Starlet Light Speakman '59

Latin and English Teacher 1965-1968, 1979-1983
Head of Middle School 1983-2006
As an eager seventh-grader in 1953, Starlet Light Speakman followed her sister to GPS at the urging of a GPS alum who was a client of Mr. Light, Starlet’s father. Starlet would become the editor of both the Static and Kaleidoscope and determined very early on that one day she would return to GPS as a teacher. While she applied right out of college, it took two years for her to be hired by her beloved alma mater. 

Starlet holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Chattanooga and a Master of Education from University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. She taught Middle School English and Latin for three years before leaving GPS to start a family. In 1979, she returned to teach freshman English for a year before moving to a seventh-grade English classroom, where she would remain until 1986.

That marked the beginning of her tenure as a member of GPS’s administration, and Starlet served as the principal of seventh and eighth grades; in 2006 she retired as the Head of Middle School. In total, she served at GPS for 32 years and sponsored the yearbook as well as chaired SACS, the Christian Life Committee, and Class Day. 

While at GPS, Starlet customized a Middle School program and oversaw the transition to that concept. She launched the Middle School assembly, grade-level teams, the Learning Center, and eighth-grade graduation ceremony. She worked with McCallie to develop and encourage more coordinate activities, such as the coed Disney World trip, and held bi-monthly meetings for heads of private middle schools in the tri-state area to encourage communication and the sharing of ideas. 

Starlet considers being honored as a GPS Distinguished Alumna one of the nicest compliments she has ever received, and loves the fact that she taught or worked with every GPS head from Mary Hannah Tucker and Paul Bode to Nat Hughes and Randy Tucker.