of its students. 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. Math and science are my passion! My favorite family activities include camping, boating and fishing.
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.
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.
Amy Grooms, 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 Degree in Elementary Education. I have taught Fifth Grade my entire teaching career. I am extremely honored and excited to be apart of the Tiller team. 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 two Golden Retrievers. I look forward to an exciting school year!
Heather Ivester :: Kindergarten Assistant
My time at Tiller began in 2005 as a parent volunteer in the classroom and with our 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.
Alan Joyner :: Art Teacher
I received my BFA in Illustration from Ringling College of Art and Design and my MAT in Art Education from East Carolina University. My wife and I have lived in Carteret County since 2001, and cannot imagine living anywhere else. In addition to teaching and creating art, I enjoy playing guitar and banjo, and spending time on the beach with my family. I am excited to be joining the community at Tiller School this year. I hope to inspire, and be inspired by, my students in the classroom, as we work together to explore the interesting world of art.
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.
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!
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!
Allison Ketcham :: 4th Grade Teacher
I graduated from Kean University in NJ with a B.A. in Education of the Hearing Impaired. I then earned a Master’s in the Art of Teaching from Marygrove College in Michigan. I have been so fortunate to have had the opportunities to teach in New Jersey, Florida and Massachusetts schools. I have truly enjoyed my experiences and am eager to share all I have learned. I am extremely passionate about teaching and am looking forward to creating a safe, positive and fun learning environment this year! When I’m not at Tiller, I love to spend time outside with my husband and two children. You can find us at the beach or park, building sandcastles or trying to fly our kites.
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
My name is Janet Sweeney. I have been teaching kindergarten here at Tiller since 2010. I live with my fiancé Chip and our two dogs and two cats in Beaufort. I have a son and a daughter with two granddaughters and another on the way! I have lived and taught in many wonderful of places- New York, California, New Hampshire and now here. I have over 30 years teaching experience with most of those years in kindergarten. I love the beach and my favorite thing to do is swim in the ocean and read Robert Munsch books.
Katelyn Whitley :: 2nd Grade Teacher
Originally from Havelock, NC, I have spent the last four years in Wilmington where I recently graduated from UNCW with a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and a minor in Anthropology. I am so happy I was able to move back to this area, and that I have joined the Tiller Family as a second grade teacher! I have already found that it is a wonderful place to work and grow as a teacher, and I cannot wait to see what the future holds. I strive to teach in a way that actively engages students and gives them ownership of their learning. When I am not teaching, I enjoy being outside, going for bike rides, spending time with my family, helping my older sister plan her upcoming wedding, and I am currently trying to learn how to cook.
Amanda Wood :: 1st Grade Teacher
I graduated from Albion College in Michigan with a B.A. in History and Elementary Education in 2009. A month later I moved down to the beautiful Crystal Coast to start my career and family! I have been teaching at Tiller since August of 2011 and am incredibly blessed to be at such a wonderful school! I am very appreciative to be a part of a community where all students are taught with each of their unique, individual learning styles at the forefront. This not only makes learning fun and interesting, but continues to show our students that they are welcome, safe, and encouraged in every way. I love watching the children find the joys in learning and see their “light bulbs” continue to brighten and shine! When I’m not teaching, I love spending time with my family. My husband and I have a son and two dogs. We love to fish, go for walks, play outside, and travel!