Instructors

Lisa Miller

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 Miller

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.

Emily Melton

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.

Bridgette Flack

My name is Bridgette Flack and I have been married to Tim for 20 years!  We have three children who keep us busy and on our toes!  I taught special education and kindergarten for 9 years in Shelby County Schools before we had our first child.  I stayed home with my kids for 10 years until three years ago when I began teaching at St. Luke’s Day School as a substitute, kindergarten, and junior kindergarten teacher.  When my children were very young, I wanted to learn to sew in order to make unique clothing that was affordable.  I learned to sew from a local sewing shop.  I would find new patterns and often come to my mentors with some hesitation.  They always encouraged and reassured me that I could learn whatever new skills were required for that particular pattern.  With the confidence they instilled, I continued to attempt more and more projects until I felt I could sew just about whatever I needed to sew!  Making clothes has been fun, but I have most enjoyed the projects my children have come up with – pillows with secret pockets, blankets for dolls, sleeping bags for their pets, a motto banner for a teacher, a travel art supply case and so much more.  I have sewn with each of my children on my lap as they fed the fabric through the machine and learned to sew alongside me.  It is very satisfying to begin with a rectangular piece of fabric and end with something a person can wear or use.  

Melody Tartera

My name is Melody Tartera, owner of Tartera Sign and Design! By day, I’m a Memphis educator for a local charter school. I’m married to my amazing husband, Taylor and we live in East Memphis with our 3 Boston terriers. 

We both are in education which lends itself nicely to spending time together during summers and breaks. Not to mention, he is my partner in life- including our business! Together, we are event designers and coordinators. Separately, I run all the creative classes while he operates our home and family! 

We love to give back to the community that built us; creativity is something God blessed me with and I see so much value in using it to make the world a little brighter. 

James Quick

James has been teaching students Computer Programming and Game Development for over six years.  He has worked with hundreds of middle school, high school, and university students in Miami, New York City, and Memphis.  He earned his degree in Computer Science from Vanderbilt University and joined Microsoft upon graduation.  He is currently working as an Application Architect at FedEx but is eager to help students in the area grow and learn through programming.

James is an active member of the community, frequently speaking at local events and conferences.  He also runs a successful YouTube Channel and online platform called “Learn. Build. Teach”.