Cayla Cartmill is a 2018 graduate of St. Albans High School. She also attended Alban Elementary and McKinley Middle. Cayla holds a bachelor’s in science of education K-6. She currently works as a 4th/5th grade teacher at Dunbar Intermediate.  

When asked about her professional accomplishments, Cayla said “I graduated college with honors in my major. I got a job at Dunbar Intermediate right after graduation. I am a teacher to a split classroom.”

When asked how KCS prepared her for life after graduation, Cayla said “Many teachers made an impact in my career choice. Without the inspiration of other teachers, I would never have gone into education. Being in the school system has given me a deeper appreciation of my teachers in school. I know how hard it is to not only teach but inspire the next generation.”

Cayla also has some advice for current students, “You won’t succeed at everything, but if you don’t try you can only fail. Failing is just the first attempt in learning and there is always another chance to do better.”

She continued, “Student success is all about showcasing your knowledge. If you miss even one day a week that is nearly 30 hours a month of educational time loss. In that amount of time, you could miss key points in all kinds of subjects. Missing school will hurt you in the long run and unless it is absolutely necessary, try not to miss school regularly.”


Emma Gardner is a 2018 graduate of St. Albans High School. She also attended Shoals Elementary and McKinley Middle. Emma holds a Regents Bachelor of Arts degree. She currently works as an Information Systems Coordinator for the City of Charleston.

When asked about her professional accomplishments, Emma said “In 2020 I was awarded the Presidential Excellence Award from Concord University. This award not only honors students, but also staff, faculty and auxiliary staff who exemplify outstanding dedication and service, both on campus and in the community. A month before graduating college I accepted the position with the City of Charleston as their Information Systems Coordinator. I have been with the city for almost 2 years and am loving every minute of it.”

When asked how KCS prepared her for life after graduation, Emma said “I had many amazing teachers along my educational path through KCS. All of them always taught me to shoot for the stars and to never give up on my dreams and to be my best self.

Emma also has some advice for current students, “My best advice for current students is to enjoy your time in school, enjoy every game and every event you can go to. They are the best memories you will ever make.


Madison Justice is a 2010 graduate of St. Albans High School. She also attended Andrews Heights Elementary and Hayes Middle. Madison holds a bachelor’s degree in middle grades education and is almost finished with a master’s degree in middle grades education. She currently works as a 6th grade ELA teacher for Lowndes County Schools in Georgia.

When asked about her professional accomplishments, Madison said “I am a middle grades educator, gifted certified, ESOL teacher of the month, team leader, and previous content leader. I taught 8th grade for several years before moving to 6th grade. I am earning my master’s degree. I recently became a mother of two and have been married almost five years. I was also a four-year college athlete.”

When asked how KCS prepared her for life after graduation, Madison said “It provided me with the necessary skills and knowledge to move to the next level and gave me many friendships along the way.”

Madison also has some advice for current students, “Pay attention, give effort, ask questions, have fun, and always remember to be kind. Kindness goes a long way, and the world needs so much more of it. Also, your teachers care for you and your well-being, even if they come across tough. We always want the best for you!” She continued, “Attendance helps keep you on track with academics and the material covered in class. It’s so easy to get behind and feel lost when you miss a day or two. I don’t expect perfect attendance from all my kids, but I know how difficult it is to get them caught up after being out.”

She finished by saying, “Middle and high school can be such a trying time for many kids. I just hope you always remember to be yourself, be kind to your teachers, and be kind to your peers. You don’t always know what someone is going through or you don’t always get the whole story, so be patient and understanding. A little bit can go a long way. People truly won’t always remember everything you did or achieved, but they will ALWAYS remember how you treated them in school.”


Brytani Patterson is a 2019 graduate of St. Albans High School. She also attended Alban Elementary and McKinley Middle. Brytani is a senior at West Virginia State University where she is studying criminal justice. She currently works as a teacher at the Kanawha Valley Enrichment Center.  

When asked about her personal and professional accomplishments, Brytani said “While at McKinley Middle I was a Kanawha County track champion. At Saint Albans, I was a member of the cheerleading team and two dance teams. I was also the 2019 senior class president and a 2019 West Virginia DECA state champion. I represented Saint Albans and WV on the international level.”

She continued, “I am currently the head cheerleading coach at Dunbar Middle School where I just wrapped up my second year. I am also an assistant track coach at McKinley where my boys and girls were the 2021 county runner-up champions, and the girls were 2022 county runners-up. I work at Kanawha Valley Enrichment Center as an after-school daycare teacher with children preK-5th grade from the South Charleston and Dunbar areas. I am also a senior at WV State, majoring in criminal justice and minoring in psychology. I hope to attend West Virginia University for Law School.”

When asked how KCS prepared her for life after graduation, Brytani said “Kanawha County Schools gave me the opportunity to start on my post-secondary education while still a senior in high school!”

Brytani also has some advice for current students, “Participate in extracurricular activities! Some of these can open doors for the future! Soak in every moment you can get while in school and live your best life!”


Juli Taylor is a 2009 graduate of St. Albans High School. She also attended Hayes Middle. Juli holds a B.A. in Psychology from WVSU, a B.A. in History from Concord University, and a B.A. in Philosophy from Concord University. She also has a M.A. in School Counseling from Marshall University and a Montessori Teacher certification from the Greater Cincinnati Center for Montessori Education. Juli currently works as the lead teacher at Charleston Montessori School.

When asked about her professional accomplishments, Juli said “I have been a Montessori educator for nine years at various schools in the Kanawha Valley. I am also a certified Positive Discipline Parent Educator and teach Positive Discipline and gentle parenting classes to parents in the Kanawha Valley.

When asked how KCS prepared her for life after graduation, Juli said “I had a lot of teachers and mentors from KCS who believed in me and my ability to reach my goals. Notable teachers include Gail Kennedy, David Legg, Amy Halstead, Marsha Brock, Sandra Mariani, and Dr. Williams - all from SAHS. Now as an educator myself, I hope to instill that same encouragement in my students so they might love learning as much as I do.”

Juli also has some advice for current students, “Trust yourself and your abilities. Be kind to yourself and use positive self-talk. Don't be afraid to ask questions and challenge current beliefs. Do the clubs, try out for the sports team, sing in the show choir-- whatever your THING is-- because they will be the best memories you'll have from this period of your life. Life does get harder, but it also gets SO much better. Your decisions now will impact your life more than you think. Just remember you're amazing and you can do hard things!

She continued, “So many things in life require presence both physically and mentally. School attendance is a great way to practice that life skill. Plus, you'll miss a lot more than you think, these skills build over time!

Juli finished by saying, “My husband and I met while attending St. Albans High School, and we now have twin daughters that will one day walk the same halls. We celebrate 16 years together this summer!


Jessica Thomas is a 2010 graduate of St. Albans High School. She also attended Weimer Elementary and McKinley Middle. Jessica holds a BA in Secondary Education - Math and English from West Liberty University and a MA in Higher Education Curriculum and Instruction from West Virginia University. She is also Board Certified in AYA Mathematics. Jessica currently works as a math teacher for Monongalia County Schools.

When asked about her professional accomplishments, Jessica said “I have been teaching math at University High School in Morgantown for seven years and love working in the school system and helping teenagers succeed. This year I am proud to be a fellow of the Mountaineer Mathematics Master Teachers (M3T).”

When asked how KCS prepared her for life after graduation, Jessica said “I had fantastic teachers and administrators that always demonstrated their love of education and learning, which inspired me to do the same. An incomprehensive list would include Mr. Handley and Mrs. Bright at Weimer; Mr. Hillenbrand, Mrs. Ruddle, and Mrs. Cecil at McKinley; and Dr. Williams, Mrs. Brock, Mrs. Halstead, Mrs. Smith, and Mr. Harris at SAHS. I try to use their teachings and attitudes every day with my own students.”

Jessica also has some advice for current students, “Start working hard early and it will pay off! Be proud of your school!” She continued, “Almost every single topic builds on itself, and if you aren’t there to learn or practice something, you’ll find yourself behind very quickly. Being at school every day helps you to learn all you can and is crucial to your success in anything.”