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Ms. Jennifer Batts-Blalock, Preschool

Coming soon!

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Mrs. Jen Hale, ECS Teacher

My name is Jen Hale.  I was an Instructional Assistant for 13 years before going back to school to finish my teaching degree.  I have been teaching Special Education for 8 years and this is my fifth year in the ECS II class here at Stough.  I am originally from Portland, Maine and I try to visit my family up there as often as I can.  I have lived in North Carolina for over 30 years with my daughter, who is now 27. When I'm not at work, I enjoy spending time with my family, traveling to the beach, and watching UNC sports, go Heels! I also enjoy cooking and trying out new restaurants. I am looking forward to another amazing year at Stough!

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Ms. Rachel Lea, CCR Teacher

My name is Rachel Lea. This is my third year here at Stough in the CCR program. I grew up in Raleigh, NC and I am a former Stough Stallion as I attended this school for elementary school. I attended William Peace University, where I obtained a BA in Liberal Arts. I also have a Master’s degree in Special Education from NC State University. In my free time I enjoy reading books (I am a frequent flyer at my local public library), traveling to new places/countries (I have visited 12 countries so far), listening to music, spending time with friends and family, and trying new foods. Excited to be a part of the Stough Family and look forward to a great school year!

I'm #StoughProud because: I love the fact that our school is so diverse and unique. I love the global magnet theme and that we are the only mandarin immersion program in Wake County.

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Ms. Katherine Harley, Grades 3-5 CCR

Ms. Harley is from Gray's Creek, North Carolina. She has a degree from North Carolina State University in Animal Science. In her free time, she spends time with her daughter and crafting. She once had a business, Lilly Mac Creations, where she made hairbows, hooded towels, and personalized clothing.

I'm #StoughProud because: My daughter is in the Mandarin Program, I loved the staff so much I decided to join!

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Ms. MacKenzie Winfrey

Hi! I am Mackenzie Winfrey. This is my first year at Stough, but third year teaching. I taught for 2 years in South Carolina after graduating from Appalachian State University with a degree in Special Education - Adapted Curriculum. I knew I wanted to teach Special Education from a young age thanks to my best friend/older brother who has Smith-Magenis Syndrome. My goal is to provide an inclusive learning environment that meets my students where they are and helps them grow.

I live in the area with my husband, Aren, and our kitties. I am originally from Kentucky (#BBN) but spent high school and college in Boone, NC. Outside of teaching, I enjoy painting, crafting, reading, watching movies, and spending time with family.

I'm #StoughProud because: of the instant connection I felt with the administration and my team. I have been welcomed with open arms and I know that the same love, warmth, and understanding extends to our students. Stough is a special place to be.

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Ms. Laura Lilly, Speech Language Pathologist

My name is Laura Lilly, and this is my third year at Stough as the speech-language pathologist. I have been an SLP for ten years and have worked primarily in school-based settings with preschool and elementary school students. I am originally from Greensboro, NC. I received my bachelor's degree from UNC-Chapel Hill and my master's degree in speech-language pathology from East Carolina University. I love helping my students grow their speech and language skills and seek to always do what's best for kids.

I'm #StoughProud because: Stough is a family! I'm proud to work on a team that collaborates together to put our students' needs first.

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Ms. Marcia Cashwell, Instructional Assistant

I have been an employee since 1998. I started as a bus driver, safety assistant, and now a Special Education IA. I moved here from New Jersey in 1997 where I was born and raised. I am the oldest of 3 brothers. I have 3 adult children and 6 grandchildren.

My favorite things to do are reading books on the origin and history of yoga and listening to Neo soul music. I enjoy watching action and drama movies and TV series.

I love collecting 🐘. I love coffee. I liked working for these food delivery services: Ubereats, Grubhub, and Doordash before the COVID pandemic started. Family and friends always speak about how quiet I am.

My purpose in life is to be of service to others. I would like to be remembered for making a positive change in the life of whomever I come in contact with.

I have been working in before-school care since September 2021. It is where the students have activities that they get to enjoy before the start of their day. We have free play day, crafts day, wiggle day, puzzles and movie day. If I had a superpower, it would be patience and endurance.
 
I'm #StoughProud: to be apart of a team that meets the needs of students with special needs to help them communicate their needs to us. We are always learning new ways to motivate our students so they can live their best life. That is why I love working at Stough.

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Ms. Linda Dickinson, Instructional Assistant

My name is Linda Dickinson. I am originally from Iowa and received an Associate of Arts degree from Iowa Lakes Community College. I have three amazing adult children and an incredible son-in-law. I have been with WCPSS for 15 years. My time has been spent in Oral Interpreter for Deaf Education and an Instructional Assistant for Special Education Preschool Programs. At Stough Elementary I am an Instructional Assistant in Structured Special Programs Preschool. I love the diversity of the school, the positivity of the programs, and the support of the staff. Stough has a wonderful Special Education team in addition to our Magnet program and our staff is truly warm and caring. In my spare time, I love to spend my free time with family. In the future I hope to continue the work I do now, to better the lives of my students and their families. I firmly believe we are a team and here to help not only the kids grow but the families glean knowledge from what we do with their children. Education is better served in partnership.

I'm #StoughProud because: I am #StoughProud of the work we do to better the lives of our students, their familie and our community as a whole.

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Mrs. Anastasia Heonis, ECS Instructional Assistant

I'm a Raleigh native and a Stough Stallion myself, but have lived in Florida, Tennessee, and Ohio. I love NC, and I'm fortunate enough to raise my daughter (a Stough Stallion) on the same street I was raised, founded by my Greek immigrant grandfather. I've worked many avenues within the arts, from writing to acting to photography, but it was becoming a mother that pulled me onto the path I'm on now. I started as a troop leader for Girl Scouts and a volunteer for my daughter's kindergarten class, then as the building substitute, and now my home is working in ECS. I'm excited about starting my third year at Stough, engaging and empowering our students. I'm fortunate to live in a multigenerational household with my elderly father, my husband , my daughter and a high-energy Schnauzer mix and a grumpy turtle. I love adventure and travel and exploring. You'll often find me outside photographing everything from people to buildings to landscapes. I'm also a comic and pop culture geek and building costumes is a huge love of mine.

I'm #StoughProud because: We have an active community where all voices are heard and represented, everyone has something so unique to bring to the table.

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Ms. Genessis Henriquez

My name is Genessis Henriquez and this is my second year working at Stough Elementary as an instructional assistant. I am in the Special Education program and I love everything about it! I work with wonderful teachers that one day I aspire to be. I graduated from Wake Tech and I am pursuing my Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education (K-6) online at Campbell University. Outside of school, I serve in the media department at my church and serve in the children's ministry, which I enjoy very much. I've learned how to better support our students at Stough and I plan to continue learning during my time here so I can be the teacher they need in the future.

I'm #StoughProud because: I get to work with an amazing team that supports our students in Special Education.

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Ms. Suzanne LaHurd, Instructional Assistant

My name is Suzanne LaHurd and I'm super excited to work in the preschool classroom at Stough this year. I began teaching elementary school in 1989. I've been a classroom teacher for grades K-4, a substitute for grades K-8, taught preschool in a private setting, worked in special programs including CCK and ECS, and I've been a one-on-one. In addition to my career in education, I raised 2 kids who attended Millbrook High School and Broughton High School. I enjoy cooking, entertaining, organizing, musicals and concerts. I love Diet Coke, sushi, cheeseburgers, blue hydrangeas and dogs! Here's to another great year at Stough!

I'm #StoughProud because: nothing makes me happier than passing a student in the hallway and they greet me with a "Ni hao!". During my 2 years at Stough, I have learned so much about different cultures, including Chinese and Middle Eastern cultures. One of my favorite parts of the day is working in the before-school program. Yes, it's an early start but the students and staff are extremely enjoyable and wonderful to be around! I am proud to work at Stough and I'm proud of all our Stallions!

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Ms. Luying Mize, One-on-One Instructional Assistant

I was born in Xiamen, China. Xiamen is a beautiful island which is very close to Taiwan. I graduated from Guangxi University Xingjian College. My bachelor's degree major is English. I like oil painting, belly dancing, and cooking. I was a belly dancing coach and I have a chunky belly! LOL! 

I'm #StoughProud because: I was born in the horse year under the Chinese zodiac. (Stough's mascot is the stallion or horse.)

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Ms. Natalie Taylor-Gyll, Occupational Therapist

My name is Natalie Taylor and I have been an OT working in the public school system for 22 years. This is my fifth year as an OT for Wake County Public Schools and for Stough ES. I grew up in Toronto, Canada and graduated from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario with my degree in Occupational Therapy. Upon graduating, I moved to Santa Barbara County working in the school system there before relocating to North Carolina.  My son, Elliott, is a freshman at NC State (go Pack!) and my daughter is a sophomore in high school.  As an Occupational Therapist, I focus on helping students develop sensory motor skills.  I use play and movement therapy to strengthen muscles and improve coordination so that students can be successful at school.  I feel very fortunate that my job feels more like fun than work and I hope my students feel the same way too! 
 
I'm #StoughProud because: I love Stough because of the families that show their support and appreciation all year long!