Staff Directory

Kellie Auerweck Middle School English

    Kellie Auerweck  |  Middle School English

Sixth grade English and writing teacher Kellie Auerweck guides students during what may be the hardest time in their scholastic careers, the transition from elementary to middle school.

“I enjoy the small moments and the day-to-day progress, but it’s so rewarding at the end of the year to see the total growth, whether it’s in reading, learning how to study for a test, learning more about Christ, or socially maturing,” she stated.

Mrs. Auerweck, who received her Bachelor’s in Education from UNC-Greensboro, has taught almost every subject in the fifth, sixth, and eighth grades. Regarding her current position, she said, “Every year is a little different due to constantly redoing lesson plans, changing the order of grammar units to meet the needs of the students, and evaluating literature.”

She elaborated that “literature is the heartbeat of our English classes” as well as the part of class that excites her students the most. Mrs. Auerweck tries to stress to her students that “English and writing are not just about books and writing; it’s the lessons that we learn from the characters in books…”

“I love discussing with the students… what God’s Word says about how a character’s predicament and how to problem solve,” she added.

Mrs. Auerweck also tries to show how what she teaches applies to real life.

“For example, why grammar is important in a job application and how vital it is to communicate effectively through oral and written language,” she explained.

Additionally, Mrs. Auerweck helps her students learn how to handle situations maturely.

“Sixth grade is an age where it is key to learn compassion and patience with others,” she stated, “Teachable moments are many when counseling a student individually or collectively when other people and their feeling are involved. I try also to follow up after chapels to ensure understanding and to answer any questions that were not answered at that time.”

Mrs. Auerweck loves spending time with her family whether it be attending her son’s soccer games or taking a trip to the beach. In her free time, she enjoys decorating and gardening. She is a kind and caring teacher who pays special attention to meeting her students’ needs, both academic and spiritual.

Rebecca Baker Advancement Associate
Connie Beck Second Grade
Catherine Bizieff High School Government and Economics
AP US History

    Catherine Bizieff  |  High School Government and Economics
    AP US History

High school social studies teacher Catherine Bizieff has teaching in her blood.

“My family is full of teachers,” she explained, listing off relatives who share her occupation, from her great grandfather to her adult son, and adding, “It’s just what we do.”

Mrs. Bizieff teaches tenth grade Government/Economics as well as AP United States History, a class typically populated by seniors. She has a bachelor’s in United States History and Political Science as well as a Master’s of Education from Wright State University in Ohio.

When she’s not teaching, she loves reading and traveling the country with her family. Recently, her eldest son and his wife had a baby, and Mrs. Bizieff said she and her husband “have enjoyed learning the ropes of becoming grandparents!”

Before she chose to teach high school, Mrs. Bizieff revealed, “I wanted to teach at a law school, which means first becoming a lawyer. However, when it came time to start law school, I had two small children and decided that teaching the Constitution to teenagers was better for my own children. It is a decision I am so very glad I made because I love it.

Mrs. Bizieff, whose students affectionately call her Mrs. B or Mrs. Biz, finds her job most rewarding when she is “getting to know the students as they grow and mature” as well as “working with the ones who are struggling and watching their eyes light up as they ‘get it.’”

Her AP class is the one where she gets to really dig into the subject of history and see her students embrace history the most.

“My AP U.S. History students learn the ‘whys’ of history,” she shared, “Many times things become more real when you understand why someone made the choices they did. I love explaining that things we take for granted all had a cause and effect.”

Mrs. Bizieff likes to incorporate Biblical principles into her classroom, too. Not only does she want her students to view history, government, and economics through a Christian lens, she wants them to understand while learning about socials studies that “God is not surprised by anything. There is no rogue molecule. We worship a perfect God, not live a perfect life.”

 

April Blalock Fourth Grade
Grade Chair
Amy Bowers Kindergarten
Grade Chair
Melissa Broadwell Teacher Assistant
Lucy Brock High School Science
Science Department Chair

    Lucy Brock  |  High School Science
    Science Department Chair

Dr. Lucy Brock, Science Department Chair, teaches Anatomy/Physiology, AP Biology, and AP Physics here at Wake Christian Academy. Before she was a teacher, Dr. Brock was a research associate/lab director and made the change to being a teacher because it was a better fit for her family.

“I didn’t look back,” she remembers, “Teaching science in a godly school in this day and age is exciting.”

To her, the most rewarding aspect of teaching is “sharing God and his handiwork” in science.

She stated, “Christian schools are emphasizing ‘integrating’ Biblical principles… I cannot ‘integrate’ principles. God, His Word, [and] His principles are integral to the fabric of our very being. What I do is unfold the fabric, like unfurling tapestries. He doesn’t need me to integrate… He allows me the privilege and joy of being a part of His work at Wake Christian.”

Dr. Brock also added that high school is her “favorite age to teach because the students are old enough that God is talking directly to them and dealing with them, as He did with the prophets such as Daniel.”

She elaborated, “I get to watch the kids grow up during high school, go out into the big world beyond Wake Christian, become parents. It is very exciting to see what great people they are becoming.”

When she’s not in the classroom, Dr. Brock enjoys eating out and riding motorcycles with her husband. She loves nature, and that’s part of what drew her to the field of science.

Dr. Brock stresses the importance of responsibility and leadership to her student. She wants all of her students to realize that high school is never a waste of time but a season of life for them to practice being godly adults  and “take advantage of the opportunities” high school offers for them to “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.”

Robynne Brown Admin. Assistant to Athletic Director

    Robynne Brown  |  Admin. Assistant to Athletic Director

If your student has participated in athletics here at Wake Christian Academy, or if you have attended any sporting event, chances are you have had the pleasure of interacting with Robynne Brown, the Administrative Assistant to the Athletic Director. Serving in this role for the past eight years, Mrs. Brown was first a substitute teacher here and now manages a multitude of schedules, athletes, and coaches.

Robynne received her Associate of Arts Degree from Louisburg College. Robynne’s husband, Donnie Sr, graduated from Wake Christian in 1986 and desired that their children, Donnie II and Dillon, to attend his alma mater. Their sons, who are now in their twenties, attended the school from kindergarten through twelfth grade.

In her spare time, Robynne enjoys spending time with her family on the boat or at the beach, watching baseball, and coaching the Junior Bulldog Cheerleaders in the summer. The Browns have attended Midway Baptist Church for the past twenty-four years.

“I love the family atmosphere here at Wake Christian,” said Robynne, “I love cheering on the athletes and watching them succeed in sports. It’s great to see so many Wake Christian alumni who are still involved with the school and are now sending their kids here.

“To parents considering Wake Christian Academy for their children, I would say this school has it all — a quality education, a Christian atmosphere, competitive athletics, great coaches, and well-mannered children. I am amazed and humbled by God’s grace and goodness. He continues to bring the most wonderful families to our school!”

 

Taylor Bryant High School Science
Rebecca Buffaloe High School History
High School Girl's Bible
Social Studies Department Chair

    Rebecca Buffaloe  |  High School History
    High School Girl's Bible
    Social Studies Department Chair

High school social studies department head Becki Buffaloe, who teaches U.S. History, Current Events, and Bible, can’t remember a time in her life when she didn’t want to be a teacher, as she even loved playing “school” as child and started babysitting at age nine.

In her thirty-three years of teaching, Mrs. Buffaloe has taught children of every age “from the Headstart Program to twelfth grade” with the exception of grades four, five, and nine.

“It is quite amazing that I even became a teacher because starting in sixth grade I had major struggles with math which carried over to science,” she stated, “Learning disabilities were not weeded out so much for children in the fifties and sixties… looking back, it is quite obvious that I had a math learning disability — it was almost like math dyslexia.”

However, Mrs. Buffaloe can see the good that eventually emerged from her struggles. She said, “I think in some ways it has helped me better teach students who struggle because I lived it. I tell my students that no one cut me any slack. I had to be determined to keep going and not give up.”

She added, “I know that many, many prayers were prayed for me along the way.”

Mrs. Buffaloe also recognizes that for some students, being interested in the subject can be the hard part.

“History can be such a dry subject,” she explained, “Many people do not like it, so a history teacher has to be passionate.”

Mrs. Buffaloe, a self-proclaimed history buff (pun intended), keeps her students engaged through her love of history and passion for it that “just seeps out of” her. She also values the subject of English because writing well is important in so many areas of life and is not “an isolated subject,” in her words.

She has developed a passion for current events, saying, “I also feel it is the duty of a Christian to be well-informed about the world in which we live. Teaching Current Events is probably the hardest job I have ever had because you truly see the ‘evil’ world system… I have II Corinthians 4:8-9 posted in many places for when Current Events discourages me.”

When not in the classroom, Mrs. Buffaloe enjoys spending time with her husband of almost forty years, Merrick, and their three children and four grandchildren. She is well-loved by all of the students she’s taught, who affectionately call her Mrs. B or Mrs. Buff.

She’s not afraid to share hard truths with her students, and she declared, “The biggest life lesson I stress to my [students]… is that each of us are walking billboards for Jesus Christ. I talk to them about how we cannot cram our beliefs down someone’s throat — we have to live it. I stress that people are watching us to see how we react to the ups and downs of life. There is lots of accountability there.”

Susan Burke High School Choirs
Fine Arts Director

    Susan Burke  |  High School Choirs
    Fine Arts Director

Susan Burke is the high school Fine Arts Director at Wake Christian Academy, and she helms the high school chorus, chorale, and elementary chorus. After graduating college with a major in vocal performance, Mrs. Burke began work in the business field as an insurance agent and then decided to be a stay-at-home mom for five years after she had children.

When her children began school at Wake Christian Academy, she heard that the school was looking for someone to lead the elementary chorus. After accepting the position, Mrs. Burke was also given the opportunity to teach computer at Wake Christian, and most recently she started directing the high school chorus and chorale.

Her strongest motivation for teaching is that she wants to make a difference in the lives of young people, and she finds it extremely important to incorporate Biblical teachings into her classes. As her students sing spiritual music, she revels in the fact that they can meditate on what the lyrics of the songs mean.

Mrs. Burke also does her best to connect with her students mainly by getting to know them one on one. She has been teaching for fifteen years and hopes and prays that she will be able to continue teaching for many more because of her passion for the field as well as her desire to mold the lives of her students and help them grow.

Kimberly Causer Elementary Curriculum Assistant

    Kimberly Causer  |  Elementary Curriculum Assistant

Kimberly Causer is the Elementary Curriculum Assistant at Wake Christian Academy. She started working at the school in 2014 following a thirteen-year career as an accountant.

“After my youngest went to kindergarten, I chose to follow my passion for teaching and went back to school at East Carolina University,” she said, “I’ve now been teaching professionally for six and a half years.”

Mrs. Causer works with students who need additional support in their education plan, such as students with Individualized Education Plans (IEPs). Most of the kids she assists are in the third through fifth grades.

“I support the teacher’s objectives by pulling students to work individually or in small groups and reteaching concepts in smaller chunks or with different approaches to ensure students are grasping difficult concepts,” she explained.

Mrs. Causer has been married to her husband, Brian, for twenty-one years, and they have three sons, Clayton, Joshua, and Noah. The Causers enrolled their children at Wake Christian in 2013.

“My children grew up in the public school system until we decided to make the move to not only a better education plan, but more importantly one founded in Biblical principles,” she said, “It was an easy choice.”

For Mrs. Causer, getting to know her students is the best part of her job. Finding out “what approaches to learning affect them the most” helps her to help them learn.

“Seeing a student have one of those ‘lightbulb moments’ where it all makes sense and they are able to meet their goals is so thrilling,” she said, “It makes me come to work every day ready to see what awaits me!”

Lauren Chriscoe High School Spanish
Foreign Language Department Chair

    Lauren Chriscoe  |  High School Spanish
    Foreign Language Department Chair

Foreign Language Department Chair Lauren Chriscoe teaches Wake Christian Academy’s upper level Spanish courses. She found her calling after teaching English to schoolchildren in Costa Rica during her junior year at Wheaton College.

“For them, English was not just another subject, it was a way to perhaps leave a cycle of poverty,” she said, “Their motivation and desire to learn made an impact on me and led me to pursue my teaching license when I returned to the States.”

Mrs. Chriscoe earned her bachelor’s in Spanish from Wheaton, and she has taught everything from Spanish I to Advanced Placement Spanish at Wake Christian where she is known to her students as “Profe,” which is a colloquial term for teacher in Spanish.

“I enjoy challenging my students, especially in the upper levels, to work hard and do their very best on every assignment,” she said, “We give our best effort every day not to please others, but to serve the Lord with our unique gifts and talents. As Colossians 3:23 says, ‘Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.’”

To help her students immerse themselves in the language, Mrs. Chriscoe uses songs, review games, and listening comprehension activities.

“I like to teach songs whenever possible as students tend to remember best when grammar rules are put to music,” she said. A chant called “Fui, di, vi” is a student favorite and helps them remember how to conjugate past tense verbs.

Her classes also include partner work so that students can practice speaking with each other.

“I often mix up the partner groups in class,” Mrs. Chriscoe said, “My desire is for my classes to learn that we all bear the image of Christ and are called to love our neighbor like Christ loved us.”

Mrs. Chriscoe married husband Ryan in May 2015. When she is not teaching, she loves running and competes in half-marathons. Along with Spanish I teacher Malcolm Deans, Mrs. Chriscoe plans Wake Christian’s annual mission trip. She is excited to see her students grow in their spiritual maturity as well as Spanish-speaking abilities in this year’s trip to the Dominican Republic.

“Hearing about students who use their Spanish outside of class and seeing them progress throughout the year” is the most rewarding aspect of teaching for Mrs. Chriscoe.

“It’s exciting for me to see students pursue Spanish all four years [of high school],” she added, “The majority of those who take AP continue with Spanish in college and may decide to study abroad or use their Spanish skills as a missionary.”

Christy Cochran Administrative Assistant to Elementary Principal

    Christy Cochran  |  Administrative Assistant to Elementary Principal

Christy Cochran is the Elementary Receptionist and Administrative Assistant to Elementary Principal Sandra Sauls. Mrs. Cochran has worked at Wake Christian Academy for three years. Prior to her current position, she substitute taught at the school for five years.

Mrs. Cochran’s responsibilities include welcoming campus visitors, arranging for substitute teachers, and scheduling interviews with families interested in Wake Christian.

Both of Mrs. Cochran’s children attend the school. Abi is a tenth grader, and Brandon is a seventh grader. Wake Christian truly is a family affair for the Cochrans as her husband, Stephen, also works at the school. The four of them love attending Wake Christian sporting events together.

“I feel so blessed to work at Wake Christian,” she said, “Three schools, one family means that I get daily hugs from elementary students all the way up to high school students. I get daily spiritual encouragement from my coworkers and our Wake Christian parents. I can live out my faith and talk about my Lord freely without the fear of persecution.”

 

Stephen Cochran Assistant Director of Facilities
Varsity Football Coach

    Stephen Cochran  |  Assistant Director of Facilities
    Varsity Football Coach

Elizabeth Collins Middle School Math
Karen Cox High School English

    Karen Cox  |  High School English

Wake Christian Academy strives to envelop each student as family. A veteran teacher now in her twelfth year, Karen Cox doesn’t want to teach anywhere else than Wake Christian Academy. The family atmosphere and the servant-hearted leadership is something she greatly enjoys about Wake Christian.

Connecting with her middle school students is very important to Mrs. Cox. She tries to relate to them on a personal level.

“I connect with my students through simply talking with them,” she explained.

In an effort to get them to open up, she often shares facts about her own life. Teaching is an exciting way to learn more about student’s lives, engaging them not only in the classroom setting but listening to them and learning with them.

Jerri Craft Individual Learning Center

    Jerri Craft  |  Individual Learning Center

Individual Learning Center specialist Jerri Craft works with first through fifth graders who have fallen behind in the classroom and need one-on-one or small group attention. She received her bachelor’s in Elementary Education from UNC-Wilmington.

Much of her job is working with students with learning disabilities, and she also meets with parents and teachers to design educational plans so that each student can reach their academic goals.

She works with some students for their entire elementary career and enjoys watching them progress academically and spiritually. When she is not teaching, she enjoys reading and cooking as well as watching her children, sophomore Bran and freshman Savannah, play sports.

Mrs. Craft finds it a “privilege to minister not only to my students but also to their parents. I like for my classroom to be a safe and inviting place.”

Dawn Currin Admissions Coordinator
Cindy Davis High School Computer
Computer Department Chair

    Cindy Davis  |  High School Computer
    Computer Department Chair

High school computer teacher Cindy Davis loves to help her students learn new concepts and embrace their talents. She was inspired to be a teacher by her younger brother, who had special needs.

“I was seven when he was born, so he was like a real-life baby doll for me to take care of and teach,” explained Mrs. Davis.

Mrs. Davis earned a degree from Appalachian State University in special education for grades K-12 and graduated summa cum laude. She then taught special ed in the public school system to elementary and middle school students. She took time off from teaching when her children, sons Brent and Grayson, were young.

Mrs. Davis and her husband enrolled the boys in kindergarten here at Wake Christian, and after taking some computer classes to help her reenter the workforce, Mrs. Davis felt the Lord’s leading when the opportunity to teach computer at her children’s own school arose. She’s been instructing Wake Christian students in everything from word processing to web design ever since.

Mrs. Davis feels especially rewarded by the new pathways of knowledge she is able to open up to her students, and she says that “seeing them learn about history, science, culture, etc. by using the computer as the tool” particularly excites her.

Mrs. Davis added that she is encouraged when she sees students find their talents in her class.

“It is also fun to see other students recognize this in each other as well,” she continued.

Besides bonding with her students in the classroom, Mrs. Davis also has the unique chance to get to know her students through travel.

“I absolutely love to travel! I have taken students to Europe in the summer for the past ten years,” she shared. This summer, Mrs. Davis guided a group of high school students through Italy, and next year she is plans on visiting Switzerland, Italy, France, and Spain.

Mrs. Davis’ willingness to go above and beyond fits perfectly with the life lesson she tries to stress to her students the most, the verse Philippians 4:13, which says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Gayle Davis Art

    Gayle Davis  |  Art

Art teacher Gayle Davis may have one of the most fun jobs at Wake Christian Academy.

She has taught art at the school for over ten years, and on she stated she has “learned so much from the students and the art that they produce. Each one is blessed with wonderful talents from the Lord.”

Ms. Davis said, “I have always been interested in teaching. I had opportunities to teach in Vacation Bible School and tutor in high school.”

These leanings led to her studying education at Bob Jones University, and the fact that she “[loved] to create” drew her to teaching art. Now, she shares her love of drawing, painting, and sculpting with Wake Christian students from kindergarten to twelfth grade.

Ms. Davis has four children, one of whom, Preston, graduated from Wake Christian in May of 2015.

Whether she is working with an elementary schooler or high schooler, Ms. Davis finds her reward in “guiding and watching students create a piece of art that they never thought would become a success become a success.”

This past year, her older classes focused on impressionism. They deepened their understandings of the movement through many projects, which “[seemed] to cement the excitement about the subject or artists” being studied, in Ms. Davis’ words.

But the students do not solely learn about the secular aspects of art as Ms. Davis is able to integrate faith into the classroom. She expounded that she focuses on “the preface that we are created by the great Creator God to create beauty to glorify Him. As artists we see the world differently and must express what we see and feel as a gift to the Lord.”

 

Malcolm Deans High School Spanish
High School Bible
Assistant Athletic Director

    Malcolm Deans  |  High School Spanish
    High School Bible
    Assistant Athletic Director

Spanish I teacher Malcolm Deans knows teaching is what he is meant to do.

“What greater calling than to help mold the lives of individuals to serve God,” he said, “It’s a career that I do for life because God has called me to teach.”

Mr. Deans, or as his students call him, Señor Deans, has always been fascinated by the Spanish language. He grew up on a farm where he frequently interacted with Spanish speakers, giving him “a desire to learn the language and culture more.”

He attended Bob Jones University, where he double majored in Spanish and Bible. He finds his position teaching Spanish I as well as high school Bible at Wake Christian Academy rewarding in many ways.

“It’s the opportunity to leave a mark in the hearts of my students that is its own reward,” he said.

He also loves how “dynamic” teaching can be.

“Every day is different in the classroom and not many careers provide an individual with so much room to be creative and autonomous each day,” Mr. Deans said.

Mr. Deans’ students especially love the fun but educational projects he assigns. Two of their favorites are writing and illustrating a children’s book in Spanish and researching a Spanish-speaking country. He surmised that the country project is so well liked because students prepare and share food from the country they choose to learn about.

Mr. Deans has been married to his wife, Pamela, for twenty-three years, and they have one daughter, Lydia. He is very involved at Wake Christian. Mr. Deans coaches volleyball here and participates in the yearly school-sponsored mission trips to Latin America. He has traveled to many Spanish-speaking countries and said his favorite area is the Amazon River area of Peru.

He emphasizes two things to his students: the importance of hard work and the value of mistakes.

“Some students are more naturally gifted than others, but even the most gifted student will not achieve much if they are lazy,” he said, “It is nearly impossible to be successful at anything if you are not willing to work hard.”

Mr. Deans also wants his students to see the good that can come through making a mistake.

“The greatest lessons in life result because of failures,” he stated, “It is the lessons learned from those mistakes that help make us who we become.”

 

Rachael Dramis First Grade

    Rachael Dramis  |  First Grade

First grade teacher Rachael Dramis entered her alma mater, Liberty University, not knowing she would exit with a teaching degree, but today, she’s glad she did.

“I know the Lord called me to this ministry,” she recounted, “I actually had other plans when I began college, but the Lord directed my steps to the teaching profession.”

Mrs. Dramis loves spending time (and especially traveling) with her family — husband Joel and children Abby and Caleb, as well as puppy Buddy.

“My cup is full!” she exclaimed.

In the classroom, Mrs. Dramis most cherishes the relationships that she is able to build with her students. She stated, “It is such a privilege to invest in the lives of both the children and their parents. I also love the ‘lightbulb’… the moment when a student understands a new concept, or masters a new skill. It is so rewarding to share in their success.”

Mrs. Dramis shared that there was one subject that particularly excites her pupils. She said, “I think science is always a big hit! To explore and learn about the wonders of God’s creation is always a favorite time of the school day.”

She encourages her students to think deeply about what they learn. She explained, “Academically, I try to teach my students to think… to question… to go to God’s Word for the answers they are looking for. Our God is big enough to answer all of their questions and desires for us to come to Him.”

 

Kim Dry Kindergarten Teacher Assistant

    Kim Dry  |  Kindergarten Teacher Assistant

Melvin Duckenfield High School History
High School Bible
Lalea Evans Elementary Computer

    Lalea Evans  |  Elementary Computer

Elementary computer teacher Lalea Evans always knew that she wanted to be a teacher.

“I’m a servant at heart, and teaching is one of my gifts,” she said, “It was a natural path for me.”

Mrs. Evans teaches Wake Christian Academy’s second through fifth graders. She instructs them in basic Internet and word processing skills but goes beyond that to incorporate what her students are learning in other subjects.

“I collaborate with classroom teachers to integrate their objectives into our computer lessons and vice versa,” Mrs. Evans said.

Her oldest students are thrilled to be exploring coding.

“My fifth graders recently started learning how to write code,” she said, “Within the first four weeks, they wrote well over 30,000 lines of code in Code.org!”

Mrs. Evans earned her B.S. in Education from the State University of New York at Fredonia. She married her high school sweetheart, Nate, in Fredonia before moving to North Carolina a year later. Together they have three sons, two in elementary school at Wake Christian and one in preschool.

Mrs. Evans considers her position at Wake Christian the most satisfying she has ever held.

“I enjoy making memories and building relationships with my students,” she said, “I enjoy watching my students get excited about gaining a new skill.”

One of her favorite memories occurred when she let the students hold and examine the main components of a computer.

“During one of these moments, as one of my third grade students held a motherboard in his hands, he exuberantly declared, ‘This is the greatest day of my life!’” she recounted, “It was so sweet to see a growing passion for technology and an interest in our hands on lesson.”

Norma Fincher Elementary Music
Middle and High School Orchestra

    Norma Fincher  |  Elementary Music
    Middle and High School Orchestra

Music teacher Norma Fincher has instructed at Wake Christian Academy for twenty-six years. She received her bachelor’s degree in Religion and Biblical Education from Luther Rice College and Seminary in Georgia. Currently, she is the general music teacher for grades K-5 and the strings orchestra director for grades 4-12. She revealed that her interest in teaching was sparked at a young age.

“I have four younger sisters and feel like I have been teaching all my life,” Ms. Fincher recounted, “It’s what God made natural for me.”

Ms. Fincher finds the most rewarding part of her occupation to be “when a student comes back later and continues the relationship we have started, or when a student who has been in my classes uses their musical talent for the Lord, or when a parent writes and thanks me for the difference I have made in their child’s life.”

She also has a “policy to be transparent” with her students.

“My desire has been for them to see how things should be done by one who loves the Lord — whether they are pleasant or unpleasant experiences,” she said. Ms. Fincher has two “favorite quotes” she especially likes to share with her students: “God’s ways are always best, and He loves me no matter what happens in my life” and “It doesn’t matter so much what happens to you; it’s how you react to what happens that makes the difference.”

But Ms. Fincher hasn’t just preached to her students without letting them see the trials she has gone through in her life.

“I have been suffering from hand problems for the past few years which has taken me out of the music ministry,” she disclosed, “So God has allowed me to change direction in my focus. Travel, art and church history, collecting, photography, and books are my interests.”

Most of all, Ms. Fincher loves that her students gain invaluable music skills under her tutelage and can continue to use their abilities to serve the Lord.

She said, “For my instrumental students, they can play a violin, viola, cello, bass, or the piano, and that is a rare talent these days! The general music students… are equipped to be involved in any musical program at school, church or the community. Music is truly a God-given gift in an international language.”

 

Chelle Fisher Third Grade
Grade Chair

    Chelle Fisher  |  Third Grade
    Grade Chair

Chelle Fisher, who teaches third grade here at Wake Christian Academy, was born and raised in Hong Kong, China.  Growing up, she never saw herself as a teacher, but her mother did. As a girl, when Mrs. Fisher would get home from school, she would teach her sister what she had learned that day. Mrs. Fisher hadn’t seen it herself, but her mother knew that she would be a teacher someday.

In school, Mrs. Fisher’s favorite teacher was named Mr. Brannon. He taught high school English, but he did this in such a way that commended respect yet maintained a fun and understanding classroom environment.

Mrs. Fisher went to Bob Jones University during which she was given an assignment to interview a number of school principals. She interviewed a family friend named Mr. Chenkel; this interview later led her to teach in a small church school in Delaware. Two years later, Mr. Chenkel left for a position at Wake Christian, and a year later, Mrs. Fisher followed him here and began teaching in the sixth grade at Wake Christian.

Mrs. Fisher has taught at Wake Christian for twenty-seven years, and she’s been a third grade teacher for most of her time here. Mrs. Fisher’s favorite part about teaching is when the lightbulb goes off in a student’s mind. Seeing the students connect the dots in their heads and knowing they’re really learning are what make her job worthwhile to her.

She also loves teaching history, and likes to bring the history to life by telling the stories in such a way that excites her students.

She also teaches her students Biblical principles with illustrations like the orderliness of math, characters’ journeys in reading, and the solutions of history.  Mrs. Fisher especially emphasizes that her pupils look for the peacemakers in their reading to see how conflicts are handled. She also helps her students to look at history from a Christian perspective to see whether or not the right decisions were made.

Working at Wake Christian has been a blessing to Mrs. Fisher. At Wake Christian she has found the freedom to teach effectively. That’s been especially important because after thirty years of teaching, Mrs. Fisher has found that kids are learning differently than they did before.  In her opinion, the flexibility of ideas and teaching methods has been vital in learning to teach this new generation of students.  She is thankful for the coworkers and friends that share ideas and solutions with her as well.

The Wake Christian family has been a huge blessing in her life over the years, one that she thanks God for.

Lindsay Floyd Middle School Bible
Christy Flynn Kindergarten Teacher

    Christy Flynn  |  Kindergarten Teacher

Kindergarten teacher Christy Flynn grew up in Virginia Beach knowing that she would become a teacher.

“I’ve taught everything I’ve ever learned how to do,” she says.

Mrs. Flynn, a third generation teacher, discovered Wake Christian Academy when she and her husband began looking for a school for their own children. They only needed one tour to recognize without a doubt that Wake Christian was where God was calling them to be.

After enrolling her children in Wake Christian, Mrs. Flynn began praying about substituting at the school. A year later, after being a long term substitute, she had her own classroom of kindergarten students.  Their tender hearts warm hers each and every day as she teaches them not only about things like reading and math but also about God’s truth and His love for them. Mrs. Flynn tries to emphasize to her students that “all truth is God’s truth.”

Additionally, the family atmosphere of the faculty is blessing she appreciates greatly. She describes teaching at Wake Christian as “truly more wonderful” than she thought it would be.

Kellie Fowler Second Grade

    Kellie Fowler  |  Second Grade

Second grade teacher Kellie Fowler attended Wake Christian Academy for kindergarten through twelfth grade. Now she loves to guide her young pupils on the “journey of learning” in the same hallways and classrooms she used to frequent.

“I love kids, and especially the age of second grade,” she said, “I taught this age group at church from my teens to my adulthood, and I enjoy watching their brains soak up knowledge!”

History is one of Mrs. Fowler’s favorite subjects to teach.

“History is ‘His story,’ so when I teach those things I can help [the students] see how God is in all things of our world,” she said.

Her class also loves what she calls “Bible Truths” time.

“I don’t want God’s Word to be taught as just ‘stories’ but actual truth from His Word of things that happened and will happen,” she said, “God’s Word, all of it, can be applied to our lives today in so many ways. I love helping the children connect those dots.”

Mrs. Fowler emphasizes to her students that God cares for each and every one of them.

“He alone can help us with anything we face — whether it is a hard math problem, a reading issue, or just how to get along with someone on the playground or in your learning group,” she said, “If we have the Lord as our foundation, all things will build and grow from there!”

Mrs. Fowler loves her other jobs as a wife and mother as well as photography, reading, and cross-stitching. She attended Meredith College and earned her B.S. in Child Development with Teacher Certification.

Mrs. Fowler loves teaching because she learns as much from her students as they learn from her.

“As I am teaching, the Lord uses those moments to enlighten me to the truths from His Word that He wants me to remember for my own life,” she said, “My students teach me valuable lessons each day of God’s love, mercy, and grace which in turn make me a better teacher. I love what I do!”

Paul Funchess Middle School Bible
Laura Glas Middle School History
Technology Integration

    Laura Glas  |  Middle School History
    Technology Integration

Laura Glas grew up in a southwestern Michigan city called Kalamazoo.  Since second grade, she’s known she wanted to be a teacher.  After taking her field placement tests, Miss Glas found her niche in teaching middle school. She also recognizes that critical thinking skills are imperative in her day-to-day teaching and in student’s lives as a whole.

“Middle schoolers are old enough to start developing critical thinking skills, and that makes every day something new and different.  It keeps me on my toes,” she stated.

Miss Glas has found teaching at Wake Christian Academy to be better than she could have ever expected, and she said, “The entire school family is so supporting and welcoming which can make teaching a lot easier.”

Julie Gore First Grade
Janice Gregory Fifth Grade
Pam Griffin Assistant High School Principal
High School Bible

    Pam Griffin  |  Assistant High School Principal
    High School Bible

Assistant High School Principal Pam Griffin, a graduate of Wake Christian Academy, has held her position since 2013.

“One of the main focuses of my job is student scheduling and student affairs,” she said, “Registrar responsibilities are also an aspect of what I do.

“Supporting the high school faculty and being Mr. Helder’s sidekick (I do not use that term lightly) also fall within the responsibilities of this office,” she added.

Mrs. Griffin earned her B.S. in Social Science Education from Liberty University in 1986. That same year, she received a job teaching History/Social Studies to Wake Christian’s eleventh graders. Mrs. Griffin has taught eighth grade History as well as high school Bible at the school. She attained her Master of Education in Teaching and Learning from Liberty University in 2012, and she is working on her Doctorate of Education in Reading and Higher Education from Nova Southeastern University.

When she is not at Wake Christian, Mrs. Griffin enjoys visiting the beach with her husband, John, and daughter, Campbell. She also loves working on the farm she and her family own, Hector’s Creek Farm in Fuquay Varina.

Mrs. Griffin finds the most rewarding aspect of her current position to be “watching students grow in the Lord and maturing in their walk with Christ.”

One of the most fun parts of her job is taking high school students to College for a Weekend every year at her alma mater, Liberty University. She loves showing them around the college she is so proud of.

Mrs. Griffin sees a bright future for Wake Christian and desires to expand and improve the school.

“I would like to see more classroom and collaborative learning spaces,” she said, “I love Wake Christian and desire to see the continued blessings of the Lord on this place.”

Sarah Haight Technology Engineer
Wayne Helder High School Principal
High School Bible
Dennis Hensley High School Science

    Dennis Hensley  |  High School Science

Ninth grade science teacher Dennis Hensley has instructed at Wake Christian Academy for nearly thirteen years. Growing up, he readily admits that he “was not a big ‘fan’ of school,” but today he enjoys his job “working with and teaching young people.”

He adds that his “motivation” as a teacher is “to be a part of the next generation … helping them both in and out of the classroom.”

Teaching is a family affair for Hensley, whose wife is a preschool teacher. They have three children, all of whom attend Wake Christian.

Hensley received his Masters in Education from Campbell University and he says the “most rewarding part” of teaching for him is “to help someone see themselves as a ‘success’ … to help motivate them to find their niche or their place in how they can show their own abilities and not see their disabilities.”

Currently in charge of Wake Christian’s physical science classes, Hensley says his “interest in science has been God’s hand in how science is a part of everything we see and can’t see. I chose science as a means of showing how creation is just that — creation — and try to explain this to my students in comparing creation versus evolution in all parts of science.”

Beyond academics, where Hensley says his main “responsibility is to help [his students] understand the confusing parts,” he tries “to help them see beyond the classroom and see where they will impact others beyond these next few years.”

“I want them to know that the impact they have on others — good or bad, even for a brief moment — can last a lifetime,” he adds.

Hensley’s caring attitude toward his pupils makes it no surprise he also spends his time working with them on the field too, coaching the Junior Varsity Football, Junior Varsity Girls’ Basketball, and Junior High Softball programs.

He explains that in addition to watching students grow in class, “I enjoy working with the students outside of the classroom on the sports field and seeing them in their element.”

Hensley’s involvement in the lives of his students both in and out of the classroom gives him a special connection to his students that adds to one of the many things that helps students feel at home at Wake Christian.

 

Paula Henson Middle School History

    Paula Henson  |  Middle School History

Paula Henson teaches history because she has “always enjoyed learning from the past.”

She loves her role educating Wake Christian Academy’s seventh and eighth graders about United States history. Mrs. Henson attended Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and earned bachelor’s degrees in both History and Bible as well as a minor in Education.

“I have always enjoyed learning and communicating to others what I had learned, much to the dismay of my younger brother,” she said, “I got a chalkboard for Christmas one year, and the rest is history.”

Mrs. Henson’s students especially like learning about World War II and current events. She gives them unique projects to show them that history can be exciting.

“Last year, my students had debates on the best president,” she recounted, “They were passionate about their assigned president and very competitive. Many unpopular presidents made it to the final four.”

Outside the classroom, Mrs. Henson enjoys spending time with her husband and son as well as reading and crafting. Inside the classroom, she impresses on the middle schoolers that they must be responsible in their academic lives.

“I try to teach my students that assignments that look hard to tackle are easy when you have a plan and don’t procrastinate,” she said.

Mrs. Henson cherishes watching her students grow in their understanding of the past.

“I love when a student connects one fact with another,” she said, “I love when they can anticipate how a new fact fits into history.”

Ricky Hering Director of Budget and Finance

    Ricky Hering  |  Director of Budget and Finance

Ricky Hering, Wake Christian Academy’s Director of Budget and Finance, has kept the school in the black for almost a decade. A graduate of Campbell University with a degree in Business Administration, he is a Certified Public Accountant and loves his job “managing the resources that we have in a way that provides for the needs of our students, faculty, staff, and school as a whole.”

When he is not in the office, Mr. Hering enjoys spending time with his family. He has two daughters who attended Wake Christian from kindergarten through twelfth grade. Kirsten graduated in 2013, and Abbey is a member of the Class of 2016. Mr. Hering is a deacon at his church of 21 years, Fellowship Baptist Church.

 

Jennifer Hinton Fourth Grade
Amanda Hodgins
Lori Holleman Second Grade Teacher Assistant

    Lori Holleman  |  Second Grade Teacher Assistant

Larry Hoxie Middle School Principal
Ronnie Jeffreys Director of Facilities
Roy Jernigan Facilities
Randy Johnson Athletic Director
Irene Jones Elementary Spanish
Eric Lee Physical Education

    Eric Lee  |  Physical Education

Boys’ Physical Education teacher Eric Lee loves that he gets paid to play sports and be active. What he loves most, however, is getting to know his students.

“I get to build relationships with [students] every single day, and that is very exciting,” he said, “Relationships result in impact, and I want to impact lives.”

Mr. Lee graduated from Campbell University with a B.S. in Exercise Science and Physical Education. He and his wife Brittany have one daughter, AnnaGrace. Mr. Lee is a deacon in his church, which he grew up in, and in his free time enjoys playing golf and fishing.

One of his favorite parts of his job is introducing his students to new and different sports, like team handball.

“[It’s] been an Olympic Sport for many years and no one seems to play it here in the United States,” he said, “However, Wake Christian could really put a quality team handball team together because we have some kids that love it.”

Mr. Lee emphasizes the importance of sportsmanship and honor to his students, who range in age from second to twelfth grade.

“Winning and losing is the hardest lesson for kids to learn. And ultimately how to do it right,” he explained, “Your ability to handle [winning and losing] will ultimately have a great impact on your success in life.”

Mr. Lee witnessed the results of the principles he instills in his students last fall. They were running the mile, one of the toughest parts of the class.

“Everyone was done except this one new student,” he remembered, “He was almost an entire lap behind the rest of the class.”

He was “amazed” when the finished students caught their breath and immediately returned to run the final lap with the new student.

“They cheered him on and kept pushing him to do his very best, and when he finished they acted as if he had just broken some kind of world record,” Mr. Lee said, “That is what Wake Christian is about. And that is why this place is like no other.”

 

Justin Leonesio High School Math
Math Department Chair
Standardized Test Coordinator

    Justin Leonesio  |  High School Math
    Math Department Chair
    Standardized Test Coordinator

Justin Leonesio, who is the Math Department Chair at Wake Christian Academy, and teaches calculus and precalculus, decided to become a teacher when he was a senior in high school.

He recounted, “My high school math teacher made an incredible impact on my life. His passion for both his students and his subject area influenced me to consider being a teacher.”

He added, “Once I began to investigate that possibility further, God placed a desire within me to pursue the field of education for my future. Through the avenue of teaching, God has given me the wonderful privilege and responsibility of influencing young people toward Christ on a daily basis.”

Leonesio, whose students call him “Mr. L,” has been married to his wife Katelin for three years and they have two dogs named Biscuit and Dink. They attend Driven Church and are self-proclaimed “thrill-seekers” who enjoy “riding rollercoasters, skydiving, SCUBA diving, and most anything else that involves something extreme,” said Leonesio.

He is pursuing his Ph.D. in Mathematics at North Carolina State University, having earned his master’s degree from NCSU and his bachelor’s from Liberty University.

He said he can’t imagine himself teaching any other subject than math and explained, “Within the field of mathematics, there are so many exciting things to unveil! In my classes, I try to emphasize conceptual ideas rather than rote memorization.”

Leonesio elaborated, “When mathematics is boiled down to a simple memorization of basic facts, it often becomes boring, difficult, and practically useless.  No wonder so many students ‘dislike’ math!

On the other hand, when I can answer the famous math question of “why?” for a student, then the barrier that typically separates students from a true understanding and appreciation of mathematics can be torn down. I encourage my students to ask the tough questions.”

Leonesio finds watching his students grow into more mature human beings the most rewarding part of teaching.

He stated, “Although academics are important, and I enjoy watching the ‘light bulbs’ come on as new concepts that are addressed are comprehended fully, I would have to say that seeing students grow spiritually during a school year or over the course of several school years is by far the most rewarding part of teaching.”

Becky Lewis Elementary - ILC
Wanda Lucas High School Math
High School Student Council Advisor

    Wanda Lucas  |  High School Math
    High School Student Council Advisor

Wanda Lucas is a veteran science teacher, having taught physical science, along with biology and biotech, at Wake Christian Academy for ten years; however, her role at Wake Christian has changed this year as she assumed a new position in the math department instructing Algebra II.

Mrs. Lucas is very passionate about her new role. She said, “I love math! I actually majored in math with a minor in science… Math is such a necessity, and I look forward to trying to help students fall in love with it if they hate it or grow to love it more if they already have the passion for it.”

Mrs. Lucas has been married to her husband, Ed, for twenty-five years, and they have two sons: McLean, a junior at North Carolina State University, and Cameron, a heavy equipment operator in the Marines.

“I’ve always wanted to be a teacher,” stated Mrs. Lucas, “The thought of sharing knowledge and watching students ‘get it’ is always a thrill. My fifth grade teacher and my high school Algebra II teacher helped to ignite the spark! They were both great teachers, and I could see myself, even at a young age, doing the same.”

For Mrs. Lucas, “the most rewarding aspects of teaching are ‘seeing the light bulb come on’ and formulating relationships beyond the classroom.”

She adds, “I love my students and care about their lives beyond the academics. It thrills me when I get a text from a former student thanking me for teaching them something that they later have needed in college or just something that may have helped them in life in general.”

Mrs. Lucas tries to stress two things to her classes. Academically, she wants them to learn that “EVERYONE can succeed! Someone may have to work a little harder than the next person, but if you want it badly enough — success can be yours!”

Regarding life lessons, which she views as the most important, she wants them to embrace doing “everything as unto the Lord! Just do the right thing even if you are the only one! Always, always be honest!”

 

Michael Manning High School English
Deborah Martin Middle School Math
Mary Ann Martin High School English
High School Student Council Advisor

    Mary Ann Martin  |  High School English
    High School Student Council Advisor

Wake Christian Academy has been blessed with many amazing teachers, and English teacher Mary Ann Martin is one of them. Say her name, and students’ faces automatically light up!

Mrs. Martin has worked at Wake Christian for almost twenty-seven years. She has worked with a variety of grade levels and has even taught science, and currently she teaches tenth grade English as well as one tenth grade Bible class. She has been married to her husband Ricky, a retired captain with the Wake County Sheriff’s Department, for thirty-four years, and their two children, Barrett and Brittney, both graduated from Wake Christian.

In addition to instructing her students, Mrs. Martin somehow finds time to be a High School Student Council Sponsor and a Senior Class Sponsor. She balances many roles at the school but says she finds her reward in her “former students and… how God has directed their lives.”

“I think the most rewarding aspect of teaching is seeing students mature and function as Christians in life,” she explains.

Mrs. Martin had “always wanted to be a teacher” and remembers, “I taught my dolls and even taught my brother phonics.”

She’s now teaching ideas a little more advanced than phonics — high school English, her “favorite” subject, and the vocabulary, grammar, and literature that comes with it. Mrs. Martin states, “Of course, I emphasize proper grammar and a love of reading.”

But one aspect of Mrs. Martin that makes her students love her is her attention to their spiritual needs as well. She explains, “I also want my students to see the importance of making good choices that will help them to honor God in all they do. I try to be a good listener because students have real problems, and they want to talk to someone. I want to give them good godly advice and to encourage them.”

This attitude is why Mrs. Martin has so much success with her students. Perhaps this quote from Mrs. Martin sums her up best: “ I can honestly say that I love my students!”

Ricky Martin Director of Safety and Security
Sonya Massengill High School English
English Department Chair

    Sonya Massengill  |  High School English
    English Department Chair

English department head Sonya Massengill, who received her PhD in Curriculum and Instruction, English Education, from NC State University, teaches junior and senior English classes and enjoys it immensely.

“Teaching allowed me to balance family and career — and spend my days immersed in subjects that I love,” she elaborated, adding, “There’s always more to learn about the craft of teaching.”

Before being employed at Wake Christian, Dr. Massengill taught voice at UNC-Chapel Hill as well as private voice lessons. When her children grew older, she decided to try teaching middle school English.

“I loved middle school,” she explained, “But an experience performing with Christian Youth Theatre led to my interest in working with older students.”

Now she instructs the eldest students at Wake Christian Academy in literature and writing. In addition, she teaches first-year writing at Campbell University.

For Dr. Massengill, the most rewarding part of teachings is “when a student suddenly discovers a love for literature or begins to develop as a writer — well, it doesn’t get any better than that.”

She also tries to help her students understand the social and moral contexts of the works they study and then view those works through a Christian lens.

Dr. Massengill explained, “One of my favorite quotes is from Thomas Carlyle: ‘Literature is but a branch of religion, and always participates in its character.’  I want students to see literature as a reflection of the culture, including its religious and philosophical developments. It’s important to understand what a writer is trying to say, but that’s only the first step. Students then need to weigh those ideas in light of a Christian worldview.”

 

Becky Matthews Director of Human Resources
Todd Medlin Band Director
Lynne Moody Fifth Grade

    Lynne Moody  |  Fifth Grade

Fifth grade Language Arts teacher Lynne Moody was drawn at a young age to the subject she teaches.

“I have always loved Language Arts and diagramming,” she explained, “In elementary school, I could not wait for my teacher to tell us to take out our language books.  I love spelling and spelling bees too!”

Mrs. Moody is thrilled to share her passion for language arts with her students.

“Language, writing, and spelling are essential parts of daily living. It is something we should strive to do well,” she stated, “I try to stress that [my students] do not know what field the Lord will call them to when they enter adulthood. It is always good to prepare early in life so they can do all things with excellence.”

When she’s not instructing, Mrs. Moody loves reading, playing the piano, and traveling — but above all, spending time with her husband and two children. She earned her bachelor’s in Secondary Education from Welch College in Nashville, Tennessee.

Mrs. Moody finds her job extremely rewarding. She said, “It is such a blessing to see a student finally understand a concept. It is also a joy to spend all day teaching… children and at the end of the day, they come to your desk to tell you they will see you in the morning and give you a hug.”

Additionally, Mrs. Moody has noticed that one area of her curriculum seems to particularly excite the fifth graders.

“Most students do not start out enjoying diagramming sentences,” she shared, “But once they understand the concept of how all parts of speech work together, they race to the board to draw their diagram.”

Passing on a love for learning and especially for language is what makes Mrs. Moody a great teacher, as well as this sweet statement she gave: “I love to help children achieve their goals and be all that they can be.”

 

Patricia Mooney Media Center Specialist

    Patricia Mooney  |  Media Center Specialist

Media Center specialist Patricia Mooney has served the middle and high school students of Wake Christian Academy for what will be seven years now, helping them grow into ravenous readers and lifelong learners.Mrs. Mooney earned a degree in Speech/Elementary Education from the State University of New York in New Paltz, New York. Before working in the Media Center, she was a substitute teacher here at Wake Christian.

She said of her current position, “My main focus in my job is to help students do research and to help them find books that will interest them. I enjoy finding books for students that will spark an interest in reading.”

Mrs. Mooney loves getting to know her students and stated that she feels most rewarded when students “come into the Media Center excited about a book, and I am able to point them towards similar books.”

Involvement with Wake Christian Academy has been a family affair for Mrs. Mooney. Her youngest son, Caleb, attended Wake Christian from kindergarten to senior year and now studies at NC State University. Mrs. Mooney has two other adult children with her husband of thirty-eight years as well as three “darling” grandchildren, in her words!

Outside of the Media Center, Mrs. Mooney loves volunteering in her church. She shared, “I enjoy singing on the praise team and in the choir at my church as well as working with Awanas and helping in Vacation Bible School.”

Mrs. Mooney certainly loves to serve and is a great role model in the Media Center!

Kristin Nitz Elementary - 2nd Grade
Morgan Parido Middle School English and Writing

    Morgan Parido  |  Middle School English and Writing

Middle School English and Writing teacher Morgan Parido fell in love with reading at a young age.

“From the time I was a little girl, I loved getting books for Christmas,” she recounted.

Mrs. Parido now shares her passion for reading with seventh graders.

“I love the excitement the children have when they finally find a book that connects with them,” she said, “They will come to class talking a mile a minute about something exciting that happened in the last chapter, and I just sit back and smile.”

Mrs. Parido views teaching as an opportunity to influence her students for good.

“Teachers have a chance to be a steady, consistent impact in a child’s life at a time in history when children so often have nothing in which they can consistently trust,” she explained.

One of the lessons she stresses most in the classroom is understanding authors’ biases.

“If the author is subtly hinting at an unbiblical message, I want my students to catch that underlying message,” she said, “The world will not yell at my students, ‘I am trying to deceive you.’ I want my seventh graders to know when they are being taught something that is false.”

Mrs. Parido received her B.A. in Elementary Education and Bible from Appalachian Bible College. When she is not discussing a plot twist or the rules of grammar with her students, she enjoys playing and watching basketball as well as going on hikes with her husband. Although this is only her first year teaching at Wake Christian, Mrs. Parido is already making memories.

“My favorite memory from this year has been reading Nightmare Academy by Frank Peretti to my honors students,” she said, “They became attached to one of the minor characters to such a ridiculous extent that they would talk about her, talk like her, and defend her all day. It made me smile to see them enjoy a book so much.”

Phyllis Parrish Administrative Assistant to Head of School
Paula Pierce School Nurse
Paula Porter Fifth Grade
Grade Chair

    Paula Porter  |  Fifth Grade
    Grade Chair

Paula Porter, a veteran fifth grade teacher here at Wake Christian Academy, grew up in Henderson, Kentucky. During her childhood, Mrs. Porter’s mother taught middle school at Holy Name Catholic School as well as piano lessons at their house. Mrs. Porter used to pretend her mom’s piano stool was her desk as she played “school” with her friends.

In high school, Mrs. Porter’s favorite teacher was named Mrs. Irene Fuller. She was strict, but fair, and she really knew her subject.

After high school, Mrs. Porter went to Murray State University in Murray, Kentucky and earned her Bachelor of Science degree. She went on to earn her Masters at Indiana State University.

Mrs. Porter lived in Indiana and Ohio before moving to Raleigh from Huntsville, Alabama when her husband got a job in North Carolina with the Red Cross.  After enrolling her children at Wake Christian, Mrs. Porter taught third grade for one year at Green Hope Elementary.  When an opening for a fifth grade teacher came available at Wake Christian, Mrs. Porter applied, and she’s been teaching fifth grade at Wake Christian for eleven years now out of her thirty years of teaching.

In teaching, Mrs. Porter finds the relationships she builds with her students most rewarding part of her job, and she is really enjoying the opportunity to get to know all of the fifth graders now that fifth grade has become departmentalized. Mrs. Porter teaches the math and science departments, which opens up many doors for the sharing of spiritual truths about God’s Creation.

For example, Mrs. Porter invited a guest speaker to convey to the fifth graders how Creation displays God’s glory. Mrs. Porter especially enjoys teaching her students in-depth material about the world God created and how it demonstrates His character, such as in math, where the fifth grade has focused on Psalm 90:12, which says, “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”

Mrs. Porter is very thankful for the strong leadership at Wake Christian, and she says, “Our administration is a gift from God.”

Mrs. Porter loves teaching here at Wake Christian, and she is thankful that God has given her such an opportunity.

Karen Rhodes High School Bible
Ginger Robbins Middle School/High School Administrative Assistant

    Ginger Robbins  |  Middle School/High School Administrative Assistant

Ginger Robbins, Middle and High School Administrative Assistant, keeps classes running smoothly by coordinating substitute teachers at Wake Christian Academy.

“I am tasked with making sure there is classroom coverage,” she said, “I answer lots of questions and put out many ‘fires’ everyday!”

Mrs. Robbins earned her B.A. in Recreation Administration from UNC-Chapel Hill. She has worked at Wake Christian for three years.

“I love interacting with students, staff, and parents,” she said, “Wake Christian is filled with wonderful people.”

With her husband Dale, Mrs. Robbins has two daughters, Haley and Sydney, who are in the eleventh and ninth grades respectively at the school. Outside of school, she loves volunteering at her church as a youth group leader, Sunday school teacher, dance team leader, and worship singer.

 

Dawn Russell Director of School Advancement

    Dawn Russell  |  Director of School Advancement

Dawn Russell is enjoying her seventh year working at Wake Christian Academy. Her two children started here nine years ago — now her younger son, Gavin, is a sophomore, and her older son, Trey, graduated in 2015. Placing her sons in school here led Dawn to volunteer at Wake Christian’s annual auction, and events snowballed from there.

“I was hired as Development Associate, in charge of fundraising and events,” recounted Russell, “And was promoted to Development Coordinator, which added branding, marketing, the website, and social media to my list of responsibilities.”

Most recently, Dawn was named Director of School Advancement and now oversees communications, alumni, and admissions.

Prior to joining Wake Christian Academy, Dawn was the director of the preschool run by Sunrise United Methodist Church, where she and her family attend. She also has extensive corporate experience in Human Resources, Facilities, and Purchasing. Dawn received her bachelor’s in Elementary Education from the University of North Carolina Wilmington, and holds a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Duke University.

“I love working here because I can come to school each day with my kids, but I also love that my job is never boring!” she stated, “No two days are ever the same. I love the relationships I’ve built with the staff, parents, grandparents, alumni, and the community. I want everyone to know this is a great school.”

Dawn and her husband, Jay, toured Wake Christian Academy before Trey started kindergarten, but decided he would be fine in public school.

“When Trey got to the fourth grade, we knew public school was no longer an option for our family, so we came back for another tour,” she said. “We applied immediately, but were placed on the waiting list for fifth grade. We knew if this was the place he was meant to be, we would make it in. The wonderful call from Mrs. Sauls came about two weeks before school started. The differences between the two schools were astounding, and Trey received so much more here than he had in the past.”

She continued, “If a parent is considering WCA for their child, I would say that this school takes care of my kids. They not only teach them academics, but they train them to be wonderful young men that will change the world!”

Amy Sauls Elementary Media Specialist
Lead Media Specialist

    Amy Sauls  |  Elementary Media Specialist
    Lead Media Specialist

Lead Media Specialist, Amy Sauls, has been at Wake Christian Academy “literally half my life,” as she put it! Amy attended Wake Christian from first through twelfth grade (there was no kindergarten offered at the time), and earned her bachelor’s in Home Economics from Bob Jones University. She worked a few different jobs, and after marrying George, her husband of almost twenty-eight years, she continued to work until their two children, Emily and Haley, were born.

Once the girls were in school, she came to work at Wake Christian, and for the past sixteen years she has run the Elementary Media Center, a position that began as part-time and soon progressed to full-time.

Emily, a 2010 graduate of Wake Christian, recently graduated from UNC-Wilmington, with a degree in Clinical Research, and is currently working in that field. Haley, a 2014 graduate, attends Barton College and major in Elementary and Special Education.

In her free time, Amy enjoys reading and spending time with her family. They attend Catawba Springs Christian Church.

“Wake Christian feels like home to me,” she stated. “There is truly a feeling of family here. I would encourage any parent looking for a school for their children to strongly consider Wake Christian Academy. Students get all they need academically, and the spiritual emphasis is even more important. A Biblical worldview is presented through each subject taught. My children have been well-prepared to enter college, and I love the slogan ‘Start Here…Go Anywhere!’  Wake Christian has graduated students that are ready to go wherever the Lord leads. I love Wake Christian Academy! Go Bulldogs!”

Sandra Sauls Elementary Principal

    Sandra Sauls  |  Elementary Principal

Sandra Sauls has been the Elementary Principal of Wake Christian Academy since 1989. One of her most cherished memories from her position is learning that a family had been able to teach their student about God’s grace through a classroom experience.

“The mother was able to discuss with her child how he had been given ‘grace’ on an assignment and… she was able to share with her son the parallel spiritual truths of God’s grace,” Mrs. Sauls said, “How awesome it is to partner with parents in the training of their children!”

Mrs. Sauls earned her Bachelor of Religious Education from Piedmont Baptist College and her Master of Education from Liberty University. Before becoming the Elementary Principal, Mrs. Sauls taught kindergarten and first grade at Wake Christian. When she is not overseeing the elementary school, you can find her reading, gardening, spending time with her family and friends, and caring for her mother.

The focuses of Mrs. Sauls’ position include boosting admissions, highlighting Wake Christian’s core values to the students (this month’s is integrity), and working on curriculum and instructional development.

Mrs. Sauls has many goals for elementary school, including reaching full capacity enrollment, continuing to emphasize how God’s Word applies to students’ everyday choices, and turning students into lifelong learners. Most importantly, she desires “to maintain an exceptional faculty who are passionate about teaching and are preparing the students… to fulfill their God-given potential.”

Terry Scott Kindergarten Teacher

    Terry Scott  |  Kindergarten Teacher

Kindergarten teacher Terry Scott was cut out to do her job.

“God gave me a love for children from the very beginning,” she said, “He also gave me much patience for teaching children new things.”

Mrs. Scott is enthused to teach the littlest people at Wake Christian Academy, stating, “In kindergarten we start at the very beginning of education. It is so rewarding to see the growth in the children over the year. They learn many brand-new concepts. It is a treat to see them grow in knowledge, independence, and confidence.”

Mrs. Scott is married to her husband Fred, and they love spending time with their two daughters, Bethany and Kailey, son-in-law Josh, and two grandsons, Landon and Benjamin.

“After my relationship to Christ, my family is my biggest joy!” gushed Mrs. Scott.

She tries to emphasize two lessons in particular to her tiny pupils in their first year of school. First, she wants them to love Jesus and each other and learn to “build each other up.” Second, she has a “passion for teaching children to read” and wants to help them excel in that area.

Mrs. Scott is certainly a great teacher to welcome kindergarteners and their families into the Wake Christian fold.

“Kindergarten obviously is the first introduction for [many] families to Wake Christian Academy and often to Jesus,” she explained, “I take that very seriously. It is important that the kindergarten year is an upbeat, positive experience that builds a solid educational foundation for my students and also instills in them a love for Jesus and learning.”

 

Vicki Scott Middle School Fine Arts
High School Fine Arts
Tina Scribner Director of Technology
Gynell Sippy Kindergarten Assistant
Sam Smith High School Science
High School Bible
Robin Sprowl Fourth Grade

    Robin Sprowl  |  Fourth Grade

Fourth grade teacher Robin Sprowl loves teaching in Wake Christian Academy’s elementary school because of the constant focus on God there. Having taught at Wake Christian for eleven years, Mrs. Sprowl feels called to form the next generation with the gifts God has given her and cherishes watching her students grow as people.

Mrs. Sprowl had been a substitute teacher at multiple public schools before taking her position here at Wake Christian, and she appreciates that she can freely discuss Christ with her students and help them to look at life with a Christian worldview.

She has a passion for teaching and enjoys that she gets to be a part of not just her student’s academic but also their everyday lives at Wake Christian.

Karen Tart Third Grade

    Karen Tart  |  Third Grade

Third grade teacher Karen Tart has taught at Wake Christian Academy for seven years. As she’s also had second and fourth grade classes, Mrs. Tart is an expert with elementary-age children and prizes her job educating the next generation of church, home, and business leaders because she recognizes the importance of these students possessing a solid foundation of faith in God’s Word and truth.

Mrs. Tart and her husband, Benny, who is on the school’s Board of Directors, have three sons, Cody, Hunter, and Bradley, all of whom attend high school at Wake Christian. Part of the reason she loves Wake Christian Academy is that the student body and staff and faculty all feel like one large family.

Mrs. Tart loves her students because of their willingness to learn and share their hearts freely. In order to connect with her students, she enjoys learning more about their lives and making them feel special.

Most importantly, Mrs. Tart emphasizes to her students that God is everywhere and created all thing, so God is the reason they learn every subject.

Christie Taylor First Grade Teacher Assistant

    Christie Taylor  |  First Grade Teacher Assistant

Wake Christian Academy feels like “home” to first grade teacher assistant Christie Taylor.

“I have always enjoyed being at Wake Christian,” she said, “After subbing for a while I knew that I wanted to be a permanent part of the Wake Christian family.”

Her favorite parts of her job are “reading to the children, being silly with them, and knowing that they leave first grade learning how to be obedient and a little more independent.”

Mrs. Taylor has a little trick to keep the first graders well-behaved during lunch.

“I have a small stuffed mouse that rides in my apron pocket,” she said, “The kids have to be very careful to use all of their good manners at lunch when eating and when cleaning up so that mouse doesn’t learn any bad manners… They also know that when they are extra obedient in their classrooms, mouse will come and hang out.”

Mrs. Taylor lives in Fuquay Varina with her husband and three daughters, all of whom started at Wake Christian in kindergarten. She enjoys spending time outside as well as crafting.

“[I] have found that I can use this talent here at Wake Christian,” she said.

Before becoming a teacher assistant, Mrs. Taylor taught preschool for eight years.

“The first grade team is a terrific group of ladies,” she said, “I knew that this was the right place for me.”

In the classroom, Mrs. Taylor most emphasizes to the first graders the importance of perseverance.

“It is okay when things are hard,” she said, “That’s how we grow. It’s also okay to fail sometimes. We are not perfect, but it is though our mistakes that we learn and hopefully move on to the next lesson that life has for us.”

 

Karen Tew Middle School Science
Victoria Weinner Physical Education

    Victoria Weinner  |  Physical Education

Victoria Weinner, Girl’s PE and Health Teacher, grew up in a Christian school and was greatly impacted by the teachers she had. She remembers, “It was my desire to be able to impact others the way my teachers had influenced me.” As a seventh grader she felt God calling her to be a teacher. Coupling that calling with her love of sports led her into physical education. “Watching my students grow and improve throughout the year and seeing them accomplish something they have worked hard to achieve” she states are the most rewarding aspects of teaching for her. The importance of being proper stewards of the body God has entrusted to us is an important academic and life lesson she stresses to all of her students. When asked about the curriculum she teaches Ms. Weinner shared “We cover a wide variety of sports and activities that benefit my students, a popular one is badminton!”

Outside of the classroom, this native Michigander, enjoys traveling back to the north, spending time with family, outdoor activities such as camping, and cheering on the MSU Spartans and Detroit Tigers.

Ms. Weinner holds a Bachelors of Science in Health and Physical Education from Piedmont International University.

Barbara Williams High School History
Junior and Senior Class Sponsor

    Barbara Williams  |  High School History
    Junior and Senior Class Sponsor

Psychology/sociology teacher Barbara Williams has a passion for both her profession and the subject she teaches.

“I had a beloved teacher in high school that dearly loved teaching and loved her students. She impressed me so much that I developed that same loving desire to teach,” recounted Mrs. Williams.

She also explained why she loves the subjects she instructs in, especially sociology: “I was drawn to sociology first of all in college. I had a fascination with learning about subjects with a social nature, for example classes in society, industrial psychology, juvenile delinquency… I gobbled up so many sociology courses in college that I soon had a major in that area.”

After earning her B.A. in sociology from UNC Asheville, Mrs. Williams pursued a teaching certificate from Meredith College. She has taught history and criminal justice as well as her current subjects, psychology and sociology. She likes what she currently teaches the best because of how much it interests her as well as how it can benefit her students.

“Many aspects of psychology and sociology can be very personal and lead to a better understanding of our world and of ourselves,” said Mrs. Williams, “Each year I try to challenge my students to take these courses very personally, putting themselves in the pages of their textbooks so that they will gain a better understanding of themselves, the people closest to them, their community, and the world.”

Mrs. Williams also demonstrated how taking her course is helpful for students whether or not they want to pursue a career in a field that relates to psychology or sociology.

“Psychology and sociology are general survey courses that give our students a background in these subjects,” she stated, “Students will gain a general knowledge that will help them get off to a good start when they take these subjects in college, as many college degrees require one or both of these subjects.”

When she’s not helming psychology/sociology class, Mrs. Williams loves to spend time with her husband of forty-three years, Tom, their three adult children, and their three grandchildren. Additionally, Mrs. Williams loves Romeo, her “teddy bear” of a dog  whose hobby is watching television.

Mrs. Williams may love being able to delve into fascinating subjects everyday, but for her, the best part of teaching is reconnecting with her past students. She said, “The most rewarding aspects of teaching for me is seeing our graduates return to Wake Christian Academy and hearing about their life journeys.”

 

David Williams Alumni Coordinator
High School Bible

    David Williams  |  Alumni Coordinator
    High School Bible

David Williams, Alumni Coordinator, has worked at Wake Christian Academy for twenty-one years. Before that, he was a student here, graduating in 1987. He earned his bachelor’s in History Education from Methodist University and taught at Wake Christian until becoming Alumni Coordinator in 2014. He still instructs one class, high school Bible.

His job is “to serve fellow and future alumni by planning and supporting school events,” he explained. He also acts as a liaison between the school, its alumni base, current students, and the community.

In addition to his responsibilities as Alumni Coordinator, Mr. Williams coaches varsity and junior varsity football. He shares his love of football with his three sons, Nathaniel, Greyson, and Tanner, all of whom attend Wake Christian. His wife of eighteen years, Janice, also works at the school, teaching math and Bible. Mr. Williams has been a member of the Fairview Fire Department for over two decades. He and his family attend Catawba Springs Christian Church.

 

Janice Williams High School Math
High School Bible
Melissa Wisdom Kindergarten Teacher Assistant

    Melissa Wisdom  |  Kindergarten Teacher Assistant

Mike Woods Head of School

    Mike Woods  |  Head of School

Mike Woods, Wake Christian Academy’s Head of School, seldom gets bored with his job.

“As Head of School, I have the privilege of interacting with and providing direction to all areas of the school,” he said, “It is very interesting to move from discussing elementary curriculum with Mrs. Sauls to reviewing the next facility project with Mr. Jeffreys.”

Mr. Woods graduated from Wake Christian in 1986 and four years later received his bachelor’s in Speech Communication from North Carolina State University. He was a Wake County Deputy Sheriff from 1990 until 1995, the year he began teaching at Wake Christian Academy. Since then, he has held many positions at Wake Christian, from high school science teacher to middle school principal.

Mr. Woods has been Wake Christian’s Head of School for twelve years. Since becoming the Head of School, he has earned his master’s in Christian School Administration from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. For him, the most rewarding part of his job is seeing his student’s successes.

“I have had the privilege of seeing former students who have completed college, gotten married, and are making a positive difference for the Lord in their community,” he said, “Some of my former students have their children at Wake Christian, which is the highest compliment we could ever receive.”

When he is not at school, Mr. Woods enjoys spending time with his wife, Kelly, and his three children, all of whom attend Wake Christian.

“I also enjoy teaching the Newlywed Adult Bible Class at church, running, working outside, and reading,” he said.

Mr. Woods is thankful to work at the same place where he first heard about Jesus.

“Now as Head of School, I have the opportunity to share my faith with my students,” he said, “I want our school to prepare students to use the gifts and talents they have been given by God for His glory.”

 

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