Echo Magazine - Spring 2015

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Spring 2015

BGA Roundtable Discussion How Innovative Teaching Prepares Today’s Students



Battle Ground Academy continues to maintain excellence in its programs in large part because of the dedication and commitment of many parents, alumni, parents of alumni, grandparents, and friends who each year contribute their time and other resources. A donor can make a difference at BGA by making the following charitable contributions. If you would like to make a gift to The BGA Fund for 2014-2015, there are five easy ways to support Battle Ground Academy. BGA’s fiscal year is July 1 – June 30. For more information on any of these methods, please contact the BGA Development Office at 615-567-8320.


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Contents 12



Departments Academics 8 Sports













Features Roundtable Discussion: Preparing Today’s Students in the Information Age 4 BGA Head of School Will Kesler gathered a group of faculty members to discuss changes in the delivery of education and what the future holds.

Lady Wildcats Clinch Another State Title for BGA 14 The Battle Ground Academy Lady Wildcats ended their exceptional season by winning the Division II Class A Girls’ State Soccer Championship.

BGA Faculty as Learners and Teachers 26 The best teachers never stop learning, and this is especially true at Battle Ground Academy. Read how our exceptional educators are always honing their craft.

BGA Alums Carry on Teaching Traditions 34 echo caught up with two BGA alumni who are using traditional teaching methods

they learned while at BGA, while also incorporating technology in new and exciting ways.


Students in David Peden’s History of Entrepreneurship class collaborate on a marketing case study.

Battle Ground Academy is a college preparatory school dedicated to developing the intellectual, moral, creative, and physical aspects of each student, and to assisting students in the realization of their potential for personal fulfillment and service to others. echo magazine spring 2015



SUMMER CAMPS The Spring 2015 edition of echo is published by the Battle Ground Academy Office of Advancement for alumni, parents, grandparents, students, and friends.


Shannon Bevins Director of Communications Battle Ground Academy Tom Evans Director of Advancement Battle Ground Academy Mike Alday Brittany Williams Alday Communications, Inc.


Jason Gregg ’90 Leah Handelsman Anne M. Locke ’90


Dr. Lucas Boyd Alison Logan ’90

Athletics, Academics, Arts, and Enrichment

June 1st – July 31st Register online at or contact Roc Batten, Director of BGA Camps,


Visualink Creative


Amy Cosby Sara E. Rose Photography Tim Jones Photography Head of School William F. Kesler Chairman, Board of Trustees Eddie Lunn ’67 Director of Advancement Thomas G. Evans Jr. President, Alumni Association Hamilton Bowman ’93 BGA is open to all qualified applicants regardless of race, gender, creed, color or national or ethnic origin. Please send story ideas or comments to


How Do We Teach in the 21st-Century? Our students are so fortunate to have incredible opportunities to experience a wide variety of activities outside the classroom. Whether it’s athletics, arts, or extracurricular experiences, our students grow tremendously from their involvement in these many areas. In fact, many of these extracurriculars get far more attention in the news than the day-to-day instruction that goes on in our classrooms. The truth is, however, that Battle Ground Academy’s reason for existence revolves around the interactions between teacher and student every class period, every day. Roughly six times a day, small groups of students walk into classrooms where their teachers help them become more intellectual, more empathetic, more industrious. Teaching is part science, part art, and part craft, but when it is at its best, it is pure magic. This edition of echo is about that innovative alchemy we call education, about how BGA does it, and how we plan to improve how we do it, in the future. Recently the academic leadership of BGA adopted four pillars of teaching that inform not only how we instruct but also how we evaluate one another and ourselves. Scholarship, Creativity, Compassion, and Professionalism make up the guiding principles of great teaching at BGA. While these are not unique to BGA, having these as a common vocabulary for talking about our instruction and interaction with students allows us to have more informed conversations about what works and what doesn’t in our own classrooms. They serve as guideposts for our students’ educational experience.

As you read this issue, I hope you will get just a taste of the incredible teaching and learning that happens at Battle Ground Academy every day. I hope that you will appreciate even more the incredible faculty who work with our students to help them become better young men and women ready to face the challenges of college and beyond.

Will Kesler Head of School

echo magazine spring 2015


Roundtable Discussion: The 21st-Century Classroom BGA Head of School Will Kesler often speaks about his vision for the “21st-Century Classroom.” Recently, Will gathered together a group of faculty members to discuss changes in the delivery of education and what the future holds.

Sarah Harris (3rd Grade Teacher): Personally, I would say the shift to the readers and writers workshop model has most greatly impacted how I teach. Shorter mini-lessons, whole-group interaction, and the opportunity to conference one-on-one with students really provide more differentiated instruction in that I’m able to see where a student is and help him grow from there.

Dawson Gray ’02 (Upper School Math Teacher): For me, the time frame of the past five to 10 years is interesting because this encompasses my entire teaching career, so I have a little different perspective in terms of not having experience from the distant past. A lot of the changes in the math realm are very technological. I get a lot of great resources from Twitter by following other math teachers. Obviously we’ve seen a lot of technological shifts at BGA since I’ve been here and there are a lot of capabilities there. Reney McAtee and Charlie Carlisle have started flipping their classrooms and are interested in pursuing that more in the coming years. The technological advances are really promising, especially in math.

Shelley McLay ’93 (Middle School English Teacher): I would agree with Sarah. I also teach in the workshop method, and one of the things I think has changed my instruction is that the workshop allows for a student-led discussion where students contribute thoughts in a roundtable fashion.

Steve Lape (Middle School Social Studies Teacher): The technological advances complement well. Instead of teacher-centered, you have teacherdirected discussions and questions and presentations where it’s all studentcentered, even student-led, which is really exciting. It’s a great departure from

Will Kesler: Let’s talk about how teaching has changed over the last few years – not only the innovations we have going on at BGA, but also the innovations we see coming down the pipe. What do you think has been the biggest innovation in teaching in the last five to 10 years?


30 years ago when I first started. I love watching the discussions, presentations, and the use of the right questions. I think to elicit responses from the kids is important. My favorite thing in class is the eureka moment when you give them something to figure out and they do it. That’s really cool. Dawson Gray: Piggybacking off that, it’s important to instill in students that it’s OK to be wrong and to not know something when we start. I’ll pose an idea and I’m not going to tell you what the rule is. We’re going to investigate some situations and you’re going to try to generate this rule and figure out what’s happening here. I’ll make someone hypothesize something and, whether it’s right or wrong, I’ll turn to someone else and ask if he or she agrees with that and then we’ll get into a classroom discussion. I think math is probably less discussion-based than the other fields but I do try to have that be a large part of my teaching, and not just say, “OK we’re multiplying exponents today and this is how it works.” We actually

look through some examples and they talk about it and think about it and then maybe I provide an example without showing the rule. Sometimes these light bulb or eureka moments happen. Shelley McLay: To continue along those lines, I’m thinking of the way my grammar instruction has changed from a drill and practice to “Why would the author choose this type of punctuation? What was the author trying to express here?” rather than “You need a period here because…” Instead, we look at it from a whole new perspective and I think that’s important to the class. Will Kesler: Do students see the technology piece and things like the workshop method as innovative or are these just part of the background to them now? And, what’s their response to these approaches, perhaps as opposed to some more traditional responses? Steve Lape: Technology is such a part of their life, but yet they don’t know how to use the iPad as a tool in class. It’s a gaming device for them, something they take pictures with, something that they draw on. We can look this up: what were the Venetians exporting, what kinds of finished products? They were taking raw materials from all parts of the Mediterranean world but what were they manufacturing and redistributing back out as exports? So again, teaching them how to use it in that way. To me it’s a great source of information. I see it as something that complements what you do in class. It’s more immediate. “Hey, Mr. Lape, what’s lapis lazuli?” And I would say, “It’s a really beautiful stone, but let’s look it up.” I enjoy watching their faces as they see it appear on the screen, and that discovery moment as they scroll through images is really cool, too. Shelley McLay: But, for workshop method, I think you’re right. Initially when we started using it, students did think it was really different and cool. Now they understand that, after a semester, this is more like life – you collaborate with your peers. It’s not about the prompt and then the product; it’s about the process and they understand that. It’s not innovative anymore. It is who they are.

Sarah Harris: It is more student-driven in that it’s driven by their interests. For instance, it’s not, “We’re all going to read Charlotte’s Web today.” Instead, students are reading and writing about what most interests them. As a result, they are more engaged in learning. We even have book clubs where the students decide on a book to read, and the questions they have about the text then become their discussion within that group. Will Kesler: I’m hearing student-driven, more conversations going on among the students about particular areas of interest. It sounds like they’re sort of driving the conversations from an outside perspective. How do you ensure that the standards, the skills, and the content are met? What is it you do that blends that student-driven mentality but still directs it in a way that the kids get what they need? Shelley McLay: It’s magic. (Laughs) We do have a list and know exactly before we go in what questions we need to lead the children to answer on their own. You go in with a plan: you have your central questions and

trail. When they ask a great question, I am prepared with an example where we can work through it and say, “Why do you think that’s true? Let’s investigate this together.” I know exactly what I want to accomplish on that day and what they need to learn, but I’m also able to change gears at a moment’s notice when something really important and instructive comes up. Will Kesler: I’d be curious to hear you all talk about a specific lesson that you’ve done in the past that was maybe a first big toe into the world of innovative teaching or maybe just something you’ve done recently that was more innovative than what you’ve done in the past. Describe the lesson and the results. Dawson Gray: I have never sat down to plan a lesson and thought, “How can I be innovative today?” That’s never been a concern. I want to be effective today and if, in doing so, I do new things, I think that’s great. I jotted down a list while going through my syllabi thinking, “What could possibly qualify as being innovative?” I’m trying to think about

“...this is more like life – you collaborate with your peers.” objectives and clear expectations. You are driving them toward a certain skill. It takes a little maneuvering to get them there, but I think it’s more authentic. Steve Lape: The magic is at the end of it: did they get it? To me, that is important. I usually deal with the essential questions at the beginning: here are my expectations; here’s what we’re going to look for; here are the questions we’re going to answer through our research. I think that’s the important part because you can get lost in this. Shelley McLay: It’s almost like presenting an agenda of what to think about today. Dawson Gray: My classroom is largely student-centered, but I’m still in control. I plan carefully to allow for flexibility so that when those moments arise, I can follow these students down that rabbit

what’s going to be important for these students’ mathematical development. The thing that came most to mind for me in terms of innovation is that, even though I’m not teaching geometry this year, when I introduce proofs, which is a difficult concept for geometry students, I introduce them through a problem-solving exercise called the pirate problem. We spend two days working on it in class in small groups. They are frustrated because I won’t tell them the answer and they can’t imagine that a math problem can take them 90 minutes to solve. We work on it, we talk about it, and they have an assignment. They have an option of either writing a two-page paper explaining the pirate problem, or they can do an oral report explaining the problem to me. It’s very logic driven, and it develops good critical thinking skills. They have to be able to walk me through the steps because that’s

echo magazine spring 2015


what they’re going to need to do in a two-column proof. So whenever I taught honors geometry, that’s how I introduced the concept and I suppose that qualifies as innovative, but I was looking for the results of them translating that into doing a proof. Will Kesler: Just to clarify, the end result has changed in some ways for us because if I want them to be effective – and effective is now “what can you do” as opposed to “what do you know” – I think that’s where the task-oriented nature of teaching has changed. So it’s not so much the innovation but the outcome that is slightly different. Is that a fair representation of your experiences over the last five to ten years? Steve Lape: Yes. We read A Whole New Mind, the Daniel Pink book. It really made an impression on me and I pulled it out yesterday. Shelley and I were discussing these questions together and batting around ideas but there’s one part of the book when you’re considering what you do, and ask yourself, “Can a computer do it better? Can someone else in another part of the world do it just as well and cheaper than you?” If you answer “yes” to one and two, you’re in trouble. The idea now is that end result, you have to be that analytical thinker, you have to synthesize, to create. That’s really what’s driving me right now. “Is this the right answer?” “I don’t know. You tell me. I want you to talk yourself into this.” I think that’s important. Sarah Harris: Some of the shift in teaching – with what Steve was saying earlier about the technology and access to information that is right at their fingertips – also causes you as a teacher to step back and ask if what you’re doing now is necessary? How do I teach, what

Shelley McLay ’93


do I teach, and how do I assess? In the days of old, it was more a regurgitation of information. Now it’s creating something or communicating what you do know in a clear way. For example, we used to complete state research where every child had an assigned state and would research and present about their state. Now we implement the story-path model. Students apply to be managers of visitor centers for their state. Those students chosen as managers then interview the other students to “staff” the visitor centers for a particular state. Instead of reporting state facts, they create an advertisement for that state. They still have to learn about the state using information that is readily available but it’s not a fill-in-the-box kind of activity. There’s more ownership and they’re more engaged in learning as a result. Shelley McLay: I was thinking about the way I introduce argument writing now. I ask the students to listen as I read a poem. I read The Giving Tree and then I ask the students if the tree is weak or strong. I ask them to make a decision each way and then they line up across the room – over here the kids who think she’s strong, over here the kids who think she’s weak. Hopefully they line up directly across from someone and that person becomes their debate partner. They then introduce themselves and return to their group and form a caucus. Their caucus answers to the debate partner. What’s really interesting about the way this works is that there’s an emphasis on listening all the way through before you respond. So working in some real-life skill with argument writing leads to a child being able to anticipate a counter-argument. Will Kesler: All of you represent BGA’s three divisions. If I were to ask you what you see on the horizon for the next five

to 10 years in terms of teaching at BGA – whether it’s innovation, whether it’s new approaches – what are you seeing as the future of teaching at BGA? Steve Lape: I’m traditional, I guess, in a sense but I’m also looking forward to change. I like the change. I try to do a lot of self-evaluation and, to me, that’s going to be the biggest change. Are you willing to jump on board and do what’s necessary to make us a more vibrant school in the 21st century and give the students what they need? Or, are you going to stick with those old ways and the old yellow legal pads or whatever you write your notes on? That excites me. I embrace the possibility of change. Will Kesler: I think it’s a line from the Daniel Pink book that says, “If you don’t like change, you’re going to like obsolescence even less.” Steve Lape: I should have brought my copy because it’s all dog-eared since I look at it constantly. It’s always on the shelf behind my desk. Shelley McLay: One thing that’s changed and I hope will continue to change is that education is evolving to meet needs of students now. Things were similar when I came back in 2000 from the time I was a student in the ’90s. But now I’m seeing a huge shift in thinking about what the kids really need from us and it’s not necessarily content but it is moving from the information age to the age of creativity. What are we going to do with all this information we have now? How are we going to decipher the noise from the rest of it? I think there will be a lot more emphasis on teaching kids to find primary sources and filter out the spin. That’s going to be a big part of what we do in

Dawson Gray ’02

every class. We all have to do it. Teaching the kids how to then speak to one another and how to have a community of ideas where we’re listening to one another. I see a change in that way.

beyond the walls of the classroom through the use of technology. For example, my third grade class in Franklin, Tennessee being able to communicate and collaborate with a class in another state or country.

Dawson Gray: The iPad has done wonders for me in my own teaching. I’m not using a textbook this year in Calculus, and I know there’s a Middle School class also not using a textbook. We’re creating our own materials. I love creative projects like that and getting my hands dirty. I love thinking about what order things need to go in and how I can string these concepts together. In department meetings, I have had three other faculty members say they might be interested in trying that next year. I think that the iPad offers a lot of possibilities. I’m not creating a textbook, but there’s a template for them and they’re really filling in the blanks. The students are solving the problems and creating the ideas. They’re taking their own notes and that forms their textbook or their textbook-like thing as we work through the lessons that I’ve crafted. We need to be looking closely at curriculum and focusing on why we teach what we teach, why it’s important, and what they’re trying to get out of their classes. The iPad really has an opportunity to transform the ways we go about doing this. I don’t know that I would want to push to require this, but I think within 10 years, we will be using fewer and fewer textbooks because we’ll be creating our own materials. That’s going to take a lot of intentional planning from department chairs and department members to make sure everything is covered in a satisfactory manner, but I think we’re headed in that direction.

Will Kesler: We’ve talked about all the different kinds of innovation. What are the one or two things that you don’t want to see change or you don’t think will ever change? What is at the heart of great teaching for you all?

Sarah Harris: I envision there will be a greater global community – a community of students learning and collaborating

Sarah Harris

Shelley McLay: May I speak about Steve for a minute instead of myself? I’ve seen this happen in Steve’s class. Steve is still presenting “fresh water and fertile soil” but now when Steve does that, he doesn’t tell the kids fresh water and fertile soil are important to civilization. He’s posing questions at the start of class and the kids are digging and finding answers. It really is cool, because Steve has kept going with the same material but just a different way of doing it. Steve Lape: I walk across campus and kids will yell “Hey Mr. Lape, fresh water and fertile soil, right on.” Have you seen the back of my Jeep? I have a tire cover on the back of my Jeep that says “Fresh Water and Fertile Soil.” Shelley McLay: I believe the question was what’s not changing. I think the fundamental principles are the same. Steve is still teaching what he does and he’s doing it really well by just asking the questions differently now. Dawson Gray: I come from a subject where the content itself doesn’t change that much or certainly hasn’t changed recently. I love what I’ve heard about questions already because I think questions are the fundamental aspect of instruction.

I remember going in as a student to ask Mark Seyfred a question and he wouldn’t directly answer. I would ask him about the answer to a problem, and he would make me back up five steps. Freshman me was frustrated by that, but it was so good for developing my logical thought process and really developing my deep understanding of this material. I have tried to adapt that into my own teaching. I think that is the heart of great teaching: recognizing where students are, meeting them at their level, and helping them to take the next step in their development. I certainly hope that never changes. Sarah Harris: Though methods may change, that contact between teacher and student is important in the classroom. You have to know your students’ learning styles and remain attentive to the world they live in now and will live in beyond graduation. Shelley McLay: BGA has always had teachers who’ve cared and that’s not any different from when I visited, when my dad was coming back to alumni events, when I was a student here. The teachers knew and cared and that part will not change. The teachers are the best. Steve Lape: I think that’s true. I think you can say that’s true for any teacher that’s worth his or her weight in chalk dust. Here it’s been especially true. People who’ve been here, people who I’ve worked closely with over the years, that attribute is especially true. There’s a true caring that goes on here. That’s one of the reasons why I fell in love with this place. You can see it and you can feel it. u

Steve Lape

echo magazine spring 2015


academic echo

Front L -R: Brenna Kirkpatrick, Jacklyn Abernathy, Bethany Kirkpatrick Back L -R: Mary Nowland Sessions, Eric Douglas, Jeffrey Zhang

Six BGA Seniors Named National Merit Finalists “To have such a large percentage of our seniors be recognized in the National Merit program speaks volumes about the quality of our students and our faculty.” — Will Kesler, Head of School Seniors Jacklyn Abernathy, Eric Douglas, Bethany Kirkpatrick, Brenna Kirkpatrick, Mary Nowland Sessions, and Jeffrey Zhang were named National Merit Finalists based on their scores on the 2013 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. They were among approximately 16,000 students receiving this designation from across the United States out of 1.4 million who took the test, placing them in the top 1 percent. “This class compares very favorably with our peer independent schools in Middle Tennessee and, in terms of percentage of students 8

being recognized, we far exceed the public schools in Williamson County,” said Kesler. BGA also congratulates seniors Miller Fahey, Garrett Merville, Olivia Russell, and Nathan Watson, who were recognized as Commended Scholars, as well as Jonathan Reiss, who was recognized as a National Hispanic Scholar. u

academic echo

BGA Implements New Schedule in Middle and Upper Schools

Among the changes implemented at BGA this school year is a new academic schedule for the Middle and Upper Schools. Initiated by Interim Head of School Randy Tucker in 2013 and led by History Department Chair Ray Blair, the decision to implement a new schedule was a student-focused one. The goals for the new schedule were student-centered. It allows for Upper School students to take additional course offerings and electives while at the same time creating more flexible time periods during the academic day. Internally, Middle and Upper School teachers wanted a schedule that better integrated the two divisions, creating more opportunities

“Learning is not a static process, nor should the environment in which it is done be static.”

The new schedule includes a 75-minute, second-period class that provides students and teachers with additional time in class for expanded learning opportunities and experiences. No longer is science the only class with a “lab” period, but English, History, and other courses can take advantage of this additional time to enhance the classroom experience. As teachers participate in in-service sessions and professional development opportunities on how to utilize a long block, that period will become an increasingly important part of the student experience in the coming years. Along with the new schedule comes a new way of teaching, one that will ease the transition to the teaching of the skills today’s students need to master in order to be successful in the 21st-century. While change can be disruptive, the new schedule has challenged the faculty to evaluate each one of their classes and to determine how to use their time and assignments most effectively, while still providing a rigorous academic experience for the student. Learning is not a static process, nor should the environment in which it is done be static. u

to be “one school” and easing the transition from Middle to Upper School. Finally, creating more time for speakers, special programs, clubs, and formal meetings allows BGA students more co-curricular experiences that simply were not possible with the previous schedule. Committee members spoke with peers at other schools in the area and around the country as they sought ideas and researched the benefits of various schedules. The final schedule is an eightday rotation, each with six periods, plus a mid-morning break for assemblies, clubs, advisory, and a lunch period after fourth period. Each class meets six times within the eight days, giving students a more college-like experience and helping them learn how to pace their workload. Additionally, the Middle School has a short break in the afternoon to make sure all students get some down time after two class periods. echo magazine spring 2015


BGA Students Excel in AP Programs Salutatorian Coleman Kruse ’14 and Valedictorian Vignesh Balasundaram ’14 were named National AP Scholars.

At Battle Ground Academy, students taking and excelling on College Board Advanced Placement tests are not the exception, they’re the norm. In 2014, 93 percent of BGA’s 100 junior and senior students in AP classes took a combined 175 AP exams and earned a 3 or better (the College Board’s recognition of passing the college course). Even more impressive, however, was the news that 41 students received AP Scholar designations. Neel Kurupassery ’14, now a freshman at Duke University, was named a State AP Scholar. This honor is awarded to only one male and one female student in each state with scores of 3 or higher on the greatest number of AP exams and then the highest average score. Neel took – and scored higher than 3 – on an incredible 18 AP exams during his time at BGA. Additionally, Neel, Vignesh Balasundaram ’14, and Coleman Kruse ’14 were named National AP Scholars.


AP Scholars

Granted to students who receive scores of 3 or higher on three or more AP exams.



This designation is granted to students in the United States who receive an average score of at least 4 on all AP exams taken, and scores of 4 or higher on eight or more of these exams. Together, these three took and scored 3 or higher on a combined 38 AP exams while at BGA. Vignesh, BGA’s 2014 valedictorian, is now a freshman at UCLA, while Kruse, BGA’s salutatorian, is a freshman in the Sally McDonnell Honors College at the University of Mississippi. “To take and pass one AP exam is, for many students, a great achievement and recognition that they have completed collegelevel work,” says Will Kesler, BGA’s Head of School. “Our students have taken a number of exams and done exceedingly well across the board. We commend them for their hard work and discipline, as well as the teachers for the preparation they provided.”

AP Scholars with Honor

Granted to students who receive an average score of at least 3.25 on all AP exams taken, and scores of 3 or higher on four or more of these exams.


AP Scholars with Distinction

Granted to students who receive an average score of at least 3.5 on all AP exams taken, and scores of 3 or higher on five or more of these exams.

academic echo

Colonial Day Third graders took a step back in time when they posed as citizens of Colonial America. They brought history to life for fellow students and visiting parents as they taught about daily life during this time in our country’s history.

In October, 4th graders made their annual trip to Warner Music Nashville to experience a day in the life of a Nashville singer/ songwriter. Students were treated to a tour of Warner Music Nashville and Warner Entertainment, Warner Music’s Christian label, as well as a private concert and Q&A from songwriter Brice Long, who has written songs for Randy Houser, Gary Allan, and Garth Brooks. In the studio, students spent an hour performing and editing a brand new song called “We Are BGA,” which they co-wrote with BGA music teacher Sheri Gerth. She also played guitar on the track, along with her 4th grade students Alex Pratt and John Denton. Clarke Schleicher, Warner’s Studio Services Director and a Grammy award-winning audio engineer, guided the children through this intricate recording process, capturing a session with the children. Last, students viewed “sizzle reels” of Warner Music’s awardwinning country and Christian artists and saw firsthand the life of a music producer. Ken Williams, Senior Vice President of Finance at Warner Music Nashville and father of Luke ’23 and Allie Grace ’26, served as host for the day. It was a wonderful day of musical memory-making!

Lexi Topping ’24, Ava Freeland ’24, Lucy Childs ’24

Kenny Liu ’27, Avery Cloud ’24

Mardi Gras 2015 Earlier this year, Middle School French teacher and Faculty Hall of Fame member Abby Kropp announced her retirement at the end of this school year. As only Madame Kropp could do, she made this year’s Middle School Mardi Gras celebration her most memorable yet.

echo magazine spring 2015


On October 29, the student delegation from Caen, Normandy, Nashville’s Sister City in France, spent the day at BGA. The French students shadowed members of BGA’s French Club, participated in French classes in the Middle and Upper Schools, and enjoyed a presentation by our own participants in the Summer 2014 Sister Cities Exchange to Caen, Brenna Kirkpatrick ’15 and Garrett Merville ’15. Pictured here are the French delegation and their chaperone Nicole Wynne, their BGA hosts, and French teachers Tessa Tiner and Dr. Ashlee Headrick.

Isaiah Batten ’26 sings a solo during the Lower School Holiday Program.


Garrett Merville ’15 and Jacklyn Abernathy ’15 served  as BGA’s co-coordinators to win the Williamson  County High Schools Blood Drive Challenge, part of the American Red Cross High School Leadership Program.

Aidan McLay ’20 won BGA’s Middle School Geography Bee on January 28.

academic echo

Lucy Evans, Lindsey Young, Haley Wells, and Katie Baier enjoyed the  Freshman Retreat at Camp Marymount in Fairview, Tennessee.

Members of the Class of 2024 perform a song during the 2014 Lower School  Holiday Program.

Members of the Class of 2023 participated in the  Franklin Veterans Day Parade on November 11.

The 3rd grade class enjoyed a walking tour of Franklin.

In December, the 5th graders went caroling at a senior living facility in Franklin. Bella Givens ’22 enjoyed visiting with a senior resident at Brookdale Assisted Living.

7th Graders Hana Robertson, Jordan Warzynski, Piper Dambach, Jessica Moore, Zach Horrar, John Bethurum,  Rayne Gray, Cole Dennis, Seth Cooke, and Matt Lewis at AdventureTreks.

Nate LaRock ’19, Matt Lewis ’20, Riya Bhushan ’19, and Piper Dambach ’20 achieved success at two Middle School Quiz Bowl tournaments, with a 4th place finish at both competitions.

State Senator Jack Johnson and State Representative Jeremy Durham with BGA Head of School Will Kesler. The delegation presented a special declaration honoring the 125th anniversary of Battle Ground Academy at a Middle and Upper School assembly in September.

echo magazine spring 2015


sports echo Lady Wildcats Clinch Another State Title for BGA 14 Lady The Wildcats, Division II Class A Girls’ State Soccer Champions.

Photo Credit:

sports echo The Battle Ground Academy Lady Wildcats ended their exceptional season by winning the Division II Class A Girls’ State Soccer Championship. BGA defeated the University School of Nashville in the two teams’ fourth meeting of the season, winning the championship game 2-0 to take home the title.

Tori Warren ’15 and Korrie Sauder ’15 celebrate Korrie’s goal giving BGA a 1-0 lead in the state championship game.

Chloe Tremblay ’17 scoring BGA’s second goal in its 2-0 win over USN in the state championship game.

The victory clinched the Lady Wildcats’ first state title in soccer since 2007. Led by Head Coach Jan Morissey, the Lady Wildcats edged out USN with Chloe Tremblay ’17 scoring one goal and assisting on senior Korrie Sauder’s score. Goalie Aracely Turcios ’16 recorded another shutout with the help of the Lady Wildcat defense. The team finished the season with a record of 15-5-2. On the road to the state championship, BGA defeated USN 1-0 in the TSSAA East/Middle Region Finals – the Lady Wildcats finished 3-1 against the USN Tigers in the fall ’14 season. BGA earned its spot in the finals by winning 3-1 against St. George’s Independent School, the same opponent the boys’ soccer team beat in the state championship game last spring. Korrie ’15, Jamie Busch ’17, and Taylor Knight ’17 accounted for the Lady Wildcats’ three goals in the semifinal matchup. u

The Lady Wildcats started their trip to Murfreesboro with a BGA Spirit Walk.

echo magazine spring 2015


Kris Klausner A Coach for All Seasons Kris Klausner is an institution at BGA. Hired as a 7th grade English teacher in 1994, the laundry list of classes Kris has taught includes 6th grade Social Studies, 5th grade English, Creative Writing, Journalism, and Broadcasting. He has coached Middle School football and wrestling for an impressive 21 years, 8th grade football for 16 years, 5th grade football the last 6 years, as well as a stint in Middle School softball and baseball. Wherever he’s needed, Kris has always stepped up for BGA. echo caught up with the busy and much beloved teacher and current coach of 5th grade football, Middle School wrestling, and 6th grade baseball. How did your BGA coaching career begin? My first year, I was in a faculty meeting, and the principal Chip Parks asked, “Has anyone here ever wrestled?” I raised my hand and became the coach.


What do you enjoy most about coaching Middle School kids? It is very difficult to mention just one aspect of coaching that I like most. First, coaching allows an ex-jock like me to stay involved in sports I enjoyed playing as a young man. Also, like most coaches, I enjoy interacting with kids and teaching players the skills necessary to succeed in each sport. Another great thing about coaching is building relationships with the players outside the classroom setting. Going through the hard work, the successes, and the failures of a season create a bond that literally lasts forever. What is your favorite coaching memory? While there are many, one that stands out is an overtime game against Goodpasture that came down to the last play, 4th and goal. The entire stadium thought we were going to run 280-pound Kimani Roberts to get the touchdown, but after a final timeout, we faked to him and Jalen Ramsey outraced the defense to the end zone. It’s always exciting to win on the last play of the game. What makes Middle School athletics at BGA special? The feature that makes Middle School sports special is there are four seasons instead of the traditional three. This is important because it gives students a chance to try many sports. In our

constantly changing culture, an emphasis on specializing in fewer sports has become the norm. I am glad BGA encourages kids to play as many sports as possible. Middle School is a time of self-discovery for kids, and sports are an area that kids can try different activities and discover which are fits and which are not. The second reason it is special is the relationship building it creates between the players and between student and teacher. Kids and the teacher/coach get to know one another outside the classroom, and a bond is formed. Players for my teams always are better students in my classroom because of a deeper relationship and mutual respect. Coaching many sports allows me to create more lasting relationships with more students. Aside from coaching, how else do you invest in your students’ lives? One of my goals is to expose kids to recreational activities and sports that they can do forever. I grew up playing football, basketball, and baseball for the first 18 years of my life, but my freshman year at Vanderbilt, a friend invited me to snow ski in Colorado. On that trip, I discovered the joy of a purely recreational sport. That love led to creating an Adventure Club at BGA in the ’90s that started with a summer camping trip to North Carolina. The three-day trip included a guided white water rafting trip down the

sports echo

Allison Cowie Joins Exclusive 1,000 Point Club

Ocoee river, mountain bike trail riding at Tsali campground, and a self-guided whitewater trip down the Nantahala river. That remains one of my favorite trips with BGA students. How have sports changed over the years? Sports have gone through tremendous changes in my 21 years of coaching. First, the emphasis on attempting to play beyond high school has intensified playing on a sports team. Instead of just playing for fun or trying a sport, there is pressure to play each sport at its highest level, to succeed at that level, and specialize in that sport. We now have kids training all year for one sport from very young ages. Also, with the rise of sports science, each sport has intensified the training that goes with it. It is rare that players can just show up to practice and play at high levels because most kids are working with private coaches or personal trainers. From the coaching standpoint, sports are constantly improving as more emphasis occurs in innovative strategies, improved techniques, and top-notch facilities for training. In order to help their players compete, now coaches better know their sport because players are exposed to more advanced instruction at younger ages. Although sports undergo change, what have not changed are the lessons that coaches can use to teach young athletes the values to help them succeed as adults: preparation, hard work, sacrifice, teamwork, and sportsmanship, to name a few. u

Representatives of BGA’s 1000 Point Club (L-R) Ferlene Jordan, mother of Tiffany Jordan ’04, Dana Bryant Iverson ’92, Allison Cowie ‘17 and her parents, Graham and Nancy Cowie, Mary Blake Ray ’97, Ginger Garland ’92.

On November 25, 2014, Allison Cowie ’17 joined an elite club of just a few BGA basketball players to earn 1,000 points, an impressive milestone she achieved with a free throw. The Wildcats picked up a 61-59 overtime win versus Spring Hill that evening. “She’s so humble,” says her coach Grover Levy. “She’ll be the first to tell you it’s not about her, that it’s just as much about her teammates who make the assists, have good spacing, and all that. She’d be the first to deflect any attention.” Allison joins Rhonda Menifee Batey ’86, Dana Bryant Iverson ’92, Ginger Garland ’92, Mary Blake Ray ’97, Lyndsey Barnes ’99, Tiffany Jordan ’04, and Caroline Abbott ’14 in BGA’s 1,000 Point Club. The sky appears to be the limit on what Allison Cowie might accomplish in her remaining two basketball seasons at Battle Ground Academy.

Wildcat Football Team Reaches State Title Game For First Time in 11 Years This fall, BGA’s Wildcat football team earned a spot in the TSSAA Division II Class A state championship game for the first time since 2003. Hoping to follow in the footsteps of the BGA boys’ basketball team, which won the school’s first state title in 20 years last winter, the Wildcat football team fell short in the title game against defending state champion Webb School of Knoxville. After splitting the first two games of the season 1-1, the Wildcats rallied to win nine of the next 10 games. The team’s only loss during the streak came during a hard-fought game against Webb. Relishing the rematch opportunity, the Wildcats took the field in Cookeville and unfortunately came up short, losing 38-21 in the title game. “Losing in the state championship is

The Wildcats take the field at the TSSAA Division II Class A state championship game.

always tough,” says BGA head football coach Roc Batten. “But all in all we are very proud of what we were able to accomplish as a team this season.” The talented BGA team, finishing 10-3 overall, was led by 11 seniors who bought into the program and guided the team both on and off the field throughout the season. The Wildcat roster included a leading 15 players selected to the Division II-A All District 2 team.

echo magazine spring 2015


Battle Ground Academy’s Little Dribblers

Five BGA Students Sign Letters of Intent

14 Years of Fun on the Court

On National Signing Day on February 4, five Battle Ground Academy seniors signed letters of intent to play collegiate athletics: Win Temple: Golf, Belmont University Korrie Sauder: Soccer, Miami (Ohio) University Ronald Cleveland: Football, United States Air Force Academy Harm Abbott: Football, Birmingham-Southern College Jacob Haddad: Soccer, Centre College

(Clockwise from left) Connor Wells ’23, Max Ferguson ’23, John Denton ’23,  Conner Dial ’23

Along with traditions like the Tug and Platos vs. Greers, BGA’s Little Dribblers program has become an entrenched tradition at the school. For the past 14 years, Lower School PE Teacher Kevin Wells has led his squad of 3rd and 4th graders onto the court to showcase their basketball dribbling skills. Coach Wells started Little Dribblers in the fall of 2001, and since then, more than 700 BGA Lower School students have participated in the program. During this time, Coach Wells estimates the Little Dribblers have performed more than 75 times. Along with performing at Wildcat basketball games each year, the Little Dribblers have represented the school during halftime shows at Vanderbilt University, Lipscomb University, and Belmont University basketball games. On top of that, they have had the opportunity to perform at the SEC Women’s Basketball Tournament, as well as the SEC Men’s Basketball Fanfare Convention. Coach Wells started Little Dribblers in order to make sure every 3rd and 4th grader had the opportunity to participate and be a part of a team. The unique program also allows the students to experience performing in front of large crowds. “The enthusiasm of the kids is what has made Little Dribblers successful for 14 years,” Coach Wells says. “These kids really take pride in each performance, and they are great ambassadors for BGA out in the community.” The Little Dribblers perform a three-minute program choreographed with fun, fast-paced music. As they bounce their signature blue and gold basketballs, the crowds on both sides of the gym are always amazed. With the first participants of Little Dribblers out of college now, Coach Wells looks to continue and grow the longstanding BGA tradition. There’s even a Little Dribbler reunion in the works for next year – it should be the best show yet! All former Little Dribblers are encouraged to reach out to Coach Wells at if they’d like to be part of the reunion in early 2016.

“BGA student-athletes have always shown commitment to excellence on the field, the court, and the classroom, and these signees are no exception,” says Robert Jemison, Athletics Director at BGA. “We are proud of their accomplishments and look forward to watching their continued success as they play at the collegiate level.” Win, the son of Sabrina and David Temple, was a four-time state tournament qualifier with the Wildcats, finishing 8th in the 2014 state tournament. He also won the All-American Junior Golf Tour event at Vanderbilt Legends Club in 2014. Korrie is the daughter of Kathy and Pat Sauder. She led BGA to a state soccer championship in fall 2014. She has been named to the All-State team the past two years and is a two-time Division II-A East/Middle Region Most Valuable Player. Ronald is the son of Jamesetta Cleveland and Jermaine Cleveland. He tallied 1,686 all-purpose yards and 17 touchdowns in leading BGA to a runner-up finish in Division II-A this past season. He was named All-District, Division II-A District 2 Offensive MVP, first-team All-Area, Division II-A All-State, and third-team All-Midstate selection. Harm, son of Karen and Hal Abbott ’84, was a leader on BGA’s 10-3 football team. In 2014, he was named All-District, third-team All-Area, and third-team All-Midstate. Jacob is the son of Linda and Michael Haddad. He was a key contributor to BGA’s 2013 state semi-final team and 2014 state championship team. His club soccer team, Tennessee Soccer Club 15, has won three consecutive Division I State Championships.

Win Temple, Jacob Haddad, Korrie Sauder, Ronald Cleveland, Harm Abbott


sports echo

Upper School Fall & Winter Individual Athletic Honors FALL Boys’ Cross Country Matthew Minor ’16 14th Place (medaled) Regionals Football Hal Abbott ’15 Honorable Mention District Team Harm Abbott ’15 All-District Trevor Auerbach ’15 All-District Clay Beathard ’16 Division II-A Mr. Football, 1st Team AllState, Division II-A East/Middle District 2 MVP, All-District Rieves Berry ’15 All-District Marcus Cawthorne ’16 1st Team All-State, All-District Ronald Cleveland ’15 1st Team All-State, 3rd Team All-Mid State, Division II-A East/Middle District 2 Offensive MVP, All-District Cole Grosvenor ’15 All-District Zack Hardiman ’15 All-District Miller Inman ’15 Division II-A East/Middle District 2 AllAcademic Team Harris Jones ’15 Division II-A East/Middle District 2 AllAcademic Team Eric Olson ’16 Honorable Mention District Team Myles Taylor ’15 1st Team All-State, All-District Terrell Webster ’16 Honorable Mention District Team Patrick Wells ’16 All-District Boys’ Golf Win Temple ’15 8th Place Division II-A State Championship

Girls’ Golf Rachel Arvizu ’16 10th Place, Division II-A State Championship Girls’ Soccer Miller Fahey ’15 All-Region Team Honorable Mention Abbie Kerr ’15 All-District & Region Teams, All-State and All Mid-State Teams Korrie Sauder ’15 All-District & Region Teams, Region Tournament MVP, All-State and All MidState Teams Chloe Tremblay ’17 All-District, All-Region and All-State Teams Aracely Turcios ’16 All-District Team Volleyball Kaitlyn Hrynewich ’15 All-District Tournament Team Alayna Maslinski ’17 All-Region Tournament Team Claire Scott ’17 All-District 1st Team Tori Thompson ’16 All-District 1st Team, All-District Tournament Team Briana Watson ’15 All-District 2nd Team

WINTER Boys’ Basketball Crockett Daniel ’15 All-Region Tournament Team Sam Folks ’16 All-District Tournament Team Gabe Reasor ’17 All-District Team Terrell Webster ’16 All-District & Region Teams, All-District & Region Tournament Teams, Region Tournament MVP

Girls’ Basketball Allison Cowie ’17 All-District, Named to Tennessee Sportswriters Association All-State Girls’ Basketball Team Swimming Meg Dunavant ’15 State Qualifier 200 yard Medley Relay, & 400 yard Freestyle Relay Brenna Kirkpatrick ’15 State Qualifier 200 yard Medley Relay, & 400 yard Freestyle Relay Bailey Reese ’15 State Qualifier 50 yard Freestyle, 100 yard Backstroke, 200 yard Medley Relay, & 400 yard Freestyle Relay Elli Rogers ’18 State Qualifier 200 yard Medley Relay, & 400 yard Freestyle Relay Wrestling Kolton Grimsley ’17 6th place TSSAA Division II State Championships Braxton Kinney ’15 2nd place TSSAA Division II State Championships Conner Mitchell ’18 5th Place TSSAA Division II State Championships Jonah Neuman ’15 5th Place TSSAA Division II State Championships Eric Olson ’16 5th Place TSSAA Division II State Championships Tiy Reed ’19 5th Place TSSAA Division II State Championships

Jonah Neuman ’15

echo magazine spring 2015


arts echo

BGA Inducts New Members Into Artist Guild Front (L -R): Matthew Keith ’17, Madison Bailey ’16, Jonathan Reiss ’15, Samantha McCaleb ’16, Reagan Yancey ’15, Grace Whitten ’16, Ally Dunavant ’17 Back (L -R): Allie Warren ’17, Adysen Reader ’16, Grace Johnson ’16, Lily Kruse ’16, Jess Lee ’16, Madison Knight ’18, Meghan Garrison ’16, Sophia Gallimore ’17 with filmmaker and guest speaker Howie Klausner

Bethany Kirkpatrick Breaks Speech and Debate Record Bethany Kirkpatrick ’15 has broken the BGA school record for most Speech and Debate points earned in a career. Kirkpatrick’s total of 1,601 as of February 1, 2015, surpasses the record set by Tyler Lawrence ’12 of 1,597, set in 2012. Coach Harry Strong commended Bethany on the accomplishment saying, “This was one of Bethany’s goals for the season, and she accomplished it remarkably quickly. Tyler is considered one of the best ever at BGA in the activity and now Bethany has written her name into the history of the program.” Bethany and Paul Bousquet ’16 head to Dallas in June to compete in the National Bethany Kirkpatrick ’15  Speech & Debate Tournament; Paul will with Paul Bousquet ’16  compete in Domestic Extemporaneous after a successful  Speaking, Bethany in Original Oratory. competition. 20

BGA Speech and Debate Students Pull Upset Over U.S. National Team

(Back) Paul Bousquet ’16  and Coach Harry Strong (Front) Tanner Perry ’18  and Jeffrey Zhang ‘15 (Not Pictured: Nathan Kruse ’18)

Christmas came a few days early for four Battle Ground Academy Speech and Debate students who competed in the Blake School Holiday Tournament in Minneapolis in the World School Debate division. BGA pulled a stunning upset win over the U.S. National Team in round one of the tournament and progressed to a semi-final finish in the tournament. “Getting a rare win over the U.S. National Team was a huge accomplishment,” says Strong; “But for our kids to also deny Team USA Debate two of the top five speaker awards said a lot about the effort and execution of our students overall.”

arts echo

Two Students Bring Home Scholastic Art Awards Bailey Reese ’15 and Christina Conrady ’19 won awards in the 2015 Scholastic Art Award Competition at Cheekwood Botanical Garden & Museum of Art. There were a total of 1,380 entries this year.

Abby McConnell ’20 as “Brittany the Homecoming Queen,” Olivia Bevins ’22  as “Grace the Klutz,” and Shea Kelley ’21 as “Rosalind the Nobody.”

Middle School Presents Alienated Contemporary Vase, Ceramic by Bailey Reese ’15, Silver Key Award Winner.

A talented crew of 5th through 8th graders put on a superb run of performances of the play Alienated, in which 26 wise-cracking high school seniors gather to solve the mystery of a bright light that has occurred every six years of their lives.

Octopus Bubbles, Graphite Illustration by Christina Conrady ’19, Silver Key Award Winner.

Meg Dunavant ’15 as “Daisy,” Ed Revere ’15 as “Berenger,” and Will Crawford ’16 as “Dudard.”

Upper School Presents Rhinoceros Meg Dunavant ’15 as “Daisy,” Ed Revere ’15 as “Berenger,” and Will Crawford ’16 as “Dudard” struggle to come to terms with the fact that everyone they know has turned into a rhinoceros in Eugene Ionesco’s classic absurdist play, Rhinoceros. Cat Eyes Glass Mosaic Christina Conrady ’19, 8th Place/Honorable Mention.

echo magazine spring 2015


Members of the Middle Tennessee Vocal Association Elementary Honors Choir: Sydney Jackson ’21, Lexi Boudreau ’21, Katie Anderson ’21, Kendall Morrison ’21, Mila Perez ’21, Cole Beck Williams ’21, Bennett Jung ’21.

Laura Abbott ’19 and Harbour-Anne Gamble ’20 participated in the Middle Tennessee Vocal Association Middle School Honors Choir.

The Upper School Choir performing at BGA’s Fall Concert in October.

On January 29, students gathered together to sing in the Middle Tennessee Vocal Association’s Elementary and Middle School Honor Choir concert at Brentwood Baptist Church. Nine BGA singers were chosen from more than 500 students who auditioned.

Reagan Yancey ’15 represented Tennessee in the National Honor Choir held in conjunction with the National Conference for Music Education at the Grand Ole Opry House in October.


arts echo

Three BGA Students Featured in Regional Student Art Exhibition The Middle Tennessee Regional Student Art Exhibition is an annual event open to all students in the Middle Tennessee area. This year, the more than 265 entries received for submission were vetted by teachers from the students’ respective schools before sending, meaning that only the best work from each school was submitted. Out of those 265 pieces of art, only 65 were accepted for the exhibit. BGA was fortunate to have three pieces accepted in the high school category. A recent reception was held at Belmont University to honor those 65 students. In addition to being included in the show, each of BGA’s three representatives also were award winners. Claire Aycock ’14 was awarded a $50 prize, and her tea set will be on exhibit at Belmont University this summer at its Best of the Best Exhibition. Claire’s work was completed in Art III class under the supervision of visiting artist Pitts Hinson.

Anna Claire Evans ’17 received 2nd Place for the 9th Grade Level for her linoleum print.

Grace Johnson ’16 received 2nd Place at the 10th Grade Level for her photograph.

Danielle Caron ’16 masters the art of foreshortening in Honors Art III.

Orrin Krebs ’22 enjoys the benefits of the  school-wide iPad initiative during art class.

Claire Aycock ’14 received a Best of Category Award for her ceramic tea set.

Maddy Mays ’16 was named BGA’s Mary Campbell Easel Award winner this winter.

Colored pencil work by Tori Thompson ’16, Art III.

Katie Brickle ’18 works on her art project with  faculty member Carol Lea-Mord during class.

echo magazine spring 2015


Coming Full Circle By Alison Logan ’90

Alison Logan ’90 found her passion for fine arts at BGA as a student. Now, she’s helping today’s students expand their horizons in the arts. Life has an interesting way of moving, full of twists and turns and unexpected landings. I came back to BGA almost 10 years ago after my high school art teacher, Carol Lea-Mord, told me about a teaching opportunity. When I graduated in 1990, we were on the old campus on Columbia Avenue where art class was held in a tiny house across the street. The space was cramped, but I loved it. I came for an interview, and I got the job, sharing an office and a classroom with Wendi Parker. Surprisingly, three other classmates from 1990 were here on staff, as well as Diane Parker, who had been my art teacher at Harpeth Academy, before it was our Lower School campus. I quickly discovered how much I loved working with my students, seeing their joy in expressing themselves through art, and their love of creating, which helped to bolster my own work. Three years ago, the art department was given a substantial gift and BGA opened the doors of the Mary Campbell Visual Arts Center, an amazing facility that has given our art students a wonderful venue to explore their creativity, thanks to the generosity of alumnus Brother Campbell ’68 and so many other donors. This facility has really expanded the experiences we can offer students, and I’m proud to work with my mentor, Carol, and the rest of our team to create a vibrant program that has come quite a long way from our days in the Art House. We now have a K-12 art track that now includes Honors and AP and provides opportunities for students to be exposed to a variety of art and artists through gallery shows, visiting speakers, and field trips to local museums. Students can participate in regional competitions, and they have their work prominently displayed in our gallery space. Seniors who have taken four years of art can lay claim to their own space in the Senior Studio, decorating it to make it theirs for the year. Our media 24

room hosts evening movie nights where we show classics and art-related movies. Some recent showings include Psycho, Casablanca, Fantasia, and Midnight in Paris. We now offer after-school art twice a week and are looking toward having evening workshops for adults. Our high school students go to local museums and art events on their own every quarter, and last year, we took a group to OZ Nashville to watch a sculpture demonstration. One of my favorite memories was taking a small group of my seniors on an overnight art trip to Atlanta a few years ago.

Andee Rudloff, who participated in a weeklong workshop in March with our upper level students to create a mural for the Senior Studio. In teaching such a variety of ages every day (5th through 12th grades), I really see the leaps and bounds our students take as the years pass. I see their love of art, and their creativity and skill grow over time. I’ve had students come back after they’ve graduated to show me their work or to just catch up, much as I would do with Carol, which ended up leading me back to BGA. In the time I’ve been back, I’ve seen that BGA is really striving to foster a vibrant artistic community in all the arts. We’ve created an Arts Alumni Facebook page that keeps alumni up to date on campus events and also with each other to help celebrate artistic achievements. We’re looking forward to having another alumni show next year to keep building on our sense of community, to promote the arts, and to demonstrate to our students the depth and variety of work that is possible once they leave BGA, wherever the paths of their lives may take them. u

Portrait by Alison Logan ’90, Alec – 3 years old 20 x 30, oil on canvas, 2013.

We’ve had some great shows of outside artists and alumni in the gallery space in the last couple of years. Student art is shown throughout the year, and every spring, we have an Upper School Retrospective that includes work from every high school art student. This past fall, we hosted an up-andcoming artist, Brian Somerville. His heavily carved animal sculptures were a huge hit with the students, and I had more than a few who were sad when the show came down. We were also very excited to exhibit a Nashville muralist,

Faculty member and alumna Alison Logan ’90 in her classroom in the Mary Campbell Visual Arts Center.

arts echo

BGA Welcomes Visiting Artists

Barnstormer by Brian Somerville.

Clay beast sculpture by Brian Somerville.

The Artists Lunch Series kicked off in the fall with Erin Gasim from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) joining the Upper Level Art classes. Several BGA students have taken advantage of SAIC’s pre-college program the summer before their senior years. BGA was also excited to host sculptor Brian Somerville on campus, where his impressive installation of intricately carved and sculpted clay beasts won the affection of students, faculty, and visitors. Brian explained his work by saying, “I sculpt beasts that tell stories. At first glance, these stories seem simplistic. Unique versions of well-known fables are easily identified and understood. If only given moments, my humanlike animals are entertaining and often humorous. Lurking under this first impression is a larger conceptual epic with extensive social, political, and personal themes.” In January, the Upper Level Art classes enjoyed hearing Brian as the second guest for the Artists Lunch Series. Students absorbed his remarks about his own development as an artist and his method of working. He is currently Artist-in-Residence at OZ Nashville, the first contemporary arts center in the mid-state area. BGA was also happy to welcome back alumna artist Annie Kennedy ’14, who spoke to students about Savannah College of Art and Design. This spring, Outside/Inside: Works by Andee Rudloff showcased the artist’s studio work throughout the Mary Campbell Visual Arts Center gallery spaces. Andee also spent several days working side-by–side with BGA art students to create a collaborative mural. An avid painter, she creates artwork in a bright, explosive style with themes relating to the idea of celebration. She also facilitates art, the best known being large-scale murals with communities and nonprofit groups like the Oasis Center, Safe Haven, and the East Nashville Tomato Art Fest. The mural was unveiled at a reception in March and will be on permanent display in the Carol Lea-Mord Senior Studio. u

Calling All Alumni Artists

Visitors admire the art at the BGA Alumni Art Show.

BGA is getting ready for spring 2016, and is seeking artwork to fill the Mary Campbell Visual Arts Center. Both 2D and 3D works are welcome. Please contact Alison Logan ’90 at for more information.

echo magazine spring 2015


faculty echo BGA Faculty as Learners and Teachers Consummate professionals in education never stop learning, and this is especially true at Battle Ground Academy. Our exceptional educators are always finding ways to hone and improve their practice. We firmly believe that well-rounded teachers produce well-rounded students. Over the past few months, faculty from BGA have attended a variety of conferences, workshops, and earned advanced degrees, from as nearby as Nashville, to as far away as Panama. BGA is proud to support and encourage the continuing development of our faculty. Most recently, in November, the entire BGA faculty attended the Tennessee Association of Independent Schools (TAIS) Biennial Conference held in Brentwood, Tennessee. Several BGA faculty members were also presenters at this conference, which is considered a touchstone learning experience for many educators across the state. TAIS 2014 BGA Faculty Presenters included: Ray Blair, History Department Chair, who presented a session titled “A Conservative Teacher Gives His Students 20% Time” on the value of opening up the history classroom for questions and discussion among students. Angie Langford ’85, Kay Kemp, and Heather Perez, Lower School faculty members, who presented a session titled “Sometimes...Less Is More,” focused on how to keep kindergartners engaged in learning with various activities, and ways to use the Promethean Board. Leah Handelsman, English Department Chair, who presented a group-led session titled “The English Justice League: Working Together to Solve the World’s Problems,” which focused on all things English, including best practices and current trends for online texts, research, vocabulary, and grammar. George Rietz, 8th grade English, who presented a session called “My Language Classroom is a Learning Lab...Come Play!” that focused on giving students instant and specific feedback on ways to improve. Charlotte Scholl, Jeanna Reid, and Layne Pickett, school counselors, who presented a well-received session called “Reel Them in With Books: How To Host An Effective Parent Book Study.” 26

Dr. Rhonda Bennett welcomes students at the start of school.

The 2014 TAIS conference selected the late Stanley R. (Randy) Tucker who served as BGA Interim Head of School during the 2013-2014 school year as the posthumous recipient of the Sawney Webb Award for his outstanding contributions to the field of independent school education.

faculty echo

Anne Snider in action at the Tennessee Arts Academy.

Not only have BGA faculty represented our school at conferences close to home, but they have traveled across the country and the world to continue their own educations and to bring their newfound knowledge and skills back to our classrooms. Beckie Gibson, AP Spanish teacher, attended the 96th annual conference of the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese (AATSP) in Panama City, Panama in July. “The AATSP conference itself had many great sessions, especially on technology and apps for learning foreign languages,” says Beckie. “As the Tennessee delegate, I met educators from across the country. What a beautiful country and culture! From the San Blas Islands near Colombia, to the modern skyscrapers of Panama City, to the incredible Panama Canal, this country has a variety of places to visit. Now I can share my firsthand experiences among the diverse and hospitable Panamanians with our students.” Music teachers Anne Snider and Brittany Farej were selected to attend the 2014 Tennessee Arts Academy, where more than 280 K-12 public and private school teachers from across the state gathered at Belmont University for the weeklong session. “I gained insight into the new national standards for the arts as a whole – creating, performing, responding, and connecting,” says Anne. “Thinking through the implications of all these and how to really put them into practice in the classroom was enlightening. However, my biggest aha! moment was when our conducting teacher told us, ‘you can take people and make great music, or you can take music and make great people.’ To me, that’s what we’re doing here at BGA.”

Faculty member Beckie Gibson shopping among the Kuna indigenous people of Panama.

echo magazine spring 2015


Addison Irvin ’25 enjoys a before-school technology class with Explore Program Director Deana Ellis using the iPad app ScratchJr.

Technology teacher Deana Ellis works with a student in the Lower School library.

ATechnology teacher Deana Ellis works with a student in the Lower School library. collection of Shelley McLay’s photographs from the Reading and Writing Project.


“I learned that allowing the student to make musical decisions in the musicmaking process will help to make their instrumental experience unforgettable,” says Brittany. “Instead of constantly giving students the ‘right answer’ on which mallets or articulation to choose, let them make their own right answers so that they may develop the musicianship skills of an accomplished instrumentalist.” Lower School Instructional Technology Coordinator Deana Ellis joined hundreds of educators and developers from around the world at MIT for a conference in August on Scratch, a computer programming language developed by MIT primarily for children ages 8 to 16. Deana attended classes on combining Scratch with LEGO robotics, invention kit Makey Makey, and a sensor board called PicoBoards. She was also able to attend the unveiling of Scratch Jr., the iPad app created to bring Scratch to students ages 5 through 7, which is now being used in BGA’s before-school programs. This trip was just one of the many strides BGA has made to strengthen its STEM program. Leah Handelsman transitioned this year to teaching 11th and 12th grade AP English, in addition to assuming the role of English Department Chair. To help prepare for those changes, Leah attended a weeklong AP Literature workshop at the Marist School in Atlanta, followed by a weeklong AP Language workshop in Bowling Green, Kentucky, and then to a four-day department chair workshop in Salt Lake City. “I found the experience of going to the AP workshops to be both professionally and personally validating because I realized that in many ways I’d already been teaching AP for years – to Honors 9th and 10th graders!” says Leah. Faculty members Shelley Roberts McLay ’93 and Cara Ferguson had the opportunity to attend the Reading and Writing Project at the Teachers College at Columbia University. The intensive workshop requires teachers to experience lessons in the same way as their students to gain a first-person perspective on the hows and whys of lessons. Curriculum expert Lucy Calkins, author of The Art of Teaching Reading and The Art of Teaching Writing, led their workshops. “I feel so fortunate to have attended

faculty echo this program for the second time,” says Shelley. “When I returned from my first trip, I went to work immediately and committed my classroom to becoming a place where young writers work together as colleagues to truly ‘workshop’ their pieces. We spent a great deal of time constructing interesting, authentic, and meaningful narratives. “In my second year at the conference, I chose classes and instructors who focused on essay writing. The most fascinating lesson was one I intend to use this year that will give students the tools

necessary to formulate an opinion on a piece of writing, draft their ideas into a thesis statement, and to recognize and prepare for a counter-argument. The kids will learn the 21st-century skills of collaboration with someone who holds a different opinion from their own and how to engage in a respectful dialogue in which each person is allowed to present his or her own points while the other listens carefully before responding. I am so excited to share all I have learned with my students.” u

BGA celebrates the faculty members who have continued their education, either through advanced degrees or professional development opportunities.

Physics teacher Fritz Lauriston attended the Lewes AP Summer Institute in Lewes, Delaware. Ashley Pratt, 3rd grade, and Angie Langford ’85, 2nd grade, attended Teacher’s College Reading Institute. Sarah Harris, 3rd grade, attended Teacher’s College Writing Institute. Dr. Jennifer Graham, 6th grade Math, earned her Ed.D. in Educational Leadership/ PK-12 Administration with an emphasis in Curriculum and Supervision from Union University in Jackson, Tennessee. She is pictured with her husband, Andy, at her graduation. Christy McAfee ’94, Lower School Academic Enrichment, attended an intensive, weeklong training at MTSU on the Orton Gillingham Reading method. Dr. Dub Oliver, President of Union University awarded Dr. Rhonda Bennett, Head of Lower School, her diploma after earning a Doctorate in Education. Melissa Martin ’03, 2nd grade, attended an Orton Gillingham Math workshop at Vanderbilt.

Christy McAfee ’94 during a hands-on lesson that combines writing and science.

echo magazine spring 2015 29

Dr. Andy Graham: BGA’s Jack of All Trades When BGA’s new Head of School Will Kesler decided to appoint an Interim Head of Upper School for the 2014-2015 school year rather than rush to replace the retiring Larry McElroy, Dr. Andy Graham, then BGA’s Head of Lower School, stepped up to fill the role. Following this year, Andy will transition to a newly created position as Associate Head of School for Academics. Andy has been in the education field for more than 24 years and has served as a teacher (Elementary, Middle and Upper Schools) for the past 16 years. Prior to joining BGA in 2007, he worked at Franklin Road Academy in Nashville from 1995-2007. While there, he served as a classroom teacher, Middle School girls’ basketball coach, Head of Lower School, and Assistant Head of School. He is a graduate of the University of Kentucky with a Master in Educational Curriculum and Instruction from Carson Newman College. Andy has served in leadership positions on numerous boards. Under his guidance, BGA’s Lower School was recognized as one of the most progressive in the area. Andy is married to Jennifer Land Graham, a BGA Middle School teacher, and has one son, Andrew Ray. Recently, echo spoke with Andy about the roles he has played at BGA and his vision for his future role as Associate Head of School for Academics. What have you learned during your year as interim Upper School Head? Well, first of all, it has been wonderful getting to reconnect with many of the students I had in Lower School. I have been blessed to watch them grow up and mature into outstanding young men and women. It has been a true privilege to get to spend another year with them at a different chapter in their lives. What have I learned? That we have some truly special students at BGA doing some extraordinary things, and also I have been so impressed with the work of the faculty. They are dedicated, helpful, and really want each student to realize his or her potential. Prior to serving as interim Upper School Head, you were Lower School Head for several years. From your perspective, what is the value of a child going from kindergarten through 12th grade at BGA? That is a great question. There are so many advantages. I think that the overall BGA program develops students who truly enjoy learning. It helps them develop an intellectual curiosity and encourages critical thinking. I also love that our kids are “known” by their teachers and receive a lot of individual attention. Our K-12 program develops the students’ personal and social growth and encourages them to serve others and to care about other people. Last, I think that our academic program is top-notch. Having been in the Lower School and seeing the academic foundation being built to seeing the end product in Upper School, I am incredibly proud of the students that we develop. They are smart, articulate, and have an amazing work ethic. I’m really proud of the work we do here at BGA! What will you do in your new role next year as Associate Head of School for Academics? In my new role, I will get the opportunity to work closely with the Division Heads and continue working to develop the academic program and offerings at BGA. We will work on refining our curriculum, mapping our academic program, and making sure we have solid bridging between divisions. I will also work to improve our support services for students. In addition, I am going to assist Mr. Kesler in several critical areas including strategic planning, enrollment management, and special projects.


Dr. Andy Graham

Why is this position important to a school like BGA? I think it is always critical to have someone overseeing the school’s overall academic program. In my case, I have actually had the unique opportunity to be a teacher and administrator in all three divisions during my career, so I have an understanding of the curriculum, critical needs in each area, and the services needed to assist students and faculty. I also look forward to working with Mr. Kesler and supporting his vision for the school. It will be a multi-faceted role with many different areas of focus, and I look forward to beginning this new challenge. u

faculty echo

Jamie Griffin Set to Lead Upper School Following an extensive national search, BGA was pleased to name Jamie Griffin as its full-time Head of Upper School effective for the 2015-2016 school year. Jamie will officially join the staff on July 1. Selected from a robust field of nearly 60 candidates from across the country, Jamie has the leadership background and the ability to connect with the faculty, parents, and students that set him apart during the interview process. He is coming to BGA from The Haverford School in Haverford, Pennsylvania, where he is an Upper School history teacher. He is also the faculty advisor to the student-led Honor Council, varsity wrestling coach, and junior varsity soccer coach. He served as a teacher and Dean of Students for his alma mater, The Episcopal Academy in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania, prior to his time at Haverford. A graduate of The United States Naval Academy, Jamie served as a Commissioned Officer from 2000-2006 with the United States Marine Corps. He has a Master of Education from Cabrini College. He and his wife, Maureen, have five-year-old twins. Jamie shared with echo his thoughts on what attracted him to BGA and his expectations for when he arrives on campus. What attracted you to apply for the Upper School Head position at BGA? Battle Ground Academy’s mission to help each student develop his or her full potential within the framework of character, scholarship, and excellence immediately captured my attention. Furthermore, BGA’s commitment to both tradition and innovation mirrors my own educational philosophy and embodies everything that I know and love about independent schools. What do you think are the traits necessary to lead an Upper School? For me, these are the same traits demonstrated by exemplary classroom teachers, mentors, and coaches. Those who have had the greatest impact on my life share certain attributes: they are passionate about their work, communicate effectively, recognize the diverse talents and personalities of others, and motivate accordingly. They articulate a clear vision, plan intentionally, and model the behavior they hope to instill in others. I also believe a Head of Upper School should be a positive steward of the different facets of school culture in a manner that unites these components and enhances the overall school environment. What are your thoughts on independent school education and how BGA can separate itself from others in the area? I believe that the independent school approach toward educating the whole child is paramount to success in the modern era and transcends the core disciplines of the traditional model. Students today must acquire a broad skill-set in order to successfully operate and lead in the uncertain environment of tomorrow. The arts, athletics, and service learning programs complement the academic curriculum and are essential components to this paradigm. BGA’s strategic vision recognizes this truth, and I am excited to work with others to further develop the various initiatives that have been outlined in these areas. What will your priorities be next year? My number one priority is to get to know the students as quickly as possible and to better acquaint myself with the culture of BGA and its various constituencies. Absent this critical understanding, I think that it would be premature of me to outline specific priorities. Ultimately, our collective work is aimed at creating an environment where students can thrive and grow. u

Jamie Griffin with Will Kesler

echo magazine spring 2015


development echo The found class ring of Ivan Irwin ’77.

Margaret Irwin

Margaret Irwin Sister of Ivan Irwin III ’77 Aunt of Taylor Irwin ’07 Battle Ground Academy relies on the generosity of many people who support the school with their time, talent, and their resources. While The BGA Fund, our primary philanthropic focus each year, helps to fill an almost $2,000 gap between full tuition and the actual costs of educating each student, we also rely on planned gifts. These forwardthinking donors create a lasting heritage of leadership at BGA. Margaret Irwin is one of the many members of The Everbright Society, a giving society established to honor and recognize those individuals who have generously included Battle Ground Academy in their estate plans. Gifts of this type are generally directed towards endowment and last in perpetuity benefiting present and future generations of BGA students.

Ivan Irwin ’77 and his mother, Ann Irwin.

“I wanted to make sure that I included BGA in my revocable trust because BGA literally saved my big brother’s life when he took the bus that first day of school. In 1971, my mother, Ann Irwin, moved my brother, 13, and me, 9, to Nashville so that as a single mother she could give us a fresh start and she could get her master’s degree from Vanderbilt University School of Nursing. When she realized the only option for my brother’s education was to bus him far across town to a rough neighborhood, she prayed. The miracle was Battle Ground Academy. “He was known as a smart, funny, kind, generous young man. He played football and led the tennis team and always wore his senior class ring as a badge of honor. Our mother worked double shifts to support his endeavors at BGA. She knew it was a wise investment because of the excellence of his teachers, coaches, and friends. “In 1977, my brother, Ivan Irwin III, graduated from BGA and went out into the world well-prepared for a full life ahead.

You too can help future generations of students obtain the very best education possible by making a lasting gift to BGA through your will. Planned gifts help strengthen our endowment, fund programs, and provide scholarships. We invite you to join The Everbright Society. Your membership involves no dues or obligations, but it does allow us to thank you and recognize you for the plans you have


He lived and worked with vigor and enthusiasm as he built a home with his wife and two children. “At the age of 37 my brother passed away from suicide. A few years ago when the original football field was being razed, two items were found–an arrowhead and a 1977 class ring. My brother never knew his ring was found, nor that his mother learned that it had even been lost. A former teacher knew it was his ring and returned it to our mother. “Ivan’s fellow classmates raised money to place a plaque in his memory in the Cherry Sports Center lobby on the current campus. In 2007 when our mother sadly passed away, Ivan’s best friend from BGA donated a plaque in mom’s name to recognize annually the baseball player with the highest GPA. “I am grateful for the role BGA has played in our lives and deeply touched that BGA has kept my family’s memories alive. Not only do I want to financially support BGA, but I also want to guarantee that future students have the strong academic and athletic foundation that my brother experienced. My estate plan will ensure that these two special plaques will honor my family for years to come.” u

made, and it may inspire future members to consider planned giving opportunities that will have a lasting impact. Please talk with your professional financial advisors to learn of the many options available to you. For more information contact Thomas G. Evans Jr., Director of Advancement, at or 615-567-8309.

development echo

Breezie Walsh BGA Class of 2015 years, starting in 4th grade at the Lower School. Outside of BGA, I am involved in the Nashville Masters Rowing Club as a coxswain and travel throughout the southern region of the United States to compete with my team. I also teach various levels of sailing at Harbor Island Yacht Club on Old Hickory Lake.

Breezie Walsh ’15 pictured with her mother, Maureen Walsh.

What does BGA mean to you? Battle Ground Academy has allowed me to grow as a person and become who I am today. The BGA family made my parents and me feel welcome and like part of the community since the first day we stepped foot on campus to tour the school. BGA has given me so many more opportunities than I would have had anywhere else, and I am beyond grateful to have grown up at this school during the most important years of my life. What moved you to make a donation to BGA when you were in 8th grade? During my 8th grade year, BGA had an art show where students could display their artwork to be sold. I displayed two photographs of beach scenes and both of them were purchased by a BGA faculty member! Instead of keeping the money, I decided to give it back to my school because BGA’s financial aid had made it possible for me to stay at such a wonderful school. I was grateful beyond words and wanted to give back anything I could. How long have you attended BGA? Greer or Plato? Any activities you’re involved in on or off campus? I am a proud Greer and have had the privilege of attending BGA for nine

Do you have someone whom you look up to or someone you regard as a mentor? What makes him or her special to you? My mom is my mentor. She has been through so many hardships throughout her life but remains positive in everything she does. She has taught me what it means to be a good person and to be honest, thoughtful, and just. Without her guidance and strong role in my life I would not be half of who I am today. She is who I want to be when I grow up. Do you know where you are going to college? Do you have an idea of what you plan to study? I plan to go to Belmont University in Nashville next year. I was accepted into the Nursing Program and will earn my BS in Nursing within four years. From there, I hope to become a nurse in some branch of the military like many of my cousins. You’re close to being an alum; do you have any wise words to share that might inspire your soon-to-be fellow alums to give back to their alma mater? As a soon-to-be alum of BGA, I know that each and every person who graduated from this school has been touched in some way by Battle Ground Academy. I would encourage other alums to give back because in doing so, they are giving students the same chance – or a better chance – to succeed as they had. Today’s youth will be leading our country soon, and I think that giving back to the school that gave all of us so much is the absolute least we could do. Without the help and generosity of people giving back, BGA would not be the successful and honorable school it is today. u

Denim & Diamonds Event Raises $75,000 for Parent Association

The inaugural Denim & Diamonds was a smashing success!

BGA’s Parent Association revamped its fundraising efforts with the creation of one major event, Denim & Diamonds. This approach proved to be a rousing success with more than $75,000 raised for a variety of purposes ranging from funding visiting artists, to playground equipment for the Lower and Middle Schools, to additional enhancements to the Lower School facilities. The school once again called upon the talents of current parents and award-winning songwriters Casey Beathard, Monty Criswell, and David Lee. They were joined by fellow songwriter, Wynn Varble, in keeping the crowd of 400 entertained with their hit songs and lively banter. Held at The Factory in Franklin, the event allowed guests to enjoy delicious food from Suzette Catering & Events and drink sponsored by Lipman Brothers, LLS, R.S. Lipman Company, and Frugal MacDoogal. A wine pull of donated wines offered guests the opportunity to select a surprise bottle of wine to have with dinner or take home. Throughout the evening, guests were able to bid via their smart phones on super silent auction items. During intermission, five additional items were sold in a live auction. An online silent auction had closed the day before, after raising almost $19,000.

echo magazine spring 2015 33

alumni echo BGA Alums Carry on Teaching Traditions echo caught up with two BGA alumni who are using traditional teaching methods they learned while at BGA, while also incorporating technology into learning in new and exciting ways. Lindsey Pratt Berry ’05, a second-year Junior Kindergarten teacher at Woodland Presbyterian School, a PreK-8 school in Memphis, Tennessee and Tommy Anderson ’86, who got his start in teaching at BGA and has been on the faculty at Mississippi State University since 2007, share how they create their own innovative classroom environments.

Lindsey Pratt Berry ’05 with her husband, Davis Berry ’04

Lindsey Pratt Berry ’05 Lindsey Pratt Berry ’05 uses both traditional teaching methods and technology to create an innovative Junior Kindergarten classroom environment at Woodland Presbyterian School, a PreK-8 school in Memphis. “I have 15 4-year olds in my classroom,” says Lindsey. “They’re energetic. Some are distracted more easily than others. And they all have regular access to technology at home. My creative juices have to be constantly flowing because there’s not just one way for them to be learning.” For her students, using a laptop, iPad, or smartboard isn’t the exception; it’s the rule. “My students use iPads all the time. They are comfortable with them, and they don’t think of them being just for games. We’re finding that the students perform better on particular assessments with the iPads, and so as teachers we’re constantly


discussing all of the appropriate uses of iPads and technology in general.” Monthly meetings with Woodland’s Technology Coordinator help Lindsey and her fellow teachers stay on top of what’s new and, most importantly, effective. Combine this with the resources that social media provides (idea-sharing on Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, etc.), and Lindsey says there’s never been a more exciting time to be a teacher. “I still pull out the wooden blocks and Legos every day because the students need to develop their fine motor and communication skills as they partner with classmates to build castles or bridges. But at the end of the day, I can pose an idea via social media and by morning have dozens of suggestions on how using an iPad to film the castle’s construction can help the students see different ways of working together or building a better castle.” Educational apps for iPads and tablets have helped expose teachers and students

to more information and learning models, but Lindsey acknowledges nothing can replace the one-on-one work between teacher and student. “One of our major curriculum goals for Junior Kindergarten students is forming lowercase letters,” shares Lindsey. “There are effective apps out there, but we still use the old-fashioned paper and pencil and one-on-one teaching because it’s still the best way to teach handwriting.” Lindsey describes Woodland as family friendly and forward thinking, and recent renovations on campus have helped the school integrate technology even further. “As a teacher of the youngest students, I have to create a balance between protecting them from too much technology and preparing them for what they can expect as they move through Woodland. Just as we want the transition from grade to grade to be seamless, we want the transition of technology use in a classroom to be as seamless.”

alumni echo

Tommy Anderson ’86 After 19 years of teaching at the university level, Tommy Anderson ’86 has a good understanding of how technology has become a significant influence on education. As a teacher of the Humanities at Mississippi State University focusing on Shakespeare, Tommy admits to having been “trained to be skeptical.” He realizes, however, technology is a force that when used effectively and efficiently, allows for new ways to engage the learning process, while remaining true to the values of Socratic Dialogue he learned at BGA. Referring to it as “asynchronization,” he sees technology’s greatest impact is how it allows learning to continue after a student leaves his classroom. “A student might only retain 20 percent of what I’ve said in class, but if I can engage her through technology and provide opportunities for her to be thinking about the material outside of class, the learning process continues well after she’s left my room,” says Tommy. For his classes, Tommy creates wiki platforms (a website that allows collaborative editing of content and structure by users). Each course has a wiki unique to that semester’s class, and within

each wiki is a unit corresponding to the material he is teaching. Students are encouraged to add material that reflects their interests and likes. For example, during a unit on Shakespeare’s King Lear, one student might link to a clip from an English production, while another student might link to a Japanese anime with a plot line similar to the original play. Students bring their wiki posts back to class, and he works to find the intersection where his syllabus and students’ interests meet. When asked if this means he has to work harder, he modestly admits to having to work “differently.” “This is where technology excites me. It allows me to be better engaged with my students and the material I am trying to teach.” Additionally, the use of wikis allows for archives and so students can go back to previous semesters while knowing that their work will be on display for others to read in the future. Despite the wonder of technology, Tommy remains committed to lessons taught to him at BGA by former teachers Dr. Laurel Eason, Gordon Mathis, and Robert Walker. “Those three taught me the importance of the Socratic Dialogue: the power of the student essay; the development of a critical

Tommy Anderson ’86

voice, and the importance of intellectual dialogue. And if technology can help me do the same with my university students, then it’s all worth it.” u

SUCCESS STARTS HERE Not every Little Dribbler grows up to win a state championship, but the values of Character, Scholarship, and Excellence taught at BGA help our students learn to play with confidence, win with dignity, and lose with grace. Most importantly, they get a chance to play and experience what it means to work hard, perform in front of an audience, and be on a team. To join us for a personalized visit or for more information, contact Robin Goertz, Director of Admissions. | 615-567-9014


Crockett Daniel ’15 is a BGA Lifer who participated in Little Dribblers in 3rd and 4th grade and was a key to BGA’s basketball state championship run in 2014. He is the son of Brown ’87 and Amy Cherry Daniel ’87 and will attend Vanderbilt University in the fall.

echo magazine spring 2015


Class Notes In Memoriam LEWIS CASTNER “SANDY” BROWN ’42 passed away February 28, 2015. CHARLES WILLIAM COOK ’45 passed away December 14, 2014. MAJOR JAMES R. TOMLIN ’49 passed away February 2015. ROBERT C. “FOOTSIE” HARRISON ’53 passed away December 28, 2014. GUSTAVUS A. PURYEAR, III ’60 passed away August 23, 2014. THOMAS REED ROBINSON ’65 passed away September 4, 2014. SAMUEL DAVID HOLLINS ’70 passed away March 3, 2013. JONATHAN MINNER ’00 passed away March 23, 2014.

1957 On November 4, 2014, BOB and RUTH NAPIER were awarded the H.G. Hill Philanthropic Award for 2014. The award is the highest honor given by the Heritage Club of the YMCA Foundation of Tennessee, and recognizes those who support the YMCA Foundation of Middle Tennessee, the YMCA, and other community organizations.



SAMMY DUKE wrote in to the Alumni Office to share, “Below is a little story about me and my wife and the friendships I made while at BGA. I know it is not your typical story or update on what a person is doing or achieving in life, but I do believe it is a story on what a school like BGA means to an alum. I believe the thing I am most proud of is my family. I have been married to my wife, Claudia, for over 39 years. We have two grown children and four small grandchildren. Claudia and I were involved in a serious head-on collision on May 25, 2013, which we, by the grace of God, survived. Both of us were lifeflighted to Vanderbilt with life-threatening injuries and after staying there for more than 30 days, we were finally able to come home. We now know more than ever how precious life really is. The reason I tell you this story is to let you know how much it meant to me that so many of my BGA friends sent me cards, called, visited, and went out of their way to help us. I would like to take this forum to personally thank the administration of BGA and my fellow alumni friends, Hunt Campbell, Trey Doak, Steve Smith, David Buntin, Trey Boyd, Mike Brown, and many others. Their friendships, along with many others, originated at BGA and are still strong after 43 years.

ANNE LOCKE joined Kaegi Resources, a Nashville-based political fundraising firm, on April 1. Anne spent seven years at BGA in the Office of Advancement in various roles for fundraising and communications. Her hard work, attention to detail, and cultivation of donors has helped the school to grow the annual fund, planned giving program, and the campus footprint with two new facilities (Mary Campbell Visual Arts Center and the Jewell Athletic & Wellness Center). Anne spent 14 years in the government and political arenas before joining the staff at BGA in 2008.

1980 JOHN HARRISON has moved to Madrid, Spain, to take the position of Head of Revenue Management for Iberia Airlines, the national carrier of Spain.

1983 On February 25, 2015, LAWRENCE BLANK-COOK was named a 2015 Women of Influence Award winner by the Nashville Business Journal in the category of Company Manager. Lawrence is a national technology director for strategy, brand, and innovation of Deloitte LLP, United States.

1968 MICHAEL GLASGOW has written a book Feeding Memphis: A Celebration of the City’s Eclectic Cuisine, which gives the history and inspiration behind 28 of the city’s most famous restaurants. For more details about Michael’s book, please visit


1985 JD RYAN and his wife, Heather, welcomed the birth of Jacob (Duke) McCandless Ryan on November 3, 2014.

1992 CHASE WRENN has published his first book called Truth. The book is a survey of contemporary debates in philosophy concerning the nature of truth and its relationship to knowledge. Truth provides a clear introduction to the debates for non-specialists, and it also makes some original contributions along the way. The book is dedicated to former BGA faculty members Ron Medlin and the late Robert Walker, a promise that Chase made in his senior last will and testament published in the 1992 Cannonball. Chase is currently an associate professor of Philosophy at the University of Alabama. For more on Chase’s book, visit

1993 BGA faculty member SHELLEY ROBERTS MCLAY has been named a Paul Harris Fellow through Rotary International.

alumni echo 1994



In the fall of 2014, CRAIGE HOOVER was invited to be a part of TEDx Nashville as a guest speaker. He spoke on the subject of artists and creatives as critical actors in the creation and evolution of great cities. You can find Craige’s talk on the Ted YouTube channel.

SAM MORAN is currently the Admissions Recruiter for Lipscomb University College of Business Graduate Programs and hopes to graduate from the MBA program in December ’15. He recently led two mission trips to the Bronx to promote a Christian camp, Camp Shiloh. He has also been named a “buddy” in the Best Buddies Program, named to the Young Leadership Council class, and coaches basketball for a 6th grade team, as well as helps run the WNSL at BGA on Saturdays.

ANGELA CERASUOLO has moved to Lexington, Kentucky after being promoted to Director of Sales for the new Hilton Home2 Suites in Lexington.

1996 In December of 2014, LONSDALE GREEN KOESTER was named the Executive Director of Science Club for Girls in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

1997 LCDR KELECHI NDUKWE has spent the past year as Captain of the USS Devastator, and has now moved to Washington, D.C. to work at the Pentagon on the Ballistic Missile Defense program.

1999 In January of 2015, TYSON BICKLEY was promoted to partner at Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis, LLP, Nashville’s oldest and largest law firm. Tyson earned his J.D. from the University of Georgia and received a B.S. with honors, from University of Alabama in Accounting. MARGARET PEERCY WILSON and her husband, John, welcomed the birth of Elizabeth Nicole on January 24, 2015.

2000 MOLLY LANE MACHLEIT and her husband, Braton, welcomed the birth of their son Rivers Blye on November 2, 2014.

2002 JOSH JOHNSON and his wife, Meghan, announce the birth of their first child, Finnley Elaine, born on April 6 at 9:14 p.m. in St. Augustine, Florida. They live in St. Augustine, where they both are physical therapists.

CLAY PHILLIPS is currently an architect intern at Earl Swennsen & Associates in Nashville. JARED JOHNSON married Monica Henry on April 25 at Honey Lake Plantation & Resort in Greenville, Florida. Jared works for the Tallahassee Orthopedic Clinic. Jared and Monica live in Tallahassee, Florida.

MADELINE CROSS has joined Franklin Synergy Bank, and has been appointed to the bank’s Management Training Program.

2011 CARSON PRIEST has been a member of the Furman University track team for the past four years. During this time, he won two 200-meter races, and was a member of the Southern Conference Honor Roll.

2005 DR. SHANNON MORAN married Meghan Michelle Grainger on May 4, 2013, and is now a resident physician at the Arkansas Children’s Hospital.

2006 In February of 2015, RACHEL RUBENSTEIN began an apprenticeship in the animation department at Disney.

2007 MARY NELLE HALL is currently working at Belmont as a Transfer and International Students Admissions Counselor. She helps transfer students and international students through Belmont’s application process. She is also currently getting a master’s in Higher Education Administration from Vanderbilt. Before moving back to Nashville in the fall, Mary Nelle worked at the International Rescue Committee in refugee resettlement in Washington, D.C. for three years. While there, she worked as an Employment Specialist, helping refugees and asylums find their first jobs in the United States, and as the Cultural Orientation Coordinator teaching a class to new arrivals about how to survive in the United States.


2013 TAYLOR JOURNIGAN is a currently a Ladybird at the University of Louisville. They are the 12-time National Champion Dance Team. Taylor cheered four years at BGA with the varsity football cheerleading squad.

HASTY MORAN is currently at Samford University in Birmingham where he is an accounting major, the Sigma Chi rush chairman, and working with middle school Young Life.

ANNE PHILLIPS is currently teaching Kindergarten in Nashville at Cockrill Elementary School.

echo magazine spring 2015


2014 CAROLINE MARSHALL is currently a freshman at Ole Miss, and has been selected to be a Diamond Girl for the Ole Miss baseball team. NATHAN MORAN completed a very successful freshman basketball season at Lipscomb University. As a guard, he averaged 21.5 minutes, 8.3 points, 1.8 rebounds, 2.6 assist a game, while shooting 35% from the 3-point line.

L-R Director of Equity & Inclusion O.J. Fleming ’94, Carolyn Worthy, Thomas Fleming, Eleanor Fleming ’96,  Barbara Fleming, and Millie Williams

Eleanor Fleming ’96 Speaks to Assembly On her recent visit back home, Dr. Eleanor Fleming ’96 stopped by BGA to speak to Upper School students about making good choices and her experience as a minority student attending BGA.

Have you gotten married, had a baby, started a new job or been promoted, or have other exciting news you’d like to share with the BGA family? Send your class notes, including photos, to Jason Gregg ’90, Director of Alumni Relations, at We look forward to hearing from you!

L-R John Jewell ’86, Chad Jewell ’88, Lannie Jewell ’85, Barry Booker ’85, Tiffany Alday ’85, Johnnie Hughes ’85,  Coach Dennis Gibson, Mark Puryear ’85, and James Jewell ’86

’84-’85 Basketball Team Honored On January 16, players, coaches, and cheerleaders from the 1984-85 varsity basketball team were recognized at halftime of the varsity boys game vs. FRA. The 1984-85 team had a record of 27-5, advanced to the State Tournament in Nashville, and won both the District 9-AA Championship and the Region 5 AA Championship.

Travis Stinson ’90 has performed several times in the past year at the Grand Ole Opry, as well as on the Late Show with David Letterman.


Captain Harlin Hickerson ’03, a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, addressed the  student body on Veterans Day. Hickerson is the son of Chip Hickerson ’67 and  the brother of Mimi Hickerson ’00.

alumni echo

BGA Alumni Board Who are they, what do they do, and how can you get involved? With nearly 3,500 members worldwide, the BGA Alumni Association is a diverse community of individuals who are connected by their shared experience of attending Battle Ground Academy. All graduates of Battle Ground Academy are members of the BGA Alumni Association, and all members of the Association are eligible to serve on the volunteer Alumni Board of Directors. Drawing our members from this remarkable group, the Alumni Association Board of Directors is an organization that strives to foster deep and lasting relationships among the many former students of BGA and between the school and alumni body. “The decision to serve on the Alumni Board was an easy one for me. First, early in my career I realized how lucky I had been to attend BGA, and the discipline and educational background I received there were invaluable. Second, I realized how lucky I was to go to school, play ball, and socialize with 60 great classmates and wanted to stay in touch with them and not lose that BGA connection. Last, and maybe most important, I saw what BGA meant to my son, Chip ’02, how he was treated and nurtured by the faculty, and how they allowed him to grow as a young man. This was not the same BGA I attended, but the experience for Chip was every bit as good as mine. Working with the Board is a no-brainer for me.” — Larry Kain ’66 Current BGA Alumni Board Member and Past President

OUR MISSION The purpose of the BGA Alumni Board and Alumni Association shall be to actively promote a sense of unity among alumni by enhancing interest in and support of the school.

“I believe the focus of the Alumni Board is to increase engagement from alumni of all decades. For this reason we strive to have a diverse group of members on the alumni board. Serving on the alumni board is a great way to stay connected (or reconnect) with the school, network with fellow alumni you otherwise might not know, and make a positive impact on the school through the Alumni Board’s activities – be it through fundraising or involvement in one of the many events we sponsor. For me personally, I was looking to get more involved with BGA anticipating that my kids would be students there (currently in Kindergarten and 2nd Grade). Being a member and two-time President of the Alumni Board has allowed me to get to know many of the teachers and administrators who were not at BGA when I graduated in 1993. I highly recommend the experience for alumni of all decades.”

“I joined the Alumni Board to see the intersection of my professional life with my roots as a committed BGA alumna. It’s a special opportunity to positively influence a place that’s not only been a family legacy but that also made a lasting mark on me as an individual. The Alumni Board offers a bird’s-eye view into how a 19th-century institution is setting the tone for 21st-century education.” — Laine Milam ’08 Current BGA Alumni Board member

— Hamilton Bowman ’93 Current BGA Alumni Board President

For more information about any of these volunteer opportunities or to get involved, contact Jason Gregg ’90, Director of Alumni Relations, at or 615-567-8311.

echo magazine spring 2015 39

BATTLE GROUND ACADEMY LEADERSHIP Administration Head of School William (Will) F. Kesler Associate Head of School for Academics & Interim Head of Upper School Andy Graham Jr.

Treasurer F. Stewart (Stu) Warren


Associate Director of Admissions, Head Football Coach & Director of Camps Roc Batten

Jéanne B. Abernathy Leonard (Bill) H. Armistead III ’69 William (Billy) E. Blackstone Barry K. Booker ’85 Charles (Chuck) B. Brown ’84 Henry H. Chase Jr. ’57 Donald S. Denbo II ’67 David W. Garrett ’80 Dr. James K. Geraughty Sr. Gregory M. Herman ’84 Marion W. (Chip) Hickerson III ’67 John B. Jewell IV ’86 Allison H. Jones Matthew (Matt) C. Ligon ’87 Ellen L. More ’82 George Plaster ’77 Mark L. Puryear III ’85 George C. Silvey ’67 Reese L. Smith III ’66

Director of Communications Shannon Bevins

Ex-Officio Members

Head of Middle School Ken Wempe Head of Lower School Rhonda Bennett Chief Financial Officer Paul Brown Director of Advancement Thomas (Tom) G. Evans Jr. Director of Athletics Robert Jemison


Associate Director of Admissions Sarah Gay Boswell Assistant to Director of Admissions Rosemary Evans Director of Admissions Robin Goertz Director of Alumni Relations Jason Gregg ’90 Assistant to Director of Advancement & Donations Accountant Becky Jones Director of Community Relations for Advancement Candy Sullivan

Board of Trustees Chairman W. Edward (Eddie) Lunn Jr. ’67 Vice Chairman Tyler R. Berry IV ’87 Secretary Kurtis (Kurt) J. Winstead, Esq. 40

William (Will) F. Kesler, Head of School Paul Brown, Chief Financial Officer Thomas (Tom) G. Evans Jr., Director of Advancement Dr. Andy Graham Jr., Associate Head of School for Academics and Interim Head of Upper School Hamilton Bowman ’93, President of the BGA Alumni Association Board Lynne Welch, Parent Association Representative

Honorary Life Members Tommy Butts ’48* Tom F. Cone Thomas C. Harlin ’43 William W. Harlin Jr. ’42 John B. Jewell III ’62 Robert (Bob) N. Moore Jr. ’52 Robert H. Steltjes Charles H. Warfield

Alumni Association Board Hamilton Bowman ’93, President Lisa Quillman Coviello ’94 Anna Shell Emerson ’02 Larry Kain ’66 Andy Maloney ’84 Michael McClellan ’99 Laine Milam ’09 Ty Ragsdale ’84 Cackie Roberts Slater ’00 Reese Smith ’06 Alan Treadway ’79 Dana Jaggers Walker ’84 Ralph Brown ’49, Lifetime Member

BGA PARENTS ASSOCIATION Arts Co-Chairs Lee Ann Maloney Valiere Gamble

Lower School Co-Chairs Susan Denton Alison Ledbetter

Middle School Co-Chairs Colleen Garvey Hoke ’87 Alexa Baker

Upper School Co-Chairs Lynne Welch Caroline Ball

Parent Ambassador Co-Chairs Stacey Dell Ligon ’86 Susan Baier Madeline Crosby Jewell ’87

Secretary Tanya Pickens

Treasurer Kelly Derry

Wildcat Co-Chairs Allison Jones Judie Summarell

* Deceased

Will Kesler and BGA alumni tour the site of the original school to survey the recently exposed foundation.

How Firm a Foundation* By Dr. Lucas Boyd

Battle Ground Academy has in its archives a copy of a letter written on July 24, 1889, by Mr. S.V. Wall, one of the founding headmasters of the school. His purpose is to promote his new school, which will open in Franklin on September 3. It is being built on six acres of the battleground where the Battle of Franklin occurred on November 30, 1864. Wall recalls lying in front of the federal trench 100 yards to the west of his new building thinking “he would never see the light of another day” and never dreaming that 25 years later he would be teaching in an elegant school house built on that “awful field of slaughter and carnage.” Wall also reports that in digging out the foundation, a number of relics from the battle were unearthed. Among them were a hatful of bullets, two cartridge boxes, two hats, and part of a skeleton. Sadly, Wall’s “elegant school house” was not to endure long from a physical standpoint. It burned in 1902. Another building was constructed a few hundred yards to the south on the opposite side of Columbia Avenue. The original limestone threshold was taken and used in the new school. This threshold again followed the school when it relocated to Ernest Rice Lane and is now part of the school’s museum, worn thinner and polished by the feet of thousands of students. Down through the years, the site of the original school building was given over to commercial and residential development. But in recent times, there has been a movement led by the Franklin Battlefield Trust to “reclaim” portions of the battlefield. One such portion is the land upon which BGA’s original building stood. Excavations are currently being conducted to determine the locations of the Union trench line and Carter’s cotton gin. The archaeological team uncovered charred brick and hand-hewn limestone foundation stones resting just 18 inches below the surface–the foundation of BGA’s * The title of an old hymn, first published by John Rippon in 1787.

original building and the foundation described in Wall’s 1889 letter. The building had been built over the Union trench line. As significant as this discovery is for the history of Battle Ground Academy, it and the threshold are only physical things. The actual question should be: “What is the real foundation of a school?” In his 1889 letter, S.V. Wall stated that he would try to lead his students to Jesus and to deeds of valor similar to those of the gallant soldiers who fought upon the school’s grounds. The real foundation of a school is its principles and the teachers who teach them. This edition of echo features several current teachers who are teaching those principles that were laid down 125 years ago. Jesse Stuart, that Kentucky teacher and writer of the early 1900s, said that a teacher lives on through his students – that good teaching lives if it inspires, stands for good values, and teaches good character. He said, “Good teaching is forever and the teacher is immortal.” By extension, a good school is the same. Though the buildings may burn and the physical foundation be covered over, a good school is immortal. u Dr. Lucas Boyd’s career spans 48 years in education, retiring in 1998 after serving as principal of Battle Ground Academy for 19 years. He has published two books, eight short stories, and an article in “Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture.” Born and raised in Mississippi, he has lived in Middle Tennessee since 1957. He and his wife, Sara, have two grown children and two grandchildren. echo magazine spring 2015


336 Ernest Rice Lane | Franklin, TN | 37069

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