The mission of Sterling Montessori is to create a diverse educational community, grounded in the Montessori philosophy and teaching practices, that fosters curiosity, creativity, and critical thinking in its students. We strive to empower each student to become life-long learners who respect themselves, others and their environment.

Board Leadership



Following is a list of the members of the Laura Holland Uzzell Foundation Board of Directors, with a brief bio for each, along with their contact information. To reach all of the board members simultaneously, please email

The LHU Board is always recruiting new directors, both to backfill empty seats, as well as to bring on new skills depending on need..



Rachel Richardson


Rachel is a native North Carolinian who was raised locally in Holly Springs. She attended Cary Academy for both middle and high school and currently serves on the Cary Academy Alumni Board. Rachel holds a BS and a MS in accounting from Appalachian State University. She is a Senior Manager in Tax with RSM. Rachel and her husband, Stephen have two young children, Eleanora (3) and Anson (2). Motherhood encourages Rachel to help build a positive community for her family. She wants to instill the values of civic responsibility in her children and believes that her participation on the LHU is an opportunity to demonstrate that commitment. Rachel is passionate about Montessori education and is excited about serving the LHU Board.


Kevin Hughes

Vice President & Chair, Policy Committee

Kevin Hughes and his wife have three children who have attended Sterling for 5 years, in Children’s House, LE and UE classrooms. 

Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, Kevin has lived in the Raleigh area for over 26 years. He has a degree in psychology from Georgetown University and received his JD from the Ohio State University College of Law. He began his legal career with IBM in RTP immediately following law school.  He is presently General Counsel for Toshiba Global Commerce Solutions, Inc, a provider of retail hardware, software and services.  Kevin has had experience in policy development and board governance for much of his career. 

Kevin and his family live in Cary.  Kevin enjoys traveling, music and college football.


Jessi Fasola

Treasurer & Chair, Finance Committee

Jessi is a native North Carolinian, going back for many generations. She is passionate about Montessori education having attended a Montessori school herself for 13 years. She holds degrees from the University of North Carolina (B.A. in Sociology and Latin American Studies) and North Carolina State University (MPA). Jessi is currently employed at NC State as Assistant Director of Gifts and Records Management. 

Jessi lives in Raleigh with her husband, Sam, and sons, Lee and Drew. Raising her two boys is her pride and joy. She also enjoys reading, traveling and UNC basketball. 


Ryan Hill

Secretary & Chair, Strategic Planning Committee

As a professional, Ryan has spent ten years in the insurance industry, primarily in the claims discipline. He currently works as the Claims Manager of Operations with Builders Mutual Insurance Company where he oversees quality, training, analytics, and business projects.

Ryan has served in leadership and development for non-profits including NZMG Foundation, the United Way of the Greater Triangle, the Redwoods Group Foundation, and overseas service work with Habitat for Humanity. He has a passion for supporting strong communities and child-centered education. When you don’t find him in one of these activities, you can likely find him running on the trails at Umstead Park, building Legos with his kids or trying a new recipe with his wife.



Katie Brown headshot.jpeg

Katie Brown

Chair, Governance Committee

A native of Southern California, Katie earned a PhD in curriculum and instruction with an urban education focus at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Her professional experience includes traditional public schools, charter schools, school boards, a state education agency, and higher education. She currently serves as the Director of Research and Professional Learning for the National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector, where she oversees the organization's research initiatives and professional development opportunities for Montessori educators.

Katie and her family recently returned to North Carolina after five years in Washington, DC. She and her partner live in Cary with their son Alex, who is in the Children's House at Sterling, and their infant daughter, Ari. Recreationally, Katie enjoys yoga, podcasts, mystery novels, and walks on the greenway.


Dwayne Jones

Chair, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee

Dwayne earned his undergraduate degree from NCCU in Political Science. His passion for helping others led him to pursue a master’s in social work. In 2019, he became a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and currently works full-time as a Utilization Management Specialist and Licensed Clinician for children, adolescents, and adults.

Dwayne values the wisdom of Maria Montessori and Carl Rogers. He firmly believes in respecting the child, nurturing their intrinsic motivation, and supporting the journey towards reaching their full potential. With his wealth of experience and perspectives on child mental health, Dwayne is another great asset to our vibrant SMACS community.

Dwayne was born and raised in NC and brings over 20 years of experience in mental health to his role as a member on the LHU Board. He is a dedicated father to Aubrey, an upper elementary student, and a loving husband to Nicole, a Tarheel alumnus. 


Keisha Pressley

Chair, Development Committee

Keisha is a North Carolina native. She received her Bachelors of Science Degree in Nursing from UNC-Chapel Hill and her Masters of Science in Nursing from Duke University. She currently works as a Family Nurse Practitioner. Through her countless hours volunteering for various organizations, and understanding healthcare, she developed a passion for nutrition, which lead to her founding My Plant Based Nutrition. Keisha is also a founding partner of My CPR Needs, as she believes everyone should be properly trained in CPR, because you never know when you may be called on to save a life. Keisha understands the direct correlation between access to healthcare, proper nutrition, and academic performance. She is excited to share her experiences, knowledge, and passions with the Sterling community.  

In her spare time, Keisha enjoys traveling, trying new recipes, and cycling with her husband and their three sons.



Kim Elliott

Board Member

Kim Elliott is, first and foremost, a mom of three children - a 2018 Sterling alumna and two current Sterling students. She has been a part of the Sterling family since 2007 and has held different positions within the Parent Faculty Association since 2008. In the LHU, she has served as Treasurer and Chair of the Finance Committee. She has also chaired the Search Committee in 2017-2018 and sits on the Development Committee. These days, when not serving as an LHU Director, she can be found contributing to the creation of the Sterling Yearbook and volunteering in the classroom whenever possible. Outside of Sterling, im works as a financial controller, and when there is any time remaining, she runs, writes and snaps photographs.


Elizabeth Uzzell

Board Member

Elizabeth Uzzell is an alumna of Sterling, having attended Sterling and Cary Montessori from the very early days. She moved to Massachusetts for high school, and stayed up north for college. She graduated from Emerson College in 2010, where she earned a BFA in Writing, Literature and Publishing, with a minor in Hearing and Deafness. Elizabeth completed a Masters in Teaching at SUNY Plattsburgh in New York, and after finally having enough of the harsh winters, moved back to Raleigh. She taught English Language Arts for three years at Carroll Middle School. She loves writing, music, theatre and walking her Carolina dog, Angelica. Elizabeth is currently a doctoral student in Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis at North Carolina State University. She loves Sterling and is excited to bring her experience as a teacher and former Montessori kid to the LHU Board!