Middle School Directory

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Debra Barkett

Bible, Creative Writing | 7th-12th

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

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

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


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Rion Bell

Bible, History | 6th

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

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

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


To learn more about Rion, read the December 19, 2017 Staff Spotlight.

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Mark Bianchi

Computer Science | 7-12th

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

I have been married to my wife Sissy for 25 years. We have two boys Chris and Alex. Chris is 22 and will be transferring to ECU in Greenville, NC this Fall as a junior. Alex attends UNC at Chapel Hill and will be a junior 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 AAS degree in Electrical Technology and was offered a position at IBM Poughkeepsie, New York, as a test technician. A few years later I went back to school, part time, at Marist College in Poughkeepsie where I completed my BSCS degree in Computer Science.

I transferred to IBM East Fishkill, New York, in 1996. There 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.


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Patrick Bizieff

History | 7th-12th

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


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Courtnae Blount

Math, Science | 6th

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

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

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


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Jonah Bookman

History, Bible | 7th-12th

My name is Jonah Bookman, and I am so excited to return to GRACE Christian School this year. I grew up in Southern California, where I graduated from The Master’s College in 2009. I 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.


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Merrily Boyd

Art | TK-6th

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

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

I look forward to another great year of art class!


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

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William Brewer

Math | 7th-12th Campus

My name is William Brewer and I am excited to be joining GRACE Christian School full time and continuing to teach math as well as returning as the Varsity Baseball head coach. I am looking forward to another fruitful year full of new opportunities.

I grew up in Raleigh and graduated from Furman University with B.S. in Biology 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!! I have been following God’s call to serve in Christian camping at Camp Willow Run in Littleton, NC for the last four years where I served as a boy’s counselor for a year, the high ropes director and worship leader for a year, and then served on full time staff for the past 2 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.


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Nathan Dewey

Bible, History | 9th-11th

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

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

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

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


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Julianne Donoghue

Math | 7th-12th

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

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


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Mark Edwards

Strategy Games | 6th

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

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

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

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


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Hannah Eichhorst

Science | 7th-12th

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

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

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


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

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Daniel Fairchild

Bible | 8th, 10th

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

I met my wife, Meghan, during the last year of my seminary and we were married not long after I graduated. We have a 2 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 Redemption Church of Apex where I am the youth pastor. When I am not teaching and ministering to youth, I am a Chaplain in the United States Air Force Reserves. 

Besides my passion for teaching the Bible, I have a love for sports; tennis in particular. I have been blessed to have been the head coach for GRACE Middle school guys and girls tennis and assistant coach for varsity boys. This year, I am excited to be taking on a new role as head coach for the GRACE Varsity Girls Tennis team.


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

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Katie Fowler

Learning Specialist | 7th-12th

I am so excited to be at GRACE for the 2017-2018 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 will be graduating December 2017 with my Masters in Educational Psychology, from Ball State University. 

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!


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Carol Gehringer

Media Coordinator | TK-6TH Campus

I am excited to be starting my 11th year (2017-2018) 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 26+ years of experience in a variety of libraries in Michigan and North Carolina.

My husband is a computer science professor at NC State. We are the parents of 2 GRACE students: twin daughters in high school. Our 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 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!

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



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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!


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Jaime Hartley

Drama | 6th-12th

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

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


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.


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Beth Hawks

Science | 8th-12th

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

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

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


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

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Ben Inman

Latin | 7th-12th

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


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Laura Jacobs

English | 7th-12th

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

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

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


Learn more about Laura by reading the August 29, 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.



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Ellen Kaehler

Chorus | 3rd-12th

Hello. My name is Ellen Kaehler and I am excited to be returning to GRACE for my twentieth 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.


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Heather Kinrade

Hot Lunch | TK-6TH Campus

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

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

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


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Shane McGann

Bible, Science | 7th, 9th

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

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

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


To learn more about Shane, read the January 30, 2018 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.”


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Carmen Mitchell

French | 8th-12th

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

My home church is All Saints Anglican Church in Raleigh and my hobbies are reading and travel. I am looking forward to my third year at GRACE, to renewal and to growth.


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DeShannon Morris

PE, Bible | 7th Grade

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

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

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


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Emily Myers

Spanish | 8th-12th

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

I was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia.  Though I moved with my family to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, I have always considered myself a Southern girl at heart.  I am very excited to be living in the warm, sunny South again!  

I began to study Spanish in 8th grade.  In 10th grade, I had a Spanish teacher who inspired me with her commitment to her students and her creative personality.  She made language come alive and made learning a joyful experience.  I decided that I wanted to become a Spanish teacher so that I, too, could share this joy 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!), horseback riding, drawing, salsa dancing, and spending time with friends and family. 

¡Este va a ser un año buenísimo!


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Felicia Nielsen

Math | 7th-8th

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

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

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


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Daniel O’Brien

Tech Integration Specialist | 7th-12th Campus

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

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


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Brittany Oxendine

P.E. & Athletic Assisstant | GRACE

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

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

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


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Kellie Petty

English | 8th-9th

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

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


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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 7th year working as a nurse and first 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 in 2nd grade and are members at Midtown Community Church in Raleigh. We joined GRACE last year and we absolutely love the community here! Last year I spent time volunteering, getting connected, and being room mom. 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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Daniel Servi

PE | 7th-9th

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

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


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Whitney Spencer

English | 6th

This is my second 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 4, 2, and new born. I enjoy a varied array of activities including reading, knitting, cooking, exercising, and volunteering at our church, Apex Baptist. We love calling North Carolina our home and plan to watch our children grow up here! 


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Meagan Stone

Math | 7th-12th

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

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


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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.


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Cindilee Thorne

After Care | 7th-12th Campus

Our family has been at GRACE since 2007.  I am thrilled to be stepping in as the After Care Coordinator for the upper campus and I 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 upper campus grade parents and the “We Love You Wednesday” monthly luncheons.

I have two students at GRACE, Trek is in 11th grade and Levi is in 9th grade. Our family is big into board games which led to my husband joining the GRACE family in 2016 to teach the Engineering Strategy Games elective.  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.


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Anna Walters

Math | 6th

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

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

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



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Elizabeth Walters

Art | 7th-12th

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

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

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


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Paula Welch

Spanish | 8th-12th

Hola! My name is Paula Welch. I am a Carolina girl who has lived in different places, but 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 recently moved to NC from San Diego to be closer to family. She is working on a masters degree at NC State. Tiffany is married to Sterling and they live in Quantico, VA. They are parents to our granddaughters, Ariana, and Annalise. We are proud of them and cherish times spent with our growing family.

After two decades in Panama, God led us back to California, where I 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, four 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.


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

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Wendy Willard

LEAP | 7th-12th

I am very pleased to be returning to GRACE this year after taking a couple of years off to take care of my family. I taught at GRACE for seven years prior to moving to Connecticut on a year-long trip where we brought my mother home to be surrounded by her family and friends before she went home to be with The Lord. We enjoyed our time catching up with family and taking care of the sheep on our family farm, but we are very happy to be returning to our family at GRACE Christian School. Before coming to GRACE, I taught in public schools in both Connecticut and North Carolina. I am excited this year to be helping out in our wonderful Learning Enrichment and Achievement Program (LEAP) on the upper campus.

I received my bachelor’s degree in education from Bridgewater State University in Massachusetts, and I am completing my master’s degree in educational administration and leadership at Liberty University.

My husband, Kirk, daughter, Devon (11th grade at GRACE), and Morgan (9th grade at GRACE) are all happy to be living back in Cary with our sweet Golden Retriever, Jake. We are members of Hope Community Church and love serving our church family. Our family is looking forward to being a part of GRACE’s loving community again.


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Marcia Wingerd

English | 9th-12th

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 5th year at GRACE, I am looking forward to teaching 9th grade English, 12th grade British Literature, and high school creative writing. 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.

My husband, Byron, and I have been married for 25 years, and we have three children. Emma graduated from GRACE and is a sophomore at Appalachian State University. Caroline and Lauren attend GRACE, in 9th and 6th grades respectively. I enjoy playing strategy games, sketch-noting, 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.


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Kirsten Wray

Band, Music Appreciation | 4th-12th

Welcome to the 2017-2018 school year!  I have had twelve wonderful years as the Band Director at GRACE, and I am excited about beginning year thirteen. I am also looking forward to my fourth year of Music Appreciation.

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

My husband, Brian, and I have been married for 18 years. We both grew up right here in Wake County. We are blessed to be surrounded by so much of our family. Our daughter, Isabella, is in 8th grade. She loves GRACE as much as I do!  We love to travel, and attend The Point Church in Fuquay-Varina.