Phone: @PowellOrchestra

Email:

Degrees and Certifications:

Meredith College - Bachelor of a Music - Music Education - K-12

Ms. Gina Ali

Orchestra Teacher

Ms. Ali was born in North Carolina and started playing violin at a very young age. Her love for music grew as she participated in local youth orchestras throughout the Triangle. She went on to earn a Bachelor of Music degree from Meredith College, with an emphasis in Music Education. She spent ten years teaching strings in the San Francisco Bay Area before returning to teach for Wake County Public Schools. She started the Mission Attendance Area String Program in Fremont, California and was the Lower School Director of Music and Strings at Redwood Day School in Oakland, California. Gina has worked in various music positions in Wake County and for the last three years has been helping the strings program grow here at Powell Elementary School. Gina has enjoyed playing with several chamber groups, the Appalachian Symphony, the Raleigh Civic Symphony, the Oakland Civic Orchestra and the San Francisco Sinfonietta.

My Play-losophy:

Orchestra is ALL about PLAY! When making music, it is all about collaboration and working together as a team to create. We play our instruments to express ourselves, and to share our ideas with others. We learn through doing and moving, and problem solving as a team. We learn to read our music through game play and grow on our instruments by working together.

Phone:

Email:

Degrees and Certifications:

University of North Carolina at Charlotte - Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education

Ms. Callie Brust

Media Specialist

This school year will be Ms. Brust's eighth year teaching and fifth year at Powell. She grew up in the Wake County Public School System, and thinks it is wonderful to be teaching in this district! She has two older brothers and one younger brother. Ms. Brust really enjoys reading and loves dystopian and magical aspects to books. Some of her favorite bands/performers are The Lumineers, Mumford and Sons, Marina and the Diamonds, Tyler Childers, and Tones and I. She enjoys traveling and has been to Costa Rica, Nicaragua, England, Scotland, and many US states. She has a dog named Queijo who loves people and walks. Ms. Brust thinks kids are awesome and teaching them is her passion.

My Play-losophy:

Play creates lasting memories and connections, not just to our curriculum, but to our school family as well.

Phone: @MrsAprilLabadie

Email:

Degrees and Certifications:

Meredith College - Bachelor’s in K-12 Dance Education

Mrs. April Labadie

Dance Teacher

Mrs. Labadie is a proud NC native, growing up in Knightdale. She is a product of the WCPSS, and proud graduate of Meredith College with a Bachelor’s Degree in K-12 Dance Education. She is currently in her 15th year of teaching in the WCPSS. She has taught at Wakefield Middle, Bugg Elementary, and now at Powell. Mrs. Labadie is married to her wonderful husband and they have a daughter who is now part of the Powell family! Mrs. Labadie feels very blessed to be able to teach at such a wonderful school, and to have the opportunity for her own child to be able to learn from this amazing staff and experience all of the amazing learning opportunities that Powell offers.

My Play-losophy:

I believe play is an integral part of learning for all children! I wish I had been exposed to playful learning throughout my education, as I see the positive effects it has on children every day at Powell! Play involves creativity, which spawns collaboration, communication, and critical thinking! Play leads to exploration, which leads to impactful learning! The students, and staff alike, are so fortunate to be at a school that intentionally brings out play every day!

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Email:

Degrees and Certifications:

Campbell University Bachelor of Science in Business

Mr. Miguel Narbona-Gonzalez

Spanish Teacher

Hola! Senor Miguel Narbona is originally from Seville, Spain. He has lived in Raleigh since 2010. Senor Narbona is our Spanish teacher at Powell and he also teaches Spanish at Jeffreys Grove Elementary in WCPSS. Before coming to the United States, he worked in marketing and sales. Senor Narbona is married. He and his wife, Suzanne, have two children. Senor Narbona loves spending time with his family, playing soccer, cooking, traveling, and volunteering. He has also served as a board member of the Triangle Literacy Council from 2014 until 2019.

My Play-losophy:

I create a positive environment for learning Spanish through games and activities, as if they were learning their first language. When students have fun learning, the learning sticks and a sense of community is formed for support.

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Email:

Degrees and Certifications:

Appalachian State University - BS in Physical Education, 1989 East Carolina University - Master of Education in Health Education, 2006

Mr. Michael Rhodes

PE Teacher

Mr. Rhodes grew up right here in Garner and is a product of Wake County Public Schools. After high school, he pole vaulted at Appalachian State University. After college, he pursued his love for watersports and was the 5 time National Champion and former record holder in Slolam Kneeboarding. He has been teaching PE in WCPSS for 30 years and he still loves what he does! He has received many honors over the years, including Wake County Autism Society Inclusion Teacher of the Year award in 2005-06, Wake County and NC PE Program of the Year honors in 2008, and the Powell Teacher of the Year award in 2019. He is the father of 3 sons who have helped him perfect his play skills over many years as he has coached their baseball, basketball, football, track, waterskiing, and BMX racing endeavors. He's one tired (but happy) dad.

My Play-losophy:

Kids need to move. It comes natural to them. Movement, hand eye coordination, and gross motor skills all teach children how to collaborate, cooperate, and interact with others appropriately. Increased physical fitness also is attributed to increased mental health. It's just good all around! I am proud to be a play professional and I love to see kids be successful as they accomplish their goals.

Phone: @MusicAtPowell

Email:

Degrees and Certifications:

Nyack College (Nyack, New York) - Bachelor of Arts in Music Education Piano Concentration, Orff-Schulwerk Certification, Level 1, American Orff-Schulwerk Association, First Steps in Music Certification, Fiereabend Association of Music Education

Mrs. Marcia Rothra

Music Teacher

Ms. Rothra is a new member of the Powell Elementary family. She is very grateful for such a warm welcome from staff, students, and parents.  Ms. Rothra has been teaching music for thirteen years and has taught both in public school and privately.  She holds a degree from Nyack College (Nyack, New York) in Music Education with a focus in piano performance. Ms. Rothra is a member of the Feierabend Association of Music Education and holds certifications in Orff-Schulwerk and First Steps in Music, two philosophies of music education that help her pass along her passion for music to students young and old. She has been involved with the North Carolina Theatre and Conservatory and is active in her local church leading the praise team and playing keyboard. Accompanying individuals and groups and playing for musicals has brought much enjoyment for many years. North Carolina has been home for more than twenty years to Mrs. Rothra, her husband and two kids, and their two bouncy Australian shepherds.  She loves laughing with her family around the dinner table, finding sea glass at the beach, reading, cheering on the Pittsburgh Steelers and playing the piano.  Ms. Rothra's most recent hobby is playing the ukulele, and she is very excited to share that with Powell students too!

My Play-losophy:

Music is a powerful medium that enriches lives, touches the heart, and soothes the frustration of a difficult day. I believe that every student has musical capacity and it’s my job to help kids figure out what that means for them. In my classroom each day, I combine a mixture of singing, instrument playing, movement, and speech into lessons that mirror a child’s world of play. Our focus lies in developing good listening, reading, writing and critical thinking skills which transfer over to their academic world. I love teaching literacy and making connections to math and science. My classroom may not always be the quietest room in the hallway, but engagement is high as kids are allowed to create, experiment, and move. Over my years of teaching, I have seen firsthand those students who struggle academically find a place in my classroom where they feel safe and accepted, and flourish as they experiment with the musical gifts and talents they discover inside themselves. I look for the light in their eyes in those playful moments where their confidence grows, their brainpower strengthens, and joy is ignited. My hope is to inspire a love of music that lasts long after students leave my classroom.

 

 

Phone: @CWarzecho

Email:

Degrees and Certifications:

Central Michigan University- Bachelors of Science in Education Central Michigan University- Masters of Reading

Mrs. Cansis Warzecho

Technology Specialist 

Mrs. Warzecho is in her ninth year of teaching, and this is her seventh year at Powell Elementary. She is originally from Michigan but has lived in North Carolina for almost six years. While she and her husband don’t have children yet, they do have two adorable dogs, Gizmo and Penny. They enjoy hiking, camping and rock climbing. They have made it their goal to visit every National Park and so far, they have visited twelve. Mrs. Warzecho enjoys running and is presently training for a half marathon. She loves to read and is currently interested in adventure stories such as Into Thin Air, Wild, and Almost Somewhere. Mrs. Warzecho doesn't have a favorite book because there are just too many to choose from, but she has always adored the Harry Potter series. The Big Bang Theory and Parks and Rec will always be her favorite television shows. She loves teaching and is excited to be taking on the role of Technology Specialist this year.  She is looking forward to teaching her electives, such as Authors in the Making that utilizes Legos, Digital Storytelling and of course the Powell News.  

 

My Play-losophy:

I believe that Play in the classroom increases engagement in learning. Children will remember the experiences and therefore remember the concepts being taught. I also believe that free play allows for so many positive social interactions among children. Within my classroom I have observed students challenge themselves to be creative and problem solve. I have seen them take pride in their work and be excited about the learning process.

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Degrees and Certifications:

State University of New York at Potsdam - Bachelor of Music, Crane School of Music Northwestern University - Master of Music in Trombone Performance

Mr. Richard Waterman

Band Teacher

Mr. Waterman grew up in Atlanta, Georgia, where he developed an avid interest in music and sports. He was a member of the All State Band from grades 10-12 and he played on the soccer and tennis teams in high school. Mr. Waterman began teaching the Band at Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools, where he taught for five years. In 2001, he started a summer Band and Orchestra Camp (BOC), which continues to this day. In 2016, he joined the staff at Powell Center for Play and Ingenuity. In addition to teaching, he enjoys arranging music for his band students to perform, and he has also arranged selections for our annual Nutcracker performance. Mr. Waterman has been a member of the Triangle Brass Band and he currently performs with the Oak City Brass Quintet. He has one daughter, Lauren, who lives in Edinburgh, Scotland with her husband and two children. Mr. Waterman got married to Lynn Collins in 2023.

My Play-losophy:

Playing a musical instrument teaches self-discipline, patience, problem solving, and teamwork.

Phone:

Email:

Degrees and Certifications:

Meredith College - Art Education k-12 Licensure

Ms. Leslie Wiggins

Art Teacher

Ms. Wiggins is in her 3rd full year at Powell. She started at Powell after graduating from Meredith College with a Degree in Arts Education. Her favorite mediums are printmaking, ceramics and painting. She grew up in Goldsboro, but has lived in Raleigh for a few years now. Ms. Wiggin's favorite place to be is on the North Carolina coast. She spends the majority of the summer there and loves looking for shells, seeing wildlife, and being near water! At Powell, she loves that she works with such a creative group of people that are motivated to see every kid succeed!

My Play-losophy:

"Children learn through doing - play is how they explore their world, learn how to assess risk, try things out, and get to know themselves." - Bethe Almeras