Ms. Carlene West
MA, Trevecca Nazarene University 2005
When Chattanooga native Carlene West earned her BA in theater from UTC, she and a group of friends jumped right in, establishing the Renegade Theater Company.
While also working at a doctor’s office so she could pay her bills, Carlene spread herself even thinner, taking classes at UTC to earn her teaching certificate. The Renegade Theater Company did not last, but Carlene stayed in the world of performing arts as a teacher. One summer at the Chattanooga Theatre Centre, Carlene ran the youth program. “I knew then that I wanted to teach: I just wasn’t sure in what capacity,” said Carlene. “During my certification, I student taught theater classes at CSAS, and I really liked teaching.”
When a former UTC professor who was teaching at Notre Dame decided to return to UTC, he recommended Carlene for his job, and she taught theater, dance, and literature at Notre Dame for three years until she had her first child.
Carlene transferred to Hamilton County Department of Education and while there, earned a master’s degree in educational leadership from Trevecca Nazarene University. In addition to teaching, she became an instructional coach, a position created through the Public Education Foundation and the Lyndhurst Foundation, in which she served as a mentor, and coach to other teachers. “It was a great opportunity, and I got to work with a lot of really talented people in different schools.”
After being a coach and a model classroom teacher, Carlene missed having a class of her own, and she taught for an additional year at Tyner Middle Academy before she heard of the opening at Baylor. “I love it here. Everybody has been so amazingly welcoming and gracious.” Her daughter, Kate ’15, started Baylor with her, and her son, Jack, is part of the Class of 2021.
In her free time, Carlene is “training her dog not to eat her flip-flops. I also like to do community theater when I can; one every year or two if possible.”