Our mission is to establish improved science and sustainability learning opportunities that stimulate scientifically literate individuals, workforce, and leadership through world class and challenging science teaching standards.

GREEN School Team


Dr. Richard Best, Principal

I am Dr. Richard Best. I am truly excited to be coming to Columbia and being part of this wonderful school community.
I was born and raised in the Chicago Area, one of eight children. My mom, in addition to raising eight children, was a masterful teacher. I am my mother’s son. I love to teach. After spending a number of years teaching math and science, I became a school leader. I have had the great fortune of serving as a principal, executive director, and superintendent throughout my career, working in public and charter schools in Illinois and Pennsylvania. Like my role as teacher, I truly enjoy being a principal.
I have a great passion for providing an exceptional learning experience for every child. You will find me in every classroom every day, supporting our outstanding teachers, ensuring that they have the necessary resources to serve your child.
Working closely with parents is another essential priority for me. I am deeply committed to making sure that The Midlands staff are true partners with you in supporting your child’s success.
Connecting with you is a top priority for me. I want to be available to address whatever issues to ensure your child’s success, just like all Midlands staff. I welcome you to meet with me at school.


Michelle Gundlach, Assistant Principal

My name is Michelle Gundlach and I am very excited to begin my second year as assistant principal at Green. This is my third year as part of the Green family, having taught 5th grade ELA and Social Studies before moving into an administrative role. Currently, I am going into my 21st year of teaching. I am a graduate of Bridgewater State University in Massachusetts with a dual major in Elementary Education and English. When I am not at school, I enjoy traveling, reading, and spending time with my husband and two furbabies, Sophie and Izzy. I am also a huge Red Sox and Patriots fan as many students can attest to.

My #1 goal as assistant principal is to build relationships with the students and families at Green. I believe that a strong school culture leads to greatness and I am excited to be a part of that.


Yusuf Kaya, Assistant Principal of Operations

My name is Yusuf Kaya. I have a Bachelor's Degree in Mathematics and a Master's Degree in Educational Leadership. I have worked as a middle and high school mathematics teacher for several years in Florida and South Carolina. 2021-2022 is my 8th year with GREEN Charter Family which I am happy to be part of.
My educational philosophy is that all students can learn, but I also believe that certain things must be in place for this to happen...Things like a positive learning environment, a strong and knowledgeable leadership, a committed and focused educational team, an encouraging community, and a supportive family. I believe that "It takes a village to raise a child" and I will make every effort to provide "the village" to every single student at GREEN.
I like to spend my free time with my wife and 3 beautiful daughters (A 1st grader born in Greenville and a set of twins born in Columbia) I played soccer and chess professionally so I try to practice those as much as I can.




1st Grade
2nd Grade
3rd Grade
4th and 5th Grades
Middle School
Related Arts
Support Staff