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
Volunteer Spotlight: Liddy
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...
Volunteer Spotlight: Carter
Carter is a new volunteer with us this semester! His primary focus is on math and he works with our lower school students. He majored in Finance at NC State and since graduating has spent the last year working as an enterprise sales rep for software companies. We...
Volunteer Spotlight: Sara Nofsinger
Our volunteer spotlight this week is on Sarah Nofsinger! Sarah has been with the academy since the fall helping in biology for our high schoolers. She is now working with our middle school group! Sarah first became interested in Biology herself in high school. AP...
Intern Spotlight: Sophia Secard
This semester we were excited to welcome a new intern with us! Sophia Secard joined us from Queens University. She jumped right into helping when our kids were virtual, helping with meals and tutoring needs. We have been so grateful to have her! Below, Sophia writes...
A New School Year at The Nest!
Hey everyone! I’m back! If you’ve been involved with the Nest for a while, you might remember me, but, for those who don’t, let me introduce myself. My name is Connor Derrick and I am interning here at the Nest for the fall semester. I first got involved with the...
Staff Spotlight: Maiya Black-Keeling
So excited to introduce to you our newest staff member, PE, Health and nutrition teacher...Maiya Black-Keeling. Maiya started with us as a volunteer last year, teaching PE two days a week on her lunch break and has now joined our staff!!! Maiya’s heart for kids, her...
Ready to Make an impact?
6824 Democracy Dr.
Charlotte NC, 28212
M-F: 7:45am - 2:30pm