“My favorite teacher: Mrs. Joyce Deen Kindergarten and 1st grade teacher. Mrs. Deen made my first experience in a classroom exceptional. I left her class feeling confident, capable, and loved!”
At a very young age, Megan learned firsthand the benefits and characteristics of great teaching. Her mother was an elementary teacher that poured her heart and soul into making learning meaningful and enjoyable for children. Witnessing her mom’s enthusiasm for teaching and the positive impact on her students was the beginning of Megan’s commitment to be an educator making a difference in the lives of children and families. Megan earned her B.A. from Piedmont College in early childhood education. She has taught for 5 years in both public and private elementary settings. Megan’s own passion for yoga led her to become a registered yoga teacher so that she could to share that passion with children. Additionally, Megan is committed to weaving nature into her students’ learning, all the while helping students understand their influence on the world and promoting sustainability for the future.
Daniel Bass, MA
“The most influential teacher in my life was Dr. Annette Parrott who taught me high school biology. She invited us to explore, question, and move through the world seeing it as more wondrous than we had previously realized. She made learning exciting and fun!”
Daniel Bass is an Atlanta native and a lifelong lover of learning! His undergraduate degree is in Spanish from Georgia State University. Daniel loves seeing boundaries between people traversed as linguistic and cultural connections are made. He has spent over a decade tutoring and teaching Spanish, English, and American Sign Language at the pre-k, elementary, and high school levels in the Greater Atlanta Area. After finishing his Master’s of Ministry degree from Richmont Graduate University in 2014, he began working as a youth pastor at a local church parish in Oakhurst. Continuing to pursue his love of helping light bulbs go off for students of all ages, Daniel has come to Hess Academy and is delighted by the collaborative, inclusive, and dynamic environment of the school! He is energized by encouraging young learners to explore their world and the world of others with wonder and compassion. When not at Hess Academy, Daniel reads voraciously (mostly theological nonfiction and fantasy novels), runs and practices yoga, and sings an alarming amount of the time.
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 CallaHan, B.S.
Director of Operations
“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 family time with her son two cats, Peanut and Butter.
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.