Meet the Administrative Team

Principal: Matthew Hickson

Mr. Hickson was previously a DPS teacher and school leader at Neal Middle School and Hillside High School before becoming the DPS Director of Online Learning during the 2020 school year. He has a Masters Degree in School Administration from NC State and was formerly the DPS Beginning Teacher of the Year. He serves on the Board of Directors for the DPS Foundation and Student U Durham as well as national Digital Promise Learner Variability Project advisory board. In his free time he enjoys fishing and cheering on the Buffalo Bills. Mr. Hickson can’t wait to serve our students and staff in Ignite!

Asst. Principal: Dianna Robinson

Ms. Robinson has been a DPS teacher at Southern High School and a School Leader at Creekside Elementary. At Southern, she was a CTE teacher and taught students in all grade levels. In her role at Creekside, she became a leader in managing online learning for K-5 teachers and students. She received her MSA from UNC Chapel Hill and has a young future Durham student.

MTSS Coordinator


MS. Watson has nearly two decades of experience as a teacher and MTSS Coordinator. She also recently served as testing coordinator at Neal Middle School.


Jennifer Harrel

Ms. Harrell has been a school counselor for seven years in DPS and Chapel Hill Carrboro Public Schools. She has her Masters Degree from UNC Chapel Hill.


Cynthia Dean

Ms. Dean has been the E-Learning Coordinator in DPS for three years. She has 20 years of teaching experience and a Masters in School Counseling.

Meet the Elementary Team

Alexandra Hurdle - K

Ms. Hurdle is coming from Morehead Montessori. She is a former DPS Beginning Teacher of the Year.

Ms. Harrell - K

Ms. Harrell is joining the Ignite! team from Morehead Montessori Elementary School.

Ms. Alston- 1st Grade

Ms. Alston is joining our team after having taught at Henderson Collegiate Elementary School.

Ms. D'Meza- 1st Grade

Ms. D'Meza taught for 15 years at EK Powe and has received her Masters in Education Technology from NC Central.

Ms. Dickerson- 1st Grade

Ms. Dickerson has years of experience as a reading interventionist, elementary teacher, and homeschool educator.

Ms. Ebony - 2nd Grade

Ms. Ebony has taught 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grades at Southwest Elementary School. She is a graduate of NC Central.

Ms. Davis - 2nd Grade

Ms. Davis is a former Teaching and Learning coach and lead teacher across Durham Public Schools.

Ms. Gaisie - 3rd Grade

Ms. Gaisie is an 18th year teacher with her AIG licensure from Duke University. She is an NC Central Graduate and is joining Ignite from Southwest Elementary.

Ms. Millien- 3rd Grade

Mrs. Millien has over 20 years experience in K-12 Education and has been teaching 3rd grade at Creekside Elementary.

Ms. Ford - ES Intervention

Ms. Ford will be joining us as an elementary school interventionist. She is working with students

Ms. Daniels - 4th Grade

Ms. Daniels is joining Ignite! from RN Harris. She is excited to bring her dynamic teaching to Ignite! Academy.

Ms. Figuerado- K-5 EC

Ms. Figuerado is an experienced special programs and AU teacher joining us from Pearsontown.

Meet the Secondary Team

Sr. Everitt - Spanish

Sr. Everitt has taught Spanish for 24 years at DSA, Githens, Crossroads Flex, and NC Virtual Public School. He has a Masters in Instructional Technology from NC State.

Mrs. White - HS English

Ms. White holds a Masters Degree in Literacy and Digital Instruction from the University of San Diego. She was named DPS Teacher of the Year in 2020.

Ms. Byrd- CTE Master Teacher

Ms. Byrd has a Master of Science in Accounting and a Master of Education in School Leadership. She is joining us from Hillside New Tech High School.

Mrs. Hill - MS Science

Mrs. Hill was a South Carolina Learning Network Coach and New Tech Facilitator of the Year before joining Ignite!

Mrs. Moore - MS Science

Mrs. Moore is the 2018 NCSTA New Science Teacher Award Winner. She is joining us from NC Virtual Academy.

Mrs. Outlaw - HS Math

Mrs. Outlaw is coming to DPS from JH Rose High School. She has a Masters Degree in Secondary Math Ed. From ECU.

Mrs. Guffey - History

Ms. Guffey is a Modern Classrooms Distinguished Educator & former DPS Teacher of the Year Finalist.

Mrs. Edgley - MS Math

Ms. Edgley is joining us from Eno Valley. She is AIG Certified and is also a DPS graduate.

Mr. Potter - MS ELA

Mr. Potter is joining Ignite! from Neal Middle School. He is a former Middle School reading interventionist.

Mrs. Mester - Digital Media

Mrs. Mester is a former Washington DC Public Schools Media Specialist and DPS Media Coordinator of the Year.

Mrs. Hinton - Digital Art

Ms. Hinton is an experienced digital media designer and art teacher. She is joining us from School for Creative Studies.

Mr. Ramirez - MS Math

Mr. Ramirez is joining Ignite from Carrington MS. He is currently pursuing his Masters in Information Systems. Mr. Ramirez is bilingual in Spanish.

Mrs. McNally - MS Math

Mrs. McNally has taught in Wake and Durham Counties. She has her AIG Licensure from Duke and is a 2021 DPS Teacher of the Year Finalist.

Mrs. Emmert - MS ELA

Mrs. Emmert has taught and been a Media Coordinator for 22 years. She is Nationally Board Certified and is a Kenan Fellowship Teacher.

Mrs. Nelson - MS ELA

Mrs. Nelson recently graduated from NC State with her Masters in Secondary ELA Education. She completed her internship at DSA.

We can't Wait to Meet You and Your Family!