A private school for pre-k through 8th grade | Decatur, GA
Kristen Hess, PH.D.
“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.
Lynitia hood, B.S.
“My most influential teacher: My 3rd grade teacher, Mrs. Hairston. She was the first teacher to show me that she was not just a teacher, but a real person with a life outside of school. She talked about her family and hosted yearly sleepovers for students. She taught me the importance of building trust and relationships with students, the foundation of successful teaching and learning.”
Born and raised in Atlanta, Ga, Lynitia is the younger of two children. She received her BS in Child & Family Development from The University of Georgia. Lynitia believes each child is an individual and should be taught as such. She believes a child’s educational experience should be meaningful to him or her. For Lynitia, the greatest reward in teaching is witnessing a child mastering a skill or concept with which they have been struggling. Transitioning into administration has allowed Lynitia to meet her desire to support teachers in their work. Outside of work, she enjoys traveling, attending outdoor concerts, and spending time with her husband, son, and extended family.
Jenny Rankin, M.s.
“My most influential teacher: Mr. Hubbard, 5th grade. Fifth grade was an emotionally tough year for me, but I felt safe in Mr. Hubbard’s class. He reminded me that I was special and always had an adult at school who was ready to listen.”
Jenny is a licensed Professional Counselor and holds a Master’s degree in both Professional Counseling and School Counseling from Georgia State University. She has worked with children and families in both private and public settings for over 16 years. Jenny’s passion is helping children with social, emotional, and developmental challenges via the Floortime approach. Jenny's unique knowledge in the Floortime approach and in a therapeutic environment allows her to help Hess create an environment that supports the whole child.