Our Staff

The diverse group that comprises the Rise & Shine staff is united in our shared passion for educating and inspiring young people. A belief that every child deserves an equal chance to learn, to explore, and to blossom drives everything we do. Each day brings a fresh excitement that's reflected in our scholars' faces as they make new discoveries and experience the joy of learning.

SHELIA NORMAN, Executive Director

Shelia Norman's association with Rise & Shine goes back over a decade and includes service as a volunteer fundraiser, president of the Parents' Council, and member of the Board. As a former elected member of the Transylvania County School Board and a small business owner in Brevard, Shelia comes to her new position with an extensive base in education and in the local community. GET IN TOUCH: shelia@riseshine.org.


Cindy Benjamin, Assistant Program Director

A native of Brevard, NC, Cindy has spent most of her adult life helping children in the community. She has a true passion for working with children—of all ages—and marvels at how different their personalities can be, even within the same family. Cindy earned her Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education while working in daycare prior to joining the staff at Rise & Shine. Despite having three children to support, Cindy is committed to giving back to her community. “The thing I like most about working at Rise & Shine is teaching all the amazing kids. They may be challenging sometimes, but they keep me young!”

will boyd, STEM instructor

Will Boyd is a native of Brevard and a past Scholar in the Rise & Shine program. He attended the North Carolina School of Science and Math, followed by a BA from Florida Memorial University in Political Science and Public Administration (double major). His concentration within those majors was International Law dealing with human rights. After earning his degree, Will worked abroad, teaching in Istanbul, Turkey, at Koc University; the University of South Africa in Johannesburg; and most recently for a year in Honduras, at Day Star School. He looks forward to being able to both teach and learn from the young minds of Rise & Shine as they work together toward the shared goal of academic excellence. 



Dianne Gardin has been a part of Rise & Shine for many years. Her grandchildren now attend, so she gets multiple perspectives on the impact of our program daily! She is drawn to her work here because of the value of the program to the local community. Dianne is responsible for maintaining financial records for Rise & Shine, and is often the first face our volunteers see when they walk in the door. She has a deep knowledge of the community and works to ensure that all voices are heard.

stacey gash, Guided Reading Specialist

Stacey E. Gash is a native of Transylvania County. She has been working in Early Childhood education for over 20 years and has served in various jobs in the field. Stacey earned her BA from Mars Hill College in Elementary Education. Coming from a long line of educators, she was strongly drawn to the field. Stacey enjoys working with students of all ages, and is very happy to be a member of the Rise & Shine Team.