Faculty & Staff Accredited Courses Case Studies Manus Minute Store Home



Rosanne Manus, M.A.
Owner and Program Developer

Rosanne has worked in the field of special education since 1979. She received a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Arizona and a master’s degree in special education from Columbia University in New York City. After four years of teaching students with emotional and behavioral difficulties in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, she began a private tutoring practice, which grew into a tutoring center and, eventually, a school and tutoring center for students with academic barriers. 

Rosanne has developed, tested and published teacher-training programs and student curricula for almost every subject and skill from kindergarten through grade twelve. She has trained numerous teachers and home-school parents in how to effectively teach students with learning barriers.

For fun, Rosanne enjoys gardening, cycling, reading and telling other people what to do.


Lesley Taylor, M.Ed.
Head of School

Lesley received her bachelor’s degree at Furman University and her master’s degree in special education at Converse College. She served as a resource teacher for three years in the public schools in Spartanburg, South Carolina then began teaching our high school students at Manus Academy in 2001. From 2005 to 2012, she served as our lead teacher and now oversees all operations in the school.

Lesley enjoys gardening, cooking, hiking and socializing with family and friends. She is an avid animal lover and has an unusually strong need to complete tasks. If something is left undone at the end of the school day, she applies more Chapstick® and starts eating cheese.  


Allison Osborn, M.S.
Head of Instruction

Allison received a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, a master’s degree in applied educational psychology and a certificate of advanced graduate study in school psychology from Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts. Allison worked as a school psychologist in an elementary and middle school in Fayetteville, New York before relocating to Charlotte in 2005. She also received her school administration certificate and license and completed a principal internship in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. Allison began working at Manus Academy in 2011 as a teacher and is now the Head of Instruction.
Allison has a passion for working with students of all ages. In her spare time, she enjoys being with her family, running, hiking, playing soccer and eating Mexican food. She used to sing lullabies to her children; however, as soon as they could talk, they suggested she talk instead. Apparently, her singing off-key was affecting their brain development.


Head of Canine Development

Oakley, our soon-to-be school dog, is a seven-month old German shepherd puppy at the time of this writing. She is excited about joining the staff at Manus Academy and is working diligently to complete her training in behavior management for puppies. Oakley loves to play catch with tennis balls and eat sardines with peanut butter.  

As Head of Canine Development at Manus Academy, Oakley’s duties will include following the teachers’ and students’ directions, such as “sit,” “stay,” “heel” and “no barking during class.” One day, she hopes to develop a dog sensitivity program for the staff and catch Frisbees®.



Lori Chicano

Lori Chicano M.Ed.

Lori received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania and her master’s degree in education from West Chester University of Pennsylvania. She holds a teaching certification in guidance counseling. Lori worked for several years in the mental health field as an individual, group and family therapist and as a program coordinator for a student assistance program in Pennsylvania, where she helped to identify and remove barriers to students’ success.

After marrying in 2011, Lori and her husband relocated to Charlotte. Lori enjoys working with both children and families and is excited to be at Manus Academy. She enjoys time at the beach, reading, creating crafts, do-it-yourself projects and trying new recipes. She has never been stung by a bee and unravels when she sees pens and bottles without their caps.


Sue Lynn Denoux, B.A.

Sue Lynn received her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the University of South Florida and has been working in the field of education for many years, both as a teaching assistant and teacher in Florida and North Carolina. Among her many interests, Sue Lynn enjoys reading, baking delicious pies, interior design and decorating rooms and other areas for events. She is also a fanatic football fan. Her favorite college team is Louisiana State University, which she attended for two years. Sue Lynn and her husband used to drive sixteen hours one way from Sarasota, Florida to Baton Rouge, Louisiana to see a ball game then turn around and drive back home.


Tina Hummel, M.A.

Tina received her bachelor’s degree in history from College Misericordia in Pennsylvania in 1989 and her master’s degree in history from American University in 1991. For fifteen years, she worked as an historical researcher for historians and novelists in Washington D.C.

Pursuing her dream of teaching, Tina joined us at Manus Academy in 2007. A jack-of-all-trades, she has taught students in our college preparatory, basic high school and middle school program, has tutored students after school in all subjects and skills and has helped Rosanne develop curricula.

Tina enjoys reading, gardening and hiking with her dog. She also makes sure she gets plenty of sleep and caffeine. When she gets insufficient amounts of both, she tends to jabber and blurt out the answers to her own questions (which her students find helpful).


Lyudmyla Rekut, Master’s Degree

In 1992, Lyudmyla graduated from Kremenets Pedagogic College with a major in pre-school education. In 1995, she graduated from Prykarpatskyy University with an advanced degree in pre-school pedagogy and psychology. In 2005, she became certified as a chief consultant of the region’s psychological-medical-pedagogic consulting centers. She earned this certification from the Ukraine Central Institute of Post-Graduate Pedagogic Education. Her duties included working with students with a wide range of learning needs and training teachers.  

At Manus Academy, Lyudmyla began as a teacher of our cooking and nutrition and horticulture classes and as a tutor of students learning higher-level math skills. She is now working with us as a teacher. A skilled cook, Lyudmyla and her students often serve us with delicious treats, ranging from freshly baked goods to salads made from the greens in our garden.  

Cindy Stater

Cindy Stater, M.A.

Cindy attended Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, where she received a bachelor’s degree in hearing impaired and mildly mentally handicapped and a master’s degree in learning disabilities. Upon graduation, she taught in the public school system in Indiana for fourteen years. She began working at Manus Academy as a teaching assistant and is now a teacher.

Cindy enjoys reading, bike riding, spending time with her family and is an avid Elvis Presley fan. She lives by the motto, “A place for everything and everything in its place.” She arranges her canned goods in categories with the labels facing out, organizes and reorganizes her closets and junk drawers and does not “do knick-knacks.” (Not even a double-glazed porcelain Elvis?)



Deb Sullivan, B.S.

Deb has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and, over the years, has taught a wide range of skills to our students, from beginning reading to high school mathematics. Deb loves to cook, particularly Italian food, and enjoys walking, weight lifting, yoga and reading the classics and time travel books. Being from New York, she has what is called a “Bronx accent.” Her students say that, when she gets excited, she really drops her r’s. Deb says that she simply doesn’t have time to pronounce them.

Jennifer Trimble

Jennifer Trimble, B.S.W.

In 2005, Jennifer received her bachelor’s degree in social work from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte then joined us at Manus Academy soon after graduation. Jennifer enjoys teaching students of all ages and grade levels and particularly enjoys “Fun Friday,” when she can challenge her students to a game of soccer or other sport.

For recreation, Jennifer enjoys fashion, reading, karaoke, practicing yoga, vacationing at the beach (her favorite place in the world), cooking out and spending time with her baby daughter, Ava, and her family and friends. Her safety practices include not wearing shoes with high heels. This reduces the time she spends face-down on the floor.

Dori Whitman

Dori Whitman, M.S.W.

Dori received her bachelor’s degree of science from Drexel University in 1992 and her master’s degree in social work from Temple University in 1997. Dori has had extensive experience serving children and their families in the New York City foster care system and at Green Chimneys Therapeutic Day School in Brewster, New York. As a licensed clinical social worker, Dori provided social skills training, coping strategies and anger management tools to children and adolescents in both individual and group settings. Dori joined us in August of 2011 and is now fulfilling her dream of teaching.

In her free time, Dori enjoys activities with her family, traveling, creating pottery, practicing yoga and training for the triathlon. In Dori’s athletic training group, she is referred to as the “billy goat” because she prefers cycling uphill. This meshes well with her life philosophy: the challenge of the uphill is more exciting than the ease of the downhill. (We’re impressed; we’ll toss you a water bottle on our way down.)


Celia Warrenfeltz, M.H.D.L.

Celia earned a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education from Clemson University and a master’s degree in human development and learning from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She holds a North Carolina teaching license in the areas of early childhood education, elementary education and academically gifted.

Mrs. Warrenfeltz has had thirteen years of elementary classroom teaching experience in kindergarten through fifth grade prior to joining the Manus Academy staff. She has taught in both public and private school settings. When she is not teaching, Mrs. Warrenfeltz enjoys reading, walking, container gardening, playing bridge and singing in the sanctuary choir at her church. She is married and has two grown sons, Philip and David. A long, long time ago, she assisted Mrs. Manus in a special education classroom in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (a time when neither of them had a clue of what they were doing.)


Tutors (for one-to-one and small-group instruction)

Carolyn Alexander

Carolyn Alexander, M.A.T.

Carolyn grew up in Hazard, Kentucky where she was recognized early on for her talent in basketball. She was offered a full scholarship to the University of Kentucky, which she attended for two years before she transferred to the University of Cincinnati in Ohio, where she earned her bachelor’s degree. While playing basketball there, she helped her team win a conference tournament and won an MVP award (most valuable player).

After graduation, Carolyn taught first graders in a private school then went to Mercer University where she earned a master’s degree in teaching. She also coached a girls’ basketball team and led them to victory in a NCAA tournament.  

Carolyn is an avid sports fan and enjoys working out, reading, listening to music, cooking and traveling. At the top of her bucket list is to visit all seven continents and view a great white shark up close (hmm…). Carolyn’s other claim to fame is being able to recite the entire script from the movie “Remember the Titans” . . . “In Virginia, football is a way of life. My daddy coached so hard . . .” For the full script, please talk to Carolyn directly.


Leslie Barrell, B.S.

Leslie, our resident artist, received a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from Mercyhurst College in Pennsylvania. Before joining us in 2005, she worked as a teaching assistant at Saint Ann’s Catholic School in Charlotte and as a graphic artist. Leslie loves to grow vegetables and flowers in her garden and go to the mountains and beach with her family. She’s also a pencil thief. Students clutch their pencils tightly when in lessons with Mrs. Barrell.

Rebecca Bridges

Rebecca Bridges, B.A.

Becca received her bachelor’s degree in history from the University of South Carolina. After college, she worked as a news staff reporter for different newspapers, a teacher in after-school programs and a summer camp counselor. Pursuing her long-time dream of teaching children, Becca joined us this year at Manus Academy.

Becca loves cooking, reading and writing. She is currently writing her own novel and is ghost writing a novel for a client. She has a two-year-old son, Charles, who is a bundle of energy and has the most precious laugh in the world.

When asked about her unique characteristics, Becca admits to periods of clumsiness. Once in college, while standing on a stage with a prayer-group and with her head bowed in a moment of silence, she took a step backward and . . . well . . . let’s just say, she was no longer on the stage and the moment was no longer silent.




Madeline Vick Hechenbleikner, B.A.

In 2011, Madeline graduated from Davis and Elkins College where she received a bachelor’s degree in education with a minor in mathematics and a specialization in music. She was the class valedictorian with a grade point average of 3.955. While other students might have been pleased with such a high average, Madeline, a consummate perfectionist, keeps looking for that forty-five thousandths of a point that got away from her.

When she’s not looking for the missing fraction under cushions and bed pillows, she often sings and plays the piano, a talent she has been developing since she was six-years old. Last year, Madeline volunteered at Manus Academy as a tutor working one-to-one with students and helping them build their academic skills. Impressed with her teaching ability and commitment to the students, we just had to have her as part of our permanent tutoring staff.

Ruth Ann Kelly

Ruth Ann Kelly

Ruth Ann studied at the University of Pittsburgh and has over eight years of experience as a teaching assistant working with students, including those with academic, emotional and behavioral challenges. Before joining us at Manus Academy, Ruth Ann worked in two school districts in New York. She loves watching football and basketball and enjoys cycling, walking, swimming and hiking. She’s a huge Bruce Springsteen fan and could have bought a beach house with the money she spent on Springsteen concert tickets.


Margaret Melando, M.Ed.

Margaret received her bachelor’s degree in speech pathology from Montclair University and a master’s degree in special education from North Texas State University. She taught in two school districts in Texas as a speech pathologist and resource teacher. Her interests include hiking, camping with her sons and their Boy Scout troops, cooking and sewing. When we asked her students in what way she is unique, they said she is frighteningly cheerful and they could not fathom how anyone could be that happy.

Janet Phillips

Janet Phillips, M.A.

Janet received her bachelor’s degree from Carthage College and her master’s degree in elementary education from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She has taught for many years in both public and private schools. Janet loves spending time with her children and grandchildren and volunteers to teach English as a second language to adults. She enjoys playing bridge, taking long weekend trips and reading. Mostly, though, she lives to shop.


Lisa Solis, B.A.

Lisa received her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Aquinas Collage in Grand Rapids, Michigan. After getting married, she and her husband moved to Miami where she worked for a travel marketing company as an office manager and took courses toward her teaching certificate in Florida. Shortly after completing her classes, she started a family and moved to Charlotte, North Carolina. While raising her boys, she worked as a part-time preschool teacher.
Lisa is very excited to be here at Manus Academy and is glad to have an opportunity to use her organizational skills and work with children. When not working, Lisa likes to spend time with her family and friends, practice yoga, read and cook. Her favorite activity is checking off a finished task on her “To Do” list. Her second favorite activity is writing the list itself because she knows she’ll then get to write more checks.

Emily Smith

Emily Smith, M.A.

Emily received her bachelor’s degree at Mercer University in 2004 and her master’s degree in education at Central Michigan University in 2011. Before coming to Manus Academy, she taught fourth then seventh-grade students in Georgia.

Emily enjoys being outside, walking, reading, playing board games with her family, attending soccer practice on Saturday and writing children’s books. She also likes to eat spicy jerk chicken with a kind of pepper that would knock another person out (a throwback to her Jamaican origins). She won’t, however, touch a hotdog or hamburger if it has ketchup, mustard or anything else on it. She prefers to eat what her husband calls “choke sandwiches” (just the dry bun and the meat).

Peter Syurpita

Peter Syurpita, Bachelor’s Degree
Shop Teacher

In 1990, Peter attended Buchazky Professional-Technical School where he trained to become an apiarist (beekeeper). In 1999, he received his bachelor’s degree at the Ternopil Government Pedagogic University with a focus on teaching such skills as woodworking, working with metal, drafting and farming technology.

Peter served in the Ukrainian Armed Service before becoming a senior lieutenant and commander in charge of twenty-five police officers. He then went on to become a physical education teacher for students with physical disabilities at the Ternopil Psychology, Medical and Pedagogical Consultation Department.

A man of many talents, Peter serves several roles at Manus Academy. He completes both major and minor repairs of our school building and the many objects in it, maintains the property and teaches students to build things.