“My most influential teacher: Victor Bassman. High school pottery teacher. He taught me that being an artist is something that comes from inside. Each person is an artist and it can manifest in many different ways, from cooking to digging in the dirt to painting. He opened my eyes to a different wonderful world, the world of creating.”
Growing up, Paulette was surrounded by art and artists. Her mother is a writer, sculptor, painter, and printer. Her father was a wood worker, needlepointer, rug maker, and gardener. She herself discovered fiber arts as an eight year old and since then has pursued sewing, weaving, building, pottery, jewelry making, printing, cooking, and gardening. For the past three years she has found great joy in teaching elementary school art. Paulette feels honored to have the opportunity to share the gift of creating with children.
“Two of the most influential teachers I had were my Biology professor, Dr. Mathis, and my English professor Dr. Stackhouse. Dr. Mathis’ enthusiasm for Biology made even the most difficult concepts engaging and fun. Dr. Stackhouse designed her lessons to be like a book club. What I remember most about these educators was how they made time to make meaningful connections with their students, and I found that incredibly motivating to give them my best effort.
Susan received her B.A. in English from the University of West Georgia. She began her career in corporate communications for the Home Depot and later moving into a marketing and communication role with Ameris Bank (formerly Fidelity Bank). Her foray into science began with her most recent position in the Biomedical Engineering Department at Georgia Tech. Susan left Georgia Tech to care for her new family. During the pandemic, She launched STEAM Wednesdays where she organized STEAM lessons and activities for all of the elementary students in the neighborhood. Susan joined Hess Academy in February of 2022 as a substitute teacher and now teachers science to the K-5 students.
"My most influential teacher was my three-year-olds teacher Mrs. Darling. She was gentle, played the autoharp and sang with us every day. She showed me that kind-hearted patience and music can make everything right."
Kristen was born in New York City, where her parents exposed her to a wide array of classical music and theater. She has always sung, and began piano lessons at age eight. When Kristen was eleven, her family moved to Vermont where Kristen performed with choruses and continued piano study and voice lessons. After graduating from Macalester College with a degree in cultural anthropology, Kristen moved to Seattle, where she lived for ten years, performed as a singer-songwriter and earned a B.A. in music composition from the University of Washington. Kristen moved to Washington, DC in 1997 to marry her college sweetheart. There she continued to sing, performing at the White House twice! From August 2000 through December 2003, Kristen taught middle and high school music at the McLean School in Potomac, Maryland. Since moving to Atlanta in 2004, Kristen has taught music to infants, toddlers and preschoolers at the Clifton School, Inman Park Cooperative Preschool, Decatur School of Ballet, and Urban Explorers. Kristen has two daughters, Ava, nine, and Morgan, six.
TEACHER AND AFTERCARE
“The most influential teacher in my life was my mother Gayle Mastrogiacomo. She was a board certified music therapist, PBIS coach, PSC endorsed TSS mentor, GNETS leader/educator for 25 years, and classically trained cellist at Indiana University. Her guidance in my education and life, her model of always speaking her truth, and her encouragement to follow my dreams and passions forever shaped me. To borrow a quote from Abe Lincoln: ‘All that I am or hope ever to be, I get from my mother.’ (Not to undersell my father, who was a wonderful role model, too. Love ya, Pops!)”
Andre is a first generation Atlien / Atlantasaurus. He grew up attending a wide mix of public & private schools in Atlanta. He is passionate about working with young humans as they find their own way and teaching history with a critical thinking lens. He loves preparing students to make an impact in the world they want to create. He formerly worked in the natural gas industry and found his way into the classroom via coaching on the ballfield. He's been coaching baseball since 2010 and teaching around Atlanta since 2015. He loves ATL sports teams, esoteric music, eccentric movies, and going down the path less traveled.
“If going to school paid a salary, I would have been a professional student. My longest lasting and best teacher was my grandmother, who encouraged me to try new things and never give up. She constantly introduced me to new adventures: skateboarding, driving me across the United States, and teaching me to sew and cross stitch."
Beth graduated from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa with marketing and accounting degrees. Beth left her first career to return to the classroom to become a teacher. She found her calling as a 4th grade teacher for 15 years, and a gifted math teacher grades for 5 years. She infuses her instruction with purpose, humor, and joy. Her goal is to create learners who find satisfaction in working hard without fear of making mistakes, and who develop a mindset that proclaims “I can do anything!”
SPEECH LANGUAGE PATHOLOGIST
Julie Siler, M.Ed.,CCC-SLP
“Most Influential Teacher: Mrs. Barbara Jesse; my 4th grade teacher. She was my introduction to fabulous literature such as Alice in Wonderland, A Wrinkle in Time, and Superfudge. She brought characters to life and imbedded a love for language in her students.”
Julie Siler M.Ed.,CCC-SLP is a licensed speech language pathologist who has been serving a pediatric population in Atlanta for more than fourteen years. A graduate of Georgia State University, she completed internships with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Wesley Woods Geriatric Hospital, and the DeKalb County School System. She worked alongside Dr. Kristen Hess in a Gwinnett County Public school for two years before she began working with Babies Can’t Wait and a private therapy practice housed within The Marcus Institute. There, she shepherded children and families through the public and private healthcare systems and participated in co-treatment sessions with talented Neurologists, Developmental Pediatricians, and Occupational and Physical Therapists. In 2005, Julie launched Siler Speech Pathology, LLC; a private, mobile speech therapy practice that serves a pediatric population in the child’s home, school, or day care setting. Julie has been trained extensively in Stanley Greenspan and Serena Wieder’s D.I.R./Floortime model, various oral motor programs including PROMPT, and multiple receptive/expressive language techniques essential for students with learning differences. She lives with her husband Steve and three children in Decatur, GA.
KAY WEBER, ED.S
"My favorite teacher was a high school science teacher, Linda Mitchell, who taught me that the best way to learn was to experience learning through real-life adventures. I've tried to live that out as a teacher and parent."
After graduating college Kay embarked on a career in Marketing. As children came along she decided her love of learning and sharing that love with others was her calling and she left the corporate world to become a teacher. The majority of her career has been working with middle school students passing on the love of mathematics. In addition, she has taught all subjects in fourth and fifth grade plus served as the Math Specialist at an elementary school, working with Kindergarten through Fifth grade students. Throughout her career Kay regularly taught staff development to teachers at the local, county and state levels, passing on her love of mathematics and the strategies of teaching mathematics through discovery and a hands-on approach. She is thrilled to be a member of the Hess Academy community and the opportunity to foster critical thinking, problem solving and the love of mathematics to all her students.
Anne Weidert, M.A.
“My most influential teacher: Dr. Gary Allison (University of Delaware) first piqued my interest in working with exceptional children. He taught me that kids with special needs crave meaningful learning experiences just like all children do!”
Anne Weidert is a Reading Specialist and an Orton Gillingham trained tutor who supports students with reading and writing challenges. She holds a BA in Early Childhood Special Education from the University of Delaware, and a Masters in Reading from Mercer University. Anne has over a decade of classroom teaching experience. When she isn’t teaching kids, Anne has dance parties with her husband and two daughters.
Clay White, M.Ed.
“My favorite teacher was Doretta Smith. As my 10th grade Social Studies teacher, she was the scariest teacher at our school, but the only one who ever held my feet to the fire and expected excellence from me. She taught me how to try.”
I want students to not only understand nature, but to experience it. I’ve worked in the outdoors with children since 1980. I’ve done some of my hikes a thousand times, but every group of kids makes each hike unique. I love the physicality of hiking, but even more, I enjoy teaching students about mill ruins, rock formations, and
crawfish. Every creek offers a new adventure, every fallen tree a new challenge. I love placing a group in a challenging situation, and supporting them socially and emotionally as they work together to figure things out.