Darlington School: Private Boarding School in Georgia School welcomes new faculty and staff
Darlington School: Private Boarding School in Rome, GA
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School welcomes new faculty and staff

August 7, 2017 | 9631 views

Darlington is pleased to welcome the following new faculty and staff members for the 2017-18 school year. All will begin Aug. 1, 2017, unless otherwise noted.

Andrew Beckman will teach science in the middle grades. He holds a B.S. in Chemistry from The University of Alabama, where he most recently served as a chemistry tutor and lab researcher. A Presidential Scholar at Alabama, Beckman loves working with young people. During college, he tutored Spanish-speaking children in English-speaking skills and mentored a middle school student on topics like work ethic, study habits, and academic goal setting. He also spent two summers working at the university's cross country camp.

Brent Bell will teach P.E. at the Upper School and serve as assistant football and basketball coach. He holds a B.B.A. in Business Management from Georgia State University; an M.S.Ed. in Educational Leadership from Nova Southeastern University; and certifications in Physical Education ('P-12), Mathematics ('6-12), Business Education (6-12), and Educational Leadership. Bell has 16 years of experience teaching and coaching. Most recently, he was work-based learning coordinator and taught math, business, computer science, and weight training courses at Rome High School. He was also offensive assistant coach (receivers) for Rome High's state championship football team and head JV basketball coach. 

Kim Bell has been named head of Regester House. She holds a B.S. in Economics and an M.B.A., both from Shorter College. Bell has more than 20 years of experience in training and team building, most recently as CFO and human resources director at Fox Trucking. The majority of her career has been spent in finance and operations, and she has enjoyed the opportunity to focus on teaching and mentoring teams. Bell also spent 15 years managing the college intern program at multiple financial institutions and five years teaching management, leadership, economics, finance, and communication courses at Shorter College as an adjunct instructor. She and her husband Paul, Darlington's database administrator, are the parents of Reese ('26). 

Jenna Black will teach art in grades 2-8. She holds a B.A. in French and Art History from Vanderbilt University and studied abroad in Provence, France. Most recently, Black taught art at Rome First Methodist Preschool. She also owns her own a pet portrait business, Cottage Industry, and tutors high school students in French. No stranger to Darlington, Black has been a substitute teacher at the school for several years, most recently serving as a long-term substitute art teacher for grades pre-K to 2. She is also the mother of Travis ('19), Sanders ('22) and Clara ('27).

Tori Brown will be the kindergarten teaching assistant. She holds a B.S. in Education from the University of Georgia and has two decades of experience in education. Prior to Darlington, Brown spent 14 years at St. Mary's Catholic School, where she taught pre-K, kindergarten, first and third grade.

Collin Cadwell will be director of operations for Darlington's Tennis Academy. He holds a B.S. in Marketing with a focus on Professional Tennis Management from Ferris State University and has nearly two decades of experience working with youth and community tennis programs. For the past 11 years, Cadwell has served as administrative assistant for Ferris State University's Professional Tennis Management program, where he has been responsible for oversight of program, coordination of special events, student recruitment and retention, academic advising. and more.

Shane Calvert will be director of operations for Darlington School Soccer Academy. He holds a B.S. in Marketing from Tusculum College and holds the following NSCAA Diplomas: Advanced National, National, Goal Keeping National, and Goal Keeping Levels I and II. Calvert has been coaching for 13 years, most recently serving as assistant men's soccer coach at Wofford College.

Samuel Clark will teach English at the Upper School and assist with crew and lacrosse. He holds a B.A. in English from Rhodes College, where he was a student associate / electronic content coordinator in the Communication Office. For the last four years, Clark has worked with Western Reserve Summer Programs as an assistant director, teacher, and interim director of the English Language Institute. As an instructor in the Young Scholars Program, he taught creative writing and documentary filmmaking to gifted middle school students.

Alice Clements will return to Darlington to teach science in grades 3-5. She taught third grade at the school from 2005 to 2014 and has served as a long- and short-term substitute teacher for various grades during the last three years. She has also been a private tutor for students in grades 3-8. During her previous employment at Darlington, Clements was appointed as a commissioner on the Georgia Professional Standards Commission. She also served on the ELA-8 Director Search Committee in 2013-14. Clements holds a B.S. in Industrial Management from the Georgia Institute of Technology and an M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education from Berry College. She and her husband, Frank ('77), are the parents of alumnae Sarah (’08) and Caroline (’10).

Eric Cooper will teach middle grades English. He holds an A.S. in Science from Georgia Highlands College, a B.S. in Education from Georgia Southern University and an M.A. in English-Creative Writing from Southern New Hampshire University. Cooper holds multiple certifications, including a Level 5 Professional Teaching Certificate (P-12) in Art and English. He has two decades of teaching experience, serving most recently as lead art and writing teacher for grades 4-9 at Montessori School of Rome. He has also been a guest co-teacher for a graduate course at Wesleyan University (EDU 519 Advanced Methods and applications in Early Childhood Creative Expression) and in the art department at Berry College.

Kippi Ellison will be a middle grades learning specialist. She holds a B.B.A. in Finance from the University of Georgia, an M.Ed. in Middle Grades Math Education from Berry College, an Ed.S. in Leadership and Administration from Lincoln Memorial College, a Gifted Endorsement (K-12), and certification in K-12 Special Education. Ellison has 13 years of teaching experience, most recently serving as gifted and special education math teacher at Armuchee Middle School. 

Kimberly Exford will be the lower grades learning specialist. She holds a B.A. in Mass Communications from the University of West Georgia and an M.A. in Journalism from the University of Memphis. Exford has spent the last decade working at Lindamood-Bell Learning Processes, where she has served as center director for the past year. Previously, her roles at the center included clinician/mentor, educational consultant and associate director. She is passionate about working with students who have learning differences and giving them the tools necessary to be successful. 

Kristy Garrett  will be the pre-K teaching assistant. She holds an A.S. in Education from Shorter University and a B.S. in Education from Grand Canyon University. With six years of experience as a paraprofessional, Garrett served most recently as special education aide at Pepperell Elementary School.

Chloe Garth-Fielder will teach English at the Upper School. She holds a B.A. in English from Spelman College and an M.A. in Curriculum Instruction/Administration and Supervision from Trevecca Nazarene College. Garth-Fielder has 28 years of teaching experience, most recently serving as site manager for the 21st Century Bridge Resource Learning Center and academy coach at Lanier High School in Jackson, Miss. She is also an English instructor at Upward Bound-Tougaloo College and academic curriculum coordinator at Upward Bound-Jackson State. Garth-Fielder has received numerous commendations and awards for her work as an educator.

Scott Greene will be director of the Teaching and Learning Center. He holds a B.S. in Business Management from The University of North Carolina - Asheville, an M.A.Ed. in Special Education from Western Carolina University, and Orton Gillingham Certification from Carolina Day School's Key Learning Center in Asheville, N.C. Greene has more than 25 years of experience in education, serving most recently as director of learning services and academic dean at The Rectory School in Pomfret, Ct. There, he oversees operations of the Individual Instructional Program, administers professional development and oversees curriculum development, among other duties. He has worked in many areas of educational administration throughout his career, including previous service as an assistant headmaster, director of education, assistant head of middle school, and principal in independent schools throughout the South and Northeast. His wife, Tonya, will be a new middle grades learning specialist at Darlington. 

Tonya Greene will be a middle grades learning specialist. She holds a B.A. in Psychology from Davidson College and holds Orton Gillingham Certification from Carolina Day School's Key Learning Center in Asheville, N.C. Greene has 18 years of experience in education, serving most recently as a teacher and tutor at The Rectory School in Pomfret, Ct. She has spent the majority of her career working with students who have learning differences and has written curriculum to serve the needs of students with different learning profiles. Her husband, Scott, will be director of Darlington's Teaching and Learning Center.

Alli Holst will be a personal counselor at the Upper School. She holds an M.A. in Drama Therapy from New York University and a Master of Social Work from Stony Brook University. With eight years of experience in counseling and social work, Holst has worked with children of all ages. She is currently employed as an in-house therapist and social worker at the Sexual Assault Center of Northwest Georgia. No stranger to Darlington, Holst served as an interim Upper School personal counselor at Darlington at the start of the 2016-17 school year and is the wife of Assistant Director of Boarding Admission Nathan Holst.

Thomas Hunter will be a Soccer Academy intern. He holds a B.A. in History from Wofford College, where he played NCAA Division I soccer. Hunter has spent the last seven years coaching at the college and high school levels, serving most recently as assistant men's soccer coach at Wofford. He is also a goalkeeper coach for No. 1 Soccer Camps. Hunter played professionally for the Atlanta Silverbacks, Kuopion Palloseura (Finland), Stallion FC (The Philippines) and Chattanooga Football Club.

Steven Keith will be assistant band director. He holds a B.A. in Music from Jacksonville State University and an M.M. in Flute Performance from Georgia State University. Keith has 20 years of experience teaching music at the secondary and collegiate levels as well as through private lessons. Most recently, he served as flute instructor at Shorter University; primary school band director at Atlanta International School; flute instructor at South Forsyth High School; and private lesson coordinator, woodwind director, and director of chamber music at New Manchester High School simultaneously. Keith's performance resume includes solo, concerto and large ensemble experience.

Barbara Kuckhoff will teach physics at the Upper School. She holds a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Northwestern University and an M.B.A. from the University of Michigan. Kuckhoff has spent nearly three decades using science daily while working in various industrial environments. Most recently, she served as product line manager for Cargill Inc. in Dalton, Ga. No stranger to Darlington, she is the mother of Thomas ('09), Robert ('12) and Katie. Kuckhoff looks forward to working with students and nurturing their interests to pursue careers in science.

Katie Merritt will be the media arts teacher. She holds a B.A. in Communications from the University of South Florida, Tampa, and multiple certifications and endorsements, including Certified Journalism Educator. She taught in the Hillsborough County Florida school district for the past 12 years and most recently taught English and served as yearbook adviser at Steinbrenner High School in Tampa. She was Steinbrenner's Teacher of the Year in 2016. This past year, Merritt was District 4 co-director for the Florida Scholastic Press Association and was a nominee for FSPA Teacher of the Year in District 4. She has also served on a Local Planning Committee for the National Scholastic Press Association.

Rebecca Nolin will be head coach for the girls' Soccer Academy team. She holds a B.S. in Sports Management, Marketing and Psychology from Kennesaw State University and a USSF National C coaching license. Nolin has nearly a decade of experience coaching soccer, most recently as head coach of Valdosta State University's women's soccer team. She is a former professional soccer player with the Atlanta Beat and played five years of semi-professional soccer with the Atlanta Silverbacks. 

Reid Owens will teach Spanish at the Upper School. He holds a B.S. in International Business Management and an M.A. in Hispanic Linguistics, both from the University of Alabama. He also studied abroad at Universidad de Grenada in Spain and participated in international service learning initiatives in Uganda, Haiti, Costa Rica and Panama. Owens' four years of teaching experience include serving as an adjunct instructor and graduate instructor at the University of Alabama as well as teaching English to native Spanish speakers in Grenada Spain. He also co-founded a summer study abroad program called Trek Abroad Spain and, most recently, served as Cuba country manager for Rustic Pathways, an international travel and service program for high school students. In his two years with Rustic Pathways, he has led programs for the organization in the Dominican Republic, Mongolia and India.

Bradley Pierson ('05) will be an assistant athletic director and head boys' basketball coach. He holds a B.A. in Economics from Sewanee: The University of the South and an M.Ed. from Berry College. Pierson has eight years of experience coaching at the collegiate level and has served as head men's basketball coach at Sewanee for the past year. During the 2016-17 season, his team led the Southern Athletic Association in scoring defense and rebounding margin. As a Darlington student, Pierson played basketball for the Tigers and ran track and cross country. As a senior, he earned a basketball scholarship to Sewanee, where he was a four-year letterwinner, Order of Gownsmen and 2008-09 captain. Pierson finished his Sewanee career in the school's top-10 in three-point field percentage and three-point field goals made.

Dean Ratledge will be middle grades P.E. teacher and end of school day support assistant. He holds a B.A. in Health and Physical Education from Tennessee Technological University and an M.Ed. from Tusculum College. Ratledge has nearly four decades of experience in high school and elementary education, serving most recently as pre-K to 2 physical education teacher at Pepperell Primary School. There, he was also lead teacher for the science STEM class. He is also the father of Tate Ratledge ('20).

Tia Roper will be band director. She studied flute in The Juilliard School's pre-college division before earning her B.M. in Music Education from Manhattan School of Music, M.M. in Music Performance from Boston University, and D.M.A. in Music Performance from Rutgers University. Roper has 15 years of experience teaching music at both the secondary and collegiate levels, most recently serving on the faculty at Bloomingdale School of Music in New York. During the summer, she also teaches at Usdan Center for Creative and Performing Arts. Roper's performance resume is extensive and includes orchestral, chamber, and solo recitals as well as international performances.

Melissa Smyly will teach English at the Upper School in addition to serving as head girls' lacrosse coach. She holds a B.S. in Secondary Language Arts from Auburn University and an M.A. in Library Media Technology from the University of West Alabama. Smyly has 12 years of experience teaching literature, grammar, and writing to students in grades 7-12, most recently serving as language arts department coordinator at The Donaho School in Anniston, Ala. She also spent two summers as program director for Camp Mae in Munford, Ala.

Marissa Toney will be the strength and speed development intern. She holds a B.S. in Exercise Science from Berry College, where she has served as strength and conditioning supervisor for the past two years. Toney holds USA Weightlifting Sport Performance Certification and is also a certified lifeguard. She has interned with CrossFit programs in Rome and Flowery Branch, Ga.

Jared Willerson will teach history at the Upper School in addition to serving as head volleyball coach and assistant boys' basketball coach. He holds a B.S. in Business Finance from the University of Tennessee - Chattanooga and an M.A. in Teaching, Learning and Corporate Training from Lee University. Willerson has taught economics at Chickamauga City Schools for the past 14 years. He has also coached basketball, volleyball and golf, most recently creating a nationally ranked men's golf program at Georgia Northwestern Technical College.

Chris Williams will be director of operations for Coosa Junior Golf Academy. He holds a B.Ed. in Physical Education from The University of Memphis and has nearly three decades of experience working in independent school and collegiate athletics. Most recently, Williams led the golf program and served as uniform and equipment coordinator for the entire athletic program at Collegiate School (Va.) As a coach at Collegiate, he led the team to its first state golf championship in 2012. He was named State Golf Coach of the Year by the Virginia Independent School Athletic Association in 2012 and received the State Sportsmanship Team Award in 2013, 2015, and 2016. Williams is also a three-time Prep League Golf Coach of the Year (2013, 2015 and 2017). His wife, Lindy, will be Darlington's director of enrollment management.

Lindy Williams will be director of enrollment management, effective July 1. She holds a B.A. in Journalism and Public Relations and an M.S. in Counseling and Student Personnel Services in Higher Education, both from The University of Memphis. Williams brings with her more than three decades of experience in independent schools and colleges, most recently serving as head of school at St. Margaret’s School (Va.) She has been involved with and presented at conferences and workshops through the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education and the National Association of Independent Schools. She has also led accreditation teams for the Virginia Association of Independent Schools and served on the Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association Heads Advisory Committee, among other professional appointments. Her husband, Chris, will be director of operations for Coosa Junior Golf Academy at Darlington School.

Note: This article will be updated as new faculty and staff members are hired. To view a list of the employment opportunities currently available at Darlington School, please click here.