Leiah Drew-Hightower, LPC-MHSP, Clinical School-based Counselor
BS: Psychology, University of Tennessee
MS: Counseling, Trevecca Nazarene University
From the age of 8, Leiah knew that God was preparing her to counsel children. All four years of high school she was a babysitter for a child with autism and through the relationship with this family and child she felt her heart shift towards working with children who have special needs. After graduating from the University of Tennessee, Leiah served as the assistant director of autism services at The King’s Daughters’ School Center for Autism, a residential and educational program for individuals with autism. Here, Leiah had one-on-one experience with nonverbal students who used a variety of ways to communicate. While there, Leiah was more than a teacher or counselor for these children; she was also the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, as well as mentor and nurturer. She led and supervised a team of special education teachers, and paraprofessionals helping to improve the quality of life for each of her students. She also gained extensive experience in developing behavior plans and individualized educational plans (IEPs), which included transition plans, daily living/vocational preparation, Picture Exchange Communication (PECS), BoardMaker software, social stories, de-escalation, programmatic skills, augmentative communication, TEACCH, and behavior modification. Through this position, God revealed to Leiah her true vision and purpose for life—working with children who have come from “hard places”. Returning to school for her master’s degree, Leiah enrolled in Trevecca University’s counseling program. During her internship she worked at Mercy as a school based counselor with New Hope Academy and as a mental health counselor with Williamson County Schools’ Tier 3 program. Leiah currently serves as the Clinical School Therapist at the Tier 3 program in Williamson County Schools.
Leiah has a heart for nature; if the weather is delightful you are likely to find her perched somewhere outside, most likely next to a lake or stream. She also has a passion for cooking, fishing, college football, reading, and making something out of nothing. Most of all, she loves spending time with her husband, Zach, and their two furbabies; Manny and Lu-Lu.