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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 ten 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 26 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 graduate of College of Charleston and our son, David, is currently a senior 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

Science | 3rd-5th

Hello! My name is Crystal Barker. This is my 16th year of teaching, and I am very excited to start my 5th year at GRACE.  I love the Christ-centered atmosphere at GRACE Christian School. I have the privilege of teaching 3rd through 5th grade science as we explore and engage in God’s amazing creation. It is a blessing to share God’s Word daily with 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.

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Debra Barkett

Bible | Upper Campus

I have been teaching at GRACE for over 10 years, and I love serving in this ministry. I lived in Clayton for 23 years, but made a more recent move to Holly Springs. I was born and raised in Miami, Florida, and have lived in Springfield, Missouri; St. Louis, Missouri; attended college in Indiana (near Chicago) where I worked with Chicago gang kids for eight years; and lived in the north Florida and south Georgia area doing youth ministry work.

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 | 7th-12th Campus

It is a privilege and an honor to be returning to GRACE for my 14th 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 29 years, and we have two terrific kids. Our son Alex graduated from GRACE in 2011 and graduated from UNC-Charlotte in 2015.  Our daughter, Ashtyn, graduated from GRACE in 2013 and graduated from Meredith College in 2017. 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

To learn more about Penny, read her March 6, 2018 Staff Spotlight.

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Rion Bell

Bible & History | Upper Campus

My name is Rion Bell and I am so thankful to be part of the GRACE Christian School family for my fifth 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 14 years. I recently served for several years as Youth Pastor at Treasuring Christ Church in downtown Raleigh.

Email: RBell@GRACEChristian.net

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Emily Benson

Teacher | 2nd Grade

I am so thankful to God for providing the blessing to teach at GRACE! GRACE has held a special place in my heart for a long time, because I went to school here from 2nd to 7th grade. At GRACE, God did a huge work in my heart by developing a passion in me to become a teacher. I was blessed to have engaging and innovative learning experiences that helped me gain a love for learning while I was here during my childhood. I desire to give back to students the same experiences I had in my education. By God's goodness, He has allowed this dream of mine to become a reality. 

I was born in Georgia, but I have lived in North Carolina for most of my life. I went to school at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and received my Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education with a minor in Sociology. I also was on the cross-county and track team at UNC-G. Since graduation, I have taught in both Georgia and North Carolina. I have taught 2nd, 3rd, and 5th grade. This August I will begin my seventh year teaching and my first at GRACE.

Currently, I live in Cary, NC with my husband, and we work with college and international students at our church. We both are so excited for God providing the opportunity for me to teach at GRACE! 

email: EBenson@GRACEChristian.net

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Mark Bianchi

Computer Science | Upper Campus

Hello. My name is Mark Bianchi and this will be my third year at GRACE. I am a member of the IT team providing support and teaching Computer Science courses. 

I have been married to my wife Sissy for 26 years. We have two boys, Chris and Alex. Chris will be a senior at ECU in Greenville, N.C. this Fall. Alex attends UNC at Chapel Hill, N.C. and will be a senior this Fall.

I was born in Schenectady, New York, and after high school I attended Hudson Valley Community College, in Troy, New York. I completed my Associate’s degree in Electrical Technology and was offered a position at IBM Poughkeepsie, New York, as a test technician. A few years later I attended Marist College in Poughkeepsie where I completed my Bachelor's degree in Computer Science.

I transferred to IBM East Fishkill, New York, in 1996. At East Fishkill I was a software engineer in 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. IBM sold System X to Lenovo and in January 2015 I accepted a voluntary package to leave Lenovo.  

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. I am excited to work along side the staff here at GRACE. My goal is to share all that I have gained from working in the computer industry to the students 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 and am so blessed to be starting my fourth year working with the kindergarten class!

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 almost 19 years and our time together is only made sweeter by the fun chaos that comes with the blessing of four girls.  Our daughters, Hannah (10th grade), Payton (8th grade), Taylor (5th grade), and Avery (3rd 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 and love seeing my old friends come by to visit with lots of hugs!

Email: CBillings@GRACEChristian.net

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Patrick Bizieff

History | Upper Campus

My name is Patrick Bizieff and I am excited to return to GRACE Christian School this year to teach history. In the classroom, we will discuss how we as Christians should interpret the events around us from a biblical perspective.

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 year at GRACE, I am looking forward to discussing modern political and historical events with your student and working with the varsity soccer team. Go Eagles!

Email: PBizieff@GRACEChristian.net

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Courtnae Blount

Math & Science | 6th

My name is Courtnae Blount and I am excited to return to GRACE! I teach 6th grade math and science and love every minute of it! I have a wonderful husband, three awesome 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

Science | Upper Campus

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 Virginia, as well as from ACSI.

I live in north Raleigh with my husband Matt, our dog Snickers and our guinea pig Maggie. Our first baby arrived in August 2018! Teaching inquiry-based science is my passion and I look forward to teaching at GRACE for many years to come!

Email: JBomgardner@GRACEChristian.net

To learn more about Jenny, read her March 20, 2018 Staff Spotlight.

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Jonah Bookman

History & Bible | Upper Campus

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 love teaching U.S. history, 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

To learn more about Jonah, read his April 24, 0218 Staff Spotlight.

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Suzanne Boutwell

Hot Lunch | Upper Campus

I am so excited to be joining the GRACE staff this year serving as the upper campus hot lunch coordinator. My family has been blessed to be part of the GRACE community since 2010 and, as a parent volunteer, I have enjoyed serving as a hot lunch volunteer, chaperone, room parent, team parent, and scorekeeper for volleyball.  My husband, Keith, has enjoyed coaching at GRACE for the past eight years and is currently the varsity football coach. 

I was born and raised in Smithfield, NC and attended East Carolina University where I received a Bachelor's Degree in Dance Education. I then completed a degree in Elementary Education at Campbell University and taught kindergarten and first grade in the Wake County Public School System until becoming a stay at home mom. 

Keith and I have been married for almost 19 years and have been blessed with a beautiful daughter, Megan, who is a senior this year at GRACE.  The three of us live in Cary along with our schnoodles Coco and Charlie.  

email: SBoutwell@GRACEChristian.net

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Merrily Boyd

Art | Lower Campus

My name is Merrily Boyd, and I am excited to be back for another year of teaching TK-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 at Crabtree Valley Mall, to name a few.

I look forward to another great year of art class!

Email: MBoyd@GRACEChristian.net

Learn more about Merrily in the October 24, 2017 Staff Spotlight

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Eric Bradley

Head of School | GRACE

The 2018-19 school year marks Eric Bradley's third year as Head of School at GRACE and his twenty-second year as a Christian school educator.

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 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 Charlotte Christian School. 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 nineteen years and have three children who are students at GRACE – Amelia (10th grade), Thomas (6th grade), and Audrey (4th grade). 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.

Email: EBradley@GRACEChristian.net

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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 8 years I have been blessed with many opportunities to serve 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 27 years and we have 4 children. Our oldest, Maddi, is a graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill and teaches 1st grade in Chapel Hill. Noble graduated from GRACE last year and will attend UNC-Chapel Hill in the fall. Claire (11th grade), and Gabe (5th grade) both attend GRACE and have been very active in art, theater, football, cheerleading, and student council. In 2012, my husband retired from the Navy after 22 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.

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William Brewer

Athletics | Upper Campus

My name is William Brewer and I am excited to be returning to GRACE Christian School to serve in the Athletics Department and as the head Varsity Baseball coach. Athletics have always been a big part of my life and are an amazing platform to display Christ to others. In the words of Billy Graham, “A coach will impact more young people in a year than the average person does in a lifetime.”  I am very thankful to be in such a position at GRACE and am looking forward to another fruitful year full of new opportunities.

I grew up in Raleigh and graduated from Furman University in 2013. While at Furman, I was involved with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes as the High School Outreach leader and played on the baseball and club ultimate frisbee teams. Go Paladins!! After graduating from Furman, I followed God’s call to serve in Christian camping at Camp Willow Run in Littleton, NC for four years. My time spent serving with this ministry instilled in me the words of the apostle John from 3 John 4 where he says, “I have no greater joy than to know that my children are walking in the truth.”

I have a dog named Koda and we enjoy spending time outdoors, all sports (specifically baseball), frisbee, fishing, good music, drinking coffee, and any sort of activity from Spikeball to swing dancing! I attend the Summit Church and have enjoyed serving with the high school student’s ministry there. I am very thankful to have the opportunity to continue impacting the lives of youth in the classroom and on the athletic fields at GRACE. I am excited to be a part of the GRACE community and for what the upcoming year has in store for us all!

Email: WBrewer@GRACEChristian.net

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BJay Brown

Facilities Director | GRACE

BJay is a true handy man and it would be easier to list what he doesn’t do than what he does! He planned and supervised the upstairs renovation on the Upper Campus during the summer of 2016 which first had the whole second floor gutted, before adding two bathrooms, four new classrooms, and a renovated chapel room in what was previously two large meeting rooms.

During the summer of 2017, he planned and supervised the renovation of the former Hope Community Church office spaces on the upper campus, the lower campus bathroom renovation, the upgrades to the fifth and sixth grade areas, and the new HVAC installation.

BJay grew up in upstate New York and has been married to his high school sweetheart, Marlene, for 35 years. If you have time, he is more than happy to tell you about his beautiful and smart granddaughter, Elliana Belle, or the 1973 Plymouth Barracuda he once owned. GRACE is blessed to have a man with BJay’s experience serving our school. Something you might not know about BJay is that he is licensed to shoot fireworks, officially a pyro-technician. BJay’s favorite book of the Bible is Ecclesiastes as the wisdom contained in it fits so many aspects of life.

Email: BJBrown@GRACEChristian.net

Learn more about the Facilities Team by reading the September 5, 2017 Staff Spotlight

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Michael Bryant

Facilities Staff | GRACE

Michael can most often be seen on the upper campus, helping keep everything picked up and clean. During our three lunches, he is a familiar face to our students and enjoys talking with them during their lunch. Last year, the students in one lunch left him speechless (a hard thing to do) by pitching in to buy him a gift on his birthday.

Michael is an avid Atlanta Braves and Carolina Hurricanes fan and enjoys seeing the GRACE family at games and is always the first to volunteer to work security at GRACE events. Michael grew up in Florida and moved to North Carolina in 2008.

Michael’s grandpa was a Navy frogman (Navy SEAL) and was Michael’s role model growing up. Michael has fond memories of camping with his grandpa and considered him his best friend. Michael’s favorite Bible verse is John 3:16, a verse emphasized during his childhood by Michael’s other grandfather, a pastor and missionary.

Email: MBryant@GRACEChristian.net

Learn more about the Facilities Team by reading the September 5, 2017 Staff Spotlight

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Latasha Calvin

Director of College Counseling | GRACE

I am blessed to be able to join the GRACE family as the Director of College Counseling. Prior to coming to GRACE, I served as the Secondary Principal and Director of College Counseling at an international Christian school in Okinawa, Japan.

I grew up in the small town of Mesic, located outside of New Bern, North Carolina. I graduated from Pamlico County High School, then went on to obtain a Bachelors of Science degree in Business Information Systems from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and a Business Education teaching certification from East Carolina University. I also completed a Masters in Educational Leadership from the University of Cincinnati and a Certification in College Counseling from the University of California San Diego. 

I have 18 years of experience as a teacher and administrator in public and private schools in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, California, and Japan.  I was blessed to be able to recently assist my own children with the college process. My daughter, Tia, is in the Honors College at Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tennessee and my son, Samuel, attends Lee University in Cleveland, Tennessee. Both compete on their college track and field teams as sprinters. I enjoy spending time with my husband, Duane Calvin, who is a retired US Marine and pastor. During my free time I enjoy basketball, traveling around the world with my family, and I love all things Disney!

email: LCalvin@GRACEChristian.net

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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 ten years, I have had many roles at GRACE which have included being a room mom, hot lunch volunteer, member of the Communications Committee for PTF, an "all over the place" substitute on the lower campus, and a Kindergarten instructional assistant.

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 became a member of the GRACE family in 2007 when my son started 6th grade and have been on staff since January 2012.

I received dual degrees from the University of Pennsylvania; a B.S. in economics and marketing and B.A. in political science. 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 graduated from Luther College in December, 2017 (a semester early!) 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 serving the local church, and 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 the 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 enjoy teaching my 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, taking swing dance lessons, and visiting family up north in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. 

Email: CColyer@GRACEChristian.net

Learn more about Christi by reading the September 12, 2017 Staff Spotlight

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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 10th grade at GRACE and Margaret, a sophomore 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 as a small 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 | Upper Campus

My name is Nathan Dewey and I am excited to have been at GRACE since 2013. 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 since 2009 and been blessed with four wonderful children.

In early 2013, 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 have been ever since.

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 | Upper Campus

My name is Julianne Donoghue and I am very excited to be returning to GRACE for my second 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 ended.

In my free time, I enjoy spending time with family and friends and traveling to the beach on the weekends. I also enjoy attending a variety of NC State sporting events. Teaching at GRACE is such a blessing. I pray this year that students would be able to grow deeper in their love of the Lord and in their love of others around them.

Luke 10:27 "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and, Love your neighbor as yourself."

Email: JDonoghue@GRACEChristian.net

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Anna Downs

After Care | Lower Campus

Hi! My name is Anna Downs. I will be working in the After Care program at the Lower Campus. I am a sophomore at Wake Technical Community College. I am getting my Associates in Arts and after I graduate, I plan to attend Liberty University and obtain my Bachelor’s degree. I have two wonderful, Godly parents, two brothers, and a sister. I grew up in a Christian home and I am fortunate enough to be a pastor’s kid. When I was 5 years old I became a Christian not knowing what it truly meant, and I never had a real relationship with Christ. At the age of 16, I was at Fort Caswell with my church for a fall retreat and I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior. I can’t wait to be a part of the GRACE Christian School community and I am very excited to get to know and minister to the students and families at GRACE.

As I stated above, I am pastor’s kid. My dad is a music pastor and my family loves music. In my free time I enjoy playing my guitar, spending time with my family, and my wonderful youth group. I enjoy going to coffee shops and spending outdoors relaxing in my hammock.

email: ADowns@GRACEChristian.net

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Anthony Dreesen

Bible & History | 6th

My name is Anthony Dreesen and I am excited to be at GRACE and begin my first year. I am from Lincoln, Nebraska where I studied history for my undergraduate degree at the University of Nebraska.

I have a Master of Theological Studies from Shepherd’s Theological Seminary and recently finished a Master of Divinity, also from Shepherds. While studying for my MDiv, I had the pleasure of substitute teaching at GRACE and cannot wait to teach here full-time. I love history and teaching the Bible, and am excited for the chance to pass this enthusiasm on to students.

My wife and I were married in January 2018 and live in Raleigh where we enjoy watching Husker football, hunting and fishing, and hanging out with our friends and family. 

Email: ADreesen@GRACEChristian.net

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Melanie Dunning

Science & STEM | Upper Campus

My name is Melanie Dunning and I grew up in Cabarrus County, North Carolina. I graduated from N.C. State University in 1997, with degrees in Chemistry and Science Education. I have taught Chemistry, Biology, Earth Science and Physics in Granville and Wake Counties. After  taking several years off from teaching when I had children, I worked as a Teacher Assistant at Briarcliff Elementary where my children attended. For the past 2 years, I have been teaching STEM there, and last year I added elementary and middle grades to my secondary teaching certificate.

I enjoy spending time with my husband and our 2 boys. We love to travel and explore new places. One of my passions is seeing students work together to explore and understand science. I love incorporating technology and project based learning into the classroom. I am excited that God has given me the opportunity to teach Chemistry and STEM this year and am looking forward to my new experiences at GRACE.

email: MDunning@GRACEChristian.net

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Diane Dupre

After Care Director | Lower Campus

Hi, my name is Diane Dupre and I am blessed to be a member of the GRACE family since 2010. I was born and raised in Rochester, New York, and my husband Tom and I have lived in North Carolina for the past eleven 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, New York.

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 were receiving at GRACE.  We were so proud to see our grandson, Matthew walk across the stage this past year to receive his GRACE diploma!

In addition to spending time with my family, I enjoy cooking, exploring local places of interest with my husband, studying the word of God, and fellowshipping with friends! Also, we have fun occasionally leading kids' worship at our church!

I consider it an honor and blessing to be leading our wonderful AfterCare team who are 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 our care.

Email: DDupre@GRACEChristian.net

Diane was featured in an October 10, 2017 Staff Spotlight. Click to read more about Diane, her family and her testimony.

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Vivian Edwards

Accounts Receivable & Payroll 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 | Upper Campus

My journey to teaching started when I was a senior at GRACE. During a missions trip to Costa Rica with Mr. Whelpley & Mrs. Gill, I decided that I wanted to spend my career with kids. After graduating high school, I attended the University of North Carolina at Wilmington where I rekindled my love of nature and earned a bachelor's degree in geology. Teaching Earth Science gives me the opportunity love your students and inspire them to go outside and explore. Coming back to GRACE feels like coming home, and I am honored to be part of this community.

My goal is to teach your students to see themselves as capable scientists. More importantly, I pray that by studying the Lord's creation we may know Him better, as it says in Psalms 111:2 “Great are the works of the Lord, they are studied by all who delight in him."

In my free time you can find me laughing with my family and eating their food, fumbling through do-it-yourself projects with my husband in our house, or hiking/backpacking with my very chubby beagle, Bean.

 

Email: HEichhorst@GRACEChristian.net

Learn more about Hannah by reading the October 2, 2017 Staff Spotlight

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Nathan Ennis

IT Director | GRACE

The 2018-19 school year will be my first year at GRACE as the IT Director. My family and I moved from Charlotte where, for the last six years, I worked at Charlotte Christian School. After growing up in the Triangle, we are excited to be back home and close to family. My wife, Kristen, and I have two wonderful daughters. The oldest one is part of the Transitional Kindergarten class at GRACE this year.
 
Email: NEnnis@GRACEChristian.net
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Daniel Fairchild

Bible | Upper Campus

My name is Daniel Fairchild and I am so thankful to be returning for my fourth 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's Degree with a major in communication studies and 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 in 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 have a 3-year-old girl named Nellie and a golden doodle puppy named Mozzie (named after our favorite tv show). My wife and I are so excited to be puppy parents! We attend The Point Church of Apex where I am the student director. When I am not teaching and ministering to youth, I am a Chaplain in the United States Air Force Reserves. 

Email: DFairchild@GRACEChristian.net

Learn more about Daniel in the November 7, 2017 Staff Spotlight

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Pascale Rivard Fitts

Dean of Students, Director of LEAP | GRACE

I consider it an honor to be a part of the GRACE community, both as a former parent and a staff member. My career as an educator spans over 20 years and over the last 12 years, I have had the privilege of being involved in many aspects of the GRACE educational experience. Currently, I serve as one of the Deans of Students on the Upper Campus where I also am a faculty advisor for Student Council. In these roles, I am able to interact with our students in a variety of settings, getting to know them inside and outside of the classroom. 

In addition to my role as a Dean, I am also the director of our Learning Enrichment and Achievement Program (LEAP). Helping students with learning differences thrive and succeed in their academic pursuits is tremendous blessing as it satisfies my passion for both education and diversity. Prior to my involvement in LEAP, I taught French to middle and high school students. As a native of Québec, Canada, I was delighted to have the opportunity to teach in my native tongue. 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. 

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 daughter graduated from GRACE in 2016, our son graduated in  2018. We are founding members of Trinity Park Church in Morrisville. 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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Audrey Fogle

Strings Elective | 9th-12th

My name is Audrey Fogle. I have been playing the violin for 20 years and have performed in orchestras, symphonies and philharmonics, for just as long. I teach at the Cary School of Music and have taught group and private lessons. I graduated from East Carolina University and took graduate level classes in Suzuki Pedagogy. I also love worship music and have performed with worship teams as well. I am also a GRACE Christian School alumni and look forward to teaching and working with your students.

Email: AFogle@GRACEChristian.net

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Katie Fowler

Learning Specialist | Upper Campus

I am so excited to be at GRACE for the 2018-2019 school year. 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 graduated with my Masters in Educational Psychology, from Ball State University in December of 2017. 

I have worked with children with disabilities of all ages and all diagnoses ranging mild to severe and profound. 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 call the Summit Church at Blue Ridge home. 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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Randy Fox

Facilities Staff | GRACE

Randy joined the GRACE facilities last fall and has been a great addition to the team. His co-workers describe him as a fun-loving guy who is easy to get along with and according to several staff members, Randy is a worthy Words with Friends opponent. After graduating high school, Randy joined the navy as part of the Construction Battalion, better known as the Seabees, and served six years. After leaving the Navy he served in the North Carolina Army National Guard for 18 years where he was a mechanic working on M1 Abrams and M1A1 tanks. During his time in the National Guard, Randy completed his college degree and one of his favorite memories is when he walked across the stage to receive his diploma at the age of 32.

Email: RFox@GRACEChristian.net

Learn more about the Facilities Team by reading the September 5, 2017 Staff Spotlight

 

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Kristin Foxworth-O’Brien

English | Upper Campus

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

To learn more about Kristin, read her May 8, 0218 Staff Spotlight.

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Carol Gehringer

Media Coordinator | Lower Campus

I am excited to be starting my 12th year (2018-2019) 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 28+ 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 current GRACE students: twin daughters in high school, and our son is a former GRACE student. Our family is active at our church, Cary Alliance.

I am an avid reader and a book reviewer for upper elementary, young adult and adult books. You can read my reviews on http://worthy2read.wordpress.com, as well as in Christian Library Journal. Reviewing books allows me to get free copies for our school, saving us about $1000 in book expenses each year. Another bonus, I often get copies of their books before they are published!

I co-teach 4th and 5th Grade Media, as well as 6th Grade Computer Science Fundamentals with Mrs. Hartsfield. We also co-facilitate the 6th grade Girls Who Code and STEM clubs. I also lead book clubs in our 4th, 5th, and 6th grades.

More importantly, I like to encourage reading and learning in children of all ages. 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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Tina Giammetta

After Care | Lower Campus

Hi!  My name is Tina Giammetta and I am so blessed to be joining GRACE Christian and am very much looking forward to being a light in the lives of the children.

I accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior 2 1/2 years ago and was baptized one year later and am a member at Good Hope Baptist Church in Cary.  I love Jesus, my church and my church family and look forward to becoming part of a new family at GRACE Christian.

I moved here from New Jersey 11 years ago where I taught children’s cooking classes and then, after moving to NC, became staff at Southern Season Cooking School in Chapel Hill, where I also had opportunity to teach children’s classes as well.  I love cooking and inviting friends for dinner and do so often.

email: TGiammetta@GRACEChristian.net

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Mandy Gill

Principal | Upper 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 Nursing at UNC Chapel Hill. 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 and is currently completing her Masters in Social Work at NCSU. My daughter, Michelle, graduated from NCSU with a degree in Tourism Management. The girls live together in downtown Raleigh at the Hope House and minister to their neighborhood. Both girls have a passion for working with young people and helping them reach their potential and the calling on their lives.

Although I am in administration now, I enjoy teaching Science and Math at any level. My motivation is to see our students grow in all areas of their lives and to continually build our school into a school of excellence. What a privilege it is 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 at GRACE. We have a wonderful and supportive team of teachers and administrators who love God, love each other, and love your students! We pray that this will be a great year for GRACE and our students.

Email: MGill@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 14th 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

Assistant Principal | Lower Campus

Being a teacher, working with children, and sharing the love of Jesus is my passion.  Watching my own children grow, gave me a deeper understanding of how important these early years are.  The foundation children receive when they are young will be with them all their lives.

My degree is in elementary education from East Tennessee State University. I have twenty-two years of teaching experience, five in public school and the last seventeen at GRACE. I am excited to transition to a new role for the 2018-2019 school year as your Lower Campus Assistant Principal. My extensive classroom experience should be an asset as I work to support our teachers and your students in their educational journey and support GRACE's goal of equipping our students for the life that is ahead of them.

As a teacher it has always given me great joy 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.'" As the Assistant Principal, I look forward to continued opportunities to point our students to Christ in all things. 

I consider it a privilege to be 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 with a firm foundation in Him, ready to serve wherever He calls, being salt and light to those around them.

Email: PGreen@GRACEChristian.net

To learn more about Paula, read her February 20, 2018 Staff Spolight.

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Liesl Grobbelaar

Chapel Worship | Upper Campus

Hi, my name is Liesl and I am excited to be working with the students for Chapel Worship this year.
Worship is one of my passions and I love that our students get the opportunity to worship together every week.
 
I was born & raised in Zimbabwe & emigrated to South Africa at the end of a Civil War. I met my husband, Frikkie, at Bible College in South Africa. Together, we started out in ministry in one of the first multi-racial churches in South Africa, serving as Youth, Missions & Worship Pastors for ten years.
 
We came to the United States in 1994 to start a missions program for a church in Denver, Colorado. We then planted a church in Seattle, Washington and worked in a Christian School in Los Angeles.  We came to North Carolina in 2008 with a small group of friends to plant Freeway Church in Cary, a community we are still loving and leading.
 
We have three kids, Joel, who is married and manages a non-profit, Keliy, who is studying teaching at Meredith College, and Jaden, who will be an 8th grader at GRACE this year. My mom came over from South Africa 6 years ago to live with us as well.
 
My prayer for this year is to see our students grow deeper in their knowledge, understanding, and experience of what it means to truly live a life of worship!!
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Lynn Guerrera

After Care | Lower Campus

Hi, my name is Lynn Guerrera, and I feel so blessed to be part of the GRACE Christian School staff! I have been married to my high school sweetheart for over 28 years. We moved to Cary, NC in 1997 from Long Island, NY, and now live in Apex. We have three wonderful children: two sons, ages 23 and 26, and a daughter, 25. Our daughter was born with autism and has taught our family the meaning of compassion, patience, and a love and trust for God and His plan.

When I moved to North Carolina I was hired at the Taylor Family YMCA (formally known as the Cary Family YMCA) and spent eighteen years working in the preschool as a Lead Teacher, then became the Preschool Director, and then a few years later became the Nursery Coordinator. In the year 2000, I received my Early Childhood Credentials from Wake Technical Community College and received a Leadership Certificate through the YMCA Leadership training school. In addition, I have also completed several additional training courses in areas such as behavior management and health/safety.

I have a true love for children and strive to encourage positive attitudes and interactions, independence, and confidence in my students to help them succeed as they grow. It is my goal to model God’s unconditional love in my classroom and bring the children in my care closer to Him. My desire is to serve the Lord through serving my students and building healthy, spiritual, and loving relationships that seek to honor Him and encourage one another.

One of my many favorite Bible Verses: “Children are a gift from the Lord, they are a reward from him”. Psalms 127:3

Email: LGuerrera@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 & Dance | Both Campuses

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. I am a former student of the Laban Conservatory in London, England, where I studied European Dance Theatre. I was a recipient of the CWKelly award for Movements Studies. 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

To learn more about Jaime, read the January 16, 2018 Staff Spotlight.

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Tomeka Hartsfield

Computer | TK-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 12 years and certified in North Carolina to teach technology/business education courses.  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 19 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

Director of College Counseling | GRACE

I am honored and grateful to have the opportunity to come alongside GRACE 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. We have tailored our program to provide a personal approach to college admissions, with the understanding that each student is uniquely gifted and inspired as they graduate from our school and move on to college and careers.

I grew up in upstate New York and the Washington DC area, but have lived in North Carolina since 1992.  I have a Masters from Duke University and a BS from Allegheny College. My work experience includes positions 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. However, it was while serving as an Alumni Admissions Applicant Interviewer for Duke University, and participating in the college admission process with our own children, that I went back to school once more, 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 also avid football and basketball fans, and we enjoy taking any opportunity to fill our house with fellowship and music.

email: LHawkes@GRACEChristian.net

Learn more about Lynne in the November 28, 2017 Staff Spotlight

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Beth Hawks

Science | Upper Campus

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

Learn more about Beth in the December 12, 2017 Staff Spotlight

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Dr. Karri Hawley

Guidance Counselor | GRACE

I am thrilled to be joining GRACE this year as the school counselor and establishing the guidance program. I have been a part of the GRACE community as a parent for the last 5 years and I know firsthand what a special place it is.  I am excited to use my experience in counseling and human development to come alongside our kids and to help create a healthy school environment in which they can learn and grow. 

My background is in counseling and psychology; I have a master’s degree in counseling and my PhD is in Developmental Psychology from Louisiana State University. I have worked in a variety of settings with students and families including schools, hospitals, and individual counseling centers. For the last nine years I have been online faculty and a subject matter expert at Liberty University in the department of Psychology. Throughout all my professional positions, one of my biggest joys is mentoring and encouraging students. I have missed this face-to-face interaction with students, so when the opportunity at GRACE became available I knew this was where I was called to be.

I have been married to my husband Robert for 22 years. We have three children that attend GRACE; Avery, Alex and Walker. We are members of Hope Community Church and I have served in a variety of roles, primarily in children’s ministry. We relocated to North Carolina six years ago and just love the area!  My husband and I both grew up in Florida and we have lived all over the South, with one stop in the Northeast. I love spending time with my family, traveling, and am always up for a good cup of coffee! My entire family are avid college sports fans - both the SEC and ACC are represented in our home - Geaux Tigers and Noles!  Looking forward to a wonderful school year and all that God has in store for us as a school community!

email: KHawley@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 | Lower 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, one who recently graduated from Grace and three who still attend.  When I'm not at work you will probably find me at one of my children's many activities such as a football game, track meet or theater production.  I also enjoy running, sewing and spending time with my family or relaxing on my back porch. 

Email: MHendges@GRACEChristian.net

To learn more about Melissa, read her March 13, 2018 Staff Spotlight.

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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 nine 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.  He is now ministering through a mentoring network called Xcel.  We have five boys, all who attend GRACE, Asher (9th), Caleb (7th), Nate (5th), Judah (4th), and Maddox (2nd).

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 | Lower Campus

Hi, my name is Lindsey Hignite and I've been at GRACE three years. I am the LEAP Instructor for the Lower Campus. I love that we have a God who creates all different types of people with their own unique strengths and weaknesses.  Teaching my students to overcome their learning differences and discover their God-given strengths is a joy that I embrace!  

I was privileged to grow up in the beautiful mountains of North Carolina and a 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 now have three SUPER amazing kids!  I was a stay at home mom for over 15 years until God called me back into teaching.

The Bible verse that I cling to and have called my own is Psalm 46:10,  Be still, and know that I am God.

Email: LHignite@GRACEChristian.net

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Zoai Hines

After Care | Lower Campus

Hi everyone! My name is Zoai Hines. I am a sophomore at Wake Technical Community College and am majoring in Early Childhood Education. I have two great parents and three wild and loving sisters, so I am always prepared for anything. I have grown up in church. I accepted Christ when I was 10 years old and was baptized by my grandfather who is a preacher, which makes that day extra special. I have loved working as a counselor at camp Chestnut Ridge for the past three summers and volunteering with Vacation Bible School at my church. I am excited to be a part of the GRACE Christian School community and am looking forward to getting to know and help encourage the young students in the aftercare program.

I love the outdoors and in my free time I enjoy hiking, camping, playing sports, running, going to the beach, listening to music, and going to concerts. I am so happy to be  joining in what God is doing at GRACE Christian School! GO EAGLES!

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Donna Howard

English | Upper Campus

I came to GRACE as a parent seeking purposeful education for my children. Now in my fourteenth year, I teach AP English Literature and AP English Language and serve as Head of the English Department. While teaching allows for imparting knowledge, building skills, and continual learning, I love the process in Christian education as we educate the whole child both intellectually and spiritually. My goal is to guide students to understand the privilege, value, and responsibility in learning while considering the biblical implications of knowledge. 

When not in my classroom, I love being with my husband and our adult 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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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. My family has been a part of GRACE since 2003. I have been married to my husband for 29 years and we have two sons who are both GRACE graduates (2014 and 2017). Our oldest just graduated from Charleston Southern University and our youngest is a sophomore at UNC Charlotte. Most of the time you can find me reading, cross-stitching, or attending baseball games! 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

To learn more about Mary Claudia, read her February 6, 2018 Staff Spotlight.

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Paul Hutton

Facilities Staff | GRACE

Paul may not love painting, but seeing Paul with a paintbrush in his hand is a common site at GRACE, especially during the summer. Paul is likely one of the few people that knows the “paint name” of every color on every wall at GRACE! Paul has played a huge role in keeping the athletic field neat and tidy as well as clearing out the “grassy” are near the parking lot of tree stumps, poison ivy, etc. Paul attends Hope Community Church where he volunteers on the security team. Paul enjoys running, hiking, and kayaking.

Email: PHutton@GRACEChristian.net

Learn more about the Facilities Team by reading the September 5, 2017 Staff Spotlight

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Dr. Ben Inman

Latin | Upper Campus

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 29 years, have 4 children.

Email: BInman@GRACEChristian.net

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Laura Jacobs

English | Upper Campus

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

Learn more about Laura by reading the August 29, 2017 Staff Spotlight

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Sarah Jarvis

Assistant | 2nd Grade

Hi! Welcome to the GRACE community. My name is Sarah Jarvis and I have the privilege of being a 2nd Grade Assistant Teacher.  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 2nd graders!! May God richly bless this year as we pursue Him and learn lots!!

Email: SJarvis@GRACEChristian.net

Learn more about Sarah by reading the September 26, 2017 Staff Spotlight

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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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Kathleen Huggins Johnson

Transportation Coordinator | GRACE

I'm Kathleen Huggins Johnson and am one of the few Raleigh natives around! We 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 12th and 6th grades and truly love being a part of the GRACE community.

I started working at Grace in 2011 with the After Care program and over the years have transitioned to the Accounting Department as well as 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 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 teach 3rd/4th/5th grade girls' missions at 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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Ellen Kaehler

Chorus | Both

Hello. My name is Ellen Kaehler and I am excited to be returning to GRACE for my twenty-first 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 third 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 nineteen 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 with minors in both English and Child Psychology 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 sixteen years and after moving around from Lynchburg, Virginia, Manassas, Virginia, and Northwest Cary, have settled in Apex with our three children; Miller (10 years old), Ellie (8 years old), and Thaxton (6 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 two years ago and am excited for another amazing year! I am truly honored to be a part of the GRACE faculty.

Email:MiKaluka@GRACEChristian.net

To learn more about Miranda, read her May 1, 0218 Staff Spotlight.

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Heather Kinrade

Hot Lunch | Lower Campus

Hello, my name is Heather Kinrade and I have had the pleasure of working with the TK-6 students since 2014 with the Hot Lunch Program, first as the assistant and now as the Food Services Director.  I cannot explain the joy I get out of seeing all these smiling faces each day at lunch! I get the pleasure of sharing jokes, hugs, and encouraging kids to try new foods. I also love going to the upper campus and seeing the sweet little faces having grown into teenagers taller than me!  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.  I’ve had the pleasure of serving as a volunteer, room parent, member of the PTF, and 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!

I obtained my Bachelor’s in Business Administration from Meredith College in 2001 and am ServSafe certified through the National Restaurant Association in accordance with Wake County Environmental Health & Safety Division requirements.  We attend Aversboro Road Baptist Church in Garner and are active in youth activities and other committees within our church serving The Lord.  We also volunteer our time at various charities and are always looking for a way for us to serve our community. I look forward to another year here at GRACE, helping these amazing kids try new foods, and experiencing all that God has in store for me.

Email: hkinrade@gracechristian.net

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Jennifer Lehmann

Assistant | Kindergarten

My name is Jennifer Lehmann and I am excited to be part of the GRACE family. My oldest son began kindergarten at GRACE six years ago and I have loved being involved as a room parent, prayer team member, substitute teacher and volunteering in the classroom and on field trips. I am happy to join the kindergarten team as the instructional assistant.

I grew up in Sioux City, Iowa and moved south to attend Baylor University in Waco, Texas. I graduated with a degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders (Speech Pathology). I met my husband at church in Texas and we moved to North Africa as missionaries soon after we were married. After eight years we moved to Cary to plant a church. My husband is the pastor of Antioch Community Church and we are so thankful to know Jesus and share His love everywhere we go. I have four beautiful children who attend GRACE. Evan is in 6th grade, Kate is in 5th grade, Colin is in 3rd grade and Joshua is in 1st grade. We are thankful for the vision, support and love of the GRACE family!

email: JLehmann@GRACEChristian.net

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Lorna Lodholz

Assistant | Transitional Kindergarten

My name is Lorna Lodholz and I am thrilled to be starting my 5th year as part of the Transitional Kindergarten Team - we have the BEST job at GRACE!  Our family feels so blessed to be part of this loving 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), a senior nursing student at Gardner-Webb University, grow and develop into all God wants them to be.

I graduated from Gonzaga University and spent many years raising money for private schools and NC State University, before I made the choice to stay at home with our kids - even though, I was never really at home.  I began my journey serving in a Transitional Kindergarten classroom seven years ago and have enjoyed every single minute. 

My husband and I have been married for 26 years and our family enjoys living in downtown Cary. We love spending time together in the mountains with family and friends, and playing games or chatting on our front porch.  You will also find us cheering on our favorite baseball player or at the gym watching our youngest, play volleyball.  We attend Emmaus Church and love serving as a family.It is my prayer for our students and their families to know what a privilege it is to partner with them this year.  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 a GRACE board trustee. 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 am currently employed by IBM.  At IBM, 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

Learn more about Sharon in the December 5, 2017 Staff Spotlight

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Corey McGuire

P.E. | TK-6th

My name is Corey McGuire and I am extremely excited to be joining the GRACE family as the new TK-6th Grade Physical Education teacher and JV Head Football coach. I was born and raised in Tallahassee, Florida. I attended Methodist University where I received a B.S. Degree in Physical and Health Education in 2011. 

I hope to encourage all my students trust in the Lord during the good and difficult times and I want to challenge them to always find the positive in any situation that they come across. I enjoy spending my free time with my beautiful wife Ashley and our daughter Lilly. We attend Hope church right here in Raleigh and I'm looking forward to the possibility of partnering up as a male mentor to the youth there.

Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”

Email: CMcGuire@GRACEChristian.net

To learn more about Corey, read his February 27, 2018 Staff Spotlight.

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Kim Medina

After Care | TK-6TH 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 35, 33, 29 and 26. 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.

Email: KMedina@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

To learn more about Kate, read the January 9, 2018 Staff Spotlight.

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Kati Montague

After Care | TK-6th

Hi there! My name is Kati Montague and I am so excited to be returning to the GRACE family for this upcoming school year! This will be my sixth year overall with GRACE. I was a part of the After Care Staff from 2012-2016, and the assistant for the second grade team during the 2016-2017 school year. I spent the past year in Ecuador, serving as a missionary, alongside an awesome family that is working to reach the lost among the university students of Ecuador!

I was born in New York, but grew up right here in Raleigh. I love the Wolfpack, and attended NC State where I received my Bachelors of Science in meteorology.  During college, God called me into missions, so I switched gears after graduation and attended a discipleship school where I could learn more about missions within the church. I have been on many short term trips over the years, and now have lived overseas for the past year. I love that kids are kids all over the world. They all have the same basic needs, and when it comes down to it, they just want to know that they are loved and valued.  My heart is for children and I am so thrilled to be back at GRACE and serving our After Care families for this school year!

 

email: KMontague@GRACEChristian.net

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Kenny Montgomery

Facilities Staff | TK-6TH Campus

My name is Kenny Montgomery, and I am the custodian on the Lower 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.

Learn more about the Facilities Team by reading the September 5, 2017 Staff Spotlight

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Anthony Moreland

IT Specialist | Lower Campus

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 ​fourth​ year working in the IT department.  

In my spare time I love spending my time with family and dancing​. I also enjoy teaching dance to the youth.  I look forward to another year contributing my skills to assist everyone at GRACE Christian School, but most importantly being a vessel to the kingdom of God.

Email: AMoreland@GRACEChristian.net

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DeShannon Morris

P.E. | Upper Campus

This will be my fourth year as a member of GRACE Christian School, and I couldn't be more excited about the opportunity to serve in a loving community such as this!  I teach Physical Education and Cross Training, and I am the Varsity Boys Basketball Coach.  I grew up in Raleigh and attended college at Shaw University, where I received a degree in Religion and Philosophy.  I am passionate about building relationships and seeing people's lives transformed through the power of love. 

I have spent the past 20 years coaching and mentoring young men in and around the Triangle through parks and recreation leagues, AAU teams, various camps, and other school-affiliated programs.  I love to see the lives of young people impacted for the Kingdom of God through sports and other extra-curricular activities. 

I am happily married, and my wife and I are the proud parents of three children.  My favorite Bible verse is Ephesians 3:20 - "Now unto Him that is able to do exceedingly and abundantly above all that we could ask or think according to the power that works in us."  I love this verse, because I think it perfectly summarizes the amazing power of the Almighty God that we serve.  Anyone who knows me well knows that my motto is "Don't worry about nothin'!"  These words to live by are biblically based (Philippians 4:6), and I hope that they encourage and inspire all those who have heard them! 

Email: DMorris@GRACEChristian.net

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Dr. Lynnae Morris

Principal | Lower Campus

I am so blessed and excited to begin my second year of work at GRACE Christian School and my first year as the Lower Campus Principal! I am humbled by the opportunity to serve in this role and look forward to continuing this journey that God so masterfully planned for me.  I have always considered my role as an educator as more than a job - it is a calling and my ministry.  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 from 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 for ten years as an assistant principal at both the elementary and middle school levels.  

Outside of work, I love cooking, long walks, and 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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Angela Morrison

Receptionist | Lower Campus

My husband Dana and I have been married 25 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 4 years. We have 2 boys, Caleb and Aaron. Caleb just graduated from GRACE and Aaron is in 6th grade.

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 nearly 20 years in Maine.  When I came to GRACE as the inner office receptionist/nurse at the TK-6 campus I knew I would enjoy it.  This year my job has changed and I will be helping as an administrative assistant.   I still look forward to the smiles and hugs from all my little friends who continue to grow!! I am so thankful to be a part of GRACE.

Email: AMorrison@GRACEChristian.net

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Emily Myers

Spanish | Upper Campus

¡Hola!  My name is Emily Myers, and this will be my second year teaching Spanish at GRACE.  I am excited to return to this wonderful community where I have the blessing of sharing both my passion for the Spanish language and my faith with my students.  

My love for the Spanish language began in high school.  I had a Spanish teacher who inspired me with the way she made the language come alive.  I decided that I wanted to become a Spanish teacher so that I, too, could share this beautiful language with students of my own. I attended Grove City College where I graduated with a degree in Spanish Education. Over the years, I have spent time traveling, working, and studying abroad in Guatemala, Uruguay, Spain, and Argentina. 

In my free time, I enjoy college football (Go Dawgs!), hiking, horseback riding, salsa dancing, and spending time with friends and family. 

¡Este va a ser un año buenísimo!

Email: EMyers@GRACEChristian.net

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Buddha Nepal

Technology at GRACE (TAG) | GRACE

Hello! My name is Buddha Nepal. This is my 3rd year at GRACE and 2nd year working in the Technology at GRACE (TAG) department. I received my high school diploma from John Marshall High school in San Antonio and my bachelor's degree in Mathematics from the University of Texas at San Antonio.

My beautiful wife and I have one daughter, Aleph. I am a blessed father! I enjoy spending time with Aleph and going for long walks with my wife, Moon. 

I am delighted for this upcoming school year, and I hope you are too! I hope and pray that you have a blessed school year!

Email: BNepal@GRACEChristian.net

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Felicia Nielsen

Math | Upper Campus

Hey there! My name is Felicia Nielsen and I am a math teacher at GRACE. I have taught math at GRACE since 2014 and taught for two years before that in another school. 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 in education with a specialization in mathematics, 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 were married in the fall of 2015.

In addition to teaching math, I also coach the middle school cross country team and assist with the varsity track and field team. I love working with students in and out of the classroom, expanding their passions and abilities.

Email: fnielsen@gracechristian.net

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Dylan Nixon

Band | GRACE

I am originally from Edenton, North Carolina, a small town that is a relatively short drive to the Outer Banks. My wife, Krista, is from Fort Wayne, Indiana. We both lived in rural areas, so we love nature and enjoying God’s creation by walking down trails and rivers, swimming, and exploring.

I hold a Bachelor's degree in Music Education from East Carolina University. I have experience teaching middle school band in Lenoir County, NC and elementary general music in Wilson County, NC. I am passionate about worshiping God through music in creative ways, including incorporating music from various cultures other than western culture. The clarinet is my primary instrument, but I also play the saxophone and piano.

Krista, and I have joined a church planting organization, Finisterre Vision, and we hope to one day move to a remote village in Papua New Guinea to share God's Word to those who have never heard the name of Jesus. My wife and I are also involved in efforts of disaster reconstruction, fighting human trafficking, and supporting church planting in Nepal. We love sharing Christ's grace and mercy through music and ministry.

Email: DNixon@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

Tech Integration Specialist | Upper Campus

Originally a native of Chardon, Ohio, I attended Ashland University for my undergraduate degree in English Education for grades 7-12, and I obtained my Masters in Library and Information Studies from 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 working closely with Mr. Bianchi to develop and run computer science classes relating to the Maclellan Grant we received in January 2018. I am thrilled to be returning to GRACE 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

To learn more about Daniel, read his May 8, 0218 Staff Spotlight.

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Karen O’Conner

CFO | 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 28 years! We have three children; Jacob, Hannah and Matthew. Jacob and Hannah both graduated from GRACE and they are both college graduates (ECU and NCSU respectively). Matthew will be a junior at GRACE this year!!

Email: KOConner@GRACEChristian.net

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Megan Olson

Music | TK-2nd Grade

I am so excited to be joining GRACE this year as the TK-2nd music teacher! We have been a part of the GRACE family for 2 years now and are so blessed by the relationships we have made since our 3 children have been here. 

I have a Bachelors of Music Education from East Carolina University, with a concentration in voice and piano. I taught public school K-5 music for 3 years before staying home with my children. I have been so thankful for the flexibility to be at home with my children while continuing my love of music by teaching private piano and voice, as well as Kindermusik instruction. Music is a gift from God we can all develop, and I want our children at GRACE to be engaged in music by learning to read, explore, play and perform while having fun and praising God. 

I have been married to my wonderful husband Brett for 15 years and have 3 beautiful children. I enjoy reading, baking and traveling in my free time. Our family attends Hope Community Church where I am involved in small group women's bible study, women's ministry, and participate in both local and foreign mission work. Blessings to all of our GRACE families for a wonderful 2017-2018 school year! 

Email: MOlson@GRACEChristian.net

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Brittany Oxendine

PE/Health & Summer Camp | Lower Campus

It is such a joy to be able to work at GRACE. I teach Physical Education and Health on the lower campus, serve as the Summer Camp Director, and coach the 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 | Upper Campus

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 | Upper Campus

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 graduated from GRACE. 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 and co-coach the varsity swim team.

Email: RPibl@GRACEChristian.net

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Dena Prior

Assistant | 1st

I'm to be part of the GRACE family 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 36 years. In our spare time we love to travel or relax at the lake.

Email: DPrior@GRACEChristian.net

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Jen Quirk

Hot Lunch | Lower Campus

Hi! I’m Jen Quirk and I am the lunch assistant at the lower campus and I can't even begin to explain how excited I am!

My husband Aaron and I met on Summer Project with CRU and have been married for 12 years. We live in the heart of Raleigh by NC State (Go Pack!) with our kiddos, chickens and dogs.  We are a total circus, but we think life's more fun that way! We attend and serve as small group leaders at The Summit Church: Blue Ridge Campus. If you don't have a church home I'd love to show you ours! Our family started at GRACE when my oldest entered kindergarten and we have been here since. I have 3 children at our school: Eden in 4th, Hudson in 2nd and Asher in K (be still my heart).   

The last two years I’ve been both a member of GRACE PTF and a substitute teacher.  The kitchen was the first place I volunteered as a new mom at GRACE and I remember being so impressed with the excellence that goes into serving our children. It was such a great place to not only see my own child and get to know their friends, but also other parents and grandparents at our school. I am so excited to be back as a staff member and continue to love and serve our children well. If you’re looking for a place to get connected I highly recommend the lunch room! It’s so much fun!  Plus, I’d love to meet you!

Email: JQuirk@GRACEChristian.net

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Alissa Rassette

Nurse | GRACE

I am so thankful for the opportunity to serve the children at GRACE as the school Nurse. I graduated from East Carolina University with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. 
 
This will be my 8th year working as a nurse and second year at GRACE. Over the years, I've worked with children and adults in cardiac surgery, oral surgery (I'm your gal for pulling those baby teeth), occupational health and pharmaceuticals.
 
My husband, Chad, and I have a son at GRACE and are members at Midtown Community Church in Raleigh. We absolutely love the community here at GRACE! When I have free time, I enjoy boating at the beach, traveling, exercising, watching sports, cooking, and reading. 
 
 
Alissa was featured in the September 19, 2017 Staff Spotlight. Click to read more about Alissa.
 
 
 
 
 
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Christi Robinson

Bible, Grammar, and 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

Admissions Coordinator | Lower Campus

My name is Tammi Saenz, and I am an admissions coordinator on the Lower 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 so excited to return for my 28th 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, were both part of the GRACE family through 8th grade. Both are married and live in the area. We are also grandparents to 5 adorable grandchildren, Marilaura, Ayden, Clara, Levi, and Cadence. 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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Jenae Schmidt

After Care | TK-6th

Hi! My name is Jenae Schmidt. I was born in Lincoln, Nebraska, but moved to Raleigh when I was four. I was privileged to grow up in Raleigh in a Christian home. My dad had a job transfer to Lincoln, Nebraska when I was 13. After being in Lincoln for 3 years, my family moved to Denver which is where I graduated from high school. I just moved back to Raleigh this summer.

Currently, I attend Colonial Baptist Church which is where I was saved when I was 10. I love serving in the nursery at my church and being a part of the college group. Some of my passions include reading, music, and cooking. I'm excited to work with your kids and build a relationship with each and every one of them.

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Daniel Servi

PE | Upper Campus

My name is Daniel Servi and I’ve been teaching at GRACE Since 2014. 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 Varsity Golf Coach. I enjoy spending time with my wife, Emilie and my two sons, Micah and Trevor. 

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

I am Carol Shelton and this is my 20th year at GRACE. I love teaching at GRACE and feel it is the best Christian education available today. 

I grew up in Raleigh and went to Lacy Elementary School, Martin Middle School, and Broughton High School. I graduated from UNC-CH with a B/A in English. I am a huge Carolina fan! Go Heels!! I attend Edenton Street United Methodist Church where I grew up. I am a traditional worship fan, but enjoy contemporary Christian music, too.

I have three married daughters and my grandchildren call me "Mimi". They are the sunshine in my life! I love a good cup of coffee (Starbucks knows me by name!), sitting on my deck in my rocking chair, and spending time at the beach with my family. I feel blessed to be a part of the GRACE faculty and look forward to seeing how God is going to work through us this year to further His kingdom.

Email: CShelton@GRACEChristian.net

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Dr. Zane Smitley

Science | Upper Campus

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

Learn more about Zane in the October 17, 2017 Staff Spotlight

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Whitney Spencer

English | 6th

This is my third year teaching at GRACE. 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 three little boys, Hunter, Thorin, and Lincoln, ages 5, 3, and 1. I enjoy an 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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Maggie Stancliff

Teacher | 4th

Hi, I'm Maggie Stancliff and I am returning for my second year at GRACE! 

Before GRACE, I taught in Wake County in the ESL department, and in third grade. I grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio (Go Bucks!), and I graduated from Lee University in Cleveland, Tennessee in 2016. During college I was able to teach in Thailand where God opened my eyes about how He has created other cultures and deeply loves them. As a result of this experience, I love to pull in any global connections I can to my classroom! I am passionate about Christ's Word and bringing theology down to the level of a fourth grader. I'm also very excited to be a part of helping build the girls' lacrosse program this year here at GRACE!

You can find me reading on my porch, running around the many greenways of Raleigh, drinking coffee, hiking, or searching for the best taco in Raleigh! I'm a member at Imago Dei Church and volunteer with their college ministry. I trust that God will show us more of Himself this year in my classroom!

Email: MStancliff@GRACEChristian.net

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Shari Still

Teacher | 1st

Hello! My name is Shari Still and this will be my thirteenth year of teaching first grade at GRACE. 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 eighteen years.  My husband Greg and I have four wonderful children who span the ages of 22 to 29.  Our oldest son and beautiful daughter-in-law are both educators; high school band director and elementary teacher.  Our second son has a doctorate in saxophone performance and teaches at UNC Charlotte.  Our third child, and oldest daughter, is a middle school language arts teacher and just got married to a wonderful young man this summer.  Last but not least, our youngest daughter will be a senior 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 | Upper Campus

My name is Meagan Stone, and this will be my sixth 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 six years, and we currently live in Clayton.

Email: MStone@GRACEChristian.net

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Lisa Suarez

History & Bible | 5th

My name is Lisa Suarez. This is my 12th year teaching, and my sixth year at GRACE Christian School. I am excited to be teaching History and Bible this year. My husband, boys and I enjoyed joining the GRACE family five years ago. Our oldest son will be in fifth grade and our youngest will be in third 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 have been privileged to serve as the TK-12 Academic Dean since 2017. Previously, I was the TK-6 Assistant Principal from 2013-2017 and the K-12 Curriculum Director from 2008-2013. It is a blessing to be a part of an incredible school ministry as both a parent and administrator!

I received my Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Law and Society from the University of California, Riverside (1995) and my California Teaching Credential and Master's in Education with an emphasis in Curriculum and Instruction from Azusa Pacific University (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.

My family and I relocated to North Carolina from Southern California in the fall of 2007. Prior to coming 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 husband, Brian, and I have been married for nineteen years and have been blessed with three wonderful children, Ava (9th grade), Hannah (6th grade) and Zachary (2nd grade). We enjoy attending GRACE ball games and school events together, and we're active 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 before moving up to 3rd grade.   We love the Raleigh area and our family here at GRACE. I have been married to my husband Mike for 29 years and we have 3 beautiful children that have attended GRACE. Britney graduated from ECU, Mariah graduated from NCSU, and Michael Jr. Graduated from 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 7th 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 eighth year in Christian Education and my sixth year as Athletic Director. I enjoy studying God's Word, discipleship, basketball pickup games, reading, 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 8 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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Mary Allison Tessneer

Math | 5th & 6th

I was born and raised in Belmont, NC where I spent most of my childhood working in my family’s restaurant.  I graduated from North Carolina State University in 1999 and was married to my husband, Adam the same year. I taught in Wake County Public Schools for four years before having a family of my own. We have three daughters who attend GRACE. Emma Grace is in 9th grade, Leah Beth is in 6th grade, and Anna Claire is in 2nd grade. We have been members of Salem Baptist Church for 19 years and my husband and I have loved leading the Young Married Bible Fellowship group for seven years as well as working with both the youth and children’s ministries there. When we are not on the soccer field and at dance recitals, you will find us hiking in the mountains.

Teaching is truly my passion and it brings me such joy to help a student succeed. It is my prayer that each student not only grow in their math skills, but also in their relationship with the Lord. I am very excited and blessed to be joining the GRACE family as a staff member this year!

email: MTessneer@GRACEChristian.net

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Chase Tew

Board of Trustees | GRACE

Chase has been a GRACE parent for nine years and has a student in 5th and 8th grade. Chase grew up in a small Baptist church in eastern North Carolina, accepted Christ as his Savior in his early teens and recommitted his life to Christ in 2010.

Chase graduated from NC State in 1998 with a degree in agricultural and environmental technology/engineering and earned his MBA from Campbell University in 2002. He has been employed by John Deere since graduating from NC State.

Chase and his wife, Amy, are active members of Hope Community Church and Chase has been active in the community as a coach for youth basketball, baseball and volleyball. Chase is also active as a volunteer with several local ministries including Habitat for Humanity, Triangle Food Bank, Stop Hunger Now, and the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle.

Chase looks forward to serving on the GRACE Board of Trustees and desires to use the skills he has developed in the workplace for the benefit of our school. His strong business background and training in problem solving methodologies will be an asset to the Board as they work to develop the strategic roadmap to ensure GRACE’s long term viability and prosperity while providing excellent Christian education to families in the Triangle.

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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 Games class. I believe that modern board games are more than just fun, they can offer so many direct and indirect learning opportunities to our students (and to us). This year, I look forward to stressing the importance of good sportsmanship, respecting others, and finding enjoyment in winning or losing. Last year I was pleasantly surprised by the creativity and hard work the students put into their projects, and I look forward to seeing what surprises they come up with this year.

I grew up in the Chicago area, and was fortunate enough to be a part of seeing the birth of Willow Creek Community Church. God drew me to Taylor University and later to DePaul University. Currently, I am working full-time for SAS as a computer programmer, and my wife, Cindilee, is always active on the GRACE PTF. Our family has been fortunate enough to be a part of the GRACE community since 2007.

Email: GThorne@GRACEChristian.net

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Cindilee Thorne

After Care | Upper Campus

Our family has been at GRACE since 2007.  I am thrilled to be the After Care Coordinator for the upper campus and I always look forward to chatting with and getting to know the after care students.  I have been involved with the GRACE PTF for many years, coordinating the Christmas store, serving on the hospitality committee, and currently coordinating the “We Love You Wednesday” monthly luncheons. This year I have added supervising Study Hall to my list of activities.

I have two students at GRACE, Trek is in 12th grade and Levi is in 10th grade. Our family is big into board games which led to my husband joining the GRACE family in 2016 to teach the Strategy Games elective class.  We attend Hope Community Church where I serve in the Common Grounds coffee ministry.  I enjoy coffee, board games, book club, Bible study, and naps.

My favorite Bible verse is Hosea 6:6.

“I don’t want your sacrifices -- I want your love,
 I don’t want your offerings — I want you to know me." says the Lord.

I pray that I am a blessing to the Lord and to all those He brings my way.

email: CThorne@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 fifth year of the TK program and I am thrilled to have another year with these 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

Learn more about Emily by reading the August 22, 2017 Staff Spotlight

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Beth Vanderkin

Bible | Upper Campus

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, also attends GRACE and is entering high school this year.

In the fall of 2014, I had to take an abrupt leave of absence...healthy on Friday, but diagnosed with cancer on Saturday! We have relied on our faith in the Lord to give us strength and the wisdom of the doctors at Duke. For multiple years I've battled 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 cutting edge experimental immunotherapy treatment, I am cancer free! I am grateful for the opportunity to return this year to teach the Biblical Worldview class. 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 the GRACE community for 18 years.  My husband, Will and I have been married for 24 years.  Our three sons have grown up at GRACE.  Conner (Class of 2015)  is a senior at NCSU studying Industrial systems engineering with a minor in business. He is pictured on the GRACE Wall of Fame.  Go Pack!  Colin (Class of 2017) is a sophomore at Clemson University studying Political Science.  Colin is part of Air Force ROTC.   Go Tigers!  Cameron (Class of 2019) is a senior and will be wearing #42 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

To learn more about Susan, read her April 17, 2018 Staff Spotlight.

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Anna Walters

Math | Upper Campus

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

Born and raised in Durham, NC, I have always called North Carolina home.  I received my BS in mathematics at Meredith College in 1999 as well as a NC Teaching License. My first seven years of teaching were spent in the public schools, first at Athens Drive 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. We have two sons at GRACE - Ty in 7th, Ben in 6th - and our daughter Paige is in 5th grade at Morrisville Elementary. We also have a cutie-pie dog named Charlie.  This is my 7th year at GRACE and my 14th year as a teacher.....time flies when you are having fun!   Tim works for Maestro Productions and is a realtor with Group 15 Real Estate. Our church family is The Bridge Community Church in Morrisville.  

I look forward to another great year at GRACE!

Email: AWalters@GRACEChristian.net

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Elizabeth Walters

Art | Upper Campus

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

To learn more about Elizabeth, read her February 13, 2018 Staff Spotlight.

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Wendy Warlick

Photography Elective | Upper Campus

Hi! I'm Wendy Warlick and I am the Photography Elective teacher here at GRACE. I am very excited about the school year and sharing my love of photography with the students!

Photography has been a passion since my parents gave me a 110 film camera with a rotating flash cube. My husband and I own a photography company and both love to take pictures.

I have Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design from Liberty University. 

Chuck & I have been married since 1999. We have a son Daniel who is a 10th grader at GRACE. We attend Apex Baptist Church and are active in the audio/video ministry. 

My favorite Bible verse is Psalm 139:13-14 “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well” (NIV).

Email: WWarlick@GRACEChristian.net

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Paula Welch

Spanish | Upper Campus

Hola! My name is Paula Welch. I am a Carolina girl who has lived in different places, but returned to the Carolinas in 2013. 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 Florida. Laura lives and works here in NC. Tiffany is married to Sterling and they live in Virginia. 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 received my teaching certification from ACSI and became involved in Christian Education. 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, five years ago. It is a blessing to be part of the wonderful and encouraging Grace family. I enjoy 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

Learn more about Paula in the October 31, 2017 Staff Spotlight

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Isaiah Whelpley

Director of Christian Life | GRACE

My name is Isaiah Whelpley and this will be my eighth 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 participating in and eventually leading our weekly chapel program.  I moved into the 7-12 Assistant Principal position in the 2013-2014 school year.  In the 2017-2018 school year, I became the Director of Christian Life.  I focus on spiritually equipping students, teachers, and parents through our chapel program and service opportunities.  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!  I received my Bachelor of Arts in Biblical Studies and taught at Southlands Christian Schools in Walnut, California from 2005 to 2009. I recently completed my Masters in Administration and Supervision at Liberty University.

My wife, Kat, and I sensed God calling us from southern California to North Carolina to help with a church plant, we are still part of this thriving body of believers. We have two young sons and are currently in the middle of an international adoption from South Africa.  We have completed the mounds of paperwork and are in the official "waiting" category (the estimated wait time is 1-2 years).  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, praying with, and partnering with students and parents. My greatest desire is for the GRACE community 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

Learn more about Isaiah by reading the August 15, 2017 Staff Spotlight

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Wendy Willard

LEAP | Upper Campus

My name is Wendy Willard and this will be my ninth year serving at GRACE.  Before coming to GRACE, I earned my Bachelor’s Degree in education from Bridgewater State University in Bridgewater, Massachusetts.  My husband, Kirk and I then moved back to Connecticut, where we are originally from, and I worked as a fifth-grade teacher in the elementary school I attended.  I was blessed to grow up on a sheep farm in Connecticut with great historical significance, but God moved us away again to this foreign land called, North Carolina, and for all but a brief sabbatical, we have been here for the last twelve years.  We now think of it as our home here on earth. We love it and GRACE Christian School is a big reason why we feel so at home here.

After working for two years in the Wake County Public School System, I came to this wonderful school and found my home.  After teaching three years of fourth grade and three years of fifth grade, I moved into the role of covering for our wonderful eighth grade U.S. History teacher and twelfth grade Bible teacher while God healed her. After a brief sabbatical to care for my own family members and earn my Master’s Degree from Liberty University with a degree in Educational Administration and Leadership, my two girls, Devon (senior) and Morgan (sophomore) are back home with our family here at GRACE.

This year I will be serving as the K-2 Early Intervention Teacher, teaching in our Learning Enrichment and Achievement program and working with our teachers on professional development.

Email: WWillard@GRACEChristian.net

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Marcia Wingerd

English | Upper Campus

After earning my B.A. in English-Communications from Trinity International University, I worked in the publishing industry for 20 years as a technical writer, editor, and project manager. My career enabled me to help people in diverse fields communicate their ideas effectively. In 2011, God brought my family to North Carolina, where I came to know GRACE as a parent when my oldest daughter was in 8th grade. Two years later, God led me to the classroom.

As I begin my 6th year on staff, I am looking forward to teaching 9th grade English and launching the GRACE Writing Center. I hope to create a place where students enjoy reading, learn to think critically, engage in discussion, and grow as writers. 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.

I have been married to Byron Wingerd for 26 years, and we have three children:  Emma, a junior at Appalachian State University; Caroline, a sophomore at GRACE; and Lauren, a 7th grader at GRACE. I enjoy reading and talking about books, playing strategy games, sketchnoting, walking and hiking, and cooking for family and 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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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 from 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 | 2nd

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

It is my sixth year here at GRACE and I am SO happy my job is my passion! I taught 1st grade for five years, and now am upstairs in 2nd grade. 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 creative 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

Learn more about Megan in the November 14, 2017 Staff Spotlight