Canterbury School welcomes several new faculty and staff members for our 2023-2024 school year. Each joins our community with an outstanding background and a commitment to academic excellence.
Jenn Bottorff - Lower School Reading Specialist
Jen comes to Canterbury with close to 30 years of experience in various educational settings. Most recently, she served as an Exceptional Student Education (ESE) Resource Teacher at Skyline Elementary in Cape Coral. Jen earned her Master of Arts in Special Education from the University of Saint Joseph in Connecticut. She holds several certifications including her Reading Endorsement.
Kelsie Kirschner - Lower School Assistant Teacher
We are pleased to welcome Kelsie as an assistant teacher in our kindergarten classrooms. Kelsie earned her Bachelor of Science in Sociology from Utah Valley University. She recently taught early childhood education with Kids On The Move, a nonprofit organization in Orem, Utah. Kelsie also spent a summer in Costa Rica working for an international language program, where she taught students in kindergarten through fifth grade.
Thomas Pritchard ’19 - Physical Education Teacher
We are pleased to welcome back Thomas, a Canterbury alumnus from the Class of 2019. Thomas graduated from Flagler College in St. Augustine with a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts. He has recently worked with our Extended Day and Summer Programs. Thomas is also an avid athlete, playing football, basketball, and lacrosse during his time at Canterbury. He went on to play collegiate lacrosse at Flagler. He is excited to join the Lower School faculty and work with our youngest Cougars as a physical education teacher.
Nita Stewart - Second Grade Lead Teacher
Nita is looking forward to joining our Lower School faculty as a lead teacher in our second grade. She has been a frequent substitute teacher at Canterbury throughout the school year. Nita earned her Master of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction Educational Technology from Florida Gulf Coast University as well as her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Visual Arts Studies from the University of Florida. In addition to serving as a substitute teacher for Canterbury, she also frequently volunteered with The Sanibel School and served as the Interim Director at The Children’s Education Center of the Islands on Sanibel.
Mike Bonilla - Middle School Entrepreneurship and Physical Education Teacher
Mike will be joining our Middle School faculty to teach Entrepreneurship and Physical Education to students in seventh and eighth grades. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Sports Business Management from Webber International University in Central Florida. Mike has more than 10 years of experience in education with the Lee County School District including his most recent position as a Critical Thinking Teacher at East Lee County High. In addition, Mike is also familiar with the independent school world having served as the head basketball coach at Southwest Florida Christian Academy (SFCA) where he was selected as The News-Press Coach of the Year in 2020.
Taylor Goins - Middle School English Teacher
We are pleased to welcome Taylor Goins to teach English to our fifth-graders in our Middle School. Most recently, Taylor taught language arts and social studies to students in fourth and sixth grades at Christ the King School in Tampa. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from Flagler College along with her Reading and ESOL Endorsements. She is graduating next month from Florida State University with a Master of Education in Educational Psychology.
Erin Greenblatt - Middle School Computer Science Teacher
Erin has more than 16 years of experience in education, most recently teaching a variety of courses as part of the Career and Technology Education Department at Dunbar High School in Fort Myers. She also has experience as an adjunct professor at Edison Community College, which is now known as Florida SouthWestern State College. Erin earned her Bachelor of Arts in Communication and completed the Teacher Immersion Program at Florida Gulf Coast University. She is looking forward to leading our Computer Science program in our Middle School.
Haley Holbein - Middle School French Teacher
We are looking forward to welcoming Haley to our World Languages Department to teach French in our Middle School. She recently graduated from Florida Gulf Coast University with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and a minor in French. She has served as a teaching assistant in FGCU’s College of Arts & Sciences, as a French tutor, and as the treasurer for the French Club on campus.
Camary Williams - Physical Education Teacher and Lower School Library Teacher
Camary is joining us from Tanglewood Elementary in Fort Myers where she served as an Exceptional Student Education (ESE) Teacher. She graduated from the University of Evansville with a Bachelor of Science in Sports Management. She is looking forward to working with our Middle School students as a Physical Education Teacher, as well as assisting in the Hilliard Library with our Lower School students. She will also serve as our Head Coach for the Varsity Girls Basketball team. Camary played Division I basketball during her time at the University of Evansville. She went on to play professionally overseas from 2018-2020 while also starting her coaching career. She served as the Head Coach of the Fort Myers Lady Bobcats Semi-Professional Team and also coached basketball programs at Lehigh Senior and Cape Coral High Schools.
Jacqueline Davila-French - Upper School Spanish Teacher
Jacqueline has worked as a substitute teacher for Canterbury throughout this past school year and we are looking forward to her joining our Upper School faculty to teach Spanish II Honors. She graduated from Florida State University with a Bachelor of Science in Finance, and she is fluent in both Spanish and English. While her professional experience comes from the business world, she notes that she has showcased her teaching skills while implementing new systems in previous positions with Florida’s Office of Financial Regulation and at Florida State University. Jacqueline also serves as the Managing Partner for The Determined Society, a professional and personal growth platform.
Kaisha Louis - Upper School History Teacher & AP Coordinator
Kaisha will join our Upper School faculty to teach Ancient World History Honors and Modern World History Honors and serve as our Advanced Placement (AP) Coordinator. She studied at the University of Maine at Farmington and earned her degree in secondary education for social science with a specialization in history and a minor in political science. She has more than 20 years of experience in education, most recently serving as a Social Studies and Youth In Government Teacher at Paul Laurence Dunbar Middle in Fort Myers.
Brennan Mercker - Upper School Science Teacher
We are pleased to welcome Brennan to our Upper School Science Department to teach Chemistry Honors for the new school year. He will also assist with our Biotechnology and Research Honors course as well as the Independent Science Research Program. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Chemistry with a minor in German from the University of Houston. In addition to his laboratory training in organic, inorganic, analytical, and physical chemistry, Brennan also served as a supplemental instructor with Houston Community College. He was also selected by his professors to be the official German tutor for the University of Houston. Brennan is also a proud Eagle Scout with the Boy Scouts of America.
Nancy Oukasse - Upper School French Teacher
Nancy has more than 15 years of experience in education and she is looking forward to teaching French in our Upper School. Nancy attended the University of Vermont where she earned a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction, a Master of Arts in French, as well as a Bachelor of Arts in French and Theater. Most recently, she served as a French Subject Matter Expert and Online Content Developer for Liberty University Online Academy. She also taught French and Theater at Babcock Neighborhood School in Charlotte County.
Dan St. Gean - Upper School English Teacher
Dan has 25 years of experience teaching English, most recently with the Geneva School District #304 located just outside of Chicago. Dan earned a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Secondary Education from Wheaton College. He also holds a Master of Arts in Educational Leadership and a Master of Arts in the Art of Teaching from Aurora University in Illinois. Dan is also very familiar with independent schools having attended Santa Fe Christian Schools in California for his primary through secondary education. He is looking forward to working with our ninth and tenth graders for English I Honors and English II Honors.
John Woodward - Upper School Science Teacher
John will be joining our Upper School Science Department to teach Physics Honors, AP Physics 2, and AP Physics C. John has more than 30 years of experience as an educator, most recently working with the Lee County School District teaching a variety of physics courses. He graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in biology and minors in computer science and education. John attends continuing education through Advanced Placement Summer Institutes yearly and he is recognized as a National Board Certified Physics Teacher.
Angelica Vazquez-Salgado - Upper School Spanish Teacher
Angelica earned her master’s degree in teaching Spanish as a second language from the University of La Rioja in Spain. She also has a Bachelor of Arts in English Philology from the University of Santiago de Compostela in Spain. Angelica has been teaching Spanish for more than 20 years, most recently at Gateway High School in Lee County. She is looking forward to joining our Upper School faculty to teach Spanish III Honors.
Other Faculty & Staff
Rachel Dicus - Assistant School Nurse
We are pleased to welcome Rachel to our Wellness Clinic staff for the new school year. Rachel earned her Associate of Science in Nursing from Florida SouthWestern State College. She has several years of experience working with Lee Health, most recently as a Nurse Supervisor at HealthPark Medical Center where she coordinated staffing for three units in addition to caring for patients directly. Rachel also worked with the Lee County School District as an Instructional Materials and Inventory Specialist.
Alek Kirschner - LIFT Coordinator
Alek is a graduate of Canterbury’s Class of 2016 and he is excited to return to campus to serve as coordinator for our Leadership Institute for Tomorrow (LIFT) program. Alek graduated from Brigham Young University with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. His experience includes serving as Assistant Varsity Lacrosse Coach for Timpview High School in Utah as well as Care Coordination Intern with Elite DNA Therapy Services in Fort Myers. Alek also served as a Student Research Assistant at Brigham Young University where he wrote blog posts for the My Best Self 101 website and assisted with social media accounts.
Natalie Kuznicki - Executive Assistant to Advancement Department
Natalie will be joining our Advancement Office to assist our fundraising team with stewardship and special events. She comes to us from St. Francis Xavier Catholic School in Fort Myers where she taught Middle School Science and Video Production. She also has project management and event planning experience while working with Clear!Blue Communications in Michigan. Natalie earned her Master of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction specializing in Educational Technology. She also has a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from the University of Michigan.
New Roles at Canterbury
Several of our current faculty and staff members are taking on new and/or additional roles for the 2023-2024 school year.
Liz Corrente will now serve as our Middle and Upper School Counselor in our Student Support Services Department. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Theater Arts from Gettysburg College and her Master of Arts in Psychology and Counseling from Arcadia University.
During this past school year, Julie DiBenedetto took on the role of Dean of Faculty in addition to serving as our Assistant Head of Student Life. She earned a Master of Arts in History as well as a Master of Arts in Secondary Teaching from Simmons University in Boston. She also has a Bachelor of Arts in American Studies with a minor in Architectural Studies from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut.
Maggie Eckenrode joined Canterbury in 2019 to lead one of our Pre-K3 classrooms. In the new school year, she will transition to Kindergarten as a Lead Teacher. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Florida Gulf Coast University in child and youth studies along with a Reading and ESOL Endorsement.
Carson Swanson ’18 will be taking the lead in our Pre-K3 classroom in the new school year. She has her Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education from the University of Alabama.
In addition to serving as our Dean of Student Life, Arty Walters will also teach Statistics Honors and Calculus Honors in our Upper School. Arty graduated with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics education from Brigham Young University.