Mason Prep Welcomes Three New Teachers

Pictured left to right: Mr. Paul Kersey, Mrs. Gloria Collazo, Mr. Dan McNamee

We are happy to welcome three new teachers to our faculty this year. Our students are enjoying their classes, and these teachers have quickly become part of the Mason Prep family.

Gloria Collazo, 4th – 8th grade Spanish
Mrs. Collazo (also known as “Diego Forte’s mom,” as she has a son in our 7th grade) was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and graduated from the College of Notre Dame of Maryland with a Bachelor of Arts in Biology. She started her teaching career in 1992 in Cartagena, Colombia, before returning to Puerto Rico where she taught for nine years at The Baldwin School in Bayamón. In 2007, Gloria and her family moved to Maryland, and she worked at The Salisbury School as their Spanish teacher. Mrs. Collazo moved to the Charleston area in 2012, and Diego enrolled at our school in January 2013. While getting settled, she substituted on occasion at Mason Prep. In October 2013, she joined the ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) department of the Charleston County School District and worked with international students learning English. Gloria and her husband Kirk also have a daughter, Gabriella, who is a junior at the College of Charleston. Mrs. Collazo enjoys reading and cooking during her spare time. Gloria says, “I am really excited about this new journey in my career. My goal is to give every student the opportunity to learn a new language and to enjoy it every step of the way.”

Paul Kersey, 6th – 8th grade GVC
Paul comes to us from the Brandon Hall School in Atlanta where he had been on faculty since 1997. Mr. Kersey earned a B.A. in English from Carson-Newman College and holds an M.Ed. from Brenau University. Paul completed coursework on a doctorate from Georgia State University in 2005 where he studied reading disorders and developed strategies for hyperlexic students. Mr. Kersey is committed to student success and focuses his pedagogy on enhancing meta-cognitive awareness and developing a life-long love of learning in his students. Paul moved to Charleston in January 2015 after his wife accepted a position with Darkness to Light. He enjoys golf, tennis, SEC football, fishing, reading, travel and cooking. He has two daughters, both of whom teach in Georgia. Says Paul, “The classroom can be an intimidating place for many students. Whenever possible, I have always tried to incorporate humor and personal experience into my teaching. I want my students to realize that mistakes are common to everyone, including teachers.  Learning from those mistakes is what matters. School doesn’t have to be an ordeal. Overcoming the challenges of learning through hard work and effort should arm them with a sense of pride and self-confidence that will serve them well throughout their lives.”

Dan McNamee, 4th – 6th grade science
Dan grew up in a military family that loved big moves. He was born in Anchorage, Alaska, then moved to Port Charlotte, Florida. By Dan's fourth grade year, his family had settled in Portland, Oregon, where he graduated from high school and where his parents still live. Dan has one older brother, Chris, who followed in his parents' footsteps by joining the Air Force. Dan chose the road less travelled by pursuing a degree in environmental studies from Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida. Following graduation in 2012, Mr. McNamee began work as an Interpretive Park Ranger at Edisto Beach State Park. Next he worked with the Lowcountry Institute (near Beaufort), which produces a first-rate educational program called Coastal Kingdom that is regularly shown on SCETV. He also spent some time last year as a substitute teacher in Beaufort County schools. Most recently, Mr. McNamee has been a sea turtle biologist at Botany Bay wildlife management area on Edisto Island. Mr. McNamee hopes that his varied background will be an inspiration to students in the classroom and says, "I hope to ignite the spark of curiosity and wonder for the natural world and I am thrilled to be joining the community at Mason Prep."