Valor Flagship Academy Team

Scott Campbell

Lead Teacher: 6th Grade Social Studies

Bio

Scott Campbell

Lead Teacher: 6th Grade Social Studies

Mr. Campbell and his family moved from Washington, D.C where he served as the Assistant Principal at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology. He received his M.S. in Secondary Education and B.A. in Political Science with minors in History and Secondary Education from the University of Tennessee. At UT he was the was awarded the Volunteer of Year and Torchbearer awards. He also received his Ed.S. from The George Washington University in Washington, DC in Educational Leadership and Administration. 

Mr. Campbell started his teaching career as a student teacher at Fulton High School in Knoxville, TN before moving with his wife to Durham, NC.  There he served as a teacher, department chair, varsity soccer coach, moot court sponsor, and founder of student leadership retreat at J.F. Webb High School in Oxford, NC. From NC, Mr. Campbell and his wife moved to Birmingham, AL where was a teacher, varsity soccer coach, cross country coach, and created a student leadership retreat. After his wife was offered a position in Washington, D.C., they moved to Capitol Hill and Mr. Campbell served at two schools in DC area.  The first was Phelps Architecture, Construction, and Engineering High School and the second was Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology.  In his career Mr. Campbell has taught AP United States History, AP United States Government and Politics, World History, US History, Economics, Civics, and Ethical Leadership.  

Mr. Campbell served as an Assistant Principal, AP U.S. Government and Politics College Board Exam Table Leader, he has presented at two national education conferences, was selected as the 2011 DC represented for the Presidential Academy for American History and Civics, was the 2007 Region Soccer Coach of the Year, and 2008 Teacher of the Year for J.F. Webb High School. He is excited to join the Valor community and learn from scholars, colleagues, and families that make Valor unique.

When not teaching you can find Mr. Campbell and his wife chasing around their son outside or smoking some barbecue. He still plays soccer, basketball, and volleyball and loves learning bad jokes.

Travis Commons

Principal

Bio

Travis Commons

Principal

Dr. Commons began his lifelong career of working with and for children as a Child Care Specialist in his home state of Indiana. Humbled by this important, but under-appreciated work, he began to explore the ways in which children learn, grow, and are often misunderstood. After his teacher training at Ball State University Teachers College, he worked as an elementary school teacher and then migrated from his Indiana roots to Chicago to take on the challenge of clinical special education in an urban hospital setting. His deep work with children and their families piqued his curiosity about how to prepare teachers to be influential in the lives of their students, and he left the classroom to pursue academia. While acquiring his Ph.D. at UIC, he had the opportunity to coordinate an alternative certification program for urban special education teachers in Chicago and to teach as part of the College of Education faculty. This work provided Dr. Commons with a valuable perspective on the complexity of the teaching profession and inspired him to return to the classroom and teach in the charter schools in Chicago.

As Dean of Scholars at Rowe Elementary, Dr. Commons revamped and oversaw the implementation of the scholar culture program at the school, creating significant measurable improvements in the school’s climate. As he transitioned to Assistant Principal at Rowe, his leadership work was recognized by the Illinois Network of Charter Schools, who recognized him as the state’s Charter Innovator of the Year in 2012.

Dr. Commons has been honored and privileged to be a part of the founding team at Valor. Outside of Valor, he loves all things culinary (especially the eating part!), reading a great piece of fiction, and playing with his Great Dane, Wyatt.

Torie Davidson

Lead Teacher: 5th Grade Reading

Bio

Torie Davidson

Lead Teacher: 5th Grade Reading

Torie Davidson’s love for students and her passion for their learning became undeniable her first year at DePauw University when she tutored middle school students at a rural Indiana school. It was during this experience that she recognized firsthand how student achievement has little to do with students’ own abilities and more to do with the opportunities given to them by their teachers, resources, and communities. The middle school students she was responsible for tutoring that semester rekindled the value of education her grandfather and family instilled in her in a new and powerful way. From then on, she made it her goal to serve and advocate for students in order to bring all students the empowering educational opportunities they deserve.

After graduating from DePauw University with a Bachelors of Arts in English Literature and Art History in 2013, Torie moved to Nashville to pursue her passion for teaching with Nashville Teaching Fellows. Having grown up in Memphis, she was not only thrilled to move back to the South but to engage with a more diverse population of students. She graduated from NTF and continued her teaching career at Cane Ridge High School where she taught senior English and was able to proudly watch two classes of seniors graduate. With their own fiery spirits, these two graduating classes constantly challenged her and motivated her to work harder to find methods and strategies to be a more intentional, creative, and devoted teacher. In the upcoming 2015-2016 school year, Torie cannot wait to begin her journey at Valor, to return to the middle school age group that captured her heart, to continue to serve Nashville’s students, and most importantly to learn from her incoming 5th grade students.

When Torie isn’t at school, she likes to explore as much as she can. Her explorations might involve trying a new yoga class, discovering a new hiking trail, tackling a new paleo recipe, catching up with friends over coffee, adding distance to her half marathon training, listening to live music at local venues, or settling into a favorite book.

Sahara Evans

Compass Coach

Bio

Sahara Evans

Compass Coach

Sahara Evans is a native of Pittsburgh, PA., and has lived in Nashville since 2000. Her appreciation for numerous cultural backgrounds and her focus on community collaboration has led her to study abroad in Egypt and Spain, as well as a number of volunteer opportunities. Sahara is a strong advocate of hands-on, inquiry-based learning. She involves youth in a variety of community service, and problem-solving infused activities that provide them with opportunities to use their strengths to help others. Since 2002 Sahara has spent many years working in the nonprofit sector. She also worked at the YMCA of Middle Tennessee, where she received the Strong Woman award. Sahara enjoys traveling with her family, reading and spending time with her French Bulldog who has been described as a “lazy diva”.  Sahara received both her Bachelor of Science and Master’s Degree from Tennessee State University, in the field(s) of Speech Pathology and Audiology, and Public Administration

Jamie Gutter

Assistant Principal

Bio

Jamie Gutter

Assistant Principal

Mr. Gutter is moving into a leadership role after teaching fifth grade math for two years at Valor Flagship. In the past two years, he has served in different leadership positions, coaching teachers on high leverage instructional techniques and serving as the Math Department Chair. Before Valor, Mr. Gutter worked at Glenview Elementary School, working with a diverse community of learners to help reach their full potential. Mr. Gutter taught for third grade for two years and then moved up to fourth grade for his third year to help his students and their families prepare for the transition into Middle School. Mr. Gutter loves working with young students, and helping them realize what they are capable of accomplishing through hard work, collaborating with others, and being willing to take chances to be successful.



Mr. Gutter is originally from North Carolina, where he attended the University of North Carolina. He was a Public Policy and Economics major, and did a lot of work in North Carolina in the political and policy world for non-profits, consulting groups, and political campaigns. He also tutored an at-risk student while in North Carolina, and helped coach different basketball teams and worked at summer basketball camps in the area. Mr. Gutter moved to Nashville to join Teach For America, and he has remained teaching past his original two year commitment. Mr. Gutter holds a M.Ed. in Instructional Practice from Lipscomb University. Mr. Gutter stayed involved with Teach For America by facilitating training sessions for new teachers in Nashville about best practices to be used in the classroom once he completed his two year commitment. Mr. Gutter also participates in a fellowship of other young educators interested in becoming school leaders.



In his spare time, Mr. Gutter loves watching and playing basketball. He also enjoys cooking and reading non-fiction books about history and politics. Mr. Gutter recently got married, so he loves spending time with his wife, two cute nephews and whole family.

Jamie Helgeson

Lead Teacher: 5th Science

Bio

Jamie Helgeson

Lead Teacher: 5th Science

Ms. Helgeson moved to Nashville a year ago from Seattle, Washington, where she was born and raised. She studied Elementary Education at the University of Washington in Seattle and is currently finishing up her Master’s degree from Lipscomb University. She started working at Valor as the 5th grade science teacher last year and quickly fell in love with the community.

In her free time, she loves to be outside, whether it’s hiking, running, or just enjoying a walk. Ms. Helgeson loves Husky football (go dawgs!) and kicking back with friends and family. Ms. Helgeson is ecstatic to start her second year here at Valor!

Alicia Hunker

Lead Teacher: 6th Grade Math

Bio

Alicia Hunker

Lead Teacher: 6th Grade Math

Mrs. Hunker moved to Nashville from Dallas, Texas in 2013 where she was born and raised. She studied Elementary Education at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio Texas. After teaching for seven years she discovered her teaching niche was middle school math, which led her to Valor. Passionate about motivating scholars through intentional learning experiences, positive guidance, encouragement, and feedback made joining the Valor team a natural choice.

In her free time, Mrs. Hunker loves to attend her husband’s concerts all over the country, giving them an opportunity to explore the world together. She is also an ultra-marathoner and will have completed 21 marathons by the end of the year. Mrs. Hunker is ecstatic to begin her second year at Valor!

Amelia Klug

Lead Teacher: 5th Grade Social Studies

Bio

Amelia Klug

Lead Teacher: 5th Grade Social Studies

Ms. Klug, a native of Florida, received her undergraduate degree in Public Administration with minors in Education and Non-Profit Management from the University of Central Florida. Passionate about serving her university, she was inducted into the Order of Pegasus–the highest honor given to a UCF student. She served on the Teach For America recruitment team for two years in college, working to bring the best and the brightest campus leaders into the field of education.

Ms. Klug joined the Valor Team as a 5th grade Social Studies teacher last year after began her teaching career as an English Language Instructor for the New York Mets Baseball Academy in the Dominican Republic. During her time with the Mets, she prepared Dominican professional baseball players for life and culture in the United States.

Ms. Klug has a strong interest in global education systems, focusing her UCF Honors In The Major thesis on factors that affect high and low performing education systems around the world. Last year she spent time volunteering in an city orphanage and indigenous village in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala, where she gained passion and drive to ensure all children are given a high quality education.

Outside of school, Ms. Klug loves live music venues, coffee shops, art, volunteering, traveling, and being outdoors. She feels incredibly lucky to be a part of the Nashville and Valor community!

Alana Raybon

Lead Teacher: 6th Grade Reading

Bio

Alana Raybon

Lead Teacher: 6th Grade Reading

Alana Raybon found her calling to education while working with troubled teens at a youth home in Colorado, and later as a paraprofessional in a 2nd grade classroom. After graduating from the University of Northern Colorado, with a B.A. in Education, she married and moved to Texas where she taught for 10 years as as a 3rd-7th grade lead teacher to a diverse population. While teaching, she has been a mentor to new and student teachers, a school accreditation advisor, and a tutor. Now in her second year at Valor Collegiate Academies, Alana is excited about continuing her education while embarking on a master’s degree in educational policy at Vanderbilt.

Alana grew up in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in the “Mile High City” of Denver. Alana’s teaching is inspired by fond memories of her teachers at the British primary school she attended during1st through 3rd grade. As a child, she competed in figure skating, took dance lessons, and loved reading Nancy Drew mysteries. Alana is also a published author, blogger and mother to three young children and a teenage stepson. In her spare time, she enjoys playing dolls with her two girls, sword fighting with her son, discussing philosophy with her stepson, exercising with her husband, and reading science fiction.

Asenat Rodriguez

Assistant Principal

Bio

Asenat Rodriguez

Assistant Principal

A Houston, Texas native, Ms. Rodriguez began her career in education at Houston’s highly ranked YES Prep in 2007 after earning a B.A. in Mathematics from Salem College. Inspired to expand her cultural lens, she moved abroad to South Korea where she taught at a public South Korean elementary school. She spent nearly two years there teaching, learning, and traveling. Nashville became a home for her three years ago when she began to pursue her graduate studies at Vanderbilt. Ms. Rodriguez’s M.Ed. in Human Development Counseling, fused with her teaching and personal experiences, informs much of her approach to nurturing balanced individuals in academic settings. It also allows her to integrate her passion for aesthetic and space design with the social/emotional experience of education.

In her spare time, Ms. Rodriguez enjoys exploring new places, dining out, and spending time out in the sun. 

Matt Samples

Lead Teacher: 5th Grade Math

Bio

Matt Samples

Lead Teacher: 5th Grade Math

Matt Samples is a Philadelphia-area native who found a new home in Nashville by way of attending Vanderbilt University. He earned his B.A. in Public Policy Studies while at Vanderbilt while also finding a passion for educational equity and ensuring that all students have access to an excellent public education. Along the way, he fell for his future wife, Tori, and the city of Nashville. He joined the Teach for America Nashville corps in 2012 and taught sixth grade social studies and math at Liberty Collegiate Academy, a charter middle school in East Nashville, for two years. While at Liberty, he led students to significant academic gains in both social studies and math. After completion of his two-year commitment at Liberty, Matt and Tori went to Tanzania for three months doing mission work and then spent three months in Switzerland studying at a theological center called L’Abri. 

At the moment, Matt is completing a M.Ed. in Instructional Practice from Lipscomb University, adjusting to a new home in South Nashville, and preparing for the upcoming school year. In his free time, Matt loves to read and practice Swahili and French with his wife, stay actively involved in his church, watch in anything related to Vanderbilt sports and volunteer teaching an English class to refugees here in Nashville. He is beyond excited to return to the sixth grade math classroom at Valor this year!

Carlyn Wudel

Apprentice Teacher

Bio

Carlyn Wudel

Apprentice Teacher

Ms. Wudel moved to Nashville 30 years ago from Boston, Massachusetts. Ms. Wudel graduated from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville with a Bachelor of Science in Communications. Ms. Wudel worked as the Assistant Director of Fundraising for Big Brother Big Sisters, Nashville for three years. In 2004, Ms. Wudel and her family moved to Michigan for two years, where Ms. Wudel was the Development Director for Spectrum; a non-profit helping children and adults with addiction. Ms. Wudel moved back to Nashville in 2006 and stayed at home to raise her three children. Carlyn has three children, ages 22, 20 and 17. Carlyn will be sending her last child off to college next fall. Becoming an empty nester has led Carlyn to pursue a Master of Education at Lipscomb University, she will finish in May, 2017.

Carlyn’s favorite past times include: spending time with her family, walking her dogs, reading great books and traveling. Carlyn is a devout Michigan football fan….GO Blue!!

Carlyn is excited to be a part of the Valor team, and looks forward to the next year as an apprentice teacher, on the Flagship 6th grade team.

Zachary Adams

Lead Teacher: 7th Grade Science

Bio

Zachary Adams

Lead Teacher: 7th Grade Science

Zachary is starting his fifth year teaching this academic year. He has been teaching 7th grade science for the past two years at Nashville Prep. At Nashville Prep Mr. Adams’ students had the highest TCAP scores of any open-enrollment school in the city. He began his career in education as a Teach For America corps member in the Mississippi Delta in 2012. Zachary was a policy fellow at the Mississippi Department of Education and co-authored a report outlining a more flexible model of graduation requirements that became state law. Zachary spent this last summer providing research support to the Tennessee Department of Education on initiatives related to college and career readiness. Zachary graduated cum laude from Houghton College and is currently pursuing his master’s degree at Vanderbilt University in education policy.

Wilson Boyd

Lead Teacher: 7th Grade Social Studies

Bio

Wilson Boyd

Lead Teacher: 7th Grade Social Studies

Mr. Boyd is a Mississippi native and graduate of its public schools. After a stint as a newspaper reporter in Vicksburg, MS, he joined Teach for America in Philadelphia, PA in 2005 and has been working in education since then. Most recently, he was dean of students for DSST: Byers Middle School in Denver. He is excited to return to Nashville, his adopted hometown, after a three-year sojourn to the Mile High City. He sincerely hopes he is able to see a Super Bowl parade in Nashville like the one recently held in Denver.

Mr. Boyd has a B.A. in economics from Mississippi State University, a M.S.Ed. from the University of Pennsylvania, and was a CORO Fellow in Public Affairs. His wife also teaches 7th grade and they have a toddler who keeps them on their toes. Outside of school, Mr. Boyd enjoys running, swimming, hiking, and searching for the perfect hot sauce.

Ashley Cunningham

Lead Teacher: 6th Grade Science

Bio

Ashley Cunningham

Lead Teacher: 6th Grade Science

Ms. Cunningham, a Massachusetts native, graduated from the University of Massachusetts with a Bachelor of Arts in English and Political Science in 2009. Immediately after graduation, Ms. Cunningham moved to Seoul, South Korea to teach English as a Second Language. This adventure allowed her to combine her two biggest passions: education and travel. After returning from Korea, Ms. Cunningham moved to Nashville and began a new journey as a fifth-grade science teacher at Liberty Collegiate Academy, where her students achieved the highest 5th grade science growth scores in the state of Tennessee. While teaching at Liberty, Ms. Cunningham completed her Masters degree in Educational Studies from Johns Hopkins University. The incredible sense of community and joy at Valor as well as the focus on the social and emotional growth of its scholars is what drew Ms. Cunningham to make the move to Valor.

In her free time, Ms. Cunningham is obsessed with reading and traveling. She has traveled to 25 countries and loves trying exciting new foods, learning about different cultures and meeting inspiring people around the world.

Mike Elko

Director of Operations

Bio

Mike Elko

Director of Operations

Michael joins the Valor team after working in multiple roles for RePublic Schools including, Assistant Principal of RePublic High School, Director of Extracurricular Activities for all Nashville based RePublic Schools, and Literacy Coordinator at Liberty Collegiate Academy. Prior to working for RePublic Schools, Michael taught 7th grade literacy in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Michael graduated summa cum laude from the University of South Carolina with a B.A. in Experimental Psychology and Political Science. He is an avid sports fan and enjoys working out and reading in his spare time.

Victoria Engelhardt

Lead Teacher: 7th Grade ELA

Bio

Victoria Engelhardt

Lead Teacher: 7th Grade ELA

A Kentucky native, Ms. Engelhardt attended Georgetown College outside of Lexington where she received a B.A. in Communication and Media Studies, and was awarded a fellowship to study at Regent’s Park College, Oxford University. Upon returning from Oxford, she developed her love of teaching as a high school English teacher through Teach For America Appalachia in the small town of Barbourville, Ky. While there, Ms. Engelhardt completed a Masters of Education degree in Teacher Leadership through Georgetown College and was named the TFA Appalachia Teacher of the Year in 2014.

In the summer of 2015, Ms. Engelhardt relocated to Nashville to focus on education policy through the Urban Leaders Fellowship. She heard Todd Dickson speak and immediately knew Valor was where she needed to be. There was just one problem: Ms. Engelhardt had received a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship and was moving to Taiwan in two weeks. After a week of interviews, Ms. Engelhardt became the first hire of the 2015-2016 school year and left the US completely thrilled that she would be coming back to work at Valor.

During her time in Taiwan, Ms. Engelhardt taught 4-6th grade English as a Foreign Language and was an adjunct faculty member at the National Kaohsiung Normal University’s Center for Language and Culture. She has spent the last year developing a love of meditation, mangoes, and listening to the stories of every person she meets.

Mariah Green

Lead Teacher: 5th and 6th Grade Writing

Bio

Mariah Green

Lead Teacher: 5th and 6th Grade Writing

Ms. Green is from Canton, Ohio–the home of President William McKinley and the Pro Football Hall of Fame City. Born, raised and educated in the Buckeye State, Ms. Green brings great pride, tenacity and resiliency to Music City. Prior to moving to Nashville, Tennessee, she attended Miami University of Ohio where she majored in Social Justice Studies and minored in Rhetoric/Writing and Political Science. Not only did Ms. Green focus on her grades, but she also worked outside of the classroom to advocate for the needs of Miami University students as the Secretary for Diversity Affairs in Associated Student Government and as the President of the Diversity Affairs Council (DAC). As the President of DAC, she initiated Unity Day to bridge the gaps between minority and majority groups on campus. As a result of her commitment to service on and off campus, she received the Outstanding Social Justice Studies major, Outstanding Student Organization and President’s Distinguished Service Award.

Upon graduating,Ms. Green embarked on a journey as a 2014 Metro-Atlanta, Teacher for America Corps Member where she taught 10th grade Literature & Composition. Through her time in Atlanta, Ms. Green worked both inside and outside of the classroom to advocate on behalf of the needs of scholars by initiating and executing the 1st school tradition–Unity Week, which consisted of celebrating the birthday of the school’s namesake, Langston Hughes and hosting a cultural festival, talent show, and pep rally with an Atlanta-based rapper.

Ms. Green is ecstatic about bringing her passion for social justice, diversity and unity to Valor as a 5th and 6th grade writing teacher. She wants scholars to develop a deep passion for writing by seeing their cultural identity in the work so that they may ultimately develop a voice to advocate for their individual and collective needs in the world.

Laura Beth Hodge

Special Education

Bio

Laura Beth Hodge

Special Education

A Tennessee native raised in Georgia, Mrs. Hodge is thrilled to be starting her teaching career in Nashville! In May 2015, she graduated from Samford University in Birmingham, AL with a bachelor’s in K-6 general and special education. She then immediately began her master’s degree in High Incidence Disabilities in SPED on scholarship at Vanderbilt’s Peabody College. In the midst of graduate school, getting married, and working part-time, Mrs. Hodge stumbled on a Valor job advertisement in a Vanderbilt newsletter and immediately applied.

Valor’s unique mix of academic rigor and joy captured her attention, and she is so excited to help every scholar succeed at this wonderful school! Apart from teaching, Mrs. Hodge loves to workout, read, cook, travel, and go on walks with her husband and dog.

Arlene Linger

Office Manager

Bio

Arlene Linger

Office Manager

Lindsey Longoria

Special Education

Bio

Lindsey Longoria

Special Education

Ms. Longoria grew up in an Air Force home, and therefore moved around a lot during childhood. Her many “hometowns” include: Tampa, Florida, D’Iberville, Mississippi, Las Vegas, Nevada, Yigo, Guam, and Woodbridge, Virginia. Most recently, she attended Messiah College in Grantham, Pennsylvania, where she earned her Bachelor of Arts in Youth Ministry, and spent a semester abroad living and studying in Uganda. Ms. Longoria is ecstatic to be joining the Valor Flagship team as she pursues her Master of Education in Instructional Practice at Lipscomb University. While she may be new to the Nashville area (she just got here in June 2016), nothing can stop her passion for working with young people, particularly those with diverse learning needs. Her great passion in life is community-building, and she hopes to put down deep roots in this city.

When she is not in the classroom, Ms. Longoria treats the world as a classroom, and is always searching for new places to explore, including: local restaurants, scenic hiking spots, and new dog parks to hang out with her goldendoodle puppy, Peter. Ms. Longoria also has experience working in a bakery, and she treats baking as a mindfulness practice, so if you are ever in need of a fresh-baked treat or recipe, seek her out.

Carley Peats

Lead Teacher: 7th Grade Math

Bio

Carley Peats

Lead Teacher: 7th Grade Math

Ms. Peats was born and raised in Camden, Maine and made her way to Nashville after completing her undergraduate degree from Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut. Upon moving to Nashville, Ms. Peats joined Nashville Teaching Fellows and started her teaching career at Madison Middle School as a 6th grade math teacher. Following her time at Madison, she taught 7th grade math at Nashville Prep before making her way to Valor! She is ecstatic to continue teaching math and to work with the incredible 7th grade scholars at Flagship. She is currently pursuing her M.Ed at Lipscomb University.

Prior to teaching in Nashville, Ms. Peats taught English and reading at an orphanage in Lilongwe, Malawi and was a classroom assistant in Guatemala City, Guatemala where she discovered her love of teaching and helping others. Aside from teaching, Ms. Peats loves traveling, boating, and all fitness classes.

Michelle Prinzo

Lead Teacher: 5th and 6th Grade Math

Bio

Michelle Prinzo

Lead Teacher: 5th and 6th Grade Math

Ms. Prinzo is an Ohio Native and proud alumni of the University of Cincinnati. After earning a Bachelor’s of Science in Early Childhood Education and a Bachelor’s of Arts in Communication from the University of Cincinnati Ms. Prinzo moved to Nashville with the 2011 Teach for America Greater Nashville Corps. Ms. Prinzo spent 5 years working in MNPS, most recently as a 3rd grade teacher at Haywood Elementary. During this time Ms. Prinzo also earned an EL endorsement and Master’s degree in Teaching, Learning, and Leading from Lipscomb University. As a teacher Ms. Prinzo is most passionate about differentiating instruction so that each scholar can make as much growth as possible.

Beyond the school day you will find Ms. Prinzo practicing yoga, hiking with her dog Tala, planning her next travel adventure or curling up with a good book.

Steph Tanner

Compass Coach

Bio

Steph Tanner

Compass Coach

Born and raised in Western Massachusetts, Ms. Tanner received her BFA in Photography from Columbia College Chicago. While in Chicago she worked for the Center for Community Arts Partnerships tutoring in Chicago Public Schools and running a family resource center. This, coupled with her personal experiences in the public education system, propelled her to join Teach For America in 2011. As a 2011 Appalachia charter corps member, Ms. Tanner taught Spanish to 7th-12th grade students in the small town of Barbourville, KY. During her three years teaching she was recognized as the Tri-County Teacher of the Year in 2015, as well as founded and still runs an organization that enables Appalachian high schoolers to travel and serve abroad.

While teaching, it became clear to Ms. Tanner that she loved working in a school, but teaching wasn’t quite the right role for her. She loved building strong relationships with students and families, and felt passionately about ensuring that students were being supported not just academically but also social and emotionally. Because of that, she decided to attend graduate school at the University of Virginia where she just earned her Masters in Education in School Counseling.

Outside of the education world, Ms. Tanner is a die-hard New England sports fan, can be found petting every dog that walks past her on the street, and is constantly searching for the next greatest spot to eat. She’s excited to begin her work with VCA and get to know the various communities that make up this great city.

Sam Moxley

Apprentice Teacher

Bio

Sam Moxley

Apprentice Teacher

Mr. Moxley is a native to Nashville where he went to Julia Green for elementary school, Christ the King School for grades 5 and 6, and then Montgomery Bell Academy for the rest of middle school and high school. He then went Belmont University where he earned a bachelor’s degree in history and minored in education. Mr. Moxley became part of the Valor team through Nashville Teacher Residency program. NTR is a brand-new program designed to recruit and train effective teachers for the Nashville community and Valor is one of the schools they have partnered with for their inaugural year. Mr. Moxley comes from a family full of educators as both of his parents have taught English in Nashville for most or all of their professional careers.

Outside of Valor and NTR Mr. Moxley is an avid outdoorsman who loves to kayak, hike, camp, rock-climb, and generally spend all of his free time outside the house. When not doing outdoorsy things Mr. Moxley is extremely passionate about ultimate frisbee. He started playing in high school at MBA and has been competing for the last 10 years. He has played at the college level as well as the semi-pro level for several different teams, but has transitioned more into a coaching and administrating role in the last year. He is an assistant coach for Tennessee’s women’s team (Encore) and the head coach for the Belmont women’s team (URSA). He is also on the board of directors as the League Coordinator for Nashville Ultimate Machine (NUM) which organizes all things ultimate in Nashville.

Steve Nelson

Apprentice Teacher

Bio

Steve Nelson

Apprentice Teacher

Mr. Nelson was born and raised in Texas. As a young man, he played bass guitar in a garage band and earned a varsity letter for football. After high school, Mr. Nelson spent two years volunteering for his church in the Philippines. Years later, he would again volunteer, this time as an infantry soldier in the 101st Airborne Division, where he served with distinction from 2006 – 2010, deploying to Iraq and Afghanistan. After his enlistment, Mr. Nelson used the GI Bill to graduate cum laude from Texas State University with a History degree. The years Mr. Nelson spent as a missionary and a soldier instilled a deep commitment to social justice and education. He loves teaching and serving the scholars at Flagship.

In his free time, Mr. Nelson enjoys tennis, jogging, reading, NPR, and live music.

Katlin Stodard

Apprentice Teacher

Bio

Katlin Stodard

Apprentice Teacher

Emily Fish

Associate Teacher

Bio

Emily Fish

Associate Teacher

Ms. Fish was born and raised in Nashville, where she attended University School of Nashville for many years. She studied Environmental Science and Education Studies at The Colorado College. During her college summers, Ms. Fish worked at a variety of summer camps in North Carolina teaching hiking, backpacking, and rock-climbing skills to kids of all ages. Her experiences working at summer camps and coursework in Colorado College’s Education Studies department helped solidify her desire to work with students and share her love for learning with them. After completion of her undergraduate degree in 2014, Ms. Fish returned to Nashville and soon after enrolled in Lipscomb University’s Master’s of Education program. She has since received her M.Ed. in Instructional Practice as well as her TN Teaching License. Ms. Fish is currently certified to teach Middle Grades (4-8) and Secondary Biology (7-12). She is thrilled to be spending her first year of teaching on the 7th grade team at Valor!
In her spare time, Ms. Fish enjoys tending to her garden, reading a good book, and singing in her church choir.

Elyse Johnson

Apprentice Teacher

Bio

Elyse Johnson

Apprentice Teacher

Ms. Johnson was born and raised in Stone Mountain, Georgia by her mother and aunt. After graduating from high school, Ms. Johnson attended Tennessee State University. During her time at Tennessee State University, Ms. Johnson played trombone for the marching band and have two works that were published. After obtaining her bachelor’s degree in English with a minor in Philosophy from TSU, Ms. Johnson was chosen to be apart of a new teacher residency program called Nashville Teacher Residency. Ms. Johnson’s first year of teaching will be at Valor, and she is very excited to be here! In her spare time Ms. Johnson enjoys playing video games, community service, painting, and making delicious desserts.

Saniha Lakani

Apprentice Teacher

Bio

Saniha Lakani

Apprentice Teacher

Saniha Lakhani was born in Queens, New York. Eventually, she moved to Tennessee in 2006 and made Franklin her new home. After earning the International Baccalaureate Diploma at Franklin High in 2013, Ms. Lakhani decided to attend Belmont University where she joined the Honors Program and earned the title of Belmont Scholar upon graduation. She thoroughly enjoyed her college experiences and participated in several extracurricular activities including Belmont Ambassadors, Bruin Recruiters, and Student Accountability Council Board. Ms. Lakhani held two internships during these years where she worked at Senator Alexander’s State office in Nashville and at the Department of Commerce’s Nashville Export Center. She graduated in three years with a Bachelors of Science in International Economics with double minors in French and Education. Currently, Ms. Lakhani is a member of Nashville Teacher Residency Program, and she is working toward her TN teaching license.

Ms. Lakhani obtained a lot of her experience working with the youth through leadership roles at her Jamatkhana, a worship place for Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims. For several years, she served as a Volunteer Resource Management (VRM) Youth Facilitator, where she guided all of the youth volunteers in serving efficiently and competently. Likewise, she led numerous positive youth development initiatives to help create a holistic environment for the youth. In addition, Ms. Lakhani received many opportunities at the Religious Education Center (REC) within her Jamatkhana. After gaining a year of teaching experience, she became Head of Instruction in 2014 and then Head of Operations in 2015. This year, Ms. Lakhani has been graciously honored to receive the opportunity of becoming REC Principal. She is deeply humbled by this opportunity and hopes that her experiences at Valor will better guide her in leading REC with her team.

Ms. Lakhani is extremely excited to work at Valor! She is looking forward to meeting her students and learning more about the diverse communities that create Valor!

Kaytlyn Lowhorn

Apprentice Teacher

Bio

Kaytlyn Lowhorn

Apprentice Teacher

Ms. Lowhorn is thrilled to spend her first year teaching at Valor|Flagship!! After growing up in nearby Hendersonville, Tennessee, she spent her college years at Belmont University in Nashville. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Belmont in May 2016 with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in History; she will be pursuing her Master’s of Arts in Teaching at Belmont throughout this school year. While in college, she was very involved in Big Brothers Big Sisters, which solidified her love for mentoring programs. Valor’s focus on mentoring is one of the first things that caught her eye about the school.

When not in school, Ms. Lowhorn loves to spend her free time cooking, hiking, exploring Nashville, and going on cruises. She cannot wait to spend the school year learning and growing alongside her 5th grade scholars!

Tonya Stewart

Special Education Paraprofessional

Bio

Tonya Stewart

Special Education Paraprofessional

Heather Berg

Associate Teacher.

Bio

Heather Berg

Associate Teacher.

Ms. Berg, a Florida native, is a proud graduate of the University of Virginia (go hoos!). While there, she majored in Leadership and Public Policy and spent her time outside of the classroom moderating dialogues, volunteering in classrooms, and mentoring refugee youth in the Charlottesville community. Her real passion, though, was the student organization she co-founded, UFUSED (United for Undergraduate Socioeconomic Diversity). As a first generation, low-income college student herself, she recognized a huge need for better support and resources for students from similar backgrounds and advocacy for policies that protected these students. It was largely this experience and her own background as a low-income student in a broken public school system that fueled her passion for education. She’s been blessed with some truly life-changing teachers and recognized that students’ ability to succeed and reach their fullest potential was mostly a product of their environment and education, and is committed to ensuring that every student has access to an incredible education and the opportunity to develop and pursue their own passions and life paths.

Ms. Berg moved to Nashville immediately after graduation and spent her first year teaching 5th grade ELA at Nashville Prep. She cherished the opportunity to grow students as readers, and is passionate about literacy both in and outside the classroom. While participating in a summer fellowship, she heard Todd Dickson speak and immediately knew that Valor was the right school for her. Their commitment to diversity, social-emotional development, and building a joyful culture all rang true to her and she feels so lucky to be part of the Valor community.

When not in the classroom, Ms. Berg loves to explore. She is a wanderlust at heart and at 35 countries deep, is almost always planning or daydreaming about her next trip. Around Nashville, she’s most often going hiking, listening to live music, exploring our food scene, or cozying up with a good book.