Our Team

Ansley Bartlett

Founding 5th Grade Social Studies Teacher

Ansley Bartlett (abartlett@strivecollegiate.org) received her Bachelor’s degree in Education with concentrations in Social Studies and English from the University of Mississippi in 2014. Ansley was born and raised in Nashville and enjoys watching the city flourish as an upcoming metropolis. This will be Ansley’s second year at STRIVE Collegiate Academy. Ansley is returning to STRIVE because of the relationships she has built with the students, families, and the fellow teachers at STRIVE. One of Ansley’s educational heroes is Rita Pierson, who was an inspirational speaker that spent her life in and around the classroom. One of the most inspiring quotes from Pierson says, “Every child deserves a champion–an adult who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection, and insists that they become the best that they can possible be.” Ansley is dedicated to committing her time to students, families, and teachers to ensure the best that they can be while giving the best education in Nashville.

Lindsay Bayne

Founding 5th Grade Math Teacher

Lindsay Bayne (lbayne@strivecollegiate.org) received her Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from Oakland University. Upon graduation, Ms. Bayne started her career in the accounting industry while tutoring and working with children in her free time. After 10 years in accounting, she decided to pursue her true passion and teach full-time. Upon realizing this decision, Ms. Bayne relocated from Michigan and joined the STRIVE family in 2015. When she isn’t teaching her students to become problem-solvers and to LOVE Math, she enjoys singing in the Metro Nashville Chorus and spending time with her soon-to-be husband, David, and their two cats – Snuggle and Finn.

Travis Batista

Founding 6th Grade Social Studies Teacher

Travis Batista (tbatista@strivecollegiate.org) graduated from Middle Tennessee State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Global Studies with a minor in History. In college, Mr. Batista found a love for experiencing new cultures and travel. So far, Mr. Batista has made it to three continents and several countries. He hopes to bring his travels to the classroom while teaching Social Studies. Mr. Batista is currently a part of the Nashville Teaching Fellows where he is learning to focus his efforts in the classroom on ending education inequality. In his spare time, Mr. Batista enjoys cooking with his wife, taking his dog, Mabel, to the dog park, and planning his next get away.

LaKendra Butler

School Leader, Founder

LaKendra Butler (lakendra@strivecollegiate.org) holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Social Work from the University of Texas at Austin, and a Master’s degree in Education Administration & Supervision from National Louis University. Butler’s career in education began in 2005 as a corps member with Teach for America in Atlanta, Georgia, where she taught Civics, Law, and Geography at Booker T. Washington High School.  After fulfilling her two year commitment, she started teaching fifth and eighth grade Social Studies and assumed the role of eighth grade level chair at KIPP TRUTH Academy in Dallas, Texas.  Butler participated in the KIPP School Leadership Pathways program and became KIPP TRUTH’s first Assistant Principal.  During her third year as the Assistant Principal, she became the School Leader and held both roles simultaneously, but eventually transitioned into the School Leader role full-time.  During her tenure as a teacher, Assistant Principal, and School Leader, KIPP TRUTH Academy continued to be a “Recognized” school (based on Texas’ rating system) and continued to outperform the district in several subject areas.  During her final year with KIPP, Butler transitioned into the Director of KIPP Through College role where she led the KIPP Through College Managers and developed a strategic plan for KIPP Through College in addition to supporting several departments throughout KIPP Dallas Ft. Worth. Mrs. Butler was hired by the Tennessee Charter School Center to move to Nashville to start a charter school.  She has spent the last two years writing her charter application, engaging in the community and building a great middle school option for students in the McGavock Cluster.  In August 2014, STRIVE was approved to open in July 2015. Ms. Butler is excited to serve the students, families and community of the McGavock Cluster.

Shauna Carter

Founding 6th Grade English Language Arts Teacher

Shauna Carter (scarter@strivecollegiate.org) earned a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Tennessee State University and a Master’s in Business from Bethel University here in Nashville, TN. Shauna has worked with children and in public schools through substitute teaching, Junior Achievement, and SACC in Williamson County. After several years in banking she decided to go back and follow her passion of teaching children. Shauna is currently finishing up her licensure with Nashville Teaching Fellows. When not teaching at STRIVE Collegiate Academy she enjoys playing with her two young children. Shauna has a lifelong love of soccer and is excited to coach the first season of soccer here at STRIVE. She believes playing sports is an integral part of forming a dynamic learning experience for children and the skills they pick up while playing on a team is essential for becoming successful members of society both socially and academically.

Cristina Descisciolo

Founding 5th Grade English Language Arts Teacher

Cristina DeScisciolo (cdescisciolo@strivecollegiate.org) graduated from Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania with a Bachelor’s degree in Global Studies with minors in Health, Medicine, and Society (Public Health) and Spanish. Having grown up with a father in the Navy, Cristina had the opportunity to move around a lot – she lived in Rhode Island, California, and Virginia. She knows this lifestyle sparked her love for travel and meeting new people! She was able to do just that, on a much larger scale, during her semester in India, Argentina, and South Africa. Both her experience abroad and summer internship at the Bethlehem Heath Bureau helped her pinpoint her passion: working with kids to help them, too, find their passions and develop the skills necessary to become leaders. Ms. DeScisciolo feels that Nashville, TN has already become another home away from home, hugely due to the outstanding staff of teachers and students at STRIVE. She is excited for another memorable year as a fifth grade English Language Arts teacher!

Megan Grimm

Founding  5th Grade Special Education Instruction Specialist

Megan Grimm (mgrimm@strivecollegiate.org) holds a Bachelor’s degree from The University of Phoenix in English and Psychology, and is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Special Education from The University of Texas. Ms. Grimm began her journey in education in 2008 when she accepted a position as a Special Education Para Educator for Joy James Elementary in Fort Worth, Texas, and held that role for over three years. While living in Texas, Ms. Grimm was actively involved with Special Olympics, and the Afterschool and Summer Enrichment Programs at her school. After relocating to Nashville, Ms. Grimm accepted a position with STRIVE Collegiate Academy as the Special Education Instructional Specialist. She is very excited to make a positive impact in the lives of children and their families of the McGavock Cluster.

Whitney Hawkins

Founding Director of Academics

Whitney Hawkins (whawkins@strivecollegiate.org) holds a Bachelor’s degree in English from DePauw University, and is currently pursuing her Master’s degree at Lipscomb University. Throughout college, Whitney taught Spanish to middle school aged students in an after school program put together by her and other peers for kids in their college town. Whitney’s educational career began in 2013 when she joined Teach for America Greater Nashville corps as an English teacher at Hunter’s Lane High School in north Nashville. From there she went on to coach and develop teachers as a Manager of Teacher Leadership and Development on the Greater Nashville Teach for America staff. Ms. Hawkins is now bringing her coaching and development experience to STRIVE. She plans to support teachers in their development and in the execution of excellent instruction. In her spare time Ms. Hawkins enjoys attending festivals and travelling. She also enjoys playing sports like volleyball, and cooking.

Joseph Howell

Founding 5th & 6th Grade Physical Education Teacher

Joseph Howell (jhowell@strivecollegiate.org) graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Performance and Sports Science from Tennessee State University, and he is the Founding Physical Education Teacher at STRIVE Collegiate. He has worked in the nonprofit industry for over 10 years as a recreational leader, manager, and program coordinator for regional community centers in Tennessee. Additionally, he has been mentoring and coaching young, inner-city youth for over 10 years in various sports, including basketball, softball, soccer, and street hockey. During his spare time, he enjoys playing basketball, coaching youth basketball, playing with his dogs, and being a father to his precious daughter named Kennedy.

Kaitlyn Jolley

Founding 5th Grade English Language Arts Teacher

Kaitlyn Jolley (kjolley@strivecollegiate.org) holds a Bachelor’s degree in Linguistics and Spanish from the University of Texas at Austin, and she has held many positions during her college years working with youth at summer camps and in recreational gymnastics & dance facilities in the Austin area. Kaitlyn’s educational career began in 2013 when she took a position at St. James Child Development Center in Portland, Oregon. From there she went on to obtain a lead teaching position with Creative Minds Learning Center, also in Portland, Oregon, where she headed the toddler classroom. Mrs. Jolley participated last year in the Nashville Teaching Fellows program through The New Teacher Project, a nonprofit committed to ending the injustice of educational inequality. She plans to implement the ideals and skills set forth by the program in her teaching at STRIVE as an English Language Arts teacher. In her spare time Mrs. Jolley enjoys being outside, working out, and indulging in comedy shows and movies. She also enjoys crafting all kinds of goodies and building furniture for her home.

Emily Martin

Founding 6th Grade Mathematics Teacher

Emily Martin (emartin@strivecollegiate.org) graduated from Indiana University with her Bachelor’s Degree in Non-Profit Management and Fundraising. She spent 2 years in the non-profit sector before leaving to pursue her desire to work with children. In 2013, she began her educational career volunteering and later working for Kirkwood High School in Saint Louis, Missouri where she was born and raised. Emily is a 2016 member of Teach for America, which brought her here to her new home in Nashville and here at STRIVE. In her free time Emily loves traveling, exploring Nashville and trying new foods!

Charles Marvil

Founding 5th Grade Science Teacher

Charles Marvil (cmarvil@strivecollegiate.org) graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science from Emory University, and he is our 5th grade Science teacher. He is a member of the 2015 Teach for America Corps and is incredibly excited about the opportunity to work at STRIVE Collegiate Academy. As an educator, Charles is committed to integrating the pursuit of scientific knowledge with the acquisition of important practical skills in order to foster a learning community that engages students on a deeper level. Through the use of demos, experiments and outside of the box learning, Charles hopes to bring concepts alive and inspire his students to think about the ways in which science is an integral part of our everyday lives. On a more personal note, Charles is an avid sports fan (supporting all teams from Atlanta) and is excited to explore the vibrant Nashville culture.

Jasmine Morris

Founding English Language Arts Teaching Fellow

Jasmine Morris (jmorris@strivecollegiate.org). As a first generation student, I understand the significant difference that education can make in a child’s life and the amazing opportunities it can create. For that reason, I am deeply passionate about studying education. In 2013, I graduated from Tennessee State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology/Sociology. As part of my undergraduate education, I have conducted a field study in Metro Schools each semester. This has helped me gain lots of experience observing teachers, working with students, witnessing classroom management practices, and gaining advice from teachers. I recently graduated from Western Kentucky University with a Masters in Public Administration and currently I attend Relay Graduate School of Education. In my spare time, I volunteer with the YMCA Urban Development Center throughout the school year.

Joshua Nunnally

Director of Operations

Joshua Nunnally (jnunnally@strivecollegiate.org) joined the STRIVE team this summer. Josh came to STRIVE from Laser One in Nashville, where he was employed for 10 years. He graduated from the University of Louisiana – Monroe in 2005 with a B.S. in History. He lives in West Nashville with his dog, Ghost. Josh is very eager to delve into his role as Operations Director in 2016 and see STRIVE grow and prosper.

Travis Powell

Founding 6th Grade English Language Arts Teacher

Travis Powell (tpowell@strivecollegiate.org) received his bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education with a focus in Language Arts from the University of Cincinnati. After teaching for 5 years in the Cincinnati area, he went back to school and completed a Master’s degree in Special Education from Xavier University, also in Cincinnati. Although from the Southern Ohio area, Travis Powell began his education in West Africa at a boarding school in Ivory Coast. Several teachers, but especially his Senior English teacher, heavily influenced him, causing him to consider teaching and finally become and English teacher. Travis has been married to Dr. Maria Powell, a post-doc fellow at Vanderbilt’s Voice Lab, for four years and the two enjoy traveling locally and internationally as well as cooking together. After teaching a total of eight years, Travis considers it a privilege to educate, especially at STRIVE, and believes every child deserves the highest quality education.

Monica Santoyo

Founding Office Manager

Monica P. Santoyo (msantoyo@strivecollegiate.org) is a graduate from Illinois State University (GO REDBIRDS!) She holds a  Bachelor’s degree in English Studies with a focus on literature in the fantasy genre. Ms. Santoyo’s passion is reading and writing and spends most, if not all, of her free-time engaging in said activities. Monica hopes that through her work with STRIVE Collegiate Academy she can help others discover their own passion for literature and/or writing.