Meet Lacy Castellano

PreK Teacher Lacy Castellano

“I knew Canterbury was a place I would love to be!”

Lacy Castellano graduated from UNCG in 2008 with a bachelor of science degree in human development and family studies and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in education at UNCG.

What appeals to her about teaching PreK? “The children are so enthusiastic, passionate, and motivated! I teach for the “ah-ha”moments, the times when it just clicks. They love to explore, collaborate, and create. Every day is different and exciting. I love PreK!”

Lacy is an outdoor enthusiast; she enjoys camping and hiking with her husband and their two dogs, and she loves sharing her affinity for the outdoors with her students. She looks forward to exploring Canterbury’s campus with them (so parents, be prepared for pockets full of acorns, stones, and other treasures!)

So what’s it like being a kid in her class?

“We incorporate math, science, and English language arts into each day. We take turns sharing something: something about our family, what we ate for breakfast, our favorite sport, etc., and we have an interactive learning activity. Children are given ample time for free choice in centers and outside, but we also have regular large and small group activities.  

My teaching style focuses heavily on social emotional development. Research shows that children who are better able to regulate their emotions and respond appropriately to the emotions of others are more likely to complete high school and go on to college.  Ashleah Lester and I work really hard to promote an atmosphere of mutual respect.”

As this dad knows, PreK is a new experience both for parents and kids, so I asked what advice she might have for PreK parents.

“It will be ok! I want to see your child succeed and have an easy transition into the program.  No one ‘technique’ works for all children.  Be positive, proactive, and encouraging.  Keep an upbeat, positive attitude about your child starting school, even though we know it’s hard! Be proactive in communicating with your child’s teacher. If something is going on in your family, let us know! Do anything you can to encourage your child.  That may mean sending your child with a memento from you, setting aside special time with your child outside of school, or reading books that portray school in a positive light.”

Her thoughts on Canterbury after a few months on the job?  

“Canterbury is an amazing place. I have freedom in my classroom: I can restructure my schedule or change my lesson at a moment’s notice.  At the same time, if I need support, I know I have a host of people ready and willing to help!”

by David Whitehead

DavidDavid Whitehead is the Distance Education Coordinator at Davidson County Community College and father to a kindergartner. The latter gives him an excuse to play baseball and ride bikes a lot.


How has Canterbury helped your child become confident in the spotlight?

I don’t know about you, but one of the greatest aspects of the Canterbury experience that appealed to me as a prospective parent was the fact that my child would be given opportunities to grow as a public speaker. I can still remember coming to campus for an information session and listening to Burns Jones and Penny Summers describe the 8th grade sermons.

Anna Griffin (4th-Wesney) shines as Marty Moose in the 2014 Lower School Christmas Production, "A Holiday Moosical."

Anna Griffin (4th-Wesney) shines as Marty Moose in the 2014 Lower School Christmas Production, “A Holiday Moosical.”

I remember being so impressed that the majority of 8th graders actually CHOOSE a sermon over a more — I don’t know — introverted assignment like a research project. The former awkward middle schooler in me got butterflies just thinking about it.  But that’s the point, isn’t it? The 80’s were an awesome decade, but teach me how to public speak, they did not. In fact, it was not until college that I had a public speaking course. Now, at a school like Canterbury, kids are taught how to settle those butterflies and enjoy the opportunity to express their knowledge and creativity. So, naturally, at the information session all those years ago, the introvert in me reveled in the fact that my daughter would be  encouraged to speak with confidence in front of an audience. Sure enough, in Kindergarten, McKenna was asked to recite a poem in front of the entire chapel. In first grade, she performed in the Nativity play. In second grade, she read the Canterbury prayer before her Chapel Buddy, Cayley Pinson ’13, delivered her 8th grade sermon. In third grade, with Mr. McCollum’s guidance, McKenna played a role in the production of “Snew White,” even though she started the year unsure that she would try out for a role. Now, she is in 4th grade and more confident than ever.

Sawyer Cheek (K-Moore) sings his heart out.

Sawyer Cheek (K-Moore) sings his heart out.

So, how about you? I would love to hear about your child’s experiences and how Canterbury has helped to make the spotlight something to celebrate and enjoy rather than avoid. Send me an email if I may include your story along with others from around the school.

Teachers, you’re included, too. Is there a student who has made outstanding progress in public speaking or through the arts? I look forward to sharing your anecdotes in an upcoming post. Be on the lookout. Best wishes for a wonderful holiday break  to all of our readers!

by Andrea Crossley Spencer

Spencer_2014_073Andrea Crossley Spencer is a Canterbury parent to McKenna (4th-Hoover), a freelance writer, and a creative writing instructor in Canterbury’s After School Fine Arts program. Her favorite Canterbury tradition is Chapel Buddies. She loves hiking, chocolate peanut butter shakes and listening to all kinds of music, from Harry Connick, Jr. to David Gray.

Girls have things to do: Empowering our girls to become leaders

I truly believe girls are natural born leaders. When they are young, girls are fearless and ready to take on the world. But this drive and passion seems to dissipate when they get older – specifically during the tween and teen years.

Much of this can be attributed to peer relationships and the importance of fitting in and being “popular.” In some cases, girls start to put more value into the views of their peers. gp

When did being smart become so unpopular? Why do girls have to fight so much harder than boys for success? Females have broken many barriers, but we often struggle to gain acceptance, respect and equality. In fact, many still have doubts about a woman’s ability to lead.

These are pervasive messages. But there is good news. We can counter them. The vehicles for change are increasing daily and those in the driver’s seats are making an impact.

Three of those drivers were featured in a recent Parade Magazine article: Condoleezza Rice, former Secretary of State turned professor at the Stanford Graduate School of Business; Anna Maria Chávez, the CEO of the Girl Scouts of the USA; and Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer of Facebook. The story made me realize that today’s girls have important work to do. And that includes my daughter.

As a mother, I always look for ways to build my daughter’s confidence and help her discover her strengths. I remind her to use her own judgment and to be true to her voice, no matter what her friends and peers say.

The Parade article poses some poignant questions that highlight three things that we, as parents, can do to support our girls:

  1. As Condoleezza Rice and Sheryl Sandberg say, words matter. In a Girl Scouts study of 8-17 year olds, one-third of girls who said they didn’t want to be leaders attributed their hesitancy to a fear of being disliked by their peers. “We are trying to get at the subtleties, the messages that keep girls from achieving,” Rice says. For example, Sandberg wants to ban the word “bossy.” “I tell parents that instead of saying, ‘My daughter is bossy,’ try, ‘My daughter has executive leadership skills.’ It seems that statement is taken more seriously when said about a boy: “My son has executive leadership skills.” There is often a difference of expectations for girls versus boys. Therefore, in addition to using different words with our girls, we need to become much more comfortable expressing and accepting statements about the strength and power of our girls.
  1. Leadership is critical during the early years. “Women still represent only five percent of Fortune 500 CEOs,” Sandberg says. “And more worrisome is that the number has been stagnant for a decade. What hasn’t changed fast enough is our acceptance and encouragement of female leadership. That goes for all of us—parents, teachers, managers, society, everyone.” We must see our girls as valuable leaders.
  1. PARENTS are the vital source for building strong leaders. We, as a community, are responsible for empowering our girls to be great leaders. Consider the words of Anna Maria Chavez: “Instead of teaching me how to cook, my mother taught my brothers how to cook, and me how to run a board meeting.” Sandberg agrees. “I, too, had supportive parents who told me I could do everything,” she says.But the rest of the messages I got from society were pretty negative on leadership.”

girl powerIn the article, it’s apparent that all three women encountered some obstacles. The force that kept these women empowered, however, was the strong leadership of parents.

I am a strong advocate for girls, and not just because I am the mother of a nine-year-old girl. We need strong girls in our society. To create strong girls, we need to surround them with positive friends, family, teachers and role models who will foster in them a desire to lead. Self-confidence helps build character and strength. How can we lift up our girls? How can we educate young men to see girls as leaders?

It’s up to us. As a school that teaches children to learn, love, serve and live, how can the Canterbury community lead the way? From our children’s academic experiences to their spiritual growth to their every day interactions with one another, let us do all that we can – because girls have things to do!

Read the full article in Parade Magazine.

“We are trying to get at the subtleties, the messages that keep girls from achieving,”  Condoleeza Rice, American political scientist and diplomat.

by Na’Tell  L. Miller

Na’Tell  L. Miller is a Canterbury Parent to Natalya I. Jones ( 4th–Wesney). She values the constant change and positive growth that Canterbury offers students. When time permits, she enjoys swimming, photography, and scrapbooking. 

Parenting with Canterbury by our side

What is it about the Canterbury experience that endears parents to our children’s school?


Faculty who thoughtfully guide students to success? Who encourage our children to make a difference in their own lives and for others?

Administrators and staff who foster a high-quality learning experience each day and a confident vision for years to come?

The breathtaking campus and modern facilities that allow learning to happen on every square foot, whether in a classroom or the chapel, on the gym floor or the ropes course? The small size, where children are known, cared for, and loved?

With its whole-child approach, the comprehensive Canterbury experience develops the mind, body, and spirit, making these important years so special and purpose-driven. It is all of this, and more, that we love about Canterbury. And some days, it’s as simple as looking at our children’s smiles and seeing the way they light up when they talk about school.

This blog celebrates what it means to parent with Canterbury by our side. We hope you’ll visit often.