Our Academic Coaches connect with students to build lifelong learning relationships. 

 Photo Credit:  Peter Hellberg

Photo Credit: Peter Hellberg

Natalie Hoover, Director

Natalie R. Hoover is a dyslexia specialist, Certified Academic Language Therapist, certified teacher and professional tutor who is passionately dedicated to helping learners and families overcome the pain and strain of reading difficulties as well as other language-based academic struggles.  Natalie received her Bachelor of Arts in Education from Dallas Baptist University in 2003 and completed her Master of Education with Certification in Academic Language Therapy from Southern Methodist University in 2009. For six years, Natalie’s private tutoring and language therapy practice has served students with many academic and developmental issues by providing curriculum and language-based academic tutoring as well as Academic Language Therapy.  Her practice offers continued support to educators and parents through Academic Case Management* as well.  She is specifically trained in Alphabet Phonics**, an Orton-Gillingham based reading therapy program and has interned with programs such as the Multisensory Teaching Approach (MTA).

Eric Clark, Director of Operations

Eric holds a Bachelor of Music in Church Music from Belmont University. His passion for teaching began in high school, where he held leadership positions in the band program, and also discovered the joy of helping his younger sister with homework. This desire to teach and lead brought him to Belmont University to study Music Education, later shifting his focus to Church Music. Eric has held leadership and mentorship roles in various organizations, constantly motivated by his passion for teaching and leading others.

“What gets me really excited is to move past the surface level stuff and get down to foundational principles. By understanding the few principles at the core of a subject, everything else falls into place. Whether it’s math, music, relationships, goal setting, or anything else, I love helping others to understand the core principles at work and to see the big picture. This enables them to break through limiting beliefs, see themselves differently, and equips and empowers them to live up to their full potential.” 

Eric has always been a strong math student and even considered pursuing a math minor in college. This combination of strong left-brain skills and strong right-brain skills gives him a unique perspective on the relationship and interaction between a wide variety of disciplines. Along with a friend and business partner, Eric is also building Internpreneur, a local Nashville startup. In his spare time, he enjoys trail running, backpacking, playing music, reading, organizing, and learning.

Chelsea Dorer, Office Manager

Bio coming soon.


Mary Beth Baker, Assessment Specialist

Mary Beth Baker holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology, a Master’s Degree in School Psychology, and an Education Specialist’s Degree in Curriculum & Instruction with a focus in School Psychology and has 11 years of experience in a school assessment setting. She is trained in and has experience with administering and interpreting psychometric assessments. Her passion is in helping students and families understand how children learn and what they need to meet their potential and be successful in a school environment. Mary Beth and her husband Jeffery have two beautiful children, Henry age 7 and Sara Hunter age 1.


Tara Bowker, Assessment Specialist

Tara Bowker  holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology, a Master’s Degree in School Psychology, and an Education Specialist’s Degree in Curriculum & Instruction with a focus in School Psychology and has 5 years of experience in a school assessment setting. She is trained in and has experience with administering and interpreting psychometric assessments. Her passion is advocating for students with learning difficulties and helping to support their individual learning needs. Tara and her husband Joe are expecting their first child in May. 


Melissa Tackett, Academic Coach

Melissa Tackett is a licensed K-8 teacher who has enjoyed teaching 3rd, 4th and 5th grades while living in Austin, Texas.  She holds an additional teaching certification in Life Sciences.  Melissa is very passionate about striving to effectively teach all types of learning styles.  As a mom to a dyslexic child, she has dealt with the challenges that families often encounter when striving to effectively deal with dyslexia.   This passion lead her to become one of the founding members and co-leaders of Decoding Dyslexia Tennessee, where she continues to serve other parents dealing with these issues. Melissa has received training in the Wilson and Slingerland methods, and after summer 2016, she will have completed the second year of SMILA training to become fully certified by the Simultaneous Multi-sensory Institute of Language Arts, as well as earning certification to become a Certified Academic Language Therapist, CALT

Besides spending time with her husband and fun, fabulous three children, Melissa loves to paint, draw, sew, listen to Nashville’s awesome live music, co-lead her daughter’s Girl Scout Troop, ski , hike, run marathons, and do yoga. 

Nina Adel, Academic Coach

Nina Adel holds a Master of Arts in English and Writing from Belmont University. Her undergraduate work in Music, TESOL and Secondary/Adult Education was completed at the University of New Mexico and Berklee College of Music.  She is a multilingual writer, artist, curriculum designer and educator. Her languages are Spanish, Portuguese and English, with an additional emphasis on Japanese. Nina teaches English, Creative Writing, Spanish, ESL and a variety of other subjects within the Humanities. She delights in developing methods for her learning-different students to develop focus and attention; skills for tackling material that is challenging or perceived as boring; self-awareness, self-knowledge and self advocacy; communication; and creativity.

Nina is also an Adjunct Professor of Freshman Composition at Tennessee State University and an MFA candidate in Creative Writing/Hybrid Poetics at Hamline University. She has two great kids and a little hound named Finnegan.

Image Coming Soon.jpg

Tina Pender, Academic Coach

With a B.S. in Special Education and Psychology, Tina Pender has a passion to help families that face academic and physical challenges. Tina has previously taught in public schools and served as a developmental therapist for infants and toddlers with special needs. Tina considers her best “vocational training” to have been growing up with dyslexic sibling, and she can appreciate the challenges that families encounter when while learning to effectively deal with dyslexia. Tina homeschools her own children and has worked with other students in various subjects. 

In her spare time, Tina enjoys leading worship at her church, participating in Crossfit, cooking nutritious meals for her family, and climbing rocks and ropes. She and her wonderful husband, Jeff, have three daughters ages sixteen, thirteen, and eleven. 


Briana Yankie, Academic Coach

Briana graduated with her Mathematics Education degree from Lee University and has her license for teaching math for 7th -12th grade. She has tutored math since 2010 in a variety of settings and is very passionate about the relevance of math for all students. Her aspiration with each student is not only to challenge him or her to master procedures but to encourage the student in understanding the why behind it all.  

Along with teaching, Briana is passionate about making travel adventures, experiencing new cultures, swing dancing, and spending time with family and friends.

Caitlin O'Donoghue, Academic Coach

Caitlin was born and raised in Chico CA, and attended Chico state for her degree in liberal studies/child development. She moved to Nashville TN in 2011 and earned her teaching certificate through Nashville Teaching Fellows. Throughout her five years of teaching she saw how much struggling readers needed intervention and wanted to learn how to help these students in her class. Through a casual conversation with a parent who took their child to HLC, she learned of becoming a dyslexic therapist.  She pursued training and considers herself very lucky to have the opportunity to work with these amazing children.  Cailtin's goal in working with children with dyslexia is not only to teach reading, and give them the skills needed to be successful in academics, but also to give them the knowledge and confidence to understand that they have an amazing gift of a unique mind.   

Carolyn Pendarvis, Academic Coach

Carolyn holds an Associate of Applied Science from Nashville State Community College in Early Childhood Education, a Bachelor of Science from Austin Peay State University in Natural Resources and diversified science teaching, and a Master of Science from the University of Tennessee-Martin in Agriculture and Natural Resources with an emphasis on Science Education. She loves the outdoors and spends every waking moment waiting to discover new science is in her backyard. Her experiences include teaching high school math and science in homeschool tutorials, private Christian schools, and in the public school system. In her spare time she is employed with the American Red Cross as an Instructor Trainer, and she holds the title of Education Director for Walden's Puddle Wildlife Education Center in Joelton where she serves on the non-profit board of directors. She is looking forward to her 3rd year with HLG.

Carolyn lives in Pleasant View, only one mile from the home where she grew up. She and her husband Robert have been married for 30 years and have two wonderful children. Her son is a detective in Montgomery County and a father of three beautiful children who reside near Clarksville. Her daughter is 21 and starting her last year at the University of Tennessee at Martin where she is studying wildlife Biology.

Dawne Johnson, Academic Coach

Bio coming soon.

Katie Pursell, Academic Coach

Bio coming soon.

Heather Burns, Academic Coach

Bio coming soon.

Travis Dotterer, Academic Coach

Bio coming soon.