Kristen Hess, Ph.D. – Principal
“My most influential teacher: Kathy Robbins in 1st and 2nd grade. Ms. Robbins valued each and every child, making us feel as though we are everything we need to be and more.”
Kristen is the founder and principal of Hess Academy, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the growth and development of children. Kristen first realized her commitment to progressive education and inclusive student environments while completing her masters degree in Early Childhood Special Education at Bank Street College in New York City. Kristen has taught in special and general education classrooms spanning early intervention, preschool, elementary, middle, and high school, and college. Since completing her PhD at Georgia State, Kristen has supervised and trained teachers throughout the state of Georgia. She is often called into school districts to consult with administrators, educators, families, and students due to her well recognized specialties in child assessment, and solution-oriented approaches. Colleagues hail Kristen as a creative and child-focused educator who believes in nurturing each child’s strengths as they learn to navigate the world of social dynamics, deepen their curiosity and love of learning, and embrace their own unique gifts. Parents continually recognize Kristen as one of those very special teachers who helps children soar because she intuitively understands the whole child, and uses rigorous academic training to bring that to life effortlessly in the classroom.
Tricia Dallas, BBA – Director of Admissions and Communications
“My most influential teacher came in high school, Mr. Jack Vissing. His work ethic and sense of humor impressed me from the start. He instilled great trust in me, and encouraged me to be a leader. It was at this point in my life that I began to learn and take pride in my organizational skills, fostered by Mr. Vissing, who still remains a good friend today.
Tricia received a Bachelors of Administration degree at Georgia State University. After graduation, she worked in the accounting software industry but her true passion has always been using her business training and expertise in the field of education. From 1991-2015, she has been a parent and/or employee of Gwinnett County Schools. Tricia has been marriedsince 1983 to her husband Mark, and has 2 daughters and a son-in-law. In her free time, she enjoys reading and following college football and basketball. Tricia and Kristen worked together in GCPS years ago, and the Hess community is lucky to have her with us!
Diane Henderson – Director of Finance and Operations
“My most influential teacher: Ms. Kitchen, 3rd grade. Ms. Kitchen believed in making learning fun and pushing students to think outside the box.”
Children have always been Diane’s passion. As a young child, when she
was not playing “mama” she was playing teacher, setting all her baby dolls around a pretend classroom. As a teenager and into young adulthood, Diane worked in her church’s nursery as well as in a local day care center. Over the years, her love of children has continued to grow. Diane has had a wide range of experiences in teaching including preschool, elementary education in Gwinnett County Schools, and the Director of a preschool program. Diane lives in Snellville with her husband, Paul, their three children, one cat, and an indestructible hermit crab.