Learn more about the administrative, teaching, and support staff at OAKS.
Kathy Preston grew up on a farm just west of Montgomery, Alabama. There she learned to love animals and to work with and for her family. She attended the church school in Montgomery, Georgia-Cumberland Academy, and Southern Adventist University, and recognizes the sacrifice and privilege it is to have an Adventist education.
Twenty-eight years ago, she realized that she wanted to “make the world a better place”. So, after much prayer and soul searching, she resigned from government work to pursue her teaching career. She has never regretted her decision.
After 11 years teaching in Marietta, Georgia, she landed a teaching position at OAKS. During her career, Ms. Preston has taught Kindergarten, First Grade, Second, Third, and Sixth grade.
1st Grade Teacher
Laurelei Mendoza graduated from Tennessee Tech University with her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education. After teaching for a few years, she continued her education and earned her Master’s degree in Reading and Literacy for grades K-6. Laurelei had the privilege to attend Adventist schools from first through twelfth grade, graduating from Hawaiian Mission Academy in 2004. Her and her husband, Josue are very blessed to have three amazing kids: Isabella, Lucas, and Juliette.
2nd grade teacher
Jesse Hoffman was raised in the small town of Mio, Michigan. He graduated from Southern Adventist University with his B.A. in Elementary Education in 2020 and is currently working on his Masters in Instructional Leadership. Jesse is excited to begin his third year teaching at OAKS. He expects it to be filled with many games of tag, pushing the merry-go-round, and laughing with his students. Some of the things Jesse enjoys are: swimming with his wife Heidi, going for walks with their puppy, riding his OneWheel, learning about cars, and much more!
3rd Grade Teacher
Miranda Starr graduated from Southern Adventist University in 2004 with a B.A. in Elementary Education. In 2021, she graduated with Masters in Literacy Education, also from SAU. She has been privileged to teach in several wonderful schools on the east and west coast spanning 11 years. She is excited to be starting her 4th year teaching at OAKS. She enjoys hiking and kayaking with her husband Geoff and their two children Ben, and Katie.
4th Grade TEACHER
Kaylan Hartman is now Kaylan Teller after her wedding to husband, Alex, this summer. She grew up in Ooltewah, TN, graduated from SAU with her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education, and is now currently working toward her Master’s degree in Outdoor Education. She is starting her 3rd year teaching here at OAKS and hopes to make a difference in the lives of her students. Some of Mrs. Teller’s favorite activities include camping, reading, traveling, and swimming.
5th Grade Teacher
Aimee Veness graduated from Pacific Union College with her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and Spanish in 2006. The following year she graduated with her Masters in Instructional Leadership also from PUC. She is now starting her 17th year of teaching and second year teaching at OAKS. If you can’t find Ms. Veness hiking, reading, or quilting, then you will probably find her traveling on an adventure to a new country or visiting with family and friends.
6th Grade teacher
Sharon Adams graduated from Andrews University with a B.S. in Behavioral Sciences with an emphasis on student development. She enjoyed being a dean at the high school and university levels before homeschooling her two children. She later received her teaching certification from Southern Adventist University and is in her 8th year at OAKS. She teaches 6th grade homeroom and 5th Grade Science and Social Studies.
Some of her favorite pastimes are kayaking, scrapbooking, music and reading. She lives with her family on a small farm with horses, a cat and a dog. A favorite bible verse is Joshua 1:9 where we are reminded that we need not be afraid for God is with us wherever we go. We are so blessed.
7th-8th Language Arts, Science & Social Studies
Janel Jensen graduated from SAU in 2012 with her B.A. in Education and secondary teaching certificate in English. She taught for four years in Northern California and earned her elementary teaching certificate from PUC in 2014. She graduated from WGU in 2015 with her Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction and then earned her Master’s degree in Instructional Leadership in 2018. This is Janel’s 7th year at OAKS. She enjoys the outdoors and traveling around the country with her family.
7th-8th Math & Bible
Aaron Hall graduated from Southwestern Adventist University in 2004 with a B.S. in Communication and from Southern Adventist University in 2018 with a Masters in Instructional Leadership. Now in his 17th year of teaching and 8th year at OAKS, he teaches middle school Math and Bible while serving as OAKS Vice Principal.
When he’s not at school, he loves spending time and traveling with his wife, Alisa, and their three children. Aaron is also passionate about golf, woodworking, music, sports, and exploring the great outdoors.
Elementary Music Teacher and Handbells
Mary Wilcox earned her music degree from Southern Adventist University and has lived in the Collegedale area for more than 20 years. She has been active in teaching music education for more than 35 years. Mrs. Wilcox teaches lower grades deskbells, glockenspiel, group piano, recorder, and upper grades handbells.
She is married and has three sons in college. She loves animals and music and is currently leading a community strings group called His Strings.
Mrs. Wilcox loves God, family, music, teaching, animals, gardening (especially carnivorous plants!) and,
even though introverted, being with people. This fuels her passion for music groups and teaching. Music
provides a place for people to grow and be together.
Wes Bradford has taught elementary and high school bands since the year 2000. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Music Education from Southern Adventist University, and his Master’s degree in Music Education from Vandercook School of Music in Chicago. Mr. Bradford has always enjoyed playing any and all instruments, and is grateful for the opportunity to share this with so many students through the years. When he is not teaching or performing, he loves to spend time outside with his wife and 5 children.
Alisa Hall graduated from Southern Adventist University in 2013 with a degree in Character Animation. Soon after, she opened a successful photography and design business. Since moving to Tennessee in 2016, she’s continued taking a small number of photography clients (including OAKS), but has focused on clients with drawing and illustration projects. In 2018, she began teaching art at OAKS.
When she’s not at school, she is a full-time mommy to her three young children.
Yana was born and raised in Ukraine where she received her music education degree. She started working as a teacher of music school in Ukraine. In 2016, after getting married to her husband, they moved to Michigan. While living in Michigan, she worked for GLAA. Two years ago, they, as a family decided to radically change their lives by moving to Tennessee, one of the best decisions for them. In her free time, she likes to explore new places with her husband and daughter, Nelly, swimming and playing the piano.
Kandenne De Lauer
1st grade paraprofessional
2nd grade paraprofessional
Heidi Matthews graduated from Chattanooga State Technical Community College in 2008 with an Associates degree in Radiologic Technology. While working full time she continued her education and graduated from AdventHealth University (AHU) in 2012 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Imaging Sciences. In 2014 she earned her Masters of Imaging Sciences degree. During her internship she spent most of her training in pediatric radiology. In 2020 Heidi felt God leading her in another direction and started working at OAKS as the Aftercare Director.
She is married with two children, soon to be three.
Randy Smith holds a Masters of Library Science degree from Indiana University and a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from UT Chattanooga. Prior to working at OAKS, he was a Research Librarian in Business, Law, & Government for the Broward County Library System, FL in addition to being head of Reference and Assistant Branch Manager at the Leon Slatin Library. He has worked Reference for both Indiana University’s Graduate Library and for the Wake County Library System in Raleigh, NC.
Shelly Parrish has served as an administrator and teacher in the Collegedale school system for 14 years. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a Master’s degree in Multi-age-Multi Grade Education with an endorsement in School Administration from Southern Adventist University. Shelly is mom to Elizabeth who is 7. They enjoy reading books and making sauce in the kitchen. Shelly’s favorite bible verse is 3 John 1:4 “No greater joy have I than to hear that my children walk in truth.”
Yasmin Teale was born in Honduras, but moved to Fort Smith, AR when she was 13 years old. She graduated from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville with a B.S. in Business Administration and Marketing. She is married with two kids, Kaitlin and Ethan. They moved to Tennessee when her husband, Roy was transferred here by McKee Foods about eleven years ago and this is where they now call home. She enjoys spending time with her family, vacations on the beach, watching movies and doing little projects around her house. She is happy to be a part of the OAKS family.