Third Grade Teachers

 Email icon

Mr. Dale Ploen is a third grade teacher with 17 years of teaching experience. After graduating from UT Knoxville in 2005, he began his career in Knox County at the Middle School level. He has been teaching at the Elementary level since 2006 in both Williamson and Maury Counties.

When not working, Mr. Ploen enjoys golfing, coaching his kids’ soccer teams, taking walks in the park, and wandering through the zoo. His wife Christy is also a teacher. Together they have two kids His son dean is a horn player in the IHS Marching Band, his daughter Evangeline is beginning to learn the violin, and Lucky Bashful is the fluffy white puppy (Bichon Frise) that goes everywhere we go.

Professionally, Mr. Ploen has been grade level chair, PBL teacher leader, member of the school leadership team, school webmaster, golf coach, and homework helper. In 2016 he completed his MBA in Information Technology and in 2005 he earned his Masters in Education with a focus in Teacher Education. However, he considers his best accomplishment to be earning his Eagle Scout award in 1997 with Troop 310 in Torrance, California. 


 Email icon

Jessica Riffe began her teaching career in Gibson County Special School District where she taught PreK, Third Grade, and middle school math. She also taught sixth grade math in Williamson County before becoming a Battle Creek Cub.   

Mrs. Riffe graduated from The University of Tennessee at Martin in 2006 with her Bachelor of Science in Education.  She is also highly qualified in Early Childhood Education.  

Mrs. Riffe lives in Columbia, TN with her husband Shawn.  Together they have three adult children, two sons-in-law and three amazing grandsons.



MD   Email icon

Melissa Thompson is a Wisconsin native. She graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in 2017. She taught 5th grade in Milwaukee before making the move down to Tennessee where she taught literacy interventions to K-4 students in Metro Schools. She is very excited to join the 3rd grade team at Battle Creek Elementary School and to build meaningful relationships with students and families!


Ms. Thompson currently lives in Spring Hill with her husband. She has a passion for all things literacy and in her free time, enjoys reading, traveling, and spending time with family and friends. 




Gunter Email icon

Erica Gunter is a third-grade teacher here at Battle Creek Elementary. She has previously taught third grade for three years in MNPS. She student taught in both Williamson County and MNPS in a fifth and first grade class. Before that, she worked in Williamson County as a special education teacher assistant for five years. 

She received her bachelor’s degree in food and nutrition from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in 2009. While working as a special education teacher assistant, she went back to school to get her teaching license, while also earning her master’s degree in education from Lipscomb University in 2016. 

Erica is originally from middle Tennessee, raised in the Nolensville/Brentwood area. She has been married for 4 years, has a one-year-old son, and one very energetic dog! She is excited to be here at Battle Creek and to help build a strong sense of community within her class and the school!