Our Faculty

There is so much to be proud of working at the Guthrie School every day. Perhaps the most important fact you can learn about us today is how much we value and uplift our educators. They are certainly our greatest asset. A student’s style of learning varies, so it is imperative to have educators that understand and can recognize a student’s response to input. Our Socratic Method ensures our educational values are promoted and followed. But moreover, it is the value we place on our educators that ensures our method is applied correctly with every student.

Guthrie School educators are hand selected and highly valued to ensure we attract and retain the very highest quality educator possible for our students. However, we don’t stop there with our educators. Through our interview process, we have made certain we retained educators that are driven by a love of education and developing young minds, preparing them to excel at the next level. It is this pride and alignment of goals that ensure your child—our student—receives the very best education available. That is our Mission.

Below, please take time to read about some of our teachers and review their personal philosophy to get an understanding of why we are so proud of our Faculty and Staff:

Jill Guthrie

Head of School

Jill Guthrie graduated magna cum laude in 1985 from the University of Texas at Dallas, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in English literature and a minor in mathematics. For over twenty years, she has taught at private schools in both England and Plano, Texas. In England, she worked in partnership to form a new preschool, and worked in a lower school to assist the head teacher. She has researched, developed, and written curriculum, and designed and implemented methods of teaching with proven success. In addition, for the past 16 years, she has been teaching small group classes and tutoring students from beginning readers of three years of age to adults preparing master’s theses. Jill’s advanced academics program in Plano, Guthrie Enrichment (previously Guthrie Gifted Education), today has more than 300 students enrolled after school and on weekends. In addition, The Guthrie School opened in June of 2014, providing accelerated academics in a traditional private school setting to students aged pre-K to fifth grade. Jill lives in Plano with her husband, Zack, and their four cats. Jill and Zack have three grown children, Sam, Meredith and Ben.
Mary Hearty

Head of School

Mary Hearty earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Missouri with a major in English and minors in Spanish and elementary education. She has taught in the private school sector for over twenty years and is a strong student advocate, helping children to gain confidence in themselves and instilling in them an appreciation and respect for others. From 1989 to 2001, Mary taught humanities to 3rd and 4th graders at The Greenhill School while serving as grade level team leader most of those years. She also taught 3rd and 4th grade humanities for 2 years at The Lamplighter School before moving to Parish Episcopal School in 2003. For the past 10 years, Mary taught 5th grade English and reading at Parish Episcopal School where she developed and implemented a comprehensive reading, writing, vocabulary and grammar curriculum. In addition, Mary developed a successful summer school keyboarding class, which she has taught since 1998 at both Parish and The Hockaday School. Mary raised her family in Plano with her husband, Kevin. She has a son and daughter, Jeff and Katherine.
Meredith Guthrie

Director of Curriculum/Teacher

Meredith Guthrie graduated from University of Texas at Dallas earning a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in speech pathology and audiology. She also completed a practicum in speech pathology. Meredith has taught children of all ages for 7 years, from instructing early readers to preparing students for SAT and ACT testing. An extraordinarily gifted teacher, Meredith uses her skills to take students to the next level. She has a particular passion for working with young children and helping them to achieve their full potential. Additionally, Meredith has played an integral role in helping grow Guthrie Gifted Education to what it is today, Guthrie Enrichment. Not only does Meredith teach a variety of Enrichment classes, but also she is responsible for managing the business aspects, including curriculum, admissions and personnel. Meredith has lived in Plano for 20 years.
Holly Cunningham


Holly Cunningham earned a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in elementary education and minors in psychology and special learning disabilities from Westmar College. She continued her graduate work with a major in curriculum at the University of South Dakota and her master’s thesis pertained to the instruction of manuscript (handwriting) to young children. Holly taught in the public schools at the 4th-6th grade levels in Iowa and Nebraska before moving to Texas. Holly taught Pre-kindergarten at Canyon Creek Day School from 1995-2013 and served as the Pre-K team leader from 2010-2013. Holly has tutored many students, both individually and in small group classes, from grades K-12. Her passion is instilling the love of learning in all children and making a difference in young people’s lives. Holly has lived in Plano for 25 years and has 3 grown children, Austin, Dillon and Britton.
Sharon Combs


 Sharon Combs earned a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in education and a minor in math from East Texas State University. Sharon also earned a Masters in Reading and Earth Science along with a certification in gifted education. She has served in public education for 36 years with experience in all grade levels K-12. Sharon taught 12 years of middle school math and served as the Literacy/Instructional Specialist at Wells Elementary in Plano ISD. Sharon also served as the Assistant Principal in a Garland ISD elementary school for 2 years. Sharon and her husband live in Plano and have 3 children.