fbpx


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 Edith Wharton, “There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that receives it.” 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

P.S. – Here is a link to our most recent virtual Exhibition Day commemorating the end of Term 2 – beautiful work from our great Students!


Inquire About Nashville Admissions

Templeton Academy seeks a diverse population of students (grades 5 – 12) who bring energy and commitment to the learning process. We’d love to share more about attending our Nashville campus.

Calendar of Events

Meet the Team

AllFacultyStaff
Head of School Nashville

Kalee Barbis

Nashville Director of Admissions

Tee Wilson

Operations Manager

Dr. Erica Steakley

7th Grade STEM + HS Geometry

Rachel Godfrey

Humanities Dept Lead + HS Humanities + 8 Grade Humanities

Scott Field

Spanish & 8th Grade Humanities Teacher

Meg Perry

5th/6th Humanities

Travis Batista

5th/6th STEM

Cydney Francois

High School Art

Jessi Goodwin

High School Physics Adjunct

Caleb Kobosh

7th/8th Grade Humanities

Rachel Oakley

7th/8th Grade Teaching Assistant

Gabrielle Saliba

7th/8th Grade Math ad HS Algebra II

Lydia Schumake

High School Teacher and College Counselor

Waleid El-Chaer

5th/ 6th Grade Spanish Teacher and 7th+8th Grade Science

Nicky Farren

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

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

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

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

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

5th/6th Humanities

Travis Batista

Travis Batista graduated from Middle Tennessee State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Global Studies and a minor in History. He grew up just outside of Nashville in White House, TN. His favorite way to spend my time is with his wife and daughter. He started his career in education through the Nashville Teaching Fellows program during the summer of 2016 and completed a Masters in Arts of Teaching just last summer. In college, he found a love for experiencing new cultures and travel especially through exploring local food. So far, he’s made it to three continents and several countries. Asia and its many dumplings are at the top of my list to explore next. His goal is to bring his travels to the classroom while teaching both Social Studies and ELA. He hopes to inspire his students to experience the world beyond their front doors.

travis.batista@templetonacademy.org:travis.batista@templetonacademy.org

5th/6th STEM

Cydney Francois

Cydney Francois is a Southern California native who earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s in American Studies and Ethnic Studies at California State University, Fullerton. She currently serves as an active Board Member for the University’s Board of Directors as well as founder and president of the Black Alumni Network. Before joining Templeton Academy, she taught Ethnic Studies at a university level and served as the community relations manager for the Los Angeles Kings, where she worked directly with children in underserved communities. Cydney spent the last five years traveling the globe to gain a wide range of cultural understanding to combine her love for teaching with active empathy in order to understand the diverse needs of all of her students.

cydney.francois@templetonacademy.org:cydney.francois@templetonacademy.org

High School Art

Jessi Goodwin

Jessi Goodwin is a mixed media artist, graphic designer, and art instructor who has been teaching K-12 art in the Nashville community for almost a decade. She earned her BFA in Visual Art from Huntingdon College in 2002, and is currently pursuing her Master of Arts in Art Education degree through AOE University. In recent years she has had the immense honor of sharing her love of the arts and art history with middle and high school artists at WEB Tutorial and has also instructed K-7 art students at One Tree Montessori. Her material and studio experience includes: 2D and 3D design skills, drawing, watercolors, acrylic painting, sumi-e ink illustration, ceramics, collage, pastels, printmaking, textiles, digital and advertising design, photography, artistic activism, and art history. Jessi adores contemporary art and believes that absolutely everyone is capable of unique artistic creation if given the opportunity to experiment and cultivate their visual voice.

jessi.goodwin@templetonacademy.org:jessi.goodwin@templetonacademy.org

High School Physics Adjunct

Caleb Kobosh

Caleb Kobosh completed a Bachelor of Arts in the humanities in Wisconsin, the place he calls home, before heading out to the Philadelphia area to pursue a Master’s of Arts in theological studies. While in seminary, Caleb sensed a call to serve the broader community as a public school teacher, and he joined the NYC Teaching Fellows, earned a Master of Science in Education from St. John’s University, and taught for the New York City Department of Education for the next five years. As a teacher, he gained training and experience in the Learning Cultures approach to pedagogy so that he could equip students to become autonomous learners. As he worked with colleagues and students to develop a student-centered curriculum, he realized that student inquiry must drive the curriculum. This realization established his philosophy of education that all students can succeed as they are given ownership of the learning process. He earned a Master of Theology at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland before moving to Nashville in 2020 to begin working on a Ph.D. in religion at Vanderbilt University. As a full-time doctoral student, he is excited to continue working with students in Nashville at Templeton Academy.

caleb.kobosh@templetonacademy.org:caleb.kobosh@templetonacademy.org

7th/8th Grade Humanities

Rachel Oakley

Rachel Oakley is almost a Nashville native, coming to town in 2003, and proud to call the city home for nearly 20 years now. A recent graduate of Denison University, Rachel’s degrees in Environmental Studies, Art History, and Visual Culture with a focus on writing and education, fostered a lifelong learner attitude, developed her inquisitive worldview and prompted a career in academics. Previously working with Metro Nashville Public Schools, she emphasized ingenuity and creativity in her 3rd/4th grade art classroom. Encouraging students to think “outside of the box” during discussions and projects is her greatest passion, and you can expect to see exciting works come from her Humanities classrooms. Beyond the classroom, Rachel has been involved in environmental activism, ultimate frisbee, and radio broadcasting. She spends her free time walking nature trails, working in her garden, spoiling her cat, and growing her small greeting card company. This year, Rachel is most looking forward to analyzing poetry with ELA classes and being involved in student organizations. Something you probably don’t know about her? She was a cheerleader and even played the part of mascot in high school pep rallies. Rachel cannot wait to bring that school spirit to Templeton Academy!

rachel.oakley@templetonacademy.org:rachel.oakley@templetonacademy.org

7th/8th Grade Teaching Assistant

Gabrielle Saliba

Gabrielle Saliba first joined the TA WolfPACK as a dance educator. Previously a professional dancer, she began teaching dance to children and adults at the age of 15. Mrs. Saliba co-founded two successful dance schools and was the Director of Dance for Global Education Center. She has spent the past 16 years working with girls and women as both a choreographer, Co-Leader, and Director for Act Like A Grrrl, an arts organization that promotes the creation and performance of personal narrative writing. She enjoys creating shows, coaching other artists, and laughing at her husband, Mr. Field.

gabrielle.saliba@templetonacademy.org:gabrielle.saliba@templetonacademy.org

7th/8th Grade Math ad HS Algebra II

Lydia Schumake

Lydia Schumake is originally from Ohio and a graduate of Tennessee State University. She is continuing her graduate work at Trevecca Nazarene University. She has been in the education field for five years – for two of those years, she taught 7th and 8th-grade math. She has enjoyed playing volleyball since high school and through college – since college, she now referees those volleyball games. She is a wife and mother who loves sports, spending time with her family, and baking for the Nashville community with her home organization, Nashville Peacemakers.

lydia.schumake@templetonacademy.org:lydia.schumake@templetonacademy.org

High School Teacher and College Counselor

Waleid El-Chaer

Waleid is a Nashville native (or “unicorn,” as he says), pursued a degree in Biochemistry and History, with minors in English and Psychology, at Austin Peay State University to satisfy the need to grow and learn about a broad range of subjects. His continuing education focused on Behavioral Counseling to help those in need looking to help with at-risk teens. With more than six years of front-line experience with social work and working with those most in need in the city of Nashville, Waleid is excited to share these experiences, as well as his passion to help young people succeed, with the Templeton Community. Waleid is also Dungeon Master with 14 years of experience leading Dungeons and Dragons campaigns, as well as the vocalist and bassist for a Nashville-based melodic death metal band. He quotes his father’s advice as the inspiration for why he runs the gamut in his interests: “the only thing no one can take from you is your education from life and school.” Waleid looks forward to getting to know the high school families!

waleid.elchaer@templetonacademy.org:waleid.elchaer@templetonacademy.org

5th/ 6th Grade Spanish Teacher and 7th+8th Grade Science

Nicky Farren

A Nashville native, Nicky Farren has returned home after receiving his bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Spanish from Santa Clara University. After graduating, Nicky worked as a tutor for some time while also starting his own business in which he helped native Spanish speakers learn English. Fascinated and intrigued by all languages, Nicky specializes in Spanish while still remaining interested in all areas of STEM! In his downtime you can find him walking his dog Beanie, cooking, or playing golf!

nicky.farren@templetonacademy.org:nicky.farren@templetonacademy.org