The Kingston Hill Academy Team

KHA is operated under a charter granted by the Board of Regents of the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) and follows RIDE regulations, assessment and teaching standards and all other requirements mandated for traditional public schools in Rhode Island. Teachers and teacher assistants are certified by the State of Rhode Island and meet highly qualified status. 

Drew Virbila


Drew Virbila (Mr. V), the Principal of Kingston Hill Academy has been a member of the Kingston Hill Academy since 2019.  Prior to being named Principal in 2023, Drew served as the school’s Assistant Principal from 2019-2023.  He has both a Master of Arts in Administration in Education from Providence College and Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education with a concentration in Math and Science from Wheelock CollegeDrew‘s educational journey began as a 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grade classroom teacher at The Compass School in Kingston, RI. During that time, Drew was named the 2019 District Teacher of the Year and had his classroom showcased in a RI PBS special. Drew resides in South Kingstown with two children and an energetic French Bulldog. In his free time, he enjoys running, biking, surfing, photography, and listening to music. biking, photography, and listening to music.

Front Office

Susan Wilcox

Office Manager

Sue Wilcox grew up in South Kingstown and currently lives in Hope Valley with her husband. She has a son, daughter in-law, a granddaughter and a grandson, who are the light of her life. Before coming to KHA she worked as an Administrative Assistant at a school for fourteen years, as well as being the Assistant to the Business Manager. Sue is very excited to be part of the KHA family. She enjoys gardening, swimming, needlepoint and children.

Donna DeMarco

Office Administrative Assistant/Data Manager

Donna was born and raised in Rhode Island and currently resides in South Kingstown. She graduated from Rhode Island College with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management. She has been a part of the KHA family since 2004. She really feels fortunate to have had the opportunity of getting to know all the families at KHA. Her interests and hobbies include taking walks on our beautiful beaches, swimming, traveling and the theater.

Email Donna at

Judy D'Angelo

School Nurse

Nurse Judy happily joined the staff of KHA in the summer of 2005 as the school nurse. She is originally from Western New York and currently resides in North Kingstown. After graduating from Niagara University with a Bachelors of Science degree in Nursing, she worked as a staff nurse at Children’s Hospital of Buffalo in the Intensive Care Nursery. Since then, she has enjoyed being a school nurse for students of all ages. Nurse Judy earned her Masters of Education/Health degree from Rhode Island College in June 2011 and is currently a Rhode Island Certified School Nurse Teacher. You are welcome to call or stop in the health office anytime with questions or concerns — or just to say hello.

Email Nurse Judy at

Meet the Teachers

Lauren Angel

Kindergarten Teacher

Mrs. Angel is a native Rhode Islander who grew up in West Greenwich and has since enjoyed living in many parts of the Ocean State. Mrs. Angel graduated from Salve Regina University in 2016 with a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education with minors in Psychology and Special Education. She went on to complete her Master of Reading at The University of Rhode Island in 2020 and is now a certified Reading Specialist. Mrs. Angel was named KHA’s Teacher of the Year in 2021. She strives to create a classroom community that is based on love and kindness by consistently modeling appropriate relationship-building and empathy skills. Mrs. Angel believes that explicitly teaching Social Emotional skills and strategies sets her students up for success. She is extremely passionate about teaching and is always open to learning and trying new strategies that will make her classroom an amazing place to grow and learn! Recently married, Mrs. Angel and her husband reside in Warwick with their dog, Bruce. Outside of teaching, she enjoys listening to Taylor Swift, riding her Peloton, and cooking!

Email Ms.Angel at

Rebecca Kurian

First Grade Teacher

Rebecca Kurian has been in the education field for over 20 years. She has done teaching from middle school to preschool and has loved every class and child that she has impacted along the way. Rebecca grew up in Oregon and has lived and taught in New Mexico, California, and New York, until settling in Rhode Island in 2014. She worked in a Montessori school in RI before finding her home at KHA in 2019. Outside of work she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, kayaking, beach days, and whatever adventure comes with each day!

Email Mrs.Kurian at

Laurie St. Clair

Third Grade Teacher

Ms. St. Clair is originally from Maine and returns often to visit family. She loves to travel and has visited many countries and lived in a few as well, her favorite being Australia. While taking a break from college (she thought she wanted to be an accountant) she traveled to Mexico to take some language and art classes. While there, she volunteered at a local library and worked with children to help them learn English. After returning, she decided to go back to college to gain her bachelor’s in teaching at the University of Maine in Orono. Upon graduation in 2002, she moved to Rhode Island to try something new. Ms. St. Clair came to KHA in the spring of 2003 and began teaching first grade in the fall of that year. After teaching first grade for seven years, she began teaching third grade and loves it! In the 2013-2014 school year, Ms. St. Clair was nominated as the Kingston Hill Academy Teacher of the Year. When not at school, she enjoys outdoor activities, running, volleyball, kayaking, rock climbing, movies, cooking, playing games, and spending time with her boys (dogs, not children).

Email Ms.St.Clair at

Rachel Craven

Fourth Grade Teacher

Rachel Craven is a native of South Kingstown. She graduated from the University of Rhode Island as a Communications Major and worked in advertising in Atlanta, GA for several years. Rachel went back to school and got her teaching degree at Oglethorpe University after which she taught first and second grade in a suburb of Atlanta. Rachel returned to RI in 2004 and joined KHA as a kindergarten teacher in 2008. Since then she has taught both 3rd and 4th grades. She enjoys running, gardening, going to the beach, and spending time with her friends and family. She lives in Wakefield with her husband and two sons.

Email Mrs. Craven at

Tory Kavanagh

Special Education Teacher

Tory Kavanagh grew up in South Kingstown. She graduated from Rhode Island College with a degree in Elementary Education and Special Education in 2018. Tori started at KHA in 2020 and she is very excited to be here! In Tory’s free time she enjoys reading, going to the beach, kickboxing, and spending time with her friends and family.

Email Ms. Tory at

Katie Smith

Kindergarten Teacher

Katie Smith is a native of South Kingstown who currently resides there with her husband and two children, Brooklyn and Easton. She graduated from the University of Rhode Island in 2012 with a double major in elementary education and sociology. After being at KHA for a few years as a Teacher Assistant, she realized her true passion was working in kindergarten and completed coursework to receive a degree in early childhood education. She loves integrating play-based learning and movement into her teaching. In her free time, she enjoys running, yoga, and spending time with her family and friends. She is currently certified in Reiki 1 and hopes to obtain more reiki levels in the future.

Email Mrs.Smith at

Kim Charest

Second Grade Teacher

Ms. Kim is a Rhode Island native. She has been teaching grades K-2 for 25 + years. She graduated from the University of Rhode Island with a Bachelor of Science degree in Early Childhood Education. When she has free time, she enjoys fishing with her husband, hiking, traveling, photography and reading.

Email Mrs.Kim at

Shanna Thayer

Third Grade Teacher

Shanna Thayer, her husband, three boys, and dog Annie reside in Richmond, RI. A native of Rhode Island, Mrs. Thayer received her bachelor’s degree in Wildlife Science from Virginia Tech with experiences in environmental education including a Natural History museum and a position with Americorp VISTA in Boston, MA. She then went on to receive her Masters in Education from the University of Phoenix and taught a combination of grades 3-5 for five years at The Village Lower school in East Greenwich prior to teaching at Kingston Hill beginning in 2013. In her free time, Shanna enjoys spending time outside with her three boys, camping and kayaking, as well as doing country line dancing

Email Mrs.Thayer at

Pam Zagadsky

Fifth Grade Teacher

Pam Zagadsky (Mrs. Z) is a native Rhode Islander, having spent most of her childhood in South Kingstown. She graduated from Salve Regina University with a degree in Elementary Education in 2007. She joined KHA in 2008 teaching 1st, 4th, and 5th grades. She also is one of KHA’s lead teachers, serving as KHA’s Technology Integration Specialist. In her free time, Mrs. Z likes to go camping with her husband and two boys.

Email Mrs.Zagadsky at

Dr. Amanda Wild

Special Education Teacher

Dr. Amanda Wild is KHA’s special education coordinator, a special education teacher, one of KHA’s lead teachers, and the district trainer for Nonviolent Crisis Intervention. She has been teaching since 2007, joined KHA in 2008, and was honored to be selected as KHA’s 2020-2021 District Teacher of the Year. As an avid lifelong learner, Amanda completed Northeastern University’s Doctor of Education program with a concentration in Curriculum, Teaching, Learning, and Leadership. After earning a BA in Elementary Education and Special Education at Providence College, Amanda continued to find ways to better serve the needs of her students by earning her MEd in Literacy, becoming certified in the Orton-Gillingham method of reading instruction, and becoming a certified reading specialist. Additionally, Amanda completed the graduate program in Applied Behavior Analysis for Special Populations at UMass Boston and is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and a Licensed Behavior Analyst in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. She works as a BCBA and clinical supervisor to home-based ABA programs. Amanda is also a certified Social Emotional Learning Facilitator through Breathe for Change, a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT-500), and an assistant coach for jiu-jitsu and women’s self-defense. She is currently working towards earning her black belt. Amanda lives in North Kingstown and enjoys dancing, jiu-jitsu, kickboxing, camping, kayaking, and traveling/exploring the world with her husband and family.

Email Mrs. Amanda at

Lori Corso

First Grade Teacher

Lori Corso is a Rhode Island native who grew up in Coventry and later moved to Exeter to raise her family. She graduated from the University of Rhode Island in 1989 and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Early Childhood Education. Prior to starting her family, Lori worked as the Head Teacher of a preschool for four years and later as a long-term substitute teacher. For the next ten years, Lori was fortunate to be able to dedicate time at home to raise her three children. Prior to joining KHA in August 2008, she was an active volunteer at her childrens’ schools, including the School Improvement Teams. In her free time, she enjoys gardening, cooking, and spending time with family and friends

Email Mrs. Corso at

Julie Klann

Second Grade Teacher

Julie Klann, originally from Ridgefield, Connecticut, moved to RI and attended Salve Regina University where she graduated with a double major in Elementary & Special Education. Over the course of 12 years, she has integrated herself within many RI school districts before finding her home at KHA in 2015. Julie first worked as one of our Special Services teachers before transitioning to Grade 2 teacher. One of her favorite moments as a teacher is seeing a child’s confidence radiate through their daily tasks. When she is not teaching she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, taking walks, reading, swimming, going to the beach, country music, and barbecues. Julie currently resides in Jamestown with her husband, daughter Gracesyn, and son Noah.

Email Mrs. Klann at

Julia Borges

Fourth Grade Teacher

Julia Borges grew up in Narragansett, RI and is currently residing in Westerly. She graduated from Western Governors University with a Bachelor’s in Elementary Education and a Master’s Degree in Special Education. Julia joined KHA in 2016 as a Special Ed TA. Since then, she has worked in grades K, 1, 2, 3, and 4 as both a Special Ed TA and a Teacher’s Assistant. Now, Julia is happily teaching 4th grade at KHA! Julia enjoys taking adventures with her family of 4 and spending time outdoors.

Email Ms. Borges at

Cecilia Francis

Fifth Grade Teacher

Cecilia Francis was born and raised in Rhode Island and currently lives in Coventry, RI. Cecilia worked as a preschool teacher for four years and then attended the Community of Rhode Island where she earned a degree in Computer Science. After working as a Computer Programmer for seven years, Cecilia decided to return to teaching. She attended the University of Rhode Island where she earned a degree in Human Development, Counseling, and Family Services and her Early Childhood Teaching Certification in 2006. She took additional classes through the University of Phoenix to earn her Elementary Teaching certification. She had worked as a long-term substitute at Metcalf Elementary in Exeter/West Greenwich for 7 years prior to joining KHA’s staff. Cecilia has worked at Kingston Hill since 2013. When Cecilia is not working, she enjoys watching her son play soccer, shopping with her daughter, high-pointing and biking with her husband, and spending time at their cottage at Knowles Campground.

Email Mrs. Francis at

Jean Rossi

Special Education Teacher

Ms. Rossi is a native Rhode Islander who grew up in Narragansett, and enjoys sitting by the waves! Ms. Rossi graduated from Wheelock, College, Boston MA., holding a Masters Degree in Early Childhood Special Education/Elementary Special Education, as well as Regular Elementary Certification and Multi Language Learner Certificate. Prior to getting hired at KHA, 8/2023, Jean had spent 31 years at the Alan Shawn Feinstein Broad Street Elementary School, in Providence RI. Here was where her entire career as a Special Education Teacher was until the school closed its doors in the month of June 2023. Ms. Rossi works very closely with the Feinstein Foundation, making youngsters feel special and having them participate activities, in order to show kindness to other people in this world. Ms. Rossi years of experience have taught her the value of patience and encouragement in the Special Education Classroom, working closely with each student, providing the individualized support and praise they require. Hobbies include running, working out, old window resin art designs, sewing and spending time with her family in Narragansett.

Email Ms. Rossi at

Specials Teachers

Jeannine Fritsche​

Physical Education Teacher

Jeannine is the K-5 Health/Physical Education and Adaptive PE teacher here at KHA. A native Rhode Islander, Jeannine graduated from the University of Rhode Island (2004) with a bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science. Jeannine currently resides in Warwick with her 3 dogs, Bentley (Australian Shepard mix), Armani (Pit Bull mix), and Cinco (Chocolate lab) She enjoys traveling, going to the beach, playing softball, and attending concerts in her free time.

Email Coach F at

Mary Clarity

Music Teacher

Mary Clarity has taught in New Zealand, Japan, and now the United States! She plays piano, guitar, and ukulele, and loves making music together. After teaching preschool music with toddlers and their parents, and also teaching numerous uku-lady groups she is now sharing that passion with elementary-age students.

Email Ms. Clarity at

Lori Reinerth

Art/STEAM Coordinator

Lori Reinerth, the Steam Coordinator at Kingston Hill Academy, earned her Master of Art Education from the Rhode Island School of Design. She taught Visual Art to PreK-5 students for over 23 years in the Pawtucket School Department. Prior to coming to KHA, she taught Art & Video at the Jaqueline Walsh School for the Arts. She also taught art and meditation classes to adults out of her studio, Spirit of Art, at Shady Lea Studios. Lori grew up in Narragansett and now resides in East Providence with her husband and Dachshund puppy, Conan the Barbarian. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, swimming, creating art, practicing Qigong, and playing with her dog.

Email Mrs. R at

Support Staff

Wendy Gariglio

Social Worker

Wendy Gariglio, LICSW (Ms. Wendy) has been the school social worker at KHA since 2015. She grew up in New Bedford, MA, and moved to RI to attend Providence College, where she majored in psychology and dual-minored in biology and writing. She then spent two years in Washington, DC where she earned her MSW at the Catholic University National School of Social Service and worked at the Mental Health Association of Montgomery County and at the Edgewood Brookland Family Support Collaborative. She then moved back up to RI where she was licensed as an independent clinical social worker and joined Project Family and the Family Counseling Program at Children’s Friend for eight years before working part-time as a private practitioner for Ocean State Psychotherapy and Wellness and as a school social worker/counselor for KHA. She is very happy to now be the full-time school social worker and school-wide social-emotional learning liaison at KHA. In her free time, she enjoys being a softball and soccer mom and everything Harry Potter.

Email Mrs. Wendy at

Mary Kate Agnew

Speech Language Pathologist

Mary Kate Agnew M.S. CCC-SLP (Ms. Mary Kate) is a native Rhode Islander. She graduated from the University of Rhode Island with her Bachelors in Communicative Disorders in 2019 and then continued on at URI to pursue her Masters in Speech and Language Pathology and graduated in 2021. She started at KHA in 2022. She is very passionate about her role as an SLP and picked this career because she loves working with the special education population and being a part of their communication development journey.  She enjoys the diversity and collaboration within this career and that no two days are the same. In her free time she enjoys going to the beach, decorating, reading, and spending time with friends, family, and her dog Noel.

Email Ms. Mary Kate at

Amy Walker

ELL/English Language Learner

Amy Walker is a native Rhode Islander who grew up in Lincoln. She graduated from Salve Regina University with a degree in Early Childhood and Elementary Education. She continued her education at Rhode Island College, receiving a Master’s degree in Education, concentrating on Multilingual Learners/English Learners. She has been an educator since 1995 and has extensive experience in the education of Early Childhood MLL/EL students. Prior to coming to Kingston Hill in 2019, Ms. Walker taught Kindergarten, Pre-K, and was a Literacy Coach in the Central Falls School District. When she is not at work she enjoys painting, relaxing at the beach and listening to 80’s, Country and K-Love music.

Email Ms. Walker at

Jennie Cavanagh

RTI Teacher

Jennie Cavanagh is a Rhode Island native who has worked in the education field for over 20 years and recently obtained her Master of Science in Education. Jennie, or Ms. Jennie, as her students have always called her, was initially a preschool teacher and came to KHA in 2008 as a teacher assistant. In 2015, she became a classroom teacher and taught Kindergarten and second grade here at KHA. In 2018 Ms. Jennie relocated to Virginia with her family, realized quickly that New England would always be home and moved back to Rhode Island at the end of 2021. In January of this year, she was welcomed back to KHA as a substitute teacher and when a position became available, she obtained the position as the new Response to Intervention (RTI) teacher. Ms. Jennie enjoys spending time with her husband, dachshund and cat in their new home in nearby Connecticut. She also writes in her spare time and three years ago published a children’s picture book. Ms. Jennie is very grateful to be back and excited for this new position!

Email Ms. Jennie at  

Lori Filiberto

Teacher Assistant

Lori Filiberto grew up in Stamford and Ridgefield, CT but, crazy as it seems, has lived half of her life now in South Kingstown, RI. She has a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Connecticut in Mathematics/Statistics and a Master’s degree from the University of New Haven in Business Administration. Lori worked in Test and Evaluation for the Department of Defense and as an Applications Analyst, and subsequent Applications Manager, for The Westerly Hospital, before deciding to stay home to raise her 4 children. Once her youngest was in school, she returned to work and pursued a job in education, specifically at KHA, where all of her children had attended school in their elementary years. Lori was hired full-time in 2013 and has been in 3rd, 4th, and most recently 5th grade. Lori enjoys the beach, walking, hiking, kayaking, biking, dancing in her cardio dance class, and spending time with her husband, her now almost grown children, and her friends. She has made lifelong friendships as a result of people she met as part of the KHA community that she will always be grateful for! She loves making a difference in a child’s life, teaching them, and above all making them laugh and smile, as those who really know her, knows that she loves to laugh!

Email Ms. Lori at

Becky Perkins

Teacher Assistant

Becky Perkins is a lifelong resident of South Kingstown. She came to KHA in the winter of 2006 after running a business for 13 years. She considers being at KHA one of her most rewarding jobs yet. Thanks to all the great students and personnel, she has found a home away from home. She enjoys spending time with her three very busy girls and two grandkids, going to the beach, and bike riding.

Email Ms. Becky at

Lori Wigsten

Teacher Assistant

Lori Wigsten has been working in the field of education for over 20 years. Her own education started at the Community College of Rhode Island earning a AA degree in Liberal Arts. She furthered her education while attending the University of Rhode Island and graduated Magna Cum Laude with a BA in English. Before coming to KHA, she worked in the Human Services field as an Employment Training Specialist and a Home-Based Therapist working with individuals of all ages and abilities. Ms. Wigsten started at KHA in 2002, a year after it was established. In her long career here at KHA, she has participated in a great number of training, including Recess Rocks, Alice Training, Social Mapping, Bullying 101, Speech and Language Training, Empowering Writers, and Discipline: A Positive Approach, as well as many others. She obtained her Substitute Teacher Certification in 2009. Her educational philosophy is that all children are capable of learning through an approach geared toward their individual strengths. Ms. Wigsten is a book reviewer/freelance writer. In her spare time, she enjoys writing on her blog, reading, crafts, gardening, and other outdoor activities like hiking, bird watching, kayaking, and spending time with her family and friends.

Email Mrs. W at

Jennifer LaBelle

Teacher Assistant

Jennifer LaBelle resides in Hope Valley, RI with her husband Dan and their 4 children, Dan Jr., Dylan, Britney and Tyler. She also has a dog named Bailey. Her and her husband also run a heating and cooling business, which they have for the last 20 years. She started out just volunteering in their children’s classes when they were younger and this sparked her interest on becoming a Teacher Assistant! She has been doing it for the past 15 years, ranging from Kindergarten to Fourth grade. She joined the KHA team in 2022 and all the great students and staff made her feel right at home at KHA! In her spare time she enjoys spending time with her family, and going on walks with her dog Bailey.

Email Ms. Jen at  

Ana Charland

Teacher Assistant

Email Ms. Charland at  

Kelli Lancaster

Teacher Assistant

Email Ms. Kelli at  

Tracey Byrnes

Teacher Assistant

Email Ms. Tracey at  

Beth Keeffe

Teacher Assistant

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Elizabeth Morse

Teacher Assistant

Elizabeth graduated from URI in 1996 and got her Masters in 1998 from BU. She focused on teaching English to students of other languages. She worked in Colombia, South America, Lowell, MA and in South Kingstown, RI. She left to have twins and came to KHA three years ago to substitute. On a personal level, she loves animals and we have two hamsters at home. She plays sports with her family. They love to swim, play pickle ball, tennis and soccer. They enjoy bike rides and hiking. She is excited to be part of the KHA family. She is happy to chat with anyone who has questions.

Email Ms. Elizabeth at