• The 865 Academy Coaches

    Academy Coaches serve as a liaison between schools, students, and industry partners, and work to strengthen these connections.

865 Coach

Canterra Simerly - 865 Academy Coach at Austin-East Magnet High

» Email Canterra

Ms. Simerly began her educational journey in 2014 in Fort Worth, Texas where she served as a high school English teacher and Department Chair. After relocating to Knoxville, she served as a 7th-grade English teacher, Grade Level Chair, and Upper School Dean of Curriculum and Instruction at Emerald Academy. In 2019, she served as a 7th-grade English teacher, Lead Teacher, and Team Lead at Northwest Middle School.
Ms. Simerly obtained a Bachelor's of Arts in English Literature from The University of Tennessee, Knoxville and recently completed a Master's of Science in Educational Administration from The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. In August, she will begin her studies to earn a Doctorate in Educational Leadership at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

865 Coach

Kelley Darnell - 865 Academy Coach at Bearden High

» Email Kelley

Ms. Darnell joined Knox County Schools in 2005 as a Social Sciences teacher at Bearden High School. She has served as Lead Teacher, Department Chair and mentor / liaison with the Teachers of Critical Languages Program during her time at Bearden High School. In addition to her work as a public educator, Ms. Darnell has served as program director for a local youth athletic training facility, Parisi Speed School of Knoxville, since 2018.
Ms. Darnell received a bachelor’s degree in History and Economics from the University of Tennessee, a master’s degree in Secondary Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Tennessee, and a master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Tennessee.

865 Coach

Janet Acosta - 865 Academy Coach at Career Magnet Academy

» Email Janet

Ms. Acosta joined Knox County Schools in 2016 as a Spanish teacher at Karns High School. During her time at Karns, Ms. Acosta was part of the Assessment Redesign for World Languages and the Curriculum Design and Evaluation Writing Committee. In 2018, she transitioned to Career Magnet Academy where she served as a Spanish teacher, Department Chair, Lead Teacher, Mentor Teacher, and AVID Site Team member, in addition to various committees for school and community engagement.
Prior to her career in education, Ms. Acosta worked in a corporate setting for over 15 years, most recently in the Personal Lines Insurance industry as a Customer Care Center Program Manager. In this role, she traveled throughout the United States connecting with business leaders to improve customer experience and retention.
Ms. Acosta received a Bachelor's degree in Organizational Management with a concentration in Marketing from Tusculum University, where she also received her Master's degree in K-12 Education.

865 Coach

Kacy Helton - 865 Academy Coach at Carter High

» Email Kacy

Ms. Helton joined Knox County Schools in 2019 as a Business teacher at Fulton High School. In addition, she also served as the Magnet Facilitator before transferring to Carter High School as a Marketing teacher and DECA Advisor.
Prior to a career in education, Mrs. Helton served as a corporate trainer in the banking industry. Ms. Helton also worked as a Realtor in the Knoxville market.
Ms. Helton received a bachelor's degree in Talent Development from Tusculum University, and a master's degree in Teaching from Tusculum University.

865 Coach

Cassidy Taylor - 865 Academy Coach at Central High

» Email Cassidy

Ms. Taylor joined Knox County Schools in 2016 as the College & Career Readiness Advisor at Powell High School. She previously worked in special education in Anderson County, and in Cynthiana, Ky. Recently, as a College & Career Readiness Advisor, she built community relationships and partnerships with community stakeholders for Career and Technical Education school / district Advisory Councils, communicated Focused Plan of Study completion plan and monitored completion progress.
She created internal structures and systems with data collection of each student’s postsecondary portfolio allowing for revision and individual completion. Similarly, she created digital student portfolios to contain student-driven data to support postsecondary opportunities and preparedness for each graduate while compiling data to evaluate program successes for compliance with financial, legal, administrative, and federal monitoring requirements.
She sat on the CTE Monitoring and Leadership Team for Powell High School and was the ASVAB and YouScience Coordinator. Ms. Taylor previously attended Maysville Community College and Midway College in Ky. to pursue a degree in Special Education and is currently enrolled at ETSU to complete a Professional Development & Studies degree with a concentration in Leadership, Organizations, and Workforce Studies.

865 Coach

Amanda Edsell - 865 Academy Coach at Farragut High

» Email Amanda

Dr. Edsell joined Knox County Schools in 2011 as an English Language Arts teacher and basketball coach at Karns Middle School. She has also worked as a teacher and basketball coach at Bearden High School. She then assumed the instructional coach and Response to Intervention Coordinator role at Bearden High. She worked as an assistant principal at Bearden High School from 2017-2019 and Bearden Middle School from 2019-2022.
Dr. Edsell received a bachelor’s degree in English and Youth Ministry from King College, a master’s degree in Secondary Curriculum and Instruction from King College, and a doctorate in Education in Educational Leadership from Liberty University.

865 Coach

Kensey Zimmerman - 865 Academy Coach at Fulton High

» Email Kensey

Ms. Zimmerman has worked for Knox Education Foundation and Project GRAD Knoxville since 2013 as a college / career coach and team leader assisting in the oversight of postsecondary programming at Fulton High School. She also has taught Public Speaking as an adjunct teacher through Knox County Schools in 2016-2017.
Ms. Zimmerman received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Studies and a Master of Science in Communication and Information with a concentration in Communication Studies from the University of Tennessee.

865 Coach

Ashley England - 865 Academy Coach at Gibbs High

» Email Ashley

Ms. England became an educator in 2011 serving as a Math Teacher and Department Chair in Grainger County Schools. She joined Knox County Schools in 2017 serving as a Math Teacher, Leadership Member, and Lead Teacher at Gibbs High School. She also has had personal experience as a Computer Programer at the Spallation Neutron Source at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory where she studied the relationship between programming, mathematics, and secondary education implementation.
Ms. England obtained a Bachelor's of Science in Mathematics from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Directly after she completed the Master's of Science Program in Secondary Mathematics Education also from the University of Tennessee, in Knoxville.

865 Coach

Heidi Moles - 865 Academy Coach at Halls High

» Email Heidi

Ms. Moles began working as a school counselor in 2016. She started her School Counseling Career at Emerald Charter School and transitioned to Halls High School as a Freshman counselor. At Emerald, Ms. Moles had the opportunity to build and implement a Counseling program and partner with many business and community partners to facilitate early postsecondary opportunities for all students.
Before working as a school counselor, Ms. Moles worked as a contract mental health counselor through a local community mental health agency within Knox County Schools. She also taught several Ethics and Psychology courses through Tusculum.
Ms. Moles received a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from Madonna University in Michigan. She also earned a Master of Education with dual certification in both Mental Health Counseling and School Counseling from Lincoln Memorial University.

865 Coach

Ashli Beeler - 865 Academy Coach at Hardin Valley Academy

» Email Ashli

Ms. Beeler joined Knox County Schools in 2001 as a School Counselor at Gresham Middle School. In the fall of 2010, she moved to Hardin Valley Academy and became the 9th-Grade Counselor. She served in this role until December of 2011, when she transitioned into the role of STEM Academy School Counselor. She was the Department Chair of the School Counseling Department and is currently a member of the leadership team at Hardin Valley Academy.
Beginning in 2020, Mss. Beeler moved into administration as the Assistant Principal of the STEM Academy at Hardin Valley Academy.
She earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology from Franklin College in Indiana, her Master's of Science Degree in School Counseling from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and her Education Specialist Degree in Administration and Supervision from Lincoln Memorial University.

865 Coach

Mary Brooks - 865 Academy Coach at Karns High

» Email Mary

Ms. Brooks began her teaching career as an English teacher in Anderson County Schools. She joined Knox County Schools In 2019 where she served as an English teacher at Bearden Middle School and Hardin Valley Middle School. Ms. Brooks joined the Karns High School team in 2022 as a Freshman English teacher.
Ms. Brooks obtained her bachelor's degree from The University of Toledo in Toledo, Ohio and her Masters of Art in Teaching degree from Tusculum University in Greenville, Tennessee. She has been working towards earning her doctorate from North Central University.

865 Coach

Timothy Powell - 865 Academy Coach at L&N STEM Academy

» Email Timothy

Mr. Powell joined KCS in 2014 as the Office Manager for the L&N STEM Academy. He most recently served as the Business and Community Liaison for the L&N. Mr. Powell was a founding partner of the L&N Foundation, established to provide financial support for the school.
Prior to his employment with KCS, Mr. Powell traveled for six years as a corporate trainer in the hospitality industry. He also worked as a real estate agent for many years. He is an engaged member of the volunteer community in Knox County. Mr. Powell studied Political Science at the University of Tennessee.

865 Coach

Micaiah Smoker - 865 Academy Coach at Powell High

» Email Micaiah

Mr. Smoker joined KCS as a Social Studies teacher at Whittle Springs Middle School. In 2008, he moved to Fulton High and served as the Freshman Academy ACT Prep teacher, a football coach, and the Building Level Technology Coordinator. In 2011, he moved to Powell Middle School and taught Social Studies and also served as an 8th Grade Team Leader, summer school principal, track coach, and a member of the Leadership Team. He then assumed the position of ACT Head Coach at Powell Middle in 2016.
Mr. Smoker received a Bachelor's degree in Sociology with a concentration in Criminal Justice from the University of Tennessee Knoxville, a master's degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Lincoln Memorial University, and an Educational Specialist degree in Administrative Leadership from Arkansas State University.
Prior to his employment with Knox County Schools, Mr. Smoker worked for CVS Pharmacy as a Retail Store Manager and was a member of their Emerging Leaders Program. He was later promoted to a position as Loss Prevention Supervisor of Logistics and Distribution.

865 Coach

Dr. Kari Eubanks - 865 Academy Coach at South-Doyle High

» Email Kari

Dr. Eubanks began teaching in 2007 in Northeast Tennessee as an English teacher for grades 7-12 and has worked for several districts in the state. She has served as Department Chair, District Curriculum Coach, Instructional Technology Coach, and Assistant Principal. She is joining Knox County Schools this year.
Dr. Eubanks earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature from the University of Tennessee, a Master of Arts degree in Teaching from East Tennessee State University, an Education Specialist degree in School Administration from Lincoln Memorial University, and an Educational Doctorate in School Leadership from East Tennessee State University.

865 Coach

Gina Hodges - 865 Academy Coach at West High

» Email Gina

Mrs. Hodges joined Knox County Schools in 1996 as a business teacher at Austin-East High School. She served as Department Head during her tenure at A-E before joining the faculty at Fulton High School in 2001 as a business teacher.
After enjoying 12 years as a stay-at-home mom, she re-joined KCS in 2015 to work part-time at Fulton High School and then transitioned to a full-time position at West High School in 2016 as a Business/Information Technology teacher. She has served as a Lead Teacher, IB CAS coordinator, and leader of the New Teacher Mentor Program.
Mrs. Hodges received her bachelor's degree in Business Education from East Tennessee State University and her master's degree in Administration & Supervision from Lincoln Memorial University.