OUR MANAGING DIRECTOR
Leslie Paynter is the founding Managing Director of Alamance Community School. She has ten years experience as a school administrator and previous experience in starting and opening charter schools. Leslie has a BA in Elementary Education (K-6), an M.Ed. in Special Education (K-12) from UNC-Charlotte and an Education Administration and Supervision add-on license from North Carolina Central University. In her twenty-nine years as an educator, she has been a regular classroom teacher, a special education teacher, an EC facilitator, a founding board member of a charter school, and a school administrator.
Fifteen years ago, Leslie was introduced to Responsive Classroom and read the book, Teaching Children to Care by Ruth Sidney Charney. As a special educator and a behaviorist, this was life changing for her, not only as an educator, but also as a parent. Therefore, her philosophy of behavior management and education significantly shifted to a more constructivist approach. She began to focus on student questions and interests, teaching students to care for themselves, each other, and their environment, building on their prior knowledge, and having students work collaboratively. In the world of high stakes testing, as an administrator and an educator, Leslie believes that our students' social-emotional health is just as important as their academic health. She knows that student achievement increases when her students feel safe and valued.
In the spring of 2021, ten finalists were selected for the Charter One North Carolina Charter Schools Principal of the Year. Out of the 201 North Carolina Charter School leaders across the state, Managing Director/Principal Leslie Hall Paynter was one of the ten finalists. Leslie considered this a great honor and was humbled to be selected.
Next year, Leslie and her husband will celebrate their 30th anniversary! They have two sons that are ECU Pirates. Her eldest son graduated from East Carolina University in 2018 and is a local realtor. Her youngest son is entering his senior year at ECU and will graduate in May 2022 with a degree in Finance. Leslie is also a former voice major and loves all kinds of music from bluegrass to opera. She is thankful that both of her boys sing well, since singing off key is one of her “pet peeves”.
Leslie is thrilled to be the Managing Director of Alamance Community School and knows that we are truly creating and building something wonderful and long-lasting for our students and our community. One of her favorite quotes is by Sir Winston Churchill. He said, “Every day you may make progress. Every step may be fruitful. Yet there will stretch out before you an ever-lengthening, ever-ascending, ever-improving path. You know you will never get to the end of the journey. But this, so far from discouraging, only adds to the joy and glory of the climb."
OUR BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Clay Smith, Board Chair
A lifelong resident of Alamance County, Clay brings a decade of experience in teacher education and educator preparation to the Alamance Community School Board. He earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in History Education from East Carolina University where he currently serves as the Special Populations Coordinator. In this role, Clay directs residency-licensed teachers in their pursuit of state certification. He also earned his doctorate in Educational Leadership and Administration from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. There, Clay's research explored the experience of military veterans as postsecondary students, namely their beliefs about belonging and the role of the academic degree program.
Outside of work, Clay enjoys spending time with family. His wife, Jordan, is also an Alamance County native. Their two boys, Owen and Cameron, love being outside to enjoy the spaces of nature Alamance County has to offer. You can often find them paddling down the Haw, playing at one of the local parks, or exploring downtown Graham or Saxapahaw. At home, Clay and family are often cooking, listening to music, or reading.
Clay is honored to serve on the Alamance Community School Board, especially as ACS positions itself to lead and thrive within his home county. Clay is specifically excited to see learning come alive for ACS students through Project-Based Learning as they own, lead, and construct within the learning process.
Natalie Turner, Vice Chair
Before becoming a stay at home mom, Natalie, a former technology teacher and Elon University Alumni (History A.B. with Teacher Licensure and a Spanish minor), was a Human Resources and Labor Relations Representative for Duke University Facilities Management. She specialized in recruitment, onboarding and labor relations.
From 2013-2016, Natalie proudly served on the Orange County Human Relations Commission. The HRC works to promote the equal treatment of all individuals; to protect residents' lawful interests and their personal dignity; and to prevent public and domestic strife, crime and unrest within Orange County.
Natalie is currently a Tinkergarten leader where she uses her passion and joy for play, love of the natural world and community to facilitate outdoor classes for kids.
Natalie is very thankful for the opportunity to work with this wonderful team dedicated to providing a new tuition free, school of choice for Alamance and surrounding counties. She is excited for the students of Alamance Community School to find meaning, develop empathy and create solutions.
Wendy De Campos, Secretary
Originally from Greenville, NC, Wendy De Campos relocated back to NC from South Florida, where she and her family had lived for 8 years. She also lived in Washington D.C. for a number of years and Sydney Australia before deciding that the Tar Heel State still held a special place in her heart.
Wendy holds her B.S. in Public Health from UNC-Chapel Hill and Masters in International Public Health from the University of Sydney, Australia. Wendy currently works for ADP, as an HR Business Partner helping her clients optimize HR and technology solutions to help them achieve their strategic business goals. Prior to HR, Wendy worked in Public Relations for a number of years with the Federal government, non-profits, and pharmaceutical giants.
On weekends, Wendy can be found at Home Depot picking up more native plants or paint colors. Wendy also loves spending time with her husband, a high school STEM teacher, and their two boys, exploring nature trails, cafes, museums, or just their backyard. Wendy looks forward to serving on the Board and serving her community.
Brenda Derrick, Treasurer
Brenda has been teaching in Durham, North Carolina for 38 years. She began her career with Durham Public Schools, where she taught elementary Physical Education for 30 years. For the past eight years, she has been teaching PE at Voyager Academy, a K - 12 charter school located in Durham.
Brenda grew up in Pulaski, Virginia and attended Virginia Intermont College graduating with a B.S. in Physical Education, Health, and Recreation (K-12). Brenda is married and has two children. Playing golf, working out at CrossFit, going to the beach, and hanging out with friends are her hobbies. Brenda looks forward to serving on the ACS board. Her experience working in traditional public schools and in a public charter school
will be helpful to the board and the community in building a successful school.
Alexandra “Alex” Christiansen relocated to Alamance County in 2018 from Nashville, TN. Alex attended Shenandoah University where she received a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. She subsequently attended Belmont University, earning a Doctorate in Occupational Therapy (OT). Alex is an OT at Duke Regional Hospital and while she has experience in a variety of settings, she specializes in working with individuals who have sustained spinal cord injuries. When not working, Alex can be found spending time with her family and friends, completing DIY projects, and exploring local restaurants and stores. She is excited to serve on the ACS Board.
Charter Success Partners
With over 14 years experience, CSP provides financial, facility financing, and student information services to charter schools. Their services provide security and peace of mind for charter school boards and administration through sound fiscal and student information management, allowing the school to focus on student instruction.
Schoolhouse Development, LLC
Schoolhouse Development has been working with charter schools since 2004. They partner with charter schools through the entire process. Through proper planning, strategy, and execution, they work to alleviate concerns related to finance, building design, permitting, and construction. They give charter founders and educators the freedom and confidence to focus on childhood development and education, rather than the uncertainty that can arise and distract in the process of completing a large real estate development.
Hubrich Contracting, Inc.
Hubrich Contracting, Inc., located in Durham, NC, has pioneered a different type of relationship with their charter school clients. They create mutually beneficial projects through careful planning, design, and hands on oversight, which helps their clients avoid the typical pitfalls sometimes associated with contractin and development.
Steve Hubrich and his team built all three schools that comprise the K-12 Voyager Academy in Durham, NC (the middle school in 2007, the high school in 2011, and the elementary school in 2012). This will be the fourth charter school construction project our Managing Director, Leslie Paynter, will work with the Hubrich Contracting team. Leslie said, "Knowing that we will have Steve’s vast knowledge and experience in charter school construction, in addition to the local aspect, brings me great relief and security." You can learn more about Hubrich Contracting at https://www.hubrichcontracting.com/ourwork.html.