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Christina Badenchini

Learning Specialist | K-6th

Hi! I am Christina Badenchini and I am a Learning Specialist in the LEAP program. I love teaching and helping students succeed. The Lord is my strength! I am thankful every day that He has given me to make a difference in the lives of students.

This will be my 8th year serving the Lord as part of the GRACE family. My favorite verse is Ephesians 3:20: "Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us…" Our God is an awesome God!!

Email: CBadenchini@GRACEChristian.net

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J.B. Baker

Chairman | GRACE Board of Trustees

JB Baker is a Raleigh native who attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. While in college, he enjoyed singing with the UNC Clef Hangers and continues to fulfill his love for music by serving on the worship team at Hope Community Church. He graduated from UNC with a Bachelors in Psychology and upon graduation joined IBM's Software Group. JB served in numerous software engineering management and upper leadership roles over his 17 years with IBM. In August of 2016, JB joined UnitedHealth Group as the Director of Software Engineering for Optum, UHG's health information and technology services company.

JB and his wife, Courtney, met in Chapel Hill and have been married for 17 years. They have 3 children at GRACE spanning both campuses - Keenan, Campbell, and Hudson - and have been part of the GRACE community for nine years. Since joining the GRACE Board of Trustees in 2012, JB has served in various roles during his tenure, including membership on the Strategic Planning Committee, the Chair of the Head of School Search Committee, and Vice Chairman.

When JB is not pursuing his woodworking hobby, he most enjoys spending time with his family and church small group, while also supporting various local charities, among them the Brown Bag Ministry, Pancreatic Cancer Awareness, and the Children's Home Society of North Carolina. Having attended a local Christian primary school himself, JB has a driving passion for Christian education and supporting the mission and vision of GRACE Christian School in both the local and surrounding communities.

Contact J.B. Baker at JBaker@GRACEChristian.net

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Michele Bandy

Events Coordinator | GRACE

Hi, my name is Michele Bandy and it's a privilege to be serving GRACE as events coordinator and to be a part of this loving community since 2002.  In addition, I've had the honor of working as the receptionist, varsity cheerleading coach, Christmas store co-coordinator, prom committee and room parent throughout the years.

I'm originally from the Los Angeles area, but grew up in Washington on a small farm where the combination gave me a well rounded life experience. I graduated from Washington State University with a Bachelor of Arts in apparel, merchandising and textiles with a minor in business administration and have prior experience in the wedding planning industry. During college, I met my husband, Rick, with whom I am now celebrating 25 years of marriage. We've been in the Raleigh area since 1995 and are proud to call North Carolina our home.

Our daughter, Taylor, is a GRACE Alumni and a recent graduate of College of Charleston and our son, David, is currently a junior at GRACE.  In my spare time, I enjoy entertaining, decorating, traveling, attending sporting events, snow skiing, and spending time with family and friends.

Email: MBandy@GRACEChristian.net

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Crystal Barker

Math, Science | 5th

Hello! My name is Crystal Barker. This is my 14th year teaching, and I am very excited to start my third year at GRACE.  I love the Christ-centered atmosphere here at GRACE Christian School.  I have the privilege of teaching math and science as we explore and engage in God’s amazing creation.  It is a blessing to share God’s Word daily with the 5th grade students as they prepare to use their gifts and abilities to follow God’s plan for their lives. I am thankful for the loving prayers and support of the parents, faculty, and staff here at GRACE which bonds us together in Christ.

Email: CBarker@GRACEChristian.net

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Debra Barkett

Bible, Creative Writing | 7th-12th

I have been teaching at GRACE for over 10 years, and I love serving in this ministry. I just made a recent move to Holly Springs, but have been in this area for over twenty years. I was born and raised in Miami, Florida, and have lived in Springfield, Missouri; St. Louis, Missouri; Indiana (near Chicago); north Florida and south Georgia.

I have over twenty years of teaching experience, in addition to home-schooling and working in church and youth ministries for many years. My Bachelor's Degree in Secondary Education came from Hyles-Anderson College in Indiana, with minors in business, home economics, psychology, and Bible. I also obtained a Master's Degree in Education and English and have earned my lifetime professional accreditation certificate with ACSI.

I have two adult sons, Nathan, who is an artist and mechanic, and Ben, who is a talented salesman and works in Development for my non-profit organization, Hope Connection International, which I founded several years ago. Hope Connection empowers survivors and families of abuse and addiction by providing resources and offering free support groups, classes, and sponsorships with tailored solutions, along with supportive, long-term housing. My church home is Hope Community Church, where I have been active for over 10 years. My other companions are two BIG Rhodesian Ridgeback dogs: Khodjo, who weighs around 110 pounds and Cody, who weighs about 75 pounds. My passion is to impact our GRACE students to serve God and find their purpose through leading them by example in this endeavor. I am honored to be part of the GRACE family.

Email: DBarkett@GRACEChristian.net

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Penny Beeler

Hot Lunch | Crossroads Campus

It is a privilege and an honor to be returning to GRACE for my 13th year. I enjoy working here because of the loving and caring environment. One of my favorite aspects of this job is seeing the students grow and change with each passing year. It is also a lot of fun to work with the many parent volunteers who come in and help out with our program. In addition, I get to see our students during a "fun time" of their day-LUNCH!!!!!

I have a background with food service, and my husband I were former franchisee owners of three Jimmy Johns Sandwich Shops. In addition, I hold a current Serv Safe certificate through Wake County. GRACE has been my "home away from home," and I really enjoy being here.

I have been blessed with a wonderful family. My husband David and I have been married for 28 years, and we have two terrific kids. Our son Alex graduated from GRACE in 2011 and graduated last year from UNC-Charlotte.  Our daughter Ashtyn graduated from GRACE in 2013, and is entering her senior year at Meredith College. My hobbies include cooking, reading, travel, and exercise.

I look forward to another year here at GRACE, and all that God has in store for me.

Email: PBeeler@GRACEChristian.net

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Rion Bell

Bible, History | 6th

My name is Rion Bell and I am so thankful to be part of the GRACE Christian School family for my fourth year. I grew up on the North Carolina Outer Banks and attended Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest for my undergraduate and graduate degrees. I received my Bachelors in Biblical Studies with an emphasis on Philosophy and History, as well as my Master of Divinity in Christian Apologetics. My wife Kristen and I also met while we were attending college.

I love discussing and defending the truth of God's Word as well as seeing God work in the hearts of young people. I taught several classes with Southeastern Seminary on Apologetics and Philosophy. I have also been blessed to work with teens and youth for the last 13 years. I recently served for several years as Youth Pastor at Treasuring Christ Church in downtown Raleigh.

My wife and I love traveling and spending time with our beautiful two year old daughter Evangeline.

Email: RBell@GRACEChristian.net

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Mark Bianchi

Computer Science | 7-12th

Greetings! I am Mark Bianchi and I joined GRACE on June 1st, 2016. I am working on the IT team as a Computer Science teacher along with learning and supporting the IT infrastructure. Coming from many years in the secular workforce I am joyful that God has brought me here to the GRACE Christian Family.

I was born in Schenectady, New York and raised in a small town called Rotterdam, New York. After attending Hudson Valley Community College, in Troy, New York, where my two year degree in electrical technology was completed, a  position was offered to me at IBM Poughkeepsie, New York as a test technician. A few years later I went back to school part time. Marist College in Poughkeepsie was close to work for me and it was there I attained a bachelor’s degree in computer science.

After a few years at IBM Poughkeepsie I transferred to IBM East Fishkill, New York, because a project I was working on for Bausch and Lomb Corporation was transferred there. When the project was completed I moved over as a software engineer to IBM’s semi-conductor fabrication plant. In 2004 I transferred to IBM RTP as a test automation team lead. The team I was responsible for handled the test automation for IBM’s System X servers.

During my time in New York I was involved in youth ministries as my two boys grew up. My wife Sissy and I worked in the youth ministries at Clove Valley Christian and Missionary Alliance Church and Fishkill Baptist Church. Our two boys are now attending college. One is at UNC Chapel Hill and the other graduated from Wake Technical Community College, May 2016, and plans to attend East Carolina University in Fall 2017.

In 2010 I signed up for IBM’s Transition To Teaching program which meant I was to leave IBM after three years due to a stipend they were offering. I enrolled in the NCTEACH program offered by NC State and completed all the course requirements to teach middle school math.

In January 2014 IBM announced the sale of System X group to Lenovo Corporation and October 1st 2014 was day one at Lenovo. Due to the this transition I missed the opportunity to take the Praxis exam. I was then told by the NCTEACH director at NC State that I had timed out in the NCTEACH program.

In December 2014 employees in my category were offered to leave Lenovo Corporation with a package so through prayer I took the package and God has brought me here to GRACE.

Attending Colonial Baptist Church in Cary, N.C. has been a pleasure for our family. I was involved with the youth ministries at Colonial throughout the years my boys grew up and graduated.

My goal is to share all that I have gained from working in the computer industry to the students here at GRACE and to work along side the staff here at GRACE.

1 Samuel 12:24 NIV But be sure to fear the LORD and serve him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things he has done for you.

Email: MBianchi@GRACEChristian.net

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Courtney Billings

Assistant | Kindergarten

My name is Courtney Billings and I am so excited to be a part of the GRACE family.  We joined the GRACE community in 2009 when my oldest daughter started 1st grade.  I have enjoyed serving as a room mom and volunteering in the classrooms for my daughters’ classes during these past years at GRACE.

I attended Catawba College in Salisbury, NC and earned my BA in Business Administration.  After graduation, I attended NC State and received my Masters in Accounting.  As a CPA, I started by working with a large public accounting firm and after my oldest daughter was born, I started my own CPA firm so that I could work from home and spend each day with my girls.  When my youngest was ready to start kindergarten, I think that I was just as excited as she was to be at GRACE everyday (and that is no easy match)!

Catawba College is even more special to me since this is where I met my husband, Wayne.  We have been married for 15 years and our time together is only made sweeter by the fun chaos that comes with the blessing of four girls.  Our daughters, Hannah (8th grade), Payton (6th grade), Taylor (3rd grade), and Avery (1st grade) will be attending GRACE this year and can’t imagine being anywhere else!  Our family attends Faith Community Church in Garner.  I look forward to getting to know each of my new kindergarten friends and their families!

Email: CBillings@GRACEChristian.net

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Patrick Bizieff

History | 7th-12th

My name is Patrick Bizieff, and I am excited to return to GRACE Christian School this year to teach 7th and 10th grade World History as well as 12th grade Economics, Law, and Politics.

I graduated from North Carolina State University with a degree in History. Currently, I am continuing my education at NCSU by working on my Masters in History where I am focusing on the history of American foreign policy in Iran.

This is my third year teaching at GRACE and I am looking forward to discussing modern political and historical events with your student and how we as Christians should interpret the events around us from a biblical perspective.

Email: PBizieff@GRACEChristian.net

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Courtnae Blount

Math, Science | 6th

My name is Courtnae Blount and I am very excited to be a part of the GRACE Christian Family! I will be teaching 6th grade math and science. My undergraduate work was completed at UNC-Wilmington and I did my graduate work at UNC-Greensboro. I have taught public school in Moore and Richmond counties and most recently at another private school in Wake County.

I have a wonderful husband, three boys, and labradoodle named Sunny! I enjoy reading, traveling, spending time with family and friends, and going to UNC basketball and football games.

I cannot wait to see God work in the lives of our children! What a privilege and honor it is to watch and help our children grow academically and spiritually!

Email: CBlount@GRACEChristian.net

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Jenny Bomgardner

Math, Science | 7th-12th

My name is Jenny Bomgardner and I teach chemistry, AP Chemistry and AP Physics at GRACE. I grew up in Raleigh, graduating from Leesville Road High School in 2002 and NCSU in 2006 with a B.S. in Physics and a minor in Japanese. I worked for Wachovia Mortgage Corporation for two years before God called me to teaching here at GRACE. Since then, I have graduated from Liberty with a Master of Arts in Teaching. I have also acquired standard teaching licenses for secondary math and science from the states of North Carolina and Virgina, as well as from ACSI.

I live in north Raleigh with my husband Matt, our dog Snickers and our guinea pig Maggie. We have no children as of yet, but you never know what God has planned! Teaching inquiry-based science is my passion and I look forward to teaching at GRACE for many years to come!

Email: JBomgardner@GRACEChristian.net

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Jonah Bookman

History, Science | 7th-12th

My name is Jonah Bookman, and I am so excited to return to GRACE Christian School this year. I grew up in Southern California, where I graduated from The Master’s College in 2009. I have taught middle school science and history for the past seven years, and I relish the chance to reflect Christ’s love in the classroom while instilling in young people a love for learning and a desire to seek the truth.

Email: JBookman@GRACEChristian.net

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Merrily Boyd

Art | TK-6th

My name is Merrily Boyd, and I am excited to be back for another year of teaching K-6 art at GRACE!

I grew up in Raleigh and graduated in 2004 from Meredith College with a BA in Studio Art and Art History. I also spent a semester studying at the Burren College of Art in County Clare, Ireland. I worked as a gallery assistant and also as a freelance artist (focusing on painting and illustration) before finding my way to the teaching field, which I truly love!  God has blessed me greatly by guiding me to GRACE Christian School. I joined GRACE in 2008 and have enjoyed seeing our school grow in so many ways! In 2012 I completed my Masters in Elementary Education at NCSU and completed my ACSI certification, and I hope to be teaching art for many more years.  Outside of school, I enjoy spending time with my husband Michael and our sweet little boy, Gibson. 
In kindergarten through fifth grades, art is about exploration. I encourage my students to be creative, to discover the talents God has given them, and to have fun while learning! We learn about the art elements and principles as well as many well-known artists, and many of our projects correspond to the curriculum units studied in students' classrooms during the year. In sixth grade art, students work to improve their skills in both 2D and 3D media. I am proud to hang student artwork in the hallways of GRACE and to display examples of students' art at community events such as the North Carolina State Fair, the ACSI Art Festival, and the Barnes and Noble Book Fair, to name a few.

I look forward to another great year of art class!

Email: MBoyd@GRACEChristian.net

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Eric Bradley

Head of School | GRACE

Eric Bradley comes to GRACE Christian School after serving nineteen years in Christian education.

Mr. Bradley graduated from Alan C. Pope High School in Marietta, Georgia, in 1991. He received his bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Georgia in 1995. After serving two years as a Graduate Assistant at the University of Southern Mississippi, where he received a master’s degree in History, Mr. Bradley accepted a teaching position at Charlotte Christian School (CCS) in North Carolina. Mr. Bradley also earned a master's degree in Educational Leadership from Regent University in Virginia and an Educational Specialist degree from Kennesaw State University in Georgia.

Mr. Bradley served in a variety of roles over the course of his nine years at CCS. He taught AP US History, AP European History, World History, Modern US History, and the Civil War. He served as a national grader for the AP US History exam for three years. As Spiritual Life Director, he created a program that was nationally recognized by the ACSI as a program of excellence. While serving as Assistant Principal, he served as part of the executive leadership team and was largely responsible for teacher evaluations. He also served as a Bible-study leader and basketball coach.

In 2006, Mr. Bradley accepted the position of high school principal at Mount Paran Christian School (MPCS) in Kennesaw, Georgia. At MPCS, he led the growth of the academic program, building the AP offerings from four to eighteen, while also participating in the creation of a directed studies program for students with learning differences. Enrollment in the high school nearly doubled under his leadership. The school also experienced unprecedented growth in college acceptances. He continued to teach, adding British Literature and Senior Seminar to his classroom experiences. Partnering with a fellow teacher and parent, he also led a Bible study for a group of boys that began during their fifth grade year and continued through their seventh grade year.

Eric and his wife, Amy, have been married for sixteen years and have three children – Amelia (13), Thomas (9), and Audrey (7). Amy is the National Director of Secondary School Programs for YouScience, an online career guidance program for high school and college students. Avid sports fans, the Bradleys enjoy cheering on the Georgia Bulldogs, Florida State Seminoles, and Atlanta Braves. Mr. Bradley cites Dietrich Bonhoeffer, C.S. Lewis, Henri Nouwen, Erik Larson, and Malcolm Gladwell as his favorite authors.

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Ashley Brantley

Assistant | 4th

My name is Ashley Brantley and I'm thrilled to be part of the GRACE family. Over the past 7 years I have been blessed with many opportunities at GRACE which include cheerleading coach, room mom, substitute teacher, and lunch room assistant. This year I am thrilled to once again be a part of the 4th grade team as the instructional assistant.

I attended the University of South Carolina where I met my husband, Rick. This year we will have been married 26 years and we have 4 children. Our oldest, Maddi, is a graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill and teaches 1st grade in Chapel Hill. Noble (12th grade), Claire (10th grade), and Gabe (4th grade) all attend GRACE and have been very active in art, theater, football, cheerleading, and student council. In 2012, my husband retired from the Navy after 21 years of service as a Navy pilot and recruiter. His career took us all over the country, but we fell in love with the Raleigh area and GRACE Christian School. God answered our prayers when Rick found a civilian job locally after retiring. We are very thankful to be here surrounded by our GRACE family. 

 

Email: ABrantley@GRACEChristian.net

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Kyle Brown

Vice-Chairman | GRACE Board of Trustees

I’ve been blessed to have both my girls attend GRACE Christian School from K thru 12th grade. Abby and Hannah are both currently enrolled at NC State, Abby studying Soil Science and Crop Production and Hannah studying Horticulture. GRACE provided an amazing educational, spiritual and ethics foundation for our girls and we are thankful for the teachers, staff and administration for being committed to the mission of the school.

My wife, Maggie, and I were High school sweethearts and we continue to grow in our relationship with Jesus Christ and each other. We’ve both enjoyed the loving GRACE community that exists through fine arts, athletics, and volunteer experiences. We attend Providence Baptist Church where we are both involved in a teaching ministry.

I’ve served on the GRACE Board for the past six years, the last two years while my girls were enrolled at NC State. During my time with GRACE, the school has grown from mid 300s to over 760 kids. As the student body has grown, the faculty, staff, facilities and budgets have also grown and I’m thankful for the way God has led GRACE through the years trust He will continue to bless His ministry at GRACE.

Contact Kyle Brown at KBrown@GRACEChristian.net

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Michael Bryant

Facilities Staff | GRACE

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Mandy Church

Teacher | Kindergarten

My name is Mandy Church, and I am excited to be a part of the Kindergarten team. Over the past nine years, I have had many roles at GRACE which have included being a room mom, lunch volunteer, serving on the Communications Committee for PTF and an "all over the place" substitute.

I grew up in the Raleigh area where I graduated from Apex Senior High School. I went on to earn a BA in elementary education from High Point University. Following college, I taught at Temple Baptist Day School in Raleigh before moving on to teach in the Wake County Public School System.

God has blessed me greatly with a beautiful family which includes my husband Chad and our two children, Molly and Carter who attend GRACE. We are members of First United Methodist Church in Cary - the same church I have attended my whole life!

I pray for God's blessings as we begin a new year together at GRACE!

Email: MaChurch@GRACEChristian.net

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Lisa Ciancarelli

Hot Lunch | 7th-12th Campus

Hi, my name is Lisa Ciancarelli, and I have the honor of working along side of Penny Beeler at our Crossroads Campus hot lunch. I feel extremely blessed to be part of such an amazing faculty and staff and to have the privilege of interacting with our teenage students on a daily basis.

I grew up in Rochester, NY, where I met my husband, Matt, soon after graduating college. After marrying Matt, we moved to Camp Lejeune, NC, where my husband served as a United States Marine. Prior to having children, I worked in the travel industry as a travel consultant, doing leisure, corporate and government travel.

My family has been part of the GRACE family for 12 years now.  I have two children in high school and one in middle school. I do not use the term “GRACE family” lightly. We are truly a family here and I am blessed to be part of it.

I look forward to this upcoming year and cannot wait to see what God has in store for this school.

Email: LCiancarelli@GRACEChristian.net

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Willa Bea Coates

Student Information Manager | GRACE

Willa Bea Coates has been a part of the GRACE family since 1997 when her daughter started GRACE as a pre-school student. Today she is the Student Information Manager and oversees the application process for new families as well as assisting GRACE seniors by interfacing with their prospective colleges.

Email: WCoates@GRACEChristian.net

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Cathy Cole

Communications & Marketing | GRACE

My name is Cathy Cole and I am the Communications Director for GRACE. I have the honor of introducing prospective families to GRACE via our open house information sessions and sharing with them the many things that make our school great. Part of my job is to compile our weekly newsletter, #WhatsUpAtGRACE and work with others in the school to promote school events. I also coordinate our print and digital advertising campaigns, help monitor our social media accounts and maintain the school website. I have been a GRACE parent since August 2007 and have been on staff since January 2012.

I received dual degrees from the University of Pennsylvania in Economics/Marketing (BS) and Political Science (BA). After teaching business skills to non-business managers with an executive education firm in Philadelphia for 11 years, I left corporate America to stay home with my children. My son attended GRACE for middle and high school, graduated with the class of 2014, and is on track to graduate from Luther College in 2018 with degrees in math and secondary education. My daughter graduated with the class of 2017 and attends the University of North Carolina at Charlotte with plans to pursue a degree in nursing. I have been married to my husband, Wesley since March 1992 and we have lived in Cary, NC since July 1993. Our cairn terrier, Jamma, completes our family.

Our family is active in our church, Colonial Baptist, where I served as a 2nd grade Sunday School teacher from 2001-2013 teaching my young students the truth as it relates to creation and evolution. From 2010-2017 I worked in our youth group and enjoyed leading small groups, being a summer camp counselor, and being a leader on a missions trip to Kenya in the summer of 2013. With both children out of the house, I look forward to the next ministry role that God will provide.

I did not become a Christian until age 25 and am thrilled to be working in a school where our students can hear the truth about Jesus Christ from the earliest possible age. It is a delight to work alongside such a talented group of staff and teachers who in addition to their subject matter expertise demonstrate the love and sufficiency of Christ to the students at GRACE.

Email: CCole@GRACEChristian.net

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Christi Colyer

Teacher | 4th

It is a joy to be part of the GRACE family and to fulfill the call on my life to teach!  I started at GRACE in October 2016 and am looking forward to my second full year teaching sweet 4th grade sleuths!  Before moving to North Carolina in 2015, I taught 5th grade sleuths for eight years at Immanuel Christian School in northern Virginia.  Since learning is all about investigating, asking questions, and exploring God's amazing creation, our classroom has a detective theme.  We have fun digging into God's holy word, North Carolina's history, rich literature pieces of various genres, and so much more.  I really enjoy using my creativity and inspiring life-long learners! 
I graduated from Messiah College in Grantham, Pennsylvania where I received my bachelor's in education (K-6) with a minor in psychology.  In addition to teaching and tutoring, I also teach BodyPump classes a couple times a week, am involved in college ministry, and enjoy spending time with family and friends.  My handsome husband, Jon, and I met in northern Virginia and got married on June 30, 2013.  We have 2 furry babies (sister kitties):  Turbo and Rex and are praying for children of our own.  We love to go on adventures bike riding, hiking, white water rafting, building things, and visiting family up north in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. 

Email: CColyer@GRACEChristian.net

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Louis Cuany

After Care | TK-6 Campus

Hi, my name is Louis Cuany. I have four brothers and growing up we were all home-schooled, so you can imagine it was pretty crazy around the house. I'm very active and enjoy any activity that is outside. I've done a good bit of traveling. Some places I've been to are India, Egypt, Costa Rica, Mexico, Hawaii, Greece, and France.

I am currently in my sophomore year at NC State studying criminology. I love being a part of the wolfpack. My hobbies include soccer, kayaking, cars, running, and Netflix.

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Olga Czekalski

After Care | 7-12th Campus

Hello, I'm Olga Czekalski, and I'm honored to be a part of the GRACE family. This is my third year in after care and sixth as a GRACE parent. Every day after school, I am blessed with the opportunity to talk to many of our students and get to know them and their unique gifts and personalities.

I am originally from Guatemala and moved to the United States just before high school. When I'm not working, I enjoy spending time with my two kids, husband and miniature Australian Shepherd puppy. I love to cook, read and listen to music.

God's hand is at work at GRACE. He is putting dreams in the hearts of students and preparing them for their destiny. I am very excited to see what God has planned for the future.

Email: OCzekalski@GRACEChristian.net

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Andrea Dajnowicz

After Care | TK-6th

My name is Andrea Dajnowicz. I was born and raised in Michigan. My husband Jon and I recently moved to North Carolina from Minnesota. I have always enjoyed working with children. I am grateful for the opportunity to work at GRACE Christian School this year. I look forward to getting to know each of you and your child/children.

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Gina DeBruhl

Assistant | 5th

My family and I moved to Cary in June of 2006.  I began working at GRACE in 2009 as a first grade Instructional Assistant.  After two years I moved up to fifth grade. I am an East Carolina University graduate (Go Pirates!!!) and lived in Greenville, NC for 17 years before our move. I have two daughters; Sophia in 9th grade at GRACE and Margaret, a freshman at East Carolina University.

Each day is a gift from God and what a blessing to spend part of that time helping others be successful.  I find joy and peace working with a team of strong believers, and a pleasure to assist in teaching our GRACE students.

I am a member of Apex United Methodist Church, where I am involved with the youth group leader and on the worship service team.

I am looking forward to another great school year!

Email: GDeBruhl@GRACEChristian.net

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Nathan Dewey

Bible, History | 9th-11th

My name is Nathan Dewey and I am excited to return for my fifth year at GRACE. I was born and raised in the Finger Lakes area of western New York state before heading to Philadelphia where I went to college at Cairn University. There I received a B.S. in Biblical Studies and a B.S. in Secondary Education, and discovered a passion for teaching.

I ended up returning to my high school alma mater for the next ten years and while back in New York I met and fell in love with my wife, Emily. We have been married for eight years and been blessed with four wonderful children.

Just over four years ago, we recognized several signals that God might be wanting us to consider a change. Following His lead led us to this amazing opportunity at GRACE where I am now entering my fifth year.

I get pretty excited about teaching Bible and history, analyzing culture, watching Syracuse play ACC basketball, spending time with my five favorite people, and influencing teenagers to make a difference in their world for Christ. I'm blessed to have the opportunity for all those things here at GRACE.

Email: NDewey@GRACEChristian.net

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Julianne Donoghue

Math | 7th-12th

My name is Julianne Donoghue and I am very excited to be joining the GRACE community this year. I grew up in Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina and then attended North Carolina State University. Go Pack! After graduating, I joined Teach For America and began teaching math at a high school in Charlotte, NC. I fell in love with teaching math and decided to stay in the classroom after my commitment with Teach For America.

In my free time, I enjoy spending time with family and friends and traveling to the beach on the weekends. I am excited that God has called me to return to the Raleigh area. One of my favorite verses is Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” I am excited for the opportunity to help students discover the plans that God has set out for them and to help them find their true calling in life.

Email: JDonoghue@GRACEChristian.net

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Diane Dupre

After Care Director | TK-6TH Campus

Hi, my name is Diane Dupre and I am blessed to be a member of the GRACE family for the past six years. I was born and raised in Rochester, New York, and my husband and I have lived in North Carolina for the past ten years. Previous to our move here, I was employed as an administrative assistant to the senior pastor at my church and for several years after that, by the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office in downtown Rochester.

We became acquainted with GRACE through attending Grandparents' Day every year. During that time we witnessed first-hand the love and wonderful education our grandchildren Matthew, Sophia and James are receiving at GRACE.

In addition to spending time with my family, I enjoy cooking, exploring local places of interest with my husband, Tom, studying the word of God and discussing politics and current events with whoever will listen!! Also, we have fun occasionally leading kids' worship at our church!

I consider it an honor and blessing to be entrusted with caring for your children during the hours after school, and I’m looking forward to the wonderful experiences the Lord has planned for the children He has so graciously placed in my care.

Email: DDupre@GRACEChristian.net

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Mark Edwards

Strategy Games | 6th

It is my great pleasure to introduce our students to modern board games. Most of us are familiar with board games such as Monopoly, CandyLand and Life. Generally, these games are not strategic, but simply require the player to move a number of spaces equal to the number on the spinner or dice rolled with few or no player choices. But what about games such as Settlers of Catan, Fresco, Memoir '44, Ark of the Covenant, and Ticket to Ride? Modern board games such as these give players multiple choices and encourage thinking and planning a strategy to win the game. My goal for this class is to encourage students to discover their God-given creativity, critical thinking, and decision-making skills through the exploration and design of board games.

Board games encourage face-to-face social interaction and are great for families and friends to enjoy each others company. I encourage you and your family to explore modern board games; please feel free to ask me for recommendations.

My wife, Lisa, and I have three sons. We have been a GRACE family since 2002 and attend Cornerstone Presbyterian Church in Cary.

Outside of school, I am self-employed as a statistical programmer for the pharmaceutical industry, and I have an MS in statistics from the University of Georgia. In addition to gaming with my family, other hobbies include reading westerns, disc golf, geocaching, building and flying model rockets, writing sacred music, singing shape-note tunes, and playing various instruments including the Appalachian mountain dulcimer.

Email: MEdwards@GRACEChristian.net

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Vivian Edwards

Business Manager | GRACE

I have had the pleasure of working here at GRACE since 1997. However, my experience with the school began in 1989 when my daughter was four years old. She graduated in 2004 and my three sons graduated in 2007. I am enjoying my time here at GRACE immensely. Working with fellow believers is a real blessing. The loving, family atmosphere of this school makes it a wonderful place to work and learn.

Email: VEdwards@GRACEChristian.net

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Hannah Eichhorst

Science | 7th-12th

Hello, my name is Hannah Eichhorst and I am thrilled to be returning to GRACE as both an alumna and teacher.
After graduating from GRACE Christian High School, I enrolled at UNC Wilmington, where I fully intended to become an elementary school teacher. However, God had other plans. During my freshman year I accidentally fell in love with Geology and a cute boy down the hall. In the few years that followed, I married my husband, adopted a puppy, and traveled across the country to earn my B.S. in Geology. We recently moved back to Raleigh where we are blessed to be surrounded by our family and friends. Coming back to GRACE feels like coming home, and I am honored to be part of this community.

As an Earth Science teacher, I hope to teach your 7th Grade and High School students how to be better scientists. More importantly, I pray that by studying the Lord's creation we may know Him better.

Psalm 95:3-5
"For the Lord is the great God, the great King above all gods. In his hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him. The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land."

Email: HEichhorst@GRACEChristian.net

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Daniel Fairchild

Bible | 8th, 10th

My name is Daniel Fairchild and I am so thankful to be returning for my second year at GRACE Christian School. I was a military brat growing up, but I call North Carolina home. I went to Palm Beach Atlantic University, where I received my Bachelor of Communication Studies with a minor in Ministry Leadership Studies. It was there that I felt a call on my life to help impact the youth for the Kingdom of God. I attended Campbell University Divinity School where I earned my Master of Divinity with an emphasis on Pastoral Care and Christian Education.

I met my wife, Meghan, during the last year of my seminary and we were married not long after I graduated. We are currently expecting a little girl any day now. My wife and I are so excited to welcome little Nellie into the world here soon!

Besides my passion for teaching the Bible, I have a love for sports; tennis in particular. I have been blessed to have been the head coach of a high school, varsity team for two seasons and I am excited to be taking on a new role as head coach for GRACE’s middle school team.

Email: DFairchild@GRACEChristian.net

 

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Pascale Rivard Fitts

LEAP Director, Dean of Students | GRACE

Bonjour! I was born and raised in the province of Québec, Canada. My family moved to the United States when I was 12 years old. My husband Greg and I were married in 1993. We have 2 children; our oldest daughter graduated from GRACE in 2016, our son will graduate in  2018. We are founding members of Trinity Park Church in Morrisville.

I received my B.A. from Auburn University with a double major in Spanish and Communications, along with a double minor in French and Business. I completed my M.Ed. in Special Education from Liberty University. The field of Special Education is my passion. I love education - pure and simple - and embrace diversity. My career as an educator spans over 20  years and includes secondary French at GRACE as well as preschool through elementary classes in other settings. I have been joyfully employed at GRACE since 2006. 

Along with my duties as the Director of our Special Education Program (LEAP), I am pleased to partner with James Jenkins as Dean of Students this year. I have worked with LEAP since its inception, enjoying incredible successes in our students. I consider it an honor to be a part of the GRACE community, both as a parent and a staff member. I cling to my life verse for inspiration in my daily work. ~"Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished". ~ Luke 1:45

Email: PFitts@GRACEChristian.net

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Katie Fowler

Learning Specialist | 7-12th

My name is Katie and I am so excited to start this year at GRACE! I am from Durham, North Carolina and attended the University of North Carolina at Wilmington where I obtained a Bachelors Degree in Special Education with a minor in Psychology, graduating with honors. I studied both adapted and general curriculum for Special Education and am certified in both areas. I began working on my Master’s at Gardner Webb University in Executive Leadership and School Administration, shortly after starting my teaching career.

I have worked in the school system as an autism specialist and a resource teacher. Post undergrad, I also obtained by certification as an Infant Toddler Family Therapist and began working closely with families that have newly diagnosed children with disabilities. My role was to provide therapy services to support families, teach coping strategies, provide resources and advocate for children and families. Being able to provide more personal therapeutic services gave me a inside look into the home life of my students. Special education is near and dear to my heart, both professionally and personally, as I have a family member with autism. I have been active in the special education community advocating for those with disabilities for many years volunteering and participating in organizations such as The Special Olympics of North Carolina and The Autism Society of North Carolina.

I live in Raleigh with my sweet golden retriever, Whaler. I attend The Summit Church and am in a women’s small group through my campus at Summit. I am hoping to start serving in the Children’s ministry, as well. In my free time, I love to go to the beach, or be around any body of water!I am so excited for this year and cannot wait to see God’s ministry and His plan unfold. I am eager to share my faith and love with my student’s and help guide them to be successful servant leaders for Christ!

Email: KFowler@GRACEChristian.net

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Kristin Foxworth-O’Brien

English | 9th-12th

A military brat and a pastor's kid, I grew up moving around and living in many different places. Most recently I am from southwest Georgia. I attended the University of Georgia, where I earned my bachelor's degree and teaching certification in English education and an ESOL endorsement. After college, I went to Japan with the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Programme. There I co-taught English as a second language to over 700 students at two different junior high schools in the city of Koriyama, Fukushima Prefecture for two years. While in Japan I had the opportunity to immerse myself in Japanese culture and experience a new way of life, as well as minister to people affected by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and subsequent tsunami and nuclear disaster. It was also in Japan that I met my husband, Daniel. After leaving Japan, I moved home to Americus, Georgia, where I taught American literature at the local public high school for two years before finally marrying my husband and moving to North Carolina to start a new adventure.

I currently live in Cary with my husband, Daniel and our cat, Canyon. We attend Fairview Baptist Church, where we help lead a life group for college and international students. In my spare time I enjoy crafting, singing, cooking, reading, and travel. I love teaching English at GRACE, and am so grateful for the privilege of working with the students here. It is my sincere hope that every student who walks into my classroom grows spiritually and gains the tools to enjoy their own adventure.

Email: KFoxworth-OBrien@GRACEChristian.net

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Jena Gallo

After Care | TK-6th

My name is Jena Gallo. I was born and raised on Long Island, NY. I moved to the Raleigh area over four years ago for college. I recently went back to school to pursue a degree in ministry. I’m currently enrolled online at Liberty University. Along with working at GRACE, I also spend time serving at Hope Community Church with their college ministry. I love working with children and I’m extremely thankful for the opportunity I have here at GRACE. I look forward to working with your children throughout the school year and getting to know each of you.

email: JGallo@GRACEChristian.net

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Carol Gehringer

Media Coordinator | K-6 Campus

I am excited to be starting my 10th year (2016-2017) at GRACE as the Librarian/Media Coordinator. I graduated from the University of Michigan with B.A. in English and M.I.L.S. in library science, and earned a NC teaching license and ACSI certification. I have 25+ years of experience in a variety of libraries in Michigan and North Carolina.

My husband is a computer science professor at NC State. We are the parents of 2 GRACE students: twin daughters in high school. Our son attends a nearby high school. Our family is active at our church, Cary Alliance, where I teach junior church.

I am an avid reader, and a book reviewer for upper elementary, young adult and adult books. You can read my reviews onhttp://worthy2read.wordpress.com. Reviewing books gives me the opportunity to get free copies for our school, saving us about $1000 in book expenses each year. Another bonus, I get to know some of the authors and get copies of their books before they are published!

More importantly, I like to encourage reading and learning in children of all ages. We have several daytime book clubs at GRACE to give our students more opportunities to read. I look forward to helping your children to discover the world of information, and to develop a lifetime love of learning.

Email: CGehringer@GRACEChristian.net

 

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Beth German

Resources Manager | GRACE

My family has been a part of the GRACE Christian School community since our twins started at GRACE in 2005. As all four of our children became school-aged and students of GRACE, I have served the community as a parent, as a member of the PTF and finally as the secretary of the GRACE Board of Trustees. In 2014, I joined the staff at GRACE in the Finance Department and in 2015 I moved into the position of Resources Manager. The common saying is that I manage our pens, pencils, paper, printers, processes, and personnel (files)! In addition, I manage the internal GRACE calendar but we cannot seem to come up with a "P" word for that!

I have been an NC resident my entire life, having grown up in the north-eastern part of the state. After receiving my BS in Accounting from Meredith College I completed my Masters in Accounting at UNC-Chapel Hill. I have worked with large CPA firms, large corporations, and small CPA firms prior to staying at home with our four children while they were young. My husband and I are very thankful that God led us to find GRACE for our children's education.   We are the proud parents of two recent GRACE graduates, a Junior and an 8th Grader. It has been an honor to serve the Lord here with the incredible, godly faculty and staff and to see the changes and growth that GRACE has experienced since we joined the community in 2005.

Email: BGerman@GRACEChristian.net

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Mandy Gill

Principal | Crossroads Campus

My family and I moved to Cary in July 2007 from LA where I was teaching in a Christian school for 11 years. We were born and raised in South Africa and are now US citizens. Our heart is for reaching the lost. We are part of a church plant here in NC. We enjoy coming alongside and being a support team for the lead couple.

My husband loves construction and runs a business remodeling bathrooms. He also enjoys real estate and invests here in North Carolina. My son Joshua graduated from UNC Chapel Hill with a degree in Political Science, he later decided to go into medicine and is studying further at NCSU. He works on the ambulances in Wake county and really enjoys helping people! My daughter Vickilyn graduated from UNC Wilmington with a Social Work degree. She has been living in California but is in the process of moving back to Raleigh. My daughter Michelle graduated from NCSU with a degree in Tourism Management. Her passion is working with young people and helping them find their calling.

Although I am in administration now, I enjoy teaching Science and Math at any level. My motivation is to see each student reach their potential in all areas of their lives and to continually build our school into a school of excellence. What a privilege to see students reaching new heights and new challenges.

I received my Masters degree in Administration and Supervision from Liberty University and really enjoy using the skills I learned from this course. GRACE is a wonderful place for me to use this knowledge, especially during accreditation, as we lead our school through this process.

Email: MGill@GRACEChristian.net

 

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Nick Giuggio

Entrepreneurship | 9th-12th

I am a father of four GRACE students. I am a Christian, devoted husband, experienced entrepreneur and novice instructor. I have been building leadership skills consciously and unconsciously since I launched my first business in 1992.  I taught an Entrepreneurship elective at GRACE in 2013, 2014. My wife Samantha and I own a few businesses as well as work in real estate. We both practice general brokerage while Samantha is the VP of operations for a fast growing national firm and I own and operate a local restaurant.

I was born, raised and lived for 41 years in Western Massachusetts. When we landed in North Carolina in 2007 we began attending a small Baptist church where I was fortunate enough to befriend the Pastor. In the time since, I have seen my relationship with Christ deepen, grow and take a prominent role in my life and the lives of my family. The GRACE community and Hope Community Church have played a big role in our families spiritual growth.  God’s blessings run throughout our life’s’ story and He continues to bless us today. My favorite Bible verse is “be still and know that I am God” Psalms 46:10 . We as humans have a tendency toward being distracted by all the temporal worries of the world and this verse brings everything sharply back into perspective, the verse is humbling and comforting. He tells us…Stop Worrying, I’m in control and I love you.

I am excited about teaching business leadership at GRACE. Understanding what leadership is and becoming intentional about applying these principles is something I wish I understood when I was a teenager.

Email: NGiuggio@GRACEChristian.net

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Jennifer Goeking

Teacher | 2nd

Hi! My name is Jen Goeking. I grew up in Raleigh and am definitely a North Carolina girl! Go Tarheels! I attended Wheaton College in Illinois for my undergraduate degree in elementary education, and UNC Wilmington for my masters degree in teaching. This is my 13th year of teaching, and I have been so blessed each year by the students and families that the Lord has placed in my classroom. I am so thankful for this amazing opportunity to teach at GRACE!!!

I am passionate about the Lord and proclaiming his name and his love to the nations. A few years ago, I went on the World Race, a mission trip through Adventures in Missions which goes to 11 countries in 11 months. That experience shaped my understanding of other cultures and the desperate need for prayer and the gospel to continue to go forth to all nations. I am grateful for the opportunity to incorporate my knowledge from my trip into my classroom each year as I have joined the GRACE community in equipping world changers for Jesus!

Email: JGoeking@GRACEChristian.net

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Paula Green

Teacher | 2nd

I love being a teacher and working with children. As I have watched my own children grow, I have come to realize how important these early years are; this is when the foundation is laid for the rest of their lives.

I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from East Tennessee State University. I have twenty years of teaching experience, five in public school and the fifteen at GRACE. It is a delight to be able to share my faith with children. I believe we are commanded to share our faith in every aspect of life. This is why Christian education is so important. Deuteronomy 6:4-9 the Lord instructs us “Hear, O Israel: ‘The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates.'"

What a joy it is to know that I have been entrusted to help train up the next generation in the way of the Lord. It is my prayer that these children will go from GRACE ready to serve the Lord where he calls them with a sound foundation in Him and in His ways.

Email: PGreen@GRACEChristian.net

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Brenda Hare

Teacher | 3rd

Hi! I'm Brenda Hare. I have taught third grade at GRACE for several years. I am a graduate of North Carolina State University.

My husband is the pastor at Stanhope Baptist Church.  I have two adult sons. Walking my dog, reading, and gardening are a few of my leisure activities. I have been a supporter of GRACE since it was established over 30 years ago because I know the importance of Christian education.

Email: BHare@GRACEChristian.net

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Karen Harrison

Spanish | K-6th

I attended Meredith College in Raleigh and received a B.A. in Spanish, a K-4 elementary education/teaching certificate and a K-6 Spanish certificate. I taught Spanish for 8 years in the Wake County Public School System before staying home for 10 years with my children. My family has been active at First Church (FUMC-Cary) for over 25 years where I taught preschool for 2 1/2 years. I have served as room parent and board member at GRACE and currently host tours for prospective families, as well as introduce our students at GRACE to Spanish. I have had three children at GRACE.  My two oldest have graduated and are at UNC Chapel Hill. Go Heels! My youngest will be in ninth grade.  I'm happy to be coming back for my seventh year of teaching Spanish at GRACE!

Email: KHarrison@GRACEChristian.net

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Jaime Hartley

Drama | 6th-12th

My name is Jaime Hartley, and I love being a part of the GRACE Christian School family. I hold my MA in Dance from American University and my BA in Theater and Dance from Cedar Crest College. Following a blessed performance and teaching career in London and Washington, D.C., God put me in a wonderful church where I met my husband Terry. In 2013, along with our son Liam, we moved to my husband's home state of North Carolina. In my free time I enjoy being with my family at the lake and the various parks through out the area.

I am excited to share my love for Christ and the performing arts with the students at GRACE.

Email: JHartley@GRACEChristian.net

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Tomeka Hartsfield

Computer | K-6th

Hello! My name is Tomeka Hartsfield and God brought my husband and I to GRACE as parents seeking a great education with a Christian foundation for our children. I have taught a total of 10 years and certified in North Carolina to teach technology/business education courses. Recently, I taught in the Chatham County School system where they use the 1 to 1 laptop initiative. Teaching children is truly my passion and gift which I am very excited to share with the GRACE family.

I graduated from North Carolina A&T State University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Education where I met my husband of 17 years. We have 3 children Robbie, Leah Grace, and Camille. We are active members of White Rock Missionary Baptist Church in Durham, NC where we serve in the youth ministry. I enjoy spending time with my family watching movies, playing board games, and traveling.

I feel very blessed to be able to teach at GRACE. My hope is to teach my students how to utilize technology to enhance their learning and daily lives while incorporating God’s word.

Email: THartsfield@GRACEChristian.net

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Lynne Hawkes

College Counselor | Crossroads Campus

I am honored and grateful to serve GRACE as the Director of College Counseling. I desire to come alongside families throughout the college admission process and provide them with the resources and individual support necessary to discover the colleges/universities that best fit student’s individual passions, skills and aspirations. I also desire to promote calm in what can be a stressful time by focusing on the truth that the Lord is faithful and true; that He has uniquely gifted each student to participate in His good and sovereign plan.

I grew up in upstate New York and the Washington DC area, but have lived in NC since 1992.  I have a Masters from Duke Univ. and BS from Allegheny College. I have worked as an Environmental Consultant in RTP, an environmental specialist for the states of North Carolina and Florida, and an instructor at the Florida Institute of Technology. While serving as an Admissions Applicant Interviewer for Duke University and experiencing the college admission process with our own children, I followed a call to trade in my waders and lab-coat to go back to school, receiving my College Admissions Counseling Certificate from the UC-Riverside in 2015.

I love exploring the great outdoors and traveling with my family; hiking, sailing, kayaking - anywhere we can get off the beaten path.   We are avid football and basketball fans, and enjoy sharing a meal with friends; taking any opportunity to fill our house with fellowship and music. We are grateful also for our church, Trinity Park Church, and the community we’re blessed to serve with there. Mostly, we love to hear the story of God’s work in the lives of others. His unending faithfulness through generations, and the amazing connections we discover with new friends all over the world, gives us a glimpse of His eternal promise and reminds us to continually share this promise of grace and mercy with our “neighbors” everywhere.

email: LHawkes@GRACEChristian.net

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Beth Hawks

Science | 8th-12th

What do you need to know about me? I am a Raleigh native who attended Friendship Christian and Sanderson High School. The Lord led me to ORU in Tulsa, OK to earn my BS in Secondary Science Education (Physics emphasis). For three years I taught physical science to freshman in the great metropolis of Jenks America, Oklahoma (Yes, that's the name of the town). I loved my work there, but I missed my family. My parents live in Raleigh. My brother and sister and law were raising my niece and nephews in Wake Forest, and I didn't want them growing up without me.

I moved to Raleigh and worked for one year at my alma mater, Sanderson High School. During my time there, God made it clear that He wanted me to teach in a place where I could address the hearts of my students, not just their minds or behavior. While interviewing with Teresa Allsbrook and Kathie Thompson, I knew I was home. While at GRACE, I have taught 8th Grade Physical Science, Chemistry, Physics, 7th Grade Health, Freshman Health, Algebra IB, Photography, and Yearbook (not all in one day). Yearbook is a challenge that I love and look forward to each year. Look around any time you are attending a GRACE event. I'm the crazy woman with the camera. It is more work than I ever knew was possible, but I adore it.

What do you really need to know about me? I love science. I love your kids. I love watching your kids discover science. I am so grateful to be a teacher here with this family of believers. I recently heard someone say that GRACE is like a second church family for them. I couldn't agree more. Thank you for entrusting your children to us. Please know how seriously we take that charge.

Email: BHawks@GRACEChristian.net

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Darrel Hegar

Treasurer | GRACE Board of Trustees

Darrel Hegar is Regional Vice President of Field Operations for Charter Communications Carolinas Region. He is responsible for leading the execution and improvement of Charter’s service delivery strategies in the Carolinas.  Darrel manages operations across 3 states, with a team of more than 4,000 employees serving more than 2.5 million customers.

Prior to assuming his current role in 2009, Darrel served as the Vice President & General Manger of the Northeast Ohio Division of Time Warner Cable. He was responsible for the overall growth and service strategies for all customers in a five county territory based out of Cleveland, Ohio.

In 1998, Darrel joined the cable industry working for MediaOne in Denver, Colorado. He subsequently worked with AT&T Broadband and Comcast through a series of mergers. He has senior leadership roles in Corporate Strategy, Product Management and Marketing prior to dedicating his career to serving customers in a field leadership capacity. His knowledge of the consumer business segment was developed as an entrepreneur, when he started his own computer sales and service company six years prior to entering the communication industry.

Originally from Benton Harbor, Michigan, Hegar graduated from the University of New Mexico with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering, where he received scholarships from NASA and the U.S. Patent and Trademarks Office. Hegar completed his Masters in Business Administration at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. He also completed Executive Leadership training at Harvard Business School, Tuck Business School at Dartmouth and the Anderson School of Management at the University of California at Los Angeles.

Hegar served five years in the United States Air Force. He is a Gulf War veteran with several medals and awards of recognition for his service. Darrel is the proud father of a class of 2014 GRACE graduate and a GRACE junior.

Contact Darrel Hegar at DHegar@GRACEChristian.net

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Melissa Hendges

Receptionist | TK-6TH Campus

Hi! My name is Melissa Hendges and I am the Front Lobby Receptionist for the 801 Buck Jones Campus at GRACE. I have worked at GRACE since 2008 but we have been a part of the GRACE family since 2005. I am thrilled with the opportunity to serve here and have my children at a school that reiterates the values and principles they are being taught at home.

I have four children here ranging from 6th grade to 12th grade.  When I'm not at work you will probably find me at one of my children's many activities such as a cross country meet, track meet or theater production.  I also enjoy running, sewing, boating at the lake with my family or relaxing on my back porch.

Email: MHendges@GRACEChristian.net

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Amber Hickman

Teacher | 3rd

I am thrilled to have rejoined the GRACE family in 2013 as a third grade teacher. My family has been a part of GRACE for the past eight years when our oldest son started kindergarten, and then our second son followed two years later. Prior to becoming a stay at home mom to our five boys, I taught second grade here at GRACE for three years.I graduated from Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia with a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education. I am originally from Colorado, but met and married an Alabama boy while we were both attending Liberty. We moved to Raleigh in 2000 for my husband, Blake, to attend Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Blake worked at Providence Baptist Church for fourteen years both in student ministry and as pastor to children/ young families.  In 2015, he felt God's calling him into church planting and left to plant Redemption Church in Apex.  We have five boys, all who attend GRACE, Asher (8th), Caleb (6th), Nate (4th), Judah (3rd), and Maddox (1st).

I feel very blessed to be back in the classroom teaching, and am thrilled to be a part of the wonderful GRACE family.

Email: AHickman@GRACEChristian.net

 

 

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Lindsey Hignite

Learning Specialist | TK-6 Campus

Hi, my name is Lindsey Hignite and I am new this year to GRACE. I will be teaching in the LEAP class on the TK-6th grade campus. I was privileged to grow up in the beautiful mountains of North Carolina and piece of my heart will always be there!

I graduated from Appalachian State with a degree in Special Education. While there I met my husband and we relocated to Raleigh to raise our three children. I have had a wonderful time being a stay at home mom to my children, but God has chosen to call me back into teaching where I will have the opportunity to teach, love, and minister to the GRACE students. I'm very excited to be joining the GRACE community not just as a teacher but as a parent as well, since all three of my children will be attending school here.

In times of change like this, I cling to the Bible verse that I have claimed as my own: Be still, and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10.

Email: LHignite@GRACEChristian.net

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Donna Howard

English | 11th-12th

I came to GRACE as a parent seeking purposeful education for my children. Now in my twelfth year, I teach AP English Literature and AP English Language as well as Senior Seminar and Public Speaking and serve as Head of the English Department.  Teaching allows for imparting knowledge, building skills, and continual learning. I love the teaching process, but the greatest privilege in being at GRACE is educating the whole child intellectually and spiritually. As we study and question information presented, I guide students to consider knowledge biblically while recognizing the privilege, value, and responsibility in learning.

When not in my classroom, I love being with my husband and our college-age children enjoying outdoor activities, traveling, reading, gardening, and visiting with friends. My academic and educational training came from Peace College and North Carolina State University; my practical training came from parenting our son and daughters.

The greatest hope for all of my students, past, present, and future, is that we meet one day around the throne of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Email: DHoward@GRACEChristian.net

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Kathleen Huggins

Transportation Coordinator | GRACE

I'm Kathleen Huggins and am one of the few Raleigh natives around! I came to GRACE in 2009 from public school when my oldest was in 5th grade. From a parents' perspective it was the best move we could have made, and it was the first time my son had been truly happy in school in a long time. The loving, nurturing, biblical setting has allowed both my boys to flourish. My boys are in 11th and 5th grades and truly love being a part of the GRACE community.

I started working at Grace in 2011 with the After Care program and this year I am serving as the Transportation Coordinator. I have enjoyed working for GRACE because it gives me a chance to meet students and parents and see the overall Christ-centeredness of our school. God has blessed me with incredible people from GRACE - educators, prayer warriors, friends - all who remind me that despite the bleakness of the secular world, our Christian faith and the Truth we know will prevail. Being a part of the GRACE family lifts me up daily.

I graduated with a Business degree from Wake Forest University and worked several years in the travel industry before becoming a stay-at-home-mom (who, ironically, never seemed to be at home). I am the moderator for my Sunday School class, teach 4th/5th grade girls' missions, and serve as a deacon in my church. I do not enjoy housework but do enjoy traveling, reading, sports, and being with my family and friends.

Email: KHuggins@GRACEChristian.net

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Mary Claudia Huntley

Teacher | 1st

My name is Mary-Claudia Huntley and I teach first grade at GRACE. I am a native North Carolinian and graduated from Meredith College with a B.A. in Religion and Elementary Education. As a family, we have been at GRACE over 14 years. I have been married to my husband for 28 years and we have two boys. Both are GRACE graduates. One is a senior at Charleston Southern University and the other a freshman at UNC Charlotte.  Most of the time you can find me reading, cross-stitching, or enjoying time with our beloved dog, Maggie. Our family loves to travel. We enjoy the beach, Blowing Rock, N.C., Disney World, and cruising.

Teaching in a Christian school is a work of the heart. My heart is with Jesus and serving Him. I pray that all of my students will grow in Him this year. In teaching young children I see small moments that are teachable moments about God. Those moments are both a privilege and a joy.

Email: MHuntley@GRACEChristian.net

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Paul Hutton

Facilities Staff | GRACE

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Ben Inman

Latin | 7th-12th

Dr. Inman studied Classics at UNC-CH and theology at Westminster Theological Seminary. He is an ordained minister with the Presbyterian Church in America and previously served as campus minister with Reformed University Fellowship at NCSU and UNC-CH. He and Sara, his wife of 27 years, have 4 children.

Email: BInman@GRACEChristian.net

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Laura Jacobs

English | 7th-12th

Hi! I am Laura Jacobs, and I am thrilled to be a part of the GRACE family. After spending twenty years in corporate America, I decided to pursue my passion and began teaching. I cannot imagine doing anything else. Middle school and high school students are my heart, and I love teaching and learning with them. I look forward to getting to know all of my students and their families.

I received a B.A. in English/creative writing from UNC-Wilmington, and I received my teaching certification from Western Carolina University. I am certified to teach English/Language Arts and English as a Second Language.

I am married and have two boys who are also at GRACE. When I am not teaching, I enjoy spending time with my family. We can often be found playing board games, riding bikes, or relaxing. I also enjoy exercising, reading, and writing in my free time. My hope is that my students will cultivate a love for reading and writing as we explore the various themes and genres throughout the year.

Email: LJacobs@GRACEChristian.net

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Sarah Jarvis

Assistant | Kindergarten

Hi! Welcome to the GRACE community. My name is Sarah Jarvis and I have the privilege of being a Kindergarten Assistant Teacher. ( I also sometimes help in After Care.) I attended Liberty University and graduated with a double major in psychology and family and child development. I am passionate about helping children grow in the knowledge of the Lord and helping them learn the foundations for life!!

In 2015, I married the man whom I wanted to marry since high school! Long story short, in my senior year of college, God provided us to re-connect, 2 years later we got engaged at the Outer Banks and then got married here in Raleigh. We do not have any children but one lovable cat named, Ruthie! We attend RFA (Raleigh First Assembly) and have for most of our lives!

One fun fact about me is that I attended GRACE from preschool all the way up until 12th grade. It is a real testament to the Lord and to the school that God has provided a space back for me at GRACE! It is an honor to serve the children here at GRACE and can't wait for a great year with all the wonderful Kindergartners!! May God richly bless this year as we pursue Him and learn lots!!

Email: SJarvis@GRACEChristian.net

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James Jenkins

College Counselor, Dean of Students | 7th-12th

James Jenkins is entering his 5th year of serving at GRACE and has 14 years of experience in Christian Education.  Mr. Jenkins will continue his role assisting Mrs. Lynn Hawkes in GRACE's College Counseling department and teaching Junior Seminar this year. Furthermore, he will also work alongside Mrs. Pascale Fitts serving as Dean of Students. 

Mr. Jenkins is from Savannah, Georgia where he attended A.E Beach High School. He then attended the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in History. While in college, he was a four-year starter on the football team and served as a team captain his senior year. Mr. Jenkins began his teaching career at Word of God Christian Academy in Raleigh, NC and within 3 years of service was promoted to Assistant Principal. 

Mr. Jenkins also coached Varsity boy's soccer, JV boys’ basketball, and started the school’s first football program, while at Word of God. As the varsity football coach, he was chosen as a Carolina Panther “Coach of the Week” and his team made it to the NCISAA 8 man state championship game in its first year of competition. In his Administrative role, Mr. Jenkins lead Word of God's College Counseling department and all athletic recruiting services.  He served as the school's K-12th grade Principal prior to coming to GRACE in 2013.
James spends majority of his time away from school with his wife Dominique and two beautiful “princesses” Jacqueline LeeAnn (9) and Avery Marie (7). The Jenkins family loves being a part of the GRACE school community and are excited to see what this school year has to offer.

Email: JJenkins@GRACEChristian.net

 

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Ellen Kaehler

Chorus | 3rd-12th

Hello. My name is Ellen Kaehler and I am excited to be returning to GRACE for my nineteenth year. I am the Choral Music Director for Elementary Chorus, Middle School Vocal Ensemble and High School Vocal Ensemble. I am also the general music teacher for grades three through five.

I received my Bachelor of Music and Master of Arts in music from Appalachian State University where I also taught piano and keyboard theory at Cannon Music Camp.

Prior to coming to GRACE, I was a choral director at the high school level in Wake County. I am the director of the youth choir and substitute director for the chancel choir at Edenton Street United Methodist Church in Raleigh. My husband, Larry, and I have two children. Brittany is beginning her second year as a choral director at the middle and high school level and Brad is a college student. We live in Knightdale with our much-loved Cairn Terrier, Angie.

Email: EKaehler@GRACEChristian.net

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Miranda Kaluka

Teacher | Kindergarten

Hi! My name is Miranda Kaluka and I am one of the kindergarten teachers here at GRACE.

My husband, Jesse, and I met at Liberty University eighteen years ago where I first felt the longing to work with children in a classroom setting. I graduated from Liberty with my degree in Elementary Education and have been working with children in some capacity since then. I have taught first and second grade in Christian, public, and charter schools in both North Carolina and Virginia.

I have also directed the Awana Cubbies program at The Summit Church at the Brier Creek Campus for several years as well as assisted in directing the special needs, and elementary children’s program there. We are very blessed to have an amazing church family and small group.

Jesse and I have been married fifteen years and after moving around from Lynchburg, Virginia, Manassas, Virginia, and Northwest Cary, have settled in Apex with our three children; Miller (9 years old), Ellie (7 years old), and Thaxton (5 years old). Our family has been at GRACE for three years now and has seen the Lord do amazing things in the lives of our children through the amazing teachers and staff here. I was blessed to join the Kindergarten team last January and am excited for another amazing year! I am truly honored to be a part of the GRACE faculty.

Email:MKaluka@GRACEChristian.net

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Heather Kinrade

Hot Lunch | TK-6TH Campus

Hello, my name is Heather Kinrade and I have the pleasure of working with Lisa Michaelsen in the Raleigh Campus hot lunch program.  I cannot explain the joy I get out of seeing all these smiling faces each day at lunch.  From sharing jokes, hugs, and encouraging kids to try new foods, each day is so very special to me and I enjoy every minute of it.

My family has been a part of the GRACE family since 2011, when my two sons were enrolled.  AJ (Class of 2022) and Tyler (Class of 2024) thrive here and moving from public schools to GRACE was one of the best decisions we have ever made.  I’ve had the pleasure of serving as a volunteer, room parent, member of the PTF, and now a sports mom.  Even now, you’re likely to see either me or my husband, Marcus, as a volunteer on a field trip or acting as room parent.  If I’m not in the lunchroom, I’m probably in the carpool line with one very spoiled Chihuahua named FeeFee.

We attend Aversboro Road Baptist Church in Garner and are active in youth activities.  We also volunteer our time at various charities and are always looking for a way for us to serve our community.

Email: hkinrade@gracechristian.net

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Lorna Lodholz

Assistant | Transitional Kindergarten

My name is Lorna Lodholz and I am thrilled to be starting my fourth year as part of the Transitional Kindergarten Team. Our family feels so blessed to be part of the GRACE community (I know you will too!) and we have enjoyed watching our children, Aubrey (Class of 2025), Jonas (Class of 2020) and Grace (Class of 2015), now a junior at Gardner-Webb University, grow and develop into all God wants them to be.

My husband and I have been married for 25 years and our family enjoys living in downtown Cary. We love spending time together with family and friends, talking and playing games on our front porch. We attend Oasis Church in Holly Springs and love serving as a family and seeing lives changed forever, as people encounter Christ.

It is my prayer for our students and their families to know what a privilege it is to partner with them on this journey. I am excited for us to learn, explore, laugh and have fun together.

I will let them be little, fill their hearts with laughter, nurture their sense of wonder, encourage them to dream, inspire them to believe, and love them like there is no tomorrow. 

Email: LLodholz@GRACEChristian.net

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Andrei Malacinski

Member | GRACE Board of Trustees

My name is Andrei Malacinski and I am grateful to be joining the Board this year. I am excited about what the Lord continues to do in the hearts and lives of students both academically and spiritually at GRACE. Christian education is a privilege I do not take for granted and am thankful for the fruit of our wonderful school.

I have a wonderful wife and three active boys, each attending GRACE. Most days after school, you can find us on a ball field, shooting hoops, or enjoying family time. I enjoy volunteering at our church and attending Bible Study Fellowship. I have a heart for missions, and a strong love of our Lord Jesus Christ.

I am a graduate of Indiana University, and have been employed by IBM for the past twenty-seven years. Currently, I manage a world-wide software development team, but have held management positions in engineering, customer support and operations. It is my prayer that I will be able to contribute to the Board as we strive to be faithful to our Mission Statement and to bring glory to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Contact Andrei Malacinski at: AMalacinski@GRACEChristian.net

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Sharon Martin

Assistant | 3rd

Hi! I'm Sharon Martin, teaching assistant for third grade. I've been a teaching assistant since 2002, and both of my children are GRACE graduates. I have a degree in Electrical Engineering and worked in that field for a number of years prior to having children. I've since moved on to a much more rewarding career here at GRACE. This is a wonderful, Christ-centered environment, full of folks who love Jesus and love children. What a blessing!

Email: SMartin@GRACEChristian.net

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Shane McGann

Bible, Science | 7th, 9th

My name is Shane McGann, and I am excited to be a part of a school that loves its students and desires to see them challenged to their full potential. I have a passion for discipleship and mentoring, and believe that students are the ones who have the most power to influence those around them and change the world.

I was born and raised in Bloomington, Illinois where I fell in love with adventure, the outdoors, sports, coffee, and music. It was also there I learned the importance of mentoring relationships and challenging students lives, and where I came to know the Lord. I left Bloomington to attend Wheaton College where I graduated with a degree in Christian Education. It was there I met my wife Grace, and began to realize my desire to minister to youth. After graduating from Wheaton I began working at LeaderTreks, an organization who partners with churches and Christian schools to develop leaders to fulfill the great commission and to do deep discipleship through trips and training events. It was through my time at LeaderTreks that I got to know GRACE and its mission to equip, challenge, and inspire students to impact their world for Christ.

I am excited to continue to use the training the Lord has given me to build into students, teaching them both material valuable for their lives beyond GRACE, but also challenging their faith to build them into believers ready to challenge the world.

Email: SMcGann@GRACEChristian.net

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Jordan McGowan

Chapel Worship | 9th-12th

Jordan is originally from the Chicagoland area. He attended Baylor University in Texas where he studied communication and graduated in 2010. In 2012 he moved to Raleigh to help plant Antioch Community Church as the Worship Pastor. He started leading worship in high school as a part of his youth group at his church in Illinois, so he loves helping create the same opportunity for students at GRACE.

His favorite things to do are sing, play the drums, and watch Chicago sports. Some of his favorite worship songs are ones that are written from God's perspective, as if He is speaking to us. He and his wife, Sarah, live in Raleigh
and are both passionate about worship and about people encountering God and His presence through worship music.

Email: jordandmcgowan@gmail.com

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Kim Medina

After Care | TK-6 Campus

I am excited to be part of the GRACE After Care team! I have always enjoyed working with children. Throughout the years, I have taught Sunday School and worked with youth. I raised three sons and one daughter, who are now 34, 32, 28 and 25. I was fortunate to be able to stay home with my children.
I moved to North Carolina from Florida in 2013 to be closer to my daughter’s family. I have two grandchildren who are six and eight years old. I have been working with a catering company for the past two years. I worked events and I was part of the school lunch team for two private schools.
I enjoy spending my free time outdoors with my family. Paddle boarding, hiking, biking, snowboarding and camping our my favorites. I love taking short trips to the Blue Ridge Mountains to hike and visit waterfalls.

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Lisa Michaelsen

Hot Lunch | TK-6TH Campus

This is my sixth year as the TK-6 Lunch Coordinator. My job takes all of my gifts and talents and rolls them into working and serving at GRACE in this capacity. It is a joy to be with your kids and get to know them throughout the school year.  I'm currently working on my MBA from Meredith College and enjoy traveling and playing golf. 

I have two kids that are both here at GRACE. Emma is 17 and in senior this year and Carter is 14 and a freshman. We attend Hope Community Church and have been a part of their community for the last 11 years and our family enjoys serving there on Sunday mornings.

I look forward to another great year at GRACE serving our kids and working with our parent and grandparent volunteers. It's a great place to connect and get a sneak peek into your child's day. 

Email: LMichaelsen@GRACEChristian.net

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Carmen Mitchell

French | 7th-12th

My name is Carmen Mitchell and I am so happy to be a part of the GRACE Christian School family. I am originally from Barbados but I am now a US citizen. I did my graduate studies at Middlebury College in Vermont and Paris, France, and I am very passionate about the French language and about francophone culture. I have been teaching French for seventeen years, most recently at an Episcopal school in Ridgeland, Mississippi, and before that at a Christian school in Williamsburg, Virginia. My hobbies are reading and travel.

I am looking forward to the new school year, to renewal and to growth.

Email: CMitchell@GRACEChristian.net

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Kate Mitchell

Receptionist | 7th-12th Campus

My name is Kate Mitchell and I am excited to return to 1101 Campus (7th-12th Grade) as the front desk receptionist.

I was born and raised in England.  I have a background in education and earned my Bachelors of Arts in education from Leicester University in England and my Masters degree in education from the College of New Jersey.   I have eleven years of teaching experience in the UK and overseas and I also home schooled my children for a total of eight years.

My husband and I worked in Pakistan for 15 years. Six of those years were spent in a unique mountainous area where three mountain ranges, the Himalayas, Hindu Kush and Karakorams, meet. I have also lived in and visited a variety of other countries in South Asia, East Africa and Europe. In the United States I have lived in New Jersey, Colorado, California and North Carolina.

I have been married to my husband Jonathan for 30 years.  We have three children - Daniel, who works in software technology in Chicago, Iain, who just graduated from GRACE and has embarked on a global gap year before enrolling at Covenant College in 2018, and Sarah, who is in 8th grade at GRACE.

Email: KMitchell@GRACEChristian.net

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Kenny Montgomery

Facilities Staff | GRACE

My name is Kenny Montgomery, and I am the custodian on the Raleigh Campus. I was born and raised in Raleigh North Carolina. I am a graduate from Broughton High School. When I’m not in the lunch room with your children, or assisting teachers, I enjoy football, basketball and fishing. I am married and have 3 daughters and 1 son. I attend First Baptist Church of Apex.

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Anthony Moreland

IT Specialist | TK-6th

My name is Anthony Moreland. I am originally from Illinois, but have lived in the Raleigh area since 2002. I am happily married with four beautiful children. I graduated in 2014 from Wake Technical Community College with a degree in information technology security systems. This is my second year working in the IT department. I am happy to be at GRACE and look forward continuing to being part of the IT department at this school.

Email: AMoreland@GRACEChristian.net

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DeShannon Morris

PE, Bible | 7th Grade

I am extremely honored and excited to be joining the GRACE family as a full-time faculty member this year. I will be teaching 7th Grade PE and Bible, and this will be my 2nd year as the Varsity Men’s Basketball Coach.

I grew up in Raleigh and attended college at Shaw University, where I received a degree in religion and philosophy. I have worked a number of jobs and most recently found my calling as a PE teacher. I have also spent the past 20 years coaching and mentoring young men in and around the Triangle through parks and recreation programs, AAU, various camps, and other school-affiliated programs.

I am happily married and the proud father of three children. Most importantly, I am a believer in Christ and love to see the lives of young people impacted for the Kingdom of God through sports and other extra-curricular activities.

Email: DMorris@GRACEChristian.net

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Lynnae Morris

Assistant Principal | TK-6TH Campus

It is a great honor and blessing to be joining the GRACE community as the TK-6 Assistant Principal this year!  I am so excited to begin work and continue on this career journey that God has so masterfully planned for me.  I have more than 20 years of experience in the field of education prior to coming to GRACE, and I have worked with a variety of students at all levels (pre-school through college).  I taught high school science before going back to graduate school to pursue my PhD in education, and while in graduate school, I taught at the college level and supervised several student teachers.  I have also worked as an assistant principal at both the elementary and middle school levels. 

Outside of work, I enjoy spending time with my beautiful family.  My dear husband and I are the proud and grateful parents of three GRACE students - Hannah, Kynndal, and Colinn; and, you will most often find us at one of their sporting events or cheering on our favorite team - Go Heels! 

Email: LMorris@GRACEChristian.net

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Dana Morrison

Technology Director | GRACE

Angela and I are from Maine and have been married for 23 years. We have two children (16 and 9) who will be enrolled at GRACE. I’m a graduate of Liberty University (1998) with a BS Religion and Youth Ministry degree. For 16 years I worked in public education technology along with running a small business to help businesses and education meet technology needs. For the past 13 years, I have worked specifically with 1 to 1 laptop deployment programs in education. It was my pleasure to join GRACE for the 2014-15 school year as a technology teacher and I look forward to further serving GRACE in 2016-17 as IT Director.  God has placed on my heart that I need to invest my time and energy with people and that is probably what I look forward to most of all at GRACE.

Email: DMorrison@GRACEChristian.net

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Angela Morrison

Receptionist | TK-6th

My husband Dana and I have been married 24 years. We are originally "Mainers" but moved to North Carolina in 2014. Our family has been blessed to be a part of GRACE for the last 3 years. We have 2 boys, Caleb and Aaron. Caleb is a Senior and loves the art program here at GRACE. Aaron is in 5th grade and enjoys time with his school friends.

I have always enjoyed helping people of all ages. Over the years I have worked with preschoolers, mentally handicapped adults, and done home care for seniors. Our family also worked in Christian camping for many years. When I came to GRACE as the inner office receptionist/nurse at the TK-6 campus I knew I would enjoy it.

I have loved being able to meet your little ones and take care of their "boo-boos" (real or imagined). They are all precious and it makes my day as they wave on their way to class or outside. I am still learning all the names of the children and the parents, but I am so thankful to be a part of the wonderful community here at GRACE.

Email: AMorrison@GRACEChristian.net

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Buddha Nepal

Math | 9th-12th

Hello. My name is Buddha Nepal, and I will be teaching Algebra II, Advanced Functions & Modeling (AFM), Discrete Math, and Pre-Calculus this year. This is my first year at GRACE. Before coming to GRACE I taught at a Christian school in Illinois. I was born in Bhutan, but lived in Nepal for 16 years before moving to San Antonio Texas in 2008. I received my high school diploma from John Marshall High school in San Antonio and my bachelors degree in mathematics from the University of Texas at San Antonio.

Besides math and teaching, I love astronomy, photography, soccer, and web design. My wife and I  got married last year. We both have a big heart for unreached people groups of the world.  My life verse is Psalm 67, "May God be gracious to us and bless us and make His face shine on us— so that Your ways may be known on earth, Your salvation among all nations, May the peoples praise You, God; may all the peoples praise You..."

Have a blessed school year!

Email: BNepal@GRACEChristian.net

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Felicia Nielsen

Math | 7th-8th

Hey there! My name is Felicia Nielsen and I am a middle school math teacher at GRACE. I was born and raised in upstate New York where I completed all of my schooling. After earning my bachelor’s degree at SUNY Plattsburgh, majoring in childhood education (1-6) with a mathematics concentration, I took the exciting adventure of moving to Raleigh, NC. I have lived in the area since 2012 and couldn't be happier with the decision!

I have attended Hope Community Church since my move to Raleigh. My husband, Josh, and I met there while loving and serving the high school students in our local communities. We will be married for 2 years this fall.

I will continue teaching Pre-Algebra and Algebra this year as well as coaching middle school cross country and assisting with varsity track and field. I love working with students in and out of the classroom, expanding their passions and abilities.

Email: fnielsen@gracechristian.net

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Jamie Null

Member | GRACE Board of Trustees

My name is Jamie Null and my family and I have been very blessed to be a part of the GRACE community for the last seven years!

I graduated from Elon University in 1999, with a degree in Elementary Education. My husband,PJ, and I have been married for sixteen years and we have two children at GRACE (Preston 7th grade & Anna Elizabeth 4th grade). I have had the privilege to serve at GRACE in many ways over the years as a parent volunteer, director of the aftercare program, a second grade classroom teacher and now a GRACE Board member.

GRACE is a loving and nurturing environment that has become a family to us and I am proud to be a part of this wonderful school! I thank God for leading us to a place where our children grow socially, academically and spiritually in Christ each day!

Contact Jamie Null at JNull@GRACEChristian.net

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Daniel O’Brien

Media Specialist | 7th-12th Campus

Originally a native of Chardon, Ohio, I attended Ashland University for my undergraduate degree in English Education for grades 7-12. I am currently progressing towards my Masters in Library Science and Information Studies/School Media at UNC Greensboro. I live in Cary with my wife, Kristin, and attend Fairview Baptist Church. Before coming to GRACE, I served as an English instructor and missionary with the Wakakusa English Program in Tamura City, Japan. While living in Fukushima prefecture, I had the opportunity to experience another culture and way of life, as well as provide assistance and aid to people displaced from the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake.

In addition to being the media specialist for GRACE, I am stepping into the role of Technology Integration coach, and am looking forward to working with teachers to integrate meaningful technology use for 21st century skills into their curriculum. Additionally, I advise the GRACE Chapter of National Honor Society, lead lunchtime book clubs, and am in charge of the Maker Club. I am thrilled to be returning for another year, and am excited to make GRACE's Media Center a hub of learning, inquiry, and creativity, as well as meet and strengthen all learners in their educational and spiritual growth.

Email: DOBrien@GRACEChristian.net

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Karen O’Conner

Accounting | GRACE

My name is Karen O'Conner and I love working in the Finance Department at GRACE. I have experienced GRACE both as an employee and parent. It is a fulfilling place to work knowing we serve God first. As a parent, the passion from our teachers and their attentiveness to our students is hard to find any where else.

I attended NCSU and received a degree in Accounting. While at State I met my husband Harry and we have been married for over 25 years! We have three children; Jacob, Hannah and Matthew. Jacob and Hannah both graduated from GRACE and they are currently at ECU and NCSU respectively. Matthew will be a Sophomore at GRACE this year!!

Email: KOConner@GRACEChristian.net

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Brittany Oxendine

P.E. & Athletic Assisstant | GRACE

I am super excited to be a part of the GRACE family for the second year. I teach 8th Grade Physical Education, serve as an Athletics Assistant and Summer Camp Director, and coach Middle School Volleyball and Basketball.

I grew up in the western part of North Carolina and was captivated by Jesus when I was 8. Since then, many godly mentors have been in my life to help grow and strengthen my faith in him. It is my hope and prayer to follow their faithful example to impact the lives of the students here at GRACE!

In 2011, I moved to Raleigh to attend NC State and met my husband, Jarrick. We enjoy serving our church together through the youth ministry. We both have a huge passion for youth to see and savor the beauty of Christ in all aspects of their life, and for them to grow up impacting their world for Him. I am so thankful that I am able to be a part of the community at GRACE which allows me to invest in lives of students.

Email: BOxendine@GRACEChristian.net

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Kellie Petty

English | 8th-9th

I joined the loving, Christ-centered GRACE community first as a parent and am now honored to be teaching English here. From an early age, I wanted to be a teacher. Hours of my childhood were spent “teaching” stuffed animals and my hapless younger sister. While GRACE students are certainly more engaged than those earliest “students,” I bring the same enthusiasm to the classroom. I love helping students become better readers and writers.

I was raised in a small community outside of Goldsboro, North Carolina. My bachelor’s degree in English and teaching certification was earned from UNC Wilmington. I taught high school in Wake County where my involvement in technology integration and innovation opened up opportunities outside the classroom. I transitioned into 9 years of technology sales, focused on K-12 schools. After my husband, Chris, completed graduate school, I welcomed the adventure of staying home with our two children, Kate and Jack, and eventually adding another, Lily. This time also allowed me to become active in the Children’s Ministry at First United Methodist Church Cary. My family and numerous pets provide endless entertainment (with plenty of messes) and represent my favorite hobby.

Email: KPetty@GRACEChristian.net

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Roman Pibl

History | 10th-12th

I love teaching and coaching. I love teaching history and coaching boys and girls soccer. Most importantly, I love teaching history and coaching soccer at GRACE Christian School. The Lord has truly blessed me in allowing me the opportunity to serve his kingdom here at GRACE. I was born in Canada but raised on Long Island. I attended Duke University where I majored in Economics and swam for four years on the Varsity Swim Team being the captain my senior year. I than attended Washington University School of Law and practiced law for 14 years. I married my wife, Doctor Lisa Grana, in 1990 and the Lord again blessed me with two beautiful daughters, Katarina and Alexa, who both attend GRACE with Katarina recently graduating. Then in 2006, the Lord lead me to GRACE and allowed me the opportunity to pursue my true passion. I am Head of the History Department here at GRACE and teach Advanced Placement World History, Advanced Placement US History, Advanced Placement US Government and Advanced Placement Microeconomics. I also coach the boys and girls varsity soccer teams.

Email: RPibl@GRACEChristian.net

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Dena Prior

Assistant | 1st

I'm excited to return to GRACE in 2016 as the first grade teaching assistant! Our family joined the GRACE family when our children, Cameron and Jessica, began attending in 2006. I have also served as a receptionist on both the lower and upper campuses.

I graduated from UNC-Greensboro with a degree in elementary education, and taught in Wake County and the Netherlands. My husband and I live in Fuquay Varina and have been married for 34 years. In our spare time we love to travel or relax at the lake.

Email: DPrior@GRACEChristian.net

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Christi Robinson

Bible, Grammar, & Composition | 5th

I am honored to be a member of the GRACE faculty.  I have been a part of the GRACE family as a parent and volunteer since my daughters, Rebecca and Kathryn, started kindergarten here in 2006. I have served as a substitute teacher, room mom, and spent many years as an active member of our Parent Teacher Fellowship. GRACE is one of my favorite places to spend time, and I cannot imagine my children or family anywhere else!

I grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina so I am a southern girl through and through! My husband, Greg, and I are high school sweethearts and have been married for over 20 years. I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in English education from North Carolina State University and on most Saturdays in the fall, you will find us cheering on the Wolfpack at Carter Finley Stadium. In the summer, we enjoy spending time at the beach or traveling with our family.

I have been blessed that my children have been surrounded by the loving, Christian teachers at GRACE for the last ten years, and I am excited to be a part of this amazing team of men and women. I look forward to being back in my fifth grade classroom and enjoying another wonderful year!

Email: CRobinson@GRACEChristian.net

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Tammi Saenz

Administrative Assistant | K-6 Campus

My name is Tammi Saenz, and I am an administrative assistant on the Raleigh Campus. I had the privilege of growing up in a home with wonderful Christian parents. I attended Hackensack Christian School in Hackensack, NJ but graduated from Hawaii Pacific University in 1992 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and a minor in Hotel and Restaurant Management. I met and married my husband, John, in 1991 while he was stationed on Oahu as a Sergeant in the United States Army.

My professional career began with Marriott Hotels. I found my niche in the sales side of the hotel business and began a 12 year career in the hotel industry. We moved to Raleigh in 1994 and quickly settled in to life in the Carolinas. After ten years of marriage, we welcomed our first child, and following the birth of our second, I left the workforce to become a stay-at-home mom.

My husband and I desired Christian schooling for our children and were once again blessed to find GRACE. When my children started school at GRACE, I couldn't resist the temptation to follow and was blessed to be given the opportunity to become part of the GRACE staff. I joined the workforce once again at the start of the school year in 2008. When we opened in prayer at our first staff meeting, I knew I would never return to the corporate world.

My husband and children love to travel, be outdoors, and enjoy all water sports and camping. We are members at Salem Baptist Church in Apex where my husband and I serve in many different areas.

I am excited to be a part of GRACE and watch how the Lord will continue to bless our faithfulness to him.

Email: TSaenz@GRACEChristian.net

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Penny Schaeffer

Teacher | 4th

I am excited to start my 27th year at GRACE. I love teaching 4th grade as it is my favorite age to teach. We have a lot of fun in the 4th grade! I am excited with each new school year and what it has in store and what new things we can learn and discover. And yes, there is still more to learn. I am always excited to see what new thing I can add to the mix.

I am a graduate of Lee College in Cleveland, Tennessee, where I met my husband, Michael. We moved to North Carolina in 1984. Our daughters, Elizabeth and Laura, are both married. We are also grandparents to 4 adorable grandchildren, Marilaura, Ayden, Clara, and Levi. Family time is very important to us. Our weekends are usually filled with doing something with the girls and their families.

Email: PSchaeffer@GRACEChristian.net

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Becky Schnake

Assistant | 2nd

I am excited and thankful to be starting my tenth year at GRACE.  There is no place in the world like GRACE - the love and support here truly make it feel like home!  I will be taking on the position of 2nd grade Teaching Assistant this year rather than being a teacher. I look forward to an amazing year and what the Lord has in store for us all.

I received my B.A. in Christian Education from Asbury University in Wilmore, Kentucky and my M.A. in Education from Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. My husband, Terry, and I met and married while I was in college and he was attending Asbury Theological Seminary - 44 years ago! After graduating we served as missionaries in Indonesia for 12 years and Ukraine for 7 years. We have also taught in International Schools in the Republic of Georgia, Khazakhstan and most recently Italy. Along with my desire to help create lifelong learners who seek truth in academic pursuits, these experiences give me a passion for seeing the Word taken to the nations of the world and a desire to plant seeds of missionary zeal in the hearts of the students. As I assist all three 2nd grade classes, it is my prayer that the Lord will call at least one student from each class into full time missionary service.

My husband and I have three children, two sons and a daughter, who have blessed us with ten grandchildren - seven grandsons and three granddaughters from ages 1 to 16! So I have lots of experience with children in various stages of development and am acutely aware of the importance of "training up a child in the way that he should go." (Proverbs 22:6) It is a privilege and humbling responsibility to partner with the parents of our students and the teachers in this sacred calling. I covet your prayers for the Holy Spirit's empowering and God's wisdom, guidance and grace each day as I strive to know Him and make Him known. (1 Corinthians 2:2, Philippians 3:10 & Psalm 105:1)

Email: BSchnake@GRACEChristian.net

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Daniel Servi

PE | 7th-9th

My name is Daniel Servi and this is my forth year teaching at GRACE. I was born and raised in Wisconsin. I received a degree in multi-age physical education and a minor in Bible and coaching from Cedarville University in 2008 and I received a Masters in education from Liberty University in 2013. I am also the middle school boys baseball coach. I enjoy spending time with my wife, Emilie, and my son, Micah. We are expecting our second son at the end of August. I also enjoy playing golf whenever possible.

My favorite verse is Matthew 11:28-30, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Email: DServi@GRACEChristian.net

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Carol Shelton

Teacher | 3rd

My name is Carol Shelton. I love teaching at GRACE Christian School, and I love teaching 3rd grade. I have a BS in English from UNC-CH. (I'm a huge Tarheel fan!)  I love working with children, and I believe a Christian education is the best way to prepare our children to be moral, intelligent, and responsible members of society.

I have been a lifelong resident of Raleigh. I love to cook and spend time with my family. I am a member of Edenton Street United Methodist Church. My sister, "Miss Lou", is the K-2 music teacher at GRACE and we love teaching and serving God together at this school.

I am the proud mother of three grown daughters, and the proud "Mimi" of Zoey, Owen, Caroline, and Boone.  God is so good!

Email: CShelton@GRACEChristian.net

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Zane Smitley

Science | 9th-12th

It is amazing how God leads in our lives. The first time I entered the doors of GRACE I knew God was leading me to teach, but the process had begun many years before. God had to first show and teach me important lessons in life. First he led me to college where I obtained a B.A. degree in Secondary Education of History. Next I traveled half way across the country to Kansas City to attend graduate school. Completing four years of classes and internship I earned a Doctorate degree in Chiropractic medicine. After 13 years of private practice in North Raleigh,God has led me back to my first love, teaching. I began teaching at GRACE in 2003 and have loved every minute of it.

My high school anatomy class is structured to apply class knowledge to practical applications. The students will be challenged through class work, dissection labs, and class projects. I hope to increase an awareness of various medical field opportunities which students could pursue after high school.

AP Biology provides students with an opportunity to develop a conceptual framework for modern biology, emphasizing applications of biological knowledge and critical thinking to environmental and social concerns. AP Biology is a high school course designed to be the equivalent of a college introductory course usually taken during the first year at colleges and universities across the nation.

I have enjoyed teaching 9th grade Biology where students have the opportunity to experience the details of God's creation. Students will explore photosynthesis, genetics, cell respiration and other components of creation.

Email: ZSmitley@GRACEChristian.net

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Whitney Spencer

English | 6th

This will be my first year teaching at GRACE. I have heard so many wonderful things about this school and I have already felt the effects of this loving community. I choose to teach in a godly environment because I believe that education is more than just imparting knowledge, but equally involves molding a child's character. My desire is not only to see these students develop a love for literature, an understanding of the English language, and a development of strategies to help them throughout their entire academic career, but also to spend time in prayer with them, to be a light for them, and to spark in them a love for godly things. "Whatever fascinates you will guide you, so pray that the only thing that'll fascinate you is God and His marvelous glory." -AW Tozer

I spent most of my youth in a small town in beautiful West Virginia. I received a degree in bible and elementary education from Appalachian Bible College in Beckley, WV. I have also completed several continuing education courses from Concord University. When I am not spending time with my school "kids" I am spending time with my husband, Tyler, and our two little boys, Hunter and Thorin, ages 3 and 18 months. I enjoy a varied array of activities including reading, knitting, cooking, exercising, and volunteering at our church, Apex Baptist. We love calling North Carolina our home and plan to watch our children grow up here.

Email: WSpencer@GRACEChristian.net

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Shari Still

Teacher | 1st

Hello! My name is Shari Still, and I have been teaching first grade at GRACE for eleven years. I absolutely love this age group because they are so eager to learn, and I also love the curriculum because it is exciting to teach! Our 1st graders have plenty of opportunities to explore subject matters through writing, reading, crafts, hands on activities, role play, technology, and field trips. We are blessed to have a SMARTboard in our classroom which really opens up many avenues to approach a particular subject.

GRACE has been a big part of my life and the life of my family for the past seventeen years.  My husband Greg and I have four wonderful children who span the ages of 21 to 28.  Our oldest son and beautiful daughter-in-law are both educators; high school band director and elementary teacher.  Our second son is graduating in December from Texas Tech with a doctorate in saxophone performance.  Our third child, and oldest daughter, will begin her second year of teaching 7th grade language arts this upcoming school year.  Last but not least, our youngest daughter will be a junior at UNC Charlotte this year pursuing a major in Criminal Justice.  Each of our children has been influenced in a beautiful way by attending GRACE, and we have seen those godly influences impact them as they have grown and matured.

As a teacher at GRACE, I view it as a great privilege to teach those students who are given into my care each year. It is my desire and prayer that my students not only come away with a love of learning, but more importantly, a love and passion for who God is and a desire to grow in a relationship with Him.
 

Email: SStill@GRACEChristian.net

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Meagan Stone

Math | 7th-12th

My name is Meagan Stone, and this will be my fifth year teaching math at GRACE. I grew up in Kernersville, NC and attended Wesleyan Christian Academy in High Point. I love and appreciate my teachers there who invested in me and were wonderful, godly role models. Because of the impact Christian teachers had on my life, I developed a passion for Christian education.

After graduating from high school, I attended Wake Forest University and graduated in 2011 with a B.S. in Mathematics and a B.A. in Economics. I then pursued an M.S. in Mathematics at N.C. State University and completed that degree in May 2013. My husband and I got married while I was in graduate school. We've been married for five years, and we currently live in Clayton.

Email: MStone@GRACEChristian.net

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Chris Streit

Facilities Staff | GRACE

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Lisa Suarez

History, Reading & Literature | 5th

My name is Lisa Suarez. This is my 11th year teaching, and my fifth year at GRACE Christian School. I am excited to be teaching History and Reading again this year. My husband, boys and I enjoyed joining the GRACE family four years ago. Our oldest son will be in fourth grade at GRACE and our youngest will be in second grade at GRACE this year! In my free time I enjoy spending time with my family, hiking, and baking. I know God has amazing things in store for this upcoming school year!

Email: LSuarez@GRACEChristian.net

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Julia Taylor

Academic Dean | GRACE

Welcome to GRACE Christian School! I am privileged to serve as the TK-12 Academic Dean for the 2017-2018 school year. I previously served on the GRACE administrative team from 2008-2013 as the K-12 curriculum director, and as the TK-6 assistant principal from 2013-2017. It is a blessing to be a part of such an incredible school ministry!

I earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and Law and Society from the University of California, Riverside in 1995, and my California Teaching Credential and Master's in Education with an emphasis in Curriculum and Instruction from Azusa Pacific University (Azusa, CA) in 1999. I hold a current All Levels Principal Certification with the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI), and have served as an accreditation external team member several times for both ACSI and AdvancED.

Prior to coming to North Carolina, I taught elementary school for eight years in California public and Christian schools, and worked for three years as a K-8 assistant principal at Capistrano Valley Christian Schools in San Juan Capistrano, CA. In addition to the school setting, I have also had the privilege of writing curriculum for online learning instruction with e-learning for Kids, a non-profit e-learning company that provides free education to children worldwide.

My family and I relocated to North Carolina from Southern California in the fall of 2007. My husband, Brian, and I have been married for eighteen years and have been blessed with three wonderful children, Ava (8th grade), Hannah (5th grade) and Zachary (1st grade). We are church members at The Summit Church, Brier Creek campus.

I am looking forward to a fantastic school year as our students grow academically and spiritually! My personal theme verse is Jeremiah 29:11: "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Email: JTaylor@GRACEChristian.net

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Debbie Taylor

Assistant | 3rd Grade

Hi, my name is Debbie Taylor and I am the 3rd grade assistant for Mrs. Hare and the Art assistant for Mrs Boyd. My family moved to Raleigh in 2001. I was a substitute that first year in my son's class and then I was a kindergarten assistant for 14 years. This past year I moved upstairs to 3rd grade.  We love the Raleigh area and our family here at GRACE. I have been married to my husband Mike for 28 years and we have 3 beautiful children that have attended GRACE. Britney graduated from ECU, Mariah graduated from NCSU, and Michael Jr. is a Senior playing basketball at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Virginia. I love working with your children and working here at GRACE.

Email: DebTaylor@GRACEChristian.net

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Devin Terris

Athletic Director | GRACE

This will be my sixth year at GRACE Christian School. I am looking forward to leading our athletics program for both high school and middle school as GRACE's Athletic Director. My prayer is that we would be an athletics program that would fulfill our GRACE mission statement to equip, challenge, and inspire students to impact their world for Christ. Athletics serve as a vital role in equipping students for life and I am very thankful to be a part of this role in the GRACE community. 

I grew up in Shepherdstown, West Virginia and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in secondary education physical education & health K-12 from Shepherd University . This will be my seventh year in Christian Education and my fifth year as Athletic Director. I enjoy studying God's Word, discipleship, basketball pickup games, reading, playing the acoustic guitar, and humbled to serve as Deacon of Music at Redeemer Community Church in Fuquay-Varina. I love spending time with my wonderful wife Brittany of 7 years and our two boys, Zayin and Ezra.

Acts 20:24 - But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.

Email: DTerris@GRACEChristian.net

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Nicole Thomas

Math | 7th-12th

Hello! My name is Nicole Thomas and I'm a North Carolina native! I grew up here in Cary, NC. I attended NC State University where I fell in love with math and teaching. In 2010, I graduated with a B.S. in Math Education and then briefly taught at a Southeast Raleigh High School before God called me to teach at GRACE. My husband Michael and I have been married for four years and live in Wake Forest with our beautiful daughter, Meredith, and our two dogs, Nash and Bella. I can hardly believe this will be my sixth year at GRACE! It has been a huge blessing to be a part of this school and I'm looking forward to what this new year has in store!

Email: NThomas@GRACEChristian.net

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Kathie Thompson

Principal | K-6 Campus

I am proud to say that I am a North Carolinian by birth.  I was born and grew up in Elon College, now called “Elon” since the college reached university status.  I was blessed with Christian parents and a strong extended family.  My brother Terry, is a pastor.   One of the greatest testimonies to my parents’ influence and guidance is the fact that both my brother and I are involved in full-time ministry.

I attended elementary, junior high and high school in Alamance County and graduated from Western Alamance High School in 1970.  I graduated from the University of North Carolina in Greensboro in 1974 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Education.  I later returned to school for courses in Elementary Education at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

I have had the privilege of being involved in Christian education for over thirty years.  I have been involved in various Christian school organizations and have taught a number of workshops at teacher conferences.  During my years in Christian education, I have taught kindergarten through sixth grade, served as elementary school principal, assistant principal, and principal.  I now serve as the kindergarten through sixth grade principal at GRACE and am responsible for the daily operations of our kindergarten through sixth grade campus. I taught at GRACE when it was Mount Olivet Christian School and have served as assistant, elementary or K-6 principal since 1996.  My entire adult life has been devoted to children, both in schools and churches.  I believe very strongly in the partnership between parents, churches and Christian schools.

My husband G.W. (sometimes called Great and Wonderful) and I have been married for 42 years.  We moved to Raleigh in 1985 and thoroughly enjoy the area.

One of my greatest joys in life was becoming a mother.  My beautiful daughter, Krista, and her husband live in Greensboro.  They have given me the privilege of being called “Grandma” by blessing me with two beautiful grandchildren.  Isaiah is 10 years old and will be in fifth grade this year.  He enjoys sports and building things with "PawPaw."  Jayden is six years old and will be entering first grade in the fall. She loves to sing, dance, and follow her brother. Both Isaiah and Jayden are delightful children who live life to its fullest.  We love reading books together and making pancakes for breakfast!   I often tell folks that having these two around is the greatest stress relief in the world.  God is so good!

My husband and I are actively involved members at North Haven Church in Raleigh.  I teach first and second graders and serve on the missions committee, and on the leadership team for our Child Development Center.   I also co-direct a summer camp for children in foster care through our church’s Royal Family Kids' ™, (www.rfkc.org), a ministry to abused and neglected children. One of my passions in life is ministry to orphans and at-risk children.  My husband and I often take mission trips to South Africa to work with children and youth in partnership with Reaching a Generation.  (www.rag-us.org)

I love to read and travel and enjoy music and herb gardening. I enjoy spending time with my family, whether it’s at our annual week at the beach or cheering on our North Carolina Tar Heels! It is a privilege to serve at GRACE. God has blessed our school over the years in so many ways.

Among the greatest of those blessings are the people that make up the GRACE community. It is exciting to see the many ways our teachers, students, and families are impacting the world for Jesus Christ.

Email: KThompson@GRACEChristian.net

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Greg Thorne

Engineering Strategy Games | 6th-12th

Strategy board games have been a private passion of mine since 1996. I thank Mr. Edwards for starting the Engineering Strategy Board game course at GRACE, and I am pleased to take over his middle and high school classes. I believe that modern board games can offer so many direct and indirect learning opportunities to our students.

I grew up in the Chicago area, and was fortunate enough to be a part of seeing Willow Creek Community Church grow. God drew me to Taylor University where I earned my bachelor's degree in computer science and I achieved my master's degree in computer vision at DePaul University.

Currently, I am working full-time for SAS as a computer programmer, and my wife, Cindilee, is active on the GRACE PTF. Our family has been a part of the GRACE community since 2007; our son Trek is in 10th grade and Levi is in 8th.

Email: GThorne@GRACEChristian.net

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Emily Tischer

Teacher | Transitional Kindergarten

My name is Emily Tischer and I am the Transitional Kindergarten teacher at GRACE Christian School. This is the fourth year of the TK program and I am thrilled to have another successful year with some amazing kiddos!

My family and I relocated to Cary from Minneapolis, MN in 2014. I received degrees in Communication and Elementary Education from The University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN and a Master's Degree in Education from St. Mary's University in Minneapolis. I spent 14 years teaching first grade in MN and feel very blessed to continue teaching in North Carolina. My husband and I have two children who attend GRACE.

Transitional Kindergarten students will begin their road of learning in our classroom and I am forever grateful that God has chosen me to be part of their journey.

"I will let them be little,
fill their hearts with laughter,
nurture their sense of wonder,
encourage them to dream,
inspire them to believe,
and LOVE them like there's no tomorrow."

Email: ETischer@GRACEChristian.net

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Pat Trussell

Administrative Assistant | TK-6TH Campus

I have been a member of the GRACE family for 22 years.  Currently, I serve as an Administrative Assistant on the TK-6th Grade Campus. 

Although my duties have been many and varied through the years, my favorite is 'mothering' our students, faculty, and staff.  I love watching our children grow from 'babies' in kindergarten to high school graduates equipped to step out into the world.  I count it a blessing to be a member of our special GRACE family!

Email: PTrussell@GRACEChristian.net

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Beth Vanderkin

Bible | 12th

Raised in the village of Brandon, Wisconsin I fell in love with history (and my future husband) in high school. I graduated from Trinity International University in Chicago with a BA in history and secondary education. For my husband's career in 2005, we moved and left behind deep dish pizza to sip sweet tea in Raleigh. Along the way, the Lord blessed us with four amazing children and most recently a wonderful son-in-law. Three of our children, who are all now alums, started attending Grace in 2009, and the following year I began substitute teaching. Before I knew it, God led me to teach history and Bible at GRACE. Samuel, our youngest son, began attending GRACE as well and is in 8th grade.

In the fall of 2014, I had to take an abrupt leave of absence...healthy on Friday, but diagnosed with cancer on Saturday! Daily we rely on our faith in the Lord to give us strength and the wisdom of the doctors at Duke. For 2 years I've been battling non-Hodgkin's lymphoma with aggressive treatment including chemotherapy, radiation and a stem cell transplant. I could not have endured everything I've been through without the love, prayers and support of my family, friends and the GRACE community. Although I am still undergoing treatment, I am so thankful for the opportunity to teach Senior Worldview again. In my classroom I look forward to lively discussions about God's Word, the world we live in and the choices we make. It is a privilege to walk with the seniors as they navigate this exciting final year of high school!

1 Thessalonians 5:15-18
"Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus."

Email: BVanderkin@GRACEChristian.net

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Susan Walker

Library Teacher | TK-3rd

Hello, my name is Susan Walker. You will see me at Station 1 in the morning on the lower campus waving at you as you go through the carpool line. I have the wonderful privilege to conduct library lessons for TK-3 grades.  It is a joy to help GRACE students read with confidence and success.   During our Open House tours, I  tell prospective families about the great learning experiences going on here at GRACE and what a wonderful community we have. 

My family has been part of this community for nearly 17 years.  My husband, Will and I have been married for 23 years.  Our three sons have grown up at GRACE.  Conner (Class of 2015)  is a Junior at NCSU studying Industrial Systems Engineering with a minor in Business. Go Pack!  Colin (Class of 2017) is studying Engineering at Clemson University.  Go Tigers!  Cameron (Class of 2019) is a Junior will be wearing #47 on his GRACE football jersey.  Go Eagles!  We have much to cheer about!  On Sundays, you will find us at Summit Blue Ridge campus where we worship and serve.

It is a tremendous blessing to be a parent & teacher at GRACE where we love God, love others, and build community as we learn together.

Email: SWalker@GRACEChristian.net

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Anna Walters

Math | 6th

My name is Anna Walters and I am thrilled to be part of the GRACE family!

I received my BS in Mathematics at Meredith College in 1999 as well as a North Carolina Teaching License. My first 7 years of teaching were spent in the public schools, first at Athens Drive here in Raleigh and then at Havelock High School in Havelock, NC. My husband Tim and I were married in 2002 and in 2006 our family started to grow. Our oldest son Ty is in sixth grade and Ben is in fifthgrade at GRACE, and Paige is in fourth grade at Morrisville Elementary. This is my sixth year at GRACE and my 13th year as a teacher. Tim is a realtor with Fonville Morisey and our church family is The Bridge Community Church in Morrisville.

I look forward to another great year with the sixth graders at GRACE.

 

Email: AWalters@GRACEChristian.net

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Elizabeth Walters

Art | 7th-12th

I am excited to be teaching middle and high school art at GRACE Christian School again this year. God called me to GRACE in January of 2010, and I am so glad that I listened to Him. I love teaching art at GRACE! I love the school and my students!

Originally from Birmingham, Alabama, I came to North Carolina for my first undergraduate degree in art from Wake Forest University. After college, I returned to Alabama and worked for an advertising firm as a graphic designer. I later started my own design company creating murals and custom art for commercial and residential interiors. At the time, I had art gallery representation in six states throughout the Southeast. After years of working as an artist, I returned to college and received another undergraduate degree from Auburn University's College of Architecture and a Master's Degree in Industrial Design. I worked for many years as a carpet designer in new product development. I was also busy teaching art on the side. I have taught many art classes throughout my life, but teaching art at GRACE has been my favorite position.

My role as a Christian art teacher is to guide my students so that they may develop their own unique spiritual gifts for the glory of God. I strive to provide the information, tools, and structure necessary to inspire independent discovery and life-long learning. I have experience designing a broad range of products, including carpet, ceramics, websites, clock faces, murals, magazine spreads, advertising, furniture, and children's book illustrations. I hope to bring this broad knowledge of different mediums to the students, offering them the opportunity to try different creative processes. Every student has been given talents, opportunities, and blessings from God. Everyone has his or her own uniquely important role. Art can be a wonderful vehicle for students to explore their own uniqueness. I strive to help my students accept their own God-given individuality and celebrate it rather than hiding within the crowd. The art classroom can be an excellent place for students to express their emotions, learn to solve problems, and explore within a Christian environment.

Email: EWalters@GRACEChristian.net

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Paula Welch

Spanish | 8th-12th

Hola! My name is Paula Welch. I am a Carolina girl who has lived in different places, but has finally returned to the Carolinas. I was born and raised in SC, then went to college in Virginia, where I met my husband, Larry, who is a native of Southern California. After our marriage, we began preparing for a cross cultural ministry that led us to the Republic of Panama in 1985. We worked with an indigenous group on the Northwest Coast of Panama as church planters and are blessed to keep in touch with believers from that area. We love returning to visit there when possible.

Along the way, we were blessed with three daughters, Amanda, Laura and Tiffany. Amanda is married to John and they live and work in Southern California. Laura lives and works in Southern California. Tiffany is married to Sterling and they live in Quantico, VA. They are parents to our granddaughters, Ariana, and Annalise. We are proud of them and cherish times spent with our growing family.

After two decades in Panama, God led us back to California, where I became involved in Christian Education. I received my teaching certification from ACSI and am certified to teach AP Spanish by the College Board. I have loved being involved in the lives of students in a way that challenges them not only academically, but also spiritually. One of my goals in teaching is to encourage students to know God and His written Word better and to make Him known to others in a way that is relevant culturally and linguistically.

After nine years in California, God stirred our hearts to relocate to NC. God definitely led me to GRACE and it is a blessing to be part of the wonderful and encouraging Grace family. I look forward to teaching High School Spanish here and developing long term relationships with the students and families that God brings into my life.

Email: PWelch@GRACEChristian.net

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Isaiah Whelpley

Assistant Principal | Crossroads Campus

My name is Isaiah Whelpley and this will be my seventh year at GRACE.  My first role here was as a substitute teacher, which lead to a full-time teaching position.  As a Bible teacher, I had a passion for the spiritual life of our campus and began partnering and eventually leading our weekly chapel program.  I moved into the 7-12 Assistant Principal position in the 2013-2014 school year.  With each opportunity, I have seen God’s hand at work and believe that GRACE has been the most influential place in my employment history because of the administration, staff and faculty, the families, and of course the students! In addition to being the Assistant Principal, I also have the privilege to lead and organize our missions trips.

I received my Bachelor of Arts in Biblical Studies and taught at Southlands Christian Schools in Walnut, California from 2005 to 2009. I am currently working towards my Masters in Administration and Supervision at Liberty University.

My wife, Kat, and I sensed God calling us from sunny southern California to green North Carolina to help with a church plant. We have a son, Zeke, who is two and a half.  We are currently in the middle of an international adoption from South Africa.  We hope to have all the paperwork completed by December which would put us in the official waiting category.  We have so appreciated the love and support of the GRACE community in this process.

Early on, we knew God would provide jobs for us and have been incredibly encouraged and blessed by the GRACE community! I am looking forward to challenging, discipling, and praying for the students. My greatest desire is for the GRACE students and their families to have a radical revelation of God's life-altering love, grace, and justice!

Please feel free to contact me throughout the year if a need should arise. Email is my preferred mode of communication.

Email: IWhelpley@GRACEChristian.net

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Marcia Wingerd

English | 8th-12th

My name is Marcia Wingerd, and this is my fourth year teaching English at GRACE. I have a B.A. in English-Communications from Trinity International University and 20 years of experience as a technical writer and editor. I have a passion for helping people improve their writing, whether they are writing books, developing business plans, composing memoirs, or writing research papers. I believe that God has given me the ability to come alongside others and help them communicate their ideas.

Being a teacher at GRACE also gives me the opportunity to delve into another one of my passions: reading.  While I love to kick back and just read a book for fun, I also enjoy reading literature with my students. I love helping them see the writers’ craft in each work, encouraging them to think about the ideas expressed by the authors, and discussing these ideas from a biblical perspective.

I especially enjoy teaching at GRACE because I have the opportunity to disciple students and encourage them in their walk with the Lord. I get to be a part of the loving community that GRACE is known for, contributing to it and benefiting from it as a parent and a teacher.

My husband, Byron, and I have been married for 24 years, and we have three children. Emma graduated from GRACE in May and is a freshman at Appalachian State University. Caroline and Lauren attend GRACE and are in the 8th and 5th grades respectively. I enjoy playing strategy games, walking and hiking, cooking with fresh ingredients from the farmer’s market, and spending time with friends. My favorite places are those that I have enjoyed with my family:  the Colorado mountains, the  California coast, Mackinac Island (Michigan), and beautiful lakes in New Hampshire and Maine.

Email: MWingerd@GRACEChristian.net

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Kirsten Wray

Band, Music Appreciation | 4th-12th

Welcome to the 2016-2017 school year!  I have had eleven wonderful years as the Band Director at GRACE, and I am excited about beginning year twelve. I am also looking forward to my third year of Music Appreciation.

I attended East Carolina University where I received a Bachelor of Music in Music Education. Flute is my main instrument, and I play piano for the elementary chorus at GRACE.

My husband, Brian, and I have been married for 17 years. We both grew up right here in Wake County. We are blessed to be surrounded by so much of our family. Our daughter, Isabella, is in 7th grade. She loves GRACE as much as I do!  We love to travel, and attend The Point Church in Apex.

Have a blessed year!

Email: KWray@GRACEChristian.net

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Melinda Wright

Member | GRACE Board of Trustees

Melinda Wright is the proud parent of two children at GRACE Christian School: Noah and Eden Wright and an older daughter, Zahra Wright, who will graduate 2017.  She is married to Charles Wright and resides in Raleigh, North Carolina.  Melinda has had a long career in education and it is her heart’s passion.

After graduating form Cornell University with a Bachelors in Africana Studies,  Melinda joined Teach For America in 1994.  During her tenure as a corps member, she taught in the South Bronx and Washington Heights for three years.  After completing her corps commitment, Melinda worked with a variety of non-profit and for profit educational organizations before heading to George Washington University law school.  While at GWU she attained her Juris Doctorate as well as her Masters in History (African-American Studies) and Public Policy (Education).  She spent her second summer of law school studying International Human Rights Law at Oxford University, an experience which deepened her interest in human rights and passion for traveling.  Immediately following law school, Melinda seized the opportunity to serve as the Head Coach of Howard University’s women’s lacrosse team, which was the only Division I team at a historically Black University.  After coaching at Howard, Melinda worked in the Human Resources office of District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS).  Following her time at DCPS, Melinda worked at Westminster School as the Director of Diversity, an Associate Director of Admissions and Director of Student Life.  Melinda then returned to Teach For America for five years where she served in a variety of roles, most recently as a Senior Vice President of  Alumni Diversity and Regional Alumni Support.  In August of 2016,  she joined the education team at the Walton Family Foundation where she will help manage a diverse portfolio of state and local grantees along with a few national grantees.  She is excited about bringing her education background to the GRACE board and grateful for the opportunity.

Contact Melinda Wright at MWright@GRACEChristian.net

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Megan Yabani

Teacher | 1st

Hi! I'm Megan Yabani, and I am one of the first grade teachers here at GRACE.

It is my fifth year here in 1st grade and I am SO happy my job is my passion! I went to school in Michigan and after teaching Kindergarten the Lord brought me here to North Carolina. I am so THANKFUL He did! I met my husband here and we have been married for 3 years. In my free time, I enjoy playing volleyball and looking up Pinterest ideas for the classroom.

My mission in teaching is to empower students to be CREATIVE, challenge them to think outside the box, and to provide a HUNGER for learning. My favorite parts of the day include guided math and guided reading! The students have an opportunity to choose activities that ENGAGE their minds and also have the chance to work alongside others to solve problems. What a blast it is! I am excited for another year to begin, where we can experience more laughter, joy, and adventure together as a family.

I hold my students to high expectations because I KNOW that they are capable of meeting them. I continually remind them: Don’t be afraid to shoot for the moon. You just might miss and hit the stars.

Email: MYabani@GRACEChristian.net