Village School Founders

Jamie Knorr was a Social Studies teacher for three years at Charlottesville High School before starting Village School. He is certified to teach history, government, economics, geography, cultural anthropology, and psychology. Mr. Knorr received a B.A. from Stanford University with a major in History, an M.A. in Philosophy from University of Kentucky, and an M.A. magna cum laude in Medieval Studies from the Pontifical Institute for Medieval Studies at the University of Toronto. During high school and college, he received four All-American awards in swimming. Before moving to Charlottesville with his wife Nancy, Mr. Knorr was Vice President with Shearson Lehman Brothers in New York City.

Before starting Village School, Proal Heartwell was a secondary school English teacher for ten years. He has taught all levels of English from Advanced Placement to English as a Second Language. Mr. Heartwell has a B.A. in English from the University of Virginia and an M.A. in English with a Concentration in Fiction Writing from George Mason University. In his teaching career he has coached, sponsored publications and other activities, and has served as Lead Teacher for the Community of Caring at Charlottesville High School. Mr. Heartwell has been awarded fellowships and grants from the Council for Basic Education and the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Foundation for Excellence in Public Education and the Center for Liberal Studies. Mr. Heartwell and his wife, Susan Roseberry Heartwell, have one daughter, Elise.


Eliza O’Connell, Head of School—Prior to being named Head of School, Ms. O’Connell served as Director of Development and Strategic Planning for Village School and as the girls’ PE instructor, a role she continues today. Before coming to Village School, Ms. O’Connell’s professional activities centered on capital formation, development and strategic growth of community-based enterprises. She has acted as a consultant to several local business including Relay Foods and Computers4Kids and was previously the Director of Marketing for Virginia National Bank. Ms. O’Connell’s volunteer service includes serving on the boards of CASPCA, Virginia Discovery Museum, the Senior Center, the Ronald McDonald House and the Hickerson Foundation. Ms. O’Connell holds a BS in Sociology from Cornell University. She is an avid runner and biker and participant in the 2010 World Duathlon Championships in Edinburgh, Scotland. Ms. O’Connell and her husband, Dan, have three daughters.

Melissa Giacherio, Director of Academics and Student Affairs, Enrichment—B.A., English, Emory University; M.T., Secondary English, University of Virginia; Ed.S. Curriculum and Instruction, University of Virginia

Core Faculty

Laurie Duncan, Latin—B.A., Classics, University of Virginia

Linde Tassell, Math—B.S., Communication, Cornell University; M.Ed. Mathematics Education, University of Virginia

Kim Taylor, Science—B.S., Biology, Queen’s University; M.S., Science Education, State University of New York

Janet Wiley, Office Manager—B.A., Math and Economics, University of Delaware

Auxiliary Faculty

Polly Breckenridge—Art
Lindsay Diamond—Art
Amanda Watson—Drama
Miller Susen—Drama
Emily Umberger—Health
Anna Nott—P.E.
Mariah Johnson—Dance
Lori Madden—Dance
Emily Rosson—Orchestra
Anna Hennessy—Beginning Orchestra
Mary Reitsma—Woodwind Chorus
Nancy Paulson—Chorus
Peyton Tocherman—Music Appreciation
Edward Booker—Maintenance