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About Us

Destiny School of the Arts

Our Approach


At Destiny School of the Arts, we incorporate academics with performing arts to create the ultimate educational and fine arts experience. The arts are used as a platform to stimulate self-expression and academic growth. Experiential learning through arts integration lends itself to both academic excellence and happy students!

Our History


History of Destiny School of the Arts

Destiny School of the Arts started in a small storefront strip mall on Leesburg’s Market Street in 2009. With one preschool class and a handful of specialized teachers, our school was born. From the beginning, daily lessons and exposure to art, music, and creative movement was our priority.

History of the Greenway Manor House

Our beautiful school was once a prestigious manor house from the 1700’s, complete with maids’ quarters, a fruit cellar, a large barn, a smokehouse, and a carriage house.

The manor house originally belonged to the family of William Meade . William Meade fled England with William Penn (signer of the Declaration of Independence) on a ship sailed by Captain Greenway. The Meade family used the house for both Quaker meetings and services. During the Civil War, both the Union and the Confederacy took possession of the house at different times. Throughout the years, Greenway Manor House, as it is also known, has housed numerous families, including that of a prominent Leesburg judge. Our garden committee is making plans to restore its once handsome flower garden precisely where it was located 200 years ago. Children will use this outdoor classroom to explore weather, the plant cycle, and much more. We love our school building and honor its history and charm by making it a place where children can continuously learn and grow.

Our School Building


Welcome to Our New Home!

We moved into our new and improved home off of Greenway Drive (Leesburg, Virginia) in February 2014. This 6000 sq. ft. historic plantation manor house has been renovated to serve Destiny School of the Arts students. Our new home provides a healthy, child-friendly environment that includes: two outdoor play facilities, excellent classroom space, and state of the art renovations. Best of all, there is room to grow!

The colors, textures, and lighting of our new school were all chosen with care and attention to create a pleasant backdrop. We believe our new home-like environment is the perfect place to nurture the creativity and academic growth of your child.


Check out more pictures below!


Destiny School of the Arts New Art Room

Destiny School of the Arts New Art Room

Window Classroom
Above basement classroom
Front Playground

Our Team


Administration

Photo of Jennifer Wigfield
Jennifer Wigfield
Director

Jennifer Wigfield serves as director of Destiny School of the Arts. A licensed Virginia educator, she feels passionate about creating a warm and healthy environment where children can learn through the arts. In 2005, Jennifer received a master’s of education (prek-6) from Liberty University. In 2010, she earned a curriculum and instruction endorsement (prek-12) through George Mason University, subsequently becoming an English language specialist with Loudoun County Public Schools. Being fluent in both Spanish and Portuguese, she has enjoyed building a foreign language program at our school. Jennifer believes fully in DSOA’s mission for students reach academic excellence through arts integration, and enjoys collaborating with staff to achieve that goal. Jennifer is very enthusiastic about DSOA’s bright future, and honored to be a part of such a wonderful school.


Photo of Gloria Haines
Gloria Haines
Assistant Director

Gloria Haines is the Assistant Director at Destiny School of the Arts. She has about 20 years of experience in a preschool setting. She has taught 2’s, 3’s, and PreK and is very excited about leadership role at DSOA. Gloria has lived in Leesburg for 22 years and has seen a lot of growth in the area, especially in the number of school choices that are now available for early education. She enjoys working in an administrative capacity at DSOA and being a key contributor toward the growth of our school. In her spare time she enjoys volunteer work, crafting, and fundraising.

Teachers


Photo of Cindy Backus
Cindy Backus

Cindy Backus teaches first/second grade at Destiny School of the Arts. Originally from Florida, she and her family moved to Loudoun County eight years ago. She loves her new home and enjoys volunteering to make a difference in her community. She holds a postgraduate professional teaching License from Virginia and an M. ED. in Psychology. Cindy has a wide range of teaching experience in both traditional and non-traditional classrooms, from Pre-K to the collegiate level. Before working at DSOA, she taught children with special needs for Loudoun County Public Schools. Her wide range of experience has equipped her with diverse and effective teaching techniques that implements in her classroom. One of Cindy’s primary objectives is to create a stimulating and positive classroom environment where students begin their journeys as life-long learners.

Photo of Jeannie Baer
Jeannie Baer

Jeannie Baer is an art and academics teacher at Destiny School of the Arts. She began her career as a muralist, painting murals in places of business and in private homes. Loving art herself, it is always her goal to foster that same love for learning, self-expression, and creative thinking. Impressively, Jeannie has dedicated the last 20 years of her life to teaching art. Believing strongly in process-oriented art, she enables children to explore their creativity by using many different mediums. In addition, she also helps her students obtain important learning goals through creative means. Students love performing hands-on experiments in Jeannie’s class!

Photo of Nichole Bottini
Nichole Bottini

Nichole is excited to begin working at Destiny School of the Arts as a Spanish instructor and assistant. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Spanish Literature from the University of South Florida. Nichole has experience in the university and independent school settings and has instructed Spanish at a variety of levels. She enjoys including elements of her literature background in the classroom and loves witnessing the growth and development of each child’s language! Nichole loves her home in Charles Town, West Virginia and enjoys creating art, cooking, and hanging with her dog Charles!

Photo of Jessi Mach
Jessi Mach

Jessi will begin teaching kindergarten at Destiny School of the Arts in the fall of 2016. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in education from Salisbury University. She has over 10 years of teaching experience in both Maryland public schools and in Loudoun County. Jessi also served as an administrator for a local preschool where she guided teachers and oversaw the education program for newborns through 5th grade. Jessi grew up always wanting to be a teacher. She enjoys incorporating fun and creative elements into her lessons so students of various learning styles can be successful! In addition to teaching, Jessi enjoys photography, crafting, and making people smile!

Photo of Heather Pitts
Heather Pitts

Heather is our 2’s preschool lead teacher, as well as our elementary creative movement teacher. Heather was born in a little farming town in Switzerland and is the oldest of three girls. She says she came to America for an education, but also found a husband! Heather has a BS degree in Health, Fitness, and Recreation, as well as many years of dance instruction. She loves being a teacher and loves seeing how much students learn and change within a single school year. Heather is excited and feels privileged to be a part of the lives of the children at DSOA.

Photo of Renee Spara
Renee Spara

Renee is our lead Creative Play teacher. She grew up in Staten Island, New York. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in elementary education and began her teaching career as a substitute teacher at various elementary and middle schools. In 2010, Renee relocated to Virginia and began teaching young children from preschool to kindergarten. Renee knew instantly that she found her niche! She believes a teacher’s excitement and passion to educate comes from the student’s enthusiasm and curiosity to learn. Renee enjoys reading stories to the children and engaging them in conversations about everyday life and the world they live in. Renee has played an integral part in expanding and enriching our Creative Play program.

Photo of Tanya Vanderheiden
Tanya Vanderheiden

Tanya is a pre-k homeroom teacher, as well as the music teacher for our pre-k and elementary students. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Musical Theatre from Lees-McRae College in Banner Elk, North Carolina. She has been working in the field of performing arts as a music, dance and drama teacher since 2006. Tanya has also performed professionally with theater companies in the DC Metro Area. In June of 2015, Tanya and her husband were blessed to welcome their first child. Tanya is excited to be a part of our talented staff, as she delights in sharing her love of performing arts with children!

Our Faith


Destiny School of the Arts began as a ministry of Destiny Church with the intent to serve the community through a preschool centered on learning through the arts. Today, Destiny School of the Arts is a non-profit 501c, and largely independent from Destiny Church. Our desire to serve the children of Loudoun County, however, remains strong!

Destiny School of the Arts is an Interdenominational Christian organization, with our teachers coming from various churches in the community. The word “God” is not taboo at our school. Students sing a blessing or say a short prayer before snack and lunch. We also encourage the development and discussion of many Biblical principles and themes, such as honesty and kindness.

We are not, however, a traditional Christian school. We do not have a Bible curriculum or chapel service. Our belief is that our lives and actions should speak more about our faith than our words, and our main goal is for every child to feel loved and special while under our care.

Testimonials

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