Heather Belmonte, Transitional Kindergarten
Heather Belmonte earned a Bachelor's Degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of South Carolina Beaufort and a Master's Degree in Literacy Curriculum and Instruction from Lesley University. She has been a part of the Cross Schools' staff for the past four years, teaching Transitional Kindergarten. Prior to coming to Cross Schools she taught in the public school sector serving as a multi-age classroom teacher in grades K/1 and 2/3.
The main focus in Transitional Kindergarten is on early literacy and math skills in hopes that students enter Kindergarten strong and at the top of their class. Mrs. Belmonte believes in developing a relationship with her students' families, and working together toward a common goal; meeting each individual where they are, leading them to where they need to be and helping them take their next step independently. Mrs. Belmonte fosters her students' independence through learning centers, activities, and personal responsibility.
Donna Caracola, Pre-Kindergarten
Donna Caracola has four year's teaching experience in Cross Schools' Transitional Kindergarten program. She holds a Master's degree in Corporate Finance from Dowling College in New York. She moved from New York to South Carolina in the winter of 2006. After the birth of her second child, she felt called to change careers and began as a substitute teacher then moved on to become an assistant teacher.
Ms. Donna currently serves as a lead teacher in our Pre-Kindergarten program. She loves the opportunity to watch each child grow and learn both spiritually and academically. She delights in watching their pride as they reach each milestone. She strives for a warm, welcoming environment so that the little ones that come to her can feel safe and loved as they leave the familiarity and safety of home. Her goal is to instill confidence and a love of the Lord each and every day in all of her students. Working for Cross Schools provides an opportunity to influence and guide so many young lives. She prays each day for the words and strength to be a positive, guiding role model for her students.
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.
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.
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.
Sharon Bolt, Three Year Preschool
Sharon Bolt has been teaching in the field of Early Childhood Education since 2000, and joined the staff at Cross Schools in 2010. Ms. Sharon graduated from Mira Fork Christian Academy and holds a degree in Early Childhood Education. As a hands on teacher, Ms. Sharon believes that preschool education, while structured, should be fun and exciting.
Ms. Sharon enjoys the challenges each new year brings and delights in being a part of young children's lives during these formative years.
Kayla Smoak, Three Year Preschool
Kayla Smoak holds an Associate of Arts Degree with an emphasis in Early Childhood Development. She has nine years of experience working with preschool aged children, and began her career with Cross Schools in 2012.
Ms. Kayla greatly enjoys sharing her love and attention with her students. She strongly believes in positive reinforcement, and her classroom is a very nurturing, yet structured environment. Ms. Kayla's greatest reward is to see her students thrive and succeed.
Jamie Dara, Two Year Preschool
Jamie Dara began her career with Cross Schools in 2013. She graduated from Ridgeland High School, and also completed a two year course in Early Childhood Development and Early Childcare. She began her career with Cross Schools as a preschool floater, quickly became an assistant, and is now a lead teacher in the Two Year Old Preschool Program. Ms. Jamie's passion has always been working with young children.
Ms. Jamie's primary goal in the two year class is to provide each child with a loving and caring environment. She wants to help the children develop a love for books, encourages a growing vocabulary, and focuses her curriculum on learning the basics: colors, shapes, letters and numbers. Ms. Jamie focuses on learning, but also remembers to let children be children. She wants her class to love learning and to have fun!
Rita Grainger, Two Year Preschool
Rita Grainger has been a member of the Cross Schools' staff since 2008. She holds her Early Childhood Credential and began her career at Cross Schools as an assistant teacher in the toddler program. Ms. Rita is currently a lead teacher in our Two Year Preschool program. She is valued for her gentle nature and ability to introduce children into a group setting.
Ms. Rita was born in Mexico City and moved to the United States over fourteen years ago. She and her husband, Don, have a son, James, who attends Cross Schools.
Ashley Terry, Toddler Lead
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.
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.