Meet Our Staff


Linda Hale is our Head of School. She holds a K-12 teaching certificate in Special Education and is trained in multiple reading and math programs for students with special needs. Linda graduated from Lesley College in Cambridge, Massachusetts where she received her Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education with a Specialization in teaching students with special needs. Linda brings 30 years of educational experiences in both public and private schools as an administrator and teacher for students with learning differences. During the past 5 years, Linda has served on the Board of Trustees at Noble Academy. During her tenure, she guided the school through the process of rebranding itself from Guilford Day School to Noble Academy and the expansion of the facilities.

Hallie Harding is our Head of Lower Division. She earned both her undergraduate and master’s degree in special education from East Carolina University. She is NC certified in special education K-12, elementary education in grades 1-6, and is a Wilson Language certified instructor. Hallie also holds a post-master’s degree of school administration from UNCG. In her free time she enjoys weekend getaways, reading, and outdoor sports.

Aimee Picon is our Assistant Head of Lower Division. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Special Education and a Master’s degree in Early Childhood both earned with honors from the University of Florida. She is North Carolina Certified in Early Childhood (birth – Kindergarten), Elementary Education (K-6) and Special Education (K – 12) She brings 10 years of experience in establishing Kindergarten classes, and we look forward to enhancing our technology in the lower grade levels as she shares her expertise in this area. Aimee enjoys baking, reading and spending time with her family in her free time.

Jennifer Aceves is our Head of Upper Division. Jennifer was awarded her B.A. in Psychology from Davidson College and is certified by North Carolina in learning disabilities. She received her M.Ed. in Special Education from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and is also a Wilson Language certified instructor. Jennifer enjoys spending her free time reading, playing volleyball, and spending time with her family.

Matt Zigler is our Dean of Students for Upper Division and our Creative Director. Matt previously worked as a counselor and Dean of Students for Threesprings, Inc. at their therapeutic wilderness program and emotional growth boarding school. He was the art teacher and Junior High team leader at Guilford Day School/Noble Academy for four years before becoming Dean of Students. He graduated Magna Cum Laude with a B.A. in Art from Elmira College in New York, and earned his MFA in Painting from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia.

Lisa Galvin is our Business Manager at Noble Academy, after nine years as the school’s office manager. Lisa brought over 20 years of previous experience in school accounting and financial management with her when she joined Noble Academy in 1996. She enjoys reading, gardening, spending time with her family, and trips to the beach.

Christy Avent is our Director of Advancement and Admissions. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from East Carolina University. She also obtained a second undergraduate degree in Political Science and her Master of Public Affairs both from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She has extensive experience in the collegiate environment having worked at UNCG from 1997-2011. She also comes to us from the sales world having spent the last year and a half with the Greensboro Convention and Visitors Bureau where her market was in education. Christy enjoys reading, traveling, cooking, and going to the movies in her free time.

Ben Maynard is our Director of Media and Educational Technology. He holds a B.A. in English and an M.A. in History from the University of West Georgia. Benjamin has also earned an MLIS from the University of North Texas. Before coming to Noble Academy, he spent twelve years working as a teacher, librarian, and technology coordinator for Inner Harbour, a therapeutic residential school in Douglasville, Georgia. In his free time, he enjoys exploring North Carolina’s natural beauty with his family.

Francisco Guijoza Jr is our IT Manager at Noble Academy. He graduated from ECPI University and holds an Associate’s Degree and a Bachelors Degree in IT Network Security. He enjoys spending time with his family, learning about new technology and playing sports.


Adam Barrett received his B.S. in Mathematics with a concentration in Pure Mathematics from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Before joining the faculty at Noble Academy, he taught Honors level Mathematics in the Guilford County School System. Adam also studied abroad for a year at Nagoya University of Foreign Studies concentrating in Japanese language and culture. He enjoys reading, playing video games, and studying martial arts.

Roxanne Batson earned both her undergraduate degree in Early childhood Education and her Master’s degree in Elementary Education from East Carolina University. She taught grades K-3 in Guilford County Schools, and  she retired after 35 years of teaching service. She has taught at Noble Academy for the past 5 years as a teacher and/or tutor. Roxanne has Wilson training and is very familiar with the Noble Academy students, staff, and families. She enjoys volunteering in the community, reading, traveling, and spending time with her family.

Kim Burkhalter graduated cum laude with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Wake Forest University. Before coming to Noble, she worked in the Guilford County Schools as a language facilitator while completing a program for teaching licensure. She has since earned a Masters degree in Special Education with a concentration in Learning Disabilities from UNCG. Kim enjoys reading, baking, and hiking with her family.

Erin Cawley is a graduate of Elon University with a B.A. in middle grades education with a concentration in social studies and science. She also earned her Master’s Degree in Special Education with a concentration in Learning Disabilities from East Carolina University in 2011. Before coming to Noble Academy, Erin taught in the Guilford County School System and has coached volleyball, flag football, cross country, and track and field at the middle school level and swimming at the high school level. In her free time, Erin enjoys reading, going to movies, and spending time with her family.

Katherine Ciccarelli grew up in North Carolina and graduated from UNC Chapel Hill; a definitely a Tar Heel fan! For three years she taught in Chicago, and returned to North Carolina in the summer of 2012. While living in Chicago was a great experience, she is happy to be back in the North Carolina area. In addition to being a part-time teacher at Noble Academy,Katherine is also a student at UNCG working towards a Master’s Degree in Educational Research Methodology. She loves to go biking and travel in her free time.

Shelli Cottingham has her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Asheville. She also completed a graduate level special education program at UNCG in order to obtain her North Carolina Special Education teaching license, and she is certified to teach special education K through 12th grade.  This will be her fifth year as a teacher, with experience in all grades grades K through 6th.  Shelli is married to Tracy, and they have two teenagers, Quint and Caroline. Quint is a sophomore at NCSU, and Caroline is a senior at Northern High.  She enjoys spending time with her family, reading, and travel.

Kristina Cuellar comes to Noble with many years of experience as a Reading Teacher and an Educational Director for Children Museums.  She earned her B.S.degrees in Elementary Education and Psychology from Guildford College.  Kristina completed a graduate level certification program with Honors in Reading Education from Fayetteville State University while working as a Literacy Specialist for Wake County Schools. Kristina is North Carolina Certified in Elementary Education(K-6), Reading Education (K-12th) and a trained Reading Recovery instructor. She also completed a certification in Non-Profit Management from Duke University.  In her free time Kristina loves to hike and kayak with her family.

Danielle Fitzgerald has her bachelor’s degree in Spanish from the University of Georgia and her foreign language teacher certification P-12. She has taught at St. Francis Day School (Alpharetta, GA), a school that shares a similar mission. Most recently Ms. Fitzgerald taught Spanish 1, 2, and 3 at Northern Guilford High School in Greensboro.

Eric Gal grew up in the then-small town of Kernersville, but spent most of his educational life in Greensboro. He graduated from Noble Academy, then Guilford Day School, in 2005, and spent six years at UNCG. While there, he obtained undergraduate degrees in Theatre Education and English Education, and afterwards, he was hired by his old high school to teach English. Some of of his favorite activities are: reading, acting, stage combat, Tai Chi and mixed martial arts, watching movies and hanging out with his brother, who is a teacher in Winston-Salem. Eric is very proud to have returned as a teacher at Noble Academy.

Ann Hawkins comes to Noble Academy with an extensive Orton-Gillingham background and special education experiences in grades Kindergarten – 7th. At Converse College in Spartanburg, SC. Ann earned her BA in Special Education and her MEd in Elementary Education. We are excited to have Ann teaching grades 4th-6th this year.

Shelby Holman is a certified K-12 Special Educator. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Furman University as a sociology major. She later attended UNC-Wilmington to earn her special education teaching license with a concentration in learning disabilities. Shelby then continued her education and received a Master’s degree in Special Education from Florida State. In addition, she is trained in the Wilson Reading System. With over ten years of teaching experience in both private and public schools, she brings a wealth of knowledge to our teaching staff here at Noble Academy. Outside of school, she has a passion for the piano, baking, and most importantly spending time with her family- especially her two children, Adalyn and Nicholas.

Alphonso Hopkins, Jr. is a certified Special Education teacher for grades k-12. He earned both his B.A. in History and his Masters of Arts in Teach Special Education from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. Prior to his arrival at Noble Academy, Alphonso was an Exceptional Children’s teacher for 7-8th grades in Guilford County. Alphonso was also a Behavior Intervention Specialist for Wake County. Alphonso was also a Youth Counselor for at-risk youth for five years. Outside of school Alphonso enjoys time with his family, traveling, community service activities, and being a proud member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. This is Alphonso’s fifth year teaching and his third year at Noble Academy.

Susan Hughes received her B.S. degree from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in Secondary Education with a double major in English. She is certified in North Carolina in English grades 9-12. Prior to coming to Noble Academy 18 years ago, Susan taught in Georgia where she enjoyed the opportunity to take her high school students on a trip abroad. Susan stays very involved in community service, loves to read, attend theater productions and movies, and plan adventures with her grandchildren.

Sonja Kelley has a Bachelor’s degree in Speech Communication from NCSU and received her teaching certification in Theatre Arts from Greensboro College. She graduated with honors from both schools. She is the on-site playwright for the majority of plays produced at Noble Academy, entering her students in the middle and high school state competitions for the last eight years.

Barbara Knight graduated with a B.A degree in Psychology and Pre-Medicine from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Barbara has taught in small private schools for four years, and is excited to join Noble Academy. She brings an enthusiastic approach to individualized learning with exciting lessons to engage all students. Barbara is married and has a six year old daughter, Emma. Barbara loves to read, ski, hike and enjoy the outdoors with her family in her free time.

Patty Goodman  has been teaching at Noble Academy for over a decade. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree from Wingate University and her M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Before coming to Noble, she completed two years of AmeriCorps – a national government program for young people with the mission of serving the community and protecting the environment. Outside of work, she loves hiking and visiting historical sites.

Doug Long serves as Athletic Director as well as Head of the Health and Physical Education Department at Noble Academy. Doug earned his B.A. in Physical Education from the University of South Florida. Along with his work at Noble Academy, Doug is a professional personal trainer.

Linda Mahanes is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with degrees in math and math education. She has worked as an actuarial student, a tutor and a math teacher. Her husband Jeff and she have three children ranging from ages 9 to 17.  She loves spending time with her family and also enjoys tennis, swimming, walking and reading.

Connie Mask teaches our individualized multi-sensory structured reading classes at Noble Academy. She graduated Summa Cum Laude with a B.A. in History from Hollins University and has completed extensive graduate work in special education. Connie has also had training in Orton-Gillingham, Lindamood-Bell, and Wilson Language. She is certified by the state of North Carolina in learning disabilities grades K-12. She is also certified by the Gurian Institute as a certified trainer in Boys and Girls Learn Differently.

Mary Mig McEntire graduated from Salem College with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and has earned her LD and MR certifications from ASU.  She has also participated in TEACCH training. She brings with her extensive knowledge and experience in the field of special education. Most recently, she worked at Joyner Elementary as the Director of the AU Inclusion program. She has a passion for music and traveling in her free time.

Kay McMurphy is our Master Teacher for the Lower Division. She received her M.Ed. in Special Education and Reading from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and is certified in North Carolina in Reading K-12 and Cross-Categorical K-12. She has received training in Wilson Language and Lindamood-Bell. In 2007, Kay was honored with a Distinguished Alumni in Education Award from UNC-G. In her spare time, Kay enjoys spending time with her grandchildren and working with Burmese refugees.

Sterling Miller received his B.A. in History from Trinity College. He did graduate work at Hofstra University and the University of Pittsburgh and received his MS.Ed in School Administration from Pepperdine University. He is certified in math grades 6-9 and holds his Principal certification for North Carolina. Sterling has experience in both the public and private school settings. He loves spending his free time outdoors, playing a variety of different sports, reading, and spending time with his wonderful family and animals.

Karen Norris has been in the education arena for nine years. Her passion as a teacher keeps her pursuing excellence- that is what brought her to Noble Academy. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree with a concentration in Human Services/Special Education from Gardner Webb University. She has a North Carolina State teaching certification in Special Education instruction K-12. She also earned her Master’s Degree in School Administration from Gardner Webb University in 2009. Before coming to Noble Academy, Karen taught in the Burke County Public School system and then served as a Program Administrator for the Exceptional Children Department in both Alexander and Caldwell County Schools. In her spare time, Karen loves to read quotes that inspire, travel state-side and abroad, participate in outdoor adventures (fishing, kayaking, tubing) in the mountains with her husband and children.

Vicki Payne graduated with Honors with a B.S. degree in Biology from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Vicki has been awarded numerous grants and received many awards for her research in Biology. Before coming to Noble Academy, Vicki worked for Guilford County as a middle school science and social studies teacher. Vicki enjoys spending time with her family and many pets.

Samantha Price graduated from UNCG with a B.A. In Psychology and a minor in Human Development and Families studies. She has worked with at risk youth for a non-profit organization in Greensboro. She went back to school at Greensboro College and received licensure in Special Education. Ms. Price worked at Guilford Day School as permanent sub in 03-04. For the past 8 years, she has worked with students on the Autism spectrum in Guilford County. This will be her second year teaching students at Noble Academy.

Jenn Romero graduated from Texas Tech University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts with a field of specialization in Visual Studies. She is certified in Art Education K-12 by the state of North Carolina. Prior to coming to Noble Academy she taught Art Foundations, Drawing, Painting, and Photography at a public high school in Williamsburg, Virginia. While ceramics, sculpture, drawing and design are her biggest passions in art, Jenn enjoys exploring a wide variety of media with her students.

Jenny Rundle earned a B.S. in Education with certification in Elementary Education K-6 and Special Education K-12 from Kutztown University of PA. She also holds a M.Ed. in School Counseling from Millersville University of PA and recently added English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) to her certifications. She brings eight years of teaching experience to Noble Academy. In her free time, she enjoys reading, dancing, and spending time with her husband and two children.

Christian Spence teaches high school history. She graduated Summa Cum Laude with a B.A. degree in History from North Carolina State University in 2006. In 2012, Christian completed her M.A. degree in History from the University of Nebraska at Kearney. She is licensed to teach social studies in North Carolina in grades 6-12. Prior to coming to Noble Academy in 2012, Christian taught 6 years with Guilford County Schools. In 2011, she was honored with winning the Horace Mann Abraham Lincoln Fellowship, one of fifty teachers selected in the United States. Christian has participated in the Teaching American History Grant to Williamsburg, Philadelphia, and New York and the We the People Fellowship to Montpelier, Virginia. In her spare time, she loves puzzles and movies.

Allison Spooner graduated from UNCG with a bachelor’s degree in Special Education and a Master’s degree in Reading Education. She is certified K-12 in North Carolina in both special education and reading. She has 9 years of teaching experience, most recently as a middle school reading intervention teacher in Guilford County.  She enjoys playing tennis, reading, cooking, and traveling with her husband.

Samantha Stichter graduated with a double-major in Engineering Science and Mathematics from Vanderbilt University. After work as a technical writer and small-business owner, she went back to school for her teaching certificate. She received her teaching license from UNCG’s NCTeach program. After 4 years in the public schools she joined the Noble Academy staff. She is married to a firefighter and has two boys who are in 7th and 9th grades. They play soccer, lacrosse, piano, are Scouts and do karate.

Debbie Vance earned her BA from Marshall University and received her MEd from Central University.  Debbie has over 30 years of experience with the North Carolina Schools and has been a speech therapist in VA and IN.  She is employed with Ling & Kerr and contracts with schools and private clients to provide speech and language services. Debbie is married and has two sons and two grandsons. Debbie loves to read, play golf and go for walks.


Julie Bean graduated with Highest Honors from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a B.A. in psychology and sociology and received her M.Ed. in Counseling from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She is a certified North Carolina School Counselor grades K-12, a Licensed Professional Counselor, and a Nationally Certified Counselor. Prior to coming to Noble Academy, Julie worked as a counselor in public schools and as a therapist in the community. She serves Noble Academy students in grades K-7. In her free time, Julie enjoys spending time with her family, playing music, and reading.

JoAnn Caligiuri received her B.S. degree from Mansfield University and her Masters in School Counseling from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. She is certified by North Carolina as a School Counselor grades K-12, and as a Family Consumer Science Educator K-12. JoAnn serves as counselor for grades 8-12. In her free time she enjoys spending time with family, doing Hospice volunteer work, quilting and spending time at the lake.

Kelly Heritage graduated from Appalachian State University with a BA in Psychology and a minor in Spanish. Graduate school brought her and her husband, Charlie, to Greensboro; she received her MS in Counseling from UNCG. She is a certified North Carolina K-12 School Counselor as well as a Nationally Certified Counselor.  Her counseling work prior to Noble Academy has included child and family therapy, public school counseling for grades 3 – 12, and specialized grief & loss counseling for families living with life-limiting illnesses.  Kelly joins the Noble Academy staff as a part-time counselor for 7th and 8th graders.  She will also be teaching a section of Spanish I. Her three little girls keep her busy outside of school, and she also enjoys spending time with friends, reading, being outdoors, pretty much anything related to the performing arts, and learning about countries & cultures different from her own.


Merri Romberg, our Lower Division Receptionist, has her B.A. in English and most recently gained three years of experience as an office manager at a local nonprofit agency. Prior to focusing on administrative work, she was in the field of education for 10 years as a tutor, teacher, and substitute. Ms. Romberg’s energy level and organizational skills will quickly become appreciated in the Lower Division.

Lindsay Darienzo, our Upper Division Receptionist, Lindsay comes to us with professional experience in working as an administration assistant for the past five years in Florida before her recent move to Greensboro.  In addition, Lindsay has a Bachelor’s Degree in Secondary Education with a major in English and History. She has experience teaching in grades 5-12  in English, Geography and Middle School History.

Theo Tisdale is our Bus Driver/Maintenance. In his spare time, Theo enjoys reading and spending time with his family.

Matt Wassong is our Facility’s Manager.