Christy Bakke is from the town of Le Roy, IL, just a dot on the map between Chicago and St. Louis. She completed her undergraduate studies in Speech-Language Pathology at Eastern Illinois University and earned her masters degree in Education through the Memphis Teacher Residency. Her purpose in education is best communicated through Dr. King's words, "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." "We show students light when we teach them in truth and in our teaching, they experience love," she believes. Christy has been on the Lester Prep team since 2015 when she joined the staff as a 7th-grade history teacher and volleyball coach. Today, she lives in midtown Memphis with her husband, Josh. When she's not at school, Christy enjoys hiking, biking, paddling, and traveling to visit family and explore the world.
Amanda Parker was born and raised in northwest Georgia. She attended Georgia State University where she earned her B.A. in Sociology. Amanda began her career in education with Teach for America with the belief that zip code should never determine the quality of a child's education. In Teach for America, she served in Washington D.C. as a special education teacher at Anacostia Senior High School. While in D.C., she earned her M.Ed in Special Education from George Mason University.
Upon her return from D.C., she worked as a middle school math teacher, department chair, special education department chair, and curriculum writer at a middle school in Atlanta serving students who were refugees. While in Atlanta, Amanda earned her Masters in Urban Educational Leadership from the Teachers College at Columbia University.
Amanda moved to Memphis in 2016 and joined the Lester Prep team as the Dean of Instruction of Math and Science in 2017. Amanda's passion for education is best summarized by Nelson Mandela's quote that states "education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world."
Kaitlyn Vazquez Hagen is from Sunbury, Ohio, a little town outside of Columbus. She completed her undergraduate studies in Education at Wittenberg University.
When thinking about education, a Nelson Mandela quote drives her. “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Education truly can open so many doors and new opportunities for students, and that is what she hopes to inspire within her work.
Kaitlyn has been on the Lester Prep team since 2016 and has taught 8th grade Social Studies and English Language Arts. Today, she lives in Binghampton with her husband, Shane and dog Cooper. When she's not at school, Kaitlyn enjoys reading, cooking, taking her dog for walks, and traveling to visit family and see new places.