Faculty and Staff

Skyuka Hall educators are the heartbeat for the school: providing a home-away-from-home for each student.  Their classrooms are filled with love.  These special individuals have advanced training, experience, compassion, motivation, innovation, and the understanding needed to teach students who have not maximized their potential in a traditional classroom setting.  With an individualized curriculum for each student, these men and women teach students how to effectively embrace and take ownership of the learning process and utilize the positive experiences at school to face life’s challenges.

Beth Ake

Music, All School

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Mrs. Ake has been teaching in Chattanooga and North Georgia for over 20 years.  She graduated from UTC cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Instrumental Music. Her heart has always been helping kids with special needs shine through music education.  Her husband, Michael, teaches music at The McCallie School.  Their daughter, Heather, is a senior at Girls Preparatory School. Their son, Kyle, is currently an 8th grader here at Skyuka.  In her free time she likes reading Christian Fiction and finding treasures in unexpected places.

Mrs. Ake is a member of ETSBOA (East Tennessee School Band and Orchestra Association), TMEA (Tennessee Music Education Association), and NAfME (National Association for Music Education).  

Tim Atwood

Community Coach

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Working with children is Tim's number one passion. He is a firm believer in the necessity of exercise to help change the chemistry of the brain in children. In addition, teaching personal development supplements exercise through changing how children see and approach life. A combination of the two will help children see and believe that they can accomplish anything they choose regardless of their struggles. 

Tim graduated from Bryan College Suma Cum Laude. He has four children who are his everything. Favorite hobbies are cooking, exercise, and personal development.  

Amber Beason

Director of Admisson & Communication

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After more than a decade working in school administration in primary, secondary, and post-secondary schools, Amber has found her home with the Skyuka Hall Wolf Pack.  A native of Chattanooga, Amber attended the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga where she earned a Bachelors of Science in Psychology, Masters of Education with a concentration in Social Sciences Research, and a Specialist in Education with a concentration in Instructional Leadership.  She is currently finishing a Masters of Science in Advanced Educational Psychology at the University of Tennessee Knoxville, where her research focus is learning differences in K - 12 education.  Her previous research has included biological differences in same-sex learning, gender bias in education, and contributing work in an international cross-cultural religiosity study published in 2015.

Amber's favorite part of admission and communication work is sharing the story of Skyuka Hall with our community.  When she isn't bragging about how awesome the Wolf Pack is, you can catch her doing yoga or spending time with her fabulous mini-people  - Maggie and Ezra.


Derek Beaty

STEAM Instructor, All School
 & Director of Information Technology

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Mr. Beaty is entering his 16th year as an educator and his first year at Skyuka Hall. He has spent the past 15 years teaching in elementary classrooms, with years spent in every grade from kindergarten to fifth grade. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Ecology with a focus on Pre-K through 4th grade education, a Masters Degree in Elementary Education, and an Education Specialist degree in Principal Licensure, all from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. He participated in the 15th cohort of the Public Education Foundation’s Leadership Fellows program and was part of the 1st cohort of the PEF Teacherpreneur program.

Mr. Beaty has a wonderful wife, Mary, who is also an educator, and two amazing children, Kelsey (13) and Harrison (9). He also has two fun-loving Yorkies, Dash and Dawson. He enjoys spending time with his family, watching football and basketball, reading, traveling, and playing video games.


Amanda Beck

Lower School Faculty

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Mrs. Beck has a Bachelors in Elementary Education from University of Tennessee Chattanooga and has been teaching since 1999.  Mrs. Beck is a Tennessean at heart: originally from Cleveland Tennessee and has resided in Chattanooga for 19 years.  She is married with 2 children and enjoys traveling, shopping and going to the movies. 

Meredith Bocian

College Advisor, Upper School

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Mrs. Bocian, a Chattanooga native, is so excited to be the new Professional Readiness Program Adviser for the Wolf Pack!  The shift from high school to college or the professional world is a critical juncture and can be daunting; she is here to prepare our upper school students for that transition.  She has a B.S. in History and Biology and a M.A. in History from East Tennessee State University.  She is currently finishing her dissertation, “Fiery Trials: Women and the Civil War in East Tennessee, 1850-1877,” for her Ph.D. in History through Auburn University.  Mrs. Bocian has taught a wide range of history courses at the university level including American History, World History, and the Civil War.  In addition, through the Teaching American History Grant she has worked with primary and secondary school educators to implement critical thinking and analysis skills using history lessons at a young age.  Her number one goal is to encourage and foster intellectual thought and expression with her students.  When not working or writing her dissertation Mrs. Bocian spends time with her three young children and husband.  She particularly loves to bake for them and work in the kitchen.


Beth Burns

Art, All School 

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Mrs. Burns holds a BA in Communications from Marist college and a certificate in Art and Design. She taught Pre-K for over eight years, taught Spanish and Art in a home school community for over three years, and was a graphic designer with Random House publishing.  Mrs. Burns has been married for 21 years and has two daughters ages 9 and 15.  Her family also includes a dog and guinea pig!  Her interests include traveling and exploring new places, anything artsy, and spending time with her family and friends. 


Melanie Covert

Director of Academics & Programming

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Mrs. Covert has been an educator for over 20 years.  She taught elementary students for 17 years in Morristown, TN. before moving to Chattanooga in 2014.  From 2014 to 2018, she taught fifth grade at Ganns Middle Valley/Middle Valley Elementary in Hixson, TN.  She has a Bachelors in K-8 Education from Carson Newman University in Jefferson City, TN, a Master's in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Phoenix, an Education Specialist Degree in Instructional Leadership from Lincoln Memorial University, and she obtained her Administrative License in 2017.  In 2016, she was selected to be part of the Public Education Foundation's Leadership Fellows Program and in 2017 was a facilitator in the iPLC program which allowed her to work in a community of like-minded professionals sharing effective technology integration practices in education.

Mrs. Covert has four children: Joel (28), Jacob (24), Gabrielle (20), and step-son Gus (8).  Mrs. Covert recently welcomed her first grandchild, a beautiful boy named Anderson!  She and her husband, Clancy, enjoy camping and spending time with family.  Her other favorite pastimes include gardening, reading, hiking, painting, scrapbooking, and playing with her sweet Maltese puppy, Tucker.


Beverly Davis

Mathematics, Middle School

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Ms. Davis is a born and bred Auburn University fan, born while her father was an AU student. Growing up in Huntsville, Alabama, she played school with her dolls and stuffed animals, and her Christmas wish list always included more 'students' and LOTS of books and workbooks.  Early influenced by a peer in elementary school with academic and social struggles, she knew she wanted to pursue a future in Special Education.  Ms. Davis returned to Auburn obtaining a Bachelors in Special Education and a Masters in Learning Disabilities.  She taught for 30 years in Self-contained and Resource classrooms.  An early reader, Ms. Davis keeps a running list of books to read.  She also loves to cook, garden, craft, and antique!

Ms. Davis has a married daughter Paris, and two precious granddaughters named Payton and Paisley. She lives in St. Elmo with her not so sweet kitty, Bandit.


Tiffini Fleck

Lower School Faculty

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Mrs. Fleck has been a special education teacher for seven years.  She holds a B.S. in Early Childhood & Special Education from Gordon College and a Masters in Literacy from Grand Canyon University.  She is also certified in Zaner-Bloser Handwriting, Promethean Board, Reading Right from the Start, Apple Classroom, Lindamood-Bell LiPs, and Project Wet and Wild.   

Mrs. Fleck grew up in middle Georgia on a cow farm.  She has been married to Bobby Fleck for over 11 years, moving to Ringgold four years ago.  She leads worship at Ringgold United Methodist Church and shares her passion for singing and dancing with her seven-year old triplet girls Hannah, Isabella, and Sophia.  

Lynne Forato

Director of Development

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We are excited to welcome Lynne Forato into our Skyuka family. As our new Development Director, she will be raising funds and awareness for Skyuka Hall and leading on marketing and website development. Lynne, a Texas native, recently relocated with her family from England. Passionate about supporting children's communication and education, Lynne most recently worked for over seven years for I CAN Charity, a UK-wide charity supporting children's speech and language development. The role involved working directly with schools, teachers, corporations and trustees to raise funds and awareness. As Head of Corporate and Community Fundraising, Lynne recruited corporate partners and funders and implemented mass participation programs, one that achieved a Guinness World Record. Previously, she spent over ten years working in advertising in Los Angeles, New York and Mexico City. Lynne and her husband Marco have two children, Natalia and Mia, and a Labrador, Cooper.


Amber Hicks

Lower School Faculty

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Mrs. Hicks has BS in Elementary Education, grades K-6, from Indiana University, and is excited to begin her ninth year of teaching!  Originally from Indiana, Mrs. Hicks loves all things outdoors. Hiking and being on the water are her favorite activities.  Her heart is her husband and sweet baby boy. 

Jill Ingalls

Assistant Head of School

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As Assistant Head of School, Jill provides leadership and oversight to both Skyuka Hall's academic and non-academic operations.  Jill manages and coordinates all external contracts, internal controls, physical property and facilities, as well as management of our student management program, RenWeb.  Jill has a bachelor of science in Psychology with emphasis in Marriage and Family Counseling and a Master of Science in Higher Education Administration. Jill has served as the Director of Guidance at Silverdale Baptist Academy and a College Access Advisor at Ooltewah High School. Jill has three grown children Andrew, Claire and Rebecca. She enjoys hiking, yoga and kayaking.

Martha Jones

Reading Intervention, All School

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Mrs. Jones holds a BS degree from the University of Tennessee Chattanooga.  She has over 30 years of teaching experience in various educational settings grades 1-5, including a psychiatric hospital for children.  Mrs. Jones enjoys children's literature and storytelling.
A native Chattnaoogan, Mrs. Jones has two grown sons, four grandchildren, and a dog named Charlie.  She enjoys reading, swimming and playing handbells.


Lauren Kilgore

Science, Grades 7-9

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Mrs. Kilgore earned a B.S. in Chemistry and M.A. in Secondary Education from Georgia College and State University.  Before joining Skyuka Hall last year, Mrs. Kilgore was High School Science Teacher at Georgia College Early College in Milledgeville, GA and a High School Physical Science Teacher at Columbia Middle School in Grovetown, GA.

Mrs. Kilgore and her husband Kody have a four year old daughter Kari Beth and a one year old son Bradley.  She loves hiking, cooking, organizing, and going on weekend trips with her family.  They have two dogs named Havoc and Chase, and a cat named Millie.

Dr. Dee M. Langford

Psychoeducational Consultant

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Dr. Dee Moise Langford is a practicing psychologist in Tennessee.  Her professional career includes having taught elementary grades, high school, and college English, as well as having served for years as a psychology professor.  Her psychological practice has included testing and consultation with geriatric, psychiatric, forensic, and disabled populations.  She continues to work and stay involved in many areas of interest.  She writes children's science books and writes tests for a professional continuing education company.  A source of great enjoyment is the creation and presentation of unique power point presentations for professional groups.  

Martha Lopez

Spanish, All School

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Mrs. Lopez is a native of Mexico and we are excited she is bringing her expertise to our Spanish program!  She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration and professional certification in Neurolinguistics.  Mrs. Lopez spent the last 10 years teaching English in her local community in Mexico and to visiting missionaries.  She is happily married with 3 baby boys, and together Mr. and Mrs. Lopez were youth leaders in their community.  This year Mrs. Lopez will be teaching Spanish I and Spanish II to Upper School students, and will be introducing our Lower & Middle school students to foundational Spanish.  She is a follower of Jesus and believes God can make the difference with our Skyuka Hall kiddos!

Stacey Loveless

Faculty, Lower School

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Mrs. Loveless has a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Tennessee Tech and is licensed to teach grades K - 6.  Mrs. Loveless also holds a Masters in Education with Reading Specialist concentration from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.  This will be Mrs. Loveless' fifth year of teaching after working for four years in Hamilton County Schools.  Before she began her teaching career, Mrs. Loveless served as a Title I Intervention Reading teacher in Hamilton County.  In addition, she served as Parent Volunteer Coordinator and PTA President.

Mrs. Loveless has two sons, three grandchildren (two boys and one girl) and three 'bonus' grandchildren.  She shares her home with her poodle Buddy and her three loves are her faith, her family, and Auburn football!

Ashley Moore

Upper School Division Head

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Ashley Moore is the Social Director at Skyuka Hall and teaches Social Skills classes for middle and high school students.  She has been instrumental in organizing and chartering the Medal of Honor Foundation Character Education Curriculum, which began at Skyuka Hall. She is the school liaison for the Parent Organization at Skyuka, the Pack Pride. 

Mrs. Moore has been with Skyuka Hall for nine years. She has a Level 2 Mentor Certification in the Hill Center Reading Intervention Program and has received training in Behavior is Language, Teaching Children with ADHD, Administering Assessments, Executive Function, Teaching Students with Learning Differences how to take notes, and Brain Stem Learning.

She has two beautiful children and a wonderful husband.

Michael Morgan

English, Grades 7-9

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Mr. Morgan is a second year member of the Wolf Pack and a new resident to Chattanooga!  He has a B.S. in Recreation with an emphasis in Outdoor Recreation Management from Georgia Southern University.  Over the past five years, Mr. Morgan has worked as the Lead Field Instructor at the Academy at SOAR in North Carolina.  In his role as Lead Field Instructor, he has had the unique opportunity of leading students with various learning differences on unique expeditions around the country and abroad for 20 days, 24 hours a day - all while teaching an experiential based curriculum for middle and high school students.  Mr. Morgan is a firm believer in focusing on students' strengths and successess in order to help build confidence.  He has been seen as a role model, guide, mentor, and a source of empowerment for students to reach their true full potential.  He has also instructed and empowered his students in independent living skills such as cooking, organization, money management, health and nutrition, time management, and personal hygiene.  When Mr. Morgan is not sharing life experiences with his students he enjoys climbing, mountain biking, and paddling with his friends.

Wendy Mylek

Lower School Faculty

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Mrs. Mylek comes to Skyuka Hall with 34 years of teaching experiences.  She earned a Bachelors of Science in Elementary Education from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga before teaching 2nd - 4th grade in DeKalb County, Georgia.  She then returned home to Chattanooga and earned a Master of Education in Interrelated Special Education from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.  Mrs. Mylek has since worked in both Hamilton and Catoosa Counties, serving students from Kindergarten through 22 years of age, all of whom had learning differences or intellectual disabilities. 

After earning a Specialist in Education degree from Lincoln Memorial University, Mrs. Mylek served as Department Head at Heritage High School and was the Transition Program teacher for post-secondary students.  She retired in 2018, but after serving as a substitute teacher and reading interventionist, she wanted to return to the classroom.

Mrs. Mylek has reconnected with her high school sweetheart after 32 years and has been happily married for five.  Her husband Chris works at Chattanooga Funeral Home, and they share their home with three cats and a precious Maltese named Sophie. Mrs. Mylek also has three children and two grandchildren.  In her free time, she loves to shop!

Mary Parton

Assistant to the Head of School

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Mary is the master of all tasks at Skyuka Hall!  She has an Associates of Science in Business Administration from Thomas Nelson Community College in Newport News, VA and is currently working to complete her Bachelors of Science in Business at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.  Mary recently married her wonderful husband Michael, and they are fur-parents to two adorable Labradors named Dixie and Gunner.  She enjoys traveling, camping, reading, crafting, and cheering on Alabama.. ROLL TIDE!!

Diana Stefaniuk

Social Sciences & Personal Finance, Upper School

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Diana Stefaniuk received her B.A. in History with a minor in Russian Studies from The College of Wooster in Ohio.  She pursued graduate studies in both History and Education at Michigan State University.  Having begun her teaching career at Scenic Land School (Skyuka Hall's predecessor), she feels fortunate to be back working with such dedicated faculty, staff, and students in an environment that encourages all types of learners.

Mrs. Stefaniuk is a Chattanooga native.  She and her husband, Dan, enjoy spending time with their three kids.  

Samantha Strother

Science, Upper School

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Samantha Strother is originally from Atlanta, Georgia and has been teaching middle and high school science for eleven years. She received her Bachelors and Masters degrees in Education at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Before coming to Skyuka Hall, Mrs. Strother taught at The Cottage School in Roswell, Ga.

Mrs. Strother loves gardening, climbing, and spending time with her family and friends. She and her husband Daniel spend summers at the Ocoee river with their amazing dog Loretta and Conway Kitty. She enjoys teaching about environmental issues and doing community services such as recycling, helping in retirement homes, and helping out in our local community.


All School Support

Loretta has been working at Skyuka Hall since she was 3 months old.  This will be her third year in the classroom and what she enjoys most is being with her wolf pack pups! Loretta is a loyal member of the pack who spends her time getting belly rubs and treaties.

David Theiss

Social Sciences, Grades 7-9

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Mr. Theiss' interest in social sciences grew out of a love for memoirs and adventure travel stories that dealt with a complexity of social, political and ethical issues. While in college, he stacked up on philosophy classes, truly uncertain about what career path to take. While working with a grassroots organizations in Zimbabwe, he assisted primarily with an education program. It was during this time that social studies education felt like the perfect subsequent route. After graduating, Mr. Theiss began working at a unique boarding school and it would be there that he would realize his passion for working at independent schools. At SOAR, he would learn that teaching goes beyond the curriculum as he began to focus on helping student discover tools that would allow them to overcome some of their biggest life hurdles. After four years at the Academy at SOAR, Mr. Theiss was ready for a new adventure and Chattanooga - with its unique culture and plethora of rock-climbing - seemed like the natural progression.

Mr. Theiss lives in a small bungalow with his partner Aly where they spend most of their free time exploring all of the new climbing crags, creating music, cooking, biking, talking about creating a podcast (but never doing it) and trying to convince their dog and cat to cuddle. He earned his B.S. in Secondary Social Studies Education at Ohio University in Athens, OH. 

Wendy Tippens

Literature & Drama, Upper School

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Mrs. Wendy Tippens is a native Chattanoogan and she is beyond thrilled to be a part of the Skyuka Hall family!  Teaching is a calling for Mrs. Tippens, and she absolutely loves coming to work everyday! She holds an Associate of Science and a Bachelor of Arts with a major of Psychology. Mrs. Tippens has an amazing husband and two wonderful sons.  In addition to being a fabulous teacher, she has written, directed, and produced several plays.  She is active in local theater, and has years of experience working as a professional singer and actress.  She has expanded her impressive portfolio to include voice over talent, bringing her incredible personality to the world!  She also has an amazing car, and if you scan the Skyuka Hall parking lot you will know exactly which one is hers! 

Oh, and her hair is not a wig!

Babs Zielke

Mathematics, Upper School

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Barbara was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, then graduated with a degree in math from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.  She began teaching in 1974 and joined Scenic Land School, Skyuka Hall's predecessor, in 1996.  She has worked in several Catholic schools, the public school system, and, in 2009, Barbara began teaching at Bachman Academy, a boarding school for students with learning differences.  When it closed in 2017, she came back to Skyuka Hall saying she "love(s) every minute of being here!"

Barbara has three grown children and very much enjoys time with her extended family.