I am the Director of Kingfisher and I’ve been with the school since its very inception twenty-one years ago. I always knew that I wanted and needed to work at a small community-based school and Kingfisher is the embodiment of that desire. 

I am very enthusiastic about our new year!  I can’t wait to see if all the plans we made over the summer work smoothly.  We are networking with a few other small non-profits and intend to continue our work with the Tucker Rec Center and the Library.

I will work in the office for about ¾ of each day Monday through Thursday and will spend the other ¼ of the days and all day Friday teaching in classrooms. I always try to eat lunch with different groups at least twice a month, so I can get to know everyone.  I plan to use my time in the office working up a plan for the next five years, building a stronger Board of Directors, and increasing our community involvement along with writing a few grants to expand our programs. Also, we have some CARES money to handle from the Feds and the State and that involves so much paperwork that one whole day weekly will be devoted to that.

Kingfisher is a wonderful and challenging environment and we intend to keep it that way.  I live in Clarkston (about 7 minutes away) and I have two adult children living in Athens. I serve on several city committees and task forces for Clarkston. I love to go to Science Events at Manual’s Tavern and have started going to Moth storytelling shows once a month, too. Since Covid, some of those activities are on Zoom, but not very many. On some weekends, I’m volunteering with Trees Atlanta this fall—mostly trimming branches and later planting new trees. I have a garden plot to maintain and this year I added a pollinator plot as well. I have three dogs—an old gentleman Cocker Spaniel who is 16 this year, a new puppy an English Setter who is 5 months old, and a Springer Spaniel who has more energy than a hummingbird along with five curious and hilarious Wyandotte Hens. So, often on Saturday mornings I’m covered with mud and straw. I’m interested in Urban Planning and how it creates a certain quality of life for the citizens.  I love to produce art and have a new art studio that I am filling with partially finished projects and a lot of potential art fest items. I have really gotten into vinyl silhouettes and you’ll see some of my work around town as I’m decorating phone and cable electric boxes with leaf shapes.  This year I’m learning to knit (maybe), learning how to use my new cement mixer and am working on a guide to small school creation. I’m still sending in nature observations to Cornell.  Life is a banquet!

Debbie Gathmann

School Director | Curriculum Coordinator

Although I have been teaching for many years, each school year is a fresh, exciting start.  There are new joys, surprises, questions and new direction. 

I received my Master’s Degree from Georgia State University, and have been teaching the upper elementary and middle school students at Kingfisher since 2017. 

I have five grown children, and six grandchildren.  I have three “furkids” that fill my house with love.  My black Labrador, and my two Shepherds make me laugh and keep me busy. They are always full of love and can brighten any day.   My favorite spot on earth is the ocean and I visit as often as I can. I have a special interest in the Loggerhead Sea Turtles along the East Coast.  Plastic pollution of our oceans is something that I am working very hard to help eliminate. Hiking and kayaking are my hobbies and reading is my passion. 

Sherry Sherwood


Hola. My name is Jannette Fretwell and I teach Spanish at Kingfisher Academy. I also tutor children who need extra help in various subjects.

I have been with Kingfisher Academy since 2013. I love the freedom to do creative and fun activities for Spanish lessons. I look forward to teaching the children this year!

I’m originally from Cuba; but I consider myself a Georgia peach. I’ve lived here since I was very young. I love to travel to different countries and I have gone to 40 of the 50 states. I enjoy the craft of embroidery. My favorite sport to watch is basketball and to play is softball. I love birds, dogs, horses, and dolphins. My favorite color is purple and my lucky number is 713.

Jannette Fretwell

Spanish Teacher

Myra Wells


My name is Miss Aisha Favors and I am so happy to call Kingfisher Academy my new home. I have had teaching experience on and off for the past 9+ years, while I received my bachelors and masters degree from Tuskegee University. I have always enjoyed teaching, and knew that I wanted to be in the teaching field at an early age. I have also had a lot of experience working with wildlife, which will give me the ability to bring an environmental aspect to my class.

I have had the opportunity to travel to a couple of countries in Africa. One place being Ghana, where my group members and I were in charge of  building a chlorinated water system for a village of  about 1,500 people.

I look forward to so many great things this year, and I look forward to getting to know all of my students.

These are a few of my favorite things:

  • Movie: The Mummy
  • TV Show: PB & J Otter
  • Food: Mac n’ Cheese
  • Cartoons: Scooby-Doo
Aisha Favors


Coach Kyle