Matt Marshall, 

Executive Director

“I love working at Hands Up! because of the rich and uplifting environment.  When we look into the faces of our “friends” each morning, it helps us all strive just that little bit higher.  Additionally, we have the great opportunity to daily foster not only intelligence, but also character.  What MLK called the goal of true education.”



M.A.Ed., Union University / May 2015

B.A., Christian Ethics/Business Administration Minor, Union University / May 2009

Fun Fact: Mr. Matt was formerly a Boxing Coach and Muay Thai Instructer during his years in college.




Ariel McGahey,

Assistant Director

“My favorite part of working at Hands Up is getting to know our students and their families, and helping to start students on the road to educational success. I also enjoy working with such a dedicated, qualified, and caring staff that puts students and their families as our top priority. We have the great privilege to get to invest in the next generation of leaders and that keeps me excited to come to work each day.”


B.A., Social Work, Union UniversityMay 2015

Fun Fact: Miss Ariel loves cats and she and her husband currently have two, Addy and Elliott.




Olivia Abernathy,

Family Advocate

“As a parent of two children at Hands Up! Preschool, I am excited to work here because I have experienced the excellence and passion of all of the teachers and staff. I am excited to partner with families to nurture and encourage children as they learn to love learning. I believe that Hands Up! gives children an incredible educational foundation, and I am thankful to join in! ”


M.S.W., Union University / May 2012

B.A., Social Work, Union UniversityMay 2011

Fun Fact: I love to train for and run half marathons in my free time.







4-Year Old Lead Teacher

“Hands Up! is focused on the present and the future of the students’ and their families.  It’s a place where I not only teach ABC’s and 123’s, but also basic manners and how to make good choices in life.  What a wonderful approach to learning!  I feel very lucky to be a part of such a special place.”


M.A.,Teaching in Instruction and Curriculum Leadership, University of Memphis / May 2012

B.A., Business Administration, Stephens CollegeMay 1993

 Fun Fact: Miss Amy has been to Australia and New Zealand.




4-Year Old Lead Teacher

“I love the passion every person who is involved at Hands Up! has; teachers, volunteers, parents, etc.”


M.A., Speech in Communicative Disorders, University of Arkansas1993

B.S., Education (Speech and Hearing Disorders)

Fun Fact: Miss Lyn has three Weiner dogs (dachshunds).




3-Year Old Lead Teacher

“I am so blessed to be part of the Hands Up! family.  It is truly a joy to come to school every day to teach the children and experience the excitement of learning through their eyes!   I love my students and their families!”


B.S., Elementary Education and Interdisciplinary Studies, Middle Tennessee State University / 1996

Fun Fact: Miss Laura loves all things Disney and Disney world. Her favorite character is Jiminy Cricket.




Karen Martinez,

3-Year Old Lead Teacher


B.A., Integrated Studies (Education/Sociology), University of Memphis/ December 2016

Fun Fact: Miss Karen loves Notre Dame and the Chicago Bears football!







4-Year Old Assistant to Ms. Lyn

“The reason why I chose to work at Hands Up! was because I wanted to work at a place where the individuals didn’t work just to get paid; they work to make a difference in a child’s life where it mattes the most. Hands Up! does not just watch children while the parents work. We educate and strive to benefit the child’s needs so they will be well prepared when they start school.”


B.S., Early Childhood Education / Lane College / 2016

Guilford Technical Community College / 2013

Fun Fact: Miss Travia loves to write poetry in her spare time.





4-Year Old Assistant to Ms. Amy

“I work at Hands Up because the experience I had as a parent through my daughter attending here was so rich and rewarding, that I just had to jump at the opportunity to be a part of it.”


Tennessee Early Childhood Training Alliance (TECTA) certificate / April 2015.




3-Year Old Assistant to Ms. Karen

“I love working at Hands Up! because it is such a positive, uplifting environment and everyone feels like family.”


Associated Degree in Teaching/Education, Jackson State Community College / May 2013

Fun Fact: Miss Tara loves the sound of rain and thunder.




3-Year Old Assistant to Ms. Laura

“I really love Hands Up! because I have had the pleasure of having two of my boys attend here.  And, from that moment on, I have been so pleased with the teachers and staff, as well as how great of an educational start that they received at HU.  I love working at HU because we really do work together as a team, and ultimately want the best for the children.  We also have great parents who are willing to work alongside us in the best interest of the children!”


Associates Degree in Radiographry, Jackson State Community College, May 2002

B.S. in Business, Bethel University, December 2013

M.B.A., Bethel University, Expected Graduation May 2017

Fun Fact: Miss Twila states that, “Life is great because of the Almighty God, and I like to play basketball in my spare time.”






MSW Intern

“Working at Hands Up! allows me to approach work with a wholistic mentality. It is a place where I am able to interact with children, families, and the community in hopes that we all are able to grow intellectually, fellowship with diversity, and ultimately be enriched daily through education, love, and support.”


B.S., Psychology, University of Tennessee-Knoxville / May 2014

M.S.W. Social Work, Union University, Expected Graduation May 2018

Fun Fact: Miss Molly played basketball in college and has had 5 knee surgeries.





Undergradute Intern

“I love kids and love the heart of Hands Up! They care able the kids and the families, and really care about learning, education, and love.”


B.A., Christian MInistry and Family Studies, Union University, Expected Graduation May 2018

Fun Fact: Miss Emalea played soccer for 11 years and is from Texas. Her favorite animals are elephants and tigers.

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