Col. Vic Coffenberry
LTC (Ret) Victor R. Coffenberry II, graduated from Old Dominion University with a BS in Business-Finance. Immediately after graduation, he was commissioned in the U.S. Army. During his twenty-one-year career, he served as an Armor Officer in Germany and Texas, deployed to the Mid-East for the Gulf War, served on the Army Staff at the Pentagon as Personnel Systems Manager, and as the Deputy Director for Personnel Administration at the US Army Cadet Command. As a lifelong learner, he took advantage of GI Bill benefits while on active duty earning an MBA from Old Dominion and a Master of Education from Troy State. Upon retirement from the Army in 1996, he moved to Greenville to teach Junior ROTC at North Pitt High School. In 1999, he completed ECU’s Masters of School Administration and in 2001 he received his first Assistant Principal assignment. For the next ten years, he learned about elementary education while serving as an administrator first at Eastern Elementary and later at Wintergreen Primary. In 2012, he was selected as the Director of Pitt County’s NC Pre-K Program. During his tenure as Director, all fourteen PCS NC Pre-K sites maintained five-star rated licenses. On January 31, 2018, he retired after twenty-one years with the public schools. Col Coffenberry is now Director of Walton Academy Private School.
Dawn Singleton is a retired administrator from Pitt County Schools with thirty-two years of experience. Her last 10 years were spent as the principal of Wintergreen Primary and Wintergreen Intermediate schools. Dawn has a Masters in Elementary Education and a degree in Administration/Supervision as well as Curriculum and Instruction. Dawn was Pitt County Schools Principal of the Year in 2007. During her career, Dawn taught 2nd through 6th grade, supervised elementary interns and taught several reading courses as an adjunct instructor at East Carolina University. She has served as the K-8 Curriculum and Instruction Director, was an Assistant Principal and became the principal for Eastern Elementary and the Wintergreen schools. She has twins; Trey and Kesler Singleton. They both attend East Carolina University and will graduate in May 2018. Her vision for Walton Academy is for the staff to provide the optimum learning experience in Kindergarten through fifth grades. She is an advocate of the Arts and feels that adding the Encore classes of Spanish, Music, Art and Physical Education will greatly enhance the Walton Academy experience.
Administrative Program Specialist
Whitney Johnson joined Children’s World Learning Center and Walton Academy with a diverse background in both athletics and education. Originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Whitney moved with her family to Greenville, North Carolina in 1998. During her high school years, she attended the Hank Haney International Junior Golf Academy in Hilton Head, South Carolina. In her senior year, Whitney was recruited by the University of Virginia Woman’s Golf Team, a division one school-then ranked 4th in the nation, to play collegiate golf. She attended the University of Virginia from 2008-2010. Upon discovering her passion for education and love for working with children, she transferred to East Carolina University, where she studied Elementary Education and Education Administration. In 2018, she graduated cum laude from East Carolina University earning a BS in Education Administration for Children, Families, and Communities. Whitney joined the Children’s World Learning Center and Walton Academy’s After School Team in 2016 as their lead after school teacher. In 2017, she worked closely with the Academy’s lead teachers as a teaching assistant. She is now Walton Academy’s Administrative/ Program Specialist and Physical Education Instructor for all grades.
David Cary has been an educator for the past thirty-two years teaching a variety of grade levels. David received his degree in Elementary Education from Bloomsburg University and has achieved many honors throughout his teaching career. He was recognized as Teacher of the Year twice at the school level and was runner-up for Pitt County Schools in 2011.
Laila Farhadi knew she was going to be a teacher hen she graduated as Vice President of her class at Rose High School. After receiving the Future Teacher Award, she began her educational foundation at East Carolina University. Mrs. Farhadi graduated with honors Summa Cum Laude in 1998 with a BS in Elementary Education. In 1999 she obtained her masters in Elementary Education with a concentration in Reading. She began her fifteen years of teaching in Snow Hill where she became Greene County’s Teacher of the Year. During that time, she became a National Board-Certified Teacher. She then taught at Creekside Elementary in Pitt County and became the school’s Teacher of the Year and a Pitt County Finalist. After teaching two years in Maryland, she took time off to raise her two sons. Mrs. Farhadi has taught thirteen years in third grade and two years in fourth/fifth grade. She has her Academically Gifted Certificate and Inclusion based experience. She has been published in Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers and has received countless grants. She looks forward to fostering a love of learning in her students and enabling their success at Walton Academy.
Anna Little has been an educator for fourteen years teaching in a variety of grades from Prekindergarten to 6th grade. Anna has a BS degree in Elementary Education (K-6) from East Carolina University where she had been a recipient of the NC Teaching Fellows Scholarship. As an educator, she has served in several leadership capacities and is continually looking to enhance her own education and professional development. In June 2013, Anna went to NC A&T to receive STEM training so that she could further enrich her students’ learning. Teaching is her passion and we are very excited to continue to have her with us at Walton Academy.
Amy Sheppard has been an educator for twenty-eight years. Amy graduated from East Carolina University in 1989 with a BS Degree in Elementary Education and again in 1990 with a master’s degree in Elementary Education. She also received her AIG Certification from East Carolina University. Amy has experience teaching students in first grade through sixth grade. As an educator, she has served in many leadership roles. Amy has a passion for teaching and loves to engage her students in meaningful learning experiences. Her vision for Walton Academy is to continue to teach with passion and to provide a balance of rigorous and fun integrated learning opportunities for her students.
Anna Saieed is Walton Academy’s school guidance counselor. Anna graduated from East Carolina University in 2017 where she earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Human Development and Family Science with a focus on Early Intervention. She understands the impact that social-emotional development has during the early years. After graduating from ECU, she attended a Sanford Harmony workshop where she was trained and certified in research-based lessons and classroom interventions. Her mission is to spark social, emotional, and academic growth in our students at Walton Academy and we are confident that she will meet that goal!
Lead Teacher – Encore Music
Joy Carter is a retired music educator from Pitt County Schools with twenty-nine years of teaching experience. Her last twenty-one years of teaching were spent at Elmhurst Elementary School. Joy has a Masters in Music Education from ECU, is National Board Certified and was the Pitt County Schools Teacher of the Year is 2013. She is also certified to teach both World Music Drumming and Orff music. Mrs. Carter retired in 2015. During her career, Joy supervised numerous music education interns and taught Music for Elementary Classroom teachers at ECU as an adjunct instructor. She also taught private piano lessons in her home. Her husband, Dr. Scott Carter, teaches at the ECU School of Music. They have two daughters, Laura Carter and Mallory Adams. Their oldest, Laura, lives in Boston and manages a medical practice. Mallory is a second-grade teacher at Ridgewood Elementary. Joy and Scott have a 3-year-old granddaughter, Adrienne, and are expecting a grandson in December! Since retirement, Joy has enjoyed her “grandma” time but has missed the creativity and fun of teaching music. She is excited to start the music program at Walton Academy and looks forward to making lasting musical experiences with the students! Her plans include writing a Walton Academy song and utilizing both World Music Drumming and Orff lessons. In music class students will sing, learn to read basic rhythm patterns, perform on instruments, listen, analyze and create music!
Why is music important? Plato said: “I would teach children music, physics, and philosophy; but most importantly music, for the patterns in music and all the arts are the keys to learning.” Music is an integral part of our lives and for children to be fully educated, they need to learn about and experience music. Why music? Often, a child may discover great success and enjoyment in music class outside of the academic setting. There are many ways to be “smart” and music is one of them! Why music? Music is a critical learning tool that engages students and develops well-rounded individuals. Music classes also address 21st-century skills that include creativity, critical thinking, communication and collaboration often covered in cooperative group settings. As important as the educational value of music is, music class is also FUN and ENGAGING providing a break in the academic day for your child.
Lead Teacher – Encore Fine Art
Debra Grady is a retired art teacher with sixteen years of teaching experience. She taught art DH Conley HS, Kinston HS, and South-Central HS. She retired in 2012. Debra has a diverse background. She received a BS in Elementary Education from ECU in 1974. She taught grades K-3 for 3 years in Wake County. She was an interior decorator for Ethan Allen Furniture for 3 years and was a co-owner at City Art Works and Gallery in New Bern, NC from 1989-1994. As a co-owner of the gallery, Debra’s passion for art exploded. In 1994 she enrolled in the ECU School of Art to get the degree she always wanted. In 1998 she graduated with a BFA, Major in Sculpture. She learned that the term, “starving artist” was real, so in 2001 she completed the Art Education Certificate, also from ECU. Through her journey, Debra found her calling. She was able to teach what she had a love and passion for, art! Since retiring she continues to sub at South Central HS on a weekly basis. In February she began teaching art at the Jack Minges and the Jarvis Boys and Girls Clubs to children of all ages. She is the proud mother of two sons, Matthew (35) and Jonathan (31), as well as, the proud mother-in-law to Dr. Brittany Grady, Jonathan’s wife. Debra is excited about starting the art program at Walton Academy. Her goal is to share her theory that, “Art is life and life is art.” She wants to tap into the children’s imaginations and challenge them to let it flow. She will be teaching numerous art techniques while exploring art history and other cultures.
Why is Art important? One of Debra’s favorite quotes is, “A human mind, once stretched to new ideas, never returns to its former dimension.” Author Unknown. Art teaches children to explore new ideas and to think outside of the box. All children do not think alike or learn alike. Art opens doors for children to express themselves and see the world through their eyes. Art, like the other Encore classes, will offer students 21st-century learning skills.
Randy Collier has been an administrator and educator in Pitt County and Green County Schools for thirty-nine years. Randy is a graduate of East Carolina University, Chowan Junior College, and Barton College. Randy has extensive experience teaching students in a variety of grade levels ranging from elementary school to high school. As an educator, he has served in many leadership roles. He has served as an Assistant Principal and became the Principal for both Green Central High School and Grifton Elementary School. Randy served as a Central Office Administrator as Director of the Health Sciences Academy, High School Director, and Director of Career and Technical Education. He has held leadership positions in the community serving on the Pitt/Greenville Chamber of Commerce, is past Chairman of the Board of Trustees for Pitt Community College, and is currently Secretary of the Foundation Board. Mr. Collier has a passion for education and is very excited to be a part of the Walton Academy Team and Family.