Lisa earned her degree in Early Childhood Education in 2005 from the University of Memphis. She taught full time for over a decade with the majority of her teaching career being spent at The University of Memphis Campus School as a supervising teacher. Campus School continues to be very near and dear to her heart. After having her 3rd son, she made the hard decision to leave the world of full time teaching. Lisa has always been the backbone of Easel Town by running the behind the scenes operations. She believes there is no better investment than our children. Their authenticity and natural eagerness to explore and learn bring her great joy!
Paul received his bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts with a concentration in painting from the University of Memphis in 2004. He loves the city of Memphis and the complexity of its people. The figure continues to be his area of expertise. Paul’s love of toys and the iconic figures of pop culture from his childhood are often incorporated into his lessons. He encourages children to use the things they love as the inspiration for their artwork while guiding them in the elements of art. Paul currently leads the after school art program at The University of Memphis Campus School, is the art tutor at Community Homeschool Tutorial, teaches preschool children at St. Luke’s Day School and is a working artist.
After over a decade teaching kindergarten in public and private school settings, I left teaching to pursue a call to ministry. I am currently a student myself, at Memphis Theological Seminary obtaining a Masters of Divinity degree. My pull to seminary began in the classroom when I was not able to tend to my students’ spirits as fully as I would like to. I had the lesson plans that covered all of the intellectual things that we were supposed to know. What I did not have was plans, time, or space for all of us to explore the things that we did not know – each other.
I love what Parker Palmer says about plain old kindergarten teachers in his book The Courage to Teach, it reminds me of a profound truth about children’s comfort and curiosity toward things that they do not know… “Kindergarten teachers often understand the teaching craft better than those of us with Ph.D.’s, perhaps because students in the ‘lower’ grades are like the child in ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes.’ They do not care what graduate school you attended, who chaired your dissertation committee, or how many books you have written, but they quickly sense whether you are real, and they respond accordingly.” This “real” that children sense is a yearning that we all have, and that we sometimes replace with all of the intellectual things that are known, leaving no place for all of the joyful, surprising, imperfect, and sometimes difficult unknowns – each other. By providing a safe space for students to sure up their own identity and character, while engaging with those who have very different characters and identities, we create a place that teaches us how to engage together with authentic kindness and respect.
In addition to being a student and teacher, I am married to my best friend Scott, and a grateful and humbled mom to our 3 children. I love a good book, my favorite is losing myself in a great fantasy. I have played soccer for nearly my entire life, and coach a competitive girls soccer team with my husband. Soccer taught me the value of being a good teammate, hard work, and how each player on a team may be vastly different AND be a valuable and necessary part of our success. I am excited to constantly be teaching and learning about the things that I know for sure (the 3 R’s), as well as holding a huge space open to engage those that are mysteries and/or unknown.