Christina Lazar

Founder, CEO and Director

Christina Lazar is an honor graduate from the College of Education at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Originally from Upstate New York, Christina has worked as a mentor, teacher, coach and advocate of children for over twenty years. She has professional relationships with teachers, administrators and academic facilitators throughout many CMS and private schools in the area. With the support of her former school administration, parents of students, and colleagues, she opened The Lazar Center of Learning & Achievement in 2007 with a desire to balance her career and family, while making a difference in the education of children.

Johnakin Martin:

Assistant Director and Lead Tutor

Johnakin joined the Lazar Center in the fall of 2016. She has a Masters in Math Education and resides in Rock Hill, SC. After years of working with students of all ages in math and organizational skills, her favorite moments are when students let out an audible “Ohhh!” when they master a new skill, or solve a difficult problem. She has an outgoing and favorable personality which students of all ages gravitate toward.

Ashley Miskar

Lead Tutor and K-2 Curriculum Specialist

Ashley is a graduate of the State University of New York at Oswego with a Bachelor’s Degree in Childhood Education and a Master’s Degree in Special Education. Ashley moved to the Charlotte area in August of 2013. She is currently a lead first grade teacher within CMS, but worked in a variety of grade levels while in New York. Ashley has always had a passion for teaching and a desire to help others be confident and successful! She is a lead tutor and K-2 Curriculum Specialist at the Lazar Center.

Anna Folkens-


Anna has been with the Lazar Center since the winter of 2016. After returning to the United States from teaching English in Panama, Anna taught middle school Spanish in Darlington, SC. She is currently seeking a Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy and Pfeiffer University. Anna’s favorite part of tutoring is helping build confidence and setting students up for success by teaching study and organizational skills in addition to curriculum.

Mandy Brickner


Mandy is a graduate of Ohio University where she received her bachelor’s degree in Middle Childhood Education with certifications in Language Arts and Science, as well as her Master's Degree in Cultural Studies in Education. She has worked in a variety of grade levels both in Ohio and Charlotte. She currently teaches 6th grade in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School District. Mandy loves building relationships with students and witnessing their growth and successes.

Kimberly Aberno


Kimberly recently began working with the Lazar Center team in the winter of 2016. She is a 3rd grade teacher at Berewick Elementary School in CMS and was recently named “Teacher of the Year”! Prior to moving to North Carolina she received her Bachelors and Master’s Degree in Elementary Education at Fairleigh Dickinson University where she also taught 5th grade for 2 years.

Alicia Malpiedi


Alicia graduated from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelors of Science in Education and certification in Middle School Math. She moved to Charlotte in 2011 and secured a position as a math teacher at Southwest Middle School. During her time at SWMS she pioneered the Builder's Club; a community service organization for middle school students sponsored by the Kiwanis. Alicia's favorite thing about teaching is the opportunity to become a part of her students’ lives forever. While she no longer teaches in the traditional classroom, she enjoys working at LCLA and lives for the look on a student’s face when they have an “a ha” moment. Alicia is also a phenomenal baker of all things delicious. :)

Tess Mendoza


Tess joined the team of tutors at The Lazar Center in 2018. She graduated from Rowan-Cabarrus Community College in 2017 and is currently pursuing a B.S. in Mathematics at UNCC. Tess began tutoring at Rowan-Cabarrus where she received her tutoring certification from the College Reading and Learning Association. She specializes in high level math and science courses and loves helping students understand challenging concepts. Her favorite part of tutoring is seeing a student take what they have learned and teach it someone else.

Faith Bain-Lucey


Faith began tutoring at the Lazar Center in the spring of 2018. She has lived in Charlotte for over five years and has worked as an Elementary Special Education teacher for all five years for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. Faith is originally from Western New York. Prior to moving to Charlotte, she received her Master’s Degree in Differentiated Instruction and earned her undergraduate degree in elementary, early childhood, and special education.

Sydney Pund


Sydney is a graduate of Clemson University where she pursued a dual degree in Mathematics and Computer Science. She worked as an undergraduate teaching assistant at Clemson for two years before graduating and moving to Charlotte. She currently holds a position at Ally Financial in Cybersecurity and enjoys tutoring students at the Lazar Center in the evenings. She loves working with students to help them learn new concepts and hopes to inspire others to pursue careers in science and technology!

Megan Riordan


Megan is originally from Atlanta, GA. She has a B.A. from Duke University and a M.Ed. from Johns Hopkins University. Megan taught second grade for three years and currently teaches third grade in CMS. She loves watching students’ confidence and independence grow as they master new and challenging concepts.

Laura Duggan


Laura recently joined the Lazar Center team as a lead tutor for English and Language Arts. She has taught in CMS as a 9th grade ELA teacher, at South Mecklenburg High School for the past four years and believes that all children can learn, but that not all children learn the same way.

Courtney Hodges


Courtney is a graduate of East Carolina University where she received her degree in Elementary Education with a concentration in Mathematics. She has multiple years of tutoring experience, in a variety of grade levels. She currently teaches 6th grade math in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School District. Courtney loves challenging students to help them discover their inner mathematician!

Cassie Campasano


Cassie is originally from Long Island, New York. She has a Bachelor’s of Science in Education from Monmouth University. Cassie has also taught health and physical education in CMS for two years before moving to a new career. Cassie couldn’t completely leave teaching, as she loves helping students master new skills and learn to overcome different challenges at The Lazar Center!

Mary DiChito

Administrative Assistant

Originally from Dayton, Ohio, Mary moved to New York City and stayed for 22 years, where she made a career in Graphic Design & Illustration, working primarily in the Cosmetic & Fragrance industry. She is thrilled to have found a great way to elevate her pursuit of caring for families by assisting Christina, the students, families and tutors at The Lazar Center of Learning & Achievement.

Sandra Thornbug

Account Manager