Meet Our Team

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Adrienne Day
Head of School |
Co-Founder

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

Teacher and Reading Specialist, Lori Caulder 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
Assistant Teacher

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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Stefanie Swackhamer
Executive Director |
Co-Founder

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 a degree 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, and a cat.

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Caitlin Montone
Lead Teacher – Upper Elementary

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
Lead Teacher – Lower Elementary

Hanna graduated with a Bachelors degree in Early Elementary Education at Virginia Commonwealth University. This will be her 5th year teaching and first year at Elevate.

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 5 years ago. She is obsessed with beagles and
she has a two year old beagle mix named, Cricket.