Kathie Fansler – First Grade Teacher

Kathie is delighted to spend her day at the Arts Based School where she helps children grow into confident readers, problem-solvers, and thinkers.  She brings to the classroom years of experience in private, public, and charter schools working with learners in Kindergarten through eighth grade. She is an experienced Orton-Gillingham tutor and continues her own educational journey as a graduate student researching current trends in neurosciences.   In her spare time, Kathie enjoys quilting, bicycling, writing, playing music, and traveling.  She lives in Winston Salem with her husband, children, grandchildren, and faithful companion, Lucy.



Nicole Whitaker – First Grade Assistant
Nicole is excited to be returning to the role of assistant teacher at ABS!  Originally from Texas, educated in New Zealand, she has enjoyed many roles as part of the ABS community since her move to Winston-Salem in 2005.  She loves to cook, dance, and travel and is lucky to be joined by her husband and two (ABS-alumni) children on her journeys.





Nicole Howard – First Grade Teacher
Nicole feels blessed as she anticipates her 6th year teaching 1st grade at the Arts Based School.  She is mother to two ABS alumni and an ABS rising 8th grader.  Her family feels most fortunate to be a part of the inspired ABS community.  Nicole especially loves supporting young learners as they make daily discoveries about the world around them.  She is interested in building relationships and family partnerships in order to provide the best possible learning environment for each student.  In addition to participating in the many activities of her four children, Nicole enjoys playing soccer, photography, cooking, and hiking.




Melissa Scott – First Grade Teacher Assistant
Melissa is thrilled to be cast in two roles at the Arts Based School, parent (to ABS students, Annabelle and Leo), and teaching assistant. Melissa grew up in Chapel Hill (where she earned a B.A. from UNC-Chapel Hill in 1996), then moved to New York City (where she earned a M.S.Ed. in School Counseling from CUNY-Hunter College in 2003). Melissa met her husband while living in NYC and together they made their way back to their home state, ultimately putting down roots in Winston-Salem (2006). More than anything, Melissa values making connections with people. She loves to bake (food is one of her strongest love languages!) and read aloud. Melissa’s favorite things: going on adventures with her people, singing, hiking to waterfalls, jumping into Buzzards Bay in June, and making (and then eating) chocolate chip cookies.


Sherrell McArthur – First Grade Teacher
As a lover of life, Sherrell enjoys finding new ways to connect with people and new ways to eat more healthful foods!  Sherell is passionate about seeing people at their best.  Eating healthful earth foods and sharing joy are two ways she likes to share love. Sherell has extended her arms into the community through after school programs, summer camps, Winston Salem’s visual arts center, and more. This year Sherell has a renewed anticipation for meeting new families, colleagues, and learners all around our school.




Dawanna Benjamin – First Grade Assistant
Dawanna Benjamin is overjoyed to be with Arts Based School as an assistant for the thirteenth year. Dawanna enjoys African dancing, yoga and spending time with her family and friends. She has a son that is a proud alumni of the Arts Based School. Dawanna has shared her love of African dancing with the Arts Based School by doubling as a resident artist with second graders.