Pam Donahue, Technology and Art

Pam Donahue holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Visual Arts from Austin Peay State University and an Master of Arts in Fine Arts degree from Indiana University.  As an undergraduate, she focused on painting and drawing and also minored in French.  As a graduate student, she majored in the history of art, focusing on early-19th century French painting.  While studying, she received a fellowship to work in the Indiana University Art Museum's Education department.  Her first real job was as Assistant Curator of Education at the Knoxville Museum of Art in Tennessee.  She then got married and moved to Dallas, Texas where she continued her work in Art Museum Education as the Manager of Family Programs at the Dallas Museum of Art.  After several years, she, her husband, and baby boy moved back east to Charlotte, North Carolina.  Here she began her teaching career at the Metrolina Regional Scholars Academy, a K-8 Charter School for highly gifted students.  After teaching there for five years, she moved again to Bluffton, this time with three children, and began teaching both Art and Technology for Cross Schools.  

Mrs. Donahue's teaching philosophy is threefold:  First, to expose children to different art techniques so as to tap in to different learning styles, creativity, and skills.  Secondly, to educate children on the impact of the history of art by introducing them to famous artists and their bodies of work which creates a new understanding and appreciation of art.  And thirdly, to advance the level of intellect so as to make future adults who have a knowledge of culture and artistic education no matter what career path they may follow. Contact Mrs. Donahue at  

Taylor Drake, Media Specialist

Taylor Drake was born and raised in Beaufort, South Carolina.  She has over five years experience in Early Childhood Education, and is currently completing her degree in Early Childhood Elementary Education at the University of South Carolina Beaufort.  

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 be a part of the Cross Schools family!  Contact Ms. Drake at

Leyla Heightland, Spanish

Leyla Heightland holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Early Childhood Education from Western Governors University.  She is currently pursuing a Masters Degree in Curriculum and Instruction.  She is a native of Mexico who moved to the United States at the age of seventeen.  Mrs. Heightland is fluent in both Spanish and English.

Mrs. Heightland is very excited to be a part of the Cross Schools faculty where she can continue to grow as an educator and where she can also profess her Christian faith and her love for Jesus Christ. Contact Mrs. Heightland at

Elisabeth Markle, Catechesis (Religion)

Elisabeth Markle has been a part of the Cross community since moving to Bluffton in 2006. She has served in several different positions, beginning as a Church Office Coordinator and Liaison between the Church and school. From there, she transitioned to a Lead Preschool Teacher before moving into her current role in 2011 as Chapel Leader and Catechesis/Bible Teacher. She has the unique privilege of meeting weekly with every single student, from Preschool through 8th grade.

Ms. Markle has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology from Eastern University. After college, she worked for a substance abuse prevention agency, served in college ministry at Northern Arizona University, and managed a teacher supply store. These different work experiences, combined with many years of Christian education, have prepared her to teach the Bible and help minister to the spiritual needs of the different age groups at Cross Schools.

Catechesis, which means the "re-echoing down to another," is about introducing students to the Lord and helping them to establish their own personal relationship with Him and His Church. The Bible says that the children were passionately welcomed by Jesus (Matthew 19:14), and Ms. Markle strongly believes children of all ages can be full-fledged members of the family of God through faith in Jesus Christ. Her greatest hope for Cross students is that they will grow up to boldly declare, "You are the King and the Lord. You have always been my hope. I have trusted in you ever since I was young" (Psalm 71:5). Contact Ms. Elisabeth at  

Joann Harvey-Sandruck, Music

Joann Sandruck grew up in Masontown, Pennsylvania.  She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Music Education from Penn State University with her major instruments being piano and organ.  She graduated in 1972 and began teaching at West Frederick Junior High and Frederick High Schools.  Her assignments were Concert Choir, Show Choir, Piano/Theory, the history of American Popular Music, Mixed Chorus, hand bells, and providing mentoring for middle and high school students.  During this time, she received her Master's in Secondary Education at Hood College in 1983.

Mrs. Sandruck remained at Frederick High School for 27 years until she felt it was time to broaden her horizons and move to the beach.  She used to go past Stephen Decatur High School every summer when she would travel with friends to Ocean City and say "I'm going to teach there one of these days."  To her delight, she was hired in 1999 to teach Concert Choir, American Popular Music and assist with the Band.  After the first quarter, she started a show choir.  After the first semester, it was put in the curriculum as a regular class.  She directed high school musicals, rehearsed the pit band and orchestra and played for the production.  During this time, she continued to take classes in secondary music, arts immersion, and instructional tools to help engage all students.   She was also organist, choir and music director for 12 years at St. Luke Catholic Church in Ocean City, Maryland.

She remained at Stephen Decatur until 2010 when she retired...for the first time.  She returned in 2011 to work with all second and third year teachers, K-12 in the county as a Mentor/Teacher.  She focused on Dimensions of Learning, Common Core, Race To The Top, the new Teacher Evaluation Process, Power Teacher Grade Book, Lesson Planning and Leadership. 

Mrs. Sandruck feels that she is truly blessed to have been hired to work at Cross Schools.  She feels that to teach music again is a prayer answered.  She feels at home in this friendly, spiritually filled school and is so excited to begin a new school year. Contact Mrs. Sandruck at

Kira Winders, Physical Education and Health

Kira Winders holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Physical Education from Appalachian State University and a Masters of Elementary Education from Liberty University. Mrs. Winders loves being active and healthy and is extremely passionate in providing her students with the knowledge to live a healthy and active lifestyle. It is her goal to combine her range of experience with the other teachers at Cross Schools and to and present Health and Physical Education as an important, fun, and life changing class. 

Mrs. Winders taught in North Carolina and Virginia before moving to South Carolina.  Mrs. Winders started at Cross Schools in 2014 in the after school program and as a substitute teacher.  Mrs. Winders is very excited to be a part of Cross Schools faculty. Contact Mrs. Winders at