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.  

 


Ana Avila, Two Year Preschool

Ana Avila is very excited to be a part of Cross Schools and the two-year-old program!  She has worked in the field of Early Childhood Education for over ten years, has been a part of Cross Schools for five years, and has been a Lead Two-Year-Old Preschool teacher for three years.  

Ms. Ana strongly believes that all children learn best through play.  While you hear her say the wordplay often, these children are actively learning while playing and interacting with their peers.  Contact Ms. Ana at a.avila@crossschools.org


Carely Beaz,  Spanish and Pre-Kindergarten Art

Carely Beaz has over six years of experience in Early Childhood Education and has been a part of Cross Schools for four years.  She was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and is fluent in both English and Spanish.  She and her husband have three beautiful children.  

Ms. Carely looks forward to a class filled with fun, friends, and faith.  She works to provide a loving, structured environment.  She wants each child to thrive in her classroom and works towards personal, social, and physical development during the school year. Contact Ms. Carely at c.beaz@crossschools.org


Karene Beck, Three Year Preschool 

Karene Beck grew up in Jamaica and attended Jamaica G.C. Foster of Physical Education and Sport College.  She has over six years of experience in Early Childhood Education.  She is the mother of an amazing little boy.  

Ms. Karene is thrilled to be working in a loving, Christian environment at Cross Schools.  She has a passion for teaching and molding young minds.   She believes that we can help children find healthy ways to express their feelings and can provide a safe, nurturing classroom so that they can learn, grow, and change the world.  Contact Ms. Karene at k.beck@crossschools.org.  


Chris Capozzola, Pre-Kindergarten

Chris Capozzola grew up in New York and moved to Bluffton eleven years ago.  She is happily married with children and grandchildren.  She loves to travel with her family and meeting new people.  Ms. Chris has been working at Cross Schools for the past seven years, and she is very passionate about what she does each day.  She loves working with children and values the time that she gets to spend with them watching them grow.  She feels very blessed to share this fun, challenging, and extremely foundational time with her students.  Contact Ms. Chris at c.capozzola@crossschools.org.  


Erin Cobb, Three Year Preschool

Erin Cobb was born in Maryland, but grew up in Stone Mountain, Georgia.  She attended Bauder College in Atlanta, Georgia.  Ms. Erin has over fifteen years experience working in Early Childhood Education, and has been a part of Cross Schools for ten of those years.  

Ms. Erin strives for a positive atmosphere in her classroom, and loves to shower the children with hugs and affection.  She hopes to instill an excitement and love for learning in the students that she teaches.  She loves that Cross Schools is first and foremost a Christian school, and that she can teach the Bible and a love for God as a major part of her day.  She feels extremely blessed to be a part of Cross Schools and to be a lead teacher in the Three-Year-Old Program.  Contact Ms. Erin at e.cobb@crossschools.org.  


Samantha Cooler, Eighteen Months Preschool

Samantha Cooler grew up in Georgia.  She has over eight years experience in Early Childhood Education, and has been a part of Cross Schools for the past five years.  

Ms. Samantha loves to work with children and watch them grow.  She strives to teach her students independance while providing a loving and nurturing environment.  Contact Ms. Samanta at s.cooler@crossschools.org.  


Shawn Esworthy, Preschool Physical Education 

Shawn Esworthy graduated from Mars Hill College with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Recreation and Sports Management.  He joined Cross Schools in October 2018 as an Afterschool/Summer Camp Coordinator and Facilities Assistant.  He had previously held the position of Sports/Member Services Coordinator for more than four years at the Boys and Girls Club.  Coach Shawn is excited to embark on his next role at Cross Schools as he teaches Preschool PE.  

Coach Shawn believes that recreation and sports activities are a key part of any successful school program, and are a great way for children to release pent up energy during the school day and after school.  He is passionate about the role he has here at Cross Schools and looks forward to building a successful Preschool PE program for our students.  

Coach Shawn and his wife have a daughter, Addison, and a son, Isaiah, who both attend Cross Schools.  He grew up in Ridgeland, South Carolina, but relocated to Bluffton after graduating college.  Coach Shawn enjoys family time, watching sports, staying active, and spending time at the beach.  Contact Coach Shawn at s.esworthy@crossschools.org.  

 


Jennifer Flewelling, Transitional Kindergarten

Jennifer Flewelling is originally from northern Ohio and graduated from Ohio State University.  She began her teaching career in a private preschool and then went on to pursue graduate courses and her Elementary Education certification. Over the years, she has taught students in preschool through 5th grade.  After moving south to Beaufort, South Carolina to be near family eleven years ago, she began teaching in the Beaufort County Public School System.  The last three years, she taught Pre-kindergarten at a private school in the area. 

Mrs. Flewelling is married to her wonderful husband, Matt, and she has an amazing soon who attends Cross Schools.  She lives in Beaufort with her two basset hounds, Abby and June, and a pet rabbit named Lucky.  She feels so blessed to be a part of Cross Schools!  Contact Mrs. Flewelling at j.flewelling@crossschools.org.  


Rita Grainger, Two Year Preschool

Rita Grainger has been a member of the staff at Cross Schools since 2008.  Ms. Rita holds her Early Childhood Credential and began working at Cross Schools as an assistant in the toddler program. Ms. Rita was born in Mexico City, Mexico and moved to the United States over fifteen years ago.  She and her husband, Don have a son, James, who graduated from Cross Schools. Ms. Rita is valued for her gentle nature and her ability to easily introduce children into a structured group setting.  Contact Ms. Rita at r.grainger@crossschools.org.  


Debbie Harrell, Pre-Kindergarten

Debbie Harrell has been actively involved in Cross School since 2003 when her oldest daughter began first grade.  She joined the staff at Cross Schools in 2004.  Ms. Debbie holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology from the University of South Carolina, as well as twelve hours in post-graduate credit.

Ms. Debbie believes that all children are eager to learn, but not all children are equally ready to learn.  Because of this belief, she strives to provide each child with individual attention so they can reach their potential in every aspect of development. Contact Ms. Debbie at d.harrell@crossschools.org.


Lauren Michalopoulos, Pre-Kindergarten  

Lauren Michalopoulos attended Mount Ida College in Massachusetts, and has been teaching preschool aged children for over eighteen years.  She, along with her husband and daughter, relocated to Bluffton from Franklin, Massachusetts.  She has loved every minute of being in this beautiful area!   Ms. Lauren is very excited to be given the opportunity to teach Three Year Preschool at Cross Schools, and is looking forward to getting to know the parents and the children.  Contact Ms. Lauren at l.michalopoulos@crossschools.org.


Jennifer Molina, Pre-Kindergarten

Jen Molina graduated from the University of South Carolina with a Bachelor's Degree in Human Services in 2007.  She joined the staff at Cross Schools in 2014.  Ms. Jen loves meeting so many talented teachers and sharing her classroom with amazing children.  She has worked with children ranging in ages from three to thirteen, in both administrative roles and in the classroom.

Ms. Jen believes that children thrive when they are in a structured and positive environment.  She provides her class with opportunities to do their best at all times and uses positive reinforcement to help build confidence as they learn and grow.  She uses a variety of sensory and manipulative centers and activities to allow children "hands-on" work time.  Ms. Jen enjoys watching the class transform as the children mature, and seeing the pride each student feels when they are able to make independent connections that reinforce what they are learning in the classroom. Contact Ms. Jen at j.molina@crossschools.org.


Patti Myers, Three Year Preschool

Patti Myers has over ten years of experience in Early Childhood Education and has been with Cross Schools for two years.  She moved to Bluffton seven years ago from Clearwater, Florida, and has a son, a daughter, and a beautiful grandson who attends Cross Schools. 

Ms. Patti loves watching children grow while in her classroom, and it brings her joy to see their bright smiles when they master something new.  Her classroom is an active environment based on themes involving language, math, science, social studies, art, and music.  She is thrilled to be a part of Cross Schools and to have the privilege to watch these students learn and grow.   Contact Ms. Patti at p.meyers@crossschools.org.  

 


Barb Osler, Two Year Preschool

Barb Osler has lived in the Bluffton/Hilton Head area for thirty five years.  Her career with Cross Schools began in 2011 after she retired from a thirty year career in the Mortgage Banking industry.  She began as an assistant in the Toddler Program, was the Lead Teacher in the Toddler Program for three years, and is currently serving as a Lead Teacher in our Two Year Old Program.  Ms. Barb lives in Bluffton with her husband, Bill, and is very proud of her four children and six grandchildren. Contact Ms. Barb at b.osler@crossschools.org.


Karen Penale, Spanish Immersion/ Environmental Learning


Karen Penale was born in Mexico City; Mexico. Her mother was Mexican, and her father was Irish American. At age five her family moved to Lockport, New York (Western New York) where she was raised along with her four brothers and sisters. Shortly after marrying her husband Joe, her career as a Social Worker in New York was put on hold for her to stay home to care for her daughters. After seven years, the Penale family moved to South Carolina where Mrs. Penale received her Master’s in Teaching Degree and was hired to teach at Hilton Head Island Elementary school. Her experience is extensive: two years teaching ESOL and Spanish, ten years teaching first grade, five years teaching Spanish Immersion (Science and Math) in first grade, and the last five years teaching fourth grade Spanish Immersion (Science and Math). Mrs. Penale completed the Master Naturalist Program offered through the Lowcountry Institute in conjunction with Clemson Extension in 2019.

Mrs. Penale heartfully loves nature and everything connected to teaching children to become stewards of our environment and our world. She loves to spread the love of all things natural to the curious, amazing young people. “These children are our future and they need to understand that they are able to make changes to protect all that God has created.” Connecting with nature is very easy and natural for children of every age. Contact Mrs. Penale at k.penale@CrossSchools.org.  


Maria Preciado, Two Year Preschool

Maria Preciado is a lead teacher in our two year preschool program.  She has over ten years experience in Early Childhood Education, many of them with Cross Schools.  Teaching children is her passion, and she is rewarded daily knowing she is making a difference in the lives of the children she teaches. 

Ms. Maria's classroom is centered around fun, friends, and faith.  She considers herself in a partnership with her parents and will work with them to make every year a successful one.  Contact her at m.preciado@crossschools.org.  


Robin Price, Pre-Kindergarten

Robin Price has always had a strong love for children and realized at a young age that it would be her life's work.  Ms. Robin started working for the University of New Hampshire Child Study and Development Center as soon as she graduated high school.  She was so inspired by the wonderful work that her co-teachers were doing with the students, that she began taking classes in Early Childhood Education.  She graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 2002 and has continued to make a strong commitment to young children and families.  Ms. Robin has a multitude of experience working with children of all ages, with a variety of special needs and abilities.  Ms. Robin feels incredibly lucky that events in her life have brought her to Cross Schools, and have allowed her to get to know such special teachers, students, and families. 

Ms. Robin's goal as a teacher is to provide children with a rich environment where they feel safe to explore, initiate learning, and feel free to express themselves.  Contact Ms. Robin at r.price@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.


Alexis Simmons, Three Year Preschool 

Alexis Simmons grew up in Hardeeville, South Carolina, and attended Thomas Heyward Academy.  She has been working in Early Childhood Education for more than six years and has been a part of Cross Schools for more than five years.  

Ms. Lexie strives to provide a loving and structured environment for the students that she teaches so that they can thrive in the classroom.  She gently pushes her students to succeed in everything they do.  Contact Ms. Lexie at l.simmons@crossschools.org.  


Ashley Terry, Twelve Months Preschool 

Ashley Terry is a South Carolina native who has been working in the field of Early Childhood Education for four years. Her passion lies in teaching the younger students and watching them learn and grow.

Ms. Ashley's classroom philosophy is to let the children play and enjoy their classroom surroundings, while teaching them the importance of sharing and communicating with friends. She strives to teach her class independence while providing a loving and nurturing environment. Ms. Ashley focuses on simple art projects to help the children learn and experience new textures. She balances her classroom time with play and loosely structured learning time to ensure her class has a well-rounded day. Contact Ms. Ashley at a.terry@crossschools.org


Becky Wells, Three Year Preschool

Becky Wells was raised in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, but attended the University of South Carolina.  She has over six years of experience in Early Childhood Education, with three of those years at Cross Schools.  It is Ms. Becky's goal to always be a positive influence on her students and to provide them with a happy environment where they can grow and learn.  

Ms. Becky is thrilled to be a part of Cross Schools and loves the caring Christian environment.  She is especially proud of the emphasis on sharing God's love through our Faith Formation and chapel programs.  Contact Ms. Becky at b.wells@crossschools.org.