Barbara Cohen

Welcome to Middle School Social Studies!

I am beginning my 19th year as an educator. This is my first year at LLCA, and I am excited to open the portals of world history, US history, and geography for my students! We will also be learning about current events and how today’s news becomes tomorrow’s history.

I began my teaching career at Trinity School as a PE teacher, and later went to work at Isothermal Community College as an ESL teacher. When a position at TJCA opened, I began teaching Middle School ELA, and later transferred to the high school to teach 10th, 11th, and 12th grade English. I have a Bachelor’s in English Education with a Minor in Psychology from Limestone College.  In 2008, I moved to Guilford County to attend UNC-G, and I earned two different Master’s Degrees over the course of several years. I also taught at two different high schools in Greensboro.

I live in Rutherfordton with my little Pomeranian. I have three children, and four grandchildren. I love baking sweets to share, hiking mountain trails, writing to create stories, and learning to expand my own knowledge of whatever interests me at the time. I also love to travel and explore different countries and cultures.

“Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family.” Kofi Annan

Mary Jo Juran

I grew up in Winston-Salem, NC and graduated from Wake Forest University. Go Deacs! After graduating, I taught 3rd and 4th grade in Winston-Salem. Last year I ventured out of the classroom to teach outdoor education in Running Springs, California. In my spare time I love hiking, camping, and playing board games. I am so excited to be back in NC this year and teaching 4th grade at LLCA!

Evelyn Warner

I am SO excited to be a new teacher at LLCA! I may be a fledgling Raptor but I’m not new to the area. I moved to WNC from Florida in 2013, right after I earned my degree in Environmental Science and Policy from the University of South Florida in Tampa. Since my arrival I’ve worked as a Naturalist at Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park. As much as I love the Park, my favorite part of what I did was teaching! I couldn’t be more thrilled to be able to transition into the classroom while still being a part of the community I love. I’m looking forward to a fun year exploring many facets of science and I plan to have our class utilize our amazing natural surroundings as much as possible. In my free time I love hiking and listening to music. At home I have a full house with a wonderful husband, 2 dogs, 2 cats and 2 goldfish.

Carrie Lovelace

Born and raised in Rutherford County, I am an avid runner and sports fan – in particular, the New York Yankees and Tennessee Vols. I enjoy being outdoors and remaining physically active.

Education Background:

R-S Central High (2011)

Isothermal Community College- A. A. & Criminal Justice Technology  (2013)

Gardner-Webb University- B.S.  Health And Physical Education (2016)

Katie Gundle

Welcome back Raptors! I am the High School Science teacher this year! I am so excited to get started! I spent my childhood moving from country to country, and have now lived in 7 countries, and visited 26. After graduating high school overseas I attended college at the University of Minnesota: Twin Cities. I graduated with a BS in Animal Science, with an emphasis in pre-veterinary studies. Before heading down the teaching path, I was a veterinary assistant at a 24/7 emergency veterinary hospital. ‘Can’t wait to get to know you all throughout the year, and don’t forget to stop in and say hi!

Rodney Greene

I have been teaching Physical Education for 31 years in Rutherford County. I have lived in the county all my life and attended Chase High, ICC and App. State. I also teach Drivers Education and was head football coach at Chase Middle for 22 years. If I am not teaching or coaching I enjoy spending time with my wife and granddaughter watching Clemson football and NASCAR.

James Kokoruda

I grew up in the Kansas City area and graduated from St. Louis University. I went to the University of Missouri Dental School and graduated as a dentist in 1976. I practiced dentistry until 1992, when I decided that teaching was my real desire. I also wanted to live in another country. So, I quit my practice and moved to Sao Paulo, Brazil and taught English and Science. I live there for 12 years and moved back to the USA in 2003. I connected with Valdosta High School in Valdosta, Georgia, and began teaching there in 2004. I taught Physical Science, Chemistry, and Physics. I retired from teaching in 2010, but continued as a volunteer tutoring in the AVID program there at the school for another 6 years. I moved to Lake Lure in 2016 where I wanted to continue to volunteer and did so at Lake Lure Classical Academy, where I am today.

Submitted to The Breeze by Lola Barnes, Executive Administrative Assistant, LLCA

(L to R) James Kokoruda, Mary Jo Juran, Evelyn Warner, Barbara Cohen and Katie Gundle. Not pictured are Carrie Lovelace and Rodney Greene.