Faculty & Staff

Joan Allen

Academy Principal

Joan Allen has been an educator with over 25 years of experience working with elementary-aged students. She started her career as a teacher working with K-6 students followed by serving as a unit director and most recently as principal. Mrs. Allen has a North Carolina K-6 Educator License, a Bachelor of Science degree in Child Development/Family Relations as well as a Master of Arts in Educational Leadership from East Carolina University. She is a wealth of knowledge and is passionate about challenging students to reach their fullest potential.



Laila Farhadi

Lead Teacher

Laila Farhadi knew she was going to be a teacher when she graduated as Vice President of her class at Rose High School. After receiving the Future Teacher Award, she began her educational foundation at East Carolina University. Ms. Farhadi graduated with honors Summa Cum Laude in 1998 with a BS in Elementary Education. In 1999, she obtained her masters in Elementary Education with a concentration in Reading. She began her fifteen years of teaching in Snow Hill where she became Greene County’s Teacher of the Year. During that time, she became a National Board-Certified Teacher. She then taught at Creekside Elementary in Pitt County and became the school’s Teacher of the Year and a Pitt County Finalist. After teaching for two years in Maryland, she took time off to raise her two sons. Ms. Farhadi has taught thirteen years in third grade and two years in fourth/fifth grade. She has her Academically Gifted Certificate and Inclusion based experience. She has been published in Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers and has received countless grants. She fosters a love of learning in her students and enables their success at Walton Academy.



Janel Mangold

Lead Teacher

Janel Mangold was born and raised in Belhaven, NC, but has called Greenville “home,” for the past twenty years. Her inspiration for wanting to become a teacher was due to the experience she had with her own 3rd grade teacher.  Ms. Mangold worked as a teacher assistant prior to accomplishing her dream of becoming a teacher.  She earned her B.S. in Elementary Education from East Carolina University, and she is also licensed in K-12 Reading. Ms. Mangold worked with Pitt County schools for approximately ten years and was nominated and served as a Key Beginning Teacher for her school. Ms. Mangold is known to sing at school-wide events, and she also loves incorporating singing/music into her teaching. Her passion is building relationships with students, so they will feel confident, loved, and encouraged to push themselves to succeed.



Amy Sheppard

Lead Teacher

Amy Sheppard has been an educator for thirty-two years. Mrs. Sheppard graduated from East Carolina University in 1989 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education with a K-12 Reading licensure, and again in 1990 with a master’s degree in Elementary Education. She also received her AIG Certification from East Carolina University. Mrs. Sheppard has experience teaching students in first grade through sixth grade. As an educator, she has served in many leadership roles. Mrs. Sheppard has a passion for teaching and loves to engage her students in meaningful learning experiences. Her vision for Walton Academy is to continue to teach with passion and to provide a balance of rigorous and fun integrated learning opportunities for her students. Mrs. Sheppard loves the beach, sports, reading, and spending time with her family.



Jada Rogers

Lead Teacher

Jada Rogers attended East Carolina University as a Teaching Fellows Scholarship recipient. She earned both her undergraduate and graduate degrees from East Carolina University and has thirty years of teaching experience. Mrs. Rogers spent her first two years teaching in Wake County and the last twenty-eight years in Pitt County. In addition, Mrs. Rogers earned her National Board Certification in 2004 and 2014. She was one of the “Top 5 Finalists” at the Pitt County Schools’ Teacher of the Year recognition in 1996 and in 2016. In 2016, Mrs. Rogers was named the first runner up for Pitt County Schools. Jada dedicates herself to being a continuous learner to sharpen her skills by having attended and participated in the NC Teacher Academy, the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teachers, and the PCS Teacher Leadership Institute.



Hailey DeSutter

Lead Teacher

Hailey DeSutter was born and raised in Greenville, North Carolina. She graduated from DH Conley High School to later attend East Carolina University where she earned both her undergraduate and graduate degrees. Mrs. DeSutter received a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education (K-6) with a K-12 Reading Licensure as well as a Master’s Degree in Elementary Education, concentrating in Early Childhood. She is a strong advocate for providing equitable instruction for all students, fostering inquiry based learning, and providing engaging child centered learning opportunities and experiences.



Taylor Johnson

Lead Teacher

Taylor Johnson attended East Carolina University to obtain her Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education with a concentration in Birth through Kindergarten. Mrs. Johnson taught in Pitt County Schools where she was a Key Beginning Teacher. The Key Beginning Teacher program supports and empowers our innovative, creative, and effective beginning teachers so they can provide the arch of support to those who are also embarking on the journey from novice to veteran. Mrs. Johnson is a strong advocate for doing what is needed and best for her students.



Amira Ali

Health Teacher

Mrs. Ali has been working with children for many years and it fills her heart with joy to watch them learn and enjoy their time at school. She educates students on the importance of maintaining a healthy body and mind through positive behaviors and believes in the value of arming children with practical and healthful skills. In addition, Mrs. Ali strives to create a culture that empowers all students to make life-long, healthy decisions. Mrs. Ali completed her first Bachelors in Science in Arabic Studies back in 1999. In 2018, she completed her Associates in Early Childhood Education at Pitt Community College and was the recipient of the Academic Excellence Award of NC and several other Awards. Mrs. Ali continued her education at East Carolina University and in 2021, she completed a Bachelor degree in Family and Community Service with a concentration in Child Development while receiving outstanding graduate recognition. Mrs. Ali is passionate about education, whether learning or teaching. She is currently working on a master’s degree in Health Education and Promotion at East Carolina University. As a mother of four, Mrs. Ali doesn’t have a lot of free time, but when she does, she enjoys serving her community and writing poems in both English and Arabic.



Denisse Rivera

Spanish Teacher

¡Hola! Mrs. Rivera is a native Spanish speaker and sharing her love for her language and culture has become her passion. Mrs. Rivera is from Puerto Rico where she attended college at Interamerican University of PR and earned my Bachelor degree in Biology. She has worked in education for the past 16 years in a bilingual setting. Her philosophy for learning is that each child is unique and learns in their own way. Mrs. Rivera wants to help students discover his or her own individuality and work alongside them to maximize it. She also wants them to embrace the Spanish language and culture and feel confident with it. Mrs. Rivera’s biggest joy is seeing her students outside the classroom and hearing them greet her in Spanish and practicing what they have learned. In Mrs. Rivera’s free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and her two sons, Javier and Luis. In addition, Mrs. Rivera loves making flan cake and cevich ¡Delicioso!, watching Netflix and dancing to salsa music.




Elizabeth Blount

Art Teacher

Elizabeth Blount graduated with an Art Education degree from Meredith College and received her MA Ed in Art Education from East Carolina University. She has over 20 years of experience teaching art at the Greenville Museum of Art and in Pitt County Private schools. Mrs. Blount loves the enthusiasm of all the amazing artists at Walton Academy and the very supportive faculty. Mrs. Blount commutes from Washington NC where she lives with her husband and cockapoo, enjoys traveling, gardening, and volunteering as a docent at the North Carolina Museum of Art.





Carrie Everette

PE Teacher

Carrie Everette was born and raised in Illinois. She received a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Bradley University. Mrs. Everette taught with Pitt County Schools until she took time off to stay home with her own children. She has over 10 years of classroom teaching experience ranging from 2nd grade through 5th grade. Mrs. Everette lives in Greenville with her husband, Todd, three children, and three dogs. In her free time, she enjoys watching her children play sports, going to the beach, and relaxing by the pool. Mrs. Everett loves watching the students play and learn in a fun environment during PE classes.

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