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Degrees and Certifications:

‣B.S. Business Education, Elementary Education - Winthrop University - 1997 ‣M.A. Early Childhood Education w/Endorsement in Gifted and Talented Education (Masters plus 30 hours) - Winthrop University, University of South Carolina ‣Certified in North Carolina and South Carolina ‣PRES Teacher of the Year 2020-2021

Mrs. Mary Lou Pundt - Department Chair

I am currently going into my 34th year of teaching in all areas of education. After completing college, I was fortunate to teach with my mother for seven years as my mentor.  Through my years of teaching, she taught me the value of teamwork with colleagues and the public of fostering meaningful relationships with my students, staff and parents. 

I was born and raised in Charleston, South Carolina. In my free time, I love spending time with my husband of 34 years, our son Dillon, his wife Mindy,  and other extended family members. My hobbies include traveling, boating on Lake Wylie, cooking and trying new recipes to share with family and friends while touching hearts to share memories that last a lifetime.

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Degrees and Certifications:

B.A. Communications & Nonprofit Leadership - High Point University Elementary Education Certification - Belmont Abbey College

Mrs. Claire Bucci

I am from Richmond, VA. I moved to Belmont in 2021 and simultaneously started at Pleasant Ridge Elementary School. I love teaching 2nd Grade! We learn so many fun things throughout the year! In my free time, I like to craft and spend time outdoors.

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Degrees and Certifications:

B.A. Educational Studies - Belmont Abbey College (K-6 Certification) - 2016

Mrs. Amy Case

I was born and raised in NJ with my seven siblings and I have wanted to be a teacher since I was in 2nd grade! I enjoy teaching and meeting new students to learn their strengths and interests; to try and incorporate them into my teaching. I love giving students the tools they need to learn and always strive towards success in and out of the classroom. I am married, and I have one daughter and two dogs. When I am not teaching, I like to go for walks, read, and spend time with my family!

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Degrees and Certifications:

A.S. - Cleveland Community College B.A. - Limestone College M.Ed. - Walden University AIG Certification - University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Mrs. Tonya Dye

I have been an educator in North Carolina since 2003. My first year of teaching was at Kings Mountain Intermediate School. I taught 15 years at Sherwood Elementary before moving to the Gifted and Talented Academy at Pleasant Ridge. This will be my 20th year of teaching and my 4th year in the GTA. I have been a Pinnacle Leader for Gaston County Schools since 2012. I want to empower students with the love of learning.

In my time away from teaching, I love traveling to the mountains, photography (a new hobby), crafting, and spending time with my family. My husband and I have been married for 33 years with two daughters. I have two dogs, Rylee and Sadie.

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Degrees and Certifications:

B.S. Early Childhood Development - Meredith College (2001)

Ms. Lyndi Hardy

My name is Lyndi Hardy and I'm thrilled to be teaching second grade here at PRES! I am from Kings Mountain. I have two children, Emma (17) and Will (13). During my free time, I love to go shopping, spend time with my family, and go to the beach every chance I get. I love teaching 2nd grade. I knew as a young child that I wanted to be an elementary school teacher,  just like all five of my aunts were. This is my third year at Pleasant Ridge and my second year teaching second grade. I’m excited for the new school year!

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Degrees and Certifications:

B.A. Early Childhood Education, Intervention Minor

Ms. Jennie Johnson

HI! My name is Jennie Johnson and this is my 7th year teaching at Pleasant Ridge Elementary. Originally from Ohio, I moved here 7 years ago to follow my dreams of becoming a teacher. I was a Kindergarten teacher for the past 6 years and I am very excited to be in 2nd grade this year! I believe that all kids can LEARN. That all kids are capable of achieving their goals and that teachers should teach students at their level. In my free time I love to hang out with my friends and go on adventures. YAY 2022-23 school year!

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Degrees and Certifications:

B.S. Elementary Education - Wingate University (2016) M.A. Elementary Education - Wingate University (2017) Orton-Gillingham Trained - 2016

Ms. Kate Lavender

Hello! My name is Kate Lavender and I have been teaching at Pleasant Ridge for 5 years. I have taught 1st Grade, 1st/2nd Grade Combo Class, 3rd Grade, and I am so excited to be joining the 2nd Grade team this school year. 

A little about me: I grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina and went to Wingate University to study Elementary Education. While there, I participated in the music program where I was a part of the auditioned, traveling choir and had parts in 10 different opera productions. Music is still a huge part of my life. I sing with the Charlotte Master Chorale as well as lead the Children's Choir at church.  

Teaching is my joy in life. My focus in the classroom is first on building relationships with my students. Learning will come if the students feel safe and respected! I am looking forward to this school year and working with students and families to make this the best school year yet!

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Degrees and Certifications:

B.S. Elementary Education - Asbury University K-12 Reading Certification AIG Certification

Mr. Bret Meek

I grew up in Ohio and graduated from Asbury College in Kentucky. I taught in Florida and Ohio before moving, in 2000, to North Carolina, where I spent 14 years as a classroom teacher at Costner Elementary before coming to Pleasant Ridge as Literacy Facilitator for six years. I then moved back into the classroom as a second grade AIG instructor. I am excited to enrich the children and give them a more active educational experience. I'm a member of Parkwood Baptist Church and enjoy fellowship and studies with some of the guys. I'm a member of F3, a men's bootcamp/run/ruck/bike group. I also love to participate in various race events. If I'm not working out, you'll find me hanging in coffee shops and reading.