Court Street Academy Professional Staff

DR. WILBUR KERSEY is the minister of Court Street Baptist Church and the founder 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 founder 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.

DR. SANDIE HOPKINS is the Principal at Court Street Academy.  She is a graduate of Woodrow Wilson High School, Portsmouth, VA.  She holds an Associate of Science Degree from Tidewater Community College, a Bachelor of Science Degree from Old Dominion University, Secondary Education, Business & Marketing, a Master of Arts Degree, Educational Leadership from University of Sarasota, Sarasota, FL, a Doctorate of Education, Educational Leadership from Argosy University, Sarasota, FL.  Dr. Hopkins is the proud mother of Ali Sprinkle, Attorney at Law, Portsmouth, VA.  Dr. Hopkins has taught History & Science at Court Street Academy since 2016.  She is retired from both VA & NC Public Schools Systems.  Her favorite quote is from President Theodore Roosevelt: "Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care".


THERESA HARRELL is a the Pre- K3 teacher at Court Street Academy.  Her family attends Court Street Baptist Church, where she serves as one of two workers in Children's Church.


SUSAN MCDONALD is a Pre- K4 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 hold a degree in Early Childhood Education from Liberty University and Associates degree from Tidewater Community College and ECPI.  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 who attended Court Street Academy.


KATHLEEN JEFFRIES is the first grade teacher at Court Street Academy. This is her 9th year teaching at Court Street.  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.   In addition to teaching, Ms. Jeffries enjoys listening to Christian music and singing in her church choir. She is a member of the Rescue Church in Portsmouth.  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.

JANE RICE is the co-teacher for the third grade.  This is her first year teaching at Court Street, but has substituted for years. She has a Masters of Education from Regent University and a permanent certification for ACSI. She is married to her pastor husband, Ken for 45 years, and they have two sons.

KATHY GOODWIN is the co-teacher for the third grade.  She is a retired Licensed Practical Nurse and Medical Office worker.  Her love of teaching was kindled on a missions trip to Mexico. She is currently teaching Sunday School.  She joined Court Street Academy last year as a substitute teacher and makes the leap to a full time teacher under the guidance of her co-teacher Mrs. Jane Rice.

KIMBERLY KOCH is the fourth grade teacher. This is her first year teaching at Court Street.  She has earned degrees in English and Secondary Education from Salisbury University.  She has taught in different school in the states and abroad.  She is a published author and mother of three children.  Her children all attend Court Street his year.

TERI SWANSON is the fifth grade teacher.  She graduated with honors from Pillsbury Baptist Bible College in Owatonna, 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.

CHUCK SWANSON is the middle school Math teacher and the seventh 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. 

MARTHA PANTELIDES is the middle school English teacher and eighth grade homeroom teacher at Court Street Academy. Mrs. Pantelides has been teaching middle school English for the past five years.  She has a Bachelor's Degree in English from Old Dominion University; she received her English certification through the Career Switcher Program at Old Dominion in 2007.  She has taught middle and high school language arts at Chesapeake Bay Academy, Portsmouth Catholic, and at Court Street Academy since then.  Mrs. Pantelides wrote and published her first book, Emma Talks to God, in 2015.

KATRINA COOK is the technology teacher and the school librarian This is her first year at Court Street.  She has an Associates degree in Medical Assisting from ECPI College of Technology. She loves spending time with her family and writing letters.  Her and her husband are members of Hillcrest Baptist Church, in Suffolk.

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 HEELEY is a retired music teacher from the Portsmouth Public Schools.  She teaches at Governor's School for the Arts and Vocal Music Department in Norfolk. Her BMus Ed is from James Madison University in Music Education (Piano, Organ Major instruments), and her MS Ed is from Old Dominion University.  She has been a church organist/choirmaster for 44 years. As a competition Pipe Band member, she has performed in the Virginia International Tattoo for over 17 years. In addition, she has accompanied the Tidewater Opera Initiative, competed on the East Coast of the United States with the Tidewater Pipes and Drums, and specializes in 15 to 17th century instrumental music from Europe. (Honored in 2002 in Roots of Virginia Music). In 2014, she received the Alli Award for Hampton Roads Outstanding Arts Educator.  She has performed instrumentally throughout the United States and Australia.  Susan has three adult children and four grandchildren.


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 Advisory Board

Dr. Barbara Kersey

Mrs. Jeannie Barrow

Mrs. Meagan Suarez

Mr. John Sykes

Mr. Derwood  Cobb

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447 Court Street

Portsmouth, VA 23704