Landing Nav

Site Breadcrumb

Welcome New LS Faculty

We are pleased to introduce the talented faculty joining CDS Lower School.

We are pleased to introduce the talented faculty joining CDS Lower School in the upcoming 2020-2021 school year. They bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to our community. Please join us in welcoming them to the Patriot Nation!

Alison Haywood

Alison Haywood, 5th Grade Teacher
Alison Haywood graduated with Honors from the University of Florida with both a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and a Master’s degree in Elementary Education. She has taught 1st through 5th grade in Hillsborough County Public Schools and was a Resource Teacher in Hillsborough County for three years before making the decision to stay at home with her two sons, Camden and Colton. Alison is certified to teach grades K-6 and also has an additional certification in Middle School Math, grades 5-9. Alison is married to a City of Tampa firefighter and enjoys traveling, baking, and watching her boys play sports.


Shira Nelson

Shira Nelson, Lower School Literacy Coach
Shira Nelson is a native Floridian and a veteran teacher of 10 years. She has taught in the public schools as a Kindergarten and First grade teacher as well as a Reading Coach for 5 years. Shira graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Special Education and a Master of Education, specializing in Early Childhood Education. She spent many years serving as grade chair for her department as well as presenting to and training teachers in the district.

Shira is married and has two young children, Sydney and Kai who both attend CDS and keep her very busy with all of their activities. She loves to exercise, hike, and spend time with her family.


Sarah Viera

Sarah Viera, 5th Grade Teacher
Sarah Viera graduated from the University of South Florida with a Bachelors in Science, and earned her teaching certification with ESOL endorsement in 2013. She has been teaching at Carrollwood Elementary for the past 7 years.

Sarah has lived in Tampa for the majority of her life and is committed to improving our community by investing in its children. Sarah enjoys teaching in a hands on and personal way. She tries to incorporate the interests and learning styles of each of her students into her teaching. Sarah was instrumental in developing School Community Gardens at her previous school which allowed students across all grade levels to work together and learn about science, nature, and community in a hands on way.

When Sarah is not working with her students she loves spending time with her husband and three children, traveling, and tending to her home garden.


Mary Youngblood

Mary Youngblood, 5th Grade Teacher
As an experienced educator, Mary Youngblood is passionate about creating an educational environment that integrates the abilities of all children and brings the classroom to life with real-world examples/experiences and innovative technology.

She graduated from Columbia College and began her teaching career in Loudoun County, Virginia teaching Language Arts and Social Studies to 7th graders. After two years in middle school, she decided she would love to work at the elementary level and has been there ever since. She has taught first, fourth, and fifth grades with the majority of those years spent with fifth graders. In 2000, she moved to Florida with her husband and they now reside in Land O’ Lakes with their two children.

In 2015 she was the Teacher of the Year for Chocachatti Elementary and a District finalist for Teacher of the Year. She has served as a Lead Mentor for new teachers in Hernando County, a Clinical Educator (Supervisor of Interns), Superintendent’s Technology Ambassador, and a mentor for teachers coming in with alternative certifications.