Staff Bios


Bio_MelissaWright_EducationDirector

Melissa Wright


Education Director

mwright@thegrantacademy.net

My name is Melissa Wright and I am so excited to be the education director at The Grant Academy. I have a passion for teaching and work hard to make sure that all the needs of the students are met. I have seen too many students fall through the cracks. I want to pick these students up and help them achieve their full potential. All students can learn, but some learn differently.

I graduated from the University of Alabama with a Bachelor’s degree in psychology and criminal justice. I worked in the mental health field and then worked as a behavioral therapist for children with autism. I decided to go back to school and get my teaching certification, because I felt that I could help more students as a teacher. I graduated from the University of West Georgia with a Master’s degree in special education with a reading endorsement.

I have been teaching special education classes since 1998. I have taught in public schools and private schools. Through my career, I have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly of education. I want to help incorporate what I learned here at the school. We are using the best curriculum and using a whole brain approach. We teach to the levels of the students instead of teaching to a test. IEP’s will be updated every nine weeks, instead of yearly so they really help guide learning. All of the teachers need to work together and teach cross-curriculum lessons for better global learning. I feel these practices will help students achieve success. All of the staff that we have brought on board share our philosophy of teaching.

DavidWright_BusinessDirector

David Wright


Business Director

dwright@thegrantacademy.net

My name is David Wright and I am the business director at The Grant Academy. I have not worked in education, but have been married to an educator for 15 years. I have seen all aspects of education with her. I saw that there was a need for a private school in special education in Cherokee County. I felt that we could help so many students achieve their dreams by opening The Grant Academy.

I have a Bachelor’s degree from Auburn in psychology and criminology. I have worked in sales and business management for over a decade. I will use my sales and business experience along with my knowledge of education to make sure that the business side of The Grant Academy is being run successfully.


Meet Our Educators

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Melissa Wright


Math & Science

mwright@thegrantacademy.net

My name is Melissa Wright and I am so excited to be the Math & Science teacher at The Grant Academy. I have a passion for teaching and I will work hard to make sure that all the needs of the students are met. I have seen too many students fall through the cracks. I want to pick these students up and help them achieve their full potential. All students can learn, but some learn differently.

I graduated from the University of Alabama with a Bachelor’s degree in psychology and criminal justice. I worked in the mental health field and then worked as a behavioral therapist for children with autism. I decided to go back to school and get my teaching certification, because I felt that I could help more students as a teacher. I graduated from the University of West Georgia with a Master’s degree in special education with a reading endorsement.

I have been teaching special education classes since 1998. Some of my favorites classes to teach are math and science.  In math, I incorporated the Touch Math program to strengthen math skills. In addition, I bring in real world learning and projects to bring a better understanding in math. In science, I use a whole brain approach to learning because all students learn in different ways. I love teaching science and bringing learning to life with projects, experiments, and field trips. I feel that these good teaching practices will help students achieve success.

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Carrie Slonina


Reading & Language Arts

cslonina@thegrantacademy.net

My name is Carrie Slonina, and I am the Reading and Language Arts teacher at The Grant Academy.  I have been a teacher for eighteen years, teaching grades Kindergarten through 10th grade. I believe the diversity in my teaching career has made me a well-rounded educator.

I have a Bachelor’s degree from Southern Connecticut State University in Special Education. I am originally from CT, but have been a Georgian for thirteen years now. I love the South! I am the proud mother of two boys, ages 7 and 11. They certainly keep me on my toes. In my free time I enjoy outdoor activities with my kids, reading and watching football.

I believe parent/teacher communication is key to success. Let’s work together in building a love for reading and writing from all our students. We can do that here at The Grant Academy. I am thrilled to be here!

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Dianne Heissner


Art & Technology – Social Studies

dheissner@thegrantacademy.net

My name is Dianne Heissner, and I am very excited to be your child’s teacher! I consider myself to be a Northern girl with a Southern heart. I moved to Georgia in 1989 with my husband Steve and our three sons: Erik, Jordan, and Stuart. Besides my family, art and history are my passions.

I have two bachelors degrees from Kennesaw State University – one in Education, the other in Fine Art and Graphic Design. I love working with children, teaching about cultures and all kinds of art media, both traditional and digital. I have taught Western Civilization, multi-cultural art, yearbook, and fine art classes for seven years. I have found that in a world where students are frequently challenged with self-doubt, these subjects can be a way for them to find value in society and with themselves.

As a teacher, I am privileged to be their guide into this wonderful experience of creative expression and world societies. I look forward to sharing my time with your children and having a wonderful year with them!

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Whitney Sansone


Music & Physical Education

wsansone@thegrantacademy.net

My name is Whitney Sansone and I am excited to be both the Music and Physical Education teacher for the Grant Academy! I graduated from Kennesaw State University in 2007 and have enjoyed teaching in different environments for over the past decade. I have 3 children who keep me very busy; a middle schooler and 2 elementary school aged children. When I’m not teaching at the Grant Academy, I tutor several elementary school age children and volunteer frequently at my children’s schools, including being involved in show productions with my middle schooler’s drama club. In my free time, I enjoy various family activities with my husband and children such as soccer, swimming, and dance. I also love going on hikes with my dogs, Stormy & Piper.

I am very passionate about both music and physical education, and I’m very excited to integrate them both with our Grant Academy students! I practice whole brain teaching in my music classroom, and I believe that music is a very valuable part of every student’s education. Teaching P.E. is not only fun for me, but also so fulfilling as I watch my students’ self esteem and self confidence grow through learning different sports and various physical activities.