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, one part time math 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/extention 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.

School Counselor

The counseling department at St. John Neumann Catholic School supports the mission of the school by providing academic, social, spiritual, and emotional guidance for students.  Counseling services provided at St. John Neumann are as follows:

Academic Support

  • Organizational, study, and test-taking skills.
  • Classroom accommodations are provided for those students who have a psycho-educational evaluation on file.
  • Referrals for educational evaluations, tutoring, or other services.
  • A partnership is created between school counselor and resource teachers to provide academic success for every student.
  • Organize and attend parent/teacher meetings.

Personal and Social/Emotional Support

  • Classroom guidance lessons are taught six times a year at each grade level.  Topics include growth mindset, how to be a good friend, the world of work, and more.
  • Responsive services such as individual counseling, small group counseling, conflict resolution, and outside counseling referrals are provided.
  • Guidance is given for healthy peer relationships, coping strategies, effective social skills, problem solving, and conflict resolution.

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!


Michele Tarricone – Writing Coach

Mrs. Tarricone has been teaching at SJNCS since 2003. Before coming to SJN, she taught in public schools around Knoxville. She LOVES teaching here for many reasons: going to Mass and praying with her students in class, seeing the growth of her students, having control over the temperature in her classroom, and teacher treats on Wednesdays.

Mrs. Tarricone and her family moved to Knoxville in 1990. Her children went to SHCS and Knoxville Catholic High School. Her daughter lives in northeastern Tennessee and has two adorable children. Her son lives in Boise, Idaho and is a musician (guitar).

In her free time, she enjoys traveling, reading, and exercising, especially yoga.


Jennifer Kuhn – Guidance Counselor

Mrs. Kuhn was raised in the Catholic Church, and she is excited about the opportunity to serve the children of St. John Neumann Catholic School. Her great uncle, Father Donald Brice, is a retired priest (who just celebrated his 60th anniversary) from Washington, D.C., and her great aunt was a Benedictine Sister in Duluth, Minnesota. Father Brice celebrated each of Mrs. Kuhn’s Holy Sacraments, as well as her three children’s Holy Sacraments.

Before becoming a counselor, Mrs. Kuhn attended Farragut high school where she graduated with our very own Father Joe! Following in her father’s footsteps, she attended Birmingham-Southern College in Alabama, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in 1997. She then enrolled at the University of Alabama where she received her Masters of Social Work in 1999. In 2000, she returned to Knoxville to be closer to her family. Mrs. Kuhn is a LMSW (Licensed Master Social Worker) and holds her License for School Social Work. Mrs. Kuhn graduated from Carson-Newman University with her Ed.S in School Counseling in May of 2020.

Mrs. Kuhn is married and has 3 children who all attend SJN. She enjoys spending time with her family and attending her children’s extracurricular activities. She is the leader of a Girl Scout Troop, working with 4th and 5th grade girls. Mrs. Kuhn spends her free time playing indoor soccer, running, and knitting. She and her family attend St. John Neumann Catholic Church.

Mrs. Kuhn’s work history includes residential treatment for boys, and she was the project director, as well as an education specialist, for “Upward Bound,” a program through UT that works to help at-risk teenagers get into college. Here, at SJNCS, Mrs. Kuhn will offer individual and group counseling services to provide academic, behavioral, and personal support for students PK-8th grade. She also shares her time as school counselor between SJNCS and St. Mary’s Oak Ridge.


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!