“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.
Alicia Cafferty Lerner, M.A.
“My most influential teacher:My high school English teacher, Ms. Brown, was the pioneer in her school district for creating special interest classes within a core subject. She trusted us to lead class discussions while she peppered them with thought-provoking questions that encouraged broadening perspectives. Her passion for literature and writing was contagious.”
Mesmerized by stories brought to life on stage, Alicia was drawn to theatre from a young age. Continuing that love into adulthood, Alicia earned a BA in English from Auburn University, where she spent much of her time within the walls of the theatre department. Her hybrid education and love of literature and theatre inspired her graduate studies in Anglo-Irish Literature and Drama (MA) at University College Dublin, Ireland. Alicia has written and edited global and social issues books for younger students, including one on Arthur Miller’s “Death of a Salesman.” Additionally, she was Theatre Coordinator for the Marginal Arts Festival in Roanoke, Virginia. Besides frequenting Atlanta’s theaters, her very theatric four-year-old lends her heaps of inspiration!
"My most influential teacher was my 1st and 2nd grade language arts teacher, Mrs. Bobbie Williams (who is one of Hess’ K/1 teachers!). Bobbie fostered a passion for writing, reading, and learning in my most formative years that has remained just as strong 15+ years later. Bobbie not only shaped my development as a writer and critical thinker, but as a human being. She taught me that I was capable of achieving great feats, and she set me up with the tools and resources to accomplish these feats. I will never forget how valued, smart, and loved I felt in her class!"
Katie is a 4th year college student pursuing a BSEd. in Elementary Education with an ESOL endorsement at Georgia State University. Katie’s passion for teaching began at age 15 when she started an ESOL tutoring program in her local elementary school, in which she paired high school students with elementary schoolers who were learning English as a second language. While attending Georgia Tech for her undergraduate degree, Katie was a volunteer in Americorps’ Jumpstart program, which grants college students the opportunity to implement literacy, language, and social-emotional development lesson plans to preschool students in under-resourced communities. She loved her time working with her students in Jumpstart so much that she transferred from Georgia Tech to Georgia State to pursue her degree in elementary education. In her free time, Katie loves to knit, practice yoga, and play rummy with her grandma. Katie is thrilled to work in such a warm, inclusive, and innovative environment, and she cannot wait to watch her learners grow and thrive this year!
"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.
Amity Stevens, M.S.
“My most influential teacher: Ms. Nunn in 3rd grade was just awesome. She was compassionate, sweet, and taught hands-on which is how I learned. She helped us learn the way we learn. She also taught my two aunts and two uncles!”
Amity Stevens, MS, OTR/L is a licensed Pediatric Occupational Therapist that has been practicing therapy in homes, private schools, public schools, and in a clinical setting. She holds a BS in Health and Exercise Science from Kennesaw State University, a BS in Health Science from Brenau University, and a Masters in Occupational Therapy from Brenau University. Amity’s love for the field stems from having a younger sister (Haylee, 25) with special needs, who currently lives in Texas.
Amity has worked in several areas of the field, including working with Clay White (www.claywhite.us) to establish and run a summer camp for children with Autism, Asperger’s, and various learning disabilities. In addition, she runs a social club and a weekend overnight program for children aged 10-14 on the spectrum or that may have other disabilities.
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.