Key School Staff
A Dedicated Team of Professionals
From researching physics in a nuclear laboratory, teaching English in Malaysia, developing a math dictionary, working in children's publishing, reporting on television, being foster parents, to running the Boston marathon in record time, our faculty brings a variety of valuable experiences and insights to Key School.
With a commitment to professional development, our highly trained teachers use a unified, intentional, cohesive approach. Dedicated and caring, Key's teachers are committed to helping children become successful students.
Every teacher at Key School is Orton-Gillingham-trained. Each language teacher has completed a rigorous, supervised clinical teaching experience to ensure a high level of compentancy with multisensory structured language instructional principles. Math teachers are trained in the multisensory math principles and approach. Both language and math teachers use a five-step Orton-Gillingham-based lesson plan which includes visual, auditory, and kinesthetic teaching and ample review and reinforcement in a teaching-for-mastery environment.
Key School provides its own teacher training to all faculty, under the supervision of a Fellow of the Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators (AOGPE). Key uses the curriculum standards of AOGPE and is accredited by the International Multisensory Structured Language Education Council (IMSLEC). Teachers are in the mindset of continuous improvement and lifelong learning. Two-thirds of the faculty have passed a national certifying examination and are credentialed at the Certified Academic Language Practitioner level or the Certified Academic Language Therapist level.
M.A.T., University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill
Caitlin Hunsucker is a language comprehensive teacher in the Key Middle School. Caitlin has been working at Carolina Day School since 2012 and has a Master of Arts in teaching English from University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Caitlin has completed her Orton Gillingham training at the Key School.Get to know Caitlin Hunsucker:
In what ways can you teach/engage children at CDS that you couldn't at other schools? “Stanley Kubrick once said, “I think the big mistake in schools is trying to teach children anything, and by using fear as the basic motivation. Fear of getting failing grades, fear of not staying with your class, etc. Interest can produce learning on a scale compared to fear as a nuclear explosion to a firecracker.” Though I see only great fallacy in Kubrick’s assertion that school’s attempts “to teach children anything” are mistaken and misguided, I hold the second half of this quotation as a truth and maxim of my experience teaching in the Key School and in the CDS community as a whole: “Interest can produce learning on a scale compared to fear as a nuclear explosion to a firecracker.” Interest truly does trump fear as the motivator behind learning and success. Here at CDS, we do not elicit learning through scare tactics. All of the “you must be” fear-inducing dictums that weigh so heavily upon children in many other educational institutions do not exist here. We know that for children to succeed, they must learn to know and accept failure as a part of the pathway to greatness. We also know that interest is what ignites the flame for learning, and we do not just teach kids “anything.” CDS students follow their passions to become leaders and trailblazers because we model for them how to overcome fear to take reasonable risks, and we teach them how to capitalize on the illimitable power of one’s strengths and interests.”
What do you like most about your job at CDS? “The fact that all CDS teachers not only aspire to but are fully committed to forming meaningful, lasting relationships with students and their families is one of the most powerful and truly amazing aspects of teaching at this school. CDS is not a transitory place that students float in and out of along their path to the next phase of their lives; it is a cherished homestead where students engage in intentional learning that stays with them forever. Additionally, the emphasis on continued education, professional development, and training for faculty is unparalleled. CDS is committed to having the best in their field and to providing their teachers with every opportunity to stay at the top in their profession.”
In your opinion, how does the CDS community inspire students to be courageous and curious, wonder about things that they don’t understand, try new things, and develop individual passions? “Removing fear from the equation is the key to growth. That is exactly what we do at CDS. We break down the walls that fear builds.”
How would you describe your classroom? “My classroom is not “my” classroom at all. It is a transformational space that belongs as much to the students, parents, and fellow educators who use it as a site of exploration, a haven for reflection, a construction site for learning, a stage for presentation, and a sanctuary of understanding as it is the space that I have the honor to call my work home.”
What books and authors inspire you? “As a Language Comprehensive teacher in a multisensory approach classroom, l cannot speak highly enough of any books that have emerged as a result of the work of the late Dr. Samuel Orton and Ms. Anna Gillingham. I greatly admire Dr. Orton and Ms. Gillingham for their development of a systematized approach to working through language-based learning differences. Everything I’ve read by their successors rank at the top of my list. One of these books that I revisit again and again is Dr. Sally Shaywitz’s Overcoming Dyslexia. Overcoming Dyslexia is a treasure trove of tools and techniques for identifying and working through reading challenges. I hold Dr. Shaywitz in the highest regard for providing a text that is richly informed by her many years of working as a brain research and yet still accessible for teachers and parents who have not attained her level of expertise. I also can’t get enough of the Norton Anthology of Modern and Contemporary Poetry. These two volumes are wellsprings of the raw beauty of the English language. Any texts that make one feel as alive as these poems, essays, and biographical sketches do for me cannot help but make that person a better teacher!”
What is your favorite quote about education, mentorship, children, and/or learning? “Oh, there are so many which span from antiquity to the present day! However, if I had to narrow it down to two that are particularly poignant to me, I would have to choose the following. “The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled.” ― Plutarch. “The object and reward of learning is continued capacity for growth.” –Dewey”
How would you describe yourself and/or your approach to your job in 10 words or less? “Teaching and learning are inextricably woven. Therefore, I learn and teach; I teach and learn.”
Which classroom projects/events are you known for? “I believe strongly in the power of synthesizing knowledge through personal experience. Therefore, I give my students parameters within which they are encouraged to take ownership of their learning and to discover their own creative outlets for demonstrating mastery of and reteaching newly acquired knowledge to their peers. This often results in many exciting and meaningful new approaches to learning that have ranged from student renditions of Australian Aborigines’ songlines to very elaborate illustrations and demonstrations of how to commit Latin morphemes to memory.”
What personal passion brings balance to your life? “I balance my life with study of yogic philosophy, personal yoga practice, singing, enjoying the bountiful beauty of this region, and spending time with my family and dog.”
Is there anything else we should know about you and your work? “I am passionate about what I do.”
How is CDS different from what you experienced as a child in school? “There are four elements of my work at CDS that exemplify how it differs from my own schooling as a child. These elements in which my own childhood education could best be described as deficient are: Explicit instruction about real-world application of academic endeavors. Answers to the “why’s” and “how’s” behind all work. A multisensory approach. Encouragement to take reasonable risks. I consider the worth of these four elements invaluable.”