Teaching Faculty

We are proud of our highly qualified teachers here at Learning Tree. We are thankful not only for their professional knowledge and experience, but especially because of their infectious love for Jesus and their dedication to helping our students learn both about God and the world that He made for us. 

As they are actively instructing or assisting students throughout the school day, please reach out to faculty via email for any specific needs or questions.  Some may also be contacted directly via text message.  If you have an immediate need, please reach Mrs. Brown or Mrs. Phillips first.  The teachers will respond to email or text as they are able.  

Twila Brown

10th Year at Learning Tree Elementary School

Principal & Grades 5-6 Bible

  • B.S. in Health, Minor in English
  • Secondary Education Certification
  • Masters of Education in Curriculum and Instruction
  • Professional Teaching Certificate from North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists

twbrown@learningtreeschool.org

 Cell: 509.540.0747 (Call or text 7 AM to 5 PM)

Welcome to Learning Tree Elementary School! In the forest of educational choices, you will find valuable treasure under the refreshing shade of Learning Tree—the treasure of learning to love God, the treasure of being taught to think, the treasure of being equipped to serve, and the treasure of showing Jesus to everyone.  I teach because I love children and I love helping them learn. I also love Jesus, and I believe He has called me according to this purpose. It is an honor and a privilege to have your children here at Learning Tree. I am excited to watch God as He not only grows this tree, but as He grows each one of us to bear more and more fruit for Him.

In His Service, Twila S. Brown

Crystal Phillips

2nd Year at Learning Tree Elementary School

Secretary

  • B.G.S.  with emphasis in Psychology

secretary@learningtreeschool.org  

Crystal Phillips started at Learning Tree Elementary School last June and immediately knew that she loved it here. She saw the Lord's hand in placing her and her daughter, Layla, at this school.

Prior to moving to Chattanooga in January of 2022, the Phillips family have been moving around the country for the past ten years as she and her husband served in ministry. During her free time, Crystal enjoys reading, playing board games, watching movies and enjoying time outdoors. 

Tim Knowlton

7th  Year at Learning Tree Elementary School

7th & 8th Grade Homeroom / Athletic Director

  • B.A. in History with Teaching Endorsements in Math, Bible, Junior Academy & Secondary Education
  • Standard Teaching Certificate from North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists 

tiknowlton@learningtreeschool.org  

Tim Knowlton feels strongly that God has called him to teach and he has spent the last eight years serving Him in that capacity.  After graduating from Southern Adventist University, Tim was hired at Atlanta Adventist Academy to teach Math, Bible and Drama.  After teaching there four years, he and his wife moved their young family up to Chattanooga to be closer to their extended families.  The past four years Tim has taught 8th grade Math and Algebra 1 at East Ridge Middle School.  He is very excited that God has called him to serve at Learning Tree and he looks forward to a great year teaching young people about God’s world and His desire to be an active part of their lives.

Tim is married to his high school sweetheart, Niki, and God has blessed them with a son, Reid and twin daughters Avery and Olivia.  Tim’s  free time is spent enjoying sports, board games, and spending quality time with his family.  He loves his church family at Dalton Seventh-day Adventist Church and looks forward to being a part of the school family at Learning Tree this year and for years to come.

Niki Knowlton

9th Year at Learning Tree Elementary School

5th & 6th Homeroom & Music 5-8 / Yearbook Editor

  • B.A. in Liberal Arts Education, Minors in Voice & Piano
  • Elementary Education Certification with Music Minor
  • Standard Teaching Certificate from North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists 

niknowlton@learningtreeschool.org  

Niki Knowlton began serving God through music at a young age, spending most of her school years accompanying musical groups on piano, singing in choirs, leading song services and playing oboe in band. She also spent seven summers mentoring children at Camp Au Sable in Michigan. While still attending college, Niki taught middle school music part-time and offered private lessons to her students. After graduating from Southern Adventist University, she spent six years as a full-time classroom teacher in the Georgia Cumberland Conference while continuing to teach classroom music, organize concerts and direct musical programs and plays. She has directed one high school and two middle school touring choirs that have performed throughout the United States. Since 2004, Mrs. Knowlton has also been teaching private piano and voice lessons as well.  She has been part of Learning Tree's staff in multiple capacities since 2014. Mrs. Knowlton especially loves the privilege of sharing God with her students and helping them to discover more about His character through scripture and the world around them.

Joyce Bourgeois

4th  Year at Learning Tree Elementary School

3rd & 4th Grade Homeroom / 1st-4th Grade Music

  • B.S. in Elementary Education with Junior Academy Endorsement
  • Standard Teaching Certificate from North American Division of SDA
  • State Certification in GA & TN 

jobourgeois@learningtreeschool.org 

Mrs. Bourgeois is a master teacher who loves Jesus and His kids! Her students love her and they know that she loves them, too! She has taught at other schools such as Atlanta North, Ooltewah Elementary, & Jones Creek Academy. We are so blessed to not only have her as part of our Learning Tree teaching team and school family!

A note from Mrs. Bourgeois: I feel so humbled and honored to be a part of the Learning Tree Elementary School teaching team. I have had the privilege to teach in Adventist Schools for 18 years. Throughout those years I have taught various combinations of grades 1-5. My husband and I chose to move to this area in 2018 to be closer to our grown son and daughter who both graduated from Southern Adventist University. For the past two years I have taught for Hamilton County, however my desire has always been to return to our Adventist Schools. It brings me great joy to once again have Christ at the center of my classroom. When I am not teaching, I really enjoy nature walks, spending time with my family, and playing with my two Maltese dogs. I look forward to this new adventure with both Learning Tree Elementary School and the Dalton Adventist Church Family! 

Tonda Smith

2nd  Year at Learning Tree Elementary School

1st & 2nd Grade Homeroom, Acros

  • B.S. Elementary Education with Junior Academy Endorsements in Bible & PE 
  • Standard Teaching Certificate from North American Division of SDA

tosmith@learningtreeschool.org 

Mrs. Smith's Zoom Classroom & Office (Coming soon)

Greetings Learning Tree School & Church Family!

My name is Tonda Smith, and I am very excited to be the newest member of the Learning Tree teaching team and the teacher for 1st & 2nd grades. Since I am brand new to many of you, I wanted to share a little "This is Me" document  to familiarize you with some of the people and things that are important in my life. I am so thankful to be a part of the Learning Tree and Dalton Church families!

This Is Me - About Mrs Smith.pdf

Brenda Hagan

18th  Year at Learning Tree Elementary School

Forest Pre-K & Kindergarten Homeroom

  • B.A. in English
  • Multiple Subjects Teaching Credential
  • Professional Teaching Certificate from North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists 

brhagan@learningtreeschool.org

Brenda Hagan initially planned on teaching English; however, after assisting in an elementary school near Walla Walla University where she was attending, she realized what she was really interested in was elementary education.  So after she graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in English, she went on to complete Elementary Education courses at Humboldt State University.  She received a Multiple Subjects Teaching Credential and began her career with a wide range of teaching experiences in multi-grade classrooms in Montana, Oregon and Washington before making her way to the south to teach at Learning Tree.  She has had experience in every grade from Pre-K to 8th, and while she has found great things about teaching each grade level, she is particularly interested in early childhood education and helping children grow and develop their character and become lifelong learners.  Brenda feels that teaching is a mission and she works diligently to create an environment where students can learn more about Jesus. Above all, she desires to help each child grow closer to Jesus and to know He is always by their side and that He loves us all more than we can imagine. 

Other Staff & Volunteers

The Learning Tree Elementary School Board understands the work of volunteers is essential to a successful educational program.  The administration is responsible to select, screen and manage trustworthy individuals to fill all volunteer positions—including drivers—needed for educational activities. All volunteers must complete the Volunteer Screening Process. Please click below to see how you can volunteer at Learning Tree.

Duane Schlapa

36th  Year at Learning Tree Elementary School

School Board Chairman

schoolboardchair@learningtreeschool.org706.980.0836 

Andrea Boyd

2nd Year at Learning Tree Elementary School

 Treasurer

treasurer@learningtreeschool.org423.933.5620

Fatima Lanham

8th Year at Learning Tree Elementary School

Teacher's Assistant &
Hot Lunch Manager

chalupalanham@gmail.com 

Angelica Martinez

5th Year at Learning Tree Elementary School

Teacher Assistant

angelica_0186@yahoo.com

Michelle Chin King

8th Year at Learning Tree Elementary School

Librarian

Nathaniel Oregon

1st  Year at Learning Tree Elementary School

Dalton Adventist Church Senior Pastor

pastornathanieloregon@gmail.com734.294.8788

Doug Brown

10th Year at Learning Tree Elementary School & 1st Year as the Dalton Adventist Church Associate Pastor

Dalton Adventist Church
Associate Pastor

Jessica Hernandez

5th  Year at Learning Tree Elementary School

Home & School Leader

hernandezjessica19@yahoo.com

Jenniffer Evans

6th  Year at Learning Tree Elementary School

Partnering for Eternity (PFE) Coordinator

smile4jesus2day@gmail.com678-988-5009

Becky Cheever

Technology Support

Chris White

Technology Support

Eric Harwood

Technology Support

Mariela Covarrubias

Tutor/Hot Lunch

Vicky Basso

Tutor

Clara White

Tutor

Maria Martinez

Tutor

Nathaniel Oregon

Boys' Basketball Coach

Alfonso Covarrubias

Head Soccer Coach


Randy Dorn

Girls' Basketball Coach


Frangie Ocampo

Assistant Girls' Basketball Coach