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Our Team

Valerie Montgomery

Valerie Montgomery

Principal

Valerie Montgomery has been in the Cherokee family since we opened our doors in 1994. She was a 3rd grade and 4th grade teacher and Assistant Principal at Cherokee for many years, in addition to serving as Principal at Woodland Elementary. Valerie moved back to Cherokee (her home away from home) in 2016 as the Principal at Cherokee. She just finished her 29th year in education…all in Lakota. Valerie is married with 3 grown children, all former Cheetahs.  She enjoys snow skiing, vacationing at the beach, and cheering on the Kentucky Wildcats.

Valerie enjoys spending quality time with students, visiting classrooms and bringing our facility dog, Tecna, to visit with our Cheetahs. She reminds them daily to use their Cheetah PRIDE skills, stay above the line, and ALWAYS be kind! 

Michael Stapleton

Michael Stapleton

Assistant Principal

Mike is very excited to join the Cherokee family!

He began his educational journey at Ohio State with a bachelors in K-12 PE/Health. Mike received his Masters degree in 2017 at Walden University in Educational Leadership and finished up his Principal's Licensure program at Xavier University. 

Mike and his wife (Brittany) have a two year old son named Luke. Mike takes pride in being a dad and hopes to make Luke as big of an Ohio State fan as he is, which is a challenge. Mike’s wife is a first grade teacher in the Little Miami School District. Together they love sports, boating, and going on beach vacations!  

Mike strives to be the best leader and educator using a "student first" lens and he believes we can all be lifelong learners! One of his favorite quotes is "Be better today than you were yesterday, be better tomorrow than you were today."
 

Brenda Day

Brenda Day

Mindpeace - Therapist

Brenda Day is a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor with Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. She has worked as a school-based therapist for over six years in various schools in the Greater Cincinnati area. Brenda values the importance of access to mental health support within the school environment and works with students to help them overcome social, emotional and academic difficulties.

Brenda utilizes a variety of modalities in therapy, including cognitive behavioral therapy, and neurosequential-model of therapeutics-informed therapy, while also using creative and expressive techniques to individualize treatment for each student. Brenda recognizes the importance of the developmental years of childhood and will continue to advocate for students to succeed socially, emotionally and academically. 

Brenda enjoys spending time with her family and is a fan of the arts and sports including local theater, ballet, and is a huge baseball fan.

Jason Kennison

Jason Kennison

Guidance

Jason has been the counselor at Cherokee since 2018 and has ONLY ever been a school counselor for Cherokee! Mr. Kennison is your go-to for any and all help, suggestions, or resources related to your child’s social or emotional needs. Jason is kid focused and has a favorite question that he asks all new students and staff…”What is your favorite food?” Building relationships are key for him.

Outside of school, Jason enjoys spending time with his wife and 2 year old daughter, Naomi. He is a huge sports fan and loves playing video games too!
 

Dawn Mullins

Office Secretary

Dawn has been at Cherokee for 11 years.  In those years she has held positions as a Recess Aide, Instructional Aide, and has recently accepted the position as our Office Secretary.  The Office Secretary is also the Secretary to the Assistant Principal.  Various duties include attendance, enrollment/withdrawals, transportation, student records, report cards, OneLogin, Home Access Center, and assisting parents in the front office.

In her free time, Dawn enjoys spending time with her family.  She loves going to concerts, listening to music, and going to the beach.

Stephanie Patterson

Stephanie Patterson

Office Manager

Stephanie has been working in the Lakota School District for 6 years and at Cherokee  since 2018. As the Office Manager she is also the Secretary to the Principal. If you are unsure of who to contact on a certain matter, the Office Manager can point you in the right direction. The Office Manager duties include managing substitute teachers, purchasing, coordinating with the PTA, facility usage, and the general flow of the school office. 

Stephanie is also a parent in Lakota and is an avid volunteer at Cherokee and in the district, earning her the Barb Bossu Volunteer Award twice in 2016-2017 and 2019-2020.

Julie Robinson

Nurse

Julie has been with Cherokee since 2022 and has 11 years of nursing experience.   Julie comes to us with a background in the mental health field.  Prior to Cherokee, Julie worked as a mental health nurse in a maximum-security prison as well as an inpatient psychiatric facility.   Julie lives in Mason and is a HUGE sports fan – Go Xavier!  She has previously coached youth cheerleading and volleyball.  When not at work, Julie can be found spending time with family, friends, or crafting. 

Carl Sigmon

Carl Sigmon

SRO

Lieutenant Carl Sigmon retired from the Hamilton City Police Department after serving for 30 years. Lt. Sigmon was also active in the Army for 3 years and was in the Reserves for 3 years. He was assigned as the School Resource Officer at Cherokee in 2019. During the summer, he enjoys car shows, spending time at the lake, and cruising in his prized Corvette.
 
Student safety is the main focus of his job, but he also enjoys relationship building with students, being a positive influence for them, and helping them understand that police officers aren’t just there for the “bad things". He wants students to feel comfortable talking to officers in uniform. He can sometimes be seen shooting basketballs or having lunch with students.