Meet Our Team​​

Mr. David Mahaley, M.A.

Director

Pocosin Innovative Charter is thrilled to announce our new Director, Mr. David Mahaley, M.A.!!!! His experience, knowledge, and commitment to education presents itself to the continued growth and success of our students and school.

 

Mr. Mahaley was born in Durham, NC, but spent most of his childhood in Chatham County near Pittsboro. After finishing high school, David attended UNC-Chapel Hill where he completed two degrees, one in Radio, Television & Motion Pictures, and a second in Geography. After graduation, he began working with the Carrboro Parks and Rec youth sports program. This experience led him back to UNC to complete the Middle Grades Teaching Program after which he began teaching 7th grade in Durham Public Schools. Nine years later, he transferred to neighboring Granville County where he taught 6th and 7th grades.

 

In 2000, he had an opportunity to join one of the first charter schools in North Carolina - The Franklin Academy in Wake Forest. There, he helped design and teach the middle grades program and moved with the students on to high school where he helped develop one of the most sought after academic programs in the region. David took on a leadership role within the school with both the middle and high school programs. He oversaw the construction of 3 school buildings to meet the expansion of the program to over 1,600 students. After serving as head of school at The Franklin Academy, David moved to a neighboring private school system, Thales Academy (Both schools have the same founder), where he worked within the management team leading technology and other teacher support programs across the 8 campuses in North Carolina. David has a Masters in Educational Technology Leadership from George Washington University and has earned several state and national teaching certifications.

 

David and his wife, Lori, are both native North Carolinians and have two children. His daughter is married and lives in Hendersonville with her family and his son is a Junior at East Carolina University.

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Sandie Kirkman

Kindergarten Teacher

Hey, I'm Sandie Kirkman and I am so excited to start my second year with Pocosin Innovative Charter! I graduated from East Carolina University in 2012 with a Bachelors of Science degree in Elementary Education.  During my time at ECU, I was part of the prestigious Teaching Fellows Scholarship This will be my eighth year of teaching; I taught first grade for two years and have been teaching kindergarten since 2015. I enjoy spending time with my husband and two dogs- Samuel the Spaniel and Princess Roxy (black lab).  My hobbies include reading, crafting, and sleeping.  

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Leslie Coltrain

2nd Grade Teacher

Hello, my name is Leslie Coltrain and I will be teaching 2nd grade. This will be my 14th year of teaching and I am excited to begin my second year here at Pocosin Innovative Charter! I graduated from East Carolina University in 2006 with a Bachelor's degree in Elementary education. My previous years of experience are in grades kindergarten, second, third, fourth, and fifth.  When I’m not at school, I love to spend time with my husband, three children, nine goats, one dog, and two cats. I love the outdoors and spend a lot of time playing with my two younger children. Raising goats has become a passion for us and we love each new adventure they bring to our family! 

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Krista Bond

4th Grade Teacher

Hello! My name is Krista Bond and this year I am teaching 4th grade.  I am so excited to be working at Pocosin Innovative Charter School, and I know we are going to have a lot of fun while we are learning. I received my BA from Old Dominion University and my MAEd in Instructional Technology at East Carolina University. I am also a National Board Certified Teacher. I have been working in the school systems of North Carolina since 2005 and have taught in grades 4-8. I am married and I have three wonderful boys.  I love spending time with my family and taking pictures of my children as they grow.  

Nikki Dowd

6th/7th Grade Math Teacher

My name is Nikki Dowd and I am a 6th and 7th grade math teacher at PIC. I enjoy spending time with my family and going to the beach. I have been teaching for ten years. My teaching career began in Chowan County, and I’m so excited to now serve at PIC.

Tervon Blount

Health & Physical Education Teacher

Hi I'm Tervon, I was born and raised in Plymouth, NC. I graduated from Plymouth High School in 2014 then attended the Illustrious Elizabeth City State University. I graduated from Elizabeth City State University with Cum Laude honors in 2019 majoring in Interdisciplinary Studies with a concentration in Community Services. I am now attending North Carolina Central University to earn my Masters degree in Higher Education Administration while currently serving as the Health & Physical Education Teacher at Pocosin Innovative Charter. 

Justina Swain

Teacher's Assistant

Hi! My name is Justina Swain. Also known to most of the kids as "Mrs. Tina". I am a returning Teachers Assistant to Pocosin. As a former Pre-K teacher in a daycare, I realized that I had missed working with children and being a critical part in their educational development. Being at Pocosin, I am privileged to help children in the classroom. My main goal every day is for each child to feel welcomed when they enter Pocosin. I look forward to standing at the door each morning, greeting them and wishing them the best of luck for the day ahead. I live in Creswell with my husband and our 4 beautiful children.  Our daughter is 14 years old, and we have 3 fellas, who attend Pocosin. The oldest boy is 13, and our twins are 7. When it's open, Busch Gardens is my happy place and enjoy time there with my family. I like being on the water, whether that be boating or fishing. 

Lauren Araujo

Exceptional Children Teacher

Hello, my name is Lauren Araujo. I am originally from Long Island, but currently reside in Edenton, NC. I moved to North Carolina to advance my career as a teacher.  I received my degree from Saint Joseph's College in New York. I am certified in both general education and special education. I have served in both areas of the classroom, however the majority of my experience has been in the Exceptional Children's classroom in New York and North Carolina.  I am presently working on my masters degree to become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. I am pleased to return to PIC for a second year!

Frances Combs

Teachers's Assistant/Bus Driver

Frances attended Martin Community College, where she graduated with an Associate in Applied Science Degree in Accounting and Early Childhood Education. Along with a Certificate in MOA, Medical Information Technology.

Frances also has 4 children and lives in Tyrrell County were she was born and raised. She has been working with the youth for over 9 years and drove a bus for 4 years.

Lori Mahaley

Systems Coordinator

I'm a graduate of UNC Chapel Hill and have been teaching a wide variety of  media and  technology classes since 2002. Before that, I worked in Corporate and Educational Video. I am happily married with 2 children. My daughter is married and works for the ASPCA. She is also the mother of my grandson Owen. My son is a senior at ECU this year. I'm excited to be joining the Pocosin Family and look forward to meeting the students and their families!  

Amber Hardison

First Grade Teacher

Hi, my name is Amber Hardison, and I’m teaching first grade this year at PIC. I am a National Board Certified Teacher specializing in early childhood. I graduated from East Carolina University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Child Development and a minor in Psychology. I have also earned a Master of Education in Elementary Education from Elizabeth City State University and an Education Specialist degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Liberty University. I’m a doctoral candidate at Liberty University and will finish writing my dissertation in 2021. I am a Columbia native and proudly come from a family of multiple generations of commercial fishermen. I currently live in Columbia with my husband and two children. In my free time, I enjoy going to the beach, gardening, and cheering on the ECU Pirates.

Brandon Cabacar

3rd Grade Teacher

Hello, I'm Mr. Cabacar and I'm a native of Creswell, NC. I earned my B.S. in Elementary Education from Mid-Atlantic Christian University (MACU) in Elizabeth City, NC. While at MACU, I volunteered and student-taught under exceptional teachers within the Elizabeth City-Pasquotank County Public School System (ECPPS) and I worked with 1st and 3rd Grade classes. I love to travel! I participated in trips to Nicaragua and Brazil while in college. In addition to traveling, I am an avid sports fan. My favorite sports teams are the Carolina Panthers and LA Clippers. The 2020-21 school year will be my first year of teaching! I am excited to begin his teaching career as part of the Pocosin community.  

Ramona Armstrong

6th Grade Teacher

I am driven to help students overcome barriers which impact their learning.  I have a Master's Degree in School Administration and Curriculum and Instruction and a Bachelor's Degree in Middle Grades Education, both from East Carolina University. I taught middle grades ELA and Social Studies for thirteen years and I have served as an administrator for the past eight years in Tyrrell and Hyde Counties. I am thrilled to be returning to the classroom and I am looking forward to collaborative learning that engages our students, staff, families and communities!  

Rebecca White

7th/8th Grade Teacher

Hi, I am Rebecca White. As a lifetime learner,when I reflect on my education, I realize I was taught at a very young age to value education. I am originally from Greensboro, N.C., but settled in Norfolk, Virginia after years of travel where I obtained my bachelors degree. I continued my education and received Masters in English Literature. Afterward I spent three years as a professor and grading Writing Sample Placement Tests for the Writing Center, as well as the Writing Exit Exam for all students. I have an extentsive history of teaching English and Drama in both Virginia and Washington State. Last year I returned to my home state and taught 8th grade ELA. Now, I am very pleased to be teaching 7th and 8th grade English and Social Studies at PIC.  One of my other passions is gardening; I worked in garden centers, on orchards, and in asparagus fields in my twenties and have continued working for plant nurseries and garden centers ever since, enjoying the outdoors during spring break and summer.

Robyn Berry

Exceptional Children Teacher

Hi! My name is Robyn Berry and I am excited to be working with
students who have an IEP during this school year at PIC to ensure that all children are provided with tools and assistance to help them reach their goals. I hold a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a Teacher’s License for Special Education K-12. Through the years, I have been blessed with the opportunity to work with both children and adults with disabilities both in the school setting and out of the school setting. Prior to coming to PIC, I worked with students who were diagnosed with disabilities in a self-contained classroom. I have also worked in a group home for teens with disabilities as well as in an assisted living facility for adults with disabilities. I look forward to using these skills with the students at PIC. Personally, I have been blessed to be married to a wonderful man for 20 years. We have two children – a young man who is 16 and a young lady who is 12. I regularly attend church and am very involved in the youth activities. I also play the piano at church. In my spare time, I enjoy going for walks. I value working hard and making the most of all opportunities.

Amber Chesson

Administrative Assistant

Hi, my name is Amber Chesson. I am happy to join PIC as the Administrative Assistant this year. I received my Associate's degree in Business from Beaufort County Community College and look forward to utilizing my skill sets to serve the students and staff.

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Aimee Gouillon

5th Grade Teacher

Hi, my name is Aimee Gouillon. I was born and raised in Morehead City, North Carolina. I graduated from UNCW with a degree in Elementary Education. I have taught third, fourth, and fifth grades in various counties around the state. I moved to Creswell in the summer of 2019 and began teaching a fourth/fifth grade combination class at Pocosin. The 2020-2021 school year will be my fifth year teaching. I am currently enrolled in the Master’s of School Administration program at Elizabeth City State University. Ultimately, I would like to earn a Doctorate degree in school leadership and continue to work to improve education in North Carolina. During my free time I like to go out on the boat, read, cook, and listen to podcasts. My personal goal is to travel to six out of seven continents (not Antarctica!). I still need to mark South America and Asia off my list!

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500 1st St, Creswell, NC 27928

252.797.0230

pocosininnovativecharter@gmail.com