Meet Our Leadership
Jean Lomino, Ph.D.
Jean has been an educator for over 40 years and holds a Ph.D. in Leadership with an emphasis in Environmental Education. She spent many years as a classroom teacher for grades K-8, using outdoor education as the framework for her teaching.She was the Director of Education for the Chattanooga Nature Center, 2002-2005 and from 2005-2013 Executive Director. During her last two years in that position she managed the merger of Reflection Riding and the Chattanooga Nature Center, Jean received training from the Wildlife Conservation Society at the Bronx Zoo and also attended Harvard Business School’s Executive Education program. She was a founding member of the board of directors for Ivy Academy, the first outdoor charter school in Hamilton County. Since 2000 Jean has been an adjunct professor for the graduate program in Outdoor Teacher Education at Southern Adventist University. For the past three years she has also worked as an outdoor education consultant and teacher trainer and has been a presenter at city, state and regional conferences.
Jean attended Forest Kindergarten Teacher Training at Cedarsong Nature School, in Washington, one of the first Forest Kindergarten programs in the United States. She has recently returned from a two-month assignment in Guangzhou, China as a Forest Kindergarten consultant for Lions Education at their No Boundaries Forest Kindergarten. She has also trained dozens of Forest Kindergarten teachers since 2015 and established the Southern Association of Forest Kindergarten Teachers.
Director of admissions and office manager
Julie is our Director of Admissions and Office Manager. She graduated in 2002, from Southern Adventist University with a B.S. in Family Studies. After college, she moved to Atlanta and worked for a family with 3 boys for 13 years. She moved back to Chattanooga in 2015 and became a nanny for three wonderful families here. She also spent time working as a preschool teacher at Good Shepherd School on Lookout Mountain. Julie is a lover of the outdoors; you can find her hiking, camping, and spending time with friends and family during her free time.
Meet Our Teachers
Michelle Zegarra is an avid gardener whose family has deep connections to northwest Georgia. She is a native Spanish speaker, born in Peru.
Michelle worked at Memorial Hospital in Chattanooga for 15 years as a Certified Nursing Assistant and Clerk in the critical care units. Her love of the outdoors and simple play in nature, along with multiple artistic talents, make Michelle a natural caregiver for children. Michelle is a trained Forest Kindergarten facilitator and is in her third year of inspiring children in mindfulness and creativity
I was born and raised in Nashville and moved to Chattanooga to attend the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. I graduated with my Bachelor's in Early Childhood Education and Special Education with an endorsement to teach 4th-8th grade. I moved back to Nashville after college and taught intervention for grades K-5, but the mountains and the outdoors were calling. I married my now husband and we moved back to Chattanooga. Since moving back, I have taught 2nd grade in Hamilton County and preschool for children with special needs. I spent a majority of my childhood outside in nature and feel blessed to be able to guide children as they explore all that nature has to offer. When I'm not teaching, I enjoy climbing, hiking, camping and being outside as much as I can be. I also have a love for knitting and reading with my cat, Kitten on my lap.
Rebecca grew up raising horses and teaching riding in the Red River Valley in North Texas. She left for the other side of the river to pursue a degree in Elementary Education with a focus in Special Education and a minor in Spanish from Southeastern Oklahoma State University. After graduation, Rebecca left for Western Honduras to serve as a Youth Development and Public Health Specialist with Peace Corps from 2007-2009. She then taught in a self-contained Autism classroom in Texas, got married and had a baby, cris-crossed the country, and finally fell in love with Chattanooga and settled in. Along the way, she began practicing Yoga, teaching adult running classes, teaching ESL, tutoring a variety of subjects, and becoming fascinated with the art and science of creating fermented foods. She says that teaching Forest School at Wauhatchie is, "better than the best job I could have ever imagined - I love teaching, I love kids, I love nature. Here I can bring everything to the table and teach in the best ways I know how."
Annie was born in raised in Chattanooga, TN. She attends The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and will graduate in May of 2019 with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a minor in Spanish. She has worked with children for the last six years as a daycare worker and babysitter. Annie grew up living on the Tennessee River and loves the outdoors. She enjoys camping with friends and family, fishing, kayaking, tubing, hiking and anything else that involves being outside. After graduation she plan to pursue a master’s degree in School Psychology and hopes to work in a Chattanooga school system in the future.
Brittany is an avid hiker, writer, and lifelong nature lover who is passionate about helping children connect to the outdoors. She received her B.A. in Psychology and her M.S. in Holistic Child Development from Lee University, and spent 2 years as an AmeriCorps VISTA and VISTA Leader. In addition to teaching forest preschool, she is the programs director for the Chattanooga Audubon Society. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, kayaking, reading, and hanging out with her husband and dog.
Hi, I’m Sam! I’m so excited to learn with the kindergarten and first grade friends this coming school year. I have a degree in elementary education from Bryan College in Dayton, TN. Right out of college, I taught first grade for two at a traditional school in Nigeria. When I returned to the US, I taught at two outdoor schools: one right here on Lookout Mountain and the other in Southern California. I connect with nature through hiking, gardening, fishing, and keeping my eyes and ears out for living creatures everywhere! Outdoor spaces have always been where I’ve learned the most; our natural environment is infinitely rich in challenges and material. The forest has so much to teach us about ourselves and others, let’s get started!
Biography coming soon!
Meet our Board of Directors
Johnny is passionate about Wauhatchie School because it presents the kind of learning environment he would have blossomed with as a child. Growing up with ADHD, the educational environment was more restrictive than inspiring. He had the pleasure of serving as a Volunteer, Teacher, Teacher Trainer, Development Coordinator, and currently Board President of Wauhatchie. In his free time he enjoys mountain biking, flyfishing, reading naturalist journals, and spending the time with his wife and son.
Richard received an Associate of Science Degree in Forestry and Recreation and Wildlife Management. He has a BS in Business and Organizational Management and a Master’s Degree in Outdoor Teacher Education. He has served as president of the Maine Arborists Association and was a member of the National Urban and Community Forestry Advisory Council. He was Executive Director of the Chattanooga Audubon Society and taught science several years at Chattanooga School of Liberal Arts. Richard is also the author of three books: Natural Pattern Forms, Natural Stonescapes and Landscaping Makes Sense.Richard’s other pursuits include designing Japanese Gardens and consulting for Green Industry.
Meghan is an accountant working for a family office in Chattanooga. She moved from West Virginia 14 years ago to finish her degree and raise her daughter. Meghan is now Jean Lomino’s daughter-in-law and has a son, Cian, who will soon be three years old. Another son is due in August. Meghan enrolled Cian at Lookout Learning Center as an infant because she was impressed with Diana’s focus on providing a natural childcare setting that was hard to find elsewhere. Meghan says, “I am so looking forward to the expansion of those ideas at our new Wauhatchie School and all of the opportunities it brings to my family and to Chattanooga!”
Jean has been an educator for over 30 years and holds a Ph.D. in Leadership with an emphasis in Environmental Education. She was the Director of Education for the Chattanooga Nature Center, 2002-2005 and from 2005-2013 Executive Director. During her last two years in that position she managed the merger of Reflection Riding and the Chattanooga Nature Center, Jean received training from the Wildlife Conservation Society at the Bronx Zoo and also attended Harvard Business School’s Executive Education program. She was a founding member of the board of directors for Ivy Academy, the first outdoor charter school in Hamilton County. Since 2000 Jean has been an adjunct professor for the graduate program in Outdoor Teacher Education at Southern Adventist University.
Randi has been an educator for the last 16 years in the elementary classroom. Graduating with a BS degree in Elementary Education, Randi has been fortunate to find a career that is also her passion. In addition to being a literacy teacher in the elementary classroom, Randi also serves as the Curriculum/Accreditation Coordinator and Literacy Coach for St. Peter’s Episcopal School. Serving as a board member for Wauhatchie was the perfect way to connect her love for education, being immersed in nature, and growing inquisitive lifelong learners. “Watching students at Wauhatchie reminds us that learning should be connected to the natural world around us. The students have the opportunity to grow from a curriculum that naturally integrates literacy, math, science, and history with the land and seasons around them. When you take the walls of a classroom away and replace it with the freedom and openness of the forest, learning naturally comes through exploration and inquiry. I feel so fortunate to be able to support Wauhatchie and its mission to connect future generations with nature.”
Biography coming soon!