Meet Our Instructors

Summer Programs at Cary Academy instructors are seasoned professionals, carefully chosen for their passion, professional knowledge and their ability to work with children.  Every instructor has been background checked.

Katharine Boyes

Katharine Boyes received a doctorate degree in piano performance from The University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music.  She was trained a concert pianist in Great Britain and San Francisco. She currently directs the Associate in Fine Arts Music degree program at Wake Tech. Katharine has performed solo and chamber music performances, produced a CD of music by women composers, and recorded for BBC Radio.  2017 is her fourteenth summer teaching at Cary Academy where she is inspired by working with young people on interdisciplinary projects.

Tony Chang

Tony Chang has a Bachelors in Computer Science and a Masters of Artificial Intelligence. He has over twenty years of software development and management experience. Tony started the popular party venue BounceU in 2009 and Technology Camp in 2010 and consistently operated an outstanding business as evidenced by the many awards earned. In addition to being the owner and manager of iTech Camp (formerly known as BounceU Technology Camp), Tony uses his unique experience in software and technology and oversees the development of age-appropriate technical curriculums that are both fun and educational.

John Choquette

John Choquette has a B.A. in journalism from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, with a focus on public relations. He is the author of Burlwood Forest and owner of Pumpernickel Art, a lifestyle design and publishing company based in Raleigh, NC. A lifelong Triangle resident, his work has been featured in numerous online and print publications, including Carolina Parent, the News & Observer, 919 Magazine and the alumni newsletters of UNC, Broughton High School and East Carolina, where he received his Masters Degree in Sports Management in 2011. He loves to teach students new ways to think and is looking forward to his first year with Summer Programs at Cary Academy.

William Clausen

Coach Clausen has a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin, holds a Class A chess title, and is a Senior Tournament Director for the United State Chess Federation.  He hosted the 2011, 2013, and 2014 North Carolina K-12 Chess Championships.   Currently, he is the lead organizer for Triangle Chess and is a head coach at several schools in the Triangle.  Coach Clausen makes critical thinking with chess dynamic and entertaining.

Jeff Costa

Jeff Costa is a graduate of Campbell University with a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education and a Master of Education in Instructional Technology from NC State University.  He is the current Varsity Soccer Coach for boys and girls at Cary Academy.  Jeff earned the Coaches Award at Campbell University and has coached five years at Terry Sanford High School, two years at Leesville Road High School, and is currently coaching with Triangle Futbol Club.  Coach Costa holds a “National Youth” License from US Youth Soccer, a “D” License from USSF, and a “National” License from the NSCAA, and he has run enjoyable soccer camps at Cary Academy for the past six years.

Rodger Dalton

Rodger Dalton has degrees in Electrical Engineering from NC State and Duke Universities, holds nine patents, and has enjoyed a twenty-three year career working on a variety of products from MRI scanners to advanced telecommunications systems.  In addition to his love of engineering, Rodger has always had a passion for engineering education through mentoring of co-ops and teaching at both Duke and NC State. He recently served as program manager and lead curriculum development for the NSF-funded 4-H TechXcite program at Duke University, which reached over 15,000 students in six states.  These days he enjoys inspiring and encouraging a passion for science and technology in young minds through Techsplorers, while continuing to work as a design engineer through his own consulting firm.

Bonnie Dodwell

Bonnie Dodwell has a Bachelor of Arts in Education from Elmira College with a Master of Business Administration from Boston University and a Gold Medal in Theater from the Royal Academy of Art in London.  She has been involved in the art world for thirty years as a teacher and as Director of Education at The Bermuda National Gallery of Art with several photography exhibitions in Cary and in Bermuda. She has been at Cary Academy for sixteen years teaching photography, journalism and yearbook.  She first picked up a camera at the age of seven to take photos of her family’s travels through Europe while growing up in London and her passion for recording life and the world through the lens of a camera has grown ever since.

Wendy Fahrenthold

Wendy Fahrenthold has a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Rochester Institute of Technology, and is dually licensed and certified in both elementary education and K-12 visual arts. She is currently the Visual Arts Specialist at Douglas Elementary Arts and Science Magnet School in Raleigh. She enjoys encouraging children to develop their natural creativity. Wendy is a Cary resident, and looking forward to her twelfth summer with Cary Academy.

Laura Faucette

Laura Faucette holds a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from North Carolina Wesleyan and has completed graduate work in Pure Mathematics at the University of Miami.  While in South Florida, Laura was trained by the IMACS curriculum development group.  She moved to Raleigh in 2002 to bring IMACS to the Triangle area.  Laura brings a lot of passion, experience, and energy to the IMACS program, and when she’s not in an IMACS classroom, she enjoys running and spending time with her husband and two young children.

Amy Flowers

Amy Flowers is a graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill and has been involved in education for fifteen plus years. She currently teaches at Douglas Elementary, the #1 Magnet School in the nation, as a third grade teacher. She loves teaching in summer camps and enjoys the opportunity to dig deeper and to offer more hands on experiences for her students.  Amy spends time outside the classroom writing, landscaping, and enjoying her four children and very energetic puppy, Banks.

Tyler Gaviria

Victoria Tyler Gaviria has a Master’s Degree in teaching a second language from Bennington College and her undergraduate degree was a double major in Spanish and International Studies from Peace College. She has taught middle school Spanish at Cary Academy for the past 3 years and taught in Wake and Johnston counties prior to that. She especially enjoys teaching younger children because of the enthusiasm and energy that they bring to the classroom. Tyler enjoys Latin dance, food and music and incorporating them into her teaching. She is really excited to join the Summer Quest Team.

Catherine Griffin

Catherine Griffin is an artist, instructor, and the owner of Blue Monarch Art Center in Cary. Her studies in painting, drawing, and pottery have led her to teach and direct community-based, collaborative projects in the arts and she trained under Executive Chef David Serko at The University Club of Michigan State University. She is the Owner and Instructor of the Blue Monarch Art Center in Cary, the current Co-President of Clayworks Pottery Guild in Durham, and she has taught for The Cary Art Center, Herb Cultural Community Center, SAS, and Summer Programs at Cary Academy.

Eric Grush

Eric has been teaching for 22 years and has a bachelor’s degree in music education from the University of NC at Greensboro.  For 19 of those years he has been the band director at Cary Academy and has made numerous technology presentations for music educators.  He and his students have used websites, blogs, and wikis to share recordings, assignments, and course materials.  Eric has taught technology camps with Summer Programs at Cary Academy for 16 years and loves everything having to do with Disney.

Tom Hutchison

Tom Hutchison is a 1991 Bachelor of Fine Arts graduate of the University of New York at Buffalo and is the co-founder of Cary School of Creative Arts.  He has worked as an illustrator for publications such as Texas Monthly, Boston Globe, Buffalo News and Raleigh’s News & Observer among others.  As a professional musician, he has toured with the progressive rock band Anarchy-X, and the fusion band Stratus. At CSCA Tom teaches music composition, digital keyboard, piano, Rock Band, and Advanced Illustration.  Tom is the head coach for his son’s ice hockey team the Raleigh Thunder, and also enjoys boating, fishing, camping and skiing with his family.  This summer will mark his eleventh year teaching for Summer Quest at Cary Academy.

Stephanie Jefferson

Stephanie Jefferson has a Master’s degree in Early Childhood Special Education from Virginia Commonwealth University and a Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology and Special Education from East Carolina University.   She is currently the President of Little Scholars. Her days in the office are spent writing the curriculum for Little Scholars’ summer camps and enrichment programs. Working closely with Little Scholars’ teachers, families and students keep Stephanie excited and inspired provide the best camp experience for the children. Stephanie has spent the last 10 developing the classes and curriculum for Little Scholars.  She was a teacher for 10 year prior to working for Little Scholars.  In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family especially vacationing and watching her three children play sports, practicing Bikram Yoga and cooking.

Jeff Kallio

Jeff Kallio, “Coach Jeff” is a certified Prevot d’ Armes and professional fencing coach at Mid-South Fencers Club.  He is a three time national medalist and over the past ten years his students have competed at the national and international level with many going on to careers in NCAA fencing.  Coach Jeff is an expert in youth sports and specializes in developing young athletes.  His philosophy is centered around helping facilitate personal growth for all his students through the sport of fencing and cultivating hard work, resiliency, and self- reliance.

Brita Kiser

Brita Kiser is a certified Irish dance teacher, or TCRG, and has been instructing children and adults in traditional Irish dance at Inis Cairde since 2006 and currently heads the school’s Cary location.  As a teacher, she enjoys choreographing pieces for performance, preparing teams for competition, and inspiring a love of dance in students.  This summer she is excited to be bringing this awe-inspiring dance form to Summer Quest.

Olive Lamm

Olive Lamm has a Bachelor of Science from Gardner-Webb University and moved on to obtain a Master of Public Health in Nutrition from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  Afterwards, she received her Doctorate of Medicine from the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University and completed her residency in Emergency Medicine at Eastern Virginia Medical School with Board Certification.  Olive has been involved in teaching for many years from tutoring in college to mentoring medical students during residency.  She practiced clinical medicine full-time for several years after residency until she discovered her passion for teaching and inspiring children to learn more about the various careers in healthcare.

Jackie Lester

Jakie Lester has a Bachelor’s Degree in English Language from Playa Ancha University in Chile and a Master’s Degree from East Carolina University in Educational Supervision and English as a Second Language.  She is licensed in English as a Second Language (ESL) in NC.  She is also a native speaker of Spanish. She is currently working as an ESL teacher at Wake County Schools. Jackie loves teaching English to students of other languages.  She has spent the last 10 years as a teacher of English as a Second language and loves to share her knowledge of Spanish and Spanish Culture with others.

Brennan Liming

Brennan Liming, a graduate of Cary High and UNCW, is a USATF certified running and triathlon coach. Brennan’s true passion is working with kids of all ages to share her love of running, biking, and triathlon.  Brennan is currently coaching Triangle Cross Country, working with kids from the ages of 9-14.  She also coaches Middle School Cross Country and Track at Cary Academy.  Brennan ran Collegiate Cross Country and track, and still competes on a national level in both running and triathlons.

Betsy MacDonald

Betsy MacDonald joined Cary Academy in August of 2014 as the lead robotics coach and the Art & Design instructor of the Makerspace.  After spending many years at international schools around the world teaching a variety of computer-based subjects, she landed in North Carolina and is thrilled to be guiding students through the design process of making and discovering at CA.  Originally from Massachusetts, she earned a BA in Math at Connecticut College and later a MEd in Educational Technology from Michigan State University.  She loves all things geeky and wishes she had more time for making.

Blair McKinney

Blair McKinney is the Owner, Baker, Marketer, CEO, Human Resources Department, Sous Chef and Dishwasher at Good Grace’s Dog Treats, Inc., Cary’s own local handmade dog treat company.  Good Grace’s currently sells their freshly baked dog treats at five local framer’s markets, local events and festivals, and nationwide online.  Starting 5 years ago with no experience as a baker or dog nutritionist, she taught her herself everything she knows about baking healthy dog treats with a focus on utilizing ingredients which have specific health benefits for dogs.  Blair is passionate about what she does, and loves sharing her knowledge with kids of all ages.

Sam Monsour

Sam Monsour also known as “Chef Sam” of Cary Academy, learned the culinary arts from working at the age of ten in his father’s restaurant.  By the age of fourteen, cooking was a life-long career choice for him and later on he managed and owned several restaurants.  For over twelve years now, Sam is equally as passionate about the students of Cary Academy as he is for the students of his summer programs, and he feels proud to know that he may contribute to someone else’s life-long love for cooking.  Many of Sam’s beloved family recipes have been passed down to his son, Chef Samuel Monsour, and are soon to be featured in his son’s book “American Burger Revival” to be published this spring of 2015.

Matthew Nance

Matthew Nance has a Bachelors of Science in Kinesiology from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and is dually licensed and certified in both special education and physical education grades K-12. Matthew currently works at Kingswood STEM Montessori Magnet Elementary School, as the autism teacher, serving grades 3-5. Incorporating movement and creating engaging activities that students will enjoy is what Matthew is most passionate about. When Matthew is not teaching he enjoys spending time with his two children, playing in a local basketball league, and coaching soccer and swimming. Matthew is an enthusiastic educator and is looking forward to his first year working with Summer Programs at Cary Academy.

Johanna New

Johanna New studied pottery at the North Carolina State University Crafts Center. She has been teaching the Pottery Camps for Cary Academy since 2005 and for the Cary Art Center since 1993. As an instructor, Johanna emphasizes individual achievements and encourages a fun and creative pottery studio atmosphere. In her spare time, Johanna enjoys going to the Rex Wellness Center with her husband Bob to work out, swim, and then relax in the hot tub.

Stephenie Price

Stephenie Price has a master’s degree in Arts Administration from Goldsmith, University of London and is a graduate of Tulane University. She has been involved with the Mad Science program since 2005, and has been the President and Owner of the Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill location since 2010. Getting participants excited about science from an early age and encouraging a lifelong proclivity for curiosity and imagination is Stephenie’s passion. Also known as Marie Curious, you may have seen Stephenie performing at your neighbor’s birthday party or at many events around town, though she now spends most weekends with her own daughter, Nova.

Brian Pugsley

Brian Pugsley has a bachelor’s degree in History from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is currently a supervisor at the North Carolina State University Libraries’ Ask Us Information center. He spends a large portion of his free time working on woodworking projects ranging from dining room tables to benches and custom bookshelves. He spent 4 summers teaching and directing a summer camp for children, ages 8-18 in Chicago, IL and Boston, MA before returning to NC.

Melissa Rich

Melissa Rich earned a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Master of Arts in Teaching from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she attended as a North Carolina Teaching Fellow.  She founded Raleigh Tutoring in 2006 and has six years of teaching experience as a classroom teachers and seventeen years of experience in education and tutoring.  This is Melissa’s fourth year as a campus representative with Summer Programs at Cary Academy.  Melissa enjoys reading, exercising, travelling, and spending time with her husband and daughters.

Shanna Roberts

Shanna Roberts has a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Business Administration from Auburn University.  She is a certified 2013 Microsoft Office Specialist in Word, PowerPoint, Excel and Access.  Shanna has over ten years of experience in both high school and middle school classrooms and integrates technology skills with hands-on activities.  She has taught at Summer Quest for eight years and shares her knowledge of the key skills needed for students in today’s classroom.  In her free time, she loves digital photography and seeking new digital apps to make learning fun and exciting.

Diane Rokuskie

Diane Rokuskie, AKA The Play Fairy, has been harnessing the power of playfully engaging environments to connect families and grow smart, capable children for more than 25 years. Combining her knowledge of child development and previous experience as a professional Nanny,  Early Childhood Trainer, and  Director of Play Experience at a large children’s museum, Diane develops custom play experiences, classes, events and camps designed to spark a love of learning and joy of discovery  in all who attend.

Aaron Rothrock

Aaron Rothrock earned his Ph.D. in Chemistry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  He then taught middle school science at Cary Academy until 2014.  His strong science background, combined with years of teaching experience, inspired him to form CraZBrain which converts the historically mundane curriculum into one which brings science to life and allows students to think, design, experiment and desire to repeat.  His history of converting kids from saying “I’ve never really liked science” into “Science is my favorite subject” speaks for itself!

Styrling Strother

Styrling Strother is a Master Junior Professional Coach with the Professional Teaching Registry (PTR), the leading world-wide Professional Coaches Association.  He is the founder of XCELTENNIS Performance Training developing creative intelligent training environments for Junior Players ages 3-18 at the Wimbledon Tennis Club in Cary.  Styrling is currently the Head Coach for the Girls Varsity Tennis Team and Boys Junior Varsity Team at Cary Academy.

Bonnye Talbot

A graduate of Cary Academy in 2002, Bonnye graduated from NCSU with a degree in Poultry Science where she also played Field Hockey.  She spent 8 year in scientific research while honing in on our her passion for fitness and wellness.  A Blue belt in Krav Maga and an instructor of Aerial Silks, Bonnye opened up Bonsai Studios in downtown Raleigh to utilize her passion for sports and fitness.


Katie Taylor

Katie Taylor is a 6th grade Language Arts teacher at Cary Academy with thirteen years of experience teaching middle school students. She received her B.A. in English and Education from Wingate University in 2004, and her M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction from NC State (Go PACK!) in 2010. This is her fifth year working with Cary Academy’s Summer Programs. When Ms. Taylor isn’t reading or writing, she enjoys sewing, studying Japanese, and playing with her cats.

Michelle Vesel

Michelle has a Bachelor of Science as a Legal Assistant from St. John’s University and has been a certified LEGO® fanatic since her children discovered the joy of engineering one brick at a time! She has enjoyed spending the last twenty years in the Wake County Public School System as a volunteer doing work as diverse as serving as class parent and yearbook adviser to serving as Chair of the Sanderson High School Scholarship Committee and the Sanderson High School Business Alliance. In 2012, she was presented with the Wake County School to Career Council Outstanding Volunteer Award. Since bringing Bricks 4 Kidz® to the area, she has been enjoying teaching children the joy and challenges of engineering through LEGO®!

Michelle Wells

Michelle Wells is an actor and teacher with a Masters in Theater Education from Emerson College, a Masters in History from Sam Houston State University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Theater and Psychology from Meredith College. She is the Founder and Artistic Director of Sonorous Road where she leads classes, camps, and workshops in theatre and film while producing, directing and performing in professional theatre productions and films. Michelle has always been passionate about the arts and educating others and has taught and performed in Virginia, Boston, and London. She is incredibly honored to be back in her home state of North Carolina and is always looking for new opportunities to engage others through the arts.

Leslie Williams

Leslie Williams has a BS in Middle School Math Education from North Carolina State University and has been teaching math and technology to middle school students and adults since 1994.  Mrs. Williams has been a Middle School Math Teacher at Cary Academy since 2003, and in that time has also made her mark as both an Instructional Technology Facilitator and a volunteer with the Department of Diversity and Inclusion: presenting her work at national conferences in the areas of math, technology, diversity and equality.  Never one to miss an opportunity to share her passions for math, animals, and technology she joins Summer Programs at Cary Academy for a 10th summer.

Lucy Dawson

Lucy Dawson has a B.A. in English from Duke University and an M.A. in Liberal Arts from St. John’s College “The Great Books School” in Annapolis, MD. She has taught at independent schools in the mid-Atlantic, including St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes and McDonogh, for the last 9 years and is excited to be completing her first year teaching Language Arts and World History at Cary Academy. She has taught high school English electives on the writing process and has taught writing to students in 7th-12th grade. She also taught an elective on Food and Literature for the last 5 years and is a passionate eater and cook!

Joselyn Todd

Dr. Joselyn Todd completed her Ph.D. at the University of Illinois- Champaign-Urbana and served as a NSF-USDA-DOE Fellowship Research Associate at Novartis and North Carolina State University. Her research focus included the function of non-coding human DNA sequences in plants as a model system as well as transgene silencing. For over 25 years she has taught middle school, high school, undergraduate and graduate students in biology, chemistry, anatomy and physiology, genetics, and biotechnology. Currently she is the Educational Technology Specialist at Cary Academy where she provides professional development to faculty and staff in technology use- specializing in high end STEM technologies. She is a National Association of Independent Schools Leading Edge Awardee and a Sigma Xi Outstanding Teacher Award for Science and Mathematics Teaching recipient. Her current interests include development of a Biotechnology program at Cary Academy that serves both public and private school students while mentoring and inspiring young scientists while partnering with area Industry and University partnerships. In her spare time she is an avid rock climber and boulderer and enjoys travel to unique destinations.

Bob Reichel

Bob Reichel (or Uncle Bob, as he likes to be called) is the Farmer in Charge at Huckleberry Trail Farm, a family-run farm in Chatham County that has been growing pumpkins and cotton for the past five years. Each year, the farm is open to the public for its Fall Festival where guests of all ages come to enjoy the corn maze, hay ride, pumpkin and cotton patches, duck races, giant sling shots and other old timey fun. The farm is also unique in that it has been designed with accessibility in mind for guests with limited mobility. The farm is the realization of a long-time dream of Uncle Bob who has entrepreneurism running through his veins and a passion for farming and helping others in his heart. By day, he runs his own computer network consulting company; he uses his technology skills at the farm to design and build the corn maze and other farm attractions. He was a Boy Scout leader for 10 years and has been a Church Youth group leader for the past 10 years. You can visit the farm at

Troy Weaver

Troy K. Weaver has a Bachelor’s degree in Biology and Religion from Duke University, a Master of Arts in Teaching degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and is currently working on a Doctorate in Educational Administration and Supervision at North Carolina State University. He is one of the founding faculty members of Cary Academy, left for 8 years to help open two independent schools in Durham and is back at Cary Academy, teaching Biology. He has served the last 5 years as a grade-level advisor to junior and senior students involved in the college admissions process. Moreover, he is the father of six sons of which four have gone through the admissions process to be accepted to college!

Jonathan Richard

Jonathan has a Bachelor’s degree in History from North Carolina Central University and a Master’s degree in Elementary Education and Teaching from The Old Dominion University.   Currently a 4th grade teacher at Douglas Magnet Elementary in Raleigh, He presents a wide variety of information in engaging, interactive and lively ways, while still emphasizing the relevance of classroom material to the world outside.    Jonathan is well known for how easily he communicates and interacts with his students, parents and colleagues.  He was named “Teacher of the Year” at South Morrison Elementary School, and was a member of a faculty team that moved Douglas Elementary to #1 Magnet School in the nation.  When not in the classroom, Jonathan enjoys listening to music, traveling and spending time with family and friends.  He is looking forward to his first summer with Cary Academy.

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