Classroom Teachers

Kindergarten

Katie Bianchi

Kindergarten Teacher

Education I am a graduate of Brenau Woman’s College in Gainesville Ga. where I received my Bachelors of Science in Early childhood Education in 1991. My teaching experiences ranges from teaching first grade, Kindergarten and Pre-School while in DeKalb County, Saint Thomas More Catholic School and Decatur Presbyterian Children’s Community. I am trained in Ortin-Gilliham which is an approach to teaching not only children who are struggling with letter recognition and sounds but all beginning readers, a certified as a Responsive Classroom Teacher, and hold a Gifted Endorsement from TMS.
My Teaching philosophy is to teach each child through real life experiences, hands on approach, positive atmosphere, while challenging them to be self-learners. To find out what their best way my students learns and provide them with the materials needed in order to become a successful l learners.


Lauren Pangle

Kindergarten Teacher

Education: Bachelor of Arts in Elementary and Special Education, Reading
Endorsement, Masters in Language, Reading & Culture, Nationally Board Certified

This is my 14th year as an early childhood teacher and fourth year at The Museum School.  I started my teaching career in my home state of North Carolina, then my husband and I headed west and spent 5 years in Oregon where I taught 1st grade.  In 2013, my husband’s job took us to Tucson, where I spent a few years out of the classroom to complete my master’s degree. Now I am happy to be back in the classroom and to be part of The Museum School community!

I believe each child deserves a positive learning environment in which he/she feels safe, encouraged, challenged and a valued part of the classroom community.  I strive to meet each child’s social, emotional and academic needs and help him/her become an independent, inquisitive and motivated learner.

When I’m not at school I love spending time with my husband, Luke, and 2 boys, Emory who is 4 ½ and Woodson who is 5 months!  I also love to run, hike and cook!


Carla Sublett

Kindergarten Teacher

Education: Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education, Longwood University

This is my eighth year teaching elementary education. I taught kindergarten for four years in Virginia, prior to moving to Georgia, and one year in 5th grade at The Museum School of Avondale Estates. This is now my third year teaching kindergarten at The Museum School! I am passionate about kindergarten and my student’s first year in elementary school. I enjoy helping to support the love of learning for young children.

I am a new mom to my son, Jack, and I have enjoyed watching him grow and learn. I like to spend time outdoors with my husband Zack, our son Jack, and dog, Pixie. I enjoy kayaking, traveling, crafting, and spending time with my friends and family.

My philosophy of teaching focuses on each individual child in the classroom and their educational needs. I also spotlight the development of positive character traits, which are essential in becoming a productive citizen in the classroom, and in our community. I believe that students thrive in an environment that allows them to explore, through discovery and inquiry, which appeals to multiple learning styles. One of the most important concepts I hope to pass on to my students is that learning is a process that never ends!



First Grade

Caitlin Blake

1st Grade Teacher

Education: Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood and Elementary Education
Masters Degree in Curriculum and Instruction: Educational Technology

I am excited to join The Museum School as a 1st grade teacher! I previously taught kindergarten and 1st grade for 7 years in North Carolina and a year of 3rd grade this past year in Fulton County. I can’t wait to be back in 1st grade to share my love and excitement for learning new things!

I am originally from Clemson, South Carolina (Go Tigers!) and attended Southern Wesleyan University as a collegiate soccer player. When I’m not in the classroom I love visiting Disney World, running, and camping. My goal is to visit all the National Parks and I have checked off 29 so far! I love to hike, backpack, explore and kayak. Being outdoors is my passion as well as running half marathons and marathons at Disney!

My passion is to create a learning environment to benefit all students and I believe they will be successful in a positive and safe classroom. With room transformations, technology and engagement, I plan enticing lesson plans and activities to get my students excited to come back and learn more every day. Learning can happen for all, especially when we are having fun together!


Mary Lewis Jowaisas

First Grade Teacher

Education: Bachelor of Art in English, Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood and Elementary Education, Master in Elementary Education.

Endorsements: English as a Second Language and Gifted

This will be my 10th year teaching and my second year at TMS. I began my career teaching 4th grade for three years in Fulton County. After having my two children, I taught in a preschool for five years. I grew up in Richmond, Virginia but have lived in Atlanta for 20 years. My husband, two daughters, Ella (12), Maya (10) and I live in Decatur with our dog, Oscar, and kitty, Blake. I love reading and listening to books (preferably while sitting on a beach!), running and practicing yoga. Most of all, I love to spend time with my family and friends.

I believe that all children have a natural curiosity and desire to learn. I strive to expand my students’ worldview by reminding them of their important place in our communities, country and the world as well as to teach them about diversity, equity and cultural awareness. I challenge my students by connecting their learning to authentic, real-world applications and implementing hands-on learning experiences while meeting the varied needs of all students.


Shannon Murphy

1st Grade Teacher

Education: Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education, College of Charleston

I have taught first grade for seven years. I spent my first 3 years teaching abroad in Colombia, South America at an International Baccalaureate School in an English immersion classroom, 3 years at a nearby Dekalb County charter school and this will be my second year here at the Museum School.

I grew up here in Atlanta, GA and am glad to be back living in my hometown! I am fortunate enough to live near my parents, two sisters, and niece and nephew, who I spend time with often. I enjoy going on walks on the beltline with my dog (Charlie), traveling, reading, doing yoga, running and watching a good Netflix series!

I believe the most important factor in early childhood education is instilling an enthusiasm for learning. Each child should be treated as an individual whose environment allows him or her to learn at his or her own pace through discovery and investigation. It is important to create independent, motivated learners through experiential learning, an organized environment and a positive discipline system in the classroom.



Second Grade

Cassandra Bennett

2nd Grade Teacher

Education: Bachelor of Arts, Political Science with a minor in Anthropology; Master of Arts in Teaching, Elementary Education.

Bio: I am a second-generation teacher from a small town in eastern Connecticut. I began fostering my love of education at an early age by working as a paraprofessional for a summer program and volunteering as much as possible. After obtaining my bachelor’s degree from the University of Connecticut, I dove headfirst into an internship/master’s program through Sacred Heart University. I found my first full-time teaching position in a second grade classroom just outside of Tampa, Florida.

My love for my family is what brought me to Atlanta, where I have been teaching fifth grade for the past two years. I enjoy spending time with my fur-children, Oliver (beagle) and Louie (cat). I like to explore the many parks that Georgia has to offer, hike and kayak, try out new places to eat, and, when I have the time, attempt to craft with my Cricut machine.

My teaching philosophy is centered around the idea that it is important to guide students through real world inquiry and hands-on exploration. It is crucial to meet each child at his or her level through differentiated instruction based on need, learning style, and interest. I also believe that creating a classroom environment that is safe, positive, inclusive, and fun is vital to learning. I hope to instill a passion for life-long learning in each of my students!


Catherine Eisel-Elder

Second Grade Teacher

Education: Bachelor of Arts in English Language and Literature with minors in French and International Studies, Shorter College, 2007; Master of Arts in Teaching, Early Childhood Education, Mercer University, 2012; Gifted endorsement. Prior to her time at TMS, she taught 2nd grade for 2 years at The Main Street Academy in College Park, and K-2 EIP at Barden Elementary in Macon, and came to TMS in the 2015-16 school year.
A Personal Note: I grew up in Macon, Georgia and got my IB diploma from Central High there. After I got my undergraduate degree, I had an internship in Washington, DC for 6 months. While I was working on my Master’s, I ran the Children’s Department at Barnes & Noble and worked as a kindergarten assistant in Macon. I got married in 2013; my husband, Philip, and I welcomed our first child in November 2014 and our second in November 2017! I love to read, play with my kids and two dogs, and learn about anything and everything!
Teaching Philosophy: I believe that every student is capable of learning and loving learning, and my job is to help them find, ignite, and cultivate that lifelong love of learning. I work to show students mutual respect and understanding, realizing that students are whole people, and educating them accordingly. I aim to make students feel safe to take risks and take charge of their own learning, always reaching to become better, kinder, more compassionate and active members of their communities. I allow for this reaching by empowering students to work hard, explore their world, and build their own ideas and test them in a safe and respectful environment.


Aly Thorne

2nd Grade Teacher



Third Grade

Lynnsey Armstrong

3rd Grade Teacher

Education: Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education from The University of Georgia with an endorsement in gifted education. I began my teaching career in 2011.

A personal note: I am from a small city called LaGrange, GA and am greatly enjoying the Atlanta area. As a daughter of a father who is a police officer and a mother who is a social worker, I have always appreciated the value of a career in helping others and providing a public service. I enjoy reading, traveling, watching sports (specifically college football), and generally experiencing new things.
Teaching philosophy: I believe that a teacher’s job is to facilitate learning. In my classroom, I hope to help students reach their own understandings in their own unique ways. My goal is to create a community of lifelong learners who enjoy discovering as much as possible about the world around them.


Emily Clelland

3rd Grade Teacher

Education: Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education, Georgia Gwinnett College
Literacy and ESOL Endorsements

This is my fourth year teaching elementary education. I taught in Gwinnett County, prior to moving to The Museum School of Avondale Estates. When I’m not teaching, I spend time with my fiance, and our two rockstar dogs, Jagger and Axel. I love to explore local coffee shops, read graphic novels, camp, play Nintendo Switch games, and everything crafty!

My teaching philosophy focuses on instilling a love of learning in children, and providing real word experiences to set them up for success in all their future endeavors. It is important to believe in my students and allow them to discover themselves through learning. As an educator, it is my priority to use my enthusiasm and creativity to create a welcoming, positive, and engaging learning environment.


Brittney Ford

3rd Grade Teacher



Fourth Grade

Tami Gonzalez

Fourth Grade Teacher

Education:
Bachelor of Science Middle Level Education, Georgia State University
-Middle Grades Reading (4-8)
-Middle Grades Language Arts (4-8)
-Early Childhood

This is Mrs. Gonzalez’s third year teaching 4th grade at The Museum School.

A personal note: You can find me in my hometown of Destin, Fla. spending time with friends and family on the Emerald Coast. After dating my husband Chase for 6 years, we were married in September of 2015! My most treasured pastimes include attending music festivals, sporting events, yoga, cycling, hiking, traveling, and snuggling up with a good book. In January of 2018, my husband and I welcomed our baby girl, Austyn Harper. Lately, we spend a lot of our time with exploring the world with Austyn and learning how to be parents!

Teaching philosophy: My philosophy embraces an inclusive learning atmosphere that fosters differentiated instruction in a general classroom to accommodate the needs of all students. I believe in incorporating interactive, student-centered activities, that will stimulate the essence of gratitude, appreciation of diversity, and the importance of working collaboratively to solve problems meaningfully. Ultimately, it is my priority to maintain a classroom where students feel comfortable, inspired, and valued.


Robin Hollis

Fourth Grade Teacher

Education: Bachelor of Arts, Communications, The Pennsylvania State University Master of Arts in Teaching, Oglethorpe University

Before joining The Museum School, she taught third and fourth grade at Dunwoody Elementary, and fourth grade at Austin Elementary in DeKalb County.

Ms. Hollis transitioned from corporate marketing to teaching in 2008, before joining The Museum School in 2014. On a Personal Note: I belong to two book clubs. Some of my favorite pastimes are traveling, reading, watching movies, exercising, decorating our home, and creating arts and crafts projects.

Teaching Philosophy: I believe in creating a classroom community based on mutual respect and responsibility, fostering a passion for learning by allowing children to explore and make choices about what and how they learn, incorporating families, the community and various perspectives in the classroom, and developing and supporting each child’s emotional and social development along the way.


Kimberly O’Malley

Fourth Grade Teacher

Kimi O’Malley has been teaching since 2006 and she has been at The Museum School since 2010. She has taught both 4th and 5th grade at TMS. She absolutely loves math and watching the many lightbulb moments happen in her 4th grade math class!

A Personal Note: My husband and I have been married since July 2007. We have a daughter, Juliet who was born in 2014 and a son, Atlas that was born in 2019. I am originally from Marietta, Georgia and moved to midtown Atlanta during college. My family loves living in the city where we can walk everywhere and enjoy everything that encompasses a city life. In my spare time I enjoy reading, dancing, singing and playing with my kids, Juliet & Atlas.

Teaching Philosophy: I believe children benefit from an environment that allows them to explore and construct their learning as I facilitate. I teach to the individual child by differentiating my instruction based on ability levels, interests and learning styles. My hope is that my students develop a life-long love of learning and they understand that with hard work and dedication, they can become whatever they dream of being.



Fifth Grade

Erica Marsh

5th Grade Teacher


Tiffany Niemeyer

5th Grade Teacher

Education: Bachelor of Liberal Arts (Psychology) State University of West Georgia and Master’s degree in Special Education from Georgia State University. I am humbled to be joining the Museum School as a 5th grade teacher. I have been teaching for 15 years grades 4-8 and grade 5 is my absolute favorite. I enjoy surfing, camping, hiking, traveling, snowboarding, and I am head over heels in love with my dog Tonka. Teaching philosophy: My teaching philosophy centers on giving learners the opportunity to collaborate and learn from others. I believe a classroom should be a safe place where differences are celebrated and inclusivity is the norm.


Brenna Searcy

5th Grade Teacher



Middle School

Avery Alexander

6th Grade Social Studies

Education: B.S. in Middle Grades Education (Social Studies and Reading) and minor in Appalachian studies from the University of North Georgia, Dahlonega, GA. Being a part of The Museum School is a rewarding and unique experience. 6th Grade Social Studies is my favorite grade and subject so I feel very lucky to be here in a community that allows me to provide young people with creative outlets and opportunities within public education. I love project based learning and I believe students learn best by experiencing and researching. I grew up in Atlanta and live in Decatur with my husband, dog, and cats. I love to travel, but have a deep love for southern Appalachia. I enjoy gardening, cooking, reading, creating, and being a part of my community. I’m a life long learner and hope to inspire my students to be life long learners as well.


Christi Brittian

7th Grade Social Studies

Education: Bachelor of Arts in Middle Level Education, Clayton State University and Gifted Endorsement. Brittian has been teaching at The Museum School since 2012. I am honored to be a part of a wonderful school community like TMS. A personal note: My husband and I have two wonderful daughters, Grace and Sophia. I enjoy live music, camping, hiking, traveling and cooking. Teaching philosophy: My teaching philosophy centers on honoring and respecting each student and his/her unique and individual needs. My goal is to create an atmosphere of trust and compassion so that all students feel confident to take risks and reach their highest potential. I believe learning should always be meaningful and relevant to students’ lives. I encourage students to question, problem solve and work together to find solutions and understand other points of view.


Desiree Carter

7th Grade ELA Teacher

Mrs. Carter is the 7th grade English language arts teacher and yearbook adviser at The Museum School of Avondale Estates.
Prior to teaching at TMS, Mrs. Carter taught 9th through 12th grade students and advised the yearbook staff at Dunwoody High School.
Though Mrs. Carter has lived in large cities like Atlanta and New York City, she grew up in a small town that proclaims itself the fruitcake capital of the world — Claxton, Georgia — and first attended Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, Georgia.  She met her husband, Brian Carter, in 2004 while they were both studying  anthropology at Georgia State University.    Mrs. Carter specialized in education, and her husband specialized in public health.  He is now an  epidemiologist at the American Cancer Society.
The two married in the summer of 2010, adopted a labradoodle named Chloe in February 2011, added a daughter named Margot to the family in
 September 2014, and adopted a lab named Ripley in August 2016.  They love to spend their time talking about books and the stars.


Laurie Clarke

6th Grade Science

Education: BS University of Maryland, College Park; MS California State University, Fullerton. I have been teaching biology as an adjunct instructor since 2003. I am currently enrolled in the Georgia Charter School Association Teacher Academy for Preparation and Pedagogy and am extremely delighted to be a part of the learning community at The Museum School! A personal note: My family moved to Atlanta in 2015. We live in Decatur and have 2 dogs, 2 cats, and 4 chickens. When I have free time, I enjoy reading, gardening, cooking, and bird watching. Teaching philosophy: I continually strive to develop a broad array of teaching skills and adjust them to meet the needs of my students. I think it is essential to encourage students to master course material, yet also help them develop broader, skills such as communication, critical thinking, and motivation. Getting to know my students and creating engaging lessons that are relevant to their lives make every day teaching fun, challenging, and very rewarding.


Stephanie Earnest

7th Grade Science

Education:
Bachelor of Science in Middle Grades Education, North Georgia College and State University Masters of Secondary Science, Mercer Unviersity
Gifted & ESOL Endorsement

This is my seventh year at The Museum School, but my 18th year of teaching in the classroom. I have taught Science, Social Studies, and Reading in grades 6-8 in Dekalb County and Forsyth County. I have been fortunate to teach a wide variety of students that differ in their backgrounds and needs.

A personal note: I live with my husband and 3 year old son in Decatur. I am most at peace when I am outside and/or active; that could be hiking, biking, traveling, camping, or sitting in a hammock and reading.

Teaching Philosophy: My Philosophy is somewhat wrapped up in my content area. I think kids are born with a natural curiosity and wonder about the world around them, which is the basis of science: a question. My hope in teaching is to maintain and grow that curiosity in kids. I want kids to desire to be creative, innovative, and knowledgeable. I hope to accomplish this goal by providing engaging and hands-on instruction that addresses a variety of learning styles.


Dakota Floyd

6th Grade ELA

Education: Bachelor of Arts from Berry College in Rome, GA (2012)
Master of Arts from Georgia State University (2015)

Dakota is absolutely thrilled to be a part of the Museum School family. He loves to do research, read, and write which may explain why he’s a middle grades ELA and Journalism teacher. Before entering the teaching field, Dakota was a semi-professional musician and has worked many odd jobs with even odder hours. Dakota grew up in the mountains of North Georgia, loves to be outside (despite his paleness), and adores dogs of all shapes, sizes, and textures. If given the opportunity, he will make enough puns to make even the strongest-willed listener audibly groan.


Tonya Gideon

8th Grade ELA Teacher


Chad Lane

8th Grade Science


Josh Mathews

8th Grade Math

As I enter my 16th year in education, I am excited to join the team at The Museum School.  During my career, I’ve spent over 10 years teaching science, social studies, and math in the classroom, in addition to coaching teachers as a Gifted Coordinator, Instructional Coach, and, most recently, as an Assistant Principal.  I see this role not only as a teacher of content, but also as a contributing member of a larger community, both within the walls and outside the walls of The Museum School, to support children and their families through their middle school years.  I bring to the community a wife of 15 years and two incredibly energetic boys ages four and two.  We enjoy being outside as often as possible, riding bikes, hiking, and playing soccer.  I look forward to the challenges and excitement that are part of working in a school and can’t wait to partner with TMS students and families.


Kerrie Rich

6th Grade Math

Education:
Bachelor’s in Early Education at Buffalo State University
Master’s in Curriculum, Assessment and Instruction from Walden University

Rich has 11 years experience teaching third and fourth grades in South Fulton County schools. This is her second year at The Museum School.

A personal note: In my spare time I like to read (Harry Potter is a personal favorite), dance and try new, Atlanta restaurants. I love to travel, especially to Jamaica, but any tropical beach will do.

Teaching philosophy: I believe in teaching the whole child: academics, socialization, character education and conflict resolution. I try to make everything relate to a real world experience in order to connect the student to their learning and make learning more exciting. If students can see that what they are doing makes a difference in the world, they will become more interested in learning and doing, which makes our community a better place.


Peter Robertson

8th Grade Social Studies


Laura Steward

7th Grade Math


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