Exceptional Children Dept

 Kelly Rooney| email

Kelly Rooney is originally from Chicago, Illinois but moved to Apex, North Carolina in 2002. She came to Wilmington to attend UNCW where she received a Bachelor’s degree in Special Education as well as her Elementary Education license. She also played soccer all 4 years at UNCW and enjoyed the challenges of being a college athlete. Kelly has been involved with CFCI since she first completed field experience here in the spring of 2011. She returned to do her student teaching with Lori Benazzi, in the Spring of 2012. Kelly is very proud to be a part of the CFCI community as an Exceptional Children’s teacher and Behavior Specialist. Her teaching certifications include Special Education K-12, Behavioral and Emotional Disabilities K-12, Middle Grades Math 6-9 and Elementary Education K-6. In her spare time Kelly loves spending time with her husband, working on their new house or her three siblings, including her twin sister. On the weekends, you can often find her on a soccer field, either playing or coaching her 03 girls travel team.

Kristen Gray | email


Kristen Gray is one of our Exceptional Children’s teachers. She grew up in Williamsport, Pennsylvania and attended Bloomsburg University, where she received a degree in Early Childhood and Elementary Education. She worked as a teacher in the YMCA School-Age Program for four years, before moving to Wilmington with her husband and two kitties. Kristen previously worked at CFCI as the Exceptional Children’s teaching assistant while simultaneously earning special education licensure.

In her free time, Kristen enjoys cooking, staying active, raveling, going to the beach and entertaining family and friends. She is thrilled to be back in the classroom and a part of the CFCI community!

Lauren Cryan | email


Lauren is happy to be part of the CFCI EC team! She grew up in Virginia Beach and received her B.A. from the University of Virginia. In the last decade, Lauren held program administration positions at Red Light Management/ATO Records, George Washington University and Carnegie Institution for Science. Upon moving to Wilmington in 2013, Lauren followed her heart and shifted to education.

Outside of CFCI, one will find Lauren spending time with her animals Waylon the dog, Mac the horse & Ginger the rabbit. She is certified in EAGALA (Equine Growth and Learning Association) and Grounded Kids Yoga and is working towards special education licensure. Lauren also loves to travel, who has backpacked and volunteered in South America, Asia and Europe.

Issac Ortega | email


Isaac Ortega is from Southern Colorado and enlisted in the Marine Corps in 2004. He spent two years in Spain with the Marines Fleet Anti-terrorism Support Team (FAST) where he enjoyed tapas and beaches. After a phenomenal two years in Rota he was sent to Camp Lejeune where he finished his five year enlistment with the Second Battalion, Eighth Marines Regiment (2/8). After being honorably discharged in 2009 he used his Montgomery GI Bill and received a BA in Public Sociology.

When Isaac is not at work he likes to spend time with his wife and two kids building puzzles taking their german shepherd on walks and cheering on the current Super Bowl Champions, the Denver Broncos.

Isaac is thrilled to be a part of the CFCI community and looks forward to learning as much as teaching!