Bridget Nolen, Owner
Born and raised in Havertown, I still live there with my three children, Cole, Shea, and Liv. My career in education started twenty-two years ago as a first grade teacher. I ultimately ended my time in the classroom in Tredyffrin-Easttown School District (Devon Elementary) to work as an adjunct professor and reading specialist at West Chester University. I also then began my career with a Philadelphia based non-profit called Children's Literacy Initiative (CLI). In my time as Associate Director at CLI, I worked to design and deliver professional development programs for teachers, coaches, and leaders. I always aspired to own my own business, committed to sharing what I know and believe about evidence-based practice in early literacy education. Thrive is a culmination of these beliefs and aspirations, and I am humbled to lead it's journey which is only made possible by a tremendous staff.
Adrienne Carroll, Director of Operations, Wayne
One of my favorite things to do is read! I find that I can completely relax with a good book, go on an adventure or learn something about myself or others through literature. I am grateful that I get to share my love of literacy with my students daily in a school setting. I find that when my students find something they are interested in and have fun doing they realize how exciting reading and writing can be. I have spent the last eleven years teaching grades kindergarten to fifth and find that each age group brings its own unique positives to my life and I learn so much from my students. I love what I do and I am so excited to continue spreading my love of literacy at Thrive!
I earned my M.Ed in Curriculum and Instruction and continued my post graduate work to obtain my reading specialist certification. Both have served my teaching and work with Thrive well!
I am originally from Northern New Jersey and now my husband and I live in Wayne.
Amanda Kennedy, Director- Haddonfield, NJ
My teaching career began in the School District of Philadelphia 21 years ago. Working as a kindergarten teacher for over seven years gave me the opportunity to share my love of literacy with students in a literacy rich and safe classroom environment. Next, my educational journey led me to Children's Literacy Initiative, where I worked as a Professional Developer and Early Literacy Specialist. My role in these positions was to collaborate with kindergarten through third grade teachers planning, delivering, and reflecting on lessons taught to their classrooms, as well as creating and delivering professional development on research-based literacy practices. I moved from Philadelphia to Haddonfield 9 years ago where I currently live with my 6-year-old twins. Now, I am so excited for this next step in my journey as Director of Thrive in Haddonfield. Thrive is a match for my philosophy and style and I am so excited for the impact we can have here in Haddonfield.
Jane Berna, Reading Specialist
Teaching and working with children has always been my passion. I have worked with and taught children ages three to twelve for over 35 years. I graduated with BS in Education from St. Joseph’s University and then received my MS in Reading and my PA Certification as a Reading Specialist in 2013.
I enjoy working with children of all ages and strive to create a peaceful and comfortable environment so they are at ease. I vary the lessons and include student interests in order to keep them engaged in instruction and provide some fun as well. I truly believe all children can learn and hope they leave each session with a feeling of success and increased self-confidence.
My husband and I moved from NE Philadelphia to Havertown almost 11 years ago. Our son, who is 26, lives in S Philadelphia. We also care for my 90 year old mother who resides in our home. In my leisure time I enjoy biking and I am a member of Team Raudies Riders. Our annual ride is the Bike MS - City to Shore event (Cherry Hill to Ocean City). I also love to read and collect children’s books. My favorite genre is historical fiction.
Kathleen O'Neill, Reading Specialist
My journey to becoming a reading specialist started when I supported the reading development of my students who entered my classroom doors. I was a classroom teacher for six years. I earned my M. Ed in Reading and Reading specialist Certification in 2012 from West Chester University. As a reading specialist, I provided reading support to students in kindergarten through sixth grade. Helping children grow as readers and writers has always been my passion and I am excited to share this love at Thrive through authentic literature and fun!
I live in West Chester with my husband and 3 year old twin daughters, who have quickly learned that books are wonderful ways to take us to magical places!
Wendy Spangler, Teacher and Tutor
Originally from the Main Line, I have spent the past twenty-two years teaching in Greensboro, NC. I moved back to the area in August, to be closer to family. I have taught children ranging in age from toddlers through first grade, both in public and private schools. I love teaching children of all ages, but have found my niche in the preschool and kindergarten settings. I am presently teaching at St. David’s Episcopal Day School. I have always enjoyed everything about the process of teaching children to read and write. It is amazing to see children become readers and develop a love of reading. I am thrilled to be part of Thrive Literacy.
I received my undergraduate degree in English and went on to pursue a Master’s of Education degree from Cabrini University.
I have three grown children. In my spare time, I enjoy reading, yoga, swimming and walking my dogs.
Colleen Carmody, Teacher and Tutor
I am currently teaching third grade in North East Philadelphia. It is great to see children love reading and being independent problem solvers! I received my Bachelors and Masters degrees from Saint Joseph’s University and am certified in both special ed and regular ed. My experiences both in and out of the classroom have allowed me to meet students where they are and engage in a literacy focused classroom.
I am originally from Scranton, PA and currently live in Fairmount, Philadelphia. In my free time, I love reading books that challenge me both personally and professionally (and a good love story every once in a while!)
Sara Mohler, Teacher and Tutor
I've had a nonlinear path to becoming a reading specialist, and I am very excited to be using my wide background to work with the students and team at Thrive. I received my Bachelor's degree in Sociology from Ursinus College, then worked in the nonprofit sector (where I met Bridget at Children's Literacy Initiative!) for 4 years. I completed an alternative path to certification while living in Texas and taught as a special education inclusion teacher in Dallas Independent School District. I've also taught as an early intervention itinerant teacher for DCIU and as a sub and summer language arts teacher at the Benchmark School.
I recently finished my M.Ed. in Literacy at West Chester University to become certified as a reading specialist, and I'm continuing my education and research in the Ed.D. program at WCU. In my research, I am investigating the impact of community engagement experiences on undergraduate preservice teachers and the literacies of the children they teach.
I live in Drexel Hill with my husband and children. I love cooking, working on projects around our house, and spending time outside.