Ms. Teresa Gambrell continues as interim director for the 2022-23 school year.
Ms. Teresa taught here for 17 years until retiring in 2018. She has continued to sub over the years in many classrooms and her grandson, Lachlan, is in our Rainbow Kids class. She has a Masters in Child Life Development and worked for years as a Child Life Specialist at Tulane Hospital in New Orleans, LA. She also spent several years working with TN Early Intervention Services locally.
Her husband, Richard, is Director of Enterprise Applications for Purdue Global University. They have 3 grown children and 10 grandchildren, 6 boys and 4 girls, ranging in age from 6 months to 12 years old! In her spare time she enjoys gardening and traveling.
Ms. Alice Steele has been a part of the HPUMP family for many years as a parent and was office assistant previously in 2009-2012. She has spent the last ten years as accounting manager of a local residential remodeling company.
Alice has 4 children who have all attended HPUMP Her oldest, Katelyn, is currently in 7th grade at Howard Connect Academy. She has two at Normal Park, Janessa (4th) and Desmond (2nd). Her youngest, Lachlan, is in our Rainbow Kids class.
Her husband, Andrew, is a web application developer at AdHoc, LLC. When not working, she is studying for her MBA and serving on some Board of Directors. She also spends much time with her children at swim meets, volleyball games, and enjoys hiking, gardening, and traveling.
Ms Kari Nicholson is excited to be joining HPUMP as a co-teacher for the Twinklers. She has been a long-time friend and attendee of past study groups and was inspired during those visits to incorporate many of the Reggio Approach principles into her own teaching practices.
She has more than 25 years of experience in the Early Childhood Field in the following capacities: educator, family service worker, and administrator. She graduated with an Associate of Applied Science from Chattanooga State Community College in Early Childhood Education. Then In 2021, upon hearing of the Emergent Inquiry minor being offered at East Tennessee State University, Ms. Kari was motivated to enroll once again in school to obtain her bachelor’s degree. Her projected graduation date is May 2023.
Her desire is to never stop learning and considers it her goal and purpose to be a researcher alongside her students. She is committed to working with fellow educators to create powerful, inspiring classroom environments for young children to learn and grow.
Ms. Stacy Kight is delighted to be joining the HPUMP team as co-teacher of the Starshine Friends! She holds a B.S. in Early Childhood Education and a M. Ed degree in Curriculum Instruction with a focus in Literacy. Ms. Stacy has taught both elementary aged, as well as preschool special needs children in her hometown of Memphis, TN for over 10 years. Her family moved to Chattanooga in 2015, where she began working as a Developmental Therapist for Siskin Children's Institute. During her time at Siskin, she realized how mush she enjoyed helping families, and her love for early education flourished.
During the past 3 years, Ms. Stacy has been homeschooling her son, and subbing for preschool aged children when available. Now that her son is a senior at Signal Mountain High School, she is thrilled to once again be able to focus on early education. She is very excited to be at HPUMP where the Reggio approach focuses on creativity, varied learning styles, and teacher-child collaboration with learning.
Ms. Stacy enjoys traveling with her husband, spending time with her family, playing cards and reading books. She lives with her husband, son, three awesome dogs, and one mischievous cat.
Ms. Ebony Cotton is very excited to be starting her first year at HPUMP as Co-teacher for the Starshine classroom. She has an Associates in General studies and is currently pursuing her Bachelors in Interdisciplinary Studies at UTK online.
Outside of the classroom you can catch her grabbing Boba with friends, driving to Atlanta for Kpop Concerts, getting KBBQ, dancing, hanging with her two dogs, or finding another book series to hyperfixate on.
She is not married nor does she have children, but she is the third oldest grandchild of 10 grandkids, being the oldest girl out of the group. She has worked at two other daycare centers and has been a babysitter/ mommy helper since the age of 12.
Long term Ms. Ebony would like to be an English teacher in foreign countries then work in student affairs in higher education.
Ms. Jessica Smith is starting her second year at HPUMP and will be co-teaching in the Moonbeam class. She first obtained her Associate’s Degree in Early Childhood Education and then transferred to UTC where she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Exceptional Education. She worked at Jones Memorial Child Development Center, starting in the two year old room and eventually floating to every classroom from the nursery to Pre-K. After graduation she taught at Skyuka Hall, a private school for students with learning disabilities before taking a job in Hamilton County.
She’s worked in several special education classrooms working with children with differing abilities ranging from moderate to severe. Her passion is helping children learn self-advocacy skills in a way that makes learning accessible for them. She also values helping children learn coping strategies that will help children regulate their emotions and solve problems. She is excited to continue at HPUMP and ignite a fire for exploring and learning in your children.
Jessica lives in Hixson with her partner David and their dog Brownie. They love exploring the nature around the city and going for walks in the park, rain or shine. They share a passion for cooking and experimenting with new recipes. They attend City Church where they enjoy strengthening their faith and fellowshipping with friends. They love spending time with family and building that community of support.
This will be Ms. Sheila Conry’s first year at HPUMP where she will be a co-teacher in the Moonbeams. Although her background is in criminal justice, Sheila has worked with children of all ages. Some of those activities include being a Girl Scout leader, a youth cheerleading coach, a BABES (drug and alcohol abuse prevention) presenter for elementary school students, and a facilitator for a homeschool co-op for preK - 12th grade. For the last 10 years she has been a Sunday School teacher for the preK - 1st grade ages.
Sheila and her husband Dan have an adult son in Iowa, and an adult daughter in Utah. At home they have a teenage son, Gabe whom Sheila homeschools. They also have two dogs, Samson and Delilah. Gabe was an HPUMP Rainbow Kid 11 years ago!
In her free time, Sheila enjoys reading, puzzles, crafts, and playing the piano. Sheila has worked as an accompanist for over 40 years, working with soloists, instrumentalists, choirs, and musical theater productions. She is currently one of the keyboard players for the worship team at Hixson United Methodist Church.
Ms. Lindsay Dutto is very excited for her second year as a Sunbeams teacher. She has a degree in Early Childhood Education/ Special Education from UTC and over ten years of experience in the classroom as a preschool teacher, for both neurotypical and special needs children. She comes to us from a Reggio Emilia center, where she fell in love with the philosophy.
She enjoys reading in her spare time and spending time with her husband Chris and dogs Eleven and Baker. They also travel whenever possible.
Ms. Freya is thrilled to start her second year in Rainbow Kids! She spent 2018-2020 co-teaching in the Twinklers classroom until she had to step away in 2020 to stay home with her family. Ms. Freya has worked with children for 20 years in various settings including: nannying, daycare, and teaching financial literacy to 4th and 5th graders at Junior Achievement. Most recently, she brought her passion for the Reggio approach to her life in a new way by teaching 4 preschoolers from her home. Ms. Freya majored in psychology in college and hopes to go back to school for a degree in early childhood education!
Ms. Freya lives in Highland Park with her partner Iggy and their two children, Addison and Aurora, who both attended HPUMP and whom she now homeschools. Iggy is an artist and a graphic designer.
When she’s not teaching, Ms. Freya is probably either reading, baking, practicing yoga, listening to podcasts, learning Swedish, or watering her nearly 70 house plants. She is also a multimedia artist and a trained birth doula. She loves to travel and has spent time in almost every state!
Ms. Alexis Guernsey is in her second year as co-teacher of the Rainbow Kids and her first year as our Music Teacher! She was introduced to HPUMP and the Reggio Emilia approach in 2020-2021 when her daughter was in the Moonbeams class. Given the challenges of navigating the pandemic, as a parent Ms. Alexis valued the sense of community HPUMP offered her daughter. The classroom environment and approach to collaboration were not only enlightening to her as an individual, but often sanity saving as a mother. Having also served as a substitute teacher and summer camp counselor, Ms. Alexis is thrilled to be a part of the HPUMP team!
Ms. Alexis holds both a B.A. and a M.M. from the University of Mississippi (Hotty Toddy!) with a concentration in vocal performance. Music is very much a part of her life and teaching style. The Rainbow Kids can look forward to a lot of fun as they discover music and song for themselves!
In addition to music, Ms. Alexis enjoys travel, road trip adventures, cooking, and spending time with her family. Her son Emmet and daughter Lorelai attend Normal Park. Her husband, Brandon, teaches French at GPS.
Mr. J. Maddox returns to our teaching team for his thirteenth year! This will be his second as co-atelierista! He has worked with our Rainbow Kids and Moonbeams in the past.
J. is his first name- just the letter J followed by a dot. It is on his birth certificate that way. J. holds a BA degree in art studio from Tulane University, New Orleans, LA; his emphasis was in printmaking. Additionally, J. is a docent at the Tennessee Aquarium and volunteers at the Chattanooga Theatre Centre. J. has two children, Nick and Lainey, and a rescue dog, a black lab mix puppy named Downton.