The Middle School is proud to announce that a familiar face will be taking up permanent residence in the first wing of the Main Building. Tatum Anderson Barber joins our faculty as a Middle School social studies teacher and cheerleading coach. A graduate of Kennesaw State University, Tatum worked as a preservice teacher alongside Mary Ann Stillerman as she completed her degree in Middle Grades Education. Drawn to Walker’s welcoming environment, she is excited to be a part of Walker’s commitment to helping students grow, citing the School’s core value of believing in the infinite dignity and worth of the individual as a major influence in seeking employment here.
Head of Middle School Ira Dawson said, “We are so excited to welcome Tatum to our Middle School faculty. Her prior experience working as a preservice teacher at Walker with Mary Ann Stillerman in Eighth Grade English and Dr. Cindy Schafer in Seventh Grade U.S. History let us know that she has a passion for teaching and will be a wonderful addition to our Walker community." A Marietta native, Tatum makes the most of her free time by fishing, hanging out with family members, reading, trying new recipes, and embarking upon DIY projects.
Joining the World Language department and the Upper School faculty will be Samantha Baker. A graduate of Kennesaw State University, Samantha has a B.A. in Modern Language and Culture with a focus in Applied Business German. She also studied at Universität Paderborn in Paderborn, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Samantha has a passion for German language and culture, one in which she looks forward to sharing with Upper School students through a revamped German Club and participation at the State German Convention. Frau Baker comes to The Walker School after having taught at the German School of Atlanta.
Head of Upper School Michael Arjona shared, “In her first semester teaching German at Walker, the students highlighted her enthusiasm for the German language and the fact that they know she truly cares about them and wants them to succeed. One student noted that they feel their German-speaking fluency has increased significantly in just the past semester in Ms. Baker’s class.” Samantha enjoys meditating, visiting museums, traveling with her friends, drawing, and being an active member of the Georgia-German community.
Tracy Gray comes to the English department and the Upper School faculty from Peachtree Ridge High School in Gwinnett County where she taught Grades 9, 11, and 12. Tracy earned a degree in Secondary English Education from Miami University and a M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction with a Reading Endorsement from the University of North Georgia. She says that she always knew that she would be a teacher and that she loves the opportunity to help students achieve high expectations. Thrilled to be joining The Walker School this fall, she notes that Walker feels like home and the School’s ideals and mission align with her desire to see students grown in their creativity, individuality, and knowledge. Tracy also will come on board to coach lacrosse.
“Tracy brings an enthusiasm for working with high school students and a particular emphasis on creating the small moments that help students grow as writers and readers like honest, encouraging feedback,” said Head of Upper School Michael Arjona. “She values becoming fully involved in the school community as she will coach Middle School lacrosse.” Having grown up in Michigan, Tracy has come to love life in the South. Away from school, she can be found playing with her Boston Terrier, exploring new places, or enjoying a good pizza night at home.
With nearly 200 victories as a head coach in the Georgia High School Association, Michael Gunn will be The Walker School’s new Varsity Head Football Coach. Michael, an inductee into the Athens Athletic Hall of Fame, will also serve as an Upper School math teacher and track coach. With a B.A. and M.Ed. in Math Education from the University of Georgia, he comes to us from Clarke Central High School. Michael says he is honored to have the opportunity to lead Walker’s football program.
Athletic Director Leigh Block said, “We're very excited to have Coach Gunn leading our football program. As a head varsity coach with over 25 years of experience, he's had only one losing season, which is pretty incredible. He also has extensive experience with track, and we're looking forward to seeing the impact he'll have on that program, too.” Michael is looking forward to spending time with our athletes and building upon Walker’s proud history and traditions.
The Walker School is pleased to welcome Devondra McMillan as the Assistant Head of the Upper School. With a B.A. in Classics from Yale University and additional graduate study at the University of Georgia, Devondra joins the Walker faculty after 16 years at The Lawrenceville School where she taught Latin, Greek, history, and yoga as well as coaching soccer and track. Most recently, she also served as the Chair of the Language department. Her move to Walker represents a homecoming of sorts as her family has lived in Marietta for 40 years. Devondra says that she is excited to join such a close-knit, kind, and academically-rigorous school. Dazzled by Walker’s warmth and level of engagement, she is eager to meet everyone while continuing to discover her new community.
Head of Upper School Michael Arjona said, “We conducted a national search for the position last month that yielded a deep and exceptional pool of candidates. Each of our finalists had a virtual interview day where they met with groups of students, teachers and administrators. Devondra was the clear top choice of each group given her student-centered approach, thoughtfulness amid challenging situations, and enthusiasm for working with students in a close-knit community like Walker.” Relocating from New Jersey, Devondra has a passion for baking and running, and alongside her Malinois, Ginger, she is excited to make Georgia her home.
Returning to the Upper School and the Math department is Malanda Murchison, who taught at The Walker School from 2012 to 2018. Malanda has earned a B.S. in Math Education from Kennesaw State University and has subsequently taught mathematics for 17 years. Having recently worked for Environmental Resources Management, she realized how much she missed teaching and working with students after becoming involved with training and community service projects at ERM. Malanda is excited to come back to work with all of the amazing students and the dedicated and supportive faculty and staff. She is also excited to reconnect with the Student Service Organization.
“We are excited that Malanda is returning to Walker this year,” said Head of Upper School Michael Arjona. “In her previous tenure teaching math, Mrs. Murchison was known for the tireless efforts she would put in to working with students one-on-one and breaking down math concepts into clear steps. She will also be returning to assist in sponsoring the robust community service organization that she created at Walker.” A competitive mountain biker, Malanda enjoys spending time outdoors with her husband and son and volunteering in her community.
The Upper School and the English department happily welcomes Lynn Murray. Lynn, who has a degree in English from Vanderbilt University as well as an M.A. and a Ph.D. in English from Washington University, brings a wealth of experience having taught both college and high school students, including most recently at Marist School. She is thrilled to join the Walker family, noting The Walker School’s small size and student-centered mission as one of its many positive attributes.
Head of Upper School Michael Arjona shared, “Lynn brings years of experience teaching both at the college level and more recently at the Marist School in Atlanta. She engages students intellectually with a caring manner and is looking forward to jumping into the school community as an advisor for the Student Activities Union.” Originally from Florence, Alabama, Lynn has lived in Marietta for more than two decades now. When she does not have her nose in a book, she loves to find time to write creatively, watch baseball, or escape to the mountains of North Carolina.