Meet Our Teachers!

Courtney Spence


Courtney Spence was born and raised in Richmond, Va. She attended Loyola College in Baltimore, Maryland where she graduated with her undergraduate degree in Elementary Education. During her time at Loyola College she was a member of the Lady Greyhound’s Soccer Team. Courtney continued her education at Regent University by earning her master’s degree in Educational Leadership and Gifted Endorsement.

Courtney loves teaching and being a life-long learner. This is Courtney’s 16th year in education, 11 years were spent in a variety of classrooms spanning from grades 3-8 to include being a classroom teacher as well as a gifted resource teacher. The past 4 years she was the assistant principal of Poquoson Primary.

Courtney is excited to continue her teaching career with the FLEx program as a kindergarten teacher. Courtney loves traveling, boating, being outdoors, and spending time with family.

Meryl Innerfield

First Grade

Meryl Innerfield is from New York, but has been in Virginia for almost 15 years! She went to school in SUNY Oneonta in upstate New York. This is Ms. Innerfield’s 14th year teaching, and her 11th year teaching first/second grade.

Ms. Innerfield loves to teach virtually, and was the 20-21 Elementary School Teacher of the Year in Hampton City Schools! During that school year, she taught a 100% Virtual Class. She is also a graduate of the HCS Teacher Leadership Series, and has worked as the New Teacher Mentor Lead at her school for the past four years.

Ms. Innerfield loves science fiction! Her favorite T.V. show is Dr. Who and her favorite movie is “Return of the Jedi” (A Star Wars movie from the original Trilogy). Her puppy, a Yorkipoo who likes to sit under her desk while she teaches, is even named “Jedi”. Ms. Innerfield enjoys playing D+D with her kids, and working in the garden all year round.

Nikki Gaydos

Second Grade

Nikki was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She completed her undergraduate and master's degree at Duquesne University.

After graduating with her masters degree, Nikki moved to Virginia and began her teaching career in Loudoun County, Virginia where she taught third grade. Nikki then spent a year teaching third grade with Virtual Virginia.

Nikki is excited to continue her teaching career with the FLEx program as a second grade teacher. She is passionate about building relationships with her students and families. Her favorite subject to teach is math because she believes in making it fun and relatable to students.

Nikki now lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with her husband, daughter and two dogs. She enjoys spending time with her family, reading and doing yoga

Kristen Rueb

Third Grade

Born and raised in San Antonio, TX Kristen traveled to Virginia to pursue her college endeavors. She received a Bachelor's & Master’s in Special Education at Liberty University. Kristen is licensed in both Elementary Education and Special Education K-12.

Her teaching career started with the SECEP program as a K-4th grade Special Education Teacher. After spending 5 years as an elementary Special Education teacher she landed a Special Education high school teaching position. She worked as a 4th grade teacher in NPS and then a 3rd grade teacher at VBCPS for 3 years.

During the pandemic, Kristen taught virtually from 2020-2021 and then concurrently from 2021-2022. She enjoyed and thrived teaching virtually as she saw many students flourish in their education despite the atypical setting.

Her greatest accomplishments are her two children and dog. She enjoys watching TV shows, shopping, spending time with her family and crafting.

Dominique Cross

Fourth Grade

Raised mostly in the 757 area, Dominique graduated from Norview High School. After graduating with a Bachelor’s in Elementary Education (Prek-6) from Hampton University, Dominique began her teaching career in Norfolk Public Schools as a third grade teacher for one year. She later moved to Hampton City Schools. During her time with HCS, Dominique has taught third and fourth grade, served as a math and grade level lead teacher. She is very excited to be a part of the FLEx Program.

Dominique enjoys spending time with her family and friends, reading, listening to music, traveling, and practicing mindfulness (meditation, yoga, etc.).

Jessica Thomas

Special Education K-5

Jessica Thomas is entering her seventh year as a Special Education teacher for the City of Hampton. She grew up in upstate New York and moved to the Virginia Peninsula in 2004. Jessica attended Old Dominion University where she received her Bachelors of Science in Special Education in 2015. Her first teaching position was at Eaton Middle School in Hampton, providing specially designed instruction to students in grades 6-8. She then transitioned to Kraft Elementary School where she taught students within the self-contained and inclusion special education settings, both virtually and in-person.

Over the years, Jessica has supported her school communities through various positions such as Instructional Leader, Mentor to new and student teachers, and was named Kraft Elementary School Teacher of the Year for the 2019-2020 school year. Jessica is also semi-fluent in American Sign Language, which she learned at Tidewater Community Çollege in order to better communicate with her students.

When not creating and providing engaging individualized educational materials for her students, Jessica enjoys spending time with her husband and son. They enjoy playing with their dog Ruby and being on the water. Jessica loves reading, crafting, taking care of plants, walking and anything having to do with art!

Mike Lewis

Fourth Grade

Born just over the border of northern Virginia while his family was living in Fairfax, VA, Mr. Lewis’ family soon moved to Virginia Beach by the time he was two years old, where he has lived ever since. After graduating from Salem High School in 1997, Mr. Lewis attended Tidewater Community College and Providence Bible College & Theological Seminary to be a pastor. While working in the church, he gained an appreciation for working with all kinds of people.

After fifteen years of working in churches, including Hampton, VA, Mr. Lewis went back to school to study education to become a teacher. In the last ten years, he has earned three degrees in education, including a masters in Special Education and a post-masters Educational Specialist degree in Educational Technology and Online Learning. He is currently working on a PhD to learn as much as possible about teaching students in an online setting.

Since beginning his educational journey, Mr. Lewis has taught every elementary grade level from kindergarten to fifth grade. Mr. Lewis has spent the last six years working with fourth and fifth grade students. Educational technology has always been a major part of his classroom environment, which made the shift to online learning natural. During the pandemic, Mr. Lewis wrote and shared 4th grade virtual materials with a network of teachers across his district. Teaching with FLEx will be his fourth time teaching virtually, and he looks forward to an awesome year of building great memories with his new students.

In his free time, Mr. Lewis, hangs out with his wife and four daughters, plays music, binges tv shows, plays video games, and reads lots of books.

Candace Horsley

Fifth Grade

Candace was born and raised in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. She later moved to Suffolk, Virginia where she completed highschool at Lakeland. After highschool she went to Aiken Tech in South Carolina on a softball scholarship and completed two years of her degree. She then came back home and finished her teaching degree at Norfolk State University. She has recently received her Master’s in Education at Western Governors University.

Candace has been teaching for Suffolk Public Schools for 8 years. Prior to that she was a teacher assistant and substitute teacher. She enjoys working with students and their growing mindset. She plans to pursue a PhD in the future, for Curriculum Development and Online Instruction.

She currently resides in Northern Suffolk with her husband and three children. In her free time she tutors for Tidewater Friends of Foster and is involved with her children's sports. She is passionate about the outdoors and being as healthy as possible. She stays busy on the weekends with motocross, soccer, camping and boating.

Stacey Smithley

Fifth Grade

After graduating from the University of Tennessee with a degree in Biomedical Engineering, Stacey moved to Washington DC to work for the National Academy of Science. During this time she completed a Master of Forensic Science (Crime Scene) at George Washington University. Stacey began working as a Crime Scene Investigator for a local jurisdiction. She returned to school at Old Dominion University and completed her teaching license for PreK-6th grade. She taught 4th and 5th grades in Newport News Public Schools for 4 years and 4th grade in York County School Division for 3 years. Stacey recently took a job teaching for Hampton City Schools as a FLEx teacher for 5th grade.

When not at work, Stacey loves being outdoors, whether it is backpacking, hiking, or paddle boarding. She also enjoys spending time with her two daughters, granddaughter, and her dog, Ruby.