1. Logan Simpson
4s Assistant Teacher
Logan Simpson joins the Preschool team this year as an assistant in the fours program. Before coming to SDS, Mr. Simpson was a behavioral technician with Spectrum Applied Behavioral Analysis. He has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Spartanburg Methodist College.

2. Dave Skeen
Head of School
Dave Skeen begins his tenure as Spartanburg Day School’s eighth Head of School this year. Prior to joining SDS in July 2023, Mr. Skeen was the head of school at Harding Academy in Nashville, Tenn. He also previously served as middle school director at the Canterbury School in Greensboro, N.C. and dean of students at the Calvert School in Baltimore, Md. where he was also a teacher and athletic coach. A native of Baltimore, Mr. Skeen received a Bachelor of Arts in History from Washington & Lee University where he was captain of the lacrosse team. He also earned a Master’s in Educational Studies and Independent School Leadership from Johns Hopkins University. Mr. Skeen and his wife Mackenzie have seven children including one daughter, Grier, and six sons, Ford, Webb, Bo, Tully, Pike, and Lawson.

3. Graham Brewer
Athletic Coordinator
Graham Brewer is expanding his role in the athletics department this year as the athletic coordinator. Coach Brewer has served as the assistant varsity and head Middle School soccer coach since 2020. As a coach, he said he aims to help student athletes be the best version of themselves, on and off the field. He is currently completing his degree from the University of South Carolina Upstate.

4. Joel Sansbury
Middle School PE Teacher
Joel Sansbury will be teaching physical education in the Middle School and assisting with Lower School PE this year while continuing to coach the Griffins in cross country and track. Coach Sansbury spent more than 20 years competing in professional running events and is currently pursuing a degree in physical education from the University of South Carolina Upstate. He and his wife Lenora own and operate the Griffins Table and have three children, two enrolled in the Lower School and a new baby born in May.

5. Chelsea Sosa
Lower School Spanish Teacher
Chelsea Sosa has been selected to teach Spanish to Lower School students in first through fourth grades. Sosa began teaching Spanish as a second language as a teaching assistant at the University of South Alabama. Since then, she has enjoyed teaching Spanish and English as a second language to children, from preschoolers to adolescents, in the U.S., Mexico, and Spain. She also worked with children and families as a Bilingual Child and Family Advocate at the 7th Circuit Court Solicitor’s Office and Children's Advocacy Center of Spartanburg, Cherokee, and Union Counties. Sra. Sosa earned a bilingual Master of Social Work from Loyola University, a master’s degree in advanced studies of the Spanish Language from the University of Granada in Spain, and a bachelor’s degree in foreign language and literature and international relations from the University of South Alabama.

6. Amanda Tisdale
4s Assistant Teacher
Amanda Tisdale will serve as an assistant teacher in the fours program this year after working for the last two years in the Extended Day program. Ms. Tisdale brings 15 years of preschool teaching experience, teaching for several years at the Advent Children’s Center before joining SDS. She has an associate’s degree in early childhood education from Spartanburg Community College.

7. Mike Cerino
Interim Athletic Director
Mike Cerino will serve as SDS’s  interim athletic director. Mr. Cerino brings 15 years of experience in athletics administration to Griffin Athletics. He comes to SDS after spending a total of 27 years at Limestone College in Gaffney, primarily as vice president of intercollegiate athletics at the Division II level. Mr. Cerino also has extensive experience as a lacrosse coach and in physical education, both at the college level, previously working at Washington and Lee University, and in independent schools including Charlotte Latin School. He earned a Master of Arts in physical education from Gardner-Webb University and a Bachelor of Science from Pfeiffer University.

8. Brooke Peeler
Director of Academic Support
Brooke Peeler joins the administrative team this year as director of academic support. Ms. Peeler brings 21 years of experience to her role, most recently serving as an autism specialist and board-certified behavior analyst with the Cherokee County School District. She previously taught as a self-contained special education teacher at both the elementary and middle school level. Ms. Peeler has a master’s degree in school administration from Gardner-Webb University and a bachelor’s in experimental psychology from the University of South Carolina Upstate. She and her husband Gib have two daughters in the Upper School at SDS.

9. Susan Jeffords
First Grade Teacher
Susan Jeffords joins the Lower School team as a first grade teacher this year. Ms. Jeffords has been a member of the SDS community for many years, as a parent and as an employee. Most recently, she worked with Lower School students through the Catapult program and as a long-term substitute but previously served as director of admissions for SDS. Ms. Jeffords also taught 4K at the Weekday School at First Presbyterian Church and taught at D.R. Hill Middle School in Spartanburg District 5. She earned a master’s degree in administration and supervision and a bachelor’s in elementary education from Clemson University. She and her husband Loy, a 1977 SDS graduate, are parents to three adult children who all attended the Day School. 

10. Pilar Cerra
Kindergarten Assistant Teacher
Pilar Cerra joins the Lower School as a kindergarten assistant teacher after working for several years with the SDS Extended Day program and as a substitute teacher. Prior to joining SDS, Ms. Cerra taught Spanish at Oakbrook Preparatory School for 12 years, working with students from K4 to AP Spanish.

11. Crystal Calvert
2s Assistant Teacher
Crystal Calvert is joining the Preschool team this year as an assistant teacher in the twos program. Ms. Calvert brings 23 years of experience with children of all ages, 12 of which were spent as an assistant teacher at the School for the Deaf and the Blind. Prior to joining SDS, Ms. Calvert worked as an assistant teacher at both the Franklin School in Spartanburg District 5 and at the Church of the Advent in the 3s class. She enjoys watching students grow and become more independent.

12. Kathryn Greene
2s Assistant Teacher
Kathryn Greene is joining the Preschool this year as an assistant teacher in the twos program. Ms. Greene spent the last six years as a preschool teacher at St. Paul UMC Preschool. Ms. Greene is passionate about early childhood development and is looking forward to helping children learn about the world around them. 

13. Tessie Kerslake
Middle School Science Teacher 
Tessie Kerslake is joining the Middle School team this year as a fifth and sixth grade science teacher. Ms. Kerslake brings 15 years of experience sharing her passion for science with students. She previously taught Middle School science in Hobe Sound, Fla., and served on the education team at the Greenville Zoo and at the Cox Science Center and Aquarium in South Florida. She has a master’s degree in education from Nova Southeastern University and a bachelor’s from Eckerd College in environmental studies.

14. Laura Brown
Middle School Math Teacher
Laura Brown joins the Middle School math team this year to teach fifth and sixth grades. Ms. Brown has 15 years of experience in education, most recently as a teacher at Pauline-Glenn Springs Elementary in Spartanburg District 6. She has also served as a math and science teacher in Spartanburg District 7. Ms. Brown has a master’s degree in elementary education from Converse College and a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the University of South Carolina. She said that she finds great joy in watching students grow and learn while developing a strong confidence within themselves.

Not Pictured

Mareike Hesse
Upper School German Teacher
Mareike Hesse will be teaching German in the Upper School this year. She will also continue to work with EXPAT students enrolled at SDS. Ms. Hesse earned a degree in early childhood education while living in Germany and brings several years of teaching experience. Before joining SDS, she taught at the German School of the Upstate, working with students from ages 5 to 11.

Krista Stone
Lower School Learning Specialist
Krista Stone joins the Lower School as a learning specialist after spending the last two years at SDS as an instructor with the Catapult program. She also worked with SDS students participating in distance learning during the COVID-19 pandemic and has worked for 13 years as a substitute teacher. Ms. Stone has a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Converse College. She says she sees teaching as a way of continuously growing and learning. Ms. Stone is a long-time Griffin; her husband graduated from SDS, their oldest daughter attended the readiness program, and their youngest daughter graduated from SDS.

Zach Corbitt
Director of Technology and Innovation
Zach Corbitt will serve as SDS’s new director of technology and innovation. Mr. Corbitt has worked in a technology role for the last 20 years, most recently as the chief information officer at Converse University. Prior to that, he served in the United States Air Force. He earned a master’s of business administration from Gardner-Webb University and a bachelor’s degree from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

Travis Dawkins
PE Teacher
Travis Dawkins has been appointed as a PE teacher and varsity baseball coach for the Griffins. Coach Dawkins is highly accomplished in his field, bringing a wealth of knowledge from his career as a player on six Major League Baseball teams, as a coach for the Cincinnati Reds, and now, as the owner of a local youth baseball program. He won an Olympic Gold medal in 2000 while playing for the U.S. baseball team. Currently, Coach Dawkins is owner and instructor at Carolina Wheelhouse Academy in Gaffney, a youth baseball training, skills and instruction program.

Returning Faculty in New Roles

Joy Cooley will serve as a lead teacher in the 4s program after joining SDS last year in a 4s assistant teacher role.

Carmen Cooper is stepping out of the Middle School science classroom for the first time in 23 years to join the administrative team full-time as assistant head of Middle School. 

Dr. Chris Duncan will be teaching SAT test prep this year while continuing in his role in the Upper School’s math department.

Jenny Garrity will return part-time, but she will maintain her student-support role.Carol Hamilton is continuing in her role as a Middle School science teacher but will now teach seventh and eighth-grade students.

Lauren Harvey continues in her role as an Upper School VISTAS teacher but will also teach two math classes and serve as the freshman class grade dean.

Lacy Hines will continue to teach fifth grade honors math this year but adds eighth grade geometry to her schedule. She will also work as a math interventionist for Middle School students. 

Esperanza Sierra is transitioning from her previous role as a kindergarten assistant teacher and Preschool Spanish teacher to a full-time Spanish teacher for all Preschool and kindergarten students.

Cathy Smith will teach second grade this year after teaching kindergarten in the Lower School for the last three years.