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​The student is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like their teacher.
Luke 6:40

Jenny Howell
Headmaster


My family is from the great state of Texas but have lived in Tennessee for the last 16 years. Though we miss Texas, we love the mountains and the gorgeous outdoors here in Tennessee. My husband Jonathan and I met at Texas A&M and have been married for 25 years. We have two children, Julia and Jacob. Julia is a senior at Texas A&M and Jacob plans to attend Auburn University in the fall. We love to travel and explore new places and foods. We also enjoy hiking and mountain biking.

With over 25 years of experience in education, I have a passion for growing students and educators. I graduated from Texas A&M University with a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from the College of Education. I have taught preschool through third grade with most of my teaching experience in first grade, in both public and private schools in Texas and Tennessee. I have led early childhood programs for the last 15 years. I previously oversaw an early childhood program, a PK – 8th grade afterschool program, and the summer program at St Agnes Academy – St Dominic School in Memphis, Tennessee.

Continuing to learn is important to me as an educator. I completed the Certificate in Early Education Leadership from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education, which is an 18-month program. Soon after that, I received my master’s degree in Independent School Leadership from Vanderbilt University. I love to read, listen to blogs, and keep up with the latest articles on education and leadership.

Outside of my career, I enjoy time with my family, traveling, tennis and contributing to my community. I play USTA tennis and am always up for a tennis match. I am active in the Association of Former Students from my alma mater, Texas A&M and we love to travel for football games in the fall.

I fell in love with Hickory Valley the moment I stepped on campus. My family and I are excited to be closer to family in Chattanooga, closer to the mountains and join the Hickory Valley community. 

Admin Team

Amber Cruz
Administrative Assistant to Headmaster

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Amber Cruz
Administrative Assistant to Headmaster


Debra McGhee
Financial Manager

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Debra McGhee
Financial Manager


Debra McGhee is the Financial Manager for HVCS. She graduated from The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and received a B.S. degree double-majoring in both Accounting and Marketing. She is a native of Chattanooga. She lives in Ooltewah with her husband Tom and has two children Kelsey and Garrett. Kelsey is a newlywed and current HVCS K3 teacher.  Debra happily welcomes Kelsey’s husband, Hunter as her “other son”.  Garrett recently graduated from UTC. Kelsey and Garrett are HVCS alumni. Debra enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, hiking and biking, reading, and cheering for the Tennessee Vols!  Debra is an active member of Ridgedale Baptist Church and considers it a blessing and joy to be able to work in a Christ-centered environment at HVCS.

 



Kelly Nichols
Library Science and Art Teacher and School Technology Manager

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Kelly Nichols
Library Science and Art Teacher and School Technology Manager


Kelly Nichols is our Media Specialist and Compliance Coordinator. She manages our Pre-K State licensing procedures and teaches our art and library classes. Mrs. Nichols has worked in childcare for many years and has extensive training in TN State Childcare Rules and Regulations. Her previous work experience also includes a position as the Children's Advocate for Flint Circuit Council of Domestic Violence as well as field work for the Girl Scouts of Concharty Council. She attends Christway Community Church with her husband Walt and her daughter Taylor. Taylor is an HVCS Alumni.

Alisa Stipanov
Director of Admissions

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Alisa Stipanov
Director of Admissions


Alisa Stipanov graduated from Tennessee Tech University with a BS in Nursing and Vanderbilt University with her Masters in Nursing as a Family Nurse Practitioner. She worked as a Bone Marrow Transplant Nurse Practitioner at Vanderbilt before moving with her husband Mike to Chattanooga. After her 3 children, Benjamin, Nicholas, and Anna Kate, graduated from HVCS she began a second career as our Director of Admissions. She enjoys sharing with prospective families what makes HVCS such a gem in Chattanooga. Other loves include running marathons, hiking, traveling, and time with family.


Grade Level Teachers

Kelsey Johns
K3 Lead Teacher

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Kelsey Johns
K3 Lead Teacher


Kelsey has been part of the HVCS family for several years.  She is an alumni of HVCS and enjoyed her years here as a student.  While attending college, Kelsey worked as an assistant in our aftercare program and summer camp and then went on to be the Director of both of these programs.  She also helped out as one of the K4 nap instructors while she was in college for a few years before becoming the K3 lead teacher!  Kelsey graduated from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC) with a Bachelor's of Science (B.S.) degree in Early Childhood Education and Family Studies.  When Kelsey is not working, she enjoys staying active and spending time with the people she loves most. She is happily married to Hunter Johns since July 28, 2019.  She is very happy to be teaching the wonderful kids in K3 and LOVES her job!!!

Misty McInnes
K4 Lead Teacher

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Misty McInnes
K4 Lead Teacher


Misty McInnes received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Social Work from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.  She packs our K4 program with creativity, age appropriate academics, and lots of fun. Two days a week in the afternoon, she teaches PE to students K4-5th grade. Exposing our students to all manner of sports while emphasizing team work, good sportsmanship and trying something new. She is from Wisconsin originally but moved to Illinois before coming to Tennessee in 2013.  Misty is married to Nate and has two children Makayla and Zachary.  She enjoys crafting, running and hiking. 


Kindergarten Teacher


Coming Soon!

Anita Smith
Teacher Aide

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Anita Smith
Teacher Aide


Coming Soon

Kathy Higley
1st Grade Teacher

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Kathy Higley
1st Grade Teacher


Kathy Higley graduated from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a Masters in Early Elementary Education licensure to teach PreK through 3rd, with an endorsement in Special Education. She worked at Sylvan Learning Center and taught at Skyuka Hall. Previously, she attended UTC earning a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and worked at Tennessee Valley Authority as a Contracting Officer for 21 years. She is married to Art Higley and they have one son, Benjamin.  Her husband also has three grown children and seven grandchildren. She is a member of Hixson Presbyterian Church and serves in the children’s ministry.  She enjoys walking, hiking, biking, gardening, and taking care of her animals.  


Devinne Losee
2nd Grade Teacher


Devinne Losee biography coming soon!

Debbie Aytes
3rd Grade Lead Teacher

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Debbie Aytes
3rd Grade Lead Teacher


Debbie Aytes bio coming soon!

LeeAnne Viall
4th Grade Teacher

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LeeAnne Viall
4th Grade Teacher


LeeAnne Viall has taught everything from college writing to music to preschool. She's been teaching at HVCS since 2012 and absolutely loves seeing life through the eyes of kindergartners. An avid anglophile and animal-lover, Mrs. Viall enjoys reading, soccer, traveling, and all things Jane Austen! She is originally from South Carolina but moved to Tennessee in 1990. She and her husband Bobby have one daughter, now a middle-schooler, who also graduated from HVCS. The family are members of Christ United Methodist Church in East Brainerd. Mrs. Viall holds bachelor's and master's degrees from UTC. 

Dara Bechtol
5th Grade Teacher

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Dara Bechtol
5th Grade Teacher


Dara Bechtol received her Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Auburn University in 2001. Dara has taught at Hickory Valley since 2002. She currently teaches 5th grade. She is a native of Chattanooga and attended GPS. Dara is the wife of Matt Bechtol and the mother of James, Davis and Tallulah.

Specials Teachers

Amie Brewster
Spanish Teacher

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Amie Brewster
Spanish Teacher


Amie Brewster received her Associate of Science degree from Chattanooga State and continued on to UTC studying Education. She says she is, "beyond blessed to be able to live my dream of teaching at such an amazing school." Prior to joining HVCS she turned a passion for event planning into a small business. She enjoys reading, crafts and planning children's events. She lives in Ooltewah with her husband Jason and two daughters, Chloe and Addelyn. 

Misty McInnes
Physical Education Teacher and K4 Teacher

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Misty McInnes
Physical Education Teacher and K4 Teacher


Misty McInnes received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Social Work from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.  She packs our K4 program with creativity, age appropriate academics, and lots of fun. Two days a week in the afternoon, she teaches PE to students K4-5th grade. Exposing our students to all manner of sports while emphasizing team work, good sportsmanship and trying something new. She is from Wisconsin originally but moved to Illinois before coming to Tennessee in 2013.  Misty is married to Nate and has two children Makayla and Zachary.  She enjoys crafting, running and hiking. 

Meg Scott
Reading Specialist Teacher

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Meg Scott
Reading Specialist Teacher


Meg Scott graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree from UTC in Elementary Education with both (k-4) and (5-8) certifications. She teaches second and third grade reading. She has attended many specialized reading workshops. This year, she also serves as a reading specialist for HVCS. She has been at HVCS since 2002. She is a native of Chattanooga, and attended GPS.


Bonny Shepard
Music

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Bonny Shepard
Music


Bonny Shepard graduated from Salem College in Winston-Salem, N.C. She and her husband, Bob, moved to Florida after their marriage and Bonny taught public school music in that state for 6 years. They moved to Chattanooga in 1975. Bonny received a Masters in Music Education from the University of Florida that same year. She was a district elementary music consultant with the Chattanooga city schools for 3 years and taught music for 1 year at St. Nicholas. Bonny has 2 daughters, a son, and two grandsons. After her children graduated, Bonny taught K4 classes and music for 5 years at her church’s CDC. Bonny taught Kindergarten and music here at HVCS from 2004-2019 and continues to enjoy teaching music to our K4-5th grade.

Jessica Lee
Computer Teacher

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Jessica Lee
Computer Teacher


Coming soon!

Emma Veys
Drama

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Emma Veys
Drama


Emma Veys having previously served as Headmaster of HVCS for 7 yrs. felt it was time to return to the classroom and head up our drama program. She and husband Joe reside in Chattanooga along with their four children Sophie, JT, Henry and Luci. They are members of St. Martin's Episcopal Church. Emma received her Bachelor’s Degree from Wellesley College and her Master’s Degree in Education from The Ohio State University. In addition to having taught for 4 years at HVCS, she has been involved with the school for 8 years and has well over 20 years of educational experience. 

After Care Staff