Katy McKinney - First Grade Teacher
BS, Education, Samford University. Serving Paideia Academy since 2015.
"Before the blessing of my four kiddos came along, I taught 5th grade at Christian Academy of Knoxville and 2nd grade to English Language Learners at Mt. View Elementary School in Nashville, TN. Our family was a part of the homeschool umbrella at Paideia for five years as we homeschooled from the suburbs of west Knoxville, to the cloud forest of the Guatemalan highlands, and back to the beautiful farmland of Lenoir City. Through all the transitions, I have most enjoyed teaching my children how to read. Our son entered Paideia in 4th grade, and we quickly fell in love with the heart of education taking place at the school. I am so thankful that the Lord opened the door for me to teach and journey with Paideia families as their children become confident readers and explore God's creativity throughout science, math, and history. My prayer is that in my classroom my students will experience a taste of the depth of Christ's love for them. Eph. 3:14-21"
Valerie Nerge - First Grade Teacher
BS, Early Childhood and Elementary Education, Auburn University. Serving Paideia Academy since 2016.
"How wonderful our heavenly father is! God has blessed me with the opportunity to serve in a wonderful Christ centered school. I have wanted to teach since I was a young child, and God has opened the doors and surrounded me with amazing teachers to work with. This is my fourth year teaching, and my first year at Paideia. I was born and raised in south Florida where I met and married my high school sweetheart. We have three beautiful children, two of whom attend Paideia with me. The Paideia community has been such a comfort and help to our family as we discovered soon after we arrived in TN that my husband had cancer. I'm in awe of how our heavenly father works and takes care of his children. It is an honor to serve at Paideia academy with a staff that loves Jesus more than anything."
Patti McConnell - Second Grade Teacher
BA, English major, Elementary Education minor, University of Tennessee; MS Curriculum and Instruction Major, University of Tennessee. Serving Paideia since 2016.
"God put a calling in my heart for teaching when I was a child, and it has been a blessing to teach over the past twenty years in the classroom and as a homeschool mom. My husband and I have three children: Luke, Molly, and Maddie. Our son, Luke, is a graduate of L&N STEM Academy, and I am very grateful to have Molly and Maddie here with me at Paideia. After graduating from college, I taught Kindergarten and first grade before coming home to teach my own children. I fell in love with classical education during our homeschool years when we became involved in Classical Conversations. At Classical Conversations my children were able to participate in classes that incorporated all three stages of classical education for their prospective ages, and I could truly see the benefits of classical education unfolding. One stage naturally built upon another as they were learning how to become independent, critical thinkers. God has graciously transitioned us into Paideia Academy where my children are fed spiritually in the truth of God’s word as a foundation for all they do academically. I am so thankful for our educational community that is unified in their vision to raise up students who love the Lord and want to put Him first in all they do! It is a joy to be a part of the Paideia staff."
Barbara Williams - Second Grade Teacher
BM, Wesleyan College. Serving Paideia Academy since 2005.
"I have been teaching for 25 years covering grades K through 12. I have taught second, third, and fourth grades while at Paideia. I was also a choir director for 12 years directing preschool choirs through adult choirs. I have done solo work in churches and in the community. I was a lead teacher for six years serving as interim head mistress in another classical Christian school. I have four children and seven grandchildren."
Amy Hamill - Third Grade Teacher
BS, Early Childhood and Elementary Education, University of Alabama at Birmingham; MEd, emphasis on Teacher Leadership, Grand Canyon University. Serving Paideia Academy since 2015.
"I am very excited to be a part of the Paideia family. My teaching background includes six years as 4th grade teacher at Evangel Classical Christian School in Birmingham, Alabama, where I received a lot of classical training. I also worked at Providence Classical Academy in Shreveport, LA, where I taught 5th grade and had the privilege to be a lead teacher and serve other teachers as well as students. Through God's sovereignty and graciousness, He moved us here where I am excited to continue my ministry in classical education. I look forward to many wonderful years!"
Shane vande Brake - Fourth Grade Teacher
BA, Spanish, King College; MA Spanish literature, University of Tennessee, Knoxville; PhD, Modern Foreign Languages, University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Serving Paideia Academy since 2016.
"I have taught Spanish to college students for most of my career, but God led me to Paideia as both a parent and a teacher. Although my background is primarily in Spanish, much of my teaching has been spent on explaining the mechanics of the English language to students. After homeschooling my own children for a year, I recognized a calling to teach children. It is my desire to bless Paideia by encouraging students in their walk with the Lord and by inspiring them to be lovers of learning. I also hope that my love of languages is contagious, piquing the students' interest in other cultures while strengthening their established tie to Latin. My husband Matthew and I have three children: Miles, Eden, and Isa."
Cari Welsh - Fifth Grade Teacher; Homeschool Umbrella Coordinator
BA, History, University of Tennessee, Summa Cum Laude; MS, Information Science, University of Tennessee, Magna Cum Laude. Serving Paideia Academy since 2017.
"I am beyond excited and honored to have the opportunity to teach Fifth grade at Paideia. I have had the pleasure of being a part of the Paideia community for 6 years. My oldest daughter, Lilly, started in Kindergarten and is in the Class of 2024. My youngest daughter, Piper, is following her in the Class of 2027. History is one of my passions and I quickly became passionate about classical Christian education. Seeing students grasp a concept they’d struggled with or watching that “lightbulb” moment when a connection was made was rewarding, but I always felt the greatest reward was watching even the youngest students see, feel, and hear God’s Word breathed into every subject and discussion. I am deeply blessed and honored to have the opportunity guide the 5th grade students towards not only those moments of connection, but also towards a deeper understanding of God’s Word and His creation."
Pam de Lorenzo - Latin
BS, Education, Franciscan University; Associates Degree Nursing (RN), Kent State University. Serving Paideia Academy since 2014.
"My family and I came to Paideia after 10 years of homeschooling classically. God opened the doors, and we moved to Knoxville specifically for our children to attend Paideia, so it is a blessing to now be serving at the school. Our son Conlan is a graduate in the Class of 2016, and Hayden is in second grade. I want my students to hear and see from my life that 'the Lord is Good; His mercy is everlasting. And His truth endures to all generations.'"
Cathy Tanner - Bible; Science
Serving Paideia Academy since 2011.
“During our family’s homeschooling years our goal was to provide a Christ-centered education for our daughter. In 2008, we were ready to seek the aid of a school with the same aim, and in His kindness the Lord directed us to Paideia Academy. Its emphasis on a Christ-centered, covenantal, and classical education appealed to us immediately, and our family enthusiastically joined this precious community. Over the next three years I served frequently as a substitute teacher and experienced the unique blessing of having an inside glimpse of the environment in which our daughter was growing academically and spiritually in knowledge and grace. Since joining the staff I have tremendously enjoyed the privilege of shepherding, teaching, and learning along with our students for the ever-increasing glory of our Savior Jesus Christ!”
Kim Chandler - Assessment and Accommodations Program Coordinator
BA, Sociology, Biola University; Multi-subjects Credential, K-8, University of California, Irvine; MEd, Curriculum Instruction, emphasis on Staff Development, California State University at Fullerton; National Board Certified Teacher, Early Childhood Generalist. Serving Paideia Academy since 2015.
"I have taught grades Kindergarten through fifth, but a majority of my teaching experience is in grades 1-3. I have served as a literacy coach, and mentor/master teacher in California, and after a move to Knoxville, as a second grade teacher and mentor teacher at Farragut Primary School. Our children began their journey with Paideia Academy in the fall of 2013. We have been blessed by the spiritual, emotional, and academic growth we have seen in both of our boys since that time. I am so blessed and thankful to be at Paideia with my boys as I serve as the Assessment and Accommodations Program (AAP) coordinator. It is my prayer that God will direct the implementation of the AAP to support the educational experience of Paideia students, families, and teachers. My husband Erik serves as a staff pastor at Fellowship Church, and we have two lively, curious and energetic boys, Jude and Elijah."
Beth Ann Bertram - Grammar School Assistant
BS, Agriculture, University of Tennessee; MS, Agriculture in Food Science, University of Tennessee. Serving Paideia Academy since 2015.
"Our family is deeply grateful to have a rich academic environment at Paideia Academy where 'sola scriptura' forms the core of all curricula. I am privileged to support the teachers who will educate each child in this classroom through the exemplification of Christ’s love. It is my purpose to seek God and to be a resource in His provision, and I am honored to serve His children. I worked as a food scientist overseeing the research and development of new food products for 17 years and have worked as a substitute teacher for 2 years before coming to Paideia. My husband Max and I have three boys – Josh, Alex and Magnus."