A la carte » Biographies - A la carte

Biographies - A la carte



Gary Gaiffe



Expert level player, certified national chess director, and coach Mr. Gary Gaiffe will be teaching the class. Mr. Gaiffe has coached many local school teams over the past 20 years and organizes rated tournaments for both student and adult players.



Jey Iyempandi



CodeWizardsHQ was started by Jey Iyempandi, a father of two Meridian students. He wanted a robust coding education for their children and found that many of the coding opportunities were focused on elementary school kids with apps, games and robots. He wanted his middle-school daughter to learn, real-world, text-based programming skills like Python, HTML/CSS, JavaScript etc and couldn't find a company that offered, comprehensive and structured coding education. So he quit Dell to start the company. CodeWizardsHQ has been extremely successful and now teaches hundreds of students around the US. With 90% student success rate, CodeWizards is the most effective way for a student to learn coding. CodeWizardsHQ courses are taught by seasoned coding professionals with fun, interactive, hands-on projects where students receive immediate feedback and help.  They are dedicated to being the best at teaching coding kids and are excited to be a part of Meridian's Triple A program!



Yiduo Xu, Juan Huiand and Corrine Teoh



The FLIEC Mandarin program was founded by a professor with over 20 years of experience teaching Chinese at college level. It adapts foreign language teaching techniques used at universities to the needs of the K-12 curriculum. Our Meridian teachers are Yiduo Xu and Juan Hui (China) and Corrine Teoh (Singapore), all native speakers of Mandarin Chinese with a long experience teaching children of all ages. Their classes are taught entirely in Mandarin, and they include language as well as culture to help your child become proficient in Chinese and knowledgeable about Chinese history and civilization. The program serves grades K-3rd, but children who have started in these grades can continue taking Chinese with us up to high school and AP Chinese test preparation.



Lenard Swain



Master Swain is a 5th Degree Black Belt in Shaolin Do Kung Fu and Tai Chi. He has been training in Shaolin Do for over 17 years and leading the martial arts program at Meridian since the inaugural year in 2011. He has trained over 100 students to black belt and his students have achieved some of the highest honors outside of martial arts including class valedictorian, class salutatorian, and numerous awards for scholastic and athletic excellence.



Kathryn Patschke



Kathryn Patschke joined us as the Triple A Manager in May of 2018. She brings her expertise in child development and staff management. She came to us with a background as the Program Director of a physical development center with nearly 8 years of experience. She holds an Associates degree in Early Childhood Education and is currently pursuing her Bachelors in Youth and Community Studies with a focus in Special Populations at the University of Texas at Austin. What drew her to Meridian was the mission. She believes in the importance of helping students develop social and intellectual skills that will not only help them in their transition into adulthood and into the workforce, but more importantly help them develop relationships to enjoy a fulfilling life.



Monique Swain



Monique L. Swain joined Meridian in August 2011 as the Triple A Enrichment Program Coordinator. Monique has a bachelor's degree in family and child sciences from the Florida State University and a master's in family and child studies from Texas State University. She comes to Meridian from the Austin Independent School District where she worked as the Teen Parent Program Coordinator. She is a State of Texas licensed child care director with many years of experience working with children and their families as a preschool teacher, school-age program assistant director, child development specialist, licensed child care director, event coordinator, director trainer, and preschool/school-age area director. She was drawn to Meridian because she enjoys building enriching children’s programs from the ground up. Specifically, the Triple A Program gives her the opportunity to share her personal hobbies and encourage students to express what sparks their interest.