Dear Visiting Families,

For years, I dreamed about opening a school in my hometown of Nashville… a place that truly celebrated students and reflected the real world. I imagined coffee shop outings and creative projects. I could see circles and presentations, whole school assemblies, and more. Slowly, I watched that dream come closer to reality as we selected the building space, hired staff members, and admitted families.


Kalee Barbis, Head of School
“We are blending the lines of learning and living — bringing our whole selves (curiosity, passion, and bravery) to school.”

Students embraced our space, our staff, and our culture, creating something extraordinary. We had, in our founding year, literally laid the foundation for years to come in Nashville. In the words of Albus Dumbledore, “Differences of habit and language are nothing at all if our aims are identical and our hearts are open.” With open hearts, we created a beautiful community.

As our Students navigate year two, they engage in deep project based learning. Our 5th graders imagined what school could look like by building models, our 8th graders dropped eggs from the roof for physics, and our high school biology students created ecosystems. Our Students have deep conversations in Core Advisory exploring identities, discussing anti-racism, and imagining ways they will change the world.

Thank you in advance for signing on to learn more about Templeton Academy. We look forward to getting to know you and potentially welcoming you to the Wolf PACK. —Kalee


Inquire About Nashville Admissions

Templeton Academy seeks a diverse population of students who bring energy and commitment to the learning process. We’d love to share more about attending our Nashville campus.

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Calendar of Events

Meet the Team

AllFacultyStaffAdjuncts
Head of School Nashville

Kalee Barbis

Nashville Director of Admissions

Tee Wilson

Director of Counseling & Student Life

Gabrielle Brown

Operations Manager

Dr. Erica Steakley

STEM Dept. Lead & HS STEM & 8th Grade STEM

Lemuel Holifield

5th/6th Grade STEM Faculty

Samantha Boettger

7th Grade STEM + HS Geometry

Rachel Godfrey

7th Grade Humanities Faculty

Dacia Woodley

Middle School Foreign Language Faculty

Kayla Padgett

Humanities Adjunct Faculty

Greg O’Loughlin

Humanities Dept Lead + HS Humanities + 8 Grade Humanities

Scott Field

Math Teacher

Maxfield Thompson

Math Teacher

Connor Brennan

Spanish & 8th Grade Humanities Teacher

Meg Perry

6th Grade Humanities + 7th Grade STEM

Christine Robinson

Head of School Nashville

Kalee Barbis

Kalee is the founding Head of School for Templeton Academy. Kalee is a Nashville native with a decade of educational experience Educated at the University of Tennessee, Lipscomb, and Vanderbilt Universities. Kalee is deeply committed to personalized, experiential education. She has a strong track record in developing relationships with students and teachers, and cultivating a student-centered classroom.Kalee spent the past three years in Washington DC, founding Washington Leadership Academy, an XQ Super School focused on reimagining high school, as the assistant principal. Prior to that, Kalee taught in Nashville for six years. She is excited to return home to bring Templeton Academy to the city.

kalee.barbis@templetonacademy.org:kalee.barbis@templetonacademy.org

Nashville Director of Admissions

Tee Wilson

Tee Wilson is an experienced leader who has achieved success in organizational development, brand building, new media marketing, project management, and strategic planning. Tee holds a BA in Communications and a Masters in Secondary Education. Her background includes progressive experience and leadership roles across multiple industries, including national non-profits, higher education, real estate development and entrepreneurship. She possesses transferable skills that prioritize developing strategies with measurable results. With over 25 years of experience, Tee brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise that is unmatched in her field. As a military spouse, Tee has worked for a wide variety of notable organizations including The United States Air Force, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Remington College, Loyola University New Orleans, Ingram Book Company and Coldwell Banker. As Director of Admissions, Tee will be managing our recruitment and retainment activities, brand strategy and our diversity and inclusion programming. Her creative thinking combined with her true commitment to the mission of Templeton Academy makes her a welcome addition to the team.

tee.wilson@templetonacademy.org:tee.wilson@templetonacademy.org

Director of Counseling & Student Life

Gabrielle Brown

Gabrielle Brown is a Nashville Native with a passion for integrating Social and Emotional Learning and Restorative Practices into school systems. She attended Lipscomb University for her Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy and obtained her License in School Counseling from Tennessee State University. Gabrielle began working in the mental health field in 2013 upon her graduation from Middle Tennessee State University and has been working to de-stigmatize mental health for minority communities ever since. She has served in counseling and behavior intervention roles in schools since 2016 and has a real heart for culture and developing the whole child.

gabrielle.brown@templetonacademy.org:gabrielle.brown@templetonacademy.org

Operations Manager

Dr. Erica Steakley

Dr. Erica Steakley is a lifelong learner who feels most at home in a lively and innovative school environment like Templeton Academy. Originally from Nashville, Dr. Steakley attended Belmont University for her B.A. and M.A. in English before pursuing her Ph.D. at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. Following grad school, she lived and worked in Los Angeles, teaching at both Loyola Marymount University and California State University Northridge, before taking on the role of development and communications director for a private progressive school serving preschool through middle school students. Dr. Steakley is excited to be joining Templeton Academy as operations manager because she is already a member of the parent community and has come to love the way in which Templeton puts students first and challenges them to be partners in their education. Dr. Steakley lives with her husband Clay and daughter Dot (and Norman and Echo, the cats) in Bellevue. She loves reading and writing, puzzles and brain games, cats and koalas, anime and mysteries, and dark chocolate. She also loves to meet people, so stop by the desk and say hello!

erica.steakley@templetonacademy.org:erica.steakley@templetonacademy.org

STEM Dept. Lead & HS STEM & 8th Grade STEM

Lemuel Holifield

Lemuel Holifield was previously a Science teacher at Smyrna High School as well as the Head Track and Field and Head Cross Country Coach. Lemuel has over eight years of experience teaching, coaching, and mentoring. He also served as the site director for Instructional Partners, which has a primary focus on improving student outcomes and highlighting best teaching practices in the classroom.  He comes to Nashville by way of Johnson City, Tennessee, and he is a graduate of University of the Cumberlands with BS in Biology and Exercise Sports Physiology. He regularly mentors and advises former and current student with an emphasis on future career and life goals. Lemuel’s main charter in life is to empower students to successfully navigate through life as well-rounded individuals with a strong sense of cultural identity.

lemuel.holifield@templetonacademy.org:lemuel.holifield@templetonacademy.org

5th/6th Grade STEM Faculty

Samantha Boettger

Over the last 6 years Samantha has had the opportunity to serve students and families in a variety of capacities. Samantha earned her Master’s in Education in 2013 and her Bachelor’s in English Writing in 2011 from the University of New Haven. She began her career in public schools in the greater New Haven, CT area. Upon moving to Nashville she developed her passion for collaborating with students and their educational “team” as the Education Coordinator of Omega Learning and Assistant Director of Education at Huntington Learning.  Most recently, Samantha comes from Currey Ingram Academy where she developed school operations skills as the upper school Administrative Assistant. Samantha looks forward to partnering with you and your student for a successful school year. Her goal is to inspire lifelong learning through meaningful inquiry and communication. Each student’s educational journey is different and she is committed to guiding her students as they identify and strive to reach their full potential.

samantha.boettger@templetonacademy.org:samantha.boettger@templetonacademy.org

7th Grade STEM + HS Geometry

Rachel Godfrey

Rachel Godfrey is a Nashville native who decided to return home after attending undergrad at Appalachian State University in the beautiful Boone, NC. As a naturally curious person, she graduated with a degree in communication studies with minors in sociology and interior design. After graduation, Rachel started with Nashville Teacher Residency and taught Math Intervention classes, 7th and 8th grade math, and some Algebra 1 within her first year, and became a Level 5 (amount of student growth 1-5) teacher for 7th grade math in her second year. Because of Rachel’s experience with math in middle and high school and her background of interior design, she has a passion for making math more tangible and real-world applicable. She is excited to be teaching STEM which allows students to see that math and science can come together and change the world for the best! When she is not teaching, Rachel loves to travel anywhere possible and try new restaurants… But on a daily basis, she loves to cook, walk her chocolate lab around Germantown, and listen to podcasts (and play along with Jeopardy, she loves random trivia). Be sure to ask her for any Nashville food recommendations!

rachel.godfrey@templetonacademy.org:rachel.godfrey@templetonacademy.org

7th Grade Humanities Faculty

Dacia Woodley

Dacia Woodley earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts with a minor in Spanish from the University of Missouri, Columbia and went on to an exciting, 15-year career as a footwear designer. After substituting throughout the Nashville Metro area and as a teaching assistant at University School of Nashville, Dacia graduated with honors from Lipscomb University with a Master of Education and a focus on the integration of literacy and creative differentiation across content areas. Dacia spent three years teaching middle school science at Currey Ingram Academy before signing on as a founding faculty member of Templeton Academy teaching 7th grade Humanities. Dacia is passionate about creating educational experiences that emphasize what makes each of us a unique individual and supporting each student to seek their purpose. As a lifelong, global explorer, she wants to inspire others to build strong connections to the natural world and all of its inhabitants!

dacia.woodley@templetonacademy.org:dacia.woodley@templetonacademy.org

Middle School Foreign Language Faculty

Kayla Padgett

Kayla Padgett is a recent college graduate from Indiana University – Purdue University of Indianapolis. She studied Mandarin Chinese, Spanish and International Relations. She studied Mandarin Chinese for a total of 5 years and Spanish, not including her Puerto Rican culture, for 6 years. Kayla taught in various forms for about 3 years through youth programs, in a preschool, and with Boy Scouts of America. Her experience led to a greater passion in teaching as well as learning the skills needed to teach effectively to various ages. In her free time she enjoys learning new perspectives with a good heavy book, and creating art in its many forms.

kayla.padgett@templetonacademy.org:kayla.padgett@templetonacademy.org

Humanities Adjunct Faculty

Greg O’Loughlin

Now in his 10th year of teaching, Greg has taught 3rd, 4th, 6th grades, and is looking forward to next year when he will teach 9th and 11th grades. His route to the classroom was long and winding, though he made it to class right on time. Previous work experience in service, politics, and non-profits all inform Greg’s instruction and assessment practices and complement his formal schooling and preparation for teaching which include a BA in Communications from SUNY Empire, an MAT from Belmont and the Summer Institute Program at Columbia University’s Klingenstein Center. In 2018 Greg was awarded the Nashville Public Education Foundation’s Inspiring Innovation Award for his work as the founding director of The Educators’ Cooperative, a non-profit that supports collaboration, growth, and the development of best practices in teaching and learning for educators in all sectors in the Nashville area.

greg.oloughlin@templetonacademy.org:greg.oloughlin@templetonacademy.org

Humanities Dept Lead + HS Humanities + 8 Grade Humanities

Scott Field

Scott Field grew up in central Pennsylvania. He studied history at Swarthmore College and started teaching math and science in Washington DC a few years after graduating. The work resonated with him so he moved to Santa Fe, NM to earn a Master’s in Liberal Arts at St. John’s College. He has been teaching and coaching middle and high school students for 20 years in English and history in Washington, DC, Boston, and Nashville. While working at Currey Ingram, Scott opened the Third Coast Comedy Club, temporarily stepping down from teaching to help the business grow. Married, he has two teenage sons, a rescue dog, two stray cats, and countless microbes. 

scott.field@templetonacademy.org:scott.field@templetonacademy.org

Math Teacher

Maxfield Thompson

Maxfield joins the Templeton family from his previous role as a data scientist. Maxfield earned his BA from Thomas Edison State University and MS from Lipscomb University. Throughout Maxfield’s academic and professional journey, he’s always kept a heart for education. He has 4+ years of tutoring experience and has taught undergraduate Computer Science and Mathematics classes at Belmont University. Maxfield enjoys inspiring students, creating collaborative classroom experiences, and helping students reach their academic potential. He’s also an avid artist! He’s studied modern painting at Watkins College of Art & Design and primarily works with acrylic paint.

maxfield.thompson@templetonacademy.org:maxfield.thompson@templetonacademy.org

Math Teacher

Connor Brennan

Originally from St. Louis, Mr. Brennan completed his bachelor’s degree in physics and a Master’s degree in medical physics before working as a nuclear engineer for the state of Wisconsin. New to the Nashville area, Mr. Brennan is also a songwriter and dueling pianist and is thrilled to be teaching Templeton Academy’s first music class.

connor.brennan@templetonacademy.org:connor.brennan@templetonacademy.org

Spanish & 8th Grade Humanities Teacher

Meg Perry

Meg Perry is a lover of languages, communication in all its forms, and human connection. At the age of 11, she began teaching herself Spanish in order to communicate with a Mexican classmate’s family. In the spring of 5th grade, having become very close with the family, Meg decided she would hop into their car and join them on their first trip back home to Monterrey. To this day, she is grateful as she is astonished that her parents agreed to put their 11 year-old daughter into a car headed for Mexico. It served as the catalyst to what would become her passion and her livelihood. An Oklahoma City Native, Meg came to Nashville with a scholarship to Belmont University’s Vocal Music program and an aspiration to be the next Shania Twain or Faith Hill. That dream wasn’t realized, but Meg did end up teaching Spanish to their kids. Insert that cry-laugh emoji here! A semester of study abroad in Spain led Meg to change her major from Music to Spanish, as the Spanish-language and culture spoke to her in such a way that she’d devote her life to sharing it with others. Meg spent 9 years teaching at The Ensworth School, 3 years at NIA House Montessori (her son’s school), and a semester at The Episcopal School of Nashville. Meg also owns a small business called Spanish Club – a program of her design offering all-ageSpanish lessons and adult courses.

meg.perry@templetonacademy.org:meg.perry@templetonacademy.org

6th Grade Humanities + 7th Grade STEM

Christine Robinson

Christine Robinson is a global educator, craft maker, baker, foodie, wife, and a mom. Christine earned her Bachelor’s degree in International Relations from Boston University, and a Master’s in Education Policy, with a concentration in Family as Educators from Teachers College, Columbia University. For 8 years Christine worked with global organizations designing hands-on projects and curriculum connecting youth in the U.S. and around the world. These projects included multi-media technologies as well as face-to-face workshops and storytelling. Her unique travel experiences to the United Kingdom, Middle East, Africa, and various school districts across the United States has provided Christine with a keen understanding of how to foster student dialogue and build bridges of understanding and empathy. As an educator, her goal is to inspire youth to look outside of the box, encourage critical thinkers, and active global citizens. Christine lives in Mt. Juliet, TN with her husband, Mike, and daughters, Ella and Abigail. If you count her dogs, she has 2 more children, Luna and Sherman.

christine.robinson@templetonacademy.org:christine.robinson@templetonacademy.org