For a high-quality education that prepares your child for success both in the classroom and outside of it, choose First Impressions Academy in Fayetteville, NC. We keep class sizes small, and each member of our faculty is trained and has received a degree in childhood education. All of our teachers are passionate about their jobs and about helping students grow and strengthen their academic and behavioral skills. We provide preschool, grade school and middle school classes as well as clubs, activities and summer camp to keep children engaged and excited about learning all year round. We are excited to work with you and your child!
First Impressions Academy was founded by Christy Pettit, when she renovated her home garage into a preschool in October 2008. After teaching for six years in three different states, she wasn’t impressed with the lack of education in preschools. She wanted to give children a quality educational foundation to properly prepare them for their educational careers. At that time, she was the sole employee and taught all of the half-day classes. Eventually, her three-year-old students were ready for kindergarten, and after completing much research on placement, the families asked Christy if she would open a kindergarten. She then began looking for commercial property, and within three months, she had her kindergarten up and running. Since then, First Impressions Academy has opened one grade per year, and Christy plans to go up to eighth grade. Right now, we are at seventh grade!
Meet our passionate, caring team of teachers!
For as far back as I can remember, I wanted to be a teacher. My career took me to various schools and gave me the opportunity to teach a variety of grades at different academic levels. Although teaching was amazing, the settings and lack of imperative core values were missing. I was not willing to give up on my dream; however, I refused to be a part of something that was broken. I had a vision, and I made it my mission to create a school that encompassed all of the components that make learning and teaching successful.
My name is Kelly Bullard, and I am the school substitute at First Impressions Academy. I began working at FIA in May 2015, and I am looking forward to starting a new school year. I received my bachelors degree in Elementary Education from Auburn University in 2013. Since, I have had the opportunity to work with children in pre-K through sixth grade. I enjoy subbing because it allows me to build relationships with many students as well as to teach all subjects! I moved to Fayetteville in March 2014 with my husband, who is in the army. My hobbies include hiking with my dog, gardening, recycling, and marine biology. I also enjoy reading, art, and spending time with my family and friends.
Hi, my name is Kim Hall. I am the pre-K after care teacher. I have completed a total of six years as a Family Child Care Provider, where I earned my CDA (Child Development Associate). I completed seven years as a teacher’s assistant at Jackson Elementary School, while my husband was stationed at Fort Campbell, KY. I love working with children and being able to help them grow and progress. My husband, Tom, and I moved back to North Carolina to be close to our children and grandchildren two years ago, after he retired from the military. In my spare time I love reading, traveling and spending time with family and friends. I am excited to be part of this wonderful staff and look forward to a wonderful year.
My name is Teresa Clayton, and I am one of the first faces you will see as you enter First Impressions Academy. I have been with the school since shortly after it opened in 2008, when my oldest daughter attended the preschool program. As the school began to grow, I volunteered to help when I could, as I wanted the school to progress with my daughters and be the only school they attended during their elementary school years. I have worked as the administrative assistant since 2011. I am originally from New York State. My husband’s military career brought us here in 2005, and we plan on being here for quite some time. I have a passion for FIA as a parent first, and it is the reason why I chose to work here. It is truly my wish that every child should have the opportunity to have the amazing start to their education as my girls have had.
My name is Samantha Hastings, and I am very excited to be working in the three-year-old classroom! I am originally from Toledo, OH, where I attended Owens Community College and received y associate degree in Early Childhood Education. I have always known that I wanted to work with children; I love their endless positivity and curiosity. I am passionate about helping them to learn, grow and succeed! I moved to Fayetteville after graduation to be with my husband, who is stationed at Fort Bragg. In my free time, I enjoy running, reading, traveling, being outside, and relaxing with my husband. I am so thrilled to be part of FIA and I am looking forward to a great year!
Hello, my name is Jasmine Scott and I am a teacher’s aide for the three-year-old class, as well as the after school care teacher for the grade school. I have a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. I studied psychology because it was something that has always interested me. I plan on pursuing a career working with children in some way in the near future. I absolutely love working with children and being able to help them grow and progress throughout their lives brings me great joy. In my spare time I enjoy camping, hiking, running, traveling, reading and spending time with family and friends. I am very excited to be a part of this school and amazing staff, and I look forward to a wonderful year.
My name is Jackie Diwisch, and this is my first year teaching at First Impressions Academy. Last year, I taught fourth grade in Hoke County. I moved to North Carolina in July 2013 from the suburbs of Chicago to be with my husband, who is a medic in the 82nd Airborne. I attended Roosevelt University in Chicago, where I earned my Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education, with an Endorsement in Special Education. I spent my first two years as a 1:1 assistant for a child with autism in Northbrook, IL. For an additional two years, I taught Special Education in Huntley, IL. I was the lead teacher for the Read 180/System 44 Programs and for the students identified in the areas of math and literacy. During summer school, I taught the Special Needs Autism Program for students who were non-verbal.
Hi, I am Kristine Cooper! I am married to my husband John and we have two beautiful daughters; Lily and Elaina. John is in the Army and a soccer coach at AC Sandhills. Lily is in fifth grade at FIA and Elaina is two years old and stays in the nursery at FIA. I have a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education with a concentration in Special Education. I hold a certificate for Gifted Education. I have taught in Hoke and Cumberland counties previously. I am certified in prenatal/postnatal fitness for Stroller Strides, Fit4Baby and Stroller Barre at Fit4Mom, and I instruct in evenings and on Saturdays. I have a passion for teaching and living a healthy lifestyle! I enjoy spending time with family and friends, reading, working out and traveling. I was the Happy Feet Coach last year at FIA and absolutely FELL IN LOVE with the school! I was hired to teach second grade for the 2016-2017 school year. I am energetic, enthusiastic, silly, loud, and you will see various learning styles being used in my classroom as well as students being allowed to move about. I took two years off to be with my little one and I am THRILLED to be back in the classroom and work for First Impressions Academy!
My name is Emily Dodt, and I am excited to start my first year at FIA! I am originally from Texas, where I received my degree in education from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor. I spent three wonderful years teaching kindergarten and fifth grade. The military moved my husband and me here to Raeford last year, where I had the privilege of teaching fourth grade. I have taught a variety of grade levels, but I look forward to a new year working the first grade! I have worked with kids all of my life. I love teaching and cannot imagine doing anything else. In my spare time I enjoy spending time with lovable dogs, friends and my husband. I am so glad to be a part of FIA and am excited for the school year!
Bio Coming Soon!
Hi, my name is Tina Elliott, and I am beginning my first year at FIA as an after school care teacher for preschool. I have over 11 years of experience working with children, including: Teacher’s Assistant for the first grade; Remedial Instructor for third, fourth and fifth grades; six years as a one-on-one Paraeducator for children with special needs from preschool through third grades; and one year as a lead teacher in a toddler classroom. My husband is stationed here at Fort Bragg for the second time in almost 30 years, and we have five children of our own. Now that they are all almost grown, I have finally gone back to school and am in the process of getting my degree in Early Childhood Education. I will continue on to major in Special Education to be a Behavioral Therapist for children with autism. Working with children is my passion, and I am so excited to have the opportunity to work with yours!
Hello, my name is Beau Norton, and I teach science at the FIA STEM middle school. I began working for FIA in September 2016 after serving in the army for 12 years. I received a bachelor’s degree in biology from Carson-Newman College in 2010. My favorite subjects are microbiology, anatomy and physiology, chemistry, and animal behavior. I have lived in Fayetteville off and on since 2004. My sons both attend FIA, and I am excited to join the FIA team. My interests outside of school include grilling, college football, and home-brewing. I also enjoy spending my spare time with my wife, two sons, three dogs, and our pet crayfish.
Hello, my name is Ashley Weeks, and I teach Kindergarten Prep. I was born and raised in Fayetteville, NC, and I am proud to call this place my home. I graduated from St. Andrews University with a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and a minor in Early Childhood Education. I have worked with children for the last 10 years, and I love what I do. Teaching is my passion, but in my spare time I love spending time with my family, friends and enjoying the outdoors. I am so excited to work with your children this year. We will be working hard on all of the skills they need to be successful, lifelong learners.