Faculty & Staff

Laura Deisley, Founding Director

Creator and Founding Director Laura Deisley loves the city of Atlanta and its people. An innovative educator recognized for her work around the country, Laura seized the opportunity to envision an innovative school model with great civic purpose. Lab Atlanta is the first of what she hopes will be a model for cities around the country to bring bright, diverse young minds together as agents of change and empowered learners for tomorrow.

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Mike Pardee, Associate Director

Associate Director Mike Pardee moved from Houston to help bring Lab Atlanta’s compelling vision to fruition. Lab Atlanta attracted Mike for many reasons. He loves its emphases on inquiry­-based experiential learning, on civic engagement, innovation and design. He relishes the opportunity to continue to grow personally and professionally in Lab Atlanta’s dynamic learning community.

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Aretina Hamilton, Humanities Faculty

Aretina is a Human Geographer whose love of all things Atlanta has brought her back to the city and Lab Atlanta. In 2004, she left the city to pursue graduate studies and has spent a majority of her career researching, writing and teaching about Atlanta. After spending some years in higher education, she was drawn to the program because of its commitment to civic engagement with the city. As a former urban planner, she is also fascinated by the possibility of introducing students to participatory action research within diverse communities across the city.

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Karl Hwang, STEM Faculty

Karl is a locally grown recycled engineer. Karl is passionate about using engineering design principles, technology, and interdisciplinary connections in the classroom. After teaching in Athens, Hawaii, Decatur, and Lovett, Karl was drawn to the potential of reimagining education at Lab Atlanta.

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Spenser Simrill, Digital Photography and Photojournalism Faculty

A graduate of the Lovett School, Spenser Simrill, Jr, teaches writing and film at the University of Georgia. His documentaries have appeared in numerous film festivals, on Georgia Public Television, and in the online editions of The New York Times, Rolling Stone, and NME, among others.

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J. Scott Sanchez, Design and Innovation, Adjunct Faculty

Scott Sanchez is Vice President, Innovation, at First Data. Sanchez joined First Data in early 2011 to lead a user-driven approach to innovation and help enable innovation throughout First Data across products, clients, and employees. He runs the Innovation Lab at First Data, a cross functional team of product managers, user experience designers, user experience researchers, technology, and client innovation leaders, whose goal is to disrupt the future of commerce in collaboration with our clients.

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Adrienne Williams, School Counselor and Program Assistant

Adrienne N. Williams is a Colorado native who recently relocated back to Atlanta from Philadelphia, PA. She is a psychotherapist in private practice and completing a clinical residency at Heartwork Counseling Center in historic Inman Park.

An enthusiast of innovative education, Ms. Williams joins Lab Atlanta as the former Director of Partnerships for Science Leadership Academy at Beeber; an inquiry-driven, project-based magnet high school developed in partnership with The Franklin Institute based in Philadelphia, PA. .

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