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Meet Our Team

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Adrienne Day
Head of School |
Co-Founder | Teacher - The Oak Room (ages 9-12)

Adrienne Day has been passionate about education since she was a child playing teacher to her dolls. Adrienne serves as Head of School and Co-Founder of Elevate Community School.

Adrienne has 10 years of experience in private school teaching and administration. She has a Montessori teaching certification and delivers a unique curriculum integrating Montessori, Reggio Emilia, and Waldorf philosophies, in addition to her own discoveries made through research and student observation.

After teaching in public education, Adrienne noticed how often it seemed the children were not the number one priority and began researching alternative methods of education. In 2012, Adrienne founded a private school serving children in preschool through elementary in Jacksonville, Florida.

Adrienne holds a BA in International Relations from University of North Florida. Her career experience includes volunteering as an English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher and apprenticing at a Title One Elementary school.

Adrienne loves to travel (fav destinations are Malaysia and Bangladesh), loves all things outdoors (hiking, camping, exploring), and lives on Daniel Island with her fur baby puggle named George.

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Lori Caulder
Literacy Specialist | Phonics Teacher

Lori has been passionate about the field of early childhood education since high school. Her experience as a Special Olympics mentor sparked her passion for teaching others. 

Lori's career in education started after she graduated from Coastal Carolina University in 2008 where she received a Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education. She has taught at numerous schools within Charleston and Berkeley County including: Meeting Street Academy, Sander’s Clyde Elementary, North Charleston Elementary School, and Mt. Holly Elementary working with ages three through eight. She also has experience as a reading interventionist working with students ages five through eight.

Lori's teaching philosophy is "if you foster the play and exploration in young children, endless learning opportunities become available." 

Lori is in her tenth year of teaching and she couldn’t imagine herself anywhere but in the classroom. She is a South Carolina native and loves living, and now teaching, on Daniel Island.

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Alisha Salmonsen
School Coordinator

Alisha recently began her career in education. She completed a nursing program at Trident Technical College before deciding her passion was in

teaching. She finds it to be inspiring and meaningful. 

Alisha is completing an Associates in Science and hopes to continue her education at College of Charleston next year.

Alisha loves to sing, dance, and fish.

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Wynne Lennon
P.E. Teacher

Wynne has her Master's degree in early education. She was an elementary teacher at a progressive, independent elementary school called City and Country in NYC. She went on to teach at an all-girls school called The Brearley School. While at Brearley she transitioned from classroom teaching to the PE department, working with grades K-5. Wynne has coached high school field hockey and lacrosse for seventeen years. In 2019 she co-founded and was the Program Director of Darien Junior Field Hockey (DJFH), a Connecticut-based youth field hockey program that serves over 600 athletes in grades 1st-8th. 

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Tony DiGennaro
Music Teacher

“Mr. Tony,” or Antony DiGennaro, is a composer, multi-instrumentalist, producer and music educator. Originally from Connecticut, he has spent most of his life as a professional musician, performing, composing and teaching in Southern California. Trained as a jazz guitarist, he earned his degree in music composition from California Institute of the Arts, where he also studied improvisation, world music, and performance on many different instruments. While in the Los Angeles area he spent a great deal of time composing music for film, modern dance, and live performance art. Tony currently teaches guitar, bass, piano and keyboards, banjo, ukulele, mandolin, dulcimer, autoharp, harmonica, modular synthesis, music theory and composition locally in the Lowcountry.

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Stefanie Swackhamer
Executive Director |
Co-Founder | Latin Teacher

Stefanie Swackhamer serves as Executive Director and Co-founder at Elevate Community School. She is an advocate for community based education rooted in sustainability and environmental awareness.

 

With over 15 years experience in community based work, Stefanie has always had a passion for education and serving. As a teacher, she started a Literacy Through Latin program at a Title I high school in North Charleston, SC. This program targeted students struggling with literacy and grew from 5 students into a thriving program.

 

Before Elevate, Stefanie was VP of Mission, Marketing, and Business Development at AmplifiedAg. Through this work she helped to grow the team across multiple site locations while establishing powerful community partnerships. 

Stefanie holds an Associate in Arts from Trident Technical College, a B.A. in Classics from College of Charleston, and a Masters in Teaching from National University with a specialization in Cross Cultural Learning.​

Stefanie lives on Daniel Island with her husband, two boys (ages 7 and 8), two dogs, cat, and a rat. 

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Caitlin Montone
Teacher – The Magnolia Room (ages 7-9)

Caitlin graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education in 2010 from Clemson University. Go Tigers! This will be her 13th year teaching.

She has a passion for creativity so she likes to incorporate art and creativity into her teaching. Caitlin believes "cultivating a creative and welcoming space is essential to fostering children's highest learning potential". 

Caitlin shares two wonderful children Austin (2) and Gia (1) with her husband who serves as a firefighter on Daniel Island. She has an english bulldog named Henry and a frenchie named Brynn.

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Hanna Reed
Teacher – The Cypress Room (ages 5-7)

Hanna graduated with a Bachelors degree in Early Elementary Education at Virginia Commonwealth University. This will be her 6th year teaching.

Hanna believes "children do their best when they feel safe and supported, so I will strive to make caring connections with each one of them."

Hanna was born and raised in Virginia and moved to
Charleston 6 years ago. She is obsessed with beagles and
she has a two year old beagle mix named, Cricket.

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Stephanie Walker
Teacher – The Cypress Room (ages 5-7)

Stephanie Walker earned her Associates degree in Early Childhood Education from Harrisburg Area Community College, Bachelor's degree in Early Childhood from Eastern University and Masters in Teaching from The University of South Carolina. She has been working with children for as long as she can remember! She has worked at Head Start in both Pennsylvania and South Carolina for a total of 5 years. She has also taught second grade for 4 years and in the Child Development program for 3 years at Cainhoy Elementary. She lives in Mount Pleasant with her husband and two dogs, Finnley and Monroe.  In her spare time, Stephanie enjoys practicing yoga, going to the beach, and cruising around on her Yellowfin! Growing up in a military family, Stephanie has had the experience of living all around the world in places like Okinawa, Morocco, and Hawaii!   She is excited to begin a new adventure at Elevate and reach the lives of more children and their families!

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Taylor Kennington
Teacher – The Magnolia Room (ages 7-9)

Taylor graduated with a BS in Health Science in 2019 from North Greenville University where she also played NCAA Division II Women's Lacrosse. 

Growing up in a Montessori school, Taylor developed a love of learning and a passion for Montessori education. She continued her studies at Washington Montessori Institute where she will finish her AMI primary training in July 2023. Taylor previously taught at a local Montessori school and is excited to combine her Montessori training with her desire to include elements of learning outside of the classroom.  

Having been raised on Daniel Island and graduating from Bishop England High School, Taylor wanted to make Daniel Island her home after college.  Taylor enjoys spending time with her black lab Harper and cat Oliver.  You can often find her with a camera in hand as she loves photography and the outdoors. 

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