The Learning Lab

Here at St. John Neumann Catholic School, we understand that students may have needs – whether organizational, remediation, or extension –  that can be addressed during our school day. SJNCS offers the following support services for our students.

Academic Coaches

St. John Neumann offers a full time reading coach and one part time writing coach. These teachers work one-on-one and/or in small groups with students in kindergarten through eighth grade. Academic Coaches may incorporate remediation/extension in content areas, organizational strategies, and/or additional one-on-one guidance for students whose learning styles or difficulties hinder learning in an large group setting.

Behavior Interventionist

The SJNCS Behavior Interventionist provides leadership and direction at the school level, working to design, implement, coordinate and evaluate a comprehensive behavior support program. In addition, the Behavior Interventionist works directly and aggressively with identified students to adopt behaviors that substantially increase their academic performance. Under the supervision of the building administration, the Behavior Interventionist will provide diversified strategies and activities specifically designed for targeted students.

Meet our Learning Lab Teachers

Michelle Dougherty – Learning Lab Coordinator

Ms. Michelle Dougherty was born in Chester, Pennsylvania and is number 2 of 5 children (1 older brother and 3 younger sisters). She attended St. Joseph Grade School (now Holy Family Regional School) and Cardinal O’Hara High School in Pennsylvania. In 2004, her family moved to Knoxville. Prior to her mother’s retirement eight years ago, she was a kindergarten teacher at SJNCS. Ms. Dougherty was lucky enough to teach with her mom for her first 15 years of teaching.

Ms. Dougherty is excited to be the Special Services/Resource teacher at SJNCS. This is her sixteenth year at St. John Neumann. Before this role, she served SJNCS as a kindergarten teacher for 4 years, an elementary Reading Coach for 2 years, and first grade teacher for 8 years. Before coming to SJNCS, Ms. Dougherty taught at Christ the King Catholic School in Daphne, Alabama. There, she served as the Technology Coordinator/Computer Teacher for the K-8 school for 3 years and second grade teacher for 5 years. She is a proud Auburn graduate (War Eagle!) with a Bachelors of Science degree in Elementary Education, and also holds a Masters of Education degree in Elementary Education from the University of South Alabama.

Besides teaching, she also enjoys coaching volleyball. For the past 6 years she has served as the JV/assistant varsity coach at Knoxville Catholic High School. In the winter months, she coaches club/travel ball for K2 Volleyball Club.

Ms. Dougherty is a parishioner of St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church in Lenoir City. She feels truly blessed to have the opportunity to give back to Catholic schools all that they have given her and is proud to be a SJN Mustang!!

Rebecca Baker – Reading Coach

Mrs. Baker was born and raised in Knoxville, Tennessee. She attended Sacred Heart Cathedral School and Knoxville Catholic High School.

Mrs. Baker holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in History with a minor in American Culture from MTSU. She holds a M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction from Lincoln Memorial University along with a certified teaching license for grades K-8. She has taught preschool, 2nd, 3rd grade and, most recently, 5th grade ELA.

Mrs. Baker works with SJNCS as a Reading Interventionist in The Learning Lab. Her teaching style places an emphasis on relationships. With the understanding that each student learns differently, she enjoys finding out how each child learns best. She is also a passionate advocate of literacy and a self proclaimed “total book nerd.” Mrs. Baker is also thrilled to start St. John Neumann’s inaugural #ProjectLITBookclub with the middle school students.

Mrs. Baker has been married and has two boys, Tom and George. Besides teaching, she also enjoys family time, the Smoky Mountains, the beach, traveling, touring historical places and reading. Her favorite saint quote is from St. Catherine of Siena, “Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.”

Mrs. Baker says she is extremely grateful for the opportunity to work with the students and faculty at SJNCS. She has enjoyed being welcomed into such a sweet, joyful, supportive and faith-filled community and looks forward to continuing to meet new faces!

Andrea Gentile – Behavioral Intervention

Mrs. Gentile was born and raised in Connecticut, where she lived until 2008. At that point, she and her husband moved to Ohio where her two children, Nico and Nadia, were both born. She recently added a new addition, baby Nole, to their family.

In 2016, as her husband was looking at new job opportunities, he asked her “What do you think about Knoxville, TN?” and they never turned back! They love living in this area and feel it’s an amazing place to raise a family. Her family, including her Cavapoo (Noble), enjoy outdoor activities as much as possible. They like to hike, bike, camp, or simply play outside every chance they get.

From as long as she can remember, Mrs. Gentile wanted to be a teacher. She started babysitting at 9 years old and has always enjoyed working with children. In college, she was given a summer opportunity to work with a child with autism. That experience led her to get her teaching degree and eventually a master’s degree in Special Education.

Mrs. Gentile’s came to SJNCS in 2018. She taught preschool for 2 years and served as the school behavioral intervention specialist as well. She feels SJNCS is one big family and says she feels truly blessed that God led her to be able to work at an amazing school!

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