about Our School

Helping children find their place in God's story.

Foundations Preschool & Academy

Foundations Academy formally opened in August 2023, after deciding to expand beyond Foundations Preschool, and with a goal of serving children Kindergarten through 5th grade. We are overseen by the Tennessee Department of Education and members of the Association of Christian Schools International. 

Our school’s colors are Crimson, Navy, and White. We chose these very specific colors because colors in the Bible reveal rich truths about God and man. The crimson color represents the blood of Christ. Every child at Foundations Academy will be presented the gospel and taught that although born sinners that through the blood shed of Christ they can receive salvation. The shedding of Christ blood was necessary for the redemption of man as stated in 1 Peter 1:18-19 and Colossians 1:20-21. We chose the color Navy as it represents the Word of God. At Foundations Academy we teach biblical truth directly from the Word of God. In Numbers 15:38-41 the blue of the tassels was a reminder of all of the commands of the Lord. Finally, the color white represents righteousness and purity. We are reminded of Christ righteousness and that when we as sinners come to Him in faith He washes us white as snow as stated in Isaiah 1:18.

Our school symbol is a shield with a Lion. We chose the shield as a reminder of God’s protection over us. Throughout the Psalms we are reminded that God is our shield. At Foundations Academy we pray for the strength and protection of God upon each of our students, staff, and families. We have the lion on the shield to symbolize the strength, majesty, and royalty of Jesus. Jesus is called the Lion of the tribe of Judah in Revelation 5:5 revealing his absolute power and authority over all of creation.

Christie Gilliam

Principal

Mrs. Gilliam graduated from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in 2001 with a bachelors degree in Business Management. She was married to Bert in 2017, and together they have three adult daughters Kyla, Zoe, and Allie. Mrs. Gilliam has experience as a preschool teacher, and owned her own 130 student preschool in Dalton, GA for 10 years. After her first husband passed away she decided to move closer to family on Signal Mountain and worked as a church administrator for 10 years until she came to Foundations Preschool to serve as Assistant Director.

Mrs. Gilliam relationship with the Lord is the most important thing in her life. Without the strength Jesus provided through the years she would not be where she is today. A couple of her favorite scriptures are Psalm 18:2 “The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” and Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Mrs. Gilliam has attended Calvary Chapel since 2012, and is honored that God has chosen her to plant and lead their school from the beginning. It is her desire to love and support the staff, students, and families of Foundations Academy. She sees it as a blessing to support the teachers in training the students to understand the truth of the bible and achieve academic success. Her passions in life are Jesus, her family, hiking, running, cycling, reading, and traveling.

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Our Mission

Foundations Academy exists to build the next generation by partnering with parents in educating their children to develop life skills and form a relationship with God, through scriptural teachings, wholesome interpersonal relationships, and service.

American flag and Christian Flag photo
Young boy playing with toysYoung girl playing with toys
Young girl playing with a toy

Our Vision

Helping children find their place in God's story.

Our Staff

We understand how much prayer and trust goes into selecting a school for your student, so our staff understands that the love of Jesus and the desire to be like Him is at the center of all we do. Our teachers’ desire is to shepherd young minds while helping them grow into confident readers, writers, and mathematicians, while placing a priority on helping them grow their faith, develop a biblical worldview, and equip them with the tools to become responsible and respectful image-bearers.

Cana Seeger

Kindergarten

Mrs. Seeger graduated from Western Governors University with her bachelor’s degree in elementary education and she is currently working towards her masters in curriculum and instruction. Her previous teaching experience was in 1st grade and 3rd grade at Middle Valley Elementary. Teaching is a career that gives Mrs. Seeger so much joy and allows her to share Jesus’ love with children and their families.

Savannah Seals

Kindergarten - Teaching Assistant

Savannah was born in Mexico and moved to the States when she was around 3 years old. She has been in the Chattanooga area since. Raised as a missionary kid and having graduated from a Christian college, she has always been involved in church someway. That is where her love for working with and helping kids began.

Kristy Stewart

first Grade

Mrs. Stewart graduated from Covenant College with a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education and Interdisciplinary Studies. She began her career in education in 2008 as a reading interventionalist for grades K-5, but later taught in a general education setting. Mrs. Stewart has experience teaching fourth grade and has been teaching first grade since 2012. Teaching is Mrs. Stewart’s passion and is exactly what she knows the Lord has called her to do.

Tawnya Smith

Second Grade

Mrs. Smith has been teaching since 2013. With experience in 2nd, 1st, kindergarten and briefly in preschool, Mrs. Smith has a good understanding of child development & skills in the primary grades. Her favorite subjects to teach are Reading & Science. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Southeastern Louisiana University.

Photo - Lauren Bernal

Lauren Bernal

Art, Woodworking, Home Economics

Mrs. Bernal grew up in the central coast of California and came to the south for college. She attended Covenant College for 2 years, where she majored in art, with an emphasis on oil painting and three dimensional art.She later transferred to the University of Kentucky where she graduated with adegree in Russian Studies and a minor in Art. Mrs. Bernal married her highschool sweetheart and together they have 4 children.

Photo - Zac Gonzalez

Zac Gonzalez

Physical Education

Coach Gonzalez was a personal trainer for several years and has been coaching and training kids of all ages since he was in high school. He was involved in sports teams from the age of 4 to the age of 20. Fitness and health have always been something he feels very strongly about. It has remained a passion to continue to teach kids the importance of working together as a team and to develop their skills in whatever sport they are playing.

Alysha Clee

Aftercare

Mrs. Clee attended two years of college in Chattanooga and fell in love with the city and Calvary Chapel Chattanooga. Mrs. Clee and her husband then moved to Lynchburg, VA to finish college and the Lord led them to stay there and start a family. In 2020 they returned to Chattanooga and Calvary
Chapel when she accepted a position with Foundations Preschool and chose to homeschool her children. As a mom and a teacher, she understands the privilege and stewardship of shaping young hearts and minds.

Ellie Mitcham

Aftercare

Mrs. Mitcham attended UTK where she received her degree in Exercise Science. When Mrs. Mitcham got married she moved to Chattanooga with her husband where they found Calvary Chapel Chattanooga and began volunteering in different ways including working with the youth. Mrs. Mitcham has experience as a PE teacher for two years at Signal Mountain Christian School when the Lord led her to become a homeschooling parent for her children.

Photo - Zach Lee

Zach Lee

Security Director

Zach, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, served four years as an Infantryman, which included three combat tours to Iraq and Haiti. Following this, he spent five years working for a private security company protecting U.S. dignitaries in high-threat areas across the Middle East. After his service and transitioning to civilian life, Zach earned a degree in criminal justice from the American Military University and served as a law enforcement professional for six years, where he worked as a patrolman and criminal investigator.

Board of Directors

Robert Benoun
Taylor Bowers
Tim Millsaps
Robert Swift

Foundations academy

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is Foundations Academy for?

Foundations Academy is for anyone in the Chattanooga/ North Georgia area looking for quality Christian education for their child.

What are your school day hours?

Class starts promptly at 8:15 a.m. and ends at 2:45 p.m. Children arriving after 8:15 are considered tardy.

Is there a charge for late pick-up?

There is a $1 per minute charge after pick-up that will be applied to your Family Portal billing account.

How early/late may I drop off/pick up my child?

Students may arrive at 8:00 a.m. at no charge for an 8:15 a.m. class start time. Foundations Academy offers an aftercare program for families who need care for their children outside of regular school hours. After School care is offered until 5:30 p.m.

How can I help?

There are several opportunities to help at Foundations Academy:

  1. Pray: Pray for the students and teachers, pray for other families in the school, pray for administration. Prayers for safety, moving of the Holy Spirit, tough decisions that have to be made, success, and grace.
  2. Volunteer: There are many opportunities to volunteer in the classroom, lunchroom, fine arts/enrichment class, and even at home.
  3. Share: Tell others about our school. Invite them to special events or to reach out to administration for a tour.
  4. Support: Financial donations can be made to help provide the opportunity for other students to attend our program.
How do we pay tuition?

Foundations Academy uses a company called FACTS for tuition management. This company gives the parent complete on-line access to their account and give a variety of options on your payment plan. You may pay ACH drafts at no additional fee or use debit/credit cards for a small percentage of the amount paid.

What is your application fee, registration fee, and annual tuition?

Please contact the school office at 423-596-0589 to discuss fees and schedule a tour.

What curriculum do you use?

See our Curriculum tab for a detailed list of academic and related arts/enrichment curriculum.

What is your school safety policy?

At Foundations Academy we have a full time Security Director on sight. Our school’s exterior and hallway doors remain closed and mag locked. Parents are provided with a key fob to gain access. Classroom doors remain closed and locked. We conduct a variety of safety drills through the year including, but not limited to fire, tornado, and lockdown. All staff and volunteers undergo a background check. All staff carry a walkie talkie for quick notification of an emergency situation and they are equipped to provide weather updates. There are a variety of other safety procedures that we are not at liberty to disclose in order to ensure the safety of the children.