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Hope Bryson
Bryson, Hope
Teacher ELA Middle School 6-8
Middle School 6-8

I have always lived in Dickson County, with the exception of my college years. I graduated from Dickson County High School and Martin Methodist College. I started teaching at Creek Wood High School in 2005, and I moved to New Directions Academy in 2009. I have been teaching English to grades 6-8 at NDA ever since. In my free time I like to knit and watch knitting videos on YouTube. My favorites are The Fat Squirrel Speaks, The Bakery Bears, and Stranded Dyeworks Podcast. I enjoy reading, and one of my favorite authors is Cathy Lamb. When I choose texts for my classes, I try to pick ones I think my students will be interested in. Part of the challenge in getting students to become readers is putting the right books in their hands at the right time. 

Brian Fitts
Fitts, Brian
Teacher ELA High School 9-12
High School 9-12
I graduated Dickson County High School in 1990 and went on to Middle Tennessee State University where I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English in 1994 and a Master of Arts in English in 1998.  I have been teaching high school English for 19 years with 15 of those years being in Dickson County at NDA.  In my spare time I enjoy collecting bobbleheads based on literary characters and contemplating the wonders of the universe.
Wendy Kovalchick
Kovalchick, Wendy
RTI and SPED Case Manager
Special Education
I’m a Special Education Teacher and Reading Interventionist at New Directions Academy. I’m a graduate of Dickson County High School; earning my B.A. from a small liberal arts college in Pasadena, CA. I then worked in Southern CA more than 10 years as international coordinator for a multi-language magazine, during which time I met my husband-to-be, John, then a teacher in Los Angeles. Soon after our first son was born, we returned to Tennessee to be nearer family. John began teaching in Dickson County; and I completed my M.Ed. from Peabody College of Vanderbilt University in 2004, majoring in Special Education. My focus areas of study were in High Incidence Disabilities (including sudents with Learning Disabilities, and students with Emotional & Behavioral Disorders), and students with Visual Impairments. In 2011, I completed my Reading Specialist endorsement at Belmont University. This 2020-21 school year will be my 17th year of teaching.
John & I have two grown sons, both also graduates of Dickson County High School, and now college grads as well.
I’m a lifelong learner with a passion for helping students discover or grow in their own passion for learning. One of my greatest joys as a teacher is when a student discovers a new interest or individual talent, and grows in confidence as he/she develops that interest & utilizes that talent in the classroom and beyond. I love the process of meeting students where they are, finding out how they learn best & what motivates them; and then using this invaluable information to help them continue to learn and grow to the next level.
Dr. Rhiannon Mason
Mason, Dr. Rhiannon
Office Staff
I want to welcome families to New Directions Academy. My name is Rhiannon Mason. I grew up in Cross Plains, TN. From an early age, my family repeated education was the ticket to anything you wanted to be or anywhere you wanted to go. I knew early on I wanted to be a teacher, I just couldn't figure out what it was I wanted to teach. I graduated from East Robertson High School in 1996. It was after my Freshman year of college I decided I wanted to be a history teacher. I graduated from APSU in 2000 with a degree in history, but I had changed my mind and worked instead at an investment company in Nashville. After the birth of my oldest son Seth, I got a phone call for a job teaching history at Springfield High School. I taught for 7 years and loved it. Around 2005, I furthered my education and earned my master's degree in Administration. In 2007, my youngest son Fisher was born. The next year, I was named Assistant Principal at Springfield High School. After three years, my family moved to Dickson, TN. I have worked in several roles in DC schools and have earned my Ed.D. I transferred to NDA in 2017. It has been a wonderful experience and I have learned a lot. There is never a dull moment and it is a great opportunity to make positive changes .
Linda Mckinley
Mckinley, Linda
Secondary Educational Assistant
High School 9-12
David Poppendorf
Poppendorf, David
Teacher Social Studies/Science Middle School 6-8
Middle School 6-8

I earned my Bachelor's degree from East Tennessee State University. Later, I earned my Master’s degree in educational leadership from Lipscomb University. I have taught in the Dickson County school system for 21 years.  I have mainly taught middle school science and social studies in those 21 years.  I am married with four children and one granddaughter.  I love teaching.  Having former students come up to me and thank me for believing in them is very rewarding.  I believe that all students can learn no matter what their circumstances are.  I am very excited about this new chapter in my teaching career. 

Belinda Rhoads
Rhoads, Belinda
Teacher Math High School 9-12
High School 9-12

I graduated from Dickson County High School in 1979. I attended college at Bethel College, now Bethel University, with a scholarship in performance music because I participated in the musical group named the “Bethel Balladeers”. I graduated with a BS in Applied Mathematics and Chemistry with a minor in Choral Musical Performance. I became a mother of four and worked in the insurance business for more than 15 years. After my third child was born, I had an opportunity to stay at home and be a substitute teacher for a nearby county BOE. I did that for more than a year and decided that being a teacher would be a fulfilling job for me. I started to school at TSU while working for Cheatham County BOE. I graduated from Tennessee State University with a MAED in curriculum and instruction. I applied for a job in Dickson County and was called by NDA that same day. I have been at NDA for fourteen years. I have an additional MAED in Curriculum and Instruction in Mathematics from University of Phoenix and I have forty-seven hours toward my doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction in Mathematics. My goal is to make mathematics understandable to all students, even the ones that say they don’t “get it” and to show them that they can “get it”.

Shayn Roby
Roby, Shayn
Teacher Science High School 9-12
High School 9-12


1985 graduate of Houston County High School in Erin, TN’

BS 1993 Bethel University, Biology Major, Chemistry Minor2005 Tennessee Teaching License-Biology,

Trevecca Nazarene University, Nashville, TN

15 Years Teaching in Southern California

                       (Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, and San Diego Counties

3 Years Coaching High School Football

 Huntington Park (CA), Montgomery Central (TN), Paramount Hills

2.5 Years Teaching at New Directions Academy, Charlotte, TN

                                                         (2018 to Present)

                                        Biology, Physical Science

Life Experiences

Interpreter (Spanish) for Christian Missionary Team to Mexico

Author:  The Original Light:  The Great I Am


April Rolston
Rolston, April
Teacher Math Middle School 6-8
Middle School 6-8
I earned my Bachelor's degree from The University of Memphis and moved to Dickson County to begin my teaching career. Later, I earned my Master's In Teacher Leadership from The University of Phoenix. Over the course of 18 years, I have taught grades k-2 in Dickson, Middle School (all subjects) in Nashville, and Middle School Math in Dickson. I always knew I wanted to be a teacher and I hope I am making a positive impact with the students I serve.
Beverly Springer
Springer, Beverly
Educational Assistant High School 9-12
High School 9-12
I graduated APSU with a Bachelor's Degree in business administration with a minor in marketing. I married to Buddy Springer and have two children Tyler and Taylor. I am starting my 9th year with the school system. 
Dinah Stockman
Stockman, Dinah
Behavior Specialist
Office Staff
Dinah Stockman is the School/Family/Behavior Coordinator and RtI Coordinator for NDA. She has a Bachelor of Social Work degree and a Master's of Education degree in Special Education. She began working at NDA in the summer of 2003. Mrs. Stockman's goal is to make a difference one student at a time by developing positive relationships and meeting students where they are in order to help them take one step at a time in the best direction for them. Mrs. Stockman is married and has two sons. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family, church activities, sports, and reading. 
Michelle Street
Street, Michelle
Office Manager/Secretary
Office Staff
I graduated from Dickson County High School in 1988. In 1992 I went to work for the Dickson County Board of Education in Special Education. I also started driving a bus for the school system that year. I transferred to NDA in 1998.  I have been here for twenty years as the School Office Manager/Secretary. Working for NDA has allowed me to be a part of the lives of many different students over the years.  I have made many good memories in my time here and I plan on making many more throughout the coming years. 
Sabrina Walker
Walker, Sabrina
Middle School 6-8
I am from Owensboro, KY and received my Associates in Arts degree in 2008. I am married to my wonderful husband, Mark Walker and have five children: Dominic, Daymian, Devin, Marious, and Malakye. In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my family, cooking, gardening, and watching movies.
Christy Williams
Williams, Christy
Middle School 6-8
I graduated from Dickson County Senior High in 1998. I have 4 amazing kids. I was a stay at home mom with them until they were all in school. Family has always been the most important aspect of my life.       Shortly after the youngest started school I began working within the school system. I started subbing and did some work with special education. One of the things I tell my own children everyday is to be the reason someone smiles. Being at NDA has been a blessing to me because it feels like family. I love knowing that I could make a difference in one of these kids lives. We all have a story and we don't know what one is battling and I can only hope that my role here is to be their reason to smile that day!
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