Meet Our Staff

While scholars are the most important people in our school, our teachers and parents are the most important adults. Our teachers and staff at FDS are certified, experienced, and well-trained yet sensitive to the needs of the whole child. Our teachers share their passion and love of education by successfully promoting academic rigor while preserving the excitement and sense of discovery inherent in young scholars.

Administration

Mrs. Ashley McKinley
Head of School
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Biography

About Mrs. Ashley McKinley

Mrs. Ashley McKinley, head of school, is a Greensboro, NC native and has been a resident of Charlotte for the last 19 years. With a background in both elementary education and counseling (B.A. from UNCC and Master’s from Winthrop University), she has experience as a language arts teacher, school counselor, and assistant principal. She obtained an administrative license from Wingate University and most recently served as an assistant principal at a middle school that enrolls 1100 students. In that role, Mrs. McKinley gained considerable administrative experience that groomed her for her duties as Friendship Day Head of School. She believes that all students can learn at high levels and that it is the responsibility of educators to have high expectations while also meeting students at their level of need. Mrs. McKinley has an outstanding immediate and extended family, including her husband Clem and two beautiful sons; Cannon (4) and Cohen (1).
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Ms. Diane W. Jones
Office Assistant
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About Ms. Diane W. Jones

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Teaching Staff

TBD
Fourth Grade
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About TBD

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TBD
Fifth Grade
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Mrs. Ebony W. Barrionuevo
Spanish
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About Mrs. Ebony W. Barrionuevo

¡Bienvenidos a la clase de español! My name is Señora B. I have taught Spanish for more than 13 years. I have been teaching at Friendship Day School for four years. My purpose is to provide scholars with a quality and versatile immersive language experience that generates curiosity in learning and travel. My program places emphasis on communication. Classes are structured in an inviting, nourishing, and immersive environment so that each scholar can enjoy and appreciate the language and various cultures through song, dance, games, and celebrations. Students are encouraged to observe the teacher closely. Your scholar will learn the following: the Pledge of Allegiance in Spanish, to introduce oneself, to answer and ask questions, the weather, the days of the week/months of the year, classroom objects, family members, body parts, Afro-Hispanic literature, numbers/alphabet, and phonetics.
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Ms. Celia Chisholm
Before School
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About Ms. Celia Chisholm

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Mr. Calvin Cunningham
Instructional Assistant - Physical Education
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About Mr. Calvin Cunningham

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Mrs. Valerie Dixon
Third Grade
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About Mrs. Valerie Dixon

Mrs. Valerie Dixon is the third-grade teacher here at Friendship Day School (FDS). This is Mrs. Dixon's second year at FDS. She has 30 years of teaching experience in public school. Mrs. Dixon retired from Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools in June, 2019. During her educational career, she has taught K–2 multi age, first grade, second grade, and third grade and served as an International Baccalaureate Primary Years program magnet coordinator as well as a reading teacher. Mrs. Dixon will have the privilege of teaching her current scholars for two years at the end of this year. She believes it is important to teach children how to think–not what to think. Mrs. Dixon gets excited when scholars use their strategies to solve problems. She is passionate about educating others, especially children. Mrs. Dixon believes in the power of service. Her favorite quote is, "Each one teach one!"
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Mrs. Nicole Gordon
Second Grade
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About Mrs. Nicole Gordon

This is Mrs. Nicole Gordon's second year as our third-grade instructional assistant. Prior to joining us at FDS, she worked in banking for 20 years. She graduated in 2016 with a master's in clinical mental health counseling. As a member of Friendship Missionary Baptist church, Mrs. Gordon worked as a youth advisor. This experience allowed her to travel to Jamaica on a mission trip in 2018 where she worked with children ages six to 10 years of age. Mrs. Gordon's passion is helping and serving. She believes that by offering a small gesture, such as a smile, she can make someone's day brighter.
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Mrs. Nicole Ivory
First Grade
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About Mrs. Nicole Ivory

Mrs. Nicole Ivory is a Penn State University graduate and has been involved in education for over 10 years. She began her career abroad teaching English. After returning to the states, Mrs. Ivory taught at CPCC in the Charlotte Meck School System and Invest Collegiate Charter school. Her commitment to excellence in education brought her to FDS as the school's first teacher. Mrs. Ivory also served on the Friendship Education Commission, which was charged with the school's creation. Nicole and her husband, Titus, are the proud parents of Talia, Titus Dominic, Nia, and Norrie.
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Mrs. Andrea Metz-Nicholson
Instructional Assistant - Mindfulness
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About Mrs. Andrea Metz-Nicholson

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Mrs. Margaret Spears
Kindergarten
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About Mrs. Margaret Spears

I am an upbeat elementary educator devoted to promoting student learning and enhancing individual potential. With 45+ years of experience, I am highly adept in classroom instruction, parent-teacher relations, and innovative classroom activities. My experience has afforded me a well-rounded skill set, including but not limited to organization and differentiated instruction. I couple the aforementioned with my solid educational foundation and passion for teaching. I am focused on the academic success of every student.
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Ms. Kieran Walker
Violin
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About Ms. Kieran Walker

The students are learning the Suzuki violin method. The Suzuki method is an internationally known instrumental teaching system developed in Japan by Dr. Shinichi Suzuki. Dr. Suzuki referred to this system as the Mother Tongue Approach. Children learn to speak by listening. They can do the same to learn violin. Some of the values of the Suzuki method include parent involvement, constant repetition, and a nurturing environment. The purpose of our program is to enrich students with the joy of music. Our goals are to develop a solid foundation in violin playing, to cultivate listening skills, and to foster human qualities.
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