Orientation for 2022-23 hires took place on campus August 5.
Faculty and staff returned to campus this week for departmental meetings, professional development workshops, and classroom organization as we prepare to welcome our students back to campus next week. As many members of our team continue their storied tenures, we are also excited to welcome new employees to the Bruiser family for the 2022-23 school year.
New On Campus
Martha Carpenter | Sixth-Grade Math Teacher
Martha Carpenter joins her daughters, Abigail ’24 and Caroline ’26, at GPS as our new sixth-grade math teacher and advisor. Martha holds a BA in psychology from the University of Colorado at Boulder and a teaching certification, followed by an MS in educational psychology from the University of Memphis. She began her teaching career at Grace-St. Luke’s in Memphis, teaching science and algebra as well as coaching volleyball and softball, and has most recently served as a Middle and Upper School math tutor and swim coach for GPS and McCallie.
London Cornelius | PE Teacher and Varsity Softball Coach
London Cornelius joins us as our new PE teacher and varsity softball coach. She holds a BA in Recreational Administration from North Carolina Central University and an MAT in Physical Education and Health from UNC. Since 2018, London has served as a PK-8 physical education teacher, health and wellness teacher, athletic director, and team leader at Wake Forest Charter Academy in North Carolina. She is a two-time collegiate softball captain, has served as an NCAA coach, and has extensive experience working with softball athletes of all ages, specifically in outfielder development and defensive strategies.
Rebekah Ducote | Assistant to the Head of School
Rebekah Ducote fills the big (and fashionable) shoes of recently retired Sheryl Kreis. Rebekah holds a BA in human services management from UTC and most recently worked as the Director of Discipleship at Signal Crest United Methodist Church. In this role she oversaw all aspects of educational and fellowship activities in support of church missional goals. Prior to her work at Signal Crest, she worked in youth ministry and with the Make-A-Wish Foundation of East Tennessee (Knoxville). She and her husband, Jacob, have a six-year-old daughter, Virginia.
Rosie Espinosa | Seventh-Grade History Teacher, Middle and Upper School Spanish Teacher
The World Languages and History and Social Sciences departments welcome Rosie Espinosa to their teams. Rosie, who holds a BA from the University of Florida and an MFA from Johns Hopkins University, will be teaching seventh-grade Spanish and history along with Spanish II in the Upper School. Additionally, Rosie will spend time in The Center for Teaching and Learning, supporting the work of our Learning Specialists and working closely with our girls, especially in areas of the humanities. Rosie comes to us from Willows Preparatory School in Redmond, Washington, where she has taught language and literature as well as Spanish as a part of their IB program. She is well versed in curriculum design and alignment and multi-modal 21st-century learning and creating rubrics with a focus on growth mindset.
Josh Eggert-Michael | Grounds Crew Technician
Josh Eggert-Michael comes to us by way of the Division of Forestry of the State of Tennessee. In addition to joining the GPS Grounds Crew as the Grounds Technician, he is also a volunteer and wild-land fireman. Some of his hobbies include playing tennis and hunting/fishing. His nickname is Mr. Clean!
Rachel Durham Finch ’13 | Director of Annual Giving
Rachel Durham Finch ’13 returns to her alma mater as the Director of Annual Giving within the Development Office. She comes to GPS from her most recent role as Development Specialist at the United Way of Chattanooga, where she crafted and improved annual fund functions, processes, and community engagement opportunities. Prior to her time at the United Way, she served in development roles with the Boys & Girls Clubs of The Tennessee Valley. Rachel holds a BS in Communication from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and a Masters of Public Administration from Clemson University.
Nickey Hammonds | Grounds Crew Member
After keeping our grounds looking good for the past two years via a temp service, Nickey Hammond has officially joined the GPS community as a Grounds Crew Member. If you arrive early down the Middle School drive, you probably have encountered his smiling face!
Sherita Hampton | Housekeeper
Sherita Hampton is a Chattanooga native with a passion for helping people. She joins us from ABM/Memorial Hospital, where she has been a member of their housekeeping staff for the last seven years.
Sarah Jenkins | Housekeeper
Following a two-year stint keeping our buildings looking fresh and clean as an outside contractor, Sarah Jenkins accepted our offer to transition from Kelly Services to work full-time as a member of our housekeeping team. She is originally from Indiana, but she has lived in Chattanooga for over 21 years.
Dr. Jeannie Long | Biology Teacher
Dr. Jeannie Long joins GPS as our regular and honors biology teacher. She graduated magna cum laude with a BA in psychology, a BS in natural sciences: biology, and an MS in environmental science from UTC, and also holds a PhD in theory and practice in teacher education: science education from UTK. She has spent 25 years in high school and college classrooms and has authored numerous publications on species diversity, ecological assessment of habitat mitigation, effects of watershed urban land use on environmental conditions, and myriad additional life science research publications. Dr. Long has received multiple awards for excellence in mathematics and science teaching as well as led life science conference presentations around the country.
Joe Lyons | Physics Teacher
Joe Lyons joins our science department as our physics, honors physics, and AP Physics C teacher. He most recently served as the high school physics teacher at Sacred Hearts Academy, an all-girls school in Honolulu, Hawaii, where he grew their physics program exponentially. Prior to becoming a teacher, Joe served in the U.S. Navy as a helicopter aircraft commander. He holds a BS in physics from the United States Naval Academy and a master’s in applied management from the University of Maryland.
Alex Miller-Long | Technical Theater Director
Alex Miller-Long joins GPS as our part-time Technical Theater Director to assist Mark Krawczyk, Amanda Byars, and the rest of our performing arts team in their theater and musical productions. Alex holds a BA in theater from UTC and an MFA in lighting design from the University of California San Diego. Since 2015, Alex has designed lighting for shows across California and Tennessee, including locally at the Chattanooga Theater Center, UTC, and GPS.
Jennifer Morrison | Controller
The business office is thrilled to welcome Jennifer Morrison as the new part-time controller. Jennifer has worked in public accounting—as an auditor, consultant, and audit manager—and as a nonprofit director of finance and CFO, so she has a wealth of experience on both sides of the audit preparation and review process. Her breadth of experience is sure to help the business office work smarter and leverage technology to be more efficient.
Melissa Nati, RN | School Nurse
Melissa Nati P’27 joins our health and wellness team in the inaugural role of GPS school nurse. Melissa, who graduated summa cum laude with a BS in biology from Loyola University and summa cum laude with a MS in health systems administration from Georgetown University, most recently served as a public health nurse with the Hamilton County Health Department, where she was instrumental in vaccine education and protocols throughout the county. Previously, Melissa worked with MTF Biologics, where she worked closely with orthopedic surgeons to provide allograft tissues for sports medicine surgical applications.
Liesl Neubert | Math Teacher
Liesl Neubert joins GPS as a seventh-grade pre-algebra and geometry teacher. She earned a BS in elementary education from Brigham Young University, an MS in education from National University, and holds a teaching license in Tennessee for grades 6-12. She is a National Board-Certified Teacher in adolescent mathematics and has experience in special education instruction as well. For the past 23 years she has taught pre-algebra, algebra one, geometry, precalculus, and science, as well as served as a master teacher at schools in Utah, California, and Washington.
Andrew Reich | Director of College Counseling
Named the incoming Director of College Counseling in December, Andrew Reich officially joined us on campus this summer after serving in the role of Associate Director of College Counseling at the Collegiate School, a coed JK-12 independent day school in Richmond, Virginia. Prior, he worked in domestic and international admission and enrollment for NYU and Gettysburg College. Andrew attended Worcester Academy, an independent school in Massachusetts, and holds a Master of Philosophy in comparative and international education from the University of Oslo (Oslo, Norway) and a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Beloit College (Beloit, Wisconsin), where he was a standout on the football team and ran track, setting conference and school records.
Sarah Russell | Assistant to the College Counseling Office
Sarah Russell joins the college counseling team as its new administrative assistant. Sarah holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Covenant College and has served as an exceptional education teacher at Normal Park Upper School, an administrative assistant for Human Resources at Miller Martin and, most recently, as a project manager and copywriter for Lift Media Group.
Hanna Skinner | Events Manager
Our new Events Manager, Hanna Skinner, brings a variety of experiences to her new role at GPS. With five years of experience in the event management industry, Hanna will be able to plan, set up, and break down any event that we need. She will be the point of contact for all internal and external events and will help faculty and staff coordinate between internal departments and external vendors. She graduated from UTK with a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and a minor in Africana studies.
Anders Swanson | Assistant Director of College Counseling, Assistant Rowing Coach
Anders Swanson is no stranger to the blue as he graduated from McCallie and then briefly taught at GPS after earning a BA in politics and international studies from Princeton University. Throughout his career, Anders has also worked at Choate Rosemary Hall, an independent boarding and day school in Connecticut, as their Assistant Director of Admission, as well as at Baylor School since 2018 as an Assistant Director of College Counseling, where he was responsible for managing all aspects of the college process for students in his caseload while also developing a notable college counseling program across all grade levels. In addition, Anders is a nationally recognized rower and coach who has produced multiple NCAA Division I, II, and III recruits during his coaching career.
Emily Tousek ’01 | Choral Director and Music Teacher
A GPS alumna, Emily Tousek ’01 earned a BA in music with a concentration in vocal performance from Mercer University and then went on to earn an MA in choral conducting from UTK. Emily comes to us from Windemere, Florida, where she has spent 15 years teaching Middle and Upper School choral music and piano courses, as well as IB Music. She also served as Fine Arts Department Chair at Windemere Preparatory School and the Artistic Director of Windemere Prep’s Opera Theatre, where she directed many performances such as Annie, Little Red Riding Hood, and Lucinda y Las Flores de la Nochebuena.
Marci Waldorf | Upper School Counselor
A graduate of the Asheville School, Marci Waldorf earned a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Mary Washington, a master’s in secondary education from Vanderbilt, and a second master’s from Vanderbilt in Human Development Counseling. She has spent her career in independent schools, including as an academic resource assistant at Harpeth Hall in Nashville and as an English teacher at Fontbonne Academy, an all-girls school in Boston. Most recently, Marci brought her many talents to The GPS Center for Teaching and Learning last spring, working closely to provide individualized support to our girls.
Beth Creswell Wilson ’96 | Head of Upper School
GPS alumna Beth Creswell Wilson ’96 joins us from The Galloway School in Atlanta, Georgia, where she most recently served as Upper School Assistant Principal. She comes to us with a wealth of knowledge and experience in academic programming and curriculum development that focus on the whole child and has created and implemented signature programs to enhance the student experience in teaching and learning and offered increased student resources to help students thrive academically while emphasizing character education and social-emotional wellbeing. Beth holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Davidson College, a master’s in rhetoric and composition from UT Chattanooga, a certificate in school management and leadership through a joint program from Harvard Graduate School of Education and Harvard Business School, and a doctorate in discourse studies and pedagogy from Old Dominion University this year.
Familiar Faces, New Positions
In an effort to achieve the institutional goals set forth by Head of School Megan Cover, three new positions were created to move GPS into a new and exciting chapter. These roles have been filled by familiar faces.
Katye Adams Couch ’92 | Dean of Teaching and Learning
Katye returned to GPS in 1998, where she has served as a Middle and Upper School science teacher, founding advisor to Tucker River Fellows, seventh-grade class dean, diving coach, and Science Olympiad advisor. Throughout her time here, she has assisted in the creation of the Chattanooga as Text (CAT) program, served as a member of the Co.Lab Entrepreneurship mentor network, attended and presented at conferences around the country, and led multiple trips locally and abroad. Katye is passionate about helping teachers to build strategies to develop deep understandings in their students and is excited to work with the Learning Specialists to develop a robust learning lab for faculty and students. She is looking forward to leveraging and elevating the expertise of her GPS colleagues to continue to create a learner-centered environment.
Beverly Blackwell | Dean of Health and Wellness
Additionally, we are looking forward to partnering with Beverly Blackwell, who will take on the role of Dean of Health and Wellness. Beverly Blackwell, who joined the GPS community in 2015, takes on the role of Dean of Health and Wellness. During her time at GPS, Beverly has served as a physical education teacher and PE Department Chair, NSCA-certified strength and conditioning coach, aquatics coordinator, and track & field, softball, and diving coach. Outside of GPS, Beverly was instrumental in developing a fitness program with the national YMCA organization and is known as and has received numerous accolades as a state championship-winning coach. In this new role, she will work closely with our counselors, our school nurse, and our PE department to build and grow a comprehensive physical and social-emotional wellness program for all students.
Janna Eichelberger | Assistant Director of Athletics
Coach Eichelberger has added the role of Assistant AD to her duties as also a sixth-grade advisor and physical education teacher. Janna will continue to serve as our varsity basketball coach, as she has for the past four years, and assist with various game administration duties in the fall and spring, as she has for the past two. This year, she will assist with our transition to the Independent School Conference, a middle school conference that will include seven of our athletic teams. Prior to joining the faculty at GPS, Janna was a member of the men’s basketball staff at Tennessee State University as the Tigers’ Director of Basketball Operations. Janna has a passion for athletics and is invested in the full experience of each of our athletes on campus. We look forward to her taking on this new role
Additionally, two members of our faculty have taken on added responsibilities as class deans for the upcoming year:
Lauren Lawrence Swanson ’09, Director of Belonging and Community Engagement, adds Dean of the Freshman Class to her role.
Dr. Brandon Noel, Science Teacher, Environmental Club Sponsor, and Tucker River Fellows Sponsor, adds Dean of the Junior Class to his role.
If you see any of our new Bruisers on campus, please join us in welcoming them to our school community.