Melanie Nestler

Melanie Nestler joined the faculty in 2016 and taught science to grades 1-5, focusing the curriculum on conservation, appreciation of nature, and curiosity of the world. Of course, her lessons included owls for fourth graders and rockets for fifth graders. Mrs. Nestler, and her husband, Helge, who served on the Board of Trustees and was instrumental in the installation of the school’s solar panels, are both engineers by trade. They earned a patent for a stationary bicycle they created that generates electricity when pedaled. The “solar bike” is a teaching tool, and the Nestlers first brought it to Bright when their daughters were students. Gesa ’13, Greetja ’16, and Beke ’17 have since graduated, and Mrs. Nestler says they are excited for their mother to have more free time to spend with them.

Cindy Beirne

Cindy Beirne, who has taught music for more than 25 years, came to Bright in spring 2019 while Stephanie Bowling was on maturity leave. The pandemic was particularly difficult for her music classes and performances since we did not have many of the all-school programs. There were no plays except fifth grade, Thanksgiving program or Grandparents’ Day this year. Still, Mrs. Beirne creatively planned an outdoor performance by the fourth and fifth graders for Thanksgiving and for the entire school for Grandparents’ Day that were both videoed and shared with families. She figured out how to teach recorder by covering the ends with cloth to make them safer. While choir was not allowed last year, she had five groups of hand bells meeting every morning at 7:15, and they performed an outdoor concert in May for families. For her efforts to support the school community, Mrs. Beirne was the 2021 recipient of the Michael G. Murphy Award as voted by her peers.

Noelle Coleman

Noelle Coleman came to Bright in 2015 as a third grade teacher and then moved to the Kilbride Enrichment Center as an instructional support teacher. She most recently worked with second and third grade students within literacy and mathematics. Her kind and encouraging spirit motivated students to reach their potential. Mrs. Coleman’s children attended Bright: Nehemiah ’18, Liliana ’20, and Amalia finished fourth grade last year.

Matt Lauer
Fifth Grade

Matt Lauer joined the faculty in 2019 and taught fifth grade math. Overall, he has nearly 20 years’ experience in teaching. Students enjoyed his droll sense of humor, funny sayings like calling them “youngsters,” and his inexplicable way of always seeming calm and never overly excited. His demeanor was caricatured in the fifth grade play.

Ed Hammonds

Ed Hammonds joined the staff in 2009 and was a favorite of children around the school, especially in the Early Childhood Center building, where he worked most of the time. Known as “Mr. Ed” to the children, Mr. Hammonds worked in banking and local government before following in his father’s footsteps by working at Bright.

Hannah Layton
Kindergarten Assistant

Hannah Layton joined the faculty in 2016 as a Bright Afternoons counselor, became an assistant to Katie Shirley in PK and then moved to kindergarten. She was a positive and loving instructional assistant in Ms. Katie’s classroom. Mrs. Hannah is a new mom to son Chip, born in April.

Scarlet Hardy
Third Grade

Scarlet Hardy came to Bright last fall and was one of two new teachers in third grade. Despite first meeting all her new students and colleagues while wearing a mask, Mrs. Hardy made an impression for being calm, organized and good-natured through a difficult school year. She was well loved by all her students, and we look forward to having her on campus as a substitute teacher next year.

Susanna Fricks
First Grade

Susanna Fricks was a new teacher last year and enjoyed sharing her pregnancy with her feisty first graders. Her daughter Lily was born in February. LeAnne Sharpe took over her class during her maternity leave. She always created a fun and loving environment for all of her students to shine in and outside the classroom. We look forward to having her as a substitute teacher next school year.

Mady Ashe
Kindergarten Assistant

Mady Ashe joined the faculty in 2017 and was a JPK assistant before moving to kindergarten as assistant to Sonal Patel. Her daughter Millie was born in April.

Kelsey Riner
Kindergarten Assistant

Kelsey Riner joined the faculty in 2019 and was assistant to Bill Greene in kindergarten. She put off her wedding due to the pandemic and got married last fall. All of her students and parents enjoyed her loving and kind spirit.

Lynne Stutts
PK Assistant

Lynne Stutts joined the faculty in 2019 and was assistant to Emily Hon in PK, and she finished last year as assistant to Katie Shirley. Her gracious heart will be missed in the classroom. However, she will continue to support Bright School students as a substitute teacher school year.