Bob McPeak, instructor of woodworking, music, personal finance, and ACT preparation
Bob McPeak is an experienced cabinetmaker, woodworker, and musician who shares his talents with the entire school. In his woodworking classes, he guides his students through multi-step projects, where they practice their math skills and refine eye-hand coordination. Hands-on, sensory learning is critical for our students; in Mr. McPeak's classes, they learn to make everything from boomerangs to octagon-shaped picnic tables used in our pavilion. As a certified National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE) educator, Mr. McPeak teaches our personal finance classes, important life skills for everyone. In addition, he is a talented bass guitar player who mentors students and gives after-school guitar lessons.
Barbara "Babs" Zielke, instructor of math
B.A. in math education from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
Ms. Zielke feels called to teach math to students with learning differences. She is a strong proponent of hands-on learning, so her classroom buzzes with creative activity as her students learn mass and volume by carving pumpkins, slope by using toy cars and motion detectors, and geometry by assembling 3D structures. Ms. Zielke knows her students can understand challenging math concepts, such as algebraic equations, and is persistent in trying different learning approaches until each student gains competency and confidence.
Heath Hall, instructor of auto mechanics
B.S. in education from Lee University
Heath Hall, our auto mechanics instructor, spent more than a decade managing a Sears Auto Center, bringing both academic and workplace credentials to his position at Bachman Academy. As a former police officer and National Guard reservist, he has years of experience in leadership and mentoring. Mr. Hall has assisted numerous Bachman students with the aptitude for and interest in auto mechanics to land lucrative jobs after graduation.
Chad Pickeral, instructor of horticulture and provider of campus computer services
B.A. in theology from Southern Adventist University
With his sunny disposition and encouraging demeanor, Mr. Pickeral is a favorite among students who struggle with anxiety, depression, or low self-esteem. In addition to managing Bachman Academy's greenhouse, horses, and computer systems, he serves as a mentor, encouraging our students to participate in martial arts and other activities to manage stress and gain confidence.
Dana Darnell, instructor of science, STEM, and physical education
B.A. in education for elementary and middle school from Lee University
Dana Darnell loves the "hands-on" approach to learning at Bachman Academy, describing herself as a kinesthetic learner. This philosophy is evident in her classroom, where students are constantly looking under a microscope, field-testing water quality, or concocting experiments on the Bunsen burner. She is currently working with our Dean of Academics to plan for the space and equipment needed for a dedicated STEM classroom. Ms. Darnell is passionate about helping children. She enjoys hiking and meditating; her calm demeanor models healthy techniques for dealing with stress or anxiety.
Nolan Tippens, instructor of math and computer applications
B.S. in special education from Lee University
Nolan Tippens is committed to helping students with learning differences succeed. In addition to teaching mathematics and computer technology classes, he is the school's athletic director. Mr. Tippens makes sure our students have the opportunity to participate in the sports they enjoy, whether through the T.S.S.A.A. with a public school partnership or through Bachman's own cross-country or bowling teams. Mr. Tippens is currently finishing his M. Ed. in curriculum and development through Lee University.
Charlene Lightfoot, teacher's assistant
As a teacher's assistant, Ms. Lightfoot works with individual students each day to help them understand challenging materials. Her patient encouragement helps keep them on track and focused. She is particularly talented at motivating students to work through difficult assignments, helping them break it down into manageable steps, so that they see and believe that they can succeed.
Marget Sikes, educational interventionist
B.S.Ed. in special education from the University of Georgia
Ms. Sikes is a NILD-certified (National Institute for Learning Development) educational therapist. She evaluates the learning gaps for each student and creates an individualized learning plan. Ms. Sikes provides learning therapy, assessment, and intervention through work with students in small groups and individually. Although NILD-certified learning internvention is a recent addition to Bachman Academy, we are already reaping the rewards by seeing significant improvements in our students' assignments and benchmarking test scores. Ms. Sikes is also responsible for carrying out a "train-the-trainer" program so that our other instructors will benefit from learning more intervention-based educational tools and techniques.
Maria José Daily, instructor of Spanish
B.A. in Spanish from Lenoir-Rhyne; M.A. in Spanish from Appalachian State University
Maria Daily is originally from Argentina. A native speaker of Spanish, she enjoys teaching her students about the Latin American culture as well as the language. In addition to learning vocabulary words and verb tenses, due to our small class sizes, each student gets intensive practice in speaking and understanding Spanish. An avid sports participant, Ms. Daily encourages her students to stay active and healthy through exercise.
Wendy Tippens, instructor of English and fine arts
B.A. in psychology from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
Wendy Tippens is passionate about literacy and all forms of written communications. She designs creative activities, such as comic-book storyboarding, to teach concepts such as story arc, character voice, and other literary techniques. Ms. Tippens is also a gifted fine artist who shares her talents both in English and art classes, as well as through enrichment activities such as painting, sketching, art car design, welding, acting, puppetry, and mixed-media design.
Mike Sikes, instructor of history, government, and economics
B.S. in social sciences from Auburn; M.S. in special education from Jacksonville State; Ed.S. in instructional leadership from Lincoln Memorial University
With almost 40 years of experience in special education, Mr. Sikes serves as a leader on our campus. Whether teaching history, social studies, government, or economics, he makes great use of SmartBoards and other learning technology to spark student interest. Mr. Sikes encourages his students to develop their executive functioning skills, and is a big proponent of our vocational elective classes, where students get hands-on experience in planning, sequencing, and problem solving.