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• Faculty and Staff •

Dr. Amy Pelissero, Head of School,

Amy brings to her leadership position at the Global Village Project extensive expertise in the field of Language and Literacy, years of experience teaching middle school students, and strong ties to the refugee community.  The recent recipient of the Outstanding Ph.D. Student Award, the Literacy Doctoral Fund Award and the Beverly J. Armento Doctoral Award at Georgia State University, Amy recently completed her Ph.D. dissertation on the subject of refugee women’s literacy and education.

Amy is certified to teach ESOL P-12 and English grades 6-12.  She has been teaching since 1994, as a 7th grade teacher at Duluth Middle School and as the Global Village Project’s ESL/Language Arts teacher from 2010-2012.  She has also spent many years as a refugee family literacy volunteer in Clarkston.  Amy has presented at many conferences of organizations where she is a member, including the American Educational Research Association (AERA) and the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE).  She is also a member of Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) and Kappa Delta Pi, the International Honor Society in Education, among other organizations.

Amy lives in the Atlanta area with her husband Brandon and two daughters, who attend The Museum School.  She and her husband are longtime members of Decatur Presbyterian Church.  Amy loves reading, writing, travel, and time with family and friends.



Amy Berry, Newcomer Teacher,

Amy Berry studied Public Health at the University of Georgia. She has always been involved in various children’s programs including her internship for a preschool program at her church, teaching experience in Sunday School and camps, and more. After missions work overseas, Amy came back to Georgia and got involved in the Clarkston community and decided to go into teaching. She completed an Urban Accelerated Certification and Masters program at Georgia State University, where she focused on responsive teaching, high risk communities of children and endorsed in ESOL. She also did some student teaching in the Clarkston community. Amy is on the leadership team at a multi-ethnic church plant in Clarkston, where she also works with the children’s ministry for the past four years. On the weekend, she loves to travel, cook, run, do home projects, adventure races, and visit refugee families. 

Anne Garbarino, ESOL/Language Arts Teacher & Literacy Coordinator,

 Anne is excited to begin her ninth year of teaching and learning from refugee and immigrant children.  She comes to us from the International Community School in Decatur, where she taught ESOL for six years. She is an Atlanta native and the daughter of two English teachers.  She completed a psychology degree at Pomona College, and then stayed in California to complete a Masters in Teaching program in multicultural education at Claremont Graduate University. She taught middle school Language Arts and Social Studies in Riverside, CA.  Before returning to Atlanta and starting a family, she taught English for a semester in Guatemala.  Anne travels frequently to Italy and hopes to tour the globe someday.  Anne lives in Lake Claire with her husband, David, and daughters, Grace and Nina.

Elise Witt, Artist in Residence/Music Director,

As our Artist in Residence, Elise heads up the Music Program and uses singing to help students learn English, write songs about math, science, and social studies, and use vocal improvisation to express and expand their creativity and self-confidence. Through multi-lingual singing and sharing songs from their home cultures, students gain a perception of the rich differences that exist between cultures, while also sensing the universal nature of music that binds the world together. Elise was born in Switzerland, raised in North Carolina, and since 1977 has made her home in Atlanta. She speaks five languages fluently, sings in at least a dozen more, and has been a cultural ambassador to South Africa, Italy, Nicaragua, Yugoslavia, Switzerland, and China. Elise tours nationally and internationally with her Global, Local & Homemade Songs™. She sang for 20 years with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus and Chamber Chorus as well as the Robert Shaw Singers, with whom she performed annually at Carnegie Hall. She has 11 recordings on EMWorld Records. Elise is also a Roster Artist for the Georgia Council for the Arts, the Tennessee Arts Commission, United Arts Council of Raleigh and Wake County, and many other arts organizations.

Linda Smiley, Math & STEAM Teacher,

Linda is happy to be teaching math to the wonderful and eager students at the Global Village Project. She has taught Math to middle school students for more than 13 years in independent and parochial schools in Atlanta. Before earning her teaching certificate from Oglethorpe University, she spent several years tutoring children in various levels of mathematics. She is from Mississippi and has a degree in English from Emory University. 

Marjorie Cooper, Science Teacher & STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) Coordinator,

Marjorie is our full-time Science Teacher and STEAM Coordinator. Marjorie has been teaching for more than 25 years and has experience designing curriculum and implementing STEAM programs in DeKalb County Schools. Marjorie is highly qualified and certified in multiple areas including: Gifted Education, Special Education, ESOL, and Middle Grades Science, Math, and Social Studies.

Suzanne Townley, Social Studies Teacher,

Karen Leary, Teacher Support Staff

Administrative STAFF 

& Leadership TEAM


Denise Reidy-Puckett, Operations Manager,
Denise is our office and operations manager. Denise attended University of Georgia’s Journalism school, but received her B.A. in Communications and Public Relations from Georgia State University. Denise’s professional experience includes education, public relations, government affairs and office administration. She was the former managing editor of Atlanta Building Magazine and was recently the program manager for a local children’s culinary school. Denise understands the importance of community building and has served as a public school advocate, community volunteer, PTA officer and Girl Scout leader. Denise is a recipient of both the Outstanding Volunteer and Lighthouse Awards from the Decatur Service Unit of the Greater Atlanta Girl Scouts Council. She enjoys walking the trails at Henderson Park with her 12 year old daughter and dog Millie. 
Erin Alred, Development Manager,

Erin recently graduated from Georgia State University with her Master of Public Administration degree, concentrating in Nonprofit Management. Erin has over six years of professional experience in nonprofit organizations across a wide range of functions. She most recently completed a one-year communications fellowship at The UPS Foundation. With extensive experience working with database systems, she is dedicated to integrating data analytics with development operations at GVP to broaden our community impact and fundraising capabilities.

Erin also has a background in teaching English as a Second Language, which she has done part-time in positions in France and New York City. Erin is an alumna of the Episcopal Service Corps. She spent her year of service working as the ESL Program Coordinator at a nonprofit in the Bronx that serves Bangladeshi immigrant women. Erin has a deep passion for working in cross-cultural environments and serving newcomers to the United States.


Teni-Ola Ogunjobi, Community Engagement Associate,

Teni-Ola Ogunjobi has been influential in areas of community engagement, volunteer management, intercultural education, grassroots development, business management and communications/journalism. Teni-Ola earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism/English and a Master of Arts degree in Intercultural Relations. As a part of her master’s program, she lived and worked as a Community Economic Development Agent in West Africa (Mali & Senegal) with the Peace Corps. She is committed to serving diverse communities in international and domestic settings and seeks difference in her personal and professional contexts. She hopes to gain knowledge about various cultures and apply her knowledge and skills in a career as an interculturalist, among other things. Teni-Ola previously served the refugee community as an AmeriCorps member at New American Pathways. She values service and is passionate about empowering the youth and adults to maximize their potential. 

Dr. Cassie Leymarie, Curriculum & Assessment Coordinator,

Kimberli Render, Arts Coordinator,



BUS Drivers

Narayan Gurung, Lead Bus Driver,

Crispin Wilondja, Bus Driver