Liz Anderson, Founding 5th Grade Literacy Teacher
Liz Anderson is a recent graduate from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University where she received a Business Degree in Marketing Management. She is a 2011 Teach for America Nashville Corps member who is eager to make significant literacy gains and improvements in reading and writing. At Virginia Tech, Liz was involved in many leadership and artistic roles including President and Choreographer for the Dance Company of Virginia Tech and Company Director for Dance Tech Performing Arts Studio. She also worked around campus and in the community as a Senior Representative for Apple, Inc. She is very excited to be teaching the class of 2023 and to see where their hard work is already taking them during this academic year!
Alexandra Ball, Founding Dean of Students and 5th Grade Math Teacher
Alexandra Ball began her teaching career as a Teach for America corps member in Clarksdale, Mississippi where she taught 7th grade Mathematics at Oakhurst Middle School. She has spent the last four years leading her 7th and 8th graders to achieve significant academic gains. In 2009 she was named the Math Department Head, which afforded her the opportunity to collaborate with teachers in her school and district through professional development with the goal of increasing student academic gains district-wide. Alexandra has also worked for Teach for America in a variety of capacities including Middle School Math Learning Team Leader and Institute Curriculum Specialist, where she was responsible for providing first year teachers with the knowledge and skills necessary to lead their students to academic success. She believes in the potential of all students and is dedicated to unlocking the passion to learn within all the children she teaches. It is with great enthusiasm that Alexandra is teaching the Liberty Collegiate college class of 2023!
Amber Garner, Founding Director of Students and Families
Amber graduated from Belmont University in 2010 with a degree in Journalism. During her time at Belmont Amber gained experience and honed her skills through work with CMA, Hammock Media and Countryhound.com. Post-grad she traveled to the Dominican Republic to teach English and do media work for non-profit organization Dove Missions. Dove Missions works with underprivileged youth in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic to teach valuable life skills and to be a safe haven for the community. When she returned from her time overseas she began working as a freelance writer for AOL’s Patch.com. Still, it was her experience in the Dominican Republic that instilled her love for education and children. Amber feels privileged for the opportunity to combine her passion for people with Liberty’s mission to change the lives of so many students.
Linda Lentz, Founding Principal
Linda began her work in education as a Teach for America corps member in Houston, Texas where she taught 9th and 10th grade English Language Arts at Jefferson Davis High School. After working with her students to achieve significant academic gains, Linda joined the staff at Teach for America where she worked as Program Director, supporting 44 middle and high school teachers throughout the city of Houston. In 2008, Linda moved to Chicago, IL where she took on the role of Founding Dean of Students at Gary Comer College Prep, a campus of the Noble Network of Charter Schools. As the Founding Dean, Linda was charged with preparing 9th graders — who, on average, entered on a 4th grade reading level — for success in college. In 2010, Linda was selected to participate in the Building Excellent Schools Fellowship. BES is a national non-profit that prepares high-capacity leaders to found no-excuses, college preparatory charter schools. As a Fellow, Linda began work planning for Liberty Collegiate. Linda is thrilled to see the college class of 2023 working hard everyday!
Tiffany Mark, Founding 6th Grade Team Leader and Science Teacher
Tiffany is a recent college graduate from DePaul University in Chicago, IL where she double majored in Psychology and Biology with a concentration in Neuroscience. In addition to consistently being on the Dean’s List in college, she showed her commitment and passion to education by being a member and Co-Coordinator of Peer Health Exchange for the past three years. PHE members travel the city of Chicago teaching health workshops to high school freshmen in low-income neighborhoods. She joins the Liberty Collegiate staff as a 2011 Teach for America Corps Member in Nashville, and is excited to teach Science to the class of 2023!
Lee Pedinoff, Founding 5th Grade Team Leader and 5th Grade Social Studies Teacher
Originally from Belle Mead, New Jersey, Lee graduated from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN with a BA in Economics, Political Science, and Corporate Strategy. He spent much of his time at Vanderbilt serving as Executive Vice President of the Vanderbilt Student Government, where he served as an advocate for students and implemented numerous improvements to student life, including Vanderbilt Ventures entrepreneurial program and the annual distribution of over $30,000 in student organization co-sponsorship funding. He previously served as President of Zeta Beta Tau Fraternity and received the award for Outstanding Campus Leadership. As a Teach for America corps member and Founding Teacher at Liberty Collegiate Academy, Lee is proud to join the movement to end educational inequity.
Abigail Rockey, Founding Director of Operations
A native northeasterner, Abigail graduated from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. While earning her degree, Abigail also worked nearly full-time doing lobbying and collective bargaining for two large automotive manufacturers. As a 2007 Teach for America corps member, Abigail made significant gains with her middle school students by ensuring they all grew at least 2 grade levels on the standardized reading assessment. Most recently, she took on an ambitious role as a Founding Literacy Teacher at Young Scholars Frederick Douglass School in Philadelphia, PA. YSFD was a district turnaround school and Abigail was one of the teachers who helped manage the transition from a traditional public to a public charter model. With nearly 700 students and more than 60 faculty, it was a herculean task. Not only did Abigail continue to make an impact in the classroom, but she also took on a leadership role as the manager of the school intervention team. In this role, Abigail and a team of 12 faculty and staff managed a caseload of more than 100 K-8 students. Abigail is excited to be moving to Nashville. She is more excited to see all the growth the founding class of 2023 is making.
Cody Stephenson, Founding Student Supports Coordinator
Cody began his teaching career as a French Instructor at an after-school program that he helped craft in Valparaiso, Indiana. Upon graduation, he joined with Teach for America as a corps member in Holly Springs, Mississippi where he worked as a 7th grade Special Education and Mathematics teacher at Holly Springs Junior High School. During his time as a corps member, he worked tirelessly to push his students to make academic gains. He was given a position on his school’s leadership team where he helped other teachers meet district expectations and increase communication between the school, parents and the community. From tutoring students on the weekend at the library to helping create after-school groups that engaged students after the school day ended, he believes that every child deserves a great education and a variety of experiences to help them become who they are. He is extremely excited to be working with Liberty’s class of 2023!
Kait Troy, Founding Math Content Team Leader and 5th Grade Math Teacher
Originally from Long Island, New York, Kait graduated from Bucknell University in 2008 with a BS in Business Administration. For the last three years, she worked in Human Resources consulting in New York at Mercer Consulting and most recently, at Clearbridge Compensation Group, a start-up consulting firm. As an Associate and founding team member at Clearbridge, Kait helped lead company-wide initiatives around performance review policies and played a critical role in developing a training program for new hires. Kait recently moved to Nashville to join the 2011 Teach For America Corps. Kait is honored to be a part of the Liberty team and is excited to be working with Liberty’s class of 2023!
Michael Elko, Founding Literacy Coordinator
Michael Elko grew up in New Jersey and graduated from the University of South Carolina where he majored in Experimental Psychology and Political Science. He joined Teach For America in 2010 as a Charlotte Corps Member where he taught 7th Grade Language Arts and led the 7th Grade Reading End of Grade Test Prep Team for two years. He wholeheartedly believes in the impact an outstanding education can have on an individual’s life and is excited to be working with the scholars of Liberty Collegiate Academy!
Matt Samples, Founding 6th Grade Social Studies Teacher
Matt is a recent graduate of Vanderbilt University, where he studied Public Policy and Human and Organizational Development. While at Vanderbilt, he fell in love with the city of Nashville and seeks to serve his new home in any way he can. His desire to work in urban education came when he was exposed to the realities of the achievement gap while interning at the Washington, DC Public Schools, where he created a district-wide communication strategy centered around college access for all students. He found a love for teaching when he traveled to Zanzibar, Tanzania, where he taught English to secondary school students and primary school teachers. Now, as a 2012 Teach for America corps member, he hopes to build upon the great work done by students and teachers at Liberty Collegiate Academy as they continue on the path toward college success.
Abby Harrington, Founding 6th Grade Writing Teacher
Originally from San Diego, CA, Abby graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, with a BA in Peace and Conflict Studies focusing her studies on Human Rights in the Unites States. While in school, she dedicated many hours mentoring elementary school students in the Berkeley Public Schools, where she realized her passion for education. Abby is a 2012 Teach for America Corps Member who believes that all students can be successful in the classroom with the right support. She is proud to join the Liberty Collegiate team and is excited to see her students make significant gains in literacy!
Ashley Ball, Founding 5th Grade Writing Teacher
Ashley is thrilled to be back in her hometown of Nashville. Ashley graduated from Middle Tennessee State University in 2007 with a degree in Broadcast Journalism. After college, Ashley followed her love of journalism to Columbus, Georgia, where she worked as a reporter and morning anchor at a CBS affiliate station. It was through her work in television that Ashley’s passion for education grew. Ashley joined Teach for America as a 2010 St. Louis Corps Member. After 2 years of teaching 10th grade English, Ashley is thrilled to be back in Nashville teaching writing at Liberty Collegiate Academy.
Erin Kelly, Founding Special Education Teacher
Originally from Oak Lawn, IL, Erin recently graduated from Marquette University in Milwaukee, WI. She graduated with a double major in Writing Intensive English and Broadcast and Electronic Communications. While studying at Marquette, Erin worked as a Student Manager at the University Information Center, where she helped organize the opening of 3 new information desks. Erin was thrilled to watch her staff grow from 20 employees to 50 while serving as Manager. She served as an acting member of Sigma Tau Delta, the International English Honors Society, and Lambda Pi Eta, College of Communication Honor Society. Erin is extremely excited to start her career at Liberty Collegiate Academy and work with the future graduates of the Class of 2023 and 2024!
Kaitlyn Van Gorkom, Founding 5th Grade Math Teacher
Kaitlyn Van Gorkom is a recent graduate from Texas Christian University, where she received a double degree in Political Science and Strategic Communication. She is a 2012 Teach for America Corp Member who is excited to make math engaging and fun for her students. At TCU, Kaitlyn took on a leadership role in the Model United Nations program and realized her love for education through working with tutoring programs. She also interned for a full year at the Tarrant Area Food Bank in Fort Worth, TX, to support its communication efforts and serve the community. She is thrilled to teach the class of 2024 and see their growth throughout the year.
Elizabeth Ayton, Founding Music Teacher
Elizabeth earned her degree in Music Education from Belmont University in 2008. While attending Belmont, Elizabeth served 2 years as choir director for Chadasha student gospel choir. After graduation, she spent 3 years as a Pre-K teacher at Belmont Weekday School and as the music teacher at Glen Leven Day School. During this time, Elizabeth also directed the adult choir at Woodbine Cumberland Presbyterian Church. Elizabeth feels so blessed to be the founding music teacher at Liberty and is dedicated to helping her students become excellent musicians.
Annie Robison, Founding 6th Grade Reading Teacher
Annie began her teaching career as a Teach of America as a coups member in Hollandale, Mississippi, where she worked as a 5th and 6th grade science instructor. After seeing her students struggle with reading scientific passages, she began to shift her focus towards teaching students how to read informational texts and gain scientific knowledge to apply to their own lives. While leading her students to make significant academic gains, she also taught a Professional Development course for Teach for America on reading strategies. Following her time in the corps, Annie worked as a Corps Member Advisor, where she coached new teachers at the 2012 Delta Institute on the best teaching practices. Annie has a strong belief that all students should be held to high standards, and if so, they will do marvelous things. Annie comes to Liberty Collegiate Academy excited to work with the class of 2023!
Courtney Hiltunen, Founding 6th Grade Math Teacher
Originally from Richmond, VA, Courtney graduated from Randolph-Macon College with a degree in French and Economics. Upon graduating, she began her career as a Teach for America Corps Member in Eastern North Carolina, where she taught 7th grade mathematics at Enfield Middle School. In addition to making math engaging and relevant to her students, Courtney enjoys leading her students to success in a challenging subject. Her most memorable experience has been taking a group of college-bound 7th graders to visit UNC Chapel Hill and North Carolina Central University. She has also loved exposing her students to the French culture and language by starting French Club at Enfield. Courtney is eager to join the Liberty team and excited for the opportunity to share her passion for learning and mathematics with the class of 2023!
Sara Owen, Founding Office Manager
A Nashville native, Sarah graduated from Trevecca Nazarene University with a degree in Psychology and a minor in Behavioral Studies. While in college, she volunteered weekly as a co-counselor for a 5th and 6th grade girls group at Daystar Ministries. Prior to coming to Liberty, Sarah worked as the office manager at a small distribution company, where she helped to create and implement better procedures and customer service. Her passion for quality education in an encouraging atmosphere led her Liberty, and she is thrilled to be joining the team!
Michael Burgevin, Founding 6th Grade Math Teacher
After graduating from Bard College in 2010 with a degree in International Studies and Sociology, Michael joined Teach for America in the Mississippi Delta, where he taught high school math at Drew Hunter High School. After spending several years with TFA, both as a corps member and a part of Institute staff, Michael is thrilled to join the 6th grade at Liberty Collegiate Academy.
Board of Directors
- John Baird, Of Counsel, White & Reasor
- Wood Caldwell, Principal, Southeast Venture
- Erin Gagnon, Senior Account Executive, The Bradford Group
- Riney Green, Partner, Bass, Berry & Sims
- LaKisha Harris, College Mentor, Oasis Center
- Kimetra Hicks, PBPS Performance Monitoring Analyst II, Emdeon and Liberty Collegiate Academy Parent
- Allyn Rubright Gibson, Attorney
- Kristin Stangl, Attorney Metropolitan Public Defender’s Office
- Axson West,CCIM, Principal, Southeast Venture, LLC
- Brian Williams, Executive Director, Hands on Nashville
- Francis Wcislo, Dean of the Ingram Commons, Vanderbilt University
- Aaron Kaalberg, In-House Counsel for HG Hill Realty
Board Meeting Schedule
Liberty Collegiate Academy Board Meetings are held on the second Thursday of each month at 5:30 pm at Liberty Collegiate Academy, 217 South 10th St. Nashville, TN. 37206, unless otherwise listed. All Liberty Collegiate Board Meetings are public and open to parents and community members. For more information about attending meetings, please contact Linda Lentz, Founding Principal at 615.767.9249.
The next meetings will be held on:
- Thursday, April 18, 2013 5:30 pm
- Thursday, May 16, 2013 5:30 pm
- Thursday, June 20, 2013 5:30 pm
- Thursday, July 18, 2013, 5:30 pm
- Thursday, August 15, 2013, 5:30 pm
- Thursday, September 19, 5:30 pm
- Thursday, October 17, 5:30 pm
- Thursday, November 21, 5:30 pm
- Thursday, December 19, 5:30 pm