meet our staff & volunteers
The Nest Academy Staff
FOUNDER and HEAD OF SCHOOL
MC inspires and empowers diverse communities while welcoming and engaging them to facilitate belonging. The result of her dedication is changed life trajectories, academic success, connecting their contributions, stimulating transformation and igniting equity, economic mobility and growth opportunities.
The Nest Academy has relocated to The Simmons YMCA, where MC is continuing to build community in Charlotte’s East Side , leveraging partnerships to strengthen the ‘village’ it takes to support The Nest’s efforts, and educating Charlotte’s most vulnerable children to become first generation graduates.
MC has worked 22 years in full-time refugee, immigrant, and within marginalized communities in Chicago (K-5 Education coordinator-World Relief) and for 18 years in Charlotte in leadership, outreach, education, development and advancement.
MC’s most recent strategic partnership with The Simmons YMCA allows for an even greater impact on Charlotte’s Eastside through additional programming to embrace and promote Whole Healthy Youth. While optimizing volunteer engagement, strategic partnerships in the private and public sectors, stewarding and connecting social responsibility, working to aid in public policy efforts, and championing the success of a very deserving population, MC is most proud to be a mom and Head of School.
She’s breaking the status quo, boldly positioned to break patterns of inequity and to tackle one of Charlotte’s most overwhelming needs for quality education, individual attention, and empowerment through academic success with accountability.
She has served in several roles as nonprofit founder and director, worked over a decade in nonprofit consulting, and was recognized as one of Charlotte’s 50 Most Influential Women.
WHAT A JOURNEY OF LIVING AND LOVING LOUDY! THE BEST IS YET TO COME!!!
Director of Academic Programming
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.
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.
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.
Lower School ESL Tutor, Board of Directors
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.
Assistant to the Head Of School
Alexandria graduated from the University of North Alabama with a major in Spanish Commerce and minors in French and Marketing & Communication Technology. She has worked with students around the world and assists the head of school.
Educational Therapist and Consultant Language, Reading and Speech Specialist
Jan has a B.S., Education; M.S., Educational Psychology . She is a Professionally Certified NILD Educational Therapist, an Orton-Gillingham Educator, and has a Private Practice in Matthews, NC, Educational Therapists of the Carolinas.
Middle/High School Chemistry & Math Teacher
Reesh is from Brooklyn, New York. He teaches math, science, fitness, STEAM, 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.
Intern Queens University
Intern Queens University
Physical Education, Art 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.
Princeton Worrell 'Kupe Decale'
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.”
Volunteer and Intern Spotlight
It's hard to describe the severity of the challenges for most students at The Nest. Among the largest...literacy. It is as simply put as the old phrase, which comes first, the chicken or the egg? Commonly overlooked in our school systems for the sheer fact that...
Intern Spotlight: Elodie Deneassembaye
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...
Intern Spotlight: Alexander
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...
Intern Insider with Sophia!
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...
Volunteer Spotlight: Ariana
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...
Volunteer Spotlight: Ella
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...
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6824 Democracy Dr.
Charlotte NC, 28212
M-F: 7:45am - 2:30pm