Faculty Profile: Emily Moss

Emily Moss first came to Canterbury from 2006 to 2010. After a five-year hiatus, Emily is back in the position of Lower School Learning Specialist. Back in 2007, I first became curious about Emily when another parent said, “If your child gets to spend time with Emily Moss, just feel grateful.” I did not get that opportunity then, but I was happy to interview Emily this month. Please get to know Emily through this interview and greet her on campus when you see her.

Where are you from originally? I am a native of Asheboro, NC, born in…well, let’s just say I was born before the zoo was built.  My father worked in construction as a brick and stone mason and my mother was a homemaker.  Kindergarten was not provided at my assigned school, so my mother played “school” with me every day during the year before I entered school.  She taught me to read and do elementary math as we played, and I have enjoyed learning ever since.  Looking back, I realize that my entire childhood was blessed with many of life’s simplest pleasures… family picnics, imaginative play with forts and hide-outs, backyard badminton with my younger brother, and celebrating Friday nights with popcorn and Pepsi while all four of us watched Sonny and Cher on a black and white Zenith television.  (Not quite Laura Ingalls, but close.) After completing eighth grade at Farmer Elementary School (‘Middle School’ hadn’t been invented yet), I transitioned to Southwestern Randolph High School, graduating in 1983.

Canterbury Lower School Learning Specialist Emily Moss

Canterbury Lower School Learning Specialist Emily Moss

How about your education—college/university? In August of the year I graduated from high school, I moved to Boone to attend Appalachian State University. ASU was a great institution and I enjoyed my classes there.  In spite of my early college success, I was unable to decide on a career path and I returned home after my freshman year, determined that I would not waste my parents’ hard-earned savings.  Not long after, I began working as a teacher’s assistant in a local elementary school.  Within weeks, I knew that I HAD to go back to college to earn a degree in education because I loved working with children more than anything I had ever done before.  So, with a definite goal in mind, I continued working full-time at my wonderful job while I took college classes at night.  Finally, in May of 1991, I graduated from Greensboro College with a degree in Special Education.  By August, I had accepted  a job with Rockingham County Schools (RCS) to work in one of their middle schools.  A few years later, I transferred from the middle school to McMichael High School, where I taught many of the required academic courses to diploma-seeking students with learning disabilities for the next ten years.  My employment with RCS concluded after two years at an elementary school in Reidsville.  The following August, I began a five-year relationship with Canterbury School.

Tell me about your family—near and far. I am grateful to be able to say that my parents are still living independently in my childhood home.  My kid brother, Jon, lives in Ohio and we all get together about twice a year in Asheboro.  I am married to Samuel Moss, a proud West Virginian and avid cyclist.  Our two “children” are soft and furry with whiskers and four legs… and almost as spoiled as they are loved.

You were on the Canterbury faculty before in the early to mid-2000’s. What years exactly? My first year at Canterbury School was the 2006-07 school year.  For five years, I worked on a part-time basis in Student Support Services, initially serving grades K-8.  During those years, a part-time position devoted to grades 5-8 was created, and my focus narrowed to grades K-4.  Eventually, a full-time position was developed for providing support to the Lower School, but I felt drawn to an opportunity to expand my private practice as a Dyslexia Intervention and Assessment Specialist.  For the past five years, I worked in this area successfully, but Canterbury was always close in my heart and mind.

What drew you back to Canterbury? At my very first interview in 2006, Penny Summers told me that “Canterbury is a very special place.”  Truer words have never been spoken.  Being a part of the Canterbury School community had been an experience that warmed me, inspired me, challenged me, and supported me.  Memories of those feelings and experiences flooded back when Burns Jones first contacted me about the possibility of a Learning Resources position for this year. To be offered an opportunity to rejoin this incredible community was nothing short of a gift.

What is your favorite Canterbury memory or tradition? Selecting a single memory or tradition to be my favorite is just impossible. I could spend hours, and pages, describing the events and relationships that make Canterbury irreplaceable.  Perhaps it will suffice to say that, to me, the “Canterbury Experience” is like a beautiful quilt made with the fabrics of friendship, cooperation, and dedication, and stitched together with the golden threads of Kindness and Inclusivity.

by Canterbury parent Kelly McKee

mckeeKelly McKee is a freelance writer and community volunteer. She has three daughters and a very high golf handicap (these two facts are not unrelated).


Meet Roanne Ornelles: Canterbury’s Lower School Learning Specialist

Learning Specialist Roanne Ornellis

Learning Specialist Roanne Ornellis

If you have a child with a learning difficulty, Roanne Ornelles wants you to know that your child is in good company! Some very famous people struggled with Attention Deficit Disorder or dyslexia and learned to overcome their disability and highlight their talents. The list includes Albert Einstein, Bill Gates, Richard Branson, Jim Carrey, Michael Phelps, and Agatha Christie.

Roanne explains that children with learning difficulties are often bright with above average intelligence. Once they can discover and acknowledge their pocket of giftedness, frustration diminishes and success follows. Canterbury is happy to welcome Roanne as its new Lower School Learning Specialist.

Roanne is from Hawaii,  and her husband, David, was also born in there. They both left to attend graduate school in Boston. While this is Roanne’s first year working in Greensboro, she and her family have been living in Winston-Salem since 1993. David is a professor of microbiology and immunology at the Wake Forest School of Medicine. Their grown daughter now lives in Spain, and they have a son who is a senior in high school. While Roanne loves the four seasons of North Carolina, she misses the climate in Hawaii enough that her family goes back twice a year.

An early career as a teacher led Roanne to become a learning specialist when she noticed kids struggling in the classroom. She saw what a difference new learning approaches and extra help made in their lives. Roanne loves to help demystify learning disabilities for her students. Helping them understand how their brains work and emphasizing each child’s strength opens up new worlds for them. She sees her students’ self-esteem flourish after being taught new approaches to academics.

“With all the pressure to be good at everything these days, its hard for kids to focus on things they are good at and things they love!”

unnamed-2 A typical day at Canterbury for Roanne is spent working with small groups of two to six K-4 students for 30 minute periods, usually meeting two or three times per week. She focuses on multi-sensory approaches to presenting material: auditory, visual and tactile. Her favorite aha moment with a student is when a child having difficulty reading finally “cracks the code” and falls in love with books as a result. Head to Roanne’s Haiku page for more links, helpful tips and videos.

Roanne thinks Canterbury is a special place because of its close-knit staff and the warm, community feeling around the school. She is happy working with students, but she also enjoys communicating with teachers and parents and answering questions about students across the learning spectrum.

Say hello to Roanne next time you see her on campus!

Canterbury would like to express its sincere sympathy to Roanne and her family following the recent loss of her mother.

By Katie Hu hu

Katie Hu is the parent of Brady (4th-Hoover), Maggie (2nd-McIlwain) and Mason (2025). Her favorite part of Canterbury is the chapel and the teachers. She loves a quiet walk in the woods, yoga, and a tall glass of kale afterwards.