Popsicles on Playscape, August 19 + 20!
Ms. Charlotte Wells is entering her first year as Interim Director of Highland Plaza United Methodist Preschool. She holds a B.S. in Psychology and a minor in Early Childhood Education from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Charlotte has been a part of the HPUMP community since 2013, as a teacher, parent, and a StudioPendous Chair.
Charlotte has an immense respect for inquiry-based learning and using the Reggio Emilia method for early childhood education, and her passion has only strengthened throughout the years.
Charlotte has presented on non-verbal inquiry at the ETSU Early Childhood Conference, has attended many professional conferences, further deepening her knowledge of the Reggio Emilia method, and looks toward a bright future learning and growing with the HPUMP community. While not at preschool, Charlotte enjoys spending time with her husband Aaron and her two boys Bennett and Elliott. She loves being outdoors, walking her two dogs, and making memories with her extended family and friends.
Charlotte is a Chattanooga native. In the past, she has served on boards in town such as Amuseum for the Creative Discovery Museum, the ALS fundraising Gala. Charlotte and Aaron are members of St Peters Episcopal Church and are active in parish life.
Ms. Katie McKenna was promoted to Assistant Director for the 2021-2022 school year. She has worked as Office Manager for the past 5 years.
Katie has been in the HPUMP family for over 10 years; while her sons Owen and Brecken were both attending, she was often found volunteering in the office or working on marketing support for StudioPendous. She earned her Bachelors in Marketing and Masters degree in Business Administration at UTC and worked in sales and marketing in several different industries prior to becoming a stay at home mom.
Her husband Kevin is a Citrix engineer with BlueCross BlueShield. Owen and Brecken both attend Baylor Middle School. Her youngest, Bennett, joins her at HPUMP in the Rainbow Kids this year. In their spare time, the family loves exploring new places or tinkering with new projects.
Ms Marcia Harris has worked at HPUMP since 2015. During her first three years, she worked as a substitute teacher and then moved to the position of co-teacher of the Twinklers class. She has worked in the childcare field for over 30 years in multiple positions. She has operated in home daycares as well as PDO programs, been the director of the Children’s Ministries at HUMC and director of the Aftercare/Summer care Program at St. Jude School.
She has been married 40+ years to her husband Cornelius. Her family consists of son Brandon, his wife Stephanie, granddaughter Lena, and our daughter Brittany. We have been active members of HUMC for 30+ years.
When I am not caring for children I spend my time in my sewing room doing alterations or reading a good book on the deck..
Ms. Bridget Joplin will be our new Twinkler co-teacher this year with Ms Marcia and can't wait to start this new adventure! She joined us as a substitute teacher during the 2020-2021 school year, and she quickly fell in love with HPUMP and Reggio-inspired teaching. She worked as an interim co-teacher in our Sunbeams classroom for the spring semester.
Outside of work, Ms.Bridget spends time with her son and husband. They enjoy swimming, hiking, picnics, and spending time with family.
Although relatively new to Reggio, Ms. Bridget is excited to learn more about the Reggio philosophy and hopes to use this approach at home with her son as well!
Ms. Lisi Phillips is so blessed to be part of the HPUMP team for her third year as co-teacher of the Starshine Friends! HPUMP Has been one of her favorite places since she first visited before her daughter Acadia started as a Twinkler in 2008. She fell in love with the Reggio Emilia principles, as they align beautifully with her personal thoughts on learning and her research and experience in pediatric physical therapy.
Lisi has a B.S. degree in physical therapy from the University of South Alabama. She has worked with children in that aspect, as well as being a kindergarten assistant at the Bright School for 4 years. She is a member of Hixson United Methodist Church where she enjoys volunteering with children from infants to high schoolers. Lisi enjoys dancing, creating, and spending as much time as she can with her family. She has 2 daughters, Acadia and Trinity. They both attend Boyd-Buchanan School. Her husband, Wade, is a pharmacist at Memorial Hospital.
Ms. Kelly DeJong returns to our team for her eighth year as co-teacher of the Starshine Friends class. Kelly has a Masters of Rehabilitation Counseling degree from the University of South Carolina. She has worked in homes and classrooms providing support and training to families and teachers of children with autism for over 10 years. Her previous work experience was as a classroom coach at Siskin Children's Institute and a consultant providing home support for families and professionals of young children receiving early intervention services. Kelly has two children, Jakob and Zayda, who attend Chattanooga Center for Creative Arts. . Her husband, Ray, is an engineer at Komatsu.
Ms. Anna Kirk returns to our team for her seventh year. She is a co-teacher in
the Moonbeams class. She has also worked several years with the Twinklers. Anna holds her associates degree in Early Childhood Education, graduating Summa Cum Laude. She currently is finishing her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education through Western Governors University.
Anna has been working in the early childhood field now for over ten years working previously as a preschool teacher, and in the PMO department at Burks U.M. church and CDC. She is originally from Asheville, NC, and realized her passion for working with children when volunteering in the children’s department where her father pastored. She is an active member at Red Bank Cumberland Presbyterian Church.
Anna and her husband Brandon, have two daughters Sarah Grace and Katie Beth. You can find her on Friday nights watching her oldest perform in the Soddy Daisy High School Trojan marching band or watching her youngest play volleyball who attends Loftis Middle School. Anna also in her spare time enjoys hiking, kayaking, reading, and spending time with her family and friends.
Anna loves working with children in the Reggio-Inspired philosophy so she can help them become co-collaborators to their own learning and plant the seeds to becoming lifetime learners.
Ms. Ashley Fowles is delighted that her return to classroom adventures is here at HPUMP! After leaving her 8-year career as a middle school teacher to stay home with her two children, Ms. Ashley volunteered to be an HPUMP substitute and taught at summer camp throughout 2020-21. Led by these experiences, she is ecstatic for the opportunity to join Ms. Anna in the Moonbeams class and continue her education in the pedagogy of Reggio Emilia.
While Ms. Ashley's daughter is off to embark on her own new adventure as a kindergartener at CSLA, her son will continue at HPUMP as a Starshine Friend. A family of educators, Ms. Ashley's husband is a teacher at East Ridge Middle. Ashley holds both a B.S.E in Psychology and an M.S.E. in Reading from Arkansas State University, and will soon take exams for an additional Reading Specialist license and a dyslexia endorsement.
Ms. Ashley enjoys reading, finding both big and small adventures, and fitness. She is also an instructor at the YMCA. Ashley does not enjoy meal planning, mosquito bites, or tumbling down the stairs on toy tractors.
Ms. Ashley looks forward to partnering with Ms. Anna and learning with her Moonbeam friends and families.
Ms Jessica Smith is new to HPUMP this year and will be co-teaching in the Sunbeam 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 start this new journey 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.
Ms. Lindsay Dutto is very excited for her first 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 Betsy Cake joins our team as co-teacher in our Rainbow Kids classroom. A sense of curiosity and desire for connection have been the guiding forces throughout my life and have steered me around the world and now back to my hometown.
After Betsy's college years at Sewanee, I spent three years abroad to learn another language and experience different cultures. Upon completing a master’s degree in Spanish (with a focus in education) from Middlebury College, she taught a K-4 exposure-based program at Ensworth School in Nashville. There she helped establish a more cohesive lower-school Spanish curriculum. Following Ensworth, she taught Spanish in Salt Lake City, Charleston, and Brooklyn. It was at Poly Prep Country Day School in Brooklyn where her true passion for curriculum development was realized: she served as the sole curriculum developer and language teacher in the lower school (K-4). Betsy returned to Chattanooga and continued her career as a teacher for St. Peter’s Spanish Immersion Program until her second child was born.
Outside of education, Ms Betsy is a mother of two. Her family enjoys plenty of the educational and cultural offerings that Chattanooga has to offer. In her free time, she rows on the Tennessee River, practices pilates, walks with friends, attends the theater, travels, and hangs with her amazing husband and two crazy boys.
Ms. Alexis Guernsey is in her first year as co-teacher of the Rainbow Kids. 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.
Ms. Stephanie Bailey has worked as an Atelierista at HPUMP since 2016. A graduate of Taylor University with a B.S. in Art Education, she has taught Art from kindergarten to high school. She also has experience in both special education and in outdoor education. Stephanie has been part of the HPUMP family since 2015 when her daughter was a part of the Sunshine Gang.
Stephanie enjoys sharing her love of art with the HPUMP community including drawing, painting, mixed media and ceramics. When Stephanie is not in the classroom, she loves to play outside and explore the world with her daughter Anya and husband Drew, professor of Outdoor Education and Recreation Management at the University of Tennessee Chattanooga.
Mr. J. Maddox returns to our teaching team for his twelfth year! This year, he joins Ms Stephanie 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.