Meet the Education Team

With a new school year getting ready to start we figured it was time for a few formal introductions. Get to know our education department.

John Hawkins is the Director of Education and has a background that includes museum education and program development. As the director, he oversees all school group, birthday, and museum programming. He is an avid Red Sox fan and gave Nerf guns to the education staff for Christmas last year.

Katie Woodward is the Assistant Director of Education but started her Discovery Center journey as an intern while studying at MTSU. Katie runs our SPARK! program for children ages 1-6 and is closely involved with our field studies and free days. Katie is the first to volunteer to lead any experiment that involves fire or liquid nitrogen and she never says no to tacos for lunch.

Madden Purcell is an Educator and the Visitor Services Coordinator. He leads stations on our field studies and manages our Visitor Services Specialists. In this role, he helps to create the programming associated with birthday parties and field studies. He plays trumpet and is in a few different bands that you might see performing around Nashville.

Catherine Meston is the Mobile Education Coordinator. She recently moved here from California where she worked in education outreach for another museum. She learned to drive the bus just in time for it to need some unscheduled maintenance so we’re excited to see her really take charge of this program in the fall! Despite her west coast roots, Catherine is a huge Preds fan.

Kelsey Smith is our Camp Coordinator and has a work history that includes elementary camps and studio art. This background has helped bring out the arts in our STEAM programming and it seems to be a big hit with the campers. Additionally, Kelsey helps with free days and field studies during her off-season. Her original work is great and you’re likely to see her at a local art fair or two.

Emmie Donaldson is an Educator and our resident Naturalist. She leads stations on field studies and helps to develop after-school programs. Her education and previous experience at Boxwell Scout Reservation have been instrumental in the creation of more robust outdoor programming. Off the clock, you’ll still see Emmie at the Discovery Center–just exploring it with her little boy in tow!

Wesley McClain is Educator and jack-of-all-trades. With a background in graphic design, Wesley creates event flyers and decorations that are out of this world. He’s the creative genius behind our recent Saturday Science Summerslam and last year’s Great Pumpkin Festival. When he’s not leading field studies, Wesley helps to plan events and develop new programs. Wesley’s Halloween costumes at Great Pumpkin Festival are some of the most legendary we’ve ever seen!

Hayley Richey is our Marketing and Scheduling Assistant. She works cross-departmentally to make sure that everyone knows about all of our upcoming events, programs, and exhibits. Additionally, if you’re looking to book a birthday party or field study, she’s your contact. Hayley’s only been with us for a few short months, but she’s already made a huge difference to the team.

So that’s our Education Department. They stay pretty busy making sure that every visit is filled with fun, curiosity, and discovery. Be sure to pop in and say hello on your next visit.