The staff of the Lower School includes 12 full-time and six part-time teachers with backgrounds in education and child development. Because the Lower School shares its campus with the CFS Upper School, Upper School students often serve as assistants in classes. There is a balance of men and women teachers on the staff, providing healthy adult models for the children in their care. Each teacher brings a variety of interests and experiences into the classroom. All CFS staff members are encouraged to attend workshops, conferences, and classes both in education and in other areas of personal interest.
The + denotation below links to a "Raising Healthy Children" article authored by the particular Lower School staff member. You can also access the entire collection of these Healthy and Healing magazine columns by CFS community members.
Abby Obando Snow
Sky and Spanish Teacher
Abby began her involvement in the CFS community when she was in high school over 14 years ago through the Summer Camp program as an assistant counselor. She took over her own camps through her college years while earning Bachelor's Degrees in both Special Education and Spanish at Western Carolina University. While living in the beautiful mountains of North Carolina, she developed her love of camping, hiking, and nature appreciation as well as working closely with a group of friends from Costa Rica to enhance her Spanish language skills and her awareness of Latin American culture.
After graduating from WCU, Abby moved to Florida and taught for four years in an elementary school, working with students with Learning Disabilities and Behavior Emotional Disorders and serving as the translator for the Spanish-speaking families in the school. She moved back to North Carolina in 2006 to be closer to her family after having a son; Sebastien (age 7) now attends Friends School as a first-year in Sky class. Abby taught in Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools for two years, and then Durham Public Schools for two years, working with students with Autism. She is thrilled at the opportunity to serve in the Friends School community. Her hobbies include cooking, reading, dancing, singing, hiking, camping, traveling, painting, and welding.
Alex Gordon+P.E. Teacher, Athletic Director
Alex is a graduate of Davidson College and holds a Master of Education from Duke University. He has been teaching for 37 years and is beginning his 14th
year at CFS. All three of his children are graduates of CFS, and his wife (Ann) taught in Sky Class for five years. He regularly teaches PE to students in the Lower School. He also teaches PE electives and Exploratorium classes in the Middle School and helps coach the baseball team. Alex enjoys meeting the challenge of building an athletic program grounded in the School’s philosophy. Finding opportunities to stretch beyond traditional athletic realms into the theater arts of dance, drama, and music is a special passion of his. Alex loves any time that he spends with his family, walking his dogs and working on the land around his house, traveling when he can, and jogging.
Annie has been teaching for 38 years with 22 of those years at Carolina Friends School. Her daughter and son are both graduates of CFS. Annie completed undergraduate work in Speech, Theater, English, and Dance and she holds an M.F.A. in Dance. Annie’s dance classes offer a space in which children’s voices can be heard through writing, dancing, and sharing together. This year Annie is working on sharing her knowledge of anatomy and enhancing an understanding of connections between dance and other areas of learning. Last summer she attended an International Conference on Teaching Somatics-Based Dance Technique. Annie attended the Bill Evans Dance Intensive on Bartenieff Fundamentals and Laban-Based Modern Technique and Composition and presented her work at CFS. She continues to integrate her study of this vocabulary into Lower, Middle, and Upper School dance experiences.
Charlie Layman+, +
River Class Teacher, Staff Clerk
Charlie Layman began his teaching career in the mountains of North Carolina in 1980. This is his 21st year at CFS. He taught full-time in Lower School for 10 years before moving into the dual role of teaching and serving as the CFS Staff Clerk. Presently, Charlie teaches language arts (beginning reading and writing) to first year Lower School students and creates the Design Technology classes for all first and second year students. Charlie has a Masters degree in Elementary Education. He is a life-long learner. Teaching children continues to inspire and motivate him.
Charlie's position as Staff Clerk provides support for all CFS staff. He's available as mediator, organizes care networks, and offers opportunities for confidential conversations. His on-going training in professional coaching allows him to offer one-on-one coaching sessions that help staff members design sustainable actions that serve their personal and professional goals. Charlie serves on the School Life Committee and is the staff liaison for the Parent-Staff Association Care Committee. CFS is his spiritual community, a place where he can follow his own spiritual leadings and nurture the Quaker character of the CFS Community. Check out our River Class blog at: River Class.
Cyrise holds a B.A. in Art Education from North Carolina Central University and a B.S. in Commercial Art and Photography from Alamance Community College. In addition to her freelance photography, she’s worked as an art and photography teacher at The Hawbridge School in Saxapahaw, a site coordinator and lead teacher for a middle school afterhours program, a YMCA summer camp counselor, and a display ad designer for the News and Observer. Cyrise is excited to employ her child-centered style of teaching (and passion for art) to help CFS Lower and Middle Schoolers learn, explore, and create in our AfterHours program. [photo coming soon]
River Class Teacher
Deloise has worked at CFS for 35 years! She graduated from North Carolina Central University with a Bachelors and Masters in Education. She enjoys singing and drama, occasionally offering those as choices for interest groups. Deloise is married to Silas, and together they founded RHEMA, a Baptist church in Durham. Check out our River Class blog at: River Class.
Forest Class Teacher
Jenni joined the Lower School after teaching elementary school in Wake County Public Schools from 2005 to 2010. She holds a masters in early childhood education from Belmont University (Nashville, Tennessee) and is a National Board Certified teacher. Prior to teaching, Jenni worked in the music industry in web marketing. She incorporates her love of technology, music, and the arts into her teaching. In her free time Jenni enjoys cooking, singing, reading, and drinking coffee. Please visit the Forest Class website.
Sky Class Teacher
Joan was born and raised in southern Kentucky. She came to this area to attend Duke and met her husband Henry there. After completing her degree in psychology, she decided to take her deep interest in child development and apply it to a teaching career. She took coursework in Early Childhood Education (K-3) at UNC-Chapel Hill. Early in her career she taught in public school in Stokes County, in a church run school in Durham, and at what was then Duke Preschool and Primary Program. Then she found the school she was seeking in Carolina Friends School. Over the years she has taught in two of the Early Schools and the Lower School. After some time in administration, she returned full-time to her main love–classroom teaching. Henry and she have two sons, both of whom attended CFS. She now dotes on their two granddaughters and splits vacation time between family and wilderness, both of which nurture her spirit. Joan blogs about her teaching on two separate blogs: skyclassjoan.blogspot.com and skyclassjoanmath.blogspot.com.
Joanna has been teaching music in the Lower and Middle School since 2008. Her diverse musical career has included solo and ensemble performance as a professional flutist (recent gigs include North Carolina Theater and Mallarmé Chamber Players), musically directing for youth and community theaters, composing a full-length documentary film score, teaching private music lessons and the Music Together early childhood music program, playing in a rock band, and exploring her passion for the music (and flutes) of other cultures. She holds degrees from the University of Southern California (D.MA), Northwestern (M.M.), and UNC-CH (B.M.). Joanna incorporates mindfulness practices, yoga, and technology in her teaching, and blogs about the CFS music program at motleymuse.blogspot.com. Her daughter is in River Class (CFS '23), and her toddler son looks forward to the Early School (CFS '28).
Jonathan is in his seventh year of teaching at CFS and is a graduate of CFS. He completed his undergraduate degree at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Charlotte was Jonathan's home after graduation where he taught history courses in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. Jonathan is an avid tennis player and well-rounded athlete. Jonathan also teaches in Lower and Upper Schools helping to create continuity between all three units.
Shared Resource Teacher
One score and thirteen years ago there was a scourge of flu upon the land, and, lo, a young woman - fatigued from years of public school strictures - did appear at CFS in the form of a substitute teacher. Way led unto way, and the young teacher had found her educational home - she never left. Serving first as librarian (17 years), then as a Mountain Class teacher (13 years), and finally as a shared resource teacher, she now delights in working with "grand-students" - children of former pupils. Other data: Aries, oldest child, born in New Orleans, reared in Charlotte and Lexington, North Carolina, 1969 Duke grad, avid reader, Renaissance musician, crossword fiend. Family: partner Claudia, daughters Jessica (CFS '00) and Alexis, and "the girls" (10 hens).
Mountain Class Teacher
Laura has been a teacher in Mountain Class since January of 2007. She was a part-time teacher at Durham Early School for four years prior to her move to the Lower School. Laura’s teaching career began 14 years ago in the public school system where she developed her skills as a special education and literacy teacher. She has been a lifelong runner and enjoys reading and gardening. Laura is the mother of three children, all of whom attend CFS.
Lillemor grew up in Southern California and graduated from Stanford with a degree in Psychology and continued in a master’s degree program that integrated teaching and technology. She did consulting work with IBM and then took a full-time job with its educational software development group. After stints in Florida and Atlanta, she and husband Ted moved to North Carolina. They and their two CFS Middle School boys often travel to California, Michigan or Sweden to visit family.
Mountain Class Teacher
Linda joined the CFS staff in 1996 after eight years of teaching in other Friends Schools. After serving as Lower School Head Teacher for her first eleven years here, she is delighted to be back in the classroom full time. She has degrees in Psychology and Elementary Education from Earlham College and The University of Iowa, respectively. Linda has spent her life in Friends Schools beginning with pre-school at Goshen Friends School, which her mother founded. She then spent thirteen years as a "lifer" at Westtown School. Her greatest joy is her daughter Lucy, who was born in 2001 in Guatemala and joined her here in North Carolina the following spring.
Lisa Wilson Carboni+
Head Teacher, Forest Class Teacher
Lisa joined the Lower School as Head Teacher in 2007. Lisa taught elementary school for many years before earning her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in elementary mathematics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. After working as the Director of Teacher Education at Duke University, she was called back to being with children every day and is thrilled to be here at CFS! In her spare time, she voraciously reads books on her Kindle. Please visit the Forest Class website.
Forest Class Teacher
Michael found Carolina Friends School after student teaching in a British Primary School in Bristol, England. He later received a masters in Early Childhood education from UNC Chapel Hill. He has taught at CFS for the past 31 years. Michael and his wife are parents of two children, both of whom graduated from CFS. Both began attending CFS when they were three years old. He enjoys playing music, building, kayaking, hiking, and traveling. Please visit the Forest Class website.
Natalie Sapkarov HarveyLS Librarian
Natalie enthusiastically joins the Lower School this year with four years' teaching experience and a passion for the library's role in education. A Chicago native, Natalie earned her bachelor's degree in elementary education and master's degree in library and information science from Loyola University Chicago and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, respectively. She started her career as an elementary school librarian in Urbana, before she moved to North Carolina where she became a middle school librarian in Chapel Hill, and incidentally, met her wonderful husband. Happily married and parent to a feisty furball cat, she enjoys reading, gardening, cooking, knitting, and riding rollercoasters. Natalie also serves on the Tech Team for the Lower School. Please visit the Lower School Library blog
Natasha ShannonSky Class Teacher, Art Teacher
Natasha has been teaching at CFS since the fall of 2003. Prior to her work with CFS, she taught in the North Carolina and New Mexico public school systems and for two years at the Monteverde Friends School in Costa Rica. She graduated from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington and later received her teaching certification from the University of New Mexico. She grew up among Quakers living on the campus of Pennsylvania's George School and later moving to Celo Community, a Quaker community in the mountains of North Carolina. She met her husband while spending a year living and working at Pendle Hill, a Quaker center for study and contemplation, outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Her daughter Isabelle is also a student at the school.
River Class Teacher
Ruth grew up in England and received a B.Ed. in Modern Languages from the University of Wolverhampton. She lived in Naples, Italy for a year and taught at an International School. Ruth has taught at CFS since 2000. Her daughter, Leia, is a CFS graduate, and her son, Mac, is currently a Senior in Upper School at CFS. Ruth loves music and dance. She also has a passion for photography and technology and recently founded the Interest Group known as the Website Wizards. She loves the outdoors and you will often find her kayaking, hiking, or biking with her family. Check out the River Class blog at:River Class
Sky Class Teacher
Tom is in his 30th year at CFS. Growing up in California, he attended UC Davis earning a BS in Zoology and spent an additional year there earning his elementary teaching credential. After teaching four years in public school in California, Tom moved to North Carolina. He went on to earn a Masters in Education specializing in learning disabilities and emotional handicaps from UNC. He is married to Annie Dwyer, who teaches dance at CFS. His two children are graduates of CFS. His daughter, Blake, graduated in 2002 and his son, Banks, graduated in 2005. Tom enjoys cooking, reading, gardening and spending as much time as he can at the beach.