Skip to main content

Staff

Chandler Ashcraft

Chandler Ashcraft

Program Manager for Job Development

Chandler Ashcraft graduated with her BBA from Lipscomb University. She served as a peer mentor with IDEAL during her time as an undergraduate student. With a passion for increasing employment opportunities for people with disabilities, Ashcraft started her career with IDEAL as a graduate assistant while completing her Master of Education in Special Education. As the Program Manager for Off-Campus Internships, she approaches businesses about internships for IDEAL students, as well as seeks employment once they graduate.

Kelly Blankenship

Kelly Blankenship

Program Manager for Community Relations

Kelly is a graduate of the University of South Florida with a bachelor's degree in sign language interpreting. Before working with the IDEAL program, she worked for 5 years as an educational interpreter for deaf and hard-of-hearing students at both the secondary and post-secondary levels. As the IDEAL Program Coordinator, Kelly oversees the student volunteers, or "peer mentors" who work with the IDEAL program, and curates the daily program schedule. She also coordinates the weekly IDEAL cooking workshop and IDEAL chapel sessions, and serves as the staff advisor for the Lipscomb American Sign Language Club.

Will Hemby

Will Hemby

Job Coach

William Hemby graduated from Samford University in May 2016 with his bachelor’s degree in psychology. He has experience working with students of all ages with a wide range of disabilities, especially ID and ASD. While working toward an M.S. in Applied Behavior Analysis, Hemby provides job support for students in Lipscomb University’s IDEAL program. He assists in establishing connections between community workplaces all over Nashville, trains supervisors and job coaches to work with IDEAL students, and prepares IDEAL students for independent, competitive employment. Preparation for independent employment includes the development and implementation of behavioral supports in the workplace, as well as social skills training

Sam Hutchins

Sam Hutchins

IDEAL Residential Coordinator

Sam Hutchins, the IDEAL Residential Coordinator, is a 2012 graduate of Wartburg College with a Bachelor's in Psychology. Sam also holds a Master's of Divinity from Beeson Divinity School. While at Beeson, he served as a chaplain in a rehabilitation hospital in Birmingham. Between these two degrees he worked as a mental health associate for an acute care hospital in Illinois where he gained experience in crisis intervention and emergency response, both for the general population and for those with ID/DD. He was a resident assistant in college and has spent the past several summers leading college students on mission trips, giving him valuable experience with student and campus life.

Misty Vetter Parsley

Misty Vetter Parsley

Faculty Advisor

Parsley has bachelors and masters degrees in Speech Language Pathology and a doctorate degree in Special Education Administration. She has dedicated her career to students with disabilities, previously serving as an autism consultant and special education coordinator in public schools. She also worked for 4 years in the Vanderbilt TRIAD program providing state-wide consultation to schools and providing support to families and students with autism through social skills programs and home consultations. She has presented both locally and nationally on autism and postsecondary topics. Misty is an assistant professor and the Director of Special Education Programs at Lipscomb University where she teaches in the graduate and undergraduate special education programs. Misty’s passion is including people with disabilities in all aspects of the community and ensuring that they have the same opportunities to participate as do all other individuals. She started the IDEAL program, Igniting the Dream of Education and Access at Lipscomb, in January 2014.

Andrea Pewitt

Andrea Pewitt

Program Director

Andrea received her Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education in 1999, a Master of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction with a specialization in Special Education in 2005 and completed her Education Specialist degree in Administration and Supervision in 2015 from Austin Peay State University. She is a current doctoral candidate with an anticipated completion date of 2018. Andrea has taught children of all ability levels for 12 years, receiving multiple honors and awards before accepting a position at the district office as the Supervisor of Special Education in which she served 6 years. She has presented to teachers and administrators of all grade levels in the K-12 arena, specifically about teaching children with disabilities. Andrea has a strong belief that all students can learn when given the right environment.

Laura Roberts

Laura Roberts

Assistant Program Director

Laura graduated from the University of Tennessee at Martin with a Bachelors of Science in Education and holds a Masters degree in Educational Leadership from Bethel University. She served in public education for 6 years as a high school math teacher, softball coach, 504 and S-Team coordinator, and a Common Core Coach for the Tennessee Department of Education. In her current role as the Assistant Program Director with Lipscomb’s IDEAL program, Laura provides curriculum support and plans IDEAL classes, maintains contact of and support of Lipscomb faculty, and oversees class selections. Laura’s career goal is to continue extending her experience and education to serve in a variety of capacities and roles in the field of Education.

Brooke Wright

Brooke Wright

Program Manager

Brooke Wright graduated with her Master’s in Education for Special Education of Severe Disabilities from Vanderbilt University in 2018. Pursuing her love of working with adults with disabilities, she joined the staff of Lipscomb University’s IDEAL program. Wright teaches Employment Skills classes and organizes student internships. These experiences help students gain the knowledge and practice they need to obtain and maintain independent, meaningful employment following graduation. She has been working in the IDEAL program since June 2018.