“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.
"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.
SCIENCE & STEAM (SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY ENGINEERING ART MATH)
Sherry Morton, M.A.
“My most influential teacher: Mrs. Bonnell 7th grade. Mrs. Bonnell taught me that learning is creative act fueled by fun. She ignited a love for history that continues to inform and inspire my life.”
Sherry began her teaching career in the first grade where she “tutored a classmate struggling to make sense of adding popsicle sticks.” She loves sharing the big world of science with little folks, and has developed both the STEAM and Elementary Science Olympiad Programs at Hess. She has also taught a variety of college classes in philosophy and world religions. Sherry’s research interests focus on the ways physical actions shape the brain and mind. She holds dual degrees in philosophy and religious studies, an associate’s degree in science and a master’s degree in religious studies. Her academic pursuits are balanced by 28 years of yoga and meditation practice coupled with extensive dance training.
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.
DIRECTOR OF AFTERCARE
TINKERING, SCIENCE, AND MATH
"My most influential teacher and mentor was my grandmother, Sara Louise Fitzgerald, who taught through a hands-on approach. With grace and grit, she gave space for curiosity, while also encouraging the beauty in making mistakes and learning from them."
Entering their 17th year of education and teaching, Adrian has a deep love and passion for learning and tinkering! Adrian received their Bachelor’s in the Arts in Political Science and Gender Studies from Simmons College in Boston, MA and their Master’s in the Art of Teaching from Hunter College. They have vast knowledge and expertise in project-based learning, science education, tinkering, differentiation, socio-emotional learning, and language arts. They have taught in South Korea, New York City, India, Boston, and Atlanta! Adrian adores building furniture, fixing broken machines, taking things apart and putting them back together, playing and coaching sports, and creating fun, playful, beautiful, interactive, and practical projects. They believe in student-centered learning and put rigor, love, equity, and consistency at the forefront of their teaching. Adrian strives for each student who enters their classroom to question, discover, and find joy in what they are learning. Adrian successfully manages and builds after-school programs, providing deep exploration and supporting learners in unique ways that enhance their creativity, academics, and willfulness in having fun while learning. When not in the classroom, Adrian can be found playing kickball, cooking and baking as a proud foodie, enjoying nature hikes, building furniture, and hanging with their gentle and loving retriever, Mojo!
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.