Maritsa Alger, Interim Principal

Maritsa Alger has over 30 years of experience in education and served half of that time as a principal and leader for Norfolk’s Lafayette and Lakewood community.  Mrs. Alger is certified in Educational Administration and has studied and graduated from Old Dominion University, Hampton University and New York University.

Maritsa grew up serving the Lord and was involved with youth formation in her church.  She taught Bible Studies to children during her early years as a teacher, and currently serves her church as a Eucharistic Minister.  Maritsa has also engaged in community service, especially in areas impacting the homeless population.

Maritsa’s life verse is Matthew 20:16 “… the last shall be first, and the first last; for many be called, but few chosen.” It reminds her that the work of educating all children is reserved for those who are willing to serve with deep humility, leadership, and the strength to empower each and every child with faith and love.

Maritsa, and her husband, Tim have two children and a granddaughter that they absolutely adore.

Brenda Garrett, MEd, Director of Operations & Development

Ms. Garrett has worked with children and their families for more than 25 years, through social work, work readiness and education.  For 14 years, she served as Executive Director for KidsPriorityOne, and has been offering training in Positive Discipline and Trauma Informed Care for the past 8 years, working with human services staff and educators, and teaches parenting classes, as well.  She is excited to be a part of the Park Place School team.  She believes that God has given each of us meaningful gifts – and that when we discover, develop, and share them – we all are blessed.  Our greatest joys in life come in lifting others and in joining our talents one with another.

MEd, Education/ Special Education, The College of William & Mary

BA, Psychology and English, The College of William & Mary

Rev. Mike Harris – School Chaplain

Pastor Mike Harris, affectionately known as Coach Mike, believes that everyone needs a coach, mentor, or advocate.  And at Park Place School, Mike is able to fulfill each of those roles.  He serves as our chaplain and teacher of weekly Spiritual Formation classes, along with physical education classes for all our students.  And, if a child just needs an ear, or assistance with a challenge, Mike is there.

Pastor Mike is the Outreach Pastor at Tab Church in Norfolk, where he serves as a bridge-builder between the church, the community, and the marketplace.

He also serves as a Middle School Basketball Coach at Norfolk Christian School.  Mike and his wife Donna have eight children.

Jennifer Whittington –  Administrative Assistant

Jennifer has served as a core Park Place School team member for 5 years, and we are so blessed to have her.  She brings amazing organizational skills to our demanding administrative needs – helping with student enrollment and record keeping, staff on-boarding, paying bills, banking, processing donations and sending thank you letters – not to mention taking calls from parents.  And the demands of our students frequently attempt to turn the front office into a clinic!  She exemplifies the love of Christ as she selfishly and tirelessly serves others in whatever capacity presents itself.  Thank you, Jennifer!

Teachergroup

Teachers:

  • Ms. Douglas:  3rd Grade

  • Mr. Davis:  4th Grade

  • Mrs. Ehlers, MEd:  5th grade

  • Ms. Whitfield:  6th, 7th, 8th Grade Language Arts (7th Grade homeroom)

  • Ms. Barnes: 6th, 7th, 8th Grade Science & Social Studies (8th Grade homeroom)

  • Ms. McNair:  6th, 7th, 8th Grade Math (6th Grade homeroom)

Alphie Douglas – 3rd Grade

Alphie Douglas is an energetic veteran teacher with over 20 years of experience. Her love for the Lord and teaching are evident in her class and in the long term relationships she has maintained with her parents and students over the years. She earned a BS degree in Education and Interdisciplinary Studies, and has post graduate credits, as well. Her varied experience has been garnered working with children overseas in Africa, Dominican Republic, and Mexico, as well as in the United States. Mrs. Douglas fully embraces a statement coined by Dr. Howard Hendrick that “If a teacher stops learning today, he/she should stop teaching tomorrow.” Therefore, Alphie has become a lifelong learner, always seeking what is relevant and on the cutting edge in education. She definitely believes the old can be relevant with a new twist.

Alphie is married to her best friend and together, they have two young adult children. She enjoys reading, writing, seafood, and spending time with her family and friends. She has a passion for gathering God’s people to come and pray to make a difference in our world that will glorify Him.

Troy Davis – 4th Grade

Hello, I am Troy Davis. I was born in Norfolk and have lived locally all my life. I earned my Associates degree in Education at Tidewater Community College and received my bachelor’s degree at Old Dominion University.

I knew at 17 years old God had gifted me to work with kids. I also serve in my church’s children ministry. I have led children’s ministry teams in Mexico for 9 years. Prior to coming to Park Place School, I worked at Norfolk Public Schools. I absolutely love teaching at PPS.

Kelly Ehlers, MEd – 5th Grade

Kelly has been teaching and mentoring over 30 years. She graduated in 1990 from Ursuline College in Cleveland, Ohio and received her Masters in Education from Regent University in 2004. Kelly received “Teacher of the Year” award from Veritas Collegiate in 2012, and “Staff of the Year” from Joy Ministries for her work as Director of Educational Outreach in Chesapeake.

Kelly enjoys spending time with her husband and 3 children. Her youngest, Connor, is a first year student at UVA. Kelly is passionate about creating a joy-filled, creative, and loving educational environment for all children, which is evident in her classroom here at Park Place. Kelly’s favorite things to do include sitting on the beach enjoying the ocean sounds and views and attending Bible studies. In addition to teaching here at Park Place, Mrs. Ehlers plans to complete and publish her first book very soon!

Keisha Whitfield – Language Arts, Middle School

Hello! I am Keisha Whitfield and I am excited to be joining the faculty of Park Place School as the Middle School Language Arts instructor. I have extensive experience working inside and outside of the classroom from being in childcare, a full-time nanny and teaching at another private school as a Pre-Kindergarten assistant as well as Sunday School. I am excited to instill my knowledge of Language Arts and my love for reading with these students! I am also furthering my studies to become a Reading Specialist and Handwriting Specialist. I strongly believe that reading and writing comprehension unlocks ALL doors for students to fully be who God has designed them to be. My greatest joy as a teacher has been seeing that moment of frustration and confusion turn into confidence when a student finally masters the skill that has eluded him or her for so long.

A little about me: I am a lover of adventure and travel! I have done most of my travel in missions to Uganda, Africa, where I taught music camps and led praise and worship ministry. I also have traveled to Dubai and Belize and hope to continue to add more! I enjoy outdoor activities, except most water activities! A few of my favorite things to do are hiking, mud runs, kickboxing, tubing (if the water is SHALLOW!) and ziplining.  I have lots of brothers (6 to be exact!) and NO sisters! My mother owned a childcare center from when I was 9 until about 2014. My father is a minister and former pastor. One of my other favorite subjects is History. My hope one day is to do a European castle tour and see as many castles as possible.

Tanya Barnes – Science & Social Studies, Middle School

Mrs. Barnes is a Norfolk Native who has been teaching for 16 years.  She earned her BS from Old Dominion University and her M.Ed. from Regent University.  Here’s what she has to say about herself…

I have high expectations for my students with the understanding that each student will meet those expectations in their own way. I enjoy teaching Science because so much of the content comes to life with hands on applications. Teaching Social Studies allows me to show my students how history is connected to the Bible.

Teaching is my dream come true. I spent 2 years teaching in the public school, but most of my teaching career has been in private Christian school which I prefer so that I can share my love of Jesus with my students. I have been involved with children most of my life from babysitting when I was a teen and a Nanny when I was in college  to overseeing  before and after school programs to running summer camps as well as directing the children’s and middle school ministries at my church.

I have a grown daughter who recently moved to Missouri . On the weekends I volunteer my time as an EMT in Virginia Beach.

Keona McNair

Keona McNair – Math, Middle School

Greetings!  I am incredibly honored to join the Park Place School Family to teach middle school math. I have been teaching and working with children for over 11 years. I taught at Ready Academy Christian School for seven years before making the transition to Park Place.

I have always had a passion to work with children! It is my desire to not only teach a child academically but to equip them socially, and most importantly, spiritually. I hold my students accountable to a standard that Jesus holds us all to—Excellence not Perfection. Math can be intimidating and at times frustrating. However, it is my job to show all children that they have the ability not only to overcome anxieties about math, but they too can become great mathematicians. Building biblical character, confidence, and integrity within my students, is a personal goal I strive to accomplish each year. If a child values and believes in themselves, it will be reflected in how they pursue learning each day. Helping each child progress in all areas of their development is a challenge I am more than happy to accept. One of the greatest rewards I have received as a teacher is seeing a child blossom and truly soar in the midst of adversity and daily challenges. It is gratifying to witness a child discover how brilliant and amazing they truly are. I strive to create a community of learners that nurtures their growth in a positive, loving, and fun environment.

Christina Morton – Music Teacher

We are truly blessed to have this accomplished musician, instructor and orchestra leader teaching our students violin each week!  Now in her 25th year as the Bay Youth Orchestras of Virginia lead conductor, Chris has performed professionally with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra for 30 years.

She holds a Bachelor of Music Education from Northwestern University and a MS in Education from ODU.  Mrs. Morton has directed string orchestra and harp programs for Norfolk Public Schools, conducted local All-City Programs and Regional/District Orchestras, and served at Suzuki workshops as a clinician.  She is the past president of the Suzuki Teachers’ Association of Hampton Roads.

She teaches violin, cello and harp, and is on the faculty of the Academy of Music.  Mrs. Morton instructs and conducts a number of local youth string and harp programs.  She enjoys traveling with student ensembles and has been to Peru, Italy, Germany, Austria, England, Scotland, the Czech Republic and Ireland.