Leslie Albert, Faith Formation


Leslie Albert's children began attending Cross Schools in 2006.  In 2009, as a volunteer, she spearheaded the building of the Cross Schools Library then served as librarian for two years.  She joined Cross Schools as a part of the Faith Formation program in 2016 as an assistant.  Today, she is a teacher of children from Preschool through High School and the coordinator of ministry and outreach events. 

Mrs. Albert holds a Bachelor of Science in Finance Degree from the University of Florida. She held positions in event planning for the Savannah Economic Development Authority, recruiting and corporate development for the Career Management Center at Vanderbilt University MBA School, and Membership Services Director at Belfair Plantation. These roles, combined with her desire to inspire others to grow in the wisdom and knowledge of the Lord, have prepared her for this new position  

Mrs. Albert and her husband, Gerrit, have three children.  Contact Mrs. Albert at l.albert@crossschools.org.  

 


May Angulo, Spanish

Contact Ms. Angulo at m.angulo@crossschools.org.


Stacy Benoit, Physical Education

Stacy Benoit was born in Charleston, South Carolina. She graduated from The University of South Carolina Beaufort with a Bachelor's Degree in Early Childhood Education. Mrs. Benoit has over 5 years of experience in the Early Childhood classroom. She has had the privilege of working as a kindergarten and first-grade teacher. 

She has a passion for being healthy and active. She loves encouraging students to live a healthy, positive, and God-filled lifestyle. This is her first year at Cross and she is ecstatic to be a part of the Cross family. Contact Mrs. Benoit at S.Benoit@crossschools.org


Kristie Billion, Second Grade

Kristie Billion has lived in Bluffton with her husband and two children since 2019. Prior to Cross, Kristie was the upper elementary teacher at a Montessori school.  Before moving to the area, she taught 3rd grade at one of the top charter schools in Wilmington, Delaware. Kristie is looking forward to instilling a love of learning within her 2nd graders and helping them deepen their faith. Kristie holds an M.Ed with high honors from Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia and is a graduate of Muhlenberg College. Contact Mrs. Billion at k.billion@crossschools.org.


Courtney Brown, Lower School STEAM Enrichment Teacher

Contact Mrs. Brown at Mrs. Brown at c.brown@crossschools.org


Kim Clark, First Grade

Kim Clark was born in Cleveland, Ohio. She obtained her bachelor's degree in Child Development from Pennsylvania State University and her master's in Early Childhood Education from Ursuline College. She moved to Bluffton to begin her teaching career in 2016 and has been teaching first grade ever since! She and her daughter joined the Cross community in 2021. She feels immensely blessed to be a part of such a wonderful community! Mrs. Clark believes that "teachers who love teaching, teach children to love learning." Her favorite part of teaching is
when a child discovers their love of reading! Contact Mrs. Clark at k.clark@crossschools.org.


Melanie Delalio, Assistant Teacher in First Grade

Melanie DeLalio is from Waynesville, NC. She relocated to Bluffton with her family during the summer of 2021 with her husband (Michael), two children (Ethan and Erika), and dog (Bentley). She graduated from Western Carolina University with a Bachelors of Science degree in Special Education with a concentration in language arts. Before coming to Cross Schools, Mrs. DeLalio taught students with learning disabilities and severe disabilities for 8 years in the public school and was also a preschool director and three-year-old teacher for 4 years.

Mrs. DeLalio is excited about helping children learn in a safe and fun environment while showing the love of Jesus. 

Contact Mrs. Delalio at m.delalio@crossschools.org.


Taylor Drake, First Grade

Taylor Drake was born and raised in Beaufort, South Carolina. She has over seven years of experience in Early Childhood Education and this is her third year at Cross Schools. She has her bachelor's degree from the University of South Carolina and is currently working on furthering her education and completing her Masters Degree.

Ms. Drake believes in providing students with a positive and enthusiastic learning environment. She hopes to encourage compassion and to instill a strong love of learning. She is excited to continue her journey and be a part of the Cross family! Go Stingrays!  Contact Ms. Drake at t.drake@crossschools.org.


Sarah Epperson, Kindergarten

Sarah Epperson was born and raised on Hilton Head Island. She graduated from the University of South Carolina Beaufort with a degree in Early Childhood Education. Mrs. Epperson has more than five years teaching experience. 

Her goal as a teacher is to guide young children in their academics, encourage them to try new things, and help them develop a love for learning. Mrs. Epperson loves Cross Schools and feels so blessed to be a part of such a wonderful community. Contact Mrs. Epperson at s.epperson@crossschools.org.


Jennie French, Assistant Teacher in First Grade

Mrs. French has a Bachelor of Arts in  Early Childhood Education and an MEd in Special Education. She spent several years in Early Intervention along with Pre-K and Second Grade. Before moving to Cross, she worked with adults with disabilities. Mrs. French and her husband have three boys and have lived in Bluffton since 2012, having lived in Dallas for the prior 16 years. 

She's excited about being part of the Cross family.  

Contact Mrs. French at j.french@crossschools.org.


Lori Guscio, Assistant Teacher in Second Grade

Lori Guscio is excited to be assisting in the second grade this year. She grew up on Hilton Head and lives in Bluffton with her husband, Jamie, and two daughters who will be attending Cross this year. Lori's experience includes a background in photography and marketing, NILD educational therapy, substitute teaching, and her favorite, chauffeuring her children to their sporting events. Lori can't wait to see how God moves in and through Cross Schools to impact the lives of all those who enter.  Contact Mrs. Guscio at l.guscio@crossschools.org.

 


Andrea Helms, Second Grade

Andrea Helms was born in Pennsylvania and moved to the Lowcountry with her husband and four children in January 2014.  She started her teaching career in 2001. She has taught in both public and private schools.  She is excited to be joining the Cross community in 2022 as one of the second-grade teachers.  Mrs. Helms is also bringing three out of her four children to Cross Schools.  You can find her most weekends cheering on her kids at the baseball field, basketball, or volleyball court. She is also busy completing her Master's in Educational Leadership in May '22.

Contact Mrs. Helms at a.helms@crossschools.org.


Michael-Anne Land, Faith Formation

Contact Mrs. Land at m.land@crossschools.org


Jana Leroux, Assistant Teacher in Kindergarten

Jana Leroux holds a B.A. in Early Childhood and Elementary Education from The University of Louisiana Monroe, as well as a Master's Degree in Special Education from Louisiana State University.

She has enjoyed teaching in the classroom for more than 10 years in LA, GA, and Bluffton, SC. She has teaching experience in Kindergarten, third grade, early childhood, Elementary Education, traditional and self-contained classroom settings. Given her training for children with special needs, she has had the privilege of working with children from diverse backgrounds. Mrs. Leroux feels that these experiences have made her a better teacher, and she is able to relate to children on various levels in a unique way.  She loves working with children and making a positive impact on their lives. 

Mrs. Leroux and her husband, Derek, have 3 boys: Mitchell, Max, Moss. They were drawn to Okatie from Cumming, GA  six years ago.  Their oldest son, Mitchell, attended Cross for middle school, and Mrs. Leroux worked at Cross as a permanent substitute teacher at that time. More recently, she was a reading tutor for elementary students at Okatie Elementary.  She is returning to Cross with her twin boys, Max and Moss, and they are currently in the 6th grade. Mrs. Leroux and her family enjoy living in the Lowcountry and the lifestyle it offers. She is so excited to be part of the Cross Staff. Contact Mrs. Leroux at j.leroux@crossschools.org

 


Carolyn Marquez, Third Grade


Carolyn Marquez is originally from New Jersey and relocated with her family to Bluffton eleven years ago. Mrs. Marquez graduated from East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania, with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology and Counseling. Her post-graduate work was completed at the College of Saint Elizabeth in New Jersey where she received her Early Childhood and Elementary certifications. She holds these two certifications in South Carolina as well.

Mrs. Marquez has taught in public and private schools and has been teaching for 19 years. As an educator, she encourages her students to embrace learning and always strive to do their best. She believes in creating a classroom environment where students feel safe, are comfortable expressing their ideas, and where mutual respect and acceptance of each other are encouraged. Mrs. Marquez has taught at Cross Schools for eleven years and she has loved working in a Christian environment where her two daughters, Reese and Olivia, can also attend.  Contact Mrs. Marquez at c.marquez@crossschools.org.  


JeTia Mitchell, Fourth Grade


JeTia Mitchell is from Bluffton, SC and was homeschooled from Kindergarten all the way through High School. She graduated magna cum laude from Clemson University with a degree in Elementary Education in May 2022 and then started her first year teaching at Cross after working with Cross Schools’ Summer Camp Program in 2021 and 2022. Miss Mitchell is so excited to be working in a Christian environment and can not wait to pour into the children of Cross Schools. She strives to create a safe and engaging environment where students can learn and grow spiritually and academically. Her desire is that each child will know of God’s great love for them and that each one would put their faith in the Lord. She feels so blessed to be a part of the Cross Schools Family! Contact Miss Mitchell at j.mitchell@crossschools.org 


Betsy O'Donnell, Kindergarten

Betsy O'Donnell was born and raised in Kettering, Ohio and graduated from Ohio University with a Bachelor's Degree in Early Childhood Education. Shortly after graduating, she moved to Chicago to pursue a teaching career.  She has over ten years of teaching experience and has has the privilege of teaching preschool, first, and second grades throughout her career.  
 
Ms. O'Donnell believes in fostering a positive classroom environment where children feel safe, loved, and accepted.  She strives to help children find their greatness by providing an enriching learning experience along with encouragement, support, and kindness.  Ms. O'Donnell is excited to be teaching Kindergarten after having a wonderful experience teaching Transitional Kindergarten last year.  Ms. O'Donnell feels extremely blessed to be a part of the Cross Schools community.  Contact her at b.odonnell@crossschools.org.  

 

 

Karen Penale, Environmental Learning Center

Karen has been teaching elementary school since 1998. She earned her Bachelor of Education from SUNY, Oswego in Psychology and Spanish, and she received her Master of Education with an emphasis in Literacy from Cambridge College NITE program. Karen held her National Board Certification from 2011 until 2021 and received her Master Naturalist Certification in 2019. She recently completed her Palmetto Environmental
Education Certification (PEEC) August 2022. She came to Cross Schools in 2020 to teach the Environmental Learning Class (ELC). With the help of her students, she has transformed the school garden into a native plant garden that is on the map of HomeGrown National Park and is also a Wildlife Habitat certified by the National Wildlife Federation. In ELC Cross, students have had the pleasure of hatching chickens from eggs in April 2021 and have cared for them ever since. Having the students work on Environmental Community Science and Conservation projects is very rewarding and satisfying. The students always embrace and strive to do their best no matter what environmental issue they are working on.

Karen is a member of the Hilton Head Island Audubon Society, the National Audubon Society, and the South Carolina Native Plant Society. When she is not working, she enjoys taking walks with her husband Joe, birding, gardening, kayaking, and swimming.

Contact Mrs. Penale at k.penale@crossschools.org


Alexandra Otwell, Second Grade

Alexandra Otwell graduated from Catholic University with a degree in Elementary Education.  In college, Mrs. Otwell played both soccer and lacrosse. After college, she taught for D.C. public schools for seven years. In 2016, she moved to Bluffton with her family and taught in Beaufort County Schools for four years. Alix will be joined at Cross School with her two children, Riley and Greyson who will be in the preschool.

Mrs. Otwell is extremely excited to start her twelfth year teaching at Cross Schools!  She believes in creating a classroom where children feel safe to take risks and make mistakes. She also feels the importance of creating a community where children feel loved and valued.  She recognizes that each child has their own unique learning style and the importance of fostering those styles to create engaging lessons for all to access.  Contact Mrs. Otwell at a.otwell@CrossSchools.org.


Barb Ready, Faith Formation

Barb Ready was born and raised right in the middle of Missouri. She obtained her Bachelor of Education degree from the University of Central Missouri. She holds certificates in K-8 as well as music, math, and language arts. She has a wide variety of teaching experience in public school, private school, homeschool, and homeschool co-ops.

Mrs. Ready believes children learn best when they feel safe, loved, and have a lot of fun! She understands everyone learns differently, so it is her goal to provide as many diverse learning experiences as possible. She strives to make sure every child knows God created them to be uniquely them and encourages them to celebrate that. She also teaches that we are created for community through many collaborative activities. Contact Mrs. Ready at b.ready@CrossSchools.org.


Marisa Rivera, Music and Drama 

Marisa Rivera graduated from SUNY Fredonia with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in musical theatre this past May. She has always been drawn to the stage and has performed in community, regional, and collegiate theatre in New York State. Most recently she portrayed Ma Joad in The Grapes of Wrath. She also led SUNY Fredonia’s only competing a cappella group, Premium Blend, to place third in the ICCA competition. After college, Ms. Rivera moved to Bluffton, South Carolina to join her family. She is a member of The Church of the Cross and sings in both the Chapel and Crosspoint services every Sunday. 

Ms. Rivera believes that music and drama are essential to creating well rounded, inspired students. Her desire is to share her love of God and worship with her new cross family. She is excited to see where the Lord leads her in this ministry! Contact Ms. Rivera at m.rivera@crossschools.org.


Ashley Sanders, Third Grade

Ashley Sanders is originally from Indiana and just recently moved to Bluffton in 2019 with her son and husband. Mrs. Sanders graduated from Indiana University with a degree in Social Work. After realizing her love for working with children, Mrs. Sanders earned her Teaching Certificate in Elementary Education. She began her career at Cross as a Teacher’s Assistant and is excited and honored to have her own classroom where she can watch her students grow. She recognizes that each student has an individual learning style and she strives to foster those learning styles by providing various forms of engagement throughout her classroom. She feels blessed to be part of an amazing Christian community and hopes to share these values with her students. Contact Mrs. Sanders at a.sanders@CrossSchools.org.


Jennifer Snyder, Assistant Teacher in Kindergarten

Contact Mrs. Snyder at j.snyder@crossschools.org.


Sandy Spitler, First Grade

Contact Mrs. Spitler at s.spitler@crossschools.org.


Jilly Stevens, Kindergarten

Jilly Stevens is originally from Ireland. She graduated from Leeds University with a BA (Hons) in Social Administration and a Post Graduate Certificate in Elementary Education. She has over twenty-five years of experience teaching children from PreK to Grade 5 in Ireland, England, New Zealand, and in the USA. Her most recent post being a Director of Early Education in a private school in New York.


Mrs. Stevens believes that learning should be conducted in a fun-filled, stimulating, hands-on learning environment where students feel happy and safe to learn. She believes in teaching the "whole child" knowing their strengths and weaknesses to help them fulfill their academic potential. Mrs. Stevens feels blessed to be part of the Kindergarten team at Cross Schools.  She can be contacted at j.stevens@CrossSchools.org.  


Rosemary Tedd, Teacher Assistant in Third Grade

Rosemary Tedd was born and raised in Massachusetts.  She has two grown children, 3 step-children, and 10 grandchildren  She received her B.S. in Elementary Education from Fitchburg State University.  Rosemary has taught grades 1-3 in Massachusetts and Florida, in the public school system.  Now, residing in  Low Country, she is extending her career at The Cross Schools.

Mrs. Tedd feels blessed to have been called upon to serve the children at The Cross School.

Contact Mrs. Tedd at r.tedd@crossschools.org.

Carrie Wilder, Assistant Teacher in Kindergarten

Carrie Wilder graduated from Elon College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology.  She has many years teaching experience both in homeschooling her four children, and as an assistant teacher in Lower School.

Mrs. Wilder believes strongly in seeing each student as a child of God.  She feels it is necessary to approach each student as a whole person; intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually.  Her desire is to be of great support to her lead teachers while inspiring and guiding each student through individual attention and patience.  Contact Mrs. Wilder at c.wilder@crossschools.org


Donna Wermann, Fourth Grade

Donna Wermann was born in Queens, NY, and came to Bluffton, SC from Pennsylvania with her daughter Sophia in 2020. She graduated Magna Cum Laude with her Bachelor of Science in Religion: Christian Ministries with a focus in Youth Ministry and a Minor in Criminal Justice continued her education to obtain her Masters of Education in Curriculum and Instruction: Special Education, and enhanced her education further with a Masters of Arts in Teaching: Elementary Education all from Liberty University. After 9 years dedicated to Behavior Management in both the clinical and education environment, Ms. Wermann is excited to focus on Elementary teaching at Cross Schools’.

Ms. Wermann believes in a classroom setting where every student feels safe, loved, respected, and appreciated for the uniqueness that God has blessed them with while planting seeds of Christian morals through modeling what it takes to create this environment. Ms. Wermann has specialized in Restorative Practices through which students play more of a leading role in classroom management. She believes in encouraging and guiding her students to problem solve as a team incorporating life, and social skills formed from a Biblical Worldview into their academic journey. 

Contact Miss Wermann at d.wermann@crossschools.org.


Jenny Williamson, First Grade

Jenny Williamson earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary and Early Childhood Education from the University of South Florida. She has acquired over twenty years of experience in the classroom and has been part of the Cross Schools family since 2006. Ms. Williamson's three grown children also live in the Lowcountry. She is thrilled that her daughter, Kelly Williamson, is now working at Cross in the role of Director of Development. 

Ms. Williamson's goal is for every student to feel encouraged, capable, and enthusiastic about learning. She strives to recognize each child's individual strengths and areas of weakness. This allows them to develop and improve upon skills they have when entering the first grade. Students have an excellent balance of fun, laughter and academics. They are encouraged to support and help one another which develops an excellent team atmosphere. She encourages students to develop their own sense of self-discipline that fosters a favorable environment for education. Ms. Williamson's desire is to show Christ's love to each child and treasure the time she has with every student. Contact Mrs. Williamson at j.williamson@crossschools.org


Kira Winders, Physical Education

Kira Winders holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Physical Education from Appalachian State University and a Masters of Elementary Education from Liberty University. She loves being active and healthy and is extremely passionate in providing her students with the knowledge to live a healthy and active lifestyle. Mrs. Winders and her husband have four children. Her daughter and sons are thrilled to be a part of Cross Schools, and her youngest will join the Stingray family next year. It is her goal to combine her range of experience with the other teachers at Cross Schools and to present Health and Physical Education as an important, fun, and life-changing class.

Mrs. Winders has been involved in sports since she was young. She has years of experience coaching both basketball and softball. As a Physical Education teacher, she is passionate, devoted, and excited about the Cross Schools Athletic Program.

Mrs. Winders taught in North Carolina and Virginia before moving to South Carolina in 2013. She has enjoyed working at Cross since 2014. Mrs. Winders is very excited to be a part of Cross Schools faculty. Contact Mrs. Winders at k.winders@crossschools.org.