Neil Austin

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Neil Austin

Mr. Austin is a 4th/5th grade teacher at Bridges.

 

" My name is Neil Austin.  This is my second year at The Bridges Program and my second year teaching in North Carolina.  On top of being a special education teacher, I also have an MFA in Acting and lived in New York City for 10 years, acting and directing plays and sketch comedy.  While in New York I was a professional portrait photographer as my "day job".   I enjoy sports and played, soccer, football, basketball and track in high school.  I am very excited for this upcoming year and can't wait to get in the classroom with my kids."

 Kristi Cotsovites

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Kristi Cotsovites

Ms. Cotsovites is a Coordinating Teacher at Bridges.

 

"My name is Kristi Cotsovites and I am a coordinating teacher at Bridges.  I’m going into my 25th year at Bridges.  I am originally from Syracuse New York.  I enjoy reading, television, walking my dog, and traveling.   I look forward to another year at Bridges! "

 Sheryl Jules

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Sheryl Jules

Ms. Jules is a 1st and 2nd grade teacher at Bridges.

 

"I’ve been with the Bridges Program for a total of 11 years, with a couple of breaks in between. After teaching out in the real world for a little while, I realized there really is “no place like home” and happily returned to the program to teach 2nd grade. I am entering my 5th year of teaching, and my 2nd year of teaching at the Bridges Program. I am fully invested in the work that I do, and truly believe there is no child than cannot be reached. When I’m not pouring everything I have into the kids that I serve I can be found eating copious amounts of sushi and hanging out with my two rescue pitbulls- Al Green and Dolly Parton."

 

Please click HERE to visit my class website.

I'm also on Twitter @talesfromrm210

 Alicia Gasparri

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Alicia Gasparri

Ms. Gasparri is a 5th grade teacher at Bridges.

 

"I am originally from New Jersey, where I taught in an alternative school. I joined the Bridges' program in December of 2018, and am excited to begin another year at Bridges. Being a Special Education teacher is my dream job, I love being in the classroom, and learning new things with my students each day." 

 Nicole Gill

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Nicole Gill

Ms. Gill is a Coordinating Teacher at Bridges.

 

"I am going into my 5th year at Bridges. I came to Bridges after teaching at both the high school and elementary level in Pennsylvania. My passion was always working in special education. I believe that all students are unique and capable. I teach my students that with hard work and determination, the possibilities are endless. At Bridges, I taught third grade for one year and fifth grade for  three years. This year I will be stepping into a new role as Coordinating Teacher and I am very excited! I love working with the staff and students at Bridges!"

 Pamela Jackson

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Pamela Jackson

Ms. Jackson is the Media Specialist at Bridges.

 

"I am a teacher-librarian passionate about teaching and learning, empowering students, and engaging communities. It is a privilege to serve our students at Bridges. I love music, art, theater, and visiting historical sites during my free time; but more importantly, I love helping others."

 Laura Leighty

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Laura Leighty

Ms. Leighty is a 3rd grade teacher at Bridges.

 

"My name is Laura Leighty and I am going into my second year of teaching 3rd grade at Bridges. I have been teaching in North Carolina for eight years. I am originally from North East Ohio. My hobbies include Tang Soo Do, going to rock concerts, and being a vegan. I look forward to my second year with my Bridges family!"

 Debra Maynard

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Debra Maynard

Ms. Maynard is a 4th grade teacher at Bridges.

 

"I love this population. I feel like I can contribute to the growth of all of my students, emotionally and academically. These students fuel my soul. They make my day each and every day. I am proud to be working at Bridges program. I feel like the luckiest teacher in the world. "

 Cissy McKissick

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Cissy McKissick

Ms. McKissick is a math coach and intervention teacher at Bridges.

 

Ms. McKissick has taught 30 years.  She began by teaching middle and high school students with autism in day school and residential programs.  She has taught in WCPSS since 1990, mostly in elementary schools. She joined the staff of Bridges in 2001 and feels very grateful to work at such a unique school.  She has an M.A. in Applied Behavior Analysis from Northeastern University, and an M.Ed in Special Education from North Carolina Central University. She is a National Board Certified teacher. In her free time, she enjoys practicing yoga, gardening, hiking, biking and reading.  She’s even been known to share some yoga fun with our students!

 Amy Merritt

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Amy Merritt

Ms. Merritt is a reading coach/intervention teacher at Bridges.

 

"I began my education career with New Hanover County schools in Wilmington, North Carolina. After a brief hiatus from public education, I made my way to Raleigh and back into the public school system. After 13 years working with a wonderful staff at Aversboro Elementary, I made an exciting move to the Bridges Program. I love my role as a Literacy Coach as it allows me to assist teachers with the on-going endeavor of learning new, innovative ways to reach their students. Being an intervention teacher is equally rewarding because it gives me the opportunity to help students grow as both readers and writers."

 Beth Palmer

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Beth Palmer

Ms. Palmer is the art teacher at Bridges.

 

"I am starting my second year at the Bridges Program. I have taught art for many years, working with students of all ages. I have a Master’s degree in Art Education from Rochester Institute of Technology and an undergraduate degree in Fine Arts. Art is a huge part of my life and I am passionate about sharing my love of art with our students. We have such creative students and staff, so I feel very fortunate to be a part of Bridges."

 Cassandra Powell

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Cassandra Powell

Ms. Powell is a 3rd - 5th  grade teacher at Bridges.

 

"Hi! My name is Cassandra Powell and I come to the Bridges Program with 30 years in a variety of teaching experiences in  upper elementary and middle school grades. After successfully raising three wonderful children, I decided to enter a new season in my teaching career and am very excited to join the Bridges’ family!  When it’s time to relax, I enjoy watching television or reading a good book surrounded by my 5 fur babies. (Yes ...I am well on my way to being a crazy cat lady!)"

 Carol Ryder

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Carol Ryder

Ms. Ryder is the P.E. teacher at Bridges.

 

"My name is Carol Ryder. I come to the Bridges Program after teaching Physical Education in Wake County for 28 years. I love working at Bridges!"

 Danielle Starnes

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Danielle Starnes

Ms. Starnes is a 5th grade teacher at Bridges.

 

"I am very excited to begin my first year at Bridges! I've been teaching for 13 years, all in Johnston County. When I'm not teaching I'm usually at home with my 2 dogs, Charlie and Chloe, and my cat, Margie."