Skip to main content

Court Street Academy

Traditional Education in a Christian Values Setting

Home  About Us  Contact Us  Site Map  17-18 Calendar  17-18 Information  Photos  Member Login  Sports Schedules   
Community Outreach
Faculty and Staff

Court Street Academy Professional Staff


DR. WILBUR KERSEY is the minister of Court Street Baptist Church and the principal of Court Street Academy.  He began his ministry at Court Street in 1959 and started Court Street Academy in 1966.  Dr. Kersey attended the University of Richmond where he received his Bachelors degree in Sociology in 1956. While there, he was the President of the Student Government and a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Omicron Delta Kappa and Sigma Phi Epsolon academic and collegiate honor societies.  He received his Masters of Divinity degree from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1959, where he was also President of the Student Government.  In 1973, he received his Masters of Education degree from Old Dominion University and in 1976, he received his Doctorate of Ministry degree from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.  He and his wife, Dr. Katharine Kersey have three children and four grandchildren.  His younger son attended Court Street Academy.


DR. KATHARINE C. KERSEY is the Assistant Principal at Court Street Academy.  She was the first Director of Court Street Academy and taught kindergarten here for three years.  She received her Bachelors degree from Westhampton College in 1956, her Masters degree in Early Childhood Education from Old Dominion University in 1969; and her PhD in Elementary Education from the University of Virginia in 1973. After forty-five years she retired from the faculty at Old Dominion University, where she is Director Emeritus of the Child Study Center and Professor of Early Childhood Education. For twenty-two years, she was Chairperson of the Department of Early Childhood, Speech Pathology and Special Education. She is the author of five books and two video productions and is the recipient of the 2005 SCHEV award for outstanding teaching.  Two of her grandchildren graduated from Court Street Academy.


THERESA HARRELL is a preschool teacher at Court Street Academy.  Ms. Harrell has a son who attends Court Street Academy and her family attends Court Street Baptist Church, where she serves as one of two workers in Children's Church.


SUSAN MCDONALD is a preschool teacher at Court Street Academy. Mrs. McDonald graduated from Radford University with a Bachelors of Science degree in Art/Graphics in 1993. She is married to Joe McDonald and they have one daughter attending Court Street Academy this year. Mrs. McDonald is a Court Street Academy graduate herself, attending from kindergarten through the eighth grade. She and her family are also long time members of Court Street Baptist Church.



JACKIE O'NEAL is the kindergarten teacher at Court Street Academy with over twenty years of experience teaching in preschool, kindergarten, and Sunday school.  Mrs. O’Neal is a former director of a Christian preschool and is currently a member of the National Association of Young Children, the Virginia Association for Early Childhood Education, and the Southern Early Childhood Association.  She attended Tidewater Community College and Liberty University and holds a degree in Early Childhood Education.  As an early childhood educator, she believes in the importance of instilling a life-long love of learning in children, building their self-esteem, and fostering their independence. In Mrs. O’Neal’s classroom, her students enjoy learning through exciting, hands-on activities.  For over thirty years Mrs. O’Neal has been a member of West Park Church of Christ.  Mrs. O'Neal has one son attending Court Street Academy this year.


KATHLEEN JEFFRIES is the first grade teacher at Court Street Academy.  Ms. Jeffries graduated with honors from Baptist Bible College of Pennsylvania with a Bachelors of Religious Education degree in Christian Elementary Education. Certified by the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) in All Levels Bible and Elementary Teacher, Ms. Jeffries holds a Pennsylvania license for teaching in private elementary schools. With over thirty years of experience in Christian school, homeschool, and church school settings, her commitment to Christian education remains constant.  In fact, all of her children have either attended Christian schools or have been home schooled, and three have then gone on to attend bible colleges. A SPARKS leader, she also devotes time as a third/fourth grade Sunday School teacher at her church.  In addition to teaching, Ms. Jeffries enjoys listening to Christian music and singing in her church choir.  Her life verse is Proverbs 3:5-6.


DIANNE BROWN is the second grade teacher at Court Street Academy.  Mrs. Brown attended Tidewater Community College for two years before transferring to Old Dominion University.  She received her Bachelors of Science degree in Elementary Education in 1981 and became a teacher at Court Street Academy in 1983.  She continued her education at Old Dominion and received her Masters degree in Early Childhood Education in 1986.  She has taught second and third grade with us as well as Summer Fun and After School Care. A proud new grandmother, she has two daughters, Emily and Kristen, who both attended Court Street Academy from kindergarten through the eighth grade. Her family attends Court Street Baptist Church.


CHUCK SWANSON is the third/fourth grade math and science teacher and the third-grade homeroom teacher.  He graduated from North Park University in Chicago, Illinois with a Bachelor of Arts degree in mathematics and a minor in music.  He also has extended studies in secondary education earning a secondary math teaching certificate from Illinois.  With twenty-five years of teaching, he has had the opportunity of teaching young people from the first through twelfth grades.  He is experienced in teaching all elementary subjects along with middle and high school math and science.  Music has also been an area that he enjoys teaching.  He has two grown children, Katrina and Seth.  He has a great interest in meteorology, classical music, and spending time with his wife, Teri. 


TERI SWANSON is the third/fourth grade English and history teacher and the fourth-grade homeroom teacher.  She graduated with honors from Pillsbury Baptist Bible College in Owatoona, MN.  She earned degrees Bachelor of Science in Education and in Bible with a Broad field minor allowing her to have studied all areas of education.  She is certified by the ACSI. With over twenty-five years of teaching experience, she has taught all elementary subjects, middle and high school English, history, music, and art.  She has developed summer day camp and school programs and developed fine art programs. She has two grown children, Katrina and Seth. She loves reading, writing, music (especially singing), photography, baseball and basketball, and spending time with her husband.



MARIE LOPER is the middle school History teacher at Court Street Academy.  She is a homeschool veteran of 17 years.  She has taught History, Latin, Logic, English, and Algebra in several homeschool co-ops, the last being Homeschool Plus in Norfolk.  She loves engaging her students with games, hands on activities, trivia, and current events.  She has four children, ages 10-28, and is celebrating her 29th wedding anniversary this year.  She has been an active member of West Park Church of Christ for 23 years.



SHAE PEPPER is the middle school science teacher and sixth grade homeroom teacher at Court Street Academy.  She holds a Masters Degree in Youth Work and Community Development from DeMontfort University in Leicester, England, and has been working with teenagers and younger children for the last twelve years.  Mrs. Pepper and her husband Stephen have a dog named Truffles.  She loves to travel and has been to thirty-five states and ten countries.  Mrs. Pepper also loves to read, particularly historical and science fiction.  Inspired by Ron Clark, Mrs. Pepper hopes to instill a love of learning in each of her science students.


CLAY SMITH is the middle school math and Algebra I teacher for grades 5-8, as well as the school's Athletic Director and seventh grade homeroom teacher at Court Street Academy. Mr. Smith attended Salem State College and Northeastern University. He retired from government service after thirty-four years. He began his second career with the Portsmouth Public Schools in 2006.  He taught Geometry, Algebra I, and 7th/8th grade math. He also was the Cradock Middle coach for soccer and volleyball.  Mr. Smith was involved in youth athletics in the city of Chesapeake for twenty-five years. During that time he coached both girls and boys from ages 6-14. He is involved in our after school program as well as Summer Fun. He is married with two grown children and five grandchildren. He attends Westhaven Baptist Church and is active with the youth program for grades 1-6.


MARTHA PANTELIDES is the middle school English teacher and eighth grade homeroom teacher at Court Street Academy.  Mrs. Pantelides has a B.A. in English from Old Dominion University and is a graduate of the Career Switcher Program, Old Dominion University in 2007.  She taught at Chesapeake Bay Academy from 2007-2010 and Portsmouth Catholic Regional School from 2010-2014.  Mrs. Pantelides also taught upper school and high school Language Arts at CBA and was the Middle School Language Arts teacher at PCRS.  She holds a Collegiate Professional License from the state of Virginia. Mrs. Pantelides loves children and is the Religious Educational Director at her lifetime parish, Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral, in Norfolk.  She enjoys reading and traveling as they are the best ways to learn.


JEANNIE BARROW is the librarian at Court Street Academy. She and her husband, Arnold, have three grown children, Kristin, Matt, and Daniel, one son-in-law, Randall Ball, a daughter-in-law, Erin, and three wonderful grandchildren and one on the way. Jeannie is a member of Court Street Baptist Church where she enjoys singing in the choir and occasionally accompanying on piano. In her spare time, she loves to read and always has a book in her hands. She also travels to North Carolina's Outer Banks at every opportunity to visit her sisters, walk by the ocean, and soak up the sun. 


MARGARET (PEGGY) DAVIS is the part-time art teacher at Court Street Academy.  Mrs. Davis graduated from Old Dominion University with a Bachelors of Science degree in Secondary Education with a major in art.  She has recently retired from Portsmouth Public Schools where she taught art for forty-one years. She teaches our after-school art program and provides our halls and walls with beautiful creative work produced by the children at Court Street Academy.  Mrs. Davis has two children and two grandchildren.  Her daughter, Margaret Ferry, taught first grade here, and her two granddaughters attended Court Street Academy from kindergarten through the eighth grade.  She is also a member of Court Street Baptist Church.

SUSAN HEELY is retired from teaching music in the Portsmouth Public Schools.  She has been a music theory teacher and accompanist at Governor's School for the Arts in Norfolk since 2014.  Her BMus Ed is from James Madison University, and her MS Ed is from Old Dominion University.  Her major instrument is piano, and she minored in organ and voice.  She has been a church organist/choirmaster for 44 years, currently at West End United Methodist Church in Portsmouth.  As a competition Pipe Band member, she has performed in the Virginia Tattoo for over 16 years.  In addition, she has accompanied the Tidewater Opera Initiative, competed on the East Coast of United States with Tidewater Pipes and Drums, and specializes in 15-17th century instrumental music from Scotland and Ireland.  In 2014, she received the Alli Award from Hampton Roads Outstanding Arts Educator.  She has performed instrumentally throughout the United States and Australia.


Court Street Academy Staff


SHEILA CUFFEE is the Office Manager at Court Street Academy and Court Street Baptist Church.  Mrs. Cuffee graduated from Groveton High School in Alexandria, Virginia in 1983.  While in Northern Virginia, she worked for five years with the Fairfax County Public Schools. Her family relocated to the Hampton Roads area in June 2004, and she began her work with us in May 2006.  She is married to Marvin L. Cuffee, Sr., and they have five children and five grandchildren.  


LYNN KENAS is the Office Assistant at Court Street Academy.  In this capacity, she performs clerical work and is responsible for before and after school care.  She also is one of three Summer Fun instructors and fills in for teachers when there is a need. Mrs. Kenas is married to Paul Kenas and they have three children, Becky, Matthew and Jonathan, all of whom went to Court Street Academy from kindergarten through the eighth grade. Mrs. Kenas also has four grandchildren.  She and her family are long time members at Court Street Baptist Church.


Court Street Academy Advisory Board


Dr. Barbara Kersey

Dr. Katharine Kersey
Mr. Joe McDonald
Mr. Don Willhoite