The opening of school brings a hopefulness that students and teachers can complete most of the school year on campus, said GPS officials. Helping make this transition back to 205 Island Ave. are current faculty, coaches, and staff along with the following new employees who are joining the Bruiser family.
Amanda Byars ’99 will be joining the faculty this year as a teacher of Middle School dance, modern dance, and choreography, as well as assistant director of Terpsichord. Ms. Byars is an alumna of GPS and holds a BFA in dance from Amherst as well as an MFA in dance and choreography from Ohio State. Over the past 15 years, Ms. Byars has been a dance instructor for both middle and high school students in Atlanta and recently served as an adjunct professor in modern dance and dance composition at Agnes Scott College. Throughout her time as a professional artist, she has choreographed numerous modern dance pieces and often returned to GPS as a guest artist to share her gifts with the students at her alma mater.
Maggie Frazier Henderson ’81 steps into the GPS English department to teach sophomores and juniors and brings a depth of experience, both local and global, to her former school. After beginning her career at Notre Dame and GPS, Ms. Hendrson moved on to teach in independent schools in Florida, China, Thailand, and Saudi Arabia. With master’s degrees in English and educational leadership, she most recently served at the Perkiomen School in Pennsylvania, where the youngest of her three children graduated this year. Ms. Henderson is excited to return to GPS for her next professional adventure.
Liz O’Sullivan joins the school in the inaugural role of director of Belonging, Access, and Inclusion as outlined in the school’s Strategic Equity Response Plan. Ms. O'Sullivan earned her Bachelor of Science in communications as well as her M.Ed. in college student personnel from the University of Louisville. She began her career at her alma mater as a graduate peer counselor and financial aid advisor before moving to Bellarmine University to serve as an admission counselor. Most recently, Ms. O'Sullivan served as the associate director of Scholarships and High Ability Admissions at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where she was a part of record enrollment years. Throughout her tenure, she has not only helped to diversify the student body at these institutions, but has also helped make college accessible to those who might not have imagined it so. Additionally, at each of these schools, Ms. O'Sullivan has been a part of a wide range of diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. She has served as a DEI ambassador, facilitated a multitude of diversity trainings, and developed a cultural building blocks curriculum for all employees at UAB. In her role at GPS, Ms. O'Sullivan will spend part of her time in the Admission Office, focusing on community outreach efforts and overseeing our financial aid program. Additionally, she will work closely with faculty and staff in expanding our school’s strategic focus on creating a culture in which every member has a voice, feels respected and valued, and knows they belong.
Kimberly Reid ’13 joins the school as the COVID coordinator for the coming year. In this role, Ms. Reid will interface with the health department on behalf of GPS, analyze health trends within the community, conduct contact tracing if necessary, and communicate with families on all COVID-related matters. Additionally, Ms. Reid will oversee a new health office on the GPS campus for any students who may display COVID-19 symptoms while at school. Ms. Reid will also serve as the head middle school cheerleading coach this fall. Ms. Reid holds a B.S. in biomedical engineering from the University of Memphis and a master’s degree in Public Health in Chronic Disease Prevention and Control from UTC. Prior to joining the team at GPS, Ms. Reid held the role of health educator at A Step Ahead and, most recently, served on the Community Testing Committee of the Chattanooga COVID-19 Task Force.
Tiffany Simms ’03 will join the faculty as the sixth-grade Global Cultures teacher, as well as the faculty advisor to Partnerships in the Community. After graduating from GPS in 2003, Ms. Simms attended UTK where she earned a bachelor’s degree in history and geography followed by a master’s degree in teacher education. Ms. Simms began her teaching career in 2007 in Knoxville and has since lived around the world teaching humanities and geography in Thailand, Germany, and, most recently, the United Arab Emirates. While she has enjoyed her international experience, she is excited to be back in Chattanooga and at GPS.
Lauren Lawrence Swanson ’09 joins the school in the newly created position of Student Support and Alumnae and Community Engagement coordinator. In this role, Ms. Swanson will work closely with students and alumnae of color, as well as the DBAI and our Student Support Team, to move the GPS community forward by expanding upon the School’s Strategic Equity Response plan in the areas of student support, community outreach, and alumnae engagement. After graduating from GPS in 2009, she earned her Bachelor of Science degree at UTC in early childhood education and special ed. Prior to returning to GPS, Ms. Swanson was the lead teacher at Lakeside Academy in Chattanooga, where she was known for creating integrated standards-based lessons with a focus on differentiated instruction to meet the needs of all learners. In addition to teaching, Ms. Swanson also co-founded Teach Like a Boss in 2018, which provides unique professional development sessions to teachers around the region. The program won the Innovation District Award and has blossomed into a highly successful program for Ms. Swanson and her colleagues. Throughout this work, Ms. Swanson has become connected with multiple organizations and community foundations throughout the area and is excited to bring these partnerships, as well as alumnae connections, to GPS as we continue to expand upon our community engagement and mentorship program for the students.
Additionally, there have been several changes and new additions to the GPS coaching staff over the last few months:
Bailey Winel is the new head varsity volleyball coach, replacing Jasmine Bravo-Brown ’09.
Lillie Noles Wolf ’13 has replaced Michal Howick ’03 as the head varsity cheerleading coach after serving as the head middle school cheerleading coach.
Maegan Gossett ’08 will serve as the interim head rowing coach this fall and spring as the school has also added Lindsay Watts Mauney ’05 to her staff for the upcoming year.
Hugh Enicks will assist Katie Outlaw with the varsity cross country team this fall after coming to GPS for the first time last spring as an assistant coach for GPS Track and Field.
Kristen Clement Blue, mother of Nyla ’24 and Jayla ’26, will be the new head middle school basketball coach. Basketball fans may remember Ms. Blue when she played for the Tennessee Vols from 1998-2001. She also played high school basketball in Philadelphia, where she broke Wilt Chamberlain’s career scoring record of 2,205 with 2,256 points.
Maegan Gossett ’08, interim head rowing coach, and Sarah Evans ’10, GPS assistant director of tennis, will also join the teaching faculty on a part-time basis as on-campus teaching partners for Debbie Glasscock and Susan Crownover, respectively, who will teach remotely this fall.