"Make a career of humanity. Commit yourself to the noble struggle for equal rights. You will make a better person of yourself, a greater nation of your country, and a finer world to live in."
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Meet Our Team
Alex Quigley is the Executive Director of Durham Charter School, a turnaround K-9 school serving over 600 students. Alex has over 20 years of experience creating and leading high-performing organizations, leading the successful transformation of three different charter schools in two states. In the most recent three consecutive years as a principal, schools Alex led were ranked in the top ten of all charter schools in the state each year in terms of academic growth.
In addition to his work as a school leader, Alex has been a member of the North Carolina Charter School Advisory Board for the last eight years, serving as Vice-Chair for the first two years and Chair for six years. Prior to his time as a school leader, Alex was the Executive Director of Teach For America – Eastern North Carolina. During his time with TFA in NC, he led the organization through a period of rapid growth, securing the first ever state appropriation for the organization, and established a customized program to train and license TFA teachers at East Carolina University, where he served as an adjunct faculty member.
Alex holds a B.A. in Government from Colby College, an M.Ed. in Curriculum and an EdS in School Leadership from the University of Mississippi. Alex graduated with honors from the Relay School of Education National Principals Academy Fellowship and from Cohort 8 of the Leverage Leadership Institute, where he earned Platinum Distinction. Alex began his career as a 2nd grade teacher in the rural Mississippi Delta. Alex lives in Durham with his wife of 20 years, Ashley, and four children.
Ms. Palmer is a dynamic leader who serves as the K-6 Principal Resident at Durham Charter. Her daily duties involve overseeing curriculum implementation and ensuring expectations are met to achieve Durham Charter’s vision, teacher development, and student academic success.
As an educator for 15 years, she started her teaching journey in Jamaica. Ms. Palmer attended St. Joseph’s Teachers’ College, earning a Diploma and Bachelor’s in K-6 education. After serving seven years as an elementary teacher in Jamaica, Ms. Palmer was recruited by Visiting International Faculty/Participate to teach in Cumberland County, North Carolina. She spent four years in Cumberland County, where she exceeded growth in Math for two consecutive years and earned Teacher of the Year.
Ms. Palmer joined the Durham Charter School family in 2018 and has spent the last four years collaborating with colleagues and administrators to improve instruction at Durham Charter. During her tenure, she has served as a 4th and 5th grade teacher, Mentor, and Grades 3-5 instructional coach.
Ms. Palmer continues to make her indelible mark in education as she earned a Master of Science in Education from Walden University. She is a member of The NC ACCESS Aspiring Leaders Program, was awarded The Administrative Leadership Certificate Program at Appalachian State University, and later received her license as a North Carolina K-12 principal.
Jade Shields currently serves as the Upper School Principal Resident at Durham Charter School where she oversees instruction, teacher coaching and development, as well as student academic success in grades 7-9. Ms. Shields has been a part of the Durham Charter family since 2016. During her tenure at DCS, she has also served as an instructional coach for grades 6-8 and a teacher in grades 3, 4 and 6. With over 10 years of experience, Ms. Shields has also taught 4th grade in both the Durham and Wake County Public School Systems.
A proud Durham native, Ms. Shields is a graduate of Hillside High School, where she was a student in the International Baccalaureate Programme (IB) and a member of the award-winning Hillside High School Drama and Chorus Departments. Jade earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Family and Community Services and teaching licensure from East Carolina University in Greenville, NC. During her time at ECU, Ms. Shields founded ECU Writes—a volunteer program that has fostered mentor relationships between current ECU students and Pitt County elementary school students through weekly pen-pal letters.
Currently, she is pursuing a Masters in School Administration at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she is also a member of the 2022 Cohort of NC Principal Fellows, a competitive, merit based scholarship and program for educators moving into school leadership roles.
Jade’s love of education, equity and commitment to relationships drive her work at Durham Charter as she has watched the school grow from once failing to a now high performing charter school. Ms. Shields believes in the school’s vision and mission of preparing scholars for success in college and career and truly enjoys the work that she gets to be a part of each day. She is excited to be a part of building the next chapter of Durham Charter School’s history and watching it develop as a leader in the Durham educational community.
Adrian Edwards is currently a Principal Intern and High School Math teacher at Durham Charter School. He is a Principal Fellow at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he is pursuing his Masters in School Administration. He also serves in the capacity of Instructional Coach, Mentor, and Mathematics and Science Department Chair. He holds a Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction from American College of Education, Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics Education from the University of the West Indies, and a Diploma in Mathematics and Computer Studies from Church Teachers’ College. He has been a part of the Durham Charter School family for the past 7 years and has a total of 17 years of teaching experience.
Mr. Edwards’ extensive experience has equipped him with a deep understanding of pedagogy and a strong commitment to educational excellence. He is deeply passionate about teaching and is dedicated to creating a nurturing and intellectually stimulating environment for scholars. He derives great satisfaction from witnessing scholars excel academically and personally.
Aronda Hill currently serves as the Director of Operations at Durham Charter School where she oversees the school nutrition and school transportation programs, student services, human resources, and leads a 5 person office team.
Aronda has been employed at Durham Charter for 23 years. Prior to this role, she served as staff assistant to the Dean of Student Affairs at the Duke Fuqua School of Business and the CEO and Director of Human Resources at Mitsubishi Semiconductor of America, Inc. Early in her career, Aronda worked as a customer service supervisor at a call center and was voted Employee of the Year three years straight by her peers. Her charismatic personality and love of helping people drive her in her daily life and in the position of Director of Operations.
Ms. Hill is passionate about the success of DCS and has witnessed first-hand the transformation of Healthy Start Academy from a consistently failing school to now Durham Charter School, the 10th highest growth school in the state of North Carolina. Ms. Hill was instrumental in turning around the school’s nutrition program in its initial phase and is frequently called upon by the state nutrition department to assist other charter school leaders with establishing school nutrition programs and sharing her best practices.
Ms. Hill attended Tennessee State University for two years. She then moved home to care for her grandfather and completed a two-year degree in Business Services from Tri-Cities Technical Community College. She also holds a B.S. in Religious Studies from Safe Haven Bible College.
A native of Kingsport, TN, Aronda has lived in Durham, NC for 30 years. Having raised her 3 children to adulthood, she now loves to spend “Gigi Time” with her 8 grandchildren and is proudly married to Bob Hill who served as AD of Hillside High School for 24 years and is a 2019 member of the NCADA Hall of Fame. In her spare time, you can find Aronda volunteering, reading, or watching her favorite tv show – Perry Mason.
Marie Collins currently serves as the Deputy Director of Operations and is responsible for assisting the Director of Operations with the oversight of the school and personnel operations management. She also manages school data, calendars, and hiring.
This is Ms. Collins’ 10th year at Durham Charter. She first served as a 4th and 5th grade teacher for 6 years, then 1 year as an Instructional Coach, and has now been a school administrator for the past 3 years. Ms. Collins was a successful classroom teacher and maintained an academic-rich environment, long-lasting relationships with her scholars, and excellent classroom management. She obtained a North Carolina academic growth award 2 years in a row for her scholars’ performance on their End of Grade testing. As an Instructional Coach she participated in Want More Do More, an Instructional Leadership cohort program, and received a double gold award for her work submissions.
Ms. Collins was born in London, England where she lived until the age of 7. Her family then moved to a town outside of Toronto, Ontario, Canada where she lived and went to school until she moved to live on campus and attend University. Ms.Collins earned a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology & Health Science with Honors from York University. She also obtained a Masters of Science in Education from Medaille University in Buffalo, New York.
Ms. Collins has worked in education officially for a total of 17 years, however throughout her time in High School and University she worked in a range of jobs linked to education including camp counselor, STEM program instructor, and dance instructor. Ms. Collins feels like she has found her home at Durham Charter as she enjoys working with her work family and is excited about the school’s continuous growth and success!
Alycia Crews currently serves as the Director of Technology. She has 19 years of experience in educational instruction and leadership. As a highly focused and results-oriented educator and Beginning Teacher Support Coordinator, one of her strengths is her ability to guide teachers to meet their students’ needs. She has been instrumental in addressing Durham Charter’s hardware and software issues, but most of all, Alycia ensures teachers are equipped with the proper instructional technology to support teaching and learning such as one-to-one chromebooks, Clever, Nearpod, and Canvas.
Alycia enjoys working at Durham Charter, the 10th highest growth school in North Carolina state. She is passionate about education and a firm believer that educators are lifelong learners. She works with the instructional leadership team to ensure teachers are equipped with the right tools to facilitate learning and analyze data.
Alycia has been employed at Durham Charter for 13 years. Prior to this role, she was a first grade teacher at Pearsontown Elementary, the highest performing elementary in Durham. During her 4th year of teaching, she was selected as teacher of the year. She also served as a reading interventionist and instructional coach at Durham Charter. Her experience also includes being selected by the Governor to serve on the North Carolina Technology Commission, an adjunct instructor in Instructional Technology at North Carolina Central University, a North Carolina Teaching Fellows alumni, and proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.
As a member of the first Instructional Leadership Cohort in 2018-2019 through the Want More, Do More program at Henderson Collegiate, she has received the Alumni Impact Award. Ms. Crews holds a Bachelor of Arts from North Carolina Central University and a Masters of Instructional Technology and a Masters of Curriculum and Instruction from North Carolina Central University. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, traveling, and spending time with family and friends.
Teron McFadden currently serves as the Director of Student Culture. He brings over 18 years of experience in educational instruction and leadership. As a highly focused and results-oriented educator, McFadden’s biggest strength is his ability to build meaningful relationships with scholars and parents, which allows him to create great school culture.
McFadden started his career in education as one of the early members of Amistad Academy staff in New Haven CT, his hometown state where he worked for over 10 years. McFadden also played Division 1 basketball at Appalachian State University and Avery University, where he graduated with B.A. in Sociology. Mr. McFadden is the proud father of a daughter that attends University of Pennsylvania.
Faculty & Staff
Cecile Jeffries Bowen