McCallie is an All-Boys Private Boarding School and Day School, a Christian-based College Prep School. 
McCallie seeks out and accepts boys from all ethnic, racial, religious, and socioeconomic backgrounds and places a high value on a diverse student body.

Stories from the Ridge Podcast

Welcome to the latest way to connect with McCallie!

Stories from the Ridge brings you insights from faculty, alumni and friends of McCallie. We'll cover a variety of topics, all with a link back to the community and brotherhood that makes our school so special!

You can find Stories from the Ridge on iTunes, Spotify and other podcast platforms.

Do you have an idea for a podcast? We are looking for great new stories to feature and we'd love to hear from you! Submit your ideas and suggestions here

Episode 22: Finding The Balance: A conversation among three friends about the challenges of being a head of school in today’s changing world

Heads of three of the nation’s top independent schools – Lee Burns, of McCallie School, Kate Windsor, of Miss Porter’s School in Farmington, Connecticut, and Greg O’Melia, of The Buckley School in New York City, discuss the challenges they face as they lead their schools through a period of social and political unrest -- as well as a pandemic that forced the closing of their campuses. They share their insights into how school heads must continuously work to express the mission, values, and traditions of their schools while at the same time adjusting to the realities and demands of the modern world.

Episode 21: How much time should my son spend playing video games?

That seems to be one of the major societal questions today for parents of teenage boys, and it is a question that McCallie teachers and counselors get asked frequently by parents. In this podcast, Head of School Lee Burns '87 talks with Upper School Counselor Will Honeycutt and Middle School Principal Scotty Jones about this question and other questions that it spawns: how to set limits, how to have difficult conversations, how to “enter into their gaming world,” and how to find moderation and balance.

Episode 20: “Listen Eloquently:” A Conversation With Jon Meacham About the Legacy of Senator Howard Baker and Lessons Our Nation Can Learn From Him Today

Pulitzer Prize winning presidential historian Jon Meacham '87 joins McCallie Head of School Lee Burns '87 and McCallie AP History Teacher Duke Richey '86, holder of the Sen. Howard Baker Chair '43 of American History, as they discuss the life of Sen. Baker. Baker graduated from McCallie School in 1943 and he rose to be one of the leaders of the United States Senate during the Watergate impeachment hearings of the 1970s. Meacham, Burns and Richey discuss Baker's role in the Watergate hearings and what he might think about the current impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.

Episode 19: Let’s Put A MoonPie on the Moon: Wholesome and Irreverent Branding in the Age of Social Media

Developing a whole new generation of eaters for MoonPie, a nostalgic snack treat from Chattanooga Bakery, is a challenge shared by Dooley Tombras ‘00, President of The Tombras Group and Tory Johnston ‘83, Vice President of Marketing for Chattanooga Bakery. In this podcast they share the storied success of the “Out of This World” marketing campaign that has received national attention with Steve Hearn ‘74, McCallie Vice President for Advancement. Wacky and weird social media, as well as no-permission-needed pop culture sponsorships and memes, have resulted in record-breaking sales for MoonPies and national recognition for The Tombras Group’s branding approach. Dooley and Tory reflect upon the success factors they gained from McCallie as well as the immediate trust in their working relationship born from their common McCallie bond and values. Anyone interested in creating more customer engagement, learning relevant social media strategies, or getting an inside look at a favorite snack treat will enjoy this podcast.

Episode 18: Christmas Memories: Lew Cisto and James Harr '92 on the 35th anniversary of Candlelight

James Harr '92, McCallie's director of choral programs, talks with former McCallie Music Department Chair Lew Cisto about Candlelight — McCallie's musical celebration of Christmas and the holiday season. McCallie will be celebrating 35 years of Candlelight in 2019 with performances December 6 and 7 in the McCallie Chapel. Lew and James discuss the origins of Candlelight and how it helped spark the growth of the McCallie music program over the next three decades.

Episode 17: Protecting the Scenic City: Senior Matthew Merritt talks with Allen McCallie '73 and Rick Montague '64 about Chattanooga's environmental history

Matthew Merritt is a senior boarding student and a member of the Class of 2020, and he is passionate about history and environmental issues. Listen in as Matthew hosts a conversation about Chattanooga's industrial history and efforts to clean up in recent years with alumni Allen McCallie '73 and Rick Montague '64, board members with the Southern Environmental Law Center. 

Episode 16: Rethinking education: Hardy Farrow '09 and Ricky Thomas and success through learning

After earning his degree from George Washington University and working as a teacher for Teach for America, Hardy Farrow, a member of the class of 2009, founded the Let’s Innovate through Education program in Memphis. LITE helps Memphis-area minority and low-income students identify their skills and improve their city through entrepreneurial opportunities. Hardy’s work with LITE resulted in his being named to the Forbes magazine 30 Under 30 list in 2017. In this episode, Hardy speaks with Ricky Thomas, McCallie’s Dean of Community and Brotherhood, as they discuss what it takes to help students from all backgrounds learn and succeed.

Episode 15: Making Music: Sam Sims '80 and his career in the music industry

Sam Sims was a day student at McCallie and a member of the Class of 1980. He began performing music at McCallie and as a student at Morehouse College before making the move to build a career in music. Sam has performed for over 20 years with major artists such as Mariah Carey, Michael Jackson, Justin Timberlake, the Backstreet Boys, Janet Jackson, Boney James, George Duke and many more. In this episode, Sam and McCallie Director or Instrumental Music Brent Alverson discuss what it takes to build a career in music as well as Sam’s memories of making music at McCallie and throughout his career.

Episode 14: Rivalry Week — Patrick Sholl '04 and John Brock '09 on McCallie football's 11-year run of dominance in the McCallie-Baylor game

Patrick Sholl, member of the Class of 2004, and John Brock, member of the class of 2009 were both part of the Blue Tornado’s epic 11-game winning streak over Baylor, and they will share their memories of that amazing run of success playing for coach Ralph Potter in a conversation with Mark Wiedmer, member of the Class of 1976 and a sports columnist for the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Episode 13: Rivalry Week — John Green '84, Peter Hunt '84 and Greg McGuire '84 recall the legendary 1983 football season

Three members of the Class of 1984, John Green, Peter Hunt and Greg McGuire recall one of best Blue Tornado teams ever to take the field for legendary coach Pete Potter, in a fun conversation with Mark Wiedmer, member of the Class of 1976 and a sports columnist for the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Episode 12: Rivalry Week—Mark Brock '79, Ellis Gardner '79 and George Robinson '79 share memories of Blue Tornado football

The McCallie-Baylor football game is a rivalry with more than a century of history and the highlight of Reunion weekend each fall.

In this episode we feature alumni Mark Brock, Ellis Gardner and George Robinson, three former football players from the Class of 1979 as they share their memories of Blue Tornado football and stories from this big rivalry.

Mark Wiedmer, member of the Class of 1976 and a sports columnist for the Chattanooga Times Free Press, leads this conversation as these men recall the fun, tradition and lessons learned playing football on the Ridge.

Episode 11: "I Am Amazed"

This episode of Stories from the Ridge features a special conversation between Dean of Faculty and Curriculum Sumner McCallie, and his uncle, former headmaster Spencer McCallie III '55. The former headmaster reflects on his time on the Ridge from his youth through to his time as headmaster. 

Episode 10: "Here's to Good Reading" 

Join McCallie's Dean of Faculty and Curriculum Sumner McCallie and Librarian Margaret Wadley as they discuss McCallie's school-wide summer reading books for 2019! The Upper School is reading “Educated: a Memoir” by Tara Westover, and the Middle School is reading “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind” by William Kamkwamba.

Episode 9: Music Brings People Together

In this episode, Jesse Felker, a newly-minted alum from the Class of 2019, talks with Middle School Principal Scotty Jones about the power of music and the ways it builds connections between people. Felker is an accomplished flautist and Jones is an accomplished saxophonist.

Episode 8: "Atticus Finch: The Biography"

McCallie alumnus Joseph Crespino '90 is a noted author and historian who is on the faculty of Emory University in Atlanta. In this episode, he sits down with longtime Middle School English teacher Bill Jamieson to discuss the influence of "To Kill A Mockingbird" on his own life and on society as a whole, as well as his own book, "Atticus Finch: The Biography."

Episode 7: ...And with the Dunk, It's Jim Suddath?!

McCallie's own Caldwell Chair of Christian Ethics, Jim Suddath, talks with Senior (and student broadcaster) Patrick Warren about his time playing basketball at Duke University. Jim played (and scored in) a Final Four and a Championship game, and was part of Coach K's first team at Duke. Get in the March Madness spirit by listening to Jim and Patrick's conversation - complete with some NCAA Tournament predictions! 

Episode 6: College Admission Truth, Myths and Advice

Join McCallie Director of College Counseling Jeff Kurtzman as he talks with Georgia Tech Director of Undergraduate Admission (and former McCallie Admissions team member) Rick Clark. Together, they'll talk about how to successfully navigate college admissions - sharing some truths and debunking some myths.  

Episode 5: Empathy and Teenage Boys

In this episode, Tory Kemp, the executive director of the National Center for the Development of Boys, talks with NCDB board member Alison Lebovitz about the role of empathy in the lives of teenage boys.

Learn about about the NCDB at

Episode 4: The Battle of Missionary Ridge

There may be no school in America with a location like McCallie's - directly on the site of one of the Civil War's most famous battles. McCallie Assistant Headmaster Kenny Sholl and Research Coordinator Patrice Glass explore the Battle of Missionary Ridge and how it still speaks to McCallie men today.

Episode 3: The Way to Wellness

In a pressure-packed world, the work of helping boys find wellness is more complicated than ever. In this episode, McCallie Upper School Chaplain Josh Dietrick talks with Director of Counseling Joel Coffman about the ways that McCallie's counseling team works to help boys find wellness in the midst of their hectic lives.

Episode 2: Character Is Destiny - Men of Honor

In this episode, McCallie's Dean of Faculty and Curriculum Sumner McCallie speaks with the Sen. Howard H. Baker Chair of American History, Dr. Duke Richey '86. They discuss teaching history through examining character, using 1917 McCallie alumnus Ralph McGill as an example. Hear from Dr. Richey about teaching AP US History at McCallie. Many thanks to the Landon Lecture Series at Kansas State University for the use of the recording of Ralph McGill from the 1967 lecture he gave as part of the series. For more information about the Landon Lecture Series, please visit

Episode 1: "An Intellectual Foundation"

We kick off the podcast with a conversation between McCallie Head of School Lee Burns '87 and Pulitzer Prize-winning author and historian Jon Meacham '87.