COVID Protocols are Stressed and New Faculty Announced

John Elmore, Head of School
It has been an exciting couple of weeks as our students and teachers work and learn together across campus.  Teenagers are still tired at drop-off and young children cannot contain their excitement from being with their friends after such a long time away, but we are all happy to be together to share the experiences of this academic year. 

Again, I ask that every family work with the School by following best practices to mitigate exposure or spread of the COVID-19 virus on campus and off.  Across the country, schools have been forced to close or quarantine due to cases, and many have not opened to in-person learning. We need the help and cooperation of everyone in the O’Neal community to stay safe and to stay open. 
We have been impressed by our students and by the way they have adapted to our safety protocols.  Here are a few reminders to make things function even better: 

  • We continue to remind students about distancing, even when outdoors, because this has been our biggest challenge.  This practice is significant not only to mitigate viral spread but also to limit the number of people exposed when there is a case. 
  • Please use your student’s name when filling out the AUXS symptoms screening each morning. 
  • Middle and upper school students must go directly to the library when their division is closed for the day.  This is the only location after school or after athletics when waiting for pick-up. 
  • Middle and upper school students must bring their fobs each day for building entry.  If a fob has been lost, the division assistant can work with Mr. Wenzel for a replacement. 

I am proud of the extraordinary efforts our teachers have made during these opening weeks to get back to teaching and learning with their students under these new conditions.  Please celebrate and thank them. 
We are fortunate to attract and retain faculty members with both excitement for teaching and academic expertise in their fields.  Several teachers have joined O'Neal full time during the last several weeks, and below are biographies for all of the new teachers for the 2020-21 academic year:  
William Allen
Mr. Allen has 23 years of experience teaching middle and upper school mathematics and science.  After military service, he attended St. Leo University and earned his M.S. from Central Michigan University.  He was a biotechnology and chemical researcher before his teaching career.  Mr. Allen is teaching middle school mathematics. 
Kirsten Blair
Ms. Blair comes to O’Neal having taught previously at schools in Massachusetts.  She earned her B.A. with dual degrees in history and education from Assumption College and has completed graduate coursework at Clemson University.  Ms. Blair is teaching middle school history.  
Trisha Caviness-Bliss
Ms. Caviness-Bliss is a native of Moore County and has extensive experience in grades K -6.  She earned her B.S. and M.A. degrees at Appalachian State University, where after several years of teaching, she held administrative roles at the Reich College of Education.  Ms. Caviness-Bliss has earned Teacher of the Year honors in three different counties during her career, and she joins O’Neal teaching 4th Grade.  
Catherine Christ
Ms. Christ is teaching middle school English.  She earned her B.A. and M.A. degrees at UNC-Wilmington and comes to the Sandhills from the coast.  Ms. Christ is experienced with online platforms, has mentored and evaluated beginning teachers, and served on her superintendent’s Teacher Advisory Committee.  
Emily Davison
Ms. Davison comes to O’Neal from Arctic Light Elementary in Fairbanks, Alaska, where she taught grades 1-3.  She has served as the Lead Teacher for her team and was a member of her school’s strategic planning committee.  Ms. Davison is a graduate of East Carolina University, and she is teaching 1st Grade. 
Lisa Elmore
Ms. Elmore earned her B.A. in experimental psychology at Grinnell College and M.A. in mathematics at Columbia University.  She has worked for the National Science Foundation and taught in a number of public and independent schools.  Ms. Elmore is teaching upper school mathematics and psychology. 
Leya Joseph
Ms. Joseph is teaching middle school mathematics and science.  She is a chemical engineer who grew up in Kuwait and earned her B.S. in India at Amal Jyothi College of Engineering.  Ms. Joseph comes to O’Neal from Fayetteville where she taught middle school mathematics. 
Lura Martinez
Ms. Martinez is teaching middle school Spanish. She is fluent in Spanish and earned her B.S. and M.A. degrees in history from Liberty University.  She taught for three years in Lima, Peru, at the middle and upper school levels.  Ms. Martinez has worked as a private Spanish tutor and interpreter and guided student trips.  She also served as an undergraduate instructor for two years at Liberty University. 
Alyssa Midcalf
Ms. Midcalf has taught in private schools in FL, NC and IN.  She has taught all upper school levels of mathematics, including Advanced Placement Calculus.  Ms. Midcalf earned her B.S at Bob Jones University and her M.Ed. at Liberty University, and she joins our upper school mathematics department. 
Judy Osborne
Ms. Osborne comes to O’Neal from Union Pines High School where she has built a strong theater arts program.  Well-connected at the state level as well, she has earned the Herman Middleton Distinguished Service and Educator of the Year awards from the North Carolina Theater Conference.  Ms. Osborne received her B.S. in theater arts at East Carolina University and her M.Ed. from UNC-Greensboro.  She is teaching in both the Middle and Upper Schools and leading the theater productions. 
Sally Rollinson
Ms. Rollinson comes to O’Neal from California.  Her 25-year career includes teaching and administrative work from the elementary through college levels including serving as principal.  Ms. Rollinson earned her B.A. from SUNY-Albany and her M.A. from the University of San Diego.  She will fill several roles including, long-term substituting in all divisions, literacy, research and library integration, and individual academic support.  
Elizabeth Sager
Ms. Sager is working with our Academic Enrichment Program primarily in the Middle School.  She has a wealth of experience in special education, educational differentiation and assessment and classroom teaching.  She comes to O’Neal from Moore County Schools and earned her B.S. from University of Colorado Boulder and her M.A. from the University of Northern Colorado. 
Kat Spradlin 
Ms. Spradlin is O’Neal’s Director of Studies and is teaching in the English department.  In addition to teaching English, she has an extensive career in curriculum and instruction and mentoring and supervising teachers.  She has been an instructor and Teacher in Residence at Florida State University for the last decade.  Ms. Spradlin earned her B.A. at San Diego State University and M.S. at SUNY-Potsdam. 
As always, our goal is to organize the safest possible learning environment while also providing the education and value that matches our reputation.  Again, welcome to our newest O’Neal families and faculty members.  If you have specific questions or concerns, please contact me or your division head at any time. 
Sincerely yours,
Serving Pinehurst, Southern Pines, Whispering Pines, Sanford, West End, Aberdeen, and areas surrounding Moore County, NC.

The O’Neal School
3300 Airport Road
Southern Pines, NC 28387

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