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It is with special care and consideration that we choose our faculty and administration. The unique blend of personalities and professional strengths found in this outstanding group of individuals helps Morgantown Learning Academy offer its students an outstanding education. MLA has set strict guidelines and high expectations for its faculty and administration. Not only must they be certified in the content area that they teach or administer, but they must also be actively involved in personal continuing education goals. The MLA faculty and administration not only meets these guidelines but also enthusiastically searches for ways in which to become better teachers and administrators for your children.

 

BETH GARDNER

  

Ms. Beth is our Preschool teacher.  She is a native of Jensen Beach, Florida but moved to Morgantown in 1991. She graduated from Indian River State College with an Associate of Arts degree in Music. She, then, received her Bachelor of Science degree in Communication Studies from Florida State University. After graduating from FSU, she spent a year as the principal bassoonist with the Treasure Coast Symphony. Once in Morgantown, Beth continued to pursue her master’s in Music and Elementary Education. She has taught preschool at Parents’ Place Preschool and Place of Grace Early Learning Center. This past summer, she had the pleasure to be the Community Coordinator at Energy Express in Marion County. In her spare time, Beth enjoys outdoor activities, reading, listening to music, crocheting, playing with her puppy, Suki, and spending time with her three children, Matthew 24, Brianna, 23, and Grant 20.

 

CORINNE SEESE

 

Corinne Seese is our Kindergarten teacher. She graduated from WVU in 1993 with a Bachelor's Degree Elementary Education. Corinne started teaching preschool at MLA when it opened in 1995 and is very excited to be currently teaching kindergarten! She believes that it is important to build a family of learners in her classroom and encourages the children to care for and help each other. She often teaches summer workshops at MLA and tutors during the summer and school year. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her three kiddos.

 

AMANDA CAIN

Amanda Cain is our Early Elementary teacher.  She was born and raised in Morgantown. She received her Bachelor's degree in Social Work from WVU as well as her Master of Arts in Elementary Education.  In her spare time she enjoys being with her family, friends, dogs and cats.  She enjoys traveling but is mostly a homebody who can be found relaxing with her dogs and reading a book!

 

PAULA TAYLOR

Paula Taylor is our Early Elementary 2 teacher.  She graduated from West Virginia University with a Master's Degree in Elementary Education and a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism.  She has been with MLA since 2003, and has taught classes from Early Elementary to Middle School.  Ms. Taylor works closely with the Mountain SOL school and is involved with their in-school, after-school, and summer programs.  Originally from Charleston, she enjoys spending time with her pets and gardening.

 

ALEXA SPANGLER-DAVIS

Alexa Spangler-Davis is our Middle Elementary teacher. She graduated from West Virginia University with a Masters degree in Elementary Education and a Bachelors degree in Speech Pathology and Audiology. Alexa is a Morgantown native and has worked with our summer program for two years. She loves teaching math and problem solving skills. Alexa enjoys spending time with her husband, family, and two cats. 

 

GEORGETTE TAYLOR

Georgette joined MLA in 2015 and is our Upper Elementary teacher.  She earned a B.A. in English and an M.A. in Secondary English Education from West Virginia University.  Georgette obtained her West Virginia teaching certificate upon graduation. Georgette attended Washington and Jefferson College, where she was a member of the track and cross-country teams.  She is certified by the American Council of Exercise in youth fitness, group fitness, and as a personal trainer.  Georgette is an avid runner and has enjoyed coaching MLA’s inaugural cross-country season, additionally she has volunteered as a coach with Girls on the Run for the past four years.  She enjoys traveling and spending time outdoors with her husband and two daughters, who also attend MLA.

 

CLAIRE DOEMLAND

Claire Doemland is our Middle School teacher at MLA. Originally from New Jersey, Claire moved to West Virginia to work as an AmeriCorps VISTA at the Katherine Johnson NASA IV&V Center in Fairmont where she worked to develop and support K-12 educational robotics programs throughout the state. Claire earned her B.A. in Environmental Education from Warren Wilson College and her M.Ed in Curriculum and Teaching from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. In her free time, Claire enjoys playing ultimate frisbee, exploring national parks, and skiing as often as possible.

 

 ANCILLARY TEACHERS 

 

 JEN-OSHA BUYSSE

"Senora Jen" is MLA's Music and Geography teacher and Director of the Mountain Stewardship and Outdoor Leadership Program (Mountain SOL).  She previously taught Spanish so the kids still call her Senora.  She currently teaches music, geography, outdoor education and leadership.   She plays five instruments and has a passion for sharing music in English and Spanish.  Jen has also taught at the West Virginia Scholars Academy, Yale University, the New Jersey School of Conservation, Salem International University, in the geography department at West Virginia University, and at Escuela Superior Politécnica de Chimborazo. Most recently she helped to create a Sister Schools for Change program with the Playing for Change Foundation.  Jen lives outside Morgantown with her husband, two sons, and many four legged animals.  Jen received her BA in English from the University of Virginia, her Masters in Forestry from Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, and her PhD in Geography from West Virginia University.  She recently achieved her goal of becoming a National Geographic Certified Educator and serves on the National Geographic Advisory Committee for West Virginia. 

JEFF RYAN

Jeff Ryan is the Art teacher at MLA.  He received his B.F.A in Ceramics (with K-12 Certification) from West Virginia University in 1996. He has been teaching pottery, handbuilding, and sculpture in many community based arts organizations for over 15 years. In 2001, he lived and worked in Nargarno Karabagh (Armenia) for two years. Working with locals, he oversaw the reactivation of a small village pottery. In 2006 as a graduate student, he traveled to China to study porcelain production and ceramic history. In 2009, he worked with locals in Kabul, Afghanistan as a consultant to produce geometric tile for a non profit organization’s courtyard fountain. His background is in functional pottery, but his current work is a combination of narrative mosaics and geometric tile. 

GREG KNIGHT

 

Greg began his college education at Columbia Union College in Silver Spring, MD with a B.S.in  Elementary Education; then pursued a Master of Public Health at Loma Linda University and Master of Curriculum & Instruction from Salem College. After teaching ten years at the Toll Gate SDA School, Greg taught gifted K-8 students in Doddridge County.  For the next fourteen years Greg was the Healthy School Coordinator and Regional Tobacco Prevention Specialist at RESA VII where he developed Teen Institute.  In 2002 Greg went back to the classroom and taught Social Studies and Health for Doddridge County Middle School.  After retirement in 2011, Doddridge County Board of Education contracted with Greg to provide Health Education for grades K-4 in addition to working with administration as Student Assistant Manager doing school programming, coordinating field trips and working to improve school attendance.  During his education and teaching years Greg became a specialist in  Health Education, Social Studies, Gifted Education, and History.  He was a national trainer for Know Your Body Health Education Curriculum, Developing Capable People Drug Prevention Curriculum,  Life Skills Training, Drug Prevention Curriculum and TATU (Teens Against Tobacco Use) as well as a trainer for Get Real About Violence, Violence Prevention Program and  Nonviolent Crisis Intervention, Violence Prevention Program.  As over educated as he sounds, Greg is still a pretty normal guy who loves kids and has a tendency to burst out in song occasionally.

AMBER GARCIA

Amber is our Spanish teacher.  She holds a BA in Spanish and an MAT in Elementary Education from the University of South Carolina - Columbia as well as an MA in Hispanic Literature from Indiana University - Bloomington.   She has taught second grade, a 2 and 3 year-old daycare class, and as a reading teacher.  Amber has also been a kindergarten classroom aide.  She was an undergraduate classroom instructor where she taught beginner and intermediate Spanish to college undergraduates.  She also facilitates online professional development courses for West Virginia teachers for WVLearns.  She enjoys spending time with her family and friends, reading, and enjoying the outdoors.

 


We have fun with our students at MLA.  Here are some of our teachers and staff dressed up for the Enchanted Forest Book Fair and our annual Pajama and hot coco day!