Montessori Elementary Highland Park Building Dedication Honored Dr. Sue Anne Wells For Educational Impact

  • Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Montessori Elementary at Highland Park held a building dedication ceremony in honor of Dr. Sue Anne Wells. The event was attended by community members, including Karitsa Jones, who heads the Community Forward Schools Program, which is part of the mayor's initiatives for Chattanooga's public schools. Representatives from the Chamber of Commerce were also present, participating in the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Dr. Wells has been a pivotal figure in education, known for establishing Tennessee's first all-girls STEM school and Hamilton County's first public Montessori school. Her vision materialized in 2009 with the co-founding of the Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy, aimed at nurturing young minds from the earliest stages. This initiative eventually led to the creation of MEHP in 2021.

Dr. Lawonda Reeves, principal of MEHP, extended a warm welcome to attendees and showcased the school's state-of-the-art design by HK Architects and its construction by Berry Construction.

"We've intentionally designed and built a school that not only meets the needs of our students, staff, and families but also fosters an educational environment where children can engage their innate curiosities through hands-on learning and problem-solving," said Dr. Reeves.

The Montessori model, developed by Dr. Marie Montessori, provides students with a holistic education that includes academic, social-emotional and life skills. Dr. Reeves also highlighted the multi-age classroom structure that promotes academic scaffolding and prepares students for self-directed learning of complex concepts.

The ceremony featured student contributions, with the 4th—and 5th-grade classes leading the Pledge of Allegiance and reciting the school's mission statement.

Dr. Elaine Swafford, CEO of Montessori Elementary Highland Park, reflected on Dr. Wells' transformative impact: "Dr. Wells' visionary leadership has profoundly influenced countless lives and paved the way for a brighter future in our community. It has been an honor to collaborate with her on this journey."

Dr. Wells' influence reaches beyond the confines of the school, impacting youth programs such as the National Mentoring Partnership of New York and Girls’ Inc. of Chattanooga. Her legacy continues to inspire generations of young children and women to realize their full potential. She lives a life of service, driven by her strong faith and commitment to the community.

Dr. Wells’s influence on the community and dedication to empowering underserved youth in Hamilton County, are testaments to her commitment, said officials. 


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