• News
New to the Nest: Welcoming New Faculty and Staff

As we start the 2022-23 school year, we would like to welcome these new faculty and staff members to Ravenscroft.


A grid collage of headshots of new faculty in Lower School, all women

After three years here as a parent, Lourdes Andrews is so happy to join the Ravenscroft community as a kindergarten assistant teacher. She moved to the Raleigh area from Montclair, New Jersey, with her family. She has a B.S. in special education from Florida State University and has over 20 years of teaching experience. She currently has a son, Conner ’26, in the Upper School. Andrews enjoys cooking and spending time with her husband, Jim, and sons, Conner and Sam. 

Erin Cole ’04 is thrilled to rejoin the Ravenscroft community as the Assistant Head of Lower School for Student Learning. Cole has 12 years of experience in multiple education-related roles, including as a classroom teacher, literacy specialist and curriculum coach. She received her undergraduate degree from James Madison University (Go Dukes!) and her graduate degree in educational leadership from Depaul University. Cole resides in her “fraternity house” with her husband and two lively boys. When she isn’t working or wrangling her children, she enjoys being outdoors, running, listening to podcasts and learning new languages. 

Sydney Hand is thrilled to be at Ravenscroft as a fourth-grade teacher! This is Sydney’s third year at Ravenscroft: she started out as a teacher assistant and is now looking forward to her second year as a teacher. She was born and raised in Raleigh and has lived here the majority of her life. In 2019, she graduated from Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina (Go ’Neers!). In her free time, she enjoys trying new restaurants in the RDU area, spending time with family and friends, and walking through the aisles of Target. Hand loves to be silly and make learning fun! You can often hear her (loud) laugh carry through the halls! 

Bernadette Fox-Mckenzie has been teaching for the last 21 years. She has taught on the islands of the Bahamas, in Atlanta and, for the last seven years, in North Carolina. She loves to travel, cook and read suspense novels. Her favorite author is Stuart Woods. She recently got married, has one son and resides in Durham. Fox-McKenzie joined Ravenscroft in January and is excited to be teaching fourth-grade this year.

Emily Lugo is excited to join the fifth-grade team at Ravenscroft this school year as the science teacher. Emily is a recent graduate of NC State, where she earned a B.S. in elementary education with a STEM concentration. She was named Beginning Teacher of the Year for the 2021-22 school year at her previous school. Lugo enjoys spending time with friends and family as well as time at the beach, reading, riding her Peloton and practicing yoga. 

Beth Moss joins the Ravenscroft Lower School as a LEAP teacher and interventionist. She has experience working with students with various abilities at the elementary school level and brings her wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm to partner with the team. Beth earned a B.A. in human services from Elon University and an M.A.T. from Meredith College. She also holds a license in Special Education, General Curriculum K-12. In her personal time, she enjoys reading a good psychological thriller, walking her German Shepard-Lab mix, playing with her two-year-old daughter and trying new restaurants with her husband.

Kinzey Patterson is excited to join the Ravenscroft community as a fourth-grade teacher. She graduated from East Carolina University in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education with a concentration in behavioral psychology. Kinzey has six years of teaching experience, and this will be her fourth year teaching fourth grade. Some of her hobbies include yoga, strength training, cooking and hand-lettering/calligraphy. She enjoys spending time with family and friends, the beach and of course an iced coffee. 

Tiffany Pellicciotti joins the Lower School as a first-grade teacher. She has a masters in curriculum, instruction and supervision from Rider University and a Bachelor of Arts from Arcadia University. She began her teaching career in the West Windsor-Plainsboro school district outside of Princeton, New Jersey, as a third-grade teacher and taught there for 10 years. She spent six years living abroad with her family in both Warsaw, Poland, and Hong Kong and traveled in Europe and Asia. Upon her return to Princeton, she taught fourth grade as a virtual learning teacher for one year and taught third grade this past year. In her free time, Pellicciotti loves to read and is learning how to wakeboard without falling too many times! 

Nicole Spivey joins the Lower School community as a fifth-grade math teacher. She has 20 years of experience teaching grades K-5, with the last 11 years teaching fifth grade. She graduated from North Carolina Central University with a B.A. in elementary education with a concentration in mathematics and received an M.Ed. in curriculum and instruction from Grand Canyon University. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family and crafting. Spivey is so excited to be joining and getting involved in the Ravenscroft community.

Leigh Vail joined Ravenscroft last spring as a long-term substitute in second grade and is so excited to be back this year as a first-grade teacher. She has nine years of teaching experience in both the North Carolina and Tennessee public school systems. Vail received her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Furman University and her M.Ed. from UNC-Greensboro. In 2020, she was awarded Teacher of the Year, and in 2019 and 2020 she was a Nashville Public Schools Blue Ribbon Teacher. Vail has a passion for education policy and is currently working toward a program at Harvard University in school leadership and management. She enjoys learning, reading, traveling, cooking for friends and family, hiking and playing tennis. 


A grid collage of headshots of new faculty/staff in the Middle School, six women and one man

Ryan Beck joins the History and Social Studies Department for his 12th year of teaching. Originally from Upstate New York, he obtained a B.A. in history with a concentration in U.S. history from SUNY Cortland. He has taught courses in special education, American literature, and U.S. history and government. Beck will also be joining the community as boys lacrosse coach and is looking forward to encouraging and motivating students to compete with integrity and excellence on the lacrosse field and in the classroom. He enjoys gardening, white-water rafting, fly fishing, golf and visiting museums, historical sites/landmarks and battlefields. He’s working on a passion project examining the history of Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia. 

Rachel Breazeale joins the World Language Department as a Middle School Spanish teacher. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Spanish and biology from Meredith College and a master’s degree in Spanish literature from NC State. After graduation, Rachel spent six months teaching English in a public school in Galicia, Spain, before spending two years as a seventh- and eighth-grade Spanish teacher and middle school girls soccer coach at Forsyth Country Day School in Winston-Salem. Originally from the Wake Forest area, she looks forward to being back in Raleigh where her family, including her two young nieces, live.

Janet Hedges is returning to Ravenscroft as a Middle School science instructor after a year of living overseas. She has held many different positions in the Middle School over her long career: a sixth- and seventh-grade science instructor, Middle School Science Department Chair, a STEM elective instructor and coach for Science Olympiad and LEGO Robotics. Most recently, she was the Middle School Makerspace Coordinator. With a passion for the outdoors Hedges is looking forward to teaching Forest School and helping students understand how science relates to the world around them. In her free time, she likes to sew, read and travel. 

Renee Pitchford joins the Ravenscroft community as a Middle School Language Arts instructor. She has been a Language Arts teacher for 20 years in Atlanta and most recently in Seaside, Florida. She graduated from Mississippi College with an M.A. in secondary education and completed the Gifted Education Confratute program at the University of Connecticut. She holds a B.A. in educational psychology from the University of Southern Mississippi. With a background in gifted education, Pitchford works to foster a love of literacy and writing using innovative, engaging instruction. She enjoys traveling, reading, community service and getting outside with her doodles Ollie and Archie.

Alicia Robinson is excited to be a member of the Ravenscroft community, where she will be the Middle School Administrative Coordinator. She is passionate about working with students, faculty and staff and creating positive relationships. Alicia graduated from Mount Olive College, where she majored in business and general studies. She has over 10 years of experience that include working as an administrative specialist in higher education and healthcare. She is excited for a change and a challenge! In her free time, she likes to spend time with her husband and daughter, travel, try new food, garden and read. 

Stevi Vaughn is excited to join Ravenscroft as an Upper and Middle School Spanish teacher. She recently completed a masters in Spanish at NC State, where she also taught undergraduate Spanish classes. She received a B.A. in Spanish and a B.S. in international business from UNC-Wilmington and later lived in Buenos Aires, Argentina, for several years. She looks forward to sharing her love of the Spanish language and Hispanic cultures with Ravenscroft students. Vaughn believes in creating a classroom that encourages cultural competency and growth mindsets that will help students face challenges with enthusiasm and become caring global citizens. Her interests outside of the classroom are yoga, reading and spending time with her family.

Emily Wood is joining the Middle School as a Spanish teacher. She grew up in a small town in Massachusetts. As a senior in high school, Wood had the responsibility of teaching two seventh-grade classes, which confirmed her love for teaching. She was a graduate teaching assistant at NC State, where she completed both her bachelor’s and master’s degree in foreign languages and literatures with a concentration in Spanish. She has studied abroad in Málaga, Spain, where she volunteered at a dual-immersion preschool. She has a passion for travel, culture and dance. Wood has recently adopted a cockapoo puppy named Goose who loves belly rubs and meeting new friends. 


Headshots of new faculty/staff in Upper School, fine arts and athletics, six women and three men

Tiffany Blake is delighted to be joining the Ravenscroft community as the Upper School’s economics instructor. Prior to relocating to Raleigh, Tiffany taught social science in Southern California for nearly 10 years. She received a B.A., teaching credentials and a Master of Arts in History from CSU, Fullerton. Tiffany’s field of passion is Cold War social history, and she has audited political science curricula at Duke as well. Outside of teaching, Tiffany spends her time riding her horse, Bluey, and raising two young sons with her husband. She also spent a year and a half traveling the country in an RV with her family and three dogs. 

Bailey Franklin is thrilled to join the Ravenscroft community as the new College Counseling Coordinator. A native of Winston-Salem, she moved to Raleigh to attend NC State and earned a B.A. in communications. Prior to joining Ravenscroft, she worked in the technology industry with Keen Decision Systems. She is very excited to support students and families as they navigate the college admission process. When she is not working, she enjoys playing Monopoly with her family, finding new ways to use her Cricut machine and staying active by dancing salsa or practicing hot yoga.

Manuel González is excited to join the Ravenscroft community as an Upper School chemistry teacher. He’s been teaching science courses for the past five years in Monterrey, Mexico, where he also graduated from Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León as an industrial chemist. He holds a masters in mechanical engineering and a Ph.D. in materials science from the same university. González loves connecting science to everyday real-world situations and working with other subjects to make chemistry as accessible as possible to all students. Whenever he's not teaching, he enjoys reading, traveling, taking pictures, cycling and dancing.

Nicole Lane is excited to be joining the Ravenscroft community as an Upper School mathematics instructor. She has been a math teacher for 15 years in North Philadelphia. She graduated from Arcadia University with an M.A. in education with a concentration in math. She holds a B.S. in mathematics education from West Chester University. She is looking forward to building math literacy and fluency by facilitating student independence and creating meaningful classroom relationships. Outside of the classroom, she enjoys cooking, going to the movies and farmers market, and hopefully one day learning how to make sourdough bread and smoke meat.

Daniel Munns is thrilled to be joining the Ravenscroft community as an Upper School history and social studies teacher. He taught history for seven years in Burlington, North Carolina, at Walter Williams High school and most recently in Henderson, North Carolina, at Kerr Vance Academy. He graduated from UNC-Wilmington with a bachelor’s degree in history with a minor in political science. He got married this past May and bought his first home in June. He also loves traveling all over the U.S, trying/cooking new foods, working out, and playing and watching sports, especially soccer, football and basketball.

Tawambi Settles returns to the Research Triangle with his family two decades after attending Duke University and will serve as the Assistant Head of Upper School for Student Leadership. Settles entered the teaching ranks upon retiring from an eight-year professional football career and has been an educator for the past 16 years. Settles received a B.A. in political science from Duke and an M.Ed. in educational leadership in May from Liberty University. He and his wife, Melanie, are the parents of three Ravens: Taj ’36, Dalilah ’33 and Zuri ’29. He enjoys playing chess, golfing, watching a good movie and reading a good book, and he considers himself a connoisseur of all major sports.

Maddie Sparrow is excited to join the Ravenscroft Upper School English Department. She graduated from Duke University with a B.A. in English, a minor in education and a teaching license in secondary English. She most recently taught high school English in Durham Public Schools. As a Duke TeachHouse fellow, she collaborated with leading educators in professional development and community action, including facilitating the “White Educators and Abolitionist Pedagogy” session at TeachHouse’s Unconference. In addition to teaching, Sparrow has worked in college counseling, curriculum design and community schools research. She’s an ABBA fan, kombucha drinker and kayaker.


Deborah Rutland is excited to join the Ravenscroft team as a long-term substitute theater teacher. She majored in theater and dance at the University of Texas at Austin and completed a two-year conservatory program at the Performing Artists Musical Theater Conservatory in Dallas. She has performed professionally in musicals and has also directed and produced shows in Connecticut schools. For two years prior to moving to North Carolina, she served as the Director of Drama Ministry at Valley Community Church. She has been married for 23 years and has three sons, one in high school and two in college.


Meegan Horn comes to Ravenscroft from Connecticut, where she taught physical education and coached for the past 11 years at New Canaan Country School. Horn graduated from Roanoke College with a B.S. in exercise science and also played on the women’s lacrosse team for four years. After college, she went on to get a master’s degree in physical education and sports pedagogy from Manhattanville College. Over the years, Horn has coached a wide variety of sports in addition to lacrosse, including field hockey, soccer and volleyball. She is excited for a new adventure in Raleigh with her husband, one-year-old son and their dog.


A grid collage of headshots of new staff, four women and five men

Brittany Gresham joins Ravenscroft as the Development and Events Coordinator for the Advancement team. Brittany has a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication with a concentration in Public Relations and a minor in English from North Carolina Central University.  In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, spending time with her family, hiking and naps. She is overjoyed to be a part of the Ravenscroft community and is looking forward to the future.

Whitney Holmes joins Ravenscroft as the Admissions Coordinator for Middle and Upper School.  Originally from Ohio, she relocated this summer with her husband, Andy, from Dallas, Texas.  Holmes graduated from Denison University with a B.A. in communication and environmental studies and continued her education by getting a master’s at Wesleyan University. While at Denison, she played varsity lacrosse and was captain her last two years; she has coached both lacrosse and soccer. In her free time, Holmes likes to be active by hiking, running and cycling. She also enjoys spending time with her yellow lab, Spud, and family in northern Michigan in the summer.

Sean Kelly ’11 joins Ravenscroft after five years at independent schools in Los Angeles and Raleigh. As a graduate of Ravenscroft and husband of another proud alum, Melis Kelly ’10, he is thrilled to return to Ravenscroft in the Advancement office. After recently completing an M.S. Ed. in school leadership from UPenn, Kelly is excited to have more free time to spend with his wife and son, Declan, and daughter, Rory. He also has enjoyed training for his first marathon. 

Philip Ledford is excited to join the Ravenscroft community as Registrar. He comes to Ravenscroft from Campbell University, where he spent 17 years in various academic areas, including advising, NCAA eligibility certification and the registrar’s office. In his most recent role as Associate Registrar for Operations, he led the class scheduling, registration and add/drop processes for undergraduate programs. Ledford received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from NC State. He is a native of North Carolina and lives in Raleigh with his wife, Erin, and their son Grayson.  

Megan Moody is very excited about joining the Facilities Department. She has been an administrative assistant for the past four years and has a Bachelor of Arts in Parks and Recreation Management from UNC-W. She will be helping with administrative duties as well as incoming and outgoing mail. Moody is looking forward to working on Special Olympics and becoming active in other aspects of the Ravenscroft community. She enjoys singing at her church and being outdoors with her dog, Flinn. 

Paul Slack joins the Ravenscroft People and Culture team in the newly created position of Assistant Director for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. He was most recently at Durham Academy as an Upper School history teacher, Upper School diversity coordinator and JV boys basketball coach and served as the Interim Diversity, Equity and Engagement Team Leader. Slack has a B.A. in history from Clark Atlanta University and an M.A.T. from the College of St. Scholastica. He is excited to be overseeing all DEI programming and conferences on our campus. He is a newlywed and enjoys photography, basketball and winding down with some good music or a great book.  

Suzgo Kumwenda Smith joins the Ravenscroft team as Campus Store (RavenZone) Manager in the Olander Center for Student Life at the A.E. Finley Activity Center, bringing over 13 years of sales management experience. Before moving into sales, she spent several years in the energy and renewable energy fields. Kumwenda Smith holds a Master of Science in Computer Information Systems and a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering. She has been a part of the Ravenscroft family since August 2012, when her son, Elijah ’25, enrolled in kindergarten. She enjoys gardening, redecorating, organizing, creating new recipes and traveling with her husband, Gene, and son.

Ben Rein is new to the Advancement team but not to Ravenscroft. Along with his wife, Claudia, he has been a parent at the school of his two sons, Jackson ’24 and Max ’27, since moving to Raleigh in 2019. This role marks a return to independent school education: from history teacher to Dean of Students to Division Head and Head of School, his professional roles include a breadth of independent school experience. Rein is a graduate of Amherst College and earned an M.S. Ed. in educational leadership from the University of Pennsylvania.

Tommy Vestal joins the Ravenscroft team as Director of Protective Services. He retired from the Raleigh Police Department in 2021 after a 30-year career and also worked as an officer on the campus of Ravenscroft 2003-2019, serving as the scheduling liaison between the school and RPD. Vestal has a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from Appalachian State University. Born and raised in Raleigh, he has been married to Heather for 30 years and has three adult children. He enjoys woodworking, spending time in both the North Carolina mountains and the Outer Banks, and historical travel.

James Watson joins Ravenscroft as the IT Helpdesk Specialist. He has spent his career working across a wide variety of fields, all directly contributing to his wealth of IT experience. He has been employed by Apple as a technician and software trainer, where he was responsible for repairs, technical troubleshooting, and teaching classes and workshops to individuals and businesses. Originally from London, England, Watson is an avid world traveler. He is a graduate of Ohio State University, where he was also a member of the men’s rowing team. He and his wife, Kelsea, are excited to be moving to North Carolina and joining the Ravenscroft family.