Meet our faculty and staff

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Kathy Arvidson

4th Grade Teaching Assistant

Kathy has a bachelor’s degree from Chaminade University and an master’s degree in nutrition from Texas Women’s University. She taught 2-year-olds and pre-K at the Glenn School for four years prior to joining Cliff Valley in 2006.

Contact

Email: karvidson@cliffvalley.org

Lori Austin-Cruse

2nd Grade Teacher

Lori received her bachelor’s degree in English and psychology from King College and her master’s in early childhood education from Mercer University. She joined the Cliff Valley staff in 2001 and has taught first, second and third grades.

Thom Barclay

Director of Instructional Technology

Thom served as Director of Technology at Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School for five years. He holds a BS degree in Polymer Science and Engineering from the University of Southern Mississippi and an MS from the department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology from Emory University. Thom was a Cliff Valley parent between 2005-2010 and during that time he volunteered his IT skills to our school.

Contact

Email: tbarclay@cliffvalley.org

Lynn Beach

7th and 8th Grade Science Teacher

Lynn’s love of science began with her first semester of college when she took her first geology course; she thrived on a program filled with geology, chemistry and physics courses, and geology field work. She completed her geology degree at Humboldt State University in Arcata, CA and Western Washington University in Bellingham, WA. Following completion, she worked for the U.S. Forest Service as an engineering geologist. Before coming to Cliff Valley, she had a range of teaching experiences, including 12 years with Gwinnett County Schools. She has tutored math, science, and language arts, and co-founded a Homeschool Cooperative where she taught writing to high school students. Additionally, Lynn has been active with Georgia Adopt-A-Stream for over 10 years, conducting monthly chemical and biological water-quality monitoring. Lynn joined Cliff Valley in 2014.

Contact

Email: lbeach@cliffvalley.org

Whitney Blackmore

2nd Grade Teacher

Whitney received her Bachelor of Science degree in Early Childhood Education from Florida State University. She is an associate member of and classroom certified through the Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practioners and Educators. Whitney was named Briarlake Elementary School’s teacher of the year in 2011. She comes to Cliff Valley with nine years of experience as a classroom and special education teacher. Whitney joined Cliff Valley in 2014.

Nicole Buckley

7th and 8th Grade Science Teacher

Nicole has teaching and curriculum design experience in public and independent school settings. Nicole taught middle and high school science for several years at the Atlanta International School where she was also a grade level coordinator. Her background also includes developing, teaching, and managing museum science education programs for teachers, school groups, and family audiences. Nicole has a Bachelor of Science in biology and a Master of Arts in teaching science education from Georgia State University. She joined Cliff Valley in 2015.

Contact

Email: nbuckley@cliffvalley.org

Kari Cernoch

6th Grade Teacher

Kari comes to Cliff Valley from The Museum School of Avondale Estates where she taught 3rd grade from 2013 to 2015 and was previously at Briarlake Elementary in DeKalb County from 2001 to 2013 with experience in grades 3-5. Kari earned her B.A. in Psychology from The University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota and a Masters in Education with an emphasis in reading from Mercer University. She has an endorsement in gifted education. Kari joined Cliff Valley in 2015.

Contact

Email: kcernoch@cliffvalley.org

Loretta Chapman

Director of Finance

Loretta brings over 20 years of financial reporting, cash management, budgeting, and internal controls experience to Cliff Valley School. Loretta is an experienced independent school business manager. Her career has also included being an auditor, a controller, and an independent contractor of accounting services for private companies. Loretta holds a CPA license in Florida. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Florida Southern College.

Contact

Email: lchapman@cliffvalley.org

Sue Chong

4th Grade Teacher

Sue received her bachelor’s degree in Child Family Development from the University of Georgia and her MAT in Early Childhood Education at Piedmont College. Sue joined Cliff Valley in 2015 after substitute teaching for a variety of grades during the 2014-2015 school year.

Contact

Email: schong@cliffvalley.org

Jennifer Craig

5th Grade Teacher

Jennifer attended Samford University on a Track and Field Scholarship where she received her B.S. in Education. Jennifer has an endorsement in Gifted Education and has been instrumental in training teachers in Gwinnett county in this field. She came to Cliff Valley in 2011 and has nearly 20 years of experience teaching in 1st and 5th grades.

Contact

Email: jcraig@cliffvalley.org

Lauren Davis

5th Grade Teaching Assistant

Lauren comes to Cliff Valley from The Kindezi School in Atlanta where she taught 2nd grade. She graduated from the University of Georgia with a B.S. in Education in 2014. She then served as an instructional assistant in 3rd grade at The Museum School of Avondale Estates for the 2014-2015 school year. During her time at The Museum School, she obtained an endorsement in gifted education. Lauren joined Cliff Valley in 2016.

Contact

Email: ldavis@cliffvalley.org

Dan Davis

7th and 8th Grade Math Teacher

Dan comes to Cliff Valley from Parkview High School where he had eight years of experience teaching grades 9 – 12 and coaching basketball. He was able to serve as Math Team adviser and led the Algebra and Precalculus instructional teams. Dan earned his B.S. in Secondary Mathematics Education from the University of Georgia and a Masters of Science with an emphasis in Teaching and Learning from Nova Southeastern University. He joined Cliff Valley in 2016.

Contact

Email: ddavis@cliffvalley.org

Nancy DeBaun

Pre-K Teacher

Nancy received a B.S. and M.Ed. in Elementary Education from St. Bonaventure University and Georgia State University, respectively. Following eight years of classroom teaching in the public schools, Nancy has taught at Cliff Valley since 1983 and has taught children two through five years old.

Contact

Email: ndebaun@cliffvalley.org

Megan DeBaun

Kindergarten Teacher

Megan earned her B.A. in Sociology from Villanova University and her M.A. in Education in Early Childhood and Childhood Education from Bank Street College of Education. Megan taught 2nd grade in Memphis, Tennessee and was a TA in 1st grade at Trinity School in New York City before moving overseas. For the past five years Megan taught pre-kindergarten in international independent schools in Europe and Asia. Megan joined Cliff Valley in 2014.

Contact

Email: mdebaun@cliffvalley.org

Mubarka Deen

Preschool Teaching Assistant

Mubarka earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Geography from Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. She is fluent in Swahili, Urdu, and Punjabi. Following six years of teaching high school in a private school, Mubarka taught pre-K at the Glenn School and joined Cliff Valley in 2006.

Contact

Email: mdeen@cliffvalley.org

Lauren Dezen

Library Media Specialist

Lauren received her B.A. in Elementary Education from Hunter College.  She taught at the Galloway School from 1986 – 1990 and The Children’s School from 1990 – 1993.  She volunteered at the Paideia School Library from 2003 – 2005 and joined the Cliff Valley staff in 2005.

Contact

Email: ldezen@cliffvalley.org

Michael Edwards

Head of School

Michael has experience teaching at all levels pre-kindergarten through college, and he has taught in independent schools overseas and in the U.S. The experiences he collected teaching such a wide range of students provide him with a global perspective on the process of education and a strong understanding of how students learn and develop.

Michael provides professional development for teachers and administrators and he regularly leads school accreditation teams for the Southern Association of Independent Schools.

Michael earned his doctorate in Educational Leadership and Policy from Vanderbilt University. He also holds a B.A. and M.A. in Germanic Studies, a B.S. in Education, a M.A.E. in Educational Administration, and a M.S. in Curriculum and Instruction. Michael joined Cliff Valley in 2004.

Contact

Email: medwards@cliffvalley.org

Dave Elsberry

7th and 8th Grade Math Teacher

Dave earned a B.S. in Business Management from Georgia Tech and a Master of Arts in Teaching in Mathematics from Clayton State University. Dave worked as a research project coordinator at the Winship Cancer Institute at Emory University, and he was also a Community Garden/Education Intern at the Green Youth Farm at the Chicago Botanic Garden. In addition, Dave has experience leading hikes and mountain climbs with Quetzaltrekkers in Guatemala. Dave taught in 5th grade at Cliff Valley before moving to 8th grade. He joined Cliff Valley in 2012.

Contact

Email: delsberry@cliffvalley.org

Susie Fernandez

5th Grade Teacher

Susie earned a B.A. in Psychology from Emory University and went on to work as a research assistant for the Emory Women’s Mental Health Program. She continued her studies at Emory, earning her M.A.T. in Middle Grades Education with concentrations in Social Studies and Language Arts. Additionally, she has an endorsement in gifted education and has served as grade level leader. Susie comes to Cliff Valley from Gwinnett County public schools where she taught 4th grade for five years. Susie joined Cliff Valley in 2015.

Kerri Firth

1st Grade Teacher

Kerri earned a B.B.A. at Loyola College in Maryland before joining Teach For America, a national corps of leaders who commit two years to teaching in low-income schools and work to increase their students’ opportunities. She taught kindergarten through 3rd grades in Texas, New York, and North Carolina before joining Cliff Valley in 2013. Kerri has an M.S. in Elementary Education from Johns Hopkins University.

Contact

Email: kfirth@cliffvalley.org

Leanne Fitzsimmons

2nd Grade Teacher

Leanne has a Bachelor of Science degree in Early Childhood Education from Butler University. She worked for two years as a teaching assistant in the Junior Kindergarten program at Park Tudor School in Indianapolis. After moving to Georgia, she was a teaching assistant in the Head Start Program in Athens for two years before moving to Atlanta. Leanne joined Cliff Valley in 2014.

Estela Flores

Spanish Teacher

Estela, who has a teaching degree in Elementary Education, has been teaching since 1979. Her experiences include directing a community effort to build a preschool for under-privileged children, and serving on the Board of the Metropolitan Guadalajara School System in Mexico. Estela has been teaching Spanish to children and adults in the U.S. since 1997. She was the Director of Education for Kid Speak and is the current Director of the Atlanta Language Center. Estela joined the Cliff Valley staff in 1999.

Contact

Email: eflores@cliffvalley.org

Tara Gilbert

3rd Grade Teacher

Tara holds a B.S. from Springfield College, a Montessori Elementary teaching certificate, and is certified in both Orton-Gillingham and Lindamood-Bell reading programs. She has been an educator for the past 24 years, teaching at the elementary, middle and high school levels in both public and private schools. She joined Cliff Valley in 2017.

Contact

Email: tgilbert@cliffvalley.org

Adrienne Gilmore

4th Grade Teacher

Adrienne earned her bachelor’s degree in communication studies from Furman University. A four-year letter winner and team captain of the Furman University women’s basketball team, Adrienne has coached basketball for more than 10 years. She is also a Georgia high school and women’s college basketball official. Adrienne joined Cliff Valley in 2012.

Contact

Email: agilmore@cliffvalley.org

Pamela Gold Alexander

Drama/Theater

Pamela has directed or co-directed nine Cliff Valley productions, from the first original musical, “The Lizard of Loz” in 2007 to the more recent productions of “Shrek Jr.” and “Schoolhouse Rock Live! Jr.” She has performed professionally as an actor, singer and dancer in regional theatres, national tours and on Broadway, where she was in the original companies of “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” with Matthew Broderick, and in “Once Upon a Mattress” with Sarah Jessica Parker. Since returning to Atlanta in 2000, Pamela has enjoyed performing locally in theatre, cabaret and voice-over work. She holds a B.A. in Theatre Studies from Yale University.

Rebecca Gordon

Teacher, 3-Year Olds

Rebecca received her B.A. in Education from Spelman College in 2015 and is currently working on her Master’s in Teaching and Curriculum at Michigan State University. She has taught kindergarten in Washington, D.C. and pre-K in Atlanta. Rebecca joined Cliff Valley in 2017.

Contact

Email: rgordon@cliffvalley.org

Leah Goss

Teacher, 3-year-olds

Leah holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Georgia and earned her early childhood teaching credential in northern California at Dominican College. She has taught elementary and preschool in both public and private schools.

Contact

Email: lgoss@cliffvalley.org

Carrie Hamilton

6th Grade Teacher

Carrie came to Cliff Valley from the International Community School in Atlanta where she taught 6th grade for four years and was a grade level coordinator. Carrie is a Leadership Challenge Course Facilitator with the Georgia Institute of Technology. She studied abroad at the Assumption University in Bangkok, Thailand and earned a B.A. in History and Education from Loyola College in Maryland. Carrie shares her love of incorporating technology into her teaching by presenting at educational technology conferences, and shares her love of travel by leading optional summer trips for CV students. Carrie joined Cliff Valley in 2012.

Contact

Email: chamilton@cliffvalley.org

Tamara Hamilton

School Counselor

Tamara is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has more than 20 years of experience in behavioral health. Tamara earned her Master’s Degree from the Indiana University School of Social Work. Over the past decade she has focused her work on issues impacting children, adolescents, and families. As a counselor, she has helped children and their parents with a variety of issues including behavioral problems, emotional problems, ADHD, anxiety, substance abuse, academic problems, and other developmental concerns. Tamara has worked extensively with schools to develop anti-bullying policies and student-led organizations against bullying. In addition, she has been a consultant and invited lecturer regarding various interests of child development.

Contact

Email: thamilton@cliffvalley.org

Angela Han

2nd Grade Teacher

Angela came to Cliff Valley with nearly ten years of experience in early childhood education. She has taught a variety of grade levels from pre-K through 5th. She also held an administrative position in admissions and human resources, and served as project manager for accreditation projects. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Child and Family Development from The University of Georgia and a Master of Arts in Teaching Early Childhood Education from Mercer University. Angela joined Cliff Valley in 2016.

Contact

Email: ahan@cliffvalley.org

Lori Harris

Director of Preschool-Grade 4

Lori has worked throughout the southeast as a teacher, reading specialist, college instructor and student teacher supervisor, and has helped teachers identify student learning styles and ways to differentiate instruction. Lori has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s in education as a reading specialist, and has completed additional graduate work for certification in educational leadership. Lori is currently working on completing her doctorate in educational psychology at Georgia State University.

Contact

Email: lharris@cliffvalley.org

Spencer Haywood

P.E. Teacher

Spencer joined Cliff Valley in 2016 after graduating from Georgia State University where he studied journalism and sociology, and he’s now pursuing his Master’s in teaching for Heath and Physical Education at GSU. Spencer played football at Georgia State, was a two-year letter recipient, and made the Sun Belt Conference academic honor roll. In addition to teaching P.E. to all grade levels, Spencer coaches volleyball, basketball, and passing league football at CV.

Contact

Email: shaywood@cliffvalley.org

Catherine Hessing Yates

1st Grade Teacher

Catherine earned her B.A. in Theatre and Dance from Bennington College and her M.A.T. in Early Childhood Education from Mercer University. Catherine came to Cliff Valley from the Museum School where she taught kindergarten. In addition to her classroom experience, she taught dance at Decatur School of Ballet for six years. Catherine joined Cliff Valley in 2015.

Taylor Jackson

Spanish Teacher

Taylor earned his M.A. in Latin American Studies from the University of Arizona and his B.A. in International Studies and Spanish from Berry College. During his time in college, he had the opportunity to study at universities in Mexico and South Korea. Before coming to Cliff Valley in 2015, Taylor taught high school Spanish at The Weber School in Atlanta for three years. Previously, he worked as a Consular Intern at both the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City and the Consulate General of Mexico in Atlanta.

Contact

Email: tjackson@cliffvalley.org

Jackie Keepers

Business Office

With a range of experience in information technology and accounting, Jackie came to Cliff Valley in 2012 to assist in business office operations. Jackie manages accounts receivable and accounts payable and sporadically draws on her previous experience working as a preschool teacher for ten years.

Contact

Email: jkeepers@cliffvalley.org

Cheryl Keshner

7th and 8th Grade Language Arts Teacher

Cheryl earned a B.S. in Occupational Therapy from Washington University in St. Louis and worked as an O.T. for several years. After homeschooling two of her four children, she returned to school to pursue a teaching degree, which she received from North Georgia University. She has worked at Cliff Valley School for twelve years and has taught grades 3 through 8. She is currently working on a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction in gifted education.

Contact

Email: ckeshner@cliffvalley.org

Monisha Ladiwala

2nd Grade Teaching Assistant

Monisha received her Bachelor of Commerce from Mount Carmel College, India. She moved to Atlanta in 2010 and earned her M.A.T. in Early Childhood Education from Mercer University. She has taught pre-K and kindergarten for six years. She also taught Performing Arts to 2-5 year olds for another two years. Monisha actively volunteered at City of Decatur Schools and the Decatur Refugee Center before joining Cliff Valley in 2017.

Contact

Email: mladiwala@cliffvalley.org

Michelle Landry

Pre-K Teacher

Michelle earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a minor in Communications from Queens University of Charlotte, where she played four years of collegiate soccer. She was elected captain and recognized as an Academic All-Conference athlete. Michelle is currently pursuing her M.A.T. in Early Childhood Education at Mercer University. She joined Cliff Valley in 2013.

Contact

Email: mlandry@cliffvalley.org

Anne-Marie Lang

Front Desk and Administrative Support

Anne-Marie received a B.A. in Mathematics from the University of the South and she earned her law degree from the University of Florida. Anne-Marie is an alumni parent – all three of her children attended Cliff Valley between 1999 and 2010. A long-time substitute in our classrooms and the office, Anne-Marie joined the team in an official capacity in 2013.

Contact

Email: amlang@cliffvalley.org

Brittany Mackey

Library Media Specialist

Brittany earned her B.S. in Elementary Education from Baylor University, her M.S. in Urban Policy Studies from Georgia State and her M.S. in Instructional Technology from Georgia Southern. Prior to joining Cliff Valley in 2017 Brittany taught at Charles R. Drew Charter School, Wesley International Academy, and directed the Andrew P. Stewart Center.

Contact

Email: bmackey@cliffvalley.org

Diane Majerus

1st Grade Teacher

Diane received her B.A. degree in Child Development with an emphasis in Child Mental Health at California State University, Northridge and her M.S.W. from the University of Washington in Seattle. Diane has been a staff member since 1994 and has taught preschool, kindergarten, and 1st grade classes.

Contact

Email: dmajerus@cliffvalley.org

Jennifer Marzano

Director, Marketing and Communications

Jennifer came to Cliff Valley from Liaison Technologies in Atlanta where she developed and executed their marketing strategy and tactical plan, including brand identity revision, website overhaul, and lead generation campaigns. A data- and research-driven professional, Jennifer also worked in marketing and communications for BellSouth and United Parcel Service. Jennifer earned her bachelor’s degree in English and art history from the University of Connecticut and her master’s in business administration from the Goizueta Business School at Emory University.

Contact

Email: jmarzano@cliffvalley.org

Becky Meyer

Teacher, 3-year-olds

Becky studied early childhood education at Georgia Southern College. She taught pre-K for three years at The Glenn School in Atlanta, and 2-year-olds in Fort Worth, Texas from 2004-2005. She moved back to Atlanta and joined the Cliff Valley team in 2006.

Contact

Email: bmeyer@cliffvalley.org

Garn Miller

Director, Grades 5-8; Athletic Director

Garn graduated from The College of Wooster with a degree in Sociology and received his master’s degree in Teaching from Mercer University. Garn coached varsity and junior varsity football at Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School and has taught kindergarten, 5th, and 6th grades since joining Cliff Valley in 2006.

Contact

Email: gmiller@cliffvalley.org

Katelyn Miller

1st Grade Teacher

Katelyn graduated Cum Laude from the University of Georgia in 2007 with a degree in Child and Family Development. At UGA Katelyn was a National Collegiate Scholar and a Gold Key Scholar. Katelyn earned her M.A.T degree from Mercer University. She began working at Cliff Valley school in 2008 and has experience working with preschool through third grade.

Contact

Email: kmiller@cliffvalley.org

Jon-Erik Montgomery

Art Teacher

Jon-Erik earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting and drawing from Georgia Southern University and his master’s in art education from Georgia State University. Jon-Erik joined Cliff Valley in 2012.

Lauren Moore

Pre-K Teacher

Lauren earned her B.S. in Early Childhood Education from Emmanuel College. Lauren played four years of collegiate soccer, earning an MVP award. In addition, she is a nationally licensed soccer coach with extensive coaching experience. Lauren joined the faculty in 2011.

Contact

Email: lmoore@cliffvalley.org

Margaret Myers

Teacher

Margaret has a bachelor’s degree in history and political science from Emory University. After living and working in Washington, D.C. on Capitol Hill, she returned home to Atlanta to start a family. She has taught preschool since 1998 and joined the Cliff Valley School staff in 2003. Margaret is pursuing a master’s degree in teaching at Mercer University.

Contact

Email: mmyers@cliffvalley.org

Oanh Nguyen

Kindergarten Teacher

Oanh earned her Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education and endorsement in teaching English for Speakers of Other Languages from Georgia State University. Oanh came to Cliff Valley from The Museum School of Avondale Estates where she taught kindergarten for two years. She also has two years of pre-service experience teaching grades Pre-K through 4th grade, including a semester of student teaching in Sweden at an International Baccalaureate World School. Oanh joined Cliff Valley in 2016.

Contact

Email: onguyen@cliffvalley.org

Michelle Oh

3rd Grade Teacher

Michelle earned her B.S. in Elementary Education and B.A. in Chinese Studies from the University of Houston. She taught 1st and 3rd grade in Houston before moving to Atlanta and joining Cliff Valley in 2017.

Contact

Email: moh@cliffvalley.org

John-David Penn

7th and 8th Grade Language Arts Teacher

John-David earned a Bachelor of Arts in English with a minor in Italian studies from Emory University in 2013. Before attending Emory, John-David studied chemistry and music theory at Oberlin College. Over the course of his undergraduate education, John-David had the opportunity to study comparative bioethics and religious studies in Rome with professors from Emory University School of Medicine and the Emory Center for Ethics. John-David joined Cliff Valley in 2014.

Contact

Email: jdpenn@cliffvalley.org

Joe Redding

Kindergarten Teacher

Joe holds a B.A. in English and a M.Ed. in Educational Studies from Emory University. He has worked as a preschool administrator and as a teacher of children ranging from pre-k to 5th grade. He is an ardent cyclist and enjoys riding with his family. Joe joined Cliff Valley in 2017.

Contact

Email: jredding@cliffvalley.org

Stephen Roberts

Music Teacher

Stephen earned a B.S. in Elementary Education from the College of Charleston, with a minor in Applied Jazz Drums. He taught 3rd grade at The Children’s School for two years and taught in Austin Public Schools before coming to Cliff Valley. At CV Stephen began in pre-K, was a kindergarten teacher for five years, and is now a music teacher. Stephen is also a private drum teacher and musician, playing with various bands and teaching many of Cliff Valley’s up-and-coming musicians in after school clubs.

Contact

Email: sroberts@cliffvalley.org

Alisha Roberts

6th Grade Teacher

Alisha earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from University of Vermont and a Master of Arts in teaching from Oglethorpe University. She came to Cliff Valley from The Children’s School where she taught for 13 years in pre-K and third, fifth, and sixth grades. Alisha also has experience teaching ballet to elementary school students. She joined Cliff Valley in 2016.

Contact

Email: aroberts@cliffvalley.org

Hannah Ruff

3rd Grade Teacher

Hannah completed her Master of Arts in Teaching in Early Childhood Education at Mercer University in Atlanta. She earned a B.A. in Spanish with a minor in Ethnic Studies at the University of Colorado. Hannah has worked as a teaching assistant at Cliff Valley in pre-K, kindergarten, and 3rd grade. During the 2011-2012 school year, Hannah worked as a teacher in Thailand, teaching English to adults and elementary students. Hannah joined the Cliff Valley faculty in 2009.

Contact

Email: hruff@cliffvalley.org

Sonali Saindane

2nd Grade Teaching Assistant

Sonali holds a Masters of Science in Educational Psychology and Bachelor of Business Administration in Risk Management and Insurance from Georgia State University. She also has teaching certifications in Early Childhood Education and Behavior Learning Disabilities. Sonali taught in City Schools of Decatur before joining Cliff Valley in 2016.

Contact

Email: ssaindane@cliffvalley.org

Avery Sebben

Music Teacher

Avery received her bachelor’s degree from Georgia College and State University in 2014 with a major in English literature and a minor in Spanish. She worked as a teaching assistant at Cliff Valley for three years, and her enthusiasm for working with students was sparked by teaching music to young, aspiring musicians. She is involved with after school music programs, regularly works with various artists around Atlanta, and teaches private bass lessons.

Contact

Email: asebben@cliffvalley.org

Dara Simmons

Director of Development

Dara brings extensive nonprofit fundraising experience to Cliff Valley School.Dara is a past board chair and volunteer solicitor of the Atlanta Day Shelter for Women and Children. She is also a past board member of the Paideia School, during which time she worked on annual funds, auctions, and several capital campaigns. During her tenure at Cliff Valley, Dara has worked on the annual fund, the auction, and the Campaign for More Cliff Valley. Dara earned a bachelor’s degree in history and English from Emory University and a master’s in history from the University of Michigan. Dara joined Cliff Valley School in 2006.

Contact

Email: dsimmons@cliffvalley.org

Judy Smith

4th Grade Teacher

Judy has been teaching fourth grade at Cliff Valley since 2007. She has an undergraduate degree in English from the University of Georgia and a master’s degree with an emphasis in children’s literature from Wayne State University. Throughout her thirty-plus years as an educator she has taught elementary, middle, and high school students, served as a learning specialist, and taught students with learning disabilities. An avid knitter and amateur naturalist, Judy enjoys sharing these interests with her students.

Contact

Email: jsmith@cliffvalley.org

Katie Spradley

5th Grade Teacher

Katie earned her M.A.T. in Early Childhood Education from Georgia State University in 2015. After a year of teaching in China, Katie taught 2nd – 5th grades in progressive schools around Atlanta for 6 years before joining Cliff Valley in 2017. Katie loves to travel and play music, bringing her love of multicultural education and the arts into the classroom.

Contact

Email: kspradley@cliffvalley.org

Liz Steele

6th Grade Teacher

Liz earned a Bachelor of Arts in History and Early Elementary Education Certificate from Agnes Scott College. She studied in Australia for a year taking history and education classes. Liz received a Master of Arts in Teaching Early Childhood from Oglethorpe University. She taught fourth grade for nine years at The Galloway School. While there, Liz coached sixth, seventh, and eighth graders in volleyball and soccer. During the summer, Liz directs and leads camps. She joined Cliff Valley in 2016.

Contact

Email: lsteele@cliffvalley.org

Eileen Stone

Outdoor Classroom Teacher

Eileen is a graduate of the School Master Gardener Program and member of the Environmental Education Alliance of Georgia. Eileen is certified in Project Wet, Project Wild, and Project Learning Tree, and she is pursuing her environmental educator certification. Eileen has been chosen to be one of thirty educators in the state to attend the Georgia Teachers Conservation Workshop. She also serves on the Board of Directors at the new Smoke Rise Community Garden. Eileen received her Bachelor’s in Nursing at Georgia State University and she has worked as an RN at Egleston Children’s Hospital in Pediatric ICU and at a private pediatric practice. Eileen joined Cliff Valley in 2004.

Contact

Email: estone@cliffvalley.org

Annie Strahan

4th Grade Teaching Assistant

Annie’s degrees include a B.A. in History, and an M.Ed. and Ed.S. in School Psychology. She is a Georgia Certified School Psychologist and has practiced in both public and private settings. Annie has taught preschool and early elementary education since 1993 and joined the Cliff Valley faculty in 1997. She has taught K through 3rd grades since 2000.

Contact

Email: astrahan@cliffvalley.org

Kathryn Talmadge

7th and 8th Grade Social Studies Teacher

Kathryn earned a Bachelor of Arts in political science from the University of Vermont and a Master of Arts in teaching in social studies from Boston University. She began her teaching career in Massachusetts where she taught social studies to grade 6-8 students and worked with students in after school and summer enrichment programs. Kathryn taught middle grades humanities at Campbell Middle School before joining Cliff Valley in 2016.

Contact

Email: ktalmadge@cliffvalley.org

Madeline Teissler

7th and 8th Grade Social Studies Teacher

Madeline earned a B.A. in Theater Studies and English from Emory University and a Masters of Arts in the Teaching of English with additional methods coursework in History from Stanford University. In the summers, while a student at Emory, Madeline taught viewpoints and Shakespearian text work (scansion, etc.) to high school students with the late Georgia Shakespeare Theater Company. She also taught acting and theater games to elementary school students in the after school program of the International Community School during the school year. She joined Cliff Valley in 2013.

Contact

Email: mteissler@cliffvalley.org

Jennifer Trent

5th Grade Teacher

Jennifer earned a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Tennessee and a Master’s in Early Childhood Education with a Reading Endorsement from Armstrong Atlantic State University. Jennifer started her teaching career in 2003 and taught 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grades before joining Cliff Valley in 2012.

Contact

Email: jtrent@cliffvalley.org

Megan Vitale

Registrar and Director of Admissions

Megan has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Connecticut. Since coming to Atlanta in 1983, she has worked in the marketing communications field doing event planning, market research, advertising, and public relations. Megan was employed as a nanny for five years prior to joining the staff at Cliff Valley in 2002.

Contact

Email: mvitale@cliffvalley.org

Marcus Wilson

Director of Operations

Marcus received his bachelor’s degree in art education from Ball State University and his Master of Education degree from Mercer University. Prior to joining the Cliff Valley School faculty in 2010, Marcus collected five years of experience teaching 5th grade science and social studies at Park Tudor School in Indianapolis and all subjects in a 3rd and 4th grade multiage class at Metairie Park Country Day School in New Orleans. In addition to his teaching experience, Marcus has coached volleyball, basketball, ultimate Frisbee, and wrestling at the middle and high school levels, and he has served as a summer programs administrator at several schools and camps.

Contact

Email: mwilson@cliffvalley.org

Joe Wisniewski

4th Grade Teacher

Joe earned a B.S. in Communication/Media from the State University of New York College at Fredonia and his master’s in early childhood education from Mercer University. Joe taught preschool, 3rd grade and 4th grade at Cliff Valley from 2002 to 2006 and returned to CV in 2017. From 2007-2017 Joe taught 4th grade at Knight Elementary School in Lilburn.

Stacie Wynne

3rd Grade Teacher

Stacie earned her MAT in Early Childhood Education from Mercer University. She also has a BA in Psychology from UGA and a MS in Natural Health from Clayton College. Stacie brings ten years of teaching experience and extensive environmental education experience to Cliff Valley. She joined Cliff Valley in 2013.

Contact

Email: swynne@cliffvalley.org