Perhaps the most significant change this year is Emily Haney taking over as LMS principal after Ruth White’s retirement. Emily has been a wonderful fit at LMS, striving to “continue the tradition of academic excellence in the areas of student achievement and growth.” Emily comes to LMS after serving for over 12 years at Fairyland Elementary, including six as assistant principal, and serving the previous school year as assistant principal at Rossville Elementary. She is the mother of a teenage daughter, and she holds a B.S. degree in early childhood education and a master’s of educational leadership degree, both from Kennesaw State University. Emily is being beautifully supported in her new role by Missy McKenna, who has made the move from veteran LMS kindergarten teacher to LMS vice principal. They make a wonderful team and have had a successful start to the year. Emily shares that she has been “impressed with how hard the teachers worked to prepare for the opening of school” and that she is “very much enjoying getting to know each member of this school community.”
Moving into Missy’s kindergarten instructor’s role is her former classroom assistant, Kelly Carrol, whose top wish-list item for her classroom is laughter! Kelly has been joined by new faculty member Anna Harris as her classroom assistant. A North Carolina native, Anna is happy to be settled in Chattanooga with her husband and three kids. She shares, “From the moment I pulled up to LMS to interview, the building oozed character, and the community presence was felt,” adding that once she was inside the doors, she knew she didn’t want to leave. Anna looks forward to supporting Kelly in the classroom, with the hope that “when each student leaves for the day, they feel loved, seen, heard, and noticed.” She captures the fun of working with the kindergarteners, calling it a “smorgasbord of hilarious interactions” without a dull moment! Former LMS P.E. assistant Lacey Redden is experiencing these same fun-filled interactions, as she moves into the role of kindergarten classroom assistant to Lee Cook, and the students love interacting with Lacey in this new role.
Molly Ball is the new first grade teacher this year. She is from Murfreesboro and received her degree in early childhood education from Middle Tennessee State University. Molly has been impressed by the “welcoming and sweet community” at LMS, and her goal for the year is to be “invested in the lives of [her] students and their families and create a lifelong love of learning.” Assisting Molly in this admirable goal (as well as anything else that she and the other first and second grade instructors may need) is another new face, educational assistant Kyle Wood. Kyle will also help with small group tutoring and literacy lab. He has worked as an assistant and substitute teacher in Hamilton County Schools since he and his wife moved to Chattanooga from the Dallas- Fort Worth area of Texas in 2020. Kyle holds a bachelor of fine arts degree from The University of Texas at Arlington as well as EC-12th grade certification for Art from Texas A&M University, Commerce. Outside of education, he is a working artist, painting primarily oil landscapes as well as some pet portraits, and some of his works are even licensed onto products like puzzles and cross-stitch patterns.
In third grade, Gina Hughes is happy to be returning to LMS, taking on the role of math and science instructor, and she is being joined by Betsy Cake, who will lead third grade ELA and social studies during Ms. Yeaworth’s leave of absence this year. Betsy is not an entirely new face at LMS; she is a Lookout Mountain native (and LMS graduate!), who has been involved with the school as a parent volunteer for many years. Students have loved getting to know her in this new teaching role, as she guides them to a deeper understanding of reading books and crafting what they have read into writing. Outside of the classroom, Betsy enjoys reading, which is very fitting, and she also loves to hike. One more shift in the third grade is Joy Kaeser, who has moved from instructor into the lead response to intervention (RTI) role for LMS, helping to “decrease student knowledge gaps and improve student performance.”
In fact, there have been several new additions to the school in the area of student support. Erin Reardon has joined LMS as counselor, much to the delight of Mrs. Haney, who has worked closely with her in the past and has seen her positive influence firsthand. Tara Strang will serve as school psychologist, and Bailey Olds will serve as social worker. Bailey splits her time with CSAS Lower School, and she shares that she can already see how “tight knit” the community at LMS is. She came to Chattanooga to study social work at UTC as an undergrad and then stayed on to earn her masters in that field. She previously worked as a therapist at Volunteer Behavioral Health and she hopes that her work at LMS will “support students and their families by addressing various needs in their lives,” and she is building “positive relationships and providing a positive experience for students that are needing additional social emotional help to encourage them to love school and strive for further achievements.” Debbie Lifsey is also new to Hamilton County Schools, but she is no stranger to Lookout Mountain; she and her husband lived here for 10 years, and her four children attended Fairyland School. She is also no stranger to McCallie families, having taught science there for 11 years and leading the school’s First Camp, where she got to know many LMS families during this summer camp program. Debbie joins LMS as student support coach, which allows her to “use a relationship-based approach to build trust, well-being, and belonging to help support students.” She says she could “quickly tell that this community loves and supports this school with their whole hearts.” As she is learning more about the LMS students, she laughed that one student had jokingly tried to convince her that his name was Chicken Nugget, and she can’t wait to meet more of the LMS families.
Finally, fifth grade also has a new face joining the LMS family this year. Jenah Cooper is the new fifth grade English and Social Studies teacher. Jenah is originally from Rogersville, Tenn., and she received her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from King University. During her time there, she served as the president of the student teaching club and competed on the acrobatics and tumbling team (a fact which is particularly impressive to her students). She moved to Chattanooga to teach pre-K at Good Shepherd School, and families on the mountain were thrilled to find out she was making the move to LMS this year. Jenah shares that she has “amazing support from the administration, coworkers, parents, and students” at LMS. She says, “I look forward to seeing and teaching my students each day, forming relationships with those around me, and growing as an educator.” This year, Jenah hopes to “gain new skills [to] continuously apply in the classroom in present and upcoming years,” and she is happy to be learning and growing alongside her students. She and Mrs. Inman have already made this final year at LMS a fun and special one for their fifth-graders.
Clearly, there have been some exciting shifts and additions taking place at LMS. Even when you enter the LMS front office, you will see a newly remodeled space (thanks to funds raised at Night Out for Lookout) and the new face of clerical assistant Kim Weiss. And while there is a whole lot of “new” abounding, the elements that make LMS such a special place firmly remain: the tightly knit, supportive community that is dedicated to providing the very best possible education for its students as well as an environment that is - as Emily Haney puts it - “filled with smiles and laughter.”
by Meredith Brown