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 and Muay Thai coach.
MCKENZIE LYNN, Assistant Director
“Children see the world with innocent wonder, which inspires me to nurture and protect that sense of awe. At Hands Up! I not only get the chance to do that in play and interaction with children, but I also get to help reinforce values that will help them later in life. I love working at Hands Up! with such a passionate staff, loving students, and eager parents.”
- B.A., Child and Family Studies, Sociology Minor, Union University / May 2015
Fun Fact: Miss McKenzie loves Duke Basketball, Elvis Presley, and Princess Belle.
LEAD TEACHING STAFF
AMY HITE, 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 College / May 1993
Fun Fact: Miss Amy has been to Australia and New Zealand.
LYN MCCARTY, 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 Arkansas / 1993
- B.S., Education (Speech and Hearing Disorders)
Fun Fact: Miss Lyn has three Weiner dogs (dachshunds).
LAURA JONES, 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 Owens-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!
TRAVIA COTTON, 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
BRANDI SYKES, 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.
TARA ISABELL, 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.
TWILA ROSS, 3-Year Old Assistant to Ms. Laura
MOLLY CARROLL, 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.
EMALEA BIBBEE, 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: Ms.Emalea played soccer for 11 years and is from Texas. Her favorite animals are elephants and tigers.