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Meet the Management Team

Mrs. Julie Derucki
Head of School

Mrs. Derucki has spent over 30 years teaching and working exclusively in Catholic schools in Indiana, Florida, and Georgia. She has taught both elementary and middle school grades, with 11 consecutive years teaching 4th grade. Mrs. Derucki also served in administrative positions, including Principal, Dean of Students, and Dean of Academics. She is an active member of the National Catholic Education, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, and Association for Middle Level Education. Mrs. Derucki was nominated by parents for both the Atlanta Journal and Constitution (AJC) Teacher of the Year in 2002 and Disney’s Teacher of the Year in 2003. She has a Bachelor of Science in Education from Ball State University, graduate courses in Educational Leadership from Indiana University-Purdue University Institute, and a Master of Science in Education with honors from Spring Hill College, Mobile, AL. She has completed Level 3 Administrative Training for the International Baccalaureate. Mrs. Derucki was one of the initial faculty of Notre Dame Academy, beginning with the foundation in 2005.

Mr. John Findley
Principal, Upper School

Mr. Findley has over 41+ years of educational experience at all levels.  He holds three degrees:  BA History, MED Secondary Education and MED Educational Administration & Supervision from Georgia State University. He began teaching history in Dekalb County Schools (Georgia) for 11 years.  For the next 12 years, he was at Marist School where he taught history and coached varsity football and 9th-grade boys basketball for five years.  For his last seven years at Marist School, he was appointed as the Dean of Student Discipline.  His next teaching assignment led him to New York City where he was the Department Chair and taught history at York Prep School for two years.  Mr. Findley decided it was time to return home to Georgia where he worked at Wesleyan for four years coaching varsity football, teaching history, and leading the Social Studies Department for grades 1-12.  Afterward, he was the Upper School Curriculum Coordinator at Pinecrest for two years.  Mr Before retirement, Mr. Findley spent the last 10+ years at Notre Dame Academy.  He was part of the original group hired to start NDA in 2005.  During his first tenure, he was Principal, Admissions Director, and taught middle school history for nine years.  He retired in 2014 but came back to teach Upper School World History for the 2017-2018 school year.  Retired again but came back this year as the new Upper School Principal.


Mrs. Dana Smith
Principal, Lower and Middle School

Mrs. Smith has over 23 years of experience in both private and public schools, teaching  Pre-K3- 8th grade. She has also worked as an Early Intervention Teacher at various schools in Georgia, including Findley Oaks Elementary in Duluth, Georgia where she was named Teacher of the Year.  Mrs. Smith has also been nominated for the Braves Teacher of the Year Award and has taught both advanced students and students in need of additional assistance.  Mrs. Smith has held various Leadership roles throughout her years of teaching as well as piloting a special program at the Primrose School of Christopher Robin that combined Kindergarten and 1st grade. She was formerly the PYP and Curriculum Coordinator as well as Middle School Learning Specialist before being named Lower and Middle School Principal at Notre Dame Academy. Mrs. Smith was named Teacher of the Year at Notre Dame Academy in 2013. She has her bachelor’s degree in early childhood education from the University of Georgia and her master’s degree in teaching from Piedmont College. Mrs. Smith has completed the IB Self- Study and SAIS/SACS Accreditation for Notre Dame Academy, as well as served as a site visitor for SAIS/SACS. Her professional development includes training in: Fountas and Pinnell Reading Program, Math Solutions training, Level 1, 2 and 3 IB certification, Project Zero, Critical Friends Groups, Design Thinking, Universal Design for Learning and various other trainings.


Mrs. Tracy Roome 
Director, Early Years Campus

Mrs. Roome has 28 years of teaching internationally and in the United States, in both private and public schools. She spent her first 12 years teaching in South African public schools as a lead teacher. The following 16 years were spent teaching in the United States where she taught an EIP class for three years in DeKalb County as a VIF teacher (Visiting International Faculty). She has spent her last 13 years at Notre Dame Academy, joining the faculty in 2006.  Mrs. Roome received her Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education from The University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa and was awarded a Master’s Degree by the American Education and Translation Services upon arriving in the United States. She also has her Director’s Certification for Early Childhood Education from Bright from the Start. Mrs. Roome has also completed levels 1, 2, and 3 in
Administrative Leadership for the International Baccalaureate PYP Program.  Mrs. Roome has taught kindergarten through fifth grade and has held numerous leadership positions over the years. Mrs. Roome has been the Primary Years Program Coordinator, the Curriculum Coordinator for the Early Years and Lower
School, the Learning Specialist for the Early Years and Lower School, as well as a facilitator for Critical Friends Group (CFG) and Positive Behavioral Interventions and Support (PBIS).  In addition, Mrs. Roome has been in charge of and completed the IB Self Study, and worked on the SAIS/SACS Accreditations for Notre Dame Academy. Her professional development includes but is not limited to Fountas and Pinnell Reading, Fundations, Red Clay Writing (UGA), IB Certification, Design Thinking (Henry Ford Learning Institute), and Executive Functioning (The Marcus Institute).


Ms. Jaclissa Haislip
Athletic Director

Ms. Haislip joined Notre Dame Academy in 2018 as the Assistant Athletic Director, Head Girls Basketball Coach, and PE Teacher. Prior to Notre Dame Academy, Ms. Haislip worked in Athletic Event Management at the University of Tennessee and as the Convention Logistics Intern at the Women's Basketball Coaches Association. She has a Bachelor of Science in Recreation and Sport Management with a Minor in Business Administration from the University of Tennessee. She also obtained her Master of Business Administration from Union University.

Mr. Andy Smolynsky
Director of Educational Technology


Mrs. Kelly Pizzarelli
Director of Enrollment and Financial Aid

Mrs. Pizzarelli has over ten years of experience at Notre Dame Academy. After serving in many other roles, she now serves as the Director of Enrollment and Financial Aid. Prior to her time at Notre Dame Academy, she worked for Anderson Consulting in the Logistics Division before starting her family. She then stayed home with her children and started two businesses out of her home during these years. All three of Mrs. Pizzarelli’s children have attended Notre Dame Academy. Her youngest son started the year Notre Dame opened in Pre-K3 and is now a senior in the 2nd graduating class of 2020. Mrs. Pizzarelli is originally from Alton, Illinois, where she attended Lewis & Clark College.


Mrs. Nadia Robinson
Director of Finance

Mrs. Robinson joins Notre Dame Academy as the Senior Accountant. Her prior experience includes serving as the Director of Finance & Operations at a Quaker school in Newton Square, Pennsylvania. Mrs. Robinson has over eleven years of experience in the business office at a school that serviced students with learning differences. Mrs. Robinson earned her undergraduate degree in political science from Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania. She completed her Masters in Business Administration at West Chester University.