Meet Our Staff

JENNY VARNER – Executive Director

I obtained both a B.S. in Christian Education from Lee University as well as a Master of Education in Montessori from Baylor University. I also hold a Montessori teaching credential from the American Montessori Society (AMS).

I have spent 13 years teaching and directing Montessori programs in both Tennessee and Texas, in addition to teaching computer courses at Miller-Motte Technical College, and previously at Central Texas College.

I live with my husband, Dr. Butch Varner who is a U.S. Army retired Chaplain. We travel to Asia frequently, ministering in music, teaching, and training both evangelism teams and pastors. Our passion for people comes from our prior experience as missionaries in Northern Japan, where both of our children were born. Our two boys, who both attended Montessori from preschool through eighth grades, now attend college locally.

CAROL LUMPKIN – Lead Preschool Teacher

August 2019, will mark my 30th anniversary as a Montessori teacher. I am a certified Montessori teacher for ages 3 through 6. I worked at The Montessori School in Chattanooga, TN, for 25 years as a Lead Preschool Teacher, Director of Admissions, and Parent Coordinator.

Prior to teaching, I worked for 18 years as an office manager for an ob/gyn medical group in Fort Oglethorpe, GA. After retiring in 2013, Bethany Lane invited me to visit ELM in 2016 to sub for a couple of days. Two weeks later I took over the Preschool class to allow Bethany time to focus on growing the school. What a blessing it has been!

My husband of 46 years, Johnny, and I live in East Brainerd with our 60-pound “lap dog,” Bodhi. We have two grown daughters who attended The Montessori School in Chattanooga from age 3 through 6th grade. Both of our girls are educators.

Montessori education is my passion. In my leisure time, I play with my 4 year old granddaughter, enjoy reading, sewing, and flower gardening.


AMANDA PADRON – Program Director

After college, I was the Client Services Coordinator for a local non-profit, and then the Director of Client Services for a similar non-profit in Chapel Hill, NC, while my husband, Raymond, attended graduate school. I wore many hats while in these positions, but particularly gained experience in, and a love for working with people, management, and training.

After returning to Chattanooga in 2011, our family grew to include our daughter, Hazel, and son, Lucas. Both of our children have attended East Lake Montessori and we have been so pleased to be a part of the community. From the staff to leadership, families, philosophy, and principles of Montessori education itself, ELM is a community that encourages the love of God, others, work, and self. I love the Montessori approach and am delighted to be a part of the work that is changing the way we serve our neighbors in East Lake!

Additionally, I love to read, cook, have friends over, organize, and get things done. Presently, my life motto is, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.”

AMANDA PARIS – Assistant Preschool Teacher

I have lived in the Chattanooga area since early childhood. My husband, Brandon, is from California, but moved here in 1999. We married in 2000, and are parents to three wonderful daughters: Clarity (15), Cambria (12), and Layla (7).

We have attended New City East Lake for about 8 years, and are very happy to be a part of the congregation. At various times throughout the years, I have taught preschool and elementary Sunday school, and helped with both VBS and the ELECT after school program.

Previous teaching experiences include teaching 6th grade at Spring City Elementary and Grace Academy, part-time enrichment teacher for homeschooled elementary students meeting at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, and teaching preschool and kindergarten art at Grace Academy.

I am very excited and thankful to have been a part of East Lake Montessori for the last two years! I have really enjoyed learning more about the Montessori method while engaging with the Preschoolers. It is such a blessing to be a part of their first formal learning experiences!


MORGAN YODER – Lead Toddler Teacher

I was raised in Carlsbad, CA, and spent 5 years in Durango, CO. I moved to New Mexico for college, where I found a job at a Montessori school close to campus. I loved the principles that Montessori held and the environment that this type of learning process provided.

I moved to Chattanooga in 2007 and worked at Childcare Network in Ooltewah while finishing my BS in Early Childhood Education, PreK-3. After finishing school, I didn’t feel that being a public school teacher was for me. I had my son Micah in 2014 and was blessed to be a stay-at-home mom for the next 4 years.

After talking to a friend about needing to do something outside of the house, she encouraged me to apply at East Lake Montessori which was in the same building as her church. I applied and it has been the best decision for myself and my family. I truly love being apart of this community and it has been a great blessing for my family.

AMY STUBBLEFIELD – Assistant Toddler Teacher

I am originally from Manila, Philippines. My husband and I moved to Chattanooga over 4 years ago. We have two children, Jeffrey, 5, and Julia, soon to be 4.

Being a mother while teaching my children, and watching them as they learn and grow is one of the greatest joys of my life. I enjoy sharing what I have learned from my own experience with other children as a teacher’s assistant for ELM toddlers.

I love to engage with children and help them develop a love of learning and a sense of curiosity about the world around them. I want to give them the best positive learning culture I can, as I do with my own children.

I have a BS in Computer Science. I worked in the Information Technology field for 20 years before moving to the United States in 2013.  

I like to travel and go camping with my family.

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