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Honoring Longtime Faculty and Staff Retirees

The following faculty and staff members have given a collective 208 years of service to Country Day and its students. We wish them well as they retire in June 2022. Thank you and congratulations! 

Bob Plyler / 45 Years / Upper School 

Bob “Buzzy” Plyler is a beloved teacher, compassionate student advisor, and dedicated coach. After a remarkable 45 years, and several years as Country Day’s longest tenured employee, he is retiring from teaching in June. However, he will stay on as our Boys’ Varsity Golf Team coach—fresh off a NCISAA state championship. 

Since Bob joined the Upper School history department in 1976, he has been instrumental in the growth and evolution of the history curriculum at Country Day. He played a key role in the development of political science and Advanced Placement history courses, including U.S. History and Government and Politics. Known to many who love him as Coach Plyler, Bob has coached Varsity Golf, JV Football, and both JV and Varsity Boys’ Basketball. Under his leadership, Varsity Boys’ Golf has won 10 state championships and dozens of his student-athletes have continued to play at the collegiate level. In 1987 and 2003, Bob received the Carl Bolick Coaches Award, which recognizes coaches who best exemplify the qualities of a character builder who develops student-athletes into better people. In 2016 he was honored with the Alumni Distinguished Faculty Award and in 2022 he was inducted into the Honorary Alumni Association. 

Karen Sullivan / 39 Years / Lower School

Since 1983, when computers were far from a ubiquitous part of school, home, or work life, Karen Sullivan was leading the way at Country Day as our Lower School Computer Instructor, overseeing our lab of 12 instructional computers. Over the span of nearly four decades, she created and developed the entire Lower School computer curriculum—and recreated it again and again as technology is every changing. In the early years, Karen also taught the faculty how to use computers since these devices were new to everyone. And she transitioned from Apple to Windows and back to Apple platforms as needs changed. For many years, she also served as Special Areas Coordinator, helping to ensure multi-discipline approaches to learning. The ultimate team player and always willing to stretch, Karen took on the role of kindergarten class helper during the 2020–21 hybrid teaching year. Greatly admired by her peers, Karen won the Faculty Exceptional Performance Award three times and she was the recipient of the O’Herron Teaching Endowment and the JR Williams Travel Grant.  

Kathy Allford / 33 Years / Business Office 

Students and faculty at the Middle School, know Kathy as the smiling face in the Bissell Campus Store. She has been in that role since 1998, cheerfully helping students with their purchases of everything from pencils and notepaper to PE uniforms and hoodies. She was also the Calendar Coordinator for 15 years, and prior to running the campus store, worked for 10 years in the Business Office as the accounts payable and purchasing agent. In 2020, she received the Staff Exceptional Performance Award. 




Trudy Mills / 27 Years / Lower School  

Trudy retired from the Lower School Educational Resource Program in February after 27 years of service. She was a tutor from 1995–2001 and then again from 2005–2022. From 2001–2005, she served as Co-Director of the Lower School program. Respected by her peers and credited with helping hundreds of children learn to read, Trudy was one of the first tutors to use the Orton-Gillingham approach in tutoring, and quickly became the tutor everyone turned to with questions regarding how to teach children with the multisensory, phonics-based approach.    




Katie Elsasser / 25 Years / Upper School 

Katie has been synonymous with College Counseling at Country Day for more than two decades—first as associate director, then as director since 2005. In addition to overseeing the office and counseling hundreds of students and families to find the right fit college, Katie was well connected with college admissions offices. She was actively involved with the Southern Association of College Admission Counselors (SACAC) and served on its Board of Directors for three years. She also served on the college advisory boards at East Carolina University, UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Georgia, Auburn University, and Hollins College. Katie oversaw the transition to online college searches and application, the move to a new spacious office suite, and the development of programs such as the College Boot Camp for seniors. She was also an advisor to the Bow Tie Club for several years. In appreciation, the Class of 2008 dedicated the yearbook in Katie’s honor. She is also a recipient of the Faculty Exceptional Performance Award and the Hunter Family Sabbatical.  


Patti Daniel / 21 Years / Middle School 

Patti Daniel began her career at Country Day as a Lower School assistant teacher. Upon moving down the road to Bissell Campus in 2004, she truly found her calling as a 5th Grade Language Arts/Social Studies teacher. Patti’s fun-loving nature, great sense of humor and amazing energy, combined with her genuine care for children made her the perfect teacher for the Middle School years. She is known for her enthusiasm in the classroom, her detailed communication, and can-do attitude. In addition to her teaching duties, Patti also served as advisor for Student Council, the Ambassadors Club, 5th Grade team leader, and Country Day Fund division chair. Patti is a recipient of a Faculty Renewal Grant, the Florence Chapman Faculty Appreciation Award, and the Faculty Exceptional Performance Award. 



Susan Powers / 19 years / Lower School 

Susan has worked as a Lower School teacher for nearly two decades and is known for her gentle, thoughtful nature, as well as her unwavering dedication to her students. She was always willing to lend extra support to students individually or in groups before school. She began as an assistant teacher in kindergarten and third grade. Since 2009, she has been a lead teacher in third grade, and she served as grade coordinator for several years.