Meet Baylor's New Faculty and Staff

Posted on 08.09.16

Eighteen new faculty and staff members will begin careers at Baylor when classes begin on August 17.

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Lauren Callihan

Lauren Callihan joins the Hedges Library staff as an interim Assistant Librarian. She earned her B.A. in English at Berry College and her M.A. in English from Auburn University. She has served as an adjunct professor of English at Charleston Southern University and as a young adult services library assistant and programming specialist at the Charleston County Public Library.
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Lee Casson
Learning Center

Lee Casson returns to Baylor full-time as a Humanities Instructor in the Baylor Learning Center. He has a B.S. in Mass Communications from Middle Tennessee State University and an M.A. and Ed.D. in English from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Dr. Casson taught for many years as a member of the English department at MTSU.

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Jordan Clark

A 2009 graduate of Baylor School, Jordan Clark graduated from the University of Tennessee with a Bachelor of Science in Communications before earning a master's degree in Public Administration from UTC. While at UT, Jordan was a student assistant to the men's basketball program and he served as a graduate assistant to the UTC men's team until May of this year. As the son of Baylor faculty members, Jordan grew up on campus and understands Baylor residential life from the inside out and will work as a boarding admission counselor.

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Kelly Eller

Kelly Eller has a B.S. in Education, Math from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and an M.Ed. from Walden University. She has taught math at Ooltewah, Ringgold, and Westside Middle Schools. She will teach Middle School math.

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Elizabeth Forrester

Dr. Elizabeth Forrester has a B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Cancer Biology from Vanderbilt University. She came from McCallie School where she taught AP Biology and she also served as adjunct professor in the UTC chemistry department. Dr. Forrester recently established the Partnership in Research and Laboratory Learning (PReLL) with the UTC chemistry department, which exposes a select group of highly motivated high school students to the rigors of undergraduate level research. She has also partnered with UMASS-Boston to develop a small personalized online course for Introductory/AP Biology using the Edge.EdX platform. As a researcher, she has ongoing projects in biochemistry and cancer biology at both UTC and the University of the South: Sewanee.

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Ilana Habib

Ilana Habib has a B.S. in Comparative Media Studies, Literature from MIT and an Ed.M. in Technology and Innovation for Education from Harvard University. She has extensive knowledge of social media platforms and internet culture, with experience in participant, researcher, and developer roles. Ilana also has experience developing and implementing curriculum for both the traditional classroom and pop-in workshops. She is proficient in the coding languages Python, R, and Java and is an internationally exhibited photographer.

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Tom Kates
History/Social Sciences

Tom Kates earned his B.A. in history at the University of Virginia. He has taught AP European History, American History, World History, and a Vietnam era elective at both Pace Academy and the Haverford School. He has also served as head varsity lacrosse coach at Pace and was an assistant coach for the number one ranked high school team in the nation at Haverford. He is a graduate of St. Paul's School where he served as a dorm proctor and was co-captain of the varsity lacrosse and soccer teams.

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Christian Lavorgna

Christian Lavorgna has a B.S. in math and M.Ed., both from the University of Virginia. A native of Oak Ridge, New Jersey, Christian completed his teaching internship at Charlottesville (Va.) High School and has worked with students at Jack Jouett and Buford Middle Schools. He was captain of his track and field team at UVA and currently holds a top-fifty world ranking in the decathlon.

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Tory Nicholson
Learning Center

Tory Nicholson continues as a Learning Center instructor in Sciences. She has a B.S. in Chemistry for Williams College and an M.A. in Biogeochemistry from the University of California, Davis. She previously taught chemistry at Deerfield Academy.

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Kelly O'Mara

New boarding admission counselor Kelly O'Mara hails from Rome, Georgia, where she attended Darlington School before heading off to the University of the South. While at Sewanee, Kelly worked extensively in the admission office,chaired the Honor Council and was the first-ever two-time winner of the Sewanee Spirit Award on her way to earning a B.A. with honors in American Studies. After graduation, she moved to Austin, Texas, where she taught at All Saints Episcopal Day School and worked in the admission department at Hyde Park School. Kelly grew up visiting Chattanooga and is looking forward to making it her home.

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Carrie Rice

Carrie Rice has a B.A. in Secondary Education, Math from Miami University and an M.A. in Instruction, Curriculum, and Leadership from the University of Memphis. She previously taught math at Lakota Local School, Oldham County Middle School, and North Royalton High School.

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Michael Richardson
College Counseling

Michael Richardson, our new college counselor, holds a B.S. in Media Studies from Radford University and spent several years working in Radford's undergraduate admission office. He has served as a Senior Assistant Director of Admission at the University of Richmond. He and his wife, Candace, have two children, Maddox and Bennett.

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Jennia Shanley
Fine Arts

Jennia Shanley graduated from Baylor in 2003 and earned a B.F.A. in Dance at Florida State University. Jennia has worked at Ballet Tennessee, the Chattanooga Ballet, the Center for Contemporary Dance and is the owner and director of Ascension Dance, LLC. Her mission is to empower students to move through life with purpose, intelligence, and creativity.

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Hillary Spiller
World Languages

Hillary Spiller earned her B.A. in French and Theater at the University of the South: Sewanee and got an M.A. in Foreign Language Education, with a specialization in French, from the University of Texas. She has taught at St. Michael's Catholic Academy, the Chattanooga School of Language, and has been an adjunct professor at UTC.

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Chiann Tsui
World Languages

Dr. Chiann Tsui earned a B.A. in German, Linguistics and a B.Mus. in Piano Performance, both from the University of Michigan. From there, she went to Stanford University where she completed here M.A. and Ph.D. in German Studies and is fluent in German and Chinese. A multi-talented lifelong learner, Dr. Tsui is accomplished pianist, a founding member of the Stanford Aerial Arts Program, is an aerial fabrics instructor and a Brazilian martial arts instructor. She has worked as a resident fellow with the University of Macau in China and as a research and development associate for Dandelion Chocolate in San Franscisco.

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Audrey Waldecker
World Languages

Audrey Waldecker begins her Baylor career as a world languages teaching fellow in the Middle School. She earned a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies, German, Music, and Biblical/Theological Studies at Covenant College. She also completed her M.A. in German Studies at the University of Georgia. Fluent in German and Spanish, Audrey previously taught both languages at the Montessori Kinder International School.

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Garrett Walsh
Fine Arts

Garrett Walsh had a B.S. in Theater Education from Columbus State University and an M.F.A., Scenic Design for the University of Alabama. He possesses a full range of technical skills and has worked previously with the Red Mountain Theater Company, Lake Dillon Theater Company, and Theatre by the Sea.

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Erin Woodrow

Erin Woodrow hold a B.S. and an M.S. in biology from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. She came to Baylor after teaching seventh grade science at Normal Park Museum Magnet School and was selected as a Hamilton County STEM fellow. She has also taught at Huntingtown High School in Maryland and has served as an adjunct professor at Chattanooga State Community College. Her informal education includes study at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Sciences, the Academy of Natural Sciences Estuarine Research Center, and the Tennessee Aquarium.

Last Updated: August 10, 2016