meet our staff & volunteers
The Nest Academy Staff
HEAD OF SCHOOL AND FOUNDER
I feel honored and privileged to lead our staff, students, volunteers and board of directors for the past 12 years.
Each day I have a ‘bird’s eye view’ of the impact that the gift of education from The Nest is making in the lives of our students. It is my passion to teach and inspiring our students, lead our staff and engage our volunteers of The Nest Academy and empower Charlotte’s most vulnerable children to ‘find out what happens when they don’t give up’.
I love living in Charlotte as it has become home to me. I have 3 amazing children… Jaden 18 (Nest Academy Class of 2021 Alumna), Josiah 16, and Jace 14, who attend the Nest Academy and are my world. I feel so blessed to be mom and head of school to them.
Leadership, outreach & discipleship have always been my passion, as well as encouraging and inspiring mental, physical and spiritual importance in other’s lives! I became a personal trainer to further my expertise, knowledge & experience and LOVE challenging our students and staff to strengthen themselves emotionally, physically and spiritually!
I have over 20 years in full time ministry, leadership, outreach, building education, development and advancement, building donor bases and fundraising, as well as non-profit education, ministry and fitness consulting.
In 20 years, I’ve founded and co-founded two 501(c)(3) non-profits, successfully developed a strategic and successful donor base, founded a fitness outreach ministry, created a Christian health/fitness curriculum used in our Academy & local churches called ‘Christfit”, was recognized as one of The Mecklenburg Times 50 Most influential Women of Charlotte, have spoken on panels across NC and the US, led professional and development seminars in churches, chapel services and professional groups & have had the fortunate opportunity to see God do amazing things in and through the lives of these students that have been in my life.
WHAT A JOURNEY OF LIVING AND LOVING LOUDY!
Middle School Teacher
Kelli obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education with concentrations in multicultural education & educational psychology from Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. She is currently working on her MBA from Wake Forest University Charlotte City Center. She has taught various grades in K-6 in Wake County and Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools. She is an active member of many organizations throughout the city with a passion for making a difference in the lives of those she serves.
Middle & Upper School Lead Teacher
Jacki obtained her Bachelor’s in Education from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. She is a Certified teacher specializing in language. Her teaching career began in 2009 as the FIRST Nest Academy teacher to the first 5 academy girls. Jacki’s love for teaching and experience has grown and she is lead teacher of The Nest Academy, now 13 years later.
Lower School ESL Teacher
Ellen Leitch is a 1984 graduate of the University of Virginia with a B.S. in Commerce. After graduation she worked as a CPA at Coopers & Lybrand ( now PWC)in Washington, DC. She married David Leitch in 1985 and they have three children. While raising their kids, Ellen taught ESL to the immigrants and diplomats from 33 different countries through McLean Presbyterian Church and coached gymnastics at the YMCA.
In 2005, the Leitches moved to Michigan for David’s job. Ellen tutored at-risk kids in an after-school enrichment/dinner program. She was also on the board of The Lighthouse,a community-based organization that housed and educated homeless mothers until they became self-suffircient.
Ellen and David have been in Charlotte since 2016, when David took a job with Bank of America. Ellen has recently left the board of Council for Children’s Rights and is excited about becoming more involved with The Nest. Her hobbies include cooking, golf, travel, and her dog, Cash.
Middle/High School Chemistry & Math Teacher
Reesh joins us from Brooklyn, New York. He instructs our upper school in math, science, fitness, and technology. Prior to teaching, Reesh worked as a ministry coordinator at The Brooklyn Tabernacle Church where he traveled with teams to conduct business training, medical clinics, and ministry to various regions of Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. He has worked in school systems before, and has been a software engineer, in financial services, and marketing.
Assistant to the Head Of School
Alexandria is our assistant from Alabama. She graduated from the Univeristy of North Alabama with a major in Spanish Commerce and with minors in French and Marketing & Communication Technology. She has worked with students around the world and assists the head of school.
Educational Therapist , Educational Consultant Language, Reading and Speech Specialist
Jan joins our Nest with a B.S., Education; M.S., Educational Psychology
She is Professionally Certified NILD Educational Therapist, an Orton-Gillingham Educator and has a Private Practice in Matthews, NC, Educational Therapists of the Carolinas.
Laura Reed joined the Nest Academy’s staff in 2019 as volunteer middle school teacher and is now teaching all grade levels and serves and co-leads the Nest’s Administrative staff.
Prior to joining the Nest Academy, Laura was the Director of Professional Development for the North Carolina Association of Independent Schools (NCAIS) for 6 years. Before working with the state association, Laura served as Head of School at Noble Academy in Greensboro for 8 years. She has a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree in Special Education from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.
Physical Education Teacher
A former pro football athlete driven by his faith, family and fitness has a BA from Elon University and over 10 yrs teaching experience. Prior to coming to The Nest, Eddie was teaching and in administration at Martin Luther King middle school and specializes in special needs and physical education.
"Kupe Decale" - Princeton Worrell
Tumbling/Modern Dance Teacher
Kupe is an Atlanta bred freestyle dancer and has many styles of dance under his belt. Along with trending and popular dances, he specializes in raw hip hop such as Waving and Tutting. Kupe has been in music videos for a local Charlotte rapper and a recent Bojangles commercial. He brings a deep appreciation for the culture and art of dance. “I plan to manifest the art of freestyle in every student.”
Staff & Volunteer Spotlight
My name is Elodie Deneassembaye, and I am a junior at Queens University of Charlotte majoring in Human Service Studies with a French minor. This semester I have had the privilege of interning with The Nest Academy!Part of the reason The Nest resonates with me so...
My name is Alex Jackson and I am very grateful and excited to have the opportunity to intern with the Nest Academy this summer! I am a rising sophomore at UNC-Chapel Hill studying Business and Public Policy and I am looking forward to helping grow The Nest in any way...
I had an amazing opportunity to intern at The Nest Academy this semester. I had not heard of the Nest Academy before and was not sure what to expect. But from the first day, I knew that I was at the right place. Interning has developed my interest even more in working...
This week we want to spotlight another great volunteer! Ariana actually began as a virtual tutor in January and transitioned back to in person with us! She is a native Charlottean and graduated from North Carolina State University with degrees in Graphic Design and...
Ella is our volunteer that has been with us since mid-semester last fall! She is a freshman at UNCC and majoring in Bachelors of Science in Biology and minoring in Chemistry, but also thinking about adding a Healthcare Management major. Her personal goal is to get...
Liddy is one of our new volunteers this semester! She is from Huntsville, Alabama. Liddy attends Davidson College and is studying philosophy while on the pre-med track. Liddy loves the role she has as a tutor. She loves the privilege of developing relationships with...
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