meet our staff & volunteers

 

Volunteers

Scholarships granted

Lunches served

The Nest Academy Staff

 MC (Mary Catherine) Hildreth

MC (Mary Catherine) Hildreth

Head of School

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!

 

Kelli Bush

Kelli Bush

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.

[email protected]

Jackie Cristobal

Jackie Cristobal

Middle & Upper School Lead Teacher

[email protected]

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.

Ellen Leitch

Ellen Leitch

Lower School ESL Teacher

[email protected]

 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. 

Reesh Oghra

Reesh Oghra

Middle/High School Chemistry & Math Teacher

reesh.oghra@gmail.com

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.

Debbie Knudson

Debbie Knudson

Lower School Teacher

Alexandria Buttgereit

Alexandria Buttgereit

Assistant to the Head Of School

[email protected]

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.

Jan Aaron

Jan Aaron

Educational Therapist , Educational Consultant Language, Reading and Speech Specialist

[email protected]

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

Laura Reed

Teacher/Administrative Staff

[email protected] 

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. 

Ramsey Howard

Ramsey Howard

Intern

Elodie Deneassembaye

Elodie Deneassembaye

Intern

Eddie Bell

Eddie Bell

Physical Education Teacher

[email protected]

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

"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

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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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Staff Spotlight: Maiya Black-Keeling

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...

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My Story: How I Got Involved at The Nest

My Story: How I Got Involved at The Nest

Hey there! My name is Connor Derrick and I am interning here at The Nest Academy for the fall semester! Throughout these next few months, I will be sharing my experiences with the Academy, as well as creating Student Spotlights on each of our Academy students! (Check...

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