Jeremy Atkins has been a consultant for the Nashville Hub since 2020 and has primarily served as a web designer and a facilitator for professional learning on Project Based Learning. Jeremy is also in his 18th year with Metro Nashville Public Schools, having served as a classroom teacher and Instructional Designer. In his current role as Instructional Designer, Jeremy supports teachers in integrating technology best practices within their instruction along with creating and facilitating professional learning. Jeremy believes life is connected. He believes the human connection, the affect it has on us, and the affect we have on it, is inescapable. He is determined to embrace this impact that he has on the world around him and serve rather than self-promote, excel rather than excuse, and practice not pretend. Jeremy leads by doing his very best--no matter the task or position--and brings as many people with him as he can.
Angela Bailey is a veteran educator in the Metropolitan Nashville Public School System. She is currently an executive principal for the district and was an assistant principal for the three years prior. Ms. Bailey also served the district as an instructional coach, a mentor, a trainer, and a teacher. Her coaching and mentoring trainings have enabled her to create a learning community where student data guides professional learning decisions for enrichment and interventions and student engagement is the foundation of instructional practices. She is dedicated to ensuring a nurturing environment where students are recognized and supported as individuals and encouraged to grow through enriching and engaging experiences. Ms. Bailey’s background has prepared her with the strengths and skills needed to be the instructional and executive leader in her building where she has created a culture that promotes high student expectations through the collaborative belief that all students will grow, succeed, and achieve.
Paula received both her BA in English Education and her MAE from Purdue University. She taught pre-school and middle school English and reading for eight years while in Indiana. After moving to Nashville, Paula taught eighth grade at St. Ann’s in Nashville before coming to McGavock High School in 1983. During her 32-year tenure at McGavock, she taught reading and English in grades nine, ten, twelve, and Advanced Placement Literature. She was a Student Council sponsor for twenty years. In 1991, she won Teacher of the Year at McGavock, and was named Metro Nashville High School Teacher of the Year. In 2000, she won the Donelson-Hermitage Teacher of the Year. Barkley served as Chair of McGavock’s English Department from 2003-2006. She is a Vanderbilt-trained mentor specialist for student teachers, and has mentored many rising teachers. Barkley has also trained teachers in Gateway English and College Board Pacesetter English and Textual Power on behalf of the district. In January 2007, she assumed the position of Site Coach for small learning communities at McGavock High School; this position evolved to the Academy Coach position. Paula was named the 2012 Academies of Nashville Academy Coach of the Year and the 2012 National Career Academies Coalition (NCAC) Educator of the Year. She retired from MNPS in 2014; today she continues to work part-time as a consultant to several districts, an Implementation Coach for Ford Next Generation Learning, and a Professional Learning Provider through the Ford NGL-Nashville Hub.
Allie Bateman is an independent consultant who specializes in the career academy model. She began as a school counselor in Metro Nashville Public Schools and spent five years as the Director of Community Relations for Ford Next Generation Learning (Ford NGL). As a school counselor at Hillsboro High School, Allie worked with the counseling team to achieve Recognized ASCA Model Program (RAMP) status, led a team to implement the first International Baccalaureate Career-related Programme (IBCP) in the state of Tennessee, and was a member of the inaugural Metro Nashville District School Counseling Leadership Team. In her role with Ford NGL, Allie was the program manager for the Ford NGL Roadmap, supported the Ford NGL Coaches, trained new team members, managed multi-year contracts and invoicing, and streamlined operations organization-wide through developing and implementing processes and technology solutions. Allie recently added full-stack web development skills to her toolkit and is working with organizations in the United States and United Kingdom to transform education.
Jennifer is a native to Nashville, graduate and veteran educator of Metro Nashville Public Schools. Prior to her current position as the Director of the Academies of Nashville & CTE, Jennifer served in numerous leadership roles. As the Director of Extended Learning Programs, Jennifer was instrumental in district-wide expansion of afterschool programs, afterschool meals serving over 400,000 suppers annually, and using data informed decisions to expand access and decrease summer melt through summer learning. As an Academy Principal, Jennifer was recognized by the Nashville Chamber as the Academy Principal of the Year and led a passionate academy team to model NCAC accreditation and Academy of the Year. Jennifer is also known for developing, coordinating, and implementing a non-traditional school within a school, GAINS Academy at Glencliff High School. The GAINS academy afforded over-aged, under-credited students an opportunity to attend school during non-traditional hours in a smaller setting. GAINS was also cited for offering robust dual enrollment opportunities for students to earn post-secondary credit. Jennifer has been engaged with the Academies of Nashville since its fruition in 2006. Jennifer served as an academy teacher, academy principal, and actively serves as the Director of the Academies of Nashville. Assuming the role in the summer of 2021, Jennifer has been committed to ensuring the fidelity of the 15 years of the Academies of Nashville amidst a pandemic while also re-imagining the next 15 years. Jennifer focuses priorities on engagement of partners, expansion of work based learning, expansion of early post-secondary opportunities, supporting leaders through professional learning. Through the Nashville Hub, Jennifer has supported numerous communities including Rockford, IL, Independence, MO, and Racine, WI to effectively implement effective teaming within their academies. Jennifer’s philosophy is that education is not a one size fits all model; therefore, it is our purpose as educators to be creative, innovative, and passionate about the children and communities we serve.
Jason Bihler is currently an instructional designer in theMNPS’s Learning Technology Department. He works to support the shift to morepersonalized, blended, and project-based learning opportunities. Anaward-winning teacher, he is dedicated to creating innovative classrooms thatblend technology into teaching/learning, foster connections withcolleagues/students, and encourage higher levels of learning.
As Vice President of Alignment Nashville, Heather oversees AN Operations, Human Resources and National Initiatives, including the Alignment USA Network and the Nashville Hub. She has previously served Alignment Nashville in the roles of Vice President of Operations and Associate Director. Heather is a graduate of Belmont University and joined Alignment Nashville in 2012 after having worked in children’s health for over twelve years. Her background and experience includes non-profit management, medical practice management, volunteer management and collective impact consulting and coaching.
Jeremiah Davis began his educational career as a CTE (Career and Technical Education) Criminal Justice teacher. He became the Academy Team Lead as well as the CTE Lead for his school. As the Team Lead, his academy was awarded Model Status during the first NCAC review. Jeremiah also conducted TN DoE training with all new Criminal Justice teachers in Tennessee to ensure they had the best start possible to help students excel. He later became the Dean of Students and most recently served as Academy Principal where he has worked with his academies to earn Model Status during each reaccreditation.
Brittany Edmondson, J.D., Ed.S., M.Ed., has worked to educate, inspire, empower, and advocate for the better part of her career. Edmondson did not leave law behind, rather in 2015 she chose to bring the expertise and networks to a provide more impact to an area most needed, Education. Attacking the dire state of equity and access in education, she ensures that students gain valuable exposure and experiences to catapult students on a path to success. Edmondson realized early that in order to position our students to be competitive in college and career, instruction must immerse them in the content through skills, activities, sustained inquiry, and most importantly connectedness. She is convicted by the reality that Early Post-Secondary Opportunities are the most important avenue to establish equity for our students. In her role as Academy Coach, Brittany has created several new partnership Memorandums of Understanding to create pipelines leading directly into the workforce while matriculating in high school and directly after secondary graduation. She focuses on offering stackable credentials through industry certifications, scholarship pipelines to college and professional schools, and lends a grassroots analysis to data and research used to develop programming for students. Brittany has been recognized by the District, her peers, the Middle Tennessee Community, and the State of Tennessee for her contributions to the advancement of urban and marginalized students and as a leader in Education. Edmondson has contributed to career and technical (CTE) curriculum development and program modifications, facilitated and served on panels across the Country developing leaders, educators, and pushing in on the intersection of social emotional and CTE to support students. She boasts a plethora of meaningful certifications, professional development and training hours, and professional services and affiliations in education, non- profit, law, leadership, and government. Edmondson received a Bachelor of Arts in English/Political Science from the True-Blue Middle Tennessee State University. She earned her Education Specialist and Master of Education with emphasis on Curriculum and Instruction and Instructional Leadership from Lincoln Memorial University. Brittany received a Doctor of Jurisprudence from Nashville School of Law. She works in purpose with the support of her husband of 15 years and their four children.
Donna has spent her entire professional career working in and supporting career academies as a teacher, school leader and district administrator. Donna believes “if you can’t see it, you can’t be it” applies to students and adults alike and wants to open doors of opportunity for both. Donna recently retired as the Director of the Academies of Nashville and is currently serving as a community coach for Ford NGL and a trainer for the Nashville Hub to continue her passion with CTE and career academies work.
Bio Coming Soon!
Jacob Glancy has 12 years of experience in education and currently serves as Dean of Students and Lead Administrator for the Future Ready Institute (an academy) at Red Bank High School in Chattanooga, TN. Prior to his move to Chattanooga, he worked at McGavock High School, where he taught English 4 (inclusion, Honors, and standard), English 2, Senior Capstone, and Shakespeare Studies while also serving as a team leader in the Academy of Aviation of Transportation–-a two-time model status career academy according to the National Career Academy Coalition. In July of 2016, Jacob transitioned into the role of Academy Coach for McGavock. He has a B.A. in English and Political Science (University of Tennessee), an M.A. in Teaching (Belmont University), and an Ed.S. in Educational Leadership (University of Tennessee). His hobbies include going to concerts and spending time with his wife and two children.
Ceteka Gooch started her career in education in 2003 at John Overton High School. She is a second-generation educator and works for the district that educated her. Ceteka spent most of her career in high school where she served as a math teacher and Numeracy Coach for MNPS. She has experienced the Academy model as a teacher and a mentor to teachers she supported. She currently serves as a Learning Technology Specialist where she supports teachers with incorporating technology best practices in the classroom. Her hobbies include listening to music, watching movies, and spending time with her husband and three children.
Bio Coming Soon!
Dr. Heather Ihde is a district Experiential Learning Coordinator for the Department of STEAM & Science in Metro Nashville Public Schools in Tennessee. As such, she is responsible for organizing two academic field trips or experiences for all students at 36 district designated STEAM Schools and serves as the liaison between the schools and the community partners. Dr. Ihde previously served as a district instructional coach for three years, a building level dean of instruction for three years, and a high school teacher for twelve years. Dr. Ihde completed a doctorate in Learning Organizations and Strategic Change at Lipscomb University, in Nashville, Tennessee. She received master’s degree from Arkansas State University and bachelor’s from Harding University, also in Arkansas. Dr. Ihde is passionate about Project Based Learning and enjoys working with teachers and administrators across the country and the world on PBL.
Melissa came to Alignment Nashville in 2005 after serving as Director of Grant Development at Nashville State Community College for six years, where she worked to secure several federally funded grants from the National Science Foundation, the US Department of Education, and other sources. She also served as Nashville State’s Director of Development, raising private funds for the institution and working with the Nashville State Foundation. Previously, Melissa was Director of Marketing at the Renaissance Center in Dickson, Tennessee, and Account Manager at Fletcher& Rowley Political Consulting. Melissa holds a BA in Political Science from Western Kentucky University.
Hailing from Music City USA, Thommye Kelley is third generation educator who has a passion for helping students discover success! She currently serves as the Academy Coach at Glencliff High School, within Metro Nashville Public School. Starting her career 7 years ago in the Academy Structure, Thommye’ has completely bought in to the Academy Model. Prior to her role as the Academy Coach, she served at Whites Creek High School as a social studies teacher, teaching US History, African American History, Personal Finance, and Economics. After her first year of teaching, she transitioned into the Academy Team Lead Role for the Academy of Alternative Energy, Sustainability and Logistics. Serving in that role for two years, in 2018 she accepted the role of the Academy Coach at Glencliff High School. In her three years at Glencliff, she has implemented a school wide experiential learning day, transformed the new student experience, created a resource website for Business Partners, and successfully led three Academies through the NCAC Accreditation process receiving Model Status and Model Status with Distinction. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in History, from Tennessee State University, and a Master of Science in Educational Leadership from The University of Tennessee at Knoxville. She is a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., and enjoys spending time with her friends, and family.
Bio coming soon!
Courtney Morgan is the Program Manager of the Academies of Nashville for Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools. She is responsible for creating and implementing the AON marketing and communications plan, and planning events throughout the year, including the largest student event in the school district, the Career Exploration Fair. She also contributes to the strategic planning for the Academies and is involved in the daily implementation at the district level. Courtney comes from Texas but has been involved in Nashville's education and nonprofit community for her entire career. She graduated with a B.S. and M.Ed. in Child Studies from Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College in Nashville, TN. When she isn't working, she can be found spending time with her Doberman, Axel.
Jill Petty has been an educator for over 20 years. She has taught English both at the middle and high school levels. Jill was a classroom teacher when Nashville first brought the academy model to the high schools. She has served as an Academy team leader, English department lead, literacy coach/school-based professional development provider, district level English Language Arts Curriculum Coordinator, and currently as the Director of Secondary Literacy for Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools. Jill was the first person in MNPS to become a Project Based Learning capacity-buliding trainer. In her various roles in education, she had lead and continues to lead professional learning at the school level, district level, and national level. Most recently, Jill became a certified Gallup Strengths-Finder coach.
Deanna has been in education since 1994 spending her first 4 years teaching high school science in Indiana and another 12 years teaching in Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS). She spent an additional 6 years as an Instructional Coach and District Lead Instructional Coach for Nashville planning, developing, and implementing professional development for teachers, including becoming a Buck Institute for Education (BIE) Certified PBL trainer. Deanna is currently the i3 STEM Grant Coordinator for MNPS, a federal grant that is geared to grow student achievement in science and math, heighten STEM aspirations, and close opportunity gaps for underrepresented students. For the grant, she supports the implementation of a STEM afterschool, Saturday, and Summer Camp with students from 7 Nashville middle schools emphasizing student-centered, project-based learning through sustained inquiry to solve authentic problems.
Nadia Saint-Louis is in her 12th year in Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools. She was formerly a math teacher at Whites Creek High School and Hillwood High School for several years. She served as a Numeracy Coach for a brief time before she became the Freshman Academy Dean at McGavock High School. A year after being a Dean of Students, she became one of the Academy Principal in Freshman Academy. She currently serves as the Academy Principal for the CMT Academy of Digital Design and Communication at McGavock High School. Additionally, Nadia oversees the Math and Special Education department as well as many other leadership tasks. She is currently working on her Ed.D in School Leadership at East Tennessee State University.
Bio coming soon!
Sally Spear is an academy coach at John Overton High School in Nashville, Tennessee where she facilitates experiential learning, manages community partnerships, and assists in the implementation of early postsecondary opportunities at the school. Prior to serving in this role, she was a CTE Engineering teacher and served as her academy lead where she focused on teaching through the lens of the academy, planning student interventions, and implementing the academy structure. Sally joined the Nashville HUB as a trainer in 2021 where she has worked with academy coaches and academy leads. In her personal time, you will find Sally doing anything she can outdoors, especially gardening, or spending time with her husband and son.
Mandy Springer began her teaching career in 2002 as a middle school math teacher. Realizing her need to have more of an impact on student lives she returned to Tennessee State University to pursue her master’s degree in School Counseling. Upon receiving her degree in School Counseling she became employed with Metro Nashville Public Schools as a school counselor at Whites Creek High School where she worked for four years. The opportunity was presented to move to a larger campus so she then transferred to McGavock High School and became the counselor for the CMT Academy of Digital Design and Communication and has been there since 2013. This academy has been recognized as the MNPS Academy of the Year and twice has been recognized as a NCAC Model Academy. She most recently was the lead counselor for McGavock High School and serves on the district school counseling leadership team. In 2009 she was recognized by Tennessee State University as Counselor of the year and in 2015 she won Academy Counselor of the year for Metro Nashville Public Schools.
Laura Vignon serves as the Dean of Instruction for all content areas at McGavock High School, serving over one hundred and twenty teachers in Metro Nashville Public Schools (TN). Prior to her role as an instructional coach and dean, Laura gained fourteen years of experience in the classroom teaching standard, honors, and Advanced Placement courses in U.S. History, World History, Government, and Leadership. Her experience includes two years as an instructional coach and thirteen years as an AVID Teacher and Coordinator for her school. Laura is a Level 5 teacher in the MNPS school system, earning her several awards and recognitions including MNPS Academy Teacher of the Year for the CMT Academy of Digital Design and Communication, McGavock High School Teacher of the Year, and is a two-time Nashville Public Education Foundation and MNPS Blue Ribbon winner.
Laura serves on several leadership teams, including the school leadership team and the AVID Leadership team. For five years, she served as the Social Studies Department head at her school, as well as Professional Development data chair on the school data team. At the district level, she is a founding member on the AVID District team, and continues to hold that role. Laura served as the MNPS Social Studies Council lead for two years, helping bring social studies teachers from all grade levels together to impact curriculum. Additionally, Laura served as a Mentor teacher in MNPS at the district level, while also mentoring eight different student teachers throughout her career.
Laura is Co-Founder and President of CollegeLeaps, a startup geared towards providing equitable access to college for all students. She is a national AVID Staff Developer, modeling best practices in AVID and collaborating with educators around the country. Laura was among Nashville's first Demonstration School teachers and now partners to run a similar program at the school level. As a facilitator, Laura presents multiple times a year for both the school and district. Her recent workshops include Socratic Seminar, Historical Simulations, Flipped Classroom, Backwards Unit Planning, Intentional Instructional Strategies, WICOR for Engagement, Focused Note Taking, and Collaboration Strategies for all Contents.
Robbin Wall has been involved with school administration for twenty-four years. He began as a Middle School principal in 1992 and was the principal at one of the largest high schools in Tennessee, McGavock High School. During his time in education he has served as a classroom teacher, Head Football Coach/Athletic Director, High School Assistant Principal, Middle School Principal, and High School Principal. He has been voted Principal of the Year in Irving, Texas. He was recognized as Principal of the Year by the Region X Educational Service Center in Dallas, Texas and has been voted Principal of the Year in Nashville, TN. Mr. Wall was also recognized as the Academy Principal of the Year with MNPS and was recognized at the 2016 NCAC for his school’s outstanding work with Academies. He was honored to host President Obama in January of 2014 as well as the Vice-President’s wife, Jill Biden, in February of 2016. McGavock High School had the privilege of the President’s visit due to their school being recognized for its academic gains over the past five years along with its “Wall to Wall” National Model status which has happened twice during Mr. Wall’s tenure.
Bio Coming Soon!
Carrie Whittaker has served as a consultant for the Nashville Hub since 2016. She has facilitated professional learning on Freshman Seminar, Project Based Learning, Interdisciplinary Teaming for Academies, Team Leader and Teaching on the Block. Carrie is also in her 20th year with Metro Nashville Public Schools, having been a secondary classroom teacher, instructional coach, district lead coach, coordinator of instructional projects, learning technology specialist. Starting in July of 2020, Carrie transitioned into the role of Coordinator of Instructional Design. She supports teachers in integrating technology best practices within their instruction along with creating and facilitating professional learning. She is also a member of the Learning Forward Academy. Her hobbies include traveling, watching the Memphis Tigers, horseback riding, farming and spending time with her husband and daughter.
Bio coming soon!