A new school year means new faculty and staff to welcome to our community. We are excited to welcome 15 new faculty and staff members, and some of those we are welcoming back to Bright!


There are no new members on this team, which includes Karen Thompson with assistant Chasity Robinson, Rachel Berger with assistant Hannah Bradford, and Jenna Leckenby with assistant Mary Katherine Wheeler.


New assistants are Stacie Steel with lead teacher Emily Hon and Sarah Baker with lead teacher Jasmine White. Kayla Greco is moving from kindergarten to be the assistant in Jill Johnson’s classroom. Mrs. Stacie and Mrs. Sarah are former substitutes at Bright.


New teachers are Emily Taylor with new assistant Corri Whitmire and LeAnne Sharpe with new assistant Laura Streets. Bill Greene and assistant Olivia Fine make up the third classroom.

Miss Emily has been a PK assistant at Bright the past two years, and she earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education at the University of West Georgia.

Mrs. LeAnne is a former Bright teacher in first and second grades and served as a maternity leave substitute as a kindergarten assistant last year. She earned a bachelor’s degree from UTC. Her son, Alex, graduated from Bright in 2011.

Miss Corri was a teaching partner at Siskin Children’s Institute before coming to Bright. Mrs. Laura taught kindergarten at Graysville Elementary School in Georgia and PK at West Side Elementary School in Rossville.

First Grade

Jana Evans is joined by new teachers Jessica McNeel and Wynne Pietrantoni.

Mrs. McNeel previously taught kindergarten at East Lake Elementary School and at McKelvey Elementary School in Missouri. She earned a bachelor’s degree in education and a master’s degree in K-3 reading from Southeast Missouri State University.

Miss Pietrantoni previously taught first grade at Hall Kent Elementary School in Homewood, Alabama. She earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Auburn University and a master’s degree in early childhood education from the University of West Alabama.

Second Grade

Denise Hurlbut and Margaret White are joined by new teacher Amy Boyanton.

Mrs. Boyanton taught second and fourth grades and was a special education teacher at Boyd Buchanan since 2015, and she has been a private reading instructor for the last three years. Mrs. Boyanton also taught in five elementary schools in Alabama over the course of eight years before moving to Chattanooga. She earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education at Samford University and a master in education degree at Alabama A&M University.

During Mrs. White’s maternity leave, MacKenzie O’Neal, a former first and second grade teacher, will lead Mrs. White’s classroom.

Third Grade

Cindy Womack and Maggie McGuire are joined by new teacher Allison Sakich, who is returning to Bright after teaching fourth grade writing. Ms. Sakich joined the faculty in 2013 and took a break in 2020 to spend time with her young children. Her son, Wiley Thompson, will be a fifth grader at Bright this year. Ms. Sakich earned a bachelor’s degree from Middle Tennessee State University and a master’s degree from St. Thomas Aquinas College.

Fourth Grade

Amanda Dickson and Kristen Von Glahn are joined by new teacher Libby Waddell, who will be teaching math. Mrs. Waddell, who has been teaching for 20 years, most recently taught fourth grade math and science at Red Bank Elementary. She has also taught kindergarten, first, second and third grades in Chattanooga; Boca Raton, Florida; and Scottsdale, Arizona. She earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education at Oklahoma State University and a master of education in curriculum and instruction at Grand Canyon University.

Fifth Grade

There are no new members on this team, which includes Allie Hyer, Ann O’Brien and Wendy Rogers.

Kilbride Enrichment Center

The new speech and language pathologist is Kristin Lyman. She has nearly 10 years of experience working with children. She first worked at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital in Memphis and then for Child and Family Development in Charlotte, North Carolina. She is moving to Chattanooga from New Orleans, where she worked for the Jefferson Parish School System. Mrs. Lyman earned her bachelor’s degree in speech and hearing sciences at Indiana University and her master’s in speech-language pathology at the University of Memphis.

 Special Areas

The new library media specialist is Emily Henn, who is moving to Chattanooga from Orlando, Florida. She has been teaching English language arts in elementary schools in Florida for nearly 10 years. Ms. Henn was most recently a fifth grade teacher and has been trained in a variety of technology used in reading and library settings. She earned a bachelor’s degree in history and a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from The University of Central Florida.

Early childhood Spanish will be taught through a partnership with Chattanooga School of Language.

Bright Afternoons

The new auxiliary programs coordinator is Alyssia Harper, who will oversee Bright Afternoons and all after school classes. Mrs. Harper is the former assistant principal at Sequatchie County High School, and before that she was the supervisor of special education for the Sequatchie County Board of Education. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Bryan College, a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from Carson Newman and an education specialist degree in educational leadership from Arkansas State University.

Business Office

Leisl Slaughter returns to Bright as business office assistant after teaching PK and kindergarten for five years. She took time off to be with her young daughter and son.


New Faculty 2022-23