Awards and Recognition

Class of 2022 Senior Spotlight

“Kaylee Nolen is a fierce competitor on and off the field,” shares Piedmont Health Science teacher Mrs. Dillard about another one of our top seniors. “She is a diligent student who is eager to learn and share what she learns in class.” From athletics to academics, Kaylee has made Piedmont proud throughout her years as a Patriot. A long-time competitor, she has shined on the varsity softball, basketball, and soccer teams at PCCS. 

When asked her advice for rising freshmen, Kaylee answers, “Work hard and don’t procrastinate.” This mindset has certainly paid off for her at Piedmont. She’s a top-ranked senior of the class of 2022, on the Patriot Pride Honor Roll, a member of the Kind Minds Club, Bible Club, and the Jr. Heart Board. She also works and serves the children’s ministry at her church. Kaylee stays busy but reminds us to “have fun in everything you do and don’t put too much pressure on yourself.” 

Kaylee hopes to channel her passion for being active into a career in occupational therapy. “I always knew that I wanted to do something to help people,” she says. “Occupational therapy is one of the best ways to do that because you are helping people to be able to perform everyday tasks.” This fall, she will attend Charleston Southern University to major in kinesiology.

Piedmont celebrates this outstanding senior as she concludes her years at PCCS. A determined and ambitious student, Kaylee Nolen is the portrait of a Piedmont graduate.

After seven years as a PCCS administrator, Mr. Ernie Bridges has announced that the 2021-22 school year will be his final year to serve Piedmont as High School Director. 

Mr. Bridges has made a lasting impact on the success of Piedmont Community Charter School. In 2015, he joined the PCCS administrative team at what was then known as the Secondary Campus on S. New Hope Rd. Under his leadership, Mr. Bridges helped put the pieces together, as he describes, to grow the exceptional school that we know today. From enhancing safety and security of our facilities, to recruiting talented staff members, to raising the standard for academic excellence and increasing the graduation rate, Mr. Bridges has been a remarkable influence on this school and its community.

Mr. Bridges credits the PCCS teachers and staff for being “genuinely willing to do whatever it takes to help their students be successful. They have a true passion for kids,” he says. “–and the kids see that. Our students see that we’re different, that we truly care. And when the students see that, they say, I can do this.”

Mr. Bridges has worked alongside Head of School, Jennifer Killen since his arrival at Piedmont. She praises Bridges for his positive contributions to the school leadership team, noting, “Mr. Bridges hired an amazing staff. He improved and grew the High School to what it is today. I will be forever grateful that he poured his knowledge, experience and passion for education into our school and students.”

His 36 years in education, 23 of those years in administrative roles, prove his admirable dedication to serving this community. Following his retirement, Mr. Bridges looks forward to quality time with his family, his wife Kelly, their two children, Adrian and Trevor, and his granddaughters, Haylyn and Baylee. 

“I’m always going to be a Piedmont Charter fan,” says Bridges. “I look forward to all the exciting things that are going to happen with this school in the future.”

Bridges’ unwavering compassion for his students, support of his staff, and dedication to our school will certainly be his lasting legacy at Piedmont. Please join PCCS in expressing immense gratitude to Mr. Bridges for his years of service.

Two of our Piedmont Patriots – twin sisters, Aydan and McKenna Lawler – have received the highly coveted EC Scholars award to East Carolina University, the most prestigious scholarship offered to their incoming freshmen. The scholarship includes a full ride to ECU and admission into the ECU Honors College. Aydan and McKenna will be the first twins to ever receive this award, and the first art and musical theatre majors to attend with this honor. Piedmont is so proud of Aydan and McKenna, outstanding students of the class of 2022!

“Aydan Lawler is one of those students that an art teacher loves to have in class,” raves Piedmont art teacher Miss Danielle Burch. “She is incredibly talented but still very receptive to feedback, advice, and criticism. When she’s in the art room with her friends, the chatter is happy but the brushes are moving just as much, which I love, and is indicative of a comfortable, creative outlet at school. That’s exactly what art should be!” 

When asked her favorite subject, Aydan answered, “Art, undeniably, because I can get across what I want to say without having to actually say anything.” After college, she would like to go into animation or illustration. “I have a passion for storytelling and character design, so I would really like to create stories and tell other people’s stories through art that benefits our world.”

“When McKenna is on stage your eye goes immediately to her,” says Piedmont’s theatre arts teacher, Mrs. Tiffany Perry.  “She has what I call star quality. Her understanding of character development is well beyond her years. She is a beauty to watch; she’s so giving to her peers when teaching and sharing with them and is always thirsty for more directing. I can’t wait to see where she shines her light!”

Ever since she was little, McKenna has loved the stage. She has pursued that love all through school starring in countless musical theater productions from Mary Poppins to this spring’s Beauty and the Beast.

Something that drew McKenna to ECU is its focus on serving the community. “I have always been interested in theatrical therapy. I believe it is an unexplored resource we have yet to take full advantage of. I plan to continue on my path toward a successful acting career, but I would also love to help young students overcome their struggles with a program that combines theatre and therapy.” 

Together the Lawler twins have been celebrated and awarded for their exceptional talent and Piedmont is honored to call them Patriots. They both see themselves using that talent to give back to others and that is why each of them is the portrait of a Piedmont graduate.

PCCS Board of Directors recognizes and celebrates Head of School Jennifer Killen’s 20 years of service to Piedmont Community Charter School.

At February’s Board of Directors meeting, Board President Alex Poole presented Mrs. Killen with a plaque in honor of her dedication to Piedmont. 

Former board president, Michael Satterfield, expressed his admiration for Mrs. Killen’s commitment and recalled her career journey with Piedmont where she began in 2002 as a teacher’s assistant. Over the years, she served as classroom teacher, curriculum coordinator, assistant elementary director, elementary director, and eventually as Head of School. Mr. Satterfield worked closely with Mrs. Killen to plan and implement Piedmont’s expansion with the new high school campus in 2020, a dream years in the making for the PCCS leadership team. “It takes great effort,” he remarked, “–late nights and early mornings, building trust with your stakeholders and actually putting the work into bringing an idea into reality. Mrs. Killen’s commitment to the process and humility to do whatever was required to further the dream was beyond measure.” 

Under Mrs. Killen’s leadership, Piedmont was recognized as an official Core Knowledge school and achieved accreditation. The school’s overall rating improved by ten points in her first year and Piedmont exceeded growth two years in a row. Student enrollment increased, facilities were upgraded, and the standards for safety were strengthened. Mr. Satterfield went on to praise her advocacy for Piedmont’s staff and students, and faithful dedication to the school’s mission – to offer a superior college preparatory educational option for this community and its families

As a school community, we thank Jennifer Killen for 20 years of distinguished service to Piedmont and look forward to the continued success under her leadership.

 Piedmont Community Charter School is recognized as one of the “Best High Schools” by U.S. News & World Report.

What does that mean? U.S. News & World Report’s 2021 Best High Schools badges are awarded to those whose attendees demonstrated outstanding outcomes above expectations in math and reading state assessments, passed a diverse array of college-level exams and graduated in high proportions.