Early childhood education is the key to the betterment of society.
Meet the SoulSong Staff
Virginia Fillers, Director
Hello! I was raised in Oak Ridge, TN. I moved to Cookeville in 2008 to complete my BS in Elementary Education at TTU after spending a few years working professionally in film and television production. My experience working in schools spans more than 20 years and encompasses private and public education. I credit much of SoulSong’s program to my experience at Knoxville Montessori School and my training through the North American Montessori Center. In 2014-2015, I served as captain of the art committee for the Heart of the City Playground project. I have also been the MOPPETS childcare coordinator for Cookeville MOPS, as well as the president of Cookeville Roller Derby. I live in Algood with my daughter, my partner, our fat cat Gourdon, and our corn snake Maizee. My daughter Charlotte attended SoulSong since it opened in 2015 until graduating from pre-k in 2019. She is now a student at Algood Elementary. In my free time, I enjoy camping, traveling, taking walks, watching musicals, and having adventures with Charlotte and my partner. My pronouns are she/her.
I am very excited about the teaching staff at SoulSong! Each one is very gifted as a caregiver and educator. It is a blessing for our program to have such a fantastic group of teachers. They have all come to us with exceptional recommendations and consistently impress me with their creativity, commitment, and patience. I consider myself lucky to have also been able to experience SoulSong as a parent!
Holli Williams, Hatchling Room, Ages 2-3; Assistant to the Director
Hi! I am Holli Williams. I was born and raised in Cookeville. My husband and I moved to Nashville for several years before deciding we would rather raise children in Cookeville, and we returned home. My love for teaching began when I taught children's karate classes as a teenager. I studied early childhood education in college. I have a special place in my heart for mothers and babies. I am co-founder of Cookeville Mother's Circle, and I serve on the board of Postpartum Support International - Tennessee. I have two sons, Austin and Sam, who attend SoulSong.
Director's Note: I wanted to include this picture of Holli because it makes me laugh. It also reminds me what a great mom Holli is because little Sam, despite his best efforts, never hit the ground.
Sarah Savage, Hatchling Room, Ages 2-3
Hello! I am Ms. Sarah. I worked at SoulSong from the time it opened until I became a full-time university student. I received my degree in art education and worked for White County Schools as an art teacher before returning to SoulSong.
Lesley DeNoble, Fledgling Room, Ages 4-5 (Prekindergarten)
My name is Lesley DeNoble. I earned my degree in Early Childhood Education from Grand Canyon University. I graduated Summa Cum Laude in May 2016. I have a school-age daughter, Jayley, who keeps me very busy. I enjoy teaching children in fun ways with hands-on activities. I believe that all children can learn, and I keep high expectations to help them reach and strive for more. Most importantly, I believe that children should be in a loving environment that encourages them to build strong morals and strong minds. My classroom is a kindergarten prep room with a focus on the skills students are expected to have when they enter school. I previously taught pre-k in the Putnam County School System and am very familiar with their expectations.
Debe Yu, Fledgling Room, Ages 4-5 (Prekindergarten)
Hello, I am Ms. Debe. My husband, daughter and I moved to Cookeville two years ago to be closer to family, who reside in Baxter, after residing in the San Francisco Bay Area for 20 years. I have spent the last 15 years in the field of Immigration Law. Since arriving in Cookeville I have been a full-time stay-at-home mom and this last year assisted with the facilitation of my daughter’s virtual Montessori school; this afforded me weekly mentorship meetings which provided in-depth learning of the Montessori process. During this time I discovered a passion for Montessori education and supporting the authentic development of children. I have been responsible for preparing our at-home school environment, facilitating the daily curriculum, and DIY material making. I have also been the monthly art coordinator for the virtual class. In addition I have completed the RIE (Resources for Infant Educarers) Foundations course with a focus on observation, gross and fine motor abilities and emotional development. I am interested in pursuing a Masters degree in Montessori Studies. My other outside interests include art, yoga, dance, spending time in nature, and having adventures with my family.
Amber Lewis, Floater/Sub; Sunday Nursery
Hi folks, my name is Amber Lewis (she/her). I'm from Ohio; my partner is from this area. They, our kids, and I moved to Cookeville in January 2019. Our youngest, Rowan, attends SoulSong in the Fledgling Room. I have a degree in psychology and worked as a nurse for a long time. My personal health issues put an end to that, and I have been a stay at home parent for the past few years. We share out home with 4 cats, 2 large dogs, a crested gecko, several fish, and roughly 100 plants! My dream is to own a small farm and intentional community, where I never have to tell a person or animal in need "no."
Jami Brown, Hatchling Room, Ages 2-3 (leave of absence)
Hello, I am Jami Brown. My husband, Dustin, and I have three wonderful children (Jeremiah, Dawson, and Makayla). Almost all of my free time is spent at some sort of sporting event. I decided seven years ago to work at a daycare, and I fell in love with teaching. After that daycare closed, I opened my own daycare and operated that until my husband’s work schedule changed and no longer accommodated it a couple years later. Since then, I have been spending time home with Makayla and also working part-time for Cookeville MOPS, Community Bible Study, and a select number of families (many from MOPS and SoulSong) to provide in-home childcare. I use basic sign language paired with spoken words to encourage vocabulary development in my classroom. I help the children become more independent while providing a loving environment in which they can learn and grow. It is always bittersweet when children graduate from my classes, but I love watching them succeed in the next room up. I am so excited to get to know each child in my class this year and to be part of this special time in their lives.