Steve Brownlee is dedicated to helping teach the next generation of software developers by providing people with a solid understand of the core technologies used today, and then expanding into how to be a valuable contributor.
Brownlee has been developing software since 1980, when he programmed his TRS-80 to do his math homework for him. Since then, he grew up with the world wide web explosion and discovering all the new technologies that got invented to exploit its capabilities. 35 years later, he wants to take all the knowledge and skills he has accumulated and teach a new generation to build the next version of the Web.
Originally a Yinzer (those from Pittsburgh to you), he has adopted Nashville as his new home, having moved here in 2007 and been honored enough to be a small part of the exploding Nashville tech community. Steve firmly believes in the following values when it comes to technology:
A graduate of the second NSS web developer bootcamp way back in 2013, Joe is a mid-career convert to the software world after many years as an award-winning radio and online producer, writer, and voice talent. The thread that runs through his career is communication. The dissemination of information for the education and entertainment of a wide audience has always been at the center of his professional life.
After NSS, Joe worked as a front-end developer for Lonely Planet where he learned at the feet of some of the best developers from Nashville and around the world. In January 2015, he became a part of the teaching team for Nashville Software School’s first cohort of part-time night course students. In 2016, he returned to NSS full-time as a lead instructor.
For the past ten years Brenda Long has taught college level courses in web-, interactive-, and digital design. She brings 20 years of graphic arts and web design experience to her teaching, along with a belief that everyone should know how to code. As Brenda describes it, “coding is a way of thinking and problem solving that makes us a better person.”
Brenda enjoys blending her creative interests on the web. Early in her career she created art that utilized technology and incorporated dynamic user experiences. This translated to the web where technology was becoming more publicly accessible in a medium that supported multiple formats (music, photo, visuals, video, etc.). The multidisciplinary aspects of the field fit perfectly with Brenda’s bachelor’s degree in Music and MFA in New Media, and she continues to use technology to find new ways to communicate ideas, art, and solutions.
In 2014 Brenda’s app, Mabell’s Zoo, a counting app for children, was named as a finalist in UX Magazine’s International Design for Experience Awards. The app (available on the App Store and Google Play) includes handcrafted illustrations, original sounds, and Box2D physics. A second app, Mabell’s Days is underway.
Jisie David is a developer with a background in both mobile and full stack web development. An eager learner with an insatiable curiosity, she likes trying out new languages and technologies. She got her first serious introduction to programming with a introductory Java class which eventually led to a degree in Computer Science. She has worked for start-ups in fields such as healthcare, mobile security, etc. throughout her career and believes in collaborative learning from your peers.
Mary van Valkenburg is a data enthusiast with experience in data wrangling and exploration, visualization, and machine learning.
Mary is excited about being a part of Nashville’s first data science bootcamp. If you asked her what she loves more: data or learning, she would have a hard time answering. Mary has a BS in Psychology and an MS in Data Science. She has 18 years of experience in software product development and consulting. She places high value on curiosity, empathy, and honesty.
I am an Interaction Design & User Experience Specialist. I have years of successes proving that user-centric design is the key to a successful product and a successful team. I work with clients to bring to market commercially successful and user-centric products, businesses, and processes. Over the years I have been lucky to build a portfolio of large company clients like IBM, Roche Diagnostics, and HealthStream as well as small start-ups. I have been a mentor with Nashville Software School focusing on design for developers. I also was faculty and mentor for Jumpstart Foundry’s IT start-up accelerator. I like this mix of large and small, teach and create because it keeps my skills fresh and gives me the chance to keep learning from the experts and the newbies.
I am patient with creativity and innovation but have a low tolerance for inefficiency and money-wasting. After 20+ years of working in the industry, I have seen crazy bubbles of success and failure. One thing that has been true of all successful products and companies over that time is the lesson that “You can’t do it alone and you don’t know everything.”
Jeremiah Vasquez is one of the newest additions to our team and brings a variety of skills and background to our program. Currently he oversees the admissions process and is available to help those who wish to join our program. Jeremiah is also here for those who have questions about our program by managing our info address. Basically, if you have questions about our school and Google can’t help you, you can be sure Jeremiah will have the answer.
Jeremiah comes from a healthcare background, and has a Bachelor’s in Psychology from Norwich University in Northfield, VT. He is involved in his church and local programs. While traveling often with his family due to military service, has lived the Middle Tennessee for the majority of his life and calls Clarksville his home.
Laura A. Buchanan brings over 15 years of experience growing and managing not-for-profit organizations to Nashville Software School as the Director of Operations. Her responsibilities include oversight of regulatory compliance, financial management, data collection mechanisms and analysis, human resources, facilities, and personnel management. Prior to joining NSS, Laura served as an Executive Director, Statewide Project Director and consulted with educational institutions and a multitude of other community service organizations. Her educational background includes a BS in Psychology and an MBA along with two professional certifications in human resources management.
Jessica’s primary roles at NSS are to help current students plan their careers and to provide personalized support for their job search once they graduate. She has eight years of experience, having recruited for highly technical roles including Firmware Engineers and Software Developers with a staffing agency and as a corporate recruiter for NC2 Media, Emdeon and Walgreens.
Kristin McKinney, co-founder of the Nashville Girl Geek Dinner, has joined our team and will lead our efforts to partner with local employers. Kristin has worked with a diverse portfolio of clients for more than 20 years, but she has purposely focused on partnering with innovative start-ups an emerging software and technology companies.
Mandy Arola brings over 8 years of marketing experience to Nashville Software School as our Marketing Manager. Her responsibilities include marketing strategy, content creation for our blog, social media and newsletter, and other outbound marketing efforts.
Originally from North Dakota, Mandy moved to Nashville in 2006 and spent 10 years in the music industry. She is an alumna of Seth Godin’s altMBA for business leaders and is excited to bring her experience to Nashville’s vibrant tech community.
In addition to her time as a student, Junior Instructor and Product Owner, Callan brings 4 years of marketing management and strategic planning at a multimillion dollar startup website. Her passion is to create products that consumers love to use. Callan leads the Alumni Association with enthusiasm to keep the momentum going after graduation by coordinating mentorship opportunities, alumni events, and networking.
Meg joins our team after seven years working with nonprofits, teaching biology in Chiang Rai Thailand, and founding and selling a coffee company with her husband. A graduate of Cohort 15, Meg came to NSS with no experience in the software industry (or software at all). Through her intense curiosity and excitement to learn how to build the technologies that helped her start her business, she successfully graduated and stayed on as a Junior Instructor for a year in 2017.
Meg is now building a new program for NSS to get involved with local nonprofits.
Specialties: Ruby, Ruby on Rails
Eliza Brock is a software engineer and business owner in Nashville, TN. Eliza is not currently an active instructor. She’s working on her first child, first book, and her Master’s degree.
She has a background in software engineering with a focus on web applications and engineering management. She holds a bachelors degree in Software Engineering and Computer Science with a domain track in Engineering Management from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.
John Wark founded Nashville Software School in 2012. He believed that Nashville’s technology talent shortage would never be solved by trying to import experienced developers from other cities that also suffer from talent shortages or by waiting for colleges and universities to start graduating enough students and/or appropriately trained students. He also had faith that Nashville had an ample supply of motivated adults with latent aptitude who, if offered a chance, would eagerly pursue a career in technology.
John started programming professionally at age 19 in 1971. He spent a few years in enterprise IT as a developer, analyst and project manager. In 1978 he moved to a startup database software company and spent the next 25+ years in the software vendor world moving back and forth between startups and growth stage companies. He was involved with helping to launch, grow, and/or lead four software startups. As CEO of Continuus Software he raised $30M in venture capital financing, took the company public in 1999, and sold the company in 2000.
John moved to Nashville in 2005 and has been involved with both the local startup and technology communities since that time. For seven years he taught entrepreneurship classes as an adjunct professor at Belmont University. He was an active mentor at Jumpstart Foundry from 2011 through 2014. He continues to be inspired and energized by the pro-active community engagement of Nashville’s technology community.