Our Leaders

Jennifer Killen, Head of School is committed to serving Piedmont’s staff, students and parents daily. She strives to have a servant leadership style. Every student matters every day, so Mrs. Killen is very focused on individual student achievement and growth. It is a strong asset to her leadership to have the perspectives gained from serving Piedmont as a substitute teacher, teacher assistant, teacher, curriculum coordinator, Assistant Managing Director, Elementary Director and Head of School. With 20 years experience at PCCS, a Bachelors in Business Administration from USC-Upstate and a Master’s Degree in School Administration from the University of Phoenix, Mrs. Killen has the wisdom needed to lead Piedmont. Our Head of School is an instructional leader who uses data heavily to make informed program planning decisions.

Holly White, Elementary Director is originally from Ohio, where she graduated in 2003 from Mount Union College with a degree in Middle Childhood Education. She has a master’s degree from Western Carolina University in School Administration. Mrs. White taught Language Arts for 8 years in middle school, three of those years at PCCS. Whether as a Challenge Foundation Fellow, an assistant director at the secondary campus, an assistant director at the elementary campus or as her current role of Elementary Director, Mrs. White brings proven leadership skills and expertise to Piedmont.

Lauren Avery, Elementary Assistant Director began her career in education in 2010. She attended Western Carolina University for her Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education, University of North Carolina at Charlotte for a Master of Education degree in elementary education, and Gardner Webb University for a Master of Arts degree in school administration. Previously, she taught grades first through fourth, and has served as an instructional coach. Mrs. Avery is excited to serve as the elementary school Assistant Director, and looks forward to supporting student achievement at PCCS! 

David Benfield, Middle School Director has been in education since 2002. He received his bachelor’s degree in instrumental music education from Western Carolina University in 2002 as a North Carolina Teaching Fellow. After 13 years in the classroom as a middle school and high school band director, he completed his master’s degree in School Administration in 2019 from UNC Charlotte. Mr. Benfield looks forward to working with Piedmont families and helping to prepare students for a successful future.

Janiqua Barnes, Middle School Assistant Director attended the University of South Alabama to earn both her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Elementary Education. She later completed the Educational Leadership certification program at the University of West Alabama. After spending fourteen years in the classroom spanning grades K through 8 and one year as a literacy facilitator, she is excited to serve as a Middle School Assistant Director here at PCCS.

Traci Melton, Middle School Assistant Director attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to earn her Bachelor of Science degree in Administration of Criminal Justice. She later completed her Masters in Executive Leadership Studies at Gardner Webb University. Her teaching career started at Cleveland Community College where she taught for approximately 20 years as an adjunct professor. After spending 7 years in the classroom for Gaston County Schools as an EC teacher, she began her school administration career in Lincoln County Schools in 2015. She is excited to be a Patriot and serve as a Middle School Assistant Director for PCCS.

Pamela Huffstetler, High School Director, She has over 20 years experience in education with specialized degrees in school administration and instructional technology. Previously she served as a PCCS Assistant Director, and as the Assistant Principal for both Pleasant Ridge Elementary School and Ashbrook High School. She has also been the Director of Testing for Gaston County. As a community leader, Mrs. Huffstetler has been on Gaston College’s Career and College Promise Advisory Board, a Virtual Learning Study Team, Gaston County’s School Technology Review Committee, and much more.

Colton Ballard, High School Assistant Director, is an Assistant Director at the High School Campus. He has served as a teacher at PCCS and thoroughly enjoys being a part of the Patriot Family.  He holds a bachelor’s degree in History from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro and a master’s degree in school administration from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

Ryan Hatley, High School Assistant Director attended North Carolina State University earning a bachelor’s degree in Secondary Mathematics Education and then went on to Liberty University for his master’s degree in Supervision and Administration. He has worked in education since 2010 as a high school math teacher and high school administrator.  Mr. Hatley looks forward to the opportunity to serve as a High School Assistant Director here at Piedmont Community Charter School.