Leadership Team

Jacqui Byrne • Founder

Jacqui is the visionary behind FlexSchool, learning communities for gifted and 2e students. She loves all of the creative, quirky, asynchronous minds and figuring out how to reach each child is very satisfying to her. Jacqui has deep experience in education, teaching, counseling, and writing. She is the co-founder of the widely respected Ivy Ed college preparation and counseling firm. Jacqui developed her own verbal test prep curriculum and also wrote a test prep book for McGraw-Hill. She is an acknowledged expert in education: training school district guidance counselors, speaking at college parent nights throughout New Jersey and presenting at professional conferences. Prior to founding Ivy Ed, she taught creative writing to gifted students at Milton Academy, completed an operations management training program on Wall Street, and started a boutique marketing company. Jacqui earned a B.A. from Yale and has children who are twice-exceptional and gifted.

Melissa Quackenbush, Ed.S. • Head of Curriculum

Melissa’s expertise in curriculum development, instructional design and technology, and professional development supports Flex School’s mission of creating learning spaces where gifted and twice-exceptional students all over the world experience acceptance and support. With over a decade of experience as a classroom teacher, instructional coach, and district administrator in public schools, Melissa is dedicated to fostering growth for students, teachers, and communities. Melissa earned a Bachelor’s degree in Secondary English Education, a Master’s degree in Reading Education, an Education Specialist degree in Curriculum and Instruction, and she is presently completing a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology and Program Evaluation. Melissa holds New Jersey certifications as Teacher of English, Teacher of Reading, Reading Specialist, Supervisor, Principal, and School Administrator. Hailing from the Midwest, Melissa now lives in the Northeast with her husband, two children, and dog. When she’s not working, you’ll find Melissa either reading, running, or writing.

Kyle Kahuda, M.Ed. • Head of School, New Haven

Transformed by gifted programs and unconventional teachers during his own education, Kyle has devoted his life to creating challenging and safe environments for students. He takes particular pride in having helped many who struggled in the more traditional schools in which he has worked. Kyle is an educator and administrator with deep and varied experience building school communities, developing curricula, and supporting holistic student development. He has worked in independent schools since 1999 as a science teacher and department chair, program coordinator, college counselor, dean of students and residential director at Chatham Hall in VA, and then as Head of Upper School at Chase Collegiate School in CT. Kyle has established and sustained programs and cultures that provide an empowering balance of challenge and support for learners of all abilities, interests, and personalities. He believes strongly in the power of experiential and student-directed learning, and grounds his work with learners, faculty, and parents in authentic and collaborative relationships. Kyle earned his B.A. in Biology from the University of Richmond, and an M.Ed. in Administration and Supervision from the University of Virginia. Deeply concerned with finding the best school environment for each of his own two unique children, Kyle identifies strongly with FlexSchool parents.

TJ Gavor, MSW • Head of School, Berkeley Heights

TJ Gavor has devoted his entire career to the academic growth of twice exceptional students and others who have had a difficult time finding their way in the conventional education system. As the first in his family to put himself through college and then graduate school, he reflects on his own experiences in school and knows he was fortunate to find mentorship and support along the way. After earning a BA in Sociology and Psychology at Rider, TJ pursued an MSW at Kean and graduated with distinction. He has deep administrative experience and has been asked to serve on many all-school committees. He has a profound knowledge of special education law for gifted and 2e students, and an in-depth understanding of IDEA and FAPE. TJ works tirelessly to ensure that each student is afforded the opportunity to thrive and be successful.

When TJ takes off his advocacy superhero cape, he enjoys reading Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons with his children and playing golf.

Kathryn Sabol, M.Ed. • Opening Head of School, Bergen County, NJ

Kathryn Sabol, M.Ed, is a lifelong Montanan whose colorful career found its roots at Montana State University where she taught English, human development and education courses for nearly two decades. Always drawn to the most challenged and disenfranchised students, she eventually branched out to serve other at-risk populations, inclusive of helping to launch a family drug treatment court in Yellowstone County. After taking time to serve as a Peace Corps health educator in the jungles of Suriname, she served as the Head of School for Montana Academy, a therapeutic boarding school serving struggling teenagers in rural Montana, which brought her back full circle into the realm of service in education.

The prospect of infusing her passion and experience into FlexSchool’s remarkable mission, coupled with the opportunity to round out her career in the company of some extraordinary students, staff and parents, has proved to be irresistible. She is excited to be part of the development of the new Bergen County FlexSchool learning community.

Susan Hemingway • Director of Technology

susanSusan comes to FlexSchool from private IT consulting where her 30 year career included systems analysis, programming, project management and running customer service at a software start-up, heading marketing for a health care consultancy and finally going out on her own. The common thread in her career has been bridging the gap between creative types and deadlines and she looks forward to bringing that skill set to a new and more rewarding domain as Directory of Technology. Susan has a degree in French Language from Oberlin College and is the parent of a 2e daughter.

Stacia Taylor • Director of Marketing and Communications

staciaStacia brings over two decades of marketing and business development experience to FlexSchool. She has been a strong advocate for and works with the gifted and 2e community which began when she founded Texas Parents of the Profoundly Gifted in 2005, the first state support group for profoundly gifted families. She has gone on to assist other states in forming similar organizations. She has served on the Parent Advisory Board for National Association for Gifted Children, the Texas liaison for SENG, President of the Parent Board of Directors for Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented, and served on the Advisory Committee for #GTCHAT, the global Twitter chat for gifted advocacy. Stacia was awarded the Parent of the Year award from Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented. Stacia is the mother of three gifted daughters, one of whom is 2e.