Connections

Gary Smallen

Health and Physical Education

 I am Gary Smallen but also have the handle “Hammer” in a lot of circles. I teach health and physical education, coach football and track, and am the athletic director. I graduated from Furman University with a B.A. in health and physical education and completed a master’s degree from USC. I like working out, golf, art, the Eagles, James Taylor, Tropical Tuesdays, and the mountains. My email address is gsmallen@lexington1.net.


Christine Rivers

Outdoor Education, Unified Physical Education & Health

I am excited to be the Outdoor Education/Unified PE and Health teacher.  I am looking forward to being the archery coach, Special Olympics Unified coach and PE department head.  I graduated from Springfield College, MA with a bachelor’s degree in physical education/health. My graduate degree is from Lesley University, MA in curriculum and instruction.   I have taught in Lexington One for five years, East Greenwich, Rhode Island for 13 years, and Las Vegas, Nevada for five years. I love spending time hiking with my family and watching my kids play sports/perform.  I enjoy sharing my interest in a healthy lifestyle with my students. I can be contacted by email at crivers@lexington1.net


Ashley Creson

Dance and Bengals Dance Team Coach

Hi! My name is Ashley Creson.  I will be teaching dance here at BMS!  I am also the coach of the Bengals Dance Team.  I received my Bachelor of Arts in Dance Education from Columbia College.  I began teaching dance education in 2011. I am a mom of three and enjoy spending time at the beach.  My email is acreson@lexington1.net.


Lois Byars

Innovation Lab and Bengal Broadcasting

I received my bachelor’s degree from Columbia International University in South Carolina and my master’s degree from the University of South Carolina. I am certified in Elementary Education and Middle School ELA and Social Studies. I have obtained the Gifted & Talented Endorsement and am National Board Certified as a Middle Childhood~Generalist. 

I am passionate about helping students achieve their best. My two children are products of Lexington One schools. I believe in continuing the tradition of excellence by having high expectations for all students while fostering a love of learning, exploration, innovation, and leadership. When I am not working with the amazing students and staff at Beechwood Middle School, I enjoy spending time with my husband, Randy; daughter, Dana; son, Byron; and our four-legged “children.” I can be reached at lbyars@lexington1.net.


Garrick Ball

STEM Lab

I have been teaching since 2006, having taught 6th- and 8th-grade science at Batesburg-Leesville Middle School and 8th-grade at Pelion Middle before coming to Beechwood Middle for this upcoming school year. I earned a B. S. degree from the University of South Carolina and a Master of Education in Teacher Leadership from Lamar University. Currently, I am a member of the Noyce Master Teaching Fellowship and am a candidate for National Board Certification in Middle-Level Science. I coach football here at Beechwood and have coached baseball and basketball as well since 2007. My hobbies include sports, traveling, and fishing. In my class, we will create an enriching learning community that involves critical thinking skills to solve real-world problems. gball@lexington1.net


Lindsay Keith

Programming Lab and Yearbook

I am honored to be Beechwood’s Programming Lab teacher and yearbook adviser this year! I attended Lexington 1 schools K-12 and graduated from LHS. I taught 8th grade math and science for two years in Lexington District 2. I graduated from the University of South Carolina in 2017 with a degree in middle-level education with concentrations in math and science.  I love spending time with my family and two cats, traveling, cooking, reading, exercising, and learning new things. I am looking forward to a productive year of learning alongside each of you! LKeith@Lexington1.net


Shannon Boatwright

Drama and Musical Theatre

I am a teaching artist with over 25 years of experience producing, directing, performing, teaching, choreographing, writing, and leading; I am passionate about the arts and living life to the fullest! My mantra is carpe diem, and I love to inspire others to seize the day. I am very proud to say that I grew up in Lexington One, a graduate of Lexington High School. I graduated from Winthrop University with a B.A. in theatre and dance. I have additional degrees in fitness and nutrition and am a licensed Zumba instructor. While doing public relations at the Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce, I kickstarted a career in television and film, moving to Los Angeles to continue my journey in the entertainment business.  During my ten years in CA, I worked on the stage, on camera, and behind the camera. I was an entertainment reporter and host, working the red carpet at movie premieres, awards shows, and sporting events. To say it was an incredible experience is an understatement, but my biggest accomplishments while in Los Angeles were that of giving birth to my two amazing children! 

Upon moving back to my SC roots in 2009, I completed arts integration training at the Peace Center and thoroughly enjoyed doing residencies in local school districts integrating the fine arts. This prompted a passion to teach full time in the public school system. The past six years I taught drama at Chapin Middle School, and though I miss my Chapin family immensely, I feel very blessed to be back home in LexOne! I am a mother, wife, teacher, and lover of the arts, driven by a passion for inspiring others, backed with rich experience, training, and education that is ongoing as I constantly strive to be the best I can be and make the most of every day!  I can be best contacted via email at sboatwright@lexington1.net. Here’s to a fabulous year!


Craig Davis

Band

 I am very excited to be the Director of Bands at Beechwood Middle! In addition to teaching band, I will serve as the fine arts department chair and assist with the Lexington High School Marching Band. I am a graduate of Lexington High School, so it is special for me to be able to give back to the program that gave me so much early in my life. I attended Furman University where I received a bachelor’s degree in music education and then received a master’s degree from the University of South Carolina. I began my teaching career in 2004 in Spartanburg County where I directed the Berry Shoals Intermediate and Florence Chapel Middle School Bands, followed by York County where I was the Director of Bands at York Comprehensive High School. I returned to Lexington in 2012 and have been “home” since then.

I am active in the South Carolina Band Directors’ Association, serving as the Concert Committee chair. I am also the president of the Palmetto Concert Band, and a member of the Poinsett Wind Ensemble, where I play the trumpet. ccdavis@lexington1.net


Bonnie Pruitt

Orchestra and Musical Theatre

I am so excited to join the Beechwood Bengals family!  I grew up in the Atlanta area and spent five years in Birmingham, Alabama earning a Bachelor of Music in Instrumental and Vocal/Choral Education and a Master of Music Education at Samford University.  While at Samford, I completed private study in both violin and voice and enjoyed performing with a variety of musical ensembles.  

This is the beginning of my 14th year in the classroom!  In 2006, I began my teaching career at Pelion Middle School where I taught orchestra and chorus classes.  I was named Pelion Middle School Teacher of the Year for 2009-2010. From 2011 to spring 2019, I was the orchestra director for Carolina Springs Middle School.  In 2013-2014, I was the Teacher of the Year for CSMS and a finalist for Lexington One District Teacher of the Year. I am a member of SCMEA and NAFME, the state and national organizations for music educators.  I am married to Dr. Ken Pruitt, orchestra director at White Knoll High School. We have two daughters, Ellie and Sydney. In my spare time, I enjoy reading and cross-stitching.

Please contact me with any questions or concerns – bpruitt@lexington1.net


Levi Walker

Chorus

I earned a Bachelor of Music Education at the University of South Carolina, graduating in May 2019. I am a Tallahassee native but was raised in Atlanta and Columbia. I am the son of a teacher and a preacher, and I have one older brother. I love watching sports, camping, and spending time (especially meals) with my family. I am always looking forward to making music with students! lwwalker@lexington1.net


Sean Lafaye

Art

I have taught art at both the elementary and middle school levels.  I started teaching in Florence School District One upon receiving my bachelor’s degree in art education in 2004. While in Florence One, I was an art teacher traveling between three schools and recognized as Teacher of the Year at Wallace Gregg Elementary School. Also while teaching in Florence, I obtained my master’s in elementary education from Francis Marion University in 2005.  I returned to Columbia in 2005 and taught at Bookman Road Elementary in Richland Two for nine years where I served as team leader and tech mentor. I also served on the Faculty Advisory Council for the district. While in Richland Two, I received National Board Certification in Early to Middle Childhood Art and was recognized as Teacher of the Year at Bookman Road Elementary School.  In 2015, I accepted my first middle school art position at Carolina Springs Middle School in Lexington School District One and was awarded Teacher of the Year in 2017. After four years at CSMS, I am now proud to call Beechwood Middle School my new home. I am one of two Connections lead teachers at BMS, serve on the IB Implementation Team for the school, and am the team leader for middle school art in Lexington One. I am looking forward to the upcoming school year at Beechwood Middle and sharing my love for anime and all things art! I can be reached with any questions or concerns at slafaye@lexington1.net


Josh Keiper

Art

I have been teaching visual art since 2000 when I began my career by opening White Knoll High School. I have since also taught at Spring Valley High in Richland Two. I earned both a degree in studio art (1997) and my master’s in art education (1999) from the University of South Carolina. In 2007, I received National Board Certification, earning renewal in 2017. Over my career, I have been an active member of the South Carolina Art Education Association, serving on the SCAEA board in multiple capacities for ten years (Central Region coordinator, Secondary Level coordinator, and secretary). I am also currently the Tri-DAC summer program visual arts coordinator. Most importantly, I am excited to begin a new chapter at Beechwood Middle this year where I can share with students my passion for comics, Star Wars, and all things art! I can be reached with any questions or concerns at jkeiper@lexington1.net