The Restoration House saw a need in our community, and is using their expertise and leadership to launch the Olive Tree Early Learning Academy.

Olive Tree’s extremely-talented board and directors have over 75 years of combined experience in high-quality early education. They are providing the long-term strategic direction for Olive Tree while the brilliant staff are working hard everyday to bring the vision to life.


Sheila holds a master’s in Human Development, specializing in Early Childhood Education from Pacific Oaks College (CA), further pursuing her research and teaching Montessori kindergarten. While there, she worked with family childcare providers and coordinated a state-wide staff development program for Hawaii’s preschool and early learning programs.

She taught at Edison Community College (now Florida Southwestern State College), established the first Child Development Associate program at Lorenzo Walker Institute of Technology in Naples, and was the lead consultant for establishing Florida Gulf Coast Universities Early Childhood Center.

As an early childhood consultant, she served various institutions in Southwest Florida, helped many achieve NAEYC accreditation, and served as an expert program evaluator and witness for the Florida Department of Child and Families Child Care licensing. Most recently, she served as the Director of Family Ministries at First Presbyterian Church of Bonita Springs, which included operating an early childhood program serving children 18 months to five years.

Hecniris is a Dedicated Early Learning Coach, Facilitator and former Early Childhood Teacher with more than 10 years of experience. She is passionate about contributing to the intellectual, social, emotional and physical development of young children while supporting teachers with high quality teaching practices and universal strategies. Hecniris is enthusiastic, creative, caring, versed in learning theories, challenging behaviors, special needs and best practices.

Hecniris is trained in adult learning principles, Practice Based Coaching and TLC (Group Format), Focused Observations, Classroom Management, Conscious Discipline, Creative Curriculum. She is also a QCIT Certified Infant and Toddler PD Specialist.

She has a Bachelors of Family Ecology with a Major in Early Childhood Education from the University of Puerto Rico.

As the cofounder of The Restoration House, Mandy is deeply passionate about helping each member of the family experience wholeness and restoration. She has 8 years of experience teaching in 1st grade through 8th grade in local public and private schools. Most recently she was the Personal Accountability Center Teacher with the Positive Behavior Incentive & Supports Team (PBIS) at Beaumont Magnet Academy. She has training in many critical disciplines, including:

  • Regulate, Reason, Relate: Trauma Responsive Training with Harmony Family Center
  • Love & Logic Parenting – Certified Trainer
  • Interpersonal Whole Brain Model of Care – Jacob’s Ladder
  • Neurodevelopmental Center
  • De-escalation – Harmony Family Center
  • Building Strong Brains – Knox County Schools
  • Restorative Practices and Cultural Responsiveness in the Classroom- Knox County Schools

Mandy has a Bachelors in Education and Masters in Holistic Education from Johnson University.

Olive Tree Board

Amy Moden moved to Knoxville, TN in 2014 and joined the YWCA Knoxville & the Tennessee Valley in 2020. Serving as the Anderson County Mobility Mentor, Amy oversees participants in the innovative program, East Tennessee Collaborative, which is dedicated to help low-income families grow beyond their vulnerabilities, through partnerships with local community organizations to achieve economic self-sufficiency.

She previously served as the Transitional Housing Program Coordinator over the YWCA’s Multi-County service area, assisting victims of domestic violence and their children, who need supportive housing. Amy completed her Bachelor of Science and Theology degree from Johnson University, focusing on Human Services and Family Studies. She currently serves on the Restoration House Board of Directors since August of 2022, and recently joined the Olive Tree Early Learning Academy Board of Directors in November of 2022.

Beth and her husband have two college age children.  She has been a CPA for over 30 years and currently practices at Breazeale & Associates.  She and her family are long time members of First Baptist Church in downtown Knoxville where she is currently serving on the Finance Committee.  Beth has served on a variety of boards throughout the years including Sequoyah Elementary PTSO, Bearden Middle PTSO and the West High School Foundation.  She is passionate about seeing moms and children live their best lives.

Daniel is the CoFounder and Executive Director of The Restoration House. In 2010, Daniel was honored as one of Knoxville’s Top 40 Under 40 Business and Community Leaders by the Greater Knoxville Business Journal. Daniel is also an alumni of Leadership Knoxville and UTK’s Consortium for Social Enterprise Effectiveness. Daniel serves on the Knox County Board of Education and on the Advisory Board of the United Way’s Bright Steps initiative where he is focused on making our local education system more equitable for all students and families.

Joshalyn and her husband have three children and nine amazing grandchildren. Joshalyn is the VP of Community Development for the East Region for First Horizon Bank and has served on several boards including, the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Homesource East TN, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Commission, Wesley House, United Way, and the Tennessee Affordable Housing Coalition. Earlier in her career, Joshalyn was a director for Head Start. Joshalyn also serves on the board of The Restoration House.

Lee is the Director of Education and Exhibits at Muse Knoxville. Prior to that, she was a kindergarten and a preschool teacher. Lee loves early childhood education and the power of healing through play. She has 3 adult sons and is an active member of my church where she serves on the education committee.

LeeAnn is a human resources professional with 35 years of experience who has failed retirement twice. She owns Team Foster Strategy LLC where she assists clients in becoming great places to work where employees say, “Thank goodness it is Monday morning!” Her family are long time members of Cokesbury United Methodist she has serves as a Stephen Minister.

Patty has over 40 years of experience in early childhood education. She recently retired as the director for Child Care Resource & Referral after 20+ years. Patty and her husband of 43 years have 2 sons, 2 daughter-in-laws, and 4 grandchildren. Patty also serves on the board of The Restoration House.

Early Education Committee

Kara’s background is in communications and event management. She previously worked for the Carolina Panthers and now is VP; Corporate Events Manager, CEO and Executive Communications at Bank of America. She is a native of East Tennessee.
Lori Haskell is the Director of Programs of The Restoration House. In this role Lori ensures program integrity, manages all program staff, and serves as the liaison for strategic community partners. Lori is also a certified facilitator for the Cost of Poverty Experience, serves as a lead trainer for Faith and Finances with the Chalmers Center of Chattanooga, and also serves on the Member Advisory Council (MAC) for the Economic Mobility Exchange with EMPath.
Javiette is the Associate Vice Chancellor and Director of Community Engagement and Outreach at the University of Tennessee. She is an experienced community-engaged scholar working with a variety of underrepresented populations over the last 25 years. Javiette started her career at UT as a young single mother. Despite the barriers and challenges before her she was determined and achieved her Ph.D. by the age of 28. Her life has been dedicated to helping make a way where there seems to be no way for individuals and communities on the margins.
Doug is retired after 27 years in the plastics industry. He and his wife, Marcie are long time members at Fellowship church and have both engaged with The Restoration House for years. Doug and Marcie have 3 grown children, all married, and are blessed with 5 grandsons, all of which are local.
Sara had a 25-year career in low income housing and is on the board of American Apartment Management Company in Knoxville, TN. She has been a volunteer with The Restoration House from shortly after the beginning having walked with four participating families over the last ten years. Sara has been on The Restoration House board for four years and is currently serving as President. She has been married for over 40 years, has three children and three grandchildren.

Where children grow to Love learning