Karnes Center Summer Programs Faculty and Staff

We believe in our employees and know they will provide an amazing opportunity for your child! Information is organized by program and course titles are provided under each teacher’s name along with a brief bio and a picture. Our Leadership Team is featured below the programs. We are so excited to meet you this summer!

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Day Program for Young Gifted Children

Svetlana Lucas

Light Bright, Night Night!

Join me and investigate the habits of nocturnal animals. Let’s learn what they do when everyone is sleeping and how they are perfectly adapted to the darkness. Just what is it that makes them hide from the light? After all, light is made of many different colors, and it’s all around us. As those colorful waves bounce off objects and hit or eyes, we see!! Spend a week with me to discover several interesting properties of light, and why some special animals prefer to be most active at night.

Katelyn Treadaway

Day Program: Great Waters

My name is Mrs. Katelyn Treadaway. (That last name is quite new – I just got married in January!) I have both a bachelors and masters degree in elementary education, with endorsements in reading, social studies, and gifted. I love adventures – I’ve studied abroad and traveled to around 10 different countries, and I even did an internship at Disney World for a few months! I can’t wait for our new adventures at this year’s program.

Tricia Stevenson

Day Program: Oh Captain, My Captain!

Hi parents and kids, I’m Ms. Trish and I’m very excited about working with your Little Leader this summer! We will expand our knowledge of leadership, learn how to be effective leaders, and learn about important current and historic leaders. Ms. Trish is a graduate of the University of North Alabama, with a B.S. in Sociology and a B.S. in Geography. She has completed 36 hrs of graduate studies in Geography at USM, and has been teaching with the Karnes Center for 4 years and counting. Can’t wait to meet you!

Tiffany Martindale

Day Program: Record Breaker

My name is Tiffany Martindale and I’ve been teaching for fourteen years, including the last five years in gifted education. I have a passion for learning and I love to share this passion with my students. I can’t wait to see your creative minds at work!

Megan Pierce

Day Program: Healthy Me

I love learning new things just as much as my students, and I can’t wait to share new experiences together this summer! Be sure to bring your curiosity, and let’s dig in together!

Summer Gifted Studies Program

Mignon Lefebvre

Summer Gifted Studies: Heartbeat!

Hello everyone!  My name is Mignon Lefebvre.  I received my undergraduate degree from USM in Dance Education in 2005, and I am currently working toward my Masters in Gifted Education.  I am looking forward to discovering what makes the heart tick, how to keep it healthy, and moving and grooving to a beat of our own!

Yolanda Banks

Summer Gifted Studies: SpyMaster 101

Hello!  My name is Mrs. Banks and I am thrilled to learn and grow with you in our SpyMaster experience this summer!  Throughout the school year, I spend my days teaching gifted and talented boys and girls like you at an elementary school in a suburb of Atlanta, GA.   When I am not traveling or spending time with my husband and son, I am busy learning how to be an awesome gifted teacher in my graduate studies here at USM.  Last summer I got my dream puppy, Yogi Bear the Labradoodle!  He is the sweetest (most active) best friend.  I’ll be sure to show you pictures of him.  I look forward to us getting to each other!  

Katelyn Ladner

Summer Gifted Studies: Creature Comforts

I am a current and previous student at the University of Southern Mississippi who was lucky enough to attend this Summer Gifted Program many years ago. I am originally from the Gulf Coast, but I have taught/lived in both Alaska and North Carolina over the past two years, and I currently teach high school English near Fayetteville, North Carolina. I am excited to return home to Mississippi for the summer to be a part of this program!

Mollie Culpepper

Summer Gifted Studies: Minute Minder

Hello everyone! My name is Mollie Culpepper, and I am an English teacher at Petal Elementary School. I received my undergraduate degree from USM in elementary and special education, and I am in the process of attaining my Masters in elementary education with an endorsement in gifted education. I am very excited to be teaching and spending the week with everyone! 

Megan Pierce

Summer Gifted Studies: Taking Stock

I love learning new things just as much as my students, and I can’t wait to share new experiences together this summer! Be sure to bring your curiosity, and let’s dig in together!

Leadership Studies Program

Jerice Williams

Curriculum Innovation Specialist and Leadership: Leadership I

This summer we will focus on the “essential questions” and dig deep into issues that matter to your community! Together, our mission will be to prepare ourselves to lead in academics, service, and civic engagement! Students will learn how they can make a difference and provide answers to concerns that matter to young thinkers.

Position Pending

Leadership: Leadership II

Position Pending

Leadership: Leadership III

SPATY: Summer Program for Academically Talented Youth

Rachelle Fortenberry Steinhauer

SPATY: Judicial Triforce

I am so happy to be part of this program.  I am a former Senior Staff Attorney for the Tenth District Chancery Court, and a 2003 graduate of the University of Mississippi School of Law.  To study law is to study the most basic aspects of human life, and I look forward to helping students expand their minds into the concepts of abstract thinking and problem solving. 

John Perry

SPATY: APPsolution

John Perry is an Associate Professor in the School of Mathematics and Natural Sciences at the University of Southern Mississippi. Aside from articles in his main field of computational algebra, he has published articles on combinatorial games, has contributed code to the Sage computer algebra, and has published apps in the Android app store, such as the Chinese Remainder Clock. His research lies at the intersection of mathematics and computer science, so that over the last quarter century he has both studied advanced mathematics and written software to do the same.

Elizabeth Greer

SPATY: Piecing Together the Past

My love of history began when I was in middle school, where I became enamored with stories of castles, knights, myths, and monsters.  The story of the world’s civilizations is one which has the best plotlines and the biggest heroes. I cannot wait for students to join me on a journey through some of history’s richest and most fascinating civilizations!  I have my Master of Arts in American History from The University of Southern Mississippi and am currently finishing my Master of Arts in Teaching from USM.

Tammy Sealy

SPATY: Maths in Motion

 I am in my 25th year in education. I received both my bachelor and master degrees from USM. I have taught in Greenville, Mississippi, Richmond, Indiana, and Newport News, Virginia, before returning to Purvis, MS, my hometown, in 2010.  I am a National Board Certified Teacher. At PHS, I teach Algebra 2, Algebra 3, Dual Credit College Algebra (with PRCC), and Dual Credit Calculus I (with William Carey University). I am also the sponsor for Mu Alpha Theta, a mathematics honor society.

Kendal Smith

SPATY: Research in Animal Behavior

Kendal holds a Masters in Experimental Psychology with an emphasis in marine mammal behavior and cognition. She is currently a PhD candidate in the same field at the University of Southern Mississippi. She has worked closely with Garnett’s bush baby, bottlenose dolphin, beluga whale, Asian small-clawed otter, and Pacific white-sided dolphin populations. Her research interests include animal development, maternal behavior, reproductive behavior, social behavior, and memory and cognitive processes.

Faith Brown

SPATY: Psychology of Meaning

 Faith L. Brown is a second-year graduate student in Psychology (Brain and Behavior). She conducts research in social and existential psychology at USM and is working toward becoming a professor.

Center Leadership Team

Dr. Heather Houston


Dr. Houston is pleased to welcome your family to the Karnes Center. Under her direction, we have expanded our programs to include online opportunities and our research agenda to include the needs of twice-exceptional students. Our leadership team is expanding as well, providing teachers and students with more resources for mentorship, collaboration, and differentiated services than ever before. Dr. Houston welcomes your feedback on these new initiatives and invites you to join our online parenting group and our advocacy task force.

Email: hl.houston@usm.edu

Kellie Reeves

Dorm Director

My name is Kellie Reeves. I teach in my hometown of Lucedale, MS. In May I will graduate with my Master’s degree in gifted education, something that working here has inspired me to do. This will be my ninth summer working with The Frances A. Karnes Center for Gifted Studies. I am so excited for our 2020 programs and to meet all our new teachers and students, and see some familiar faces. 

Michael Bui

Assistant Dorm Director

My name is Michael Bui. I currently teach US History in Liberty, MS. I have a Bachelor’s in Social Studies and am approaching my fourth year teaching. This will be my fifth year with the Karnes Center and I am looking forward for another year of fun with my fellow counselors and students.

Katie Canavin

Dyslexia Support Specialist

My name is Katie Canavin and I am a Dallas Texas native (Go Cowboys!). I moved to Mississippi in 2012 for undergraduate work at USM where I studied elementary and special education. I graduated again in 2016 with my dyslexia therapy degree and received my CALT and gifted certifications in 2019. I am currently working on my PhD at USM as well. I have been a teacher for four years and have taught 1st grade for all of them. I love working with students who experience dyslexia and the struggles because I too, am dyslexic. 

Svetlana Lucas

Professional Development Specialist and Educator Mentor

Svetlana Lucas, a veteran associate  of  the  Frances  A. Karnes  Center  for  Gifted  Studies  at  the  University  of  Southern  Mississippi, has been  an  educator  for  almost  twenty  years. Ms. Lucas is a classroom practitioner with an impressive  skill  set  that  marks  her  as  exemplary  among  teachers of gifted children.  Her teaching portfolio  includes  appointments  with pre-k  to  high  school  gifted  learners  as  well  as  adult  learners  seeking  gifted  education  endorsement.  Most  recently, Ms. Lucas collaborated  with  other  gifted  teachers  statewide  to  revise the  Mississippi  Gifted  Outcomes  Document.  
Ms. Lucas resides in the southern United States with her family. 

Jerice Williams

Curriculum Innovation Specialist and Online Programs

I am Jerice Williams, a native of Hattiesburg and an educator for 15 years.  I currently teach gifted grades 2-6th for Hattiesburg Public Schools.  My affiliation with the FAK Center for Gifted Studies started in 1996 as a program participant. I have been working with the Center in many capacities since 2004. I strive to help create an environment where children can grow and develop their creativity, talents, and abilities. 

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