Lipscomb Academy announces new faculty, administrative hires for 2021-22 academic year
Enrollment continues to grow as does the need for more faculty and staff. As a result, there will be many new faces on campus August 11, 2021, in classrooms and offices.
Amanda Price |
Kelly Carter, PK2 faculty. Education: Bachelor of Arts in Communication, Lipscomb University. A graduate of Greater Atlanta Christian School, Carter focused on public relations and communications while in college. After spending several years dedicated to raising her three children, she changed career paths to pursue early childhood education and has served as a teaching assistant in the SEED School since 2019. Carter’s family is heavily involved with team sports, church activities, and enjoying the great outdoors with the hopes of exploring out west with their camper.
Melissa Ezell, PK2 teacher. Education: Bachelor of Arts, Lipscomb University. Ezell has dedicated the last decade to nurturing children in preschool programs. Having served for the past two years as a teaching assistant in the SEED School, this fall, she will be a SEED School teacher in the 2’s program. Previously, Ezell taught two-year-olds for six years at Otter Creek Preschool. She and her husband, Ryan, have one daughter, Catelyn, who is an academy alumni and two sons, Austin and Garner, currently enrolled.
Hayley Mitchell, PK4 faculty. Education: Bachelor of Science in Family Science, Lipscomb University. A Nashville native and academy alumna, Mitchell has a passion for nurturing and teaching young students. As a recent college graduate, she is excited to continue to call Lipscomb "family" and pray that God will be glorified through her teaching at the academy. Mitchell is currently pursuing a Master of Education in Instructional Practice at Lipscomb University. She and Grant were married this summer.
Amy Owen, teaching assistant. Education: Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Family Studies, Lipscomb University. A graduate of the academy, Owen has served with Lipscomb University for the past five years, most recently as program manager for the Educational Leadership program in the College of Education’s graduate department. Previously, she worked at Otter Creek Preschool. She and her husband, Dustin, an occupational therapist and Army Reservist, have three children, Ryan, Ellie, and Jack, enrolled at the academy.
Pon Shaw, teaching assistant. Education: Bachelor of Science in Textiles, Merchandising, and Apparel Design, Middle Tennessee State University. A native of Laos, Shaw arrived in America as a young child and was raised in Tennessee. Although her background is in fashion, her true passion is serving others and is an avid volunteer in her community, her church, at the academy, and with Girl Scouts of Middle Tennessee. Shaw enjoys hiking, camping, traveling, and volunteering. She and her husband, Cedric, have three children, Brody, Milly, and Preston.
Parker Bell, teaching assistant. Education: Bachelor of Arts in Theology and Ministry, Lipscomb University. While an undergraduate student, Bell was a mentor with the Lipscomb Ideal Program tutoring students with intellectual disabilities and encouraging habits that lead to more independent living. He is passionate about people and has a heart for those with disabilities. Bell is a fan of The Well Coffeehouse nearly as much as he is of the Nashville Predators.
Anna Campbell, teaching assistant. Education: Bachelor of Arts in Family Studies and Master of Education in Instructional Practice, Lipscomb University. Originally from Loveland, Ohio, Campbell moved to Nashville in 2012. For the last seven years, she has worked at various preschools. She has two older siblings and is the proud aunt of three nephews and one brand new niece. When not in the classroom, she loves eating brunch, drinking coffee, spending time with friends and family, or hiking.
Serena Coles, teaching assistant. Education: Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood and Elementary Education, Cascade College. Cole has a passion to teach and help create successful individuals. She and her husband, Luke, have three children, Tyson, Keely, and Monika. Luke is a worship minister, and as they have sought to serve and follow God's will, they have been on a journey. This journey has led them to many different states, which has allowed Coles to teach in Oregon, Oklahoma, Texas, and now Tennessee. They are also actively involved in United Voice Worship.
Courtney Dempsey-Courtney, teaching assistant. Education: College of Lake County Hotel Restaurant Management. Dempsey-Courtney worked with Williamson County Schools as a special needs teacher assistant for the past three years partnering with 16 different students to provide the necessary support for those students to succeed. Prior to discovering a passion for special education, she served the hospitality industry in sales and special event marketing for 15 years. She and her husband, Gary, have one son, Evan, that will join the middle school this fall.
Isabelle Fauchet, teaching assistant. Education: Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Master in General Education, Belmont University. Hailing from Pittsford, New York, Fauchet moved to Nashville in 2012. While working on her graduate degree, she served in the Education Department Brentwood Baptist. Upon graduation, she taught at the Nashville International Academy in grade 4/5. Most recently, she taught at Calvary Young Children's school. Fauchet is presently pursuing an Education Specialist degree. She has 15 brothers and sisters of which 11 are adopted and four are biological, and many of them have special needs.
Jalen Harris, teaching assistant. Education: Bachelor of Arts in Marketing in Communications, Auburn University; Master of Education from Colorado University (CU), Boulder. Harris is in his first year of teaching in the classroom. His experience as a student and football athlete at both Auburn and CU Boulder have provided him many life lessons that he enjoys sharing with his student-athletes at the academy where he serves as the tight ends coach. What Harris loves most about working with young students is providing leadership and guidance from a compassionate view in order to ensure the students are prepared for their journey ahead.
Susan Lakoff, teaching assistant. Education: Bachelor of Arts in Family Sciences and Master of Education in Special Education, Lipscomb University. Having seven years of teaching experience as an extended care teacher, lead teacher, or assistant teacher, Lakoff has worked at Franklin Road Academy, the Gardner School of Franklin, and Grassland Middle School in Williamson County Schools. A Nashville native, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, listening to podcasts, being outdoors, reading, and attending her home church.
Christiana Liddle, special education faculty. Education: Bachelor of Arts, Elementary Education, Lipscomb University; Master of Education in Special Education, Middle Tennessee State University. This past year, Liddle was a teaching assistant in the Solly School. Previously, she taught special education for four years at Dan Mills Elementary and H.G. Hill Elementary, both in Metro Nashville Public Schools, and for one year at the Montgomery County Teen Learning Center in Clarksville, Tennessee. She additionally served for seven years as a homeschool educator for children with different accommodation needs, including speech and reading delay. She and her husband, Bart, have four children, the eldest a recent graduate of the academy and the younger three currently enrolled at the academy.
Kassidy Perez, teaching assistant. Education: Bachelor of Science in Music Education, University of Mississippi. A recent graduate of Ole Miss, Perez completed a music internship at Lafayette Middle and High School and conducted the Oxford Children’s Chorus, all in Oxford, Mississippi. She has a passion for vocal education and shaping the minds of children. Musically talented, Perez plays eight instruments and was a university choir member.
Aubrey Watson, teaching assistant. Education: Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Education, Lipscomb University. A native Nashvillian and recent undergraduate, Watson is currently pursuing a Master of Education in Instructional Practice. In her free time, she enjoys coffee shops, adventures with her infant daughter, Rosie, and travel.
Nora White, teaching assistant. Education: Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Alabama College. Hailing from Mississippi, White has spent the last 16 years focused on serving and educating individuals with disabilities. By helping others, she lives out her calling to do God's will. White enjoys the great outdoors, farm animals, gardening, and horseback riding. She and her husband have two sons, Matthew and Jonathan.
Caroline Armstrong, second grade faculty. Education: Bachelor of Arts in K-5 Elementary Education with ELL certification, Lipscomb University. With a passion to serve others, native middle Tennessean Armstrong is a prolific volunteer and supporter of missional work. Her first teaching experience materialized through an opportunity to teach children at Mtendere Children’s Village in Malawi, Africa. Living out her calling to serve, Armstrong is often found working at the Room In the Inn program through her church, at The Ark in Cheatham County, and through missional experiences abroad. When not working or serving others, she is an avid cross-country hiker finding her favorite hike in the Navajo Nation’s Antelope Canyon.
Kristen Chadwick, third grade faculty. Education: Bachelor of Science in Family Relations and Master of Education in Learning and Teaching, Lipscomb University. A native Nashvillian and academy alumna, Chadwick most recently taught PK3 at Harpeth Hills Preschool for four years. Additionally, she taught sixth grade for eight years at Meigs Academic Magnet Middle School in Metro Nashville Public Schools. Outside of teaching, Chadwick enjoys reading, baking, and going for walks with her family. She and her husband, Nathan, have two children at the lower school.
Mary Katherine Childers, fourth grade faculty. Education: Bachelor of Arts in Middle Level Education, Harding University. Childers most recently taught second grade summer school at Overall Creek Elementary School. Originally from Little Rock, Arkansas, she developed her love for education through teaching Sunday School at Chenal Valley Church, serving as a counselor for several years at Camp Tahkodah, and volunteering at both inner city and international outreach ministries. Childers is passionate about reading and student success and plans to pursue a Master of Education in literacy with a dyslexia endorsement beginning 2022.
Meaghan Creamer, iWonder Makerspace Lab Coordinator. Education: Bachelor in Elementary Education and Special Education, Providence College; Master in Education in Learning and Design, Vanderbilt University. During her time at Providence, Creamer participated in a study abroad program researching what Italian students learned beyond the verbal communication of English instruction, an exercise that sparked her interest in student perspective and curriculum choice. A native of Syracuse, New York, she is an advocate for allowing individuals to pursue creative endeavors that weave curiosity with culture and failure with learning. When not making tiny furniture from a 3D printer, Creamer enjoys candle-making, long car rides, and ultimate frisbee.
Adyson Davis, first grade faculty. Education: Bachelor of Science in PK3 Interdisciplinary Teaching, Lipscomb University. After attending Boyd Buchanan School in Chattanooga, Davis pursued education at Lipscomb University where she was awarded the Thomas Whitfield Future Teacher Award for showing superior potential for excellence in the teaching profession. She was invited to student-teach at the lower school last fall.
Katherine Gray, fourth grade faculty. Education: Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing, Texas State University; Master of Education in Instructional Practice K-5 and ELL, Lipscomb University. Gray student-taught at Poplar Grove Middle School in the Franklin Special School District and at Lipscomb Academy’s lower school last fall. Her true passion is creating safe learning spaces for children so they could develop confidence in taking risks and ownership of their learning and believes faith and a desire to build one another up are core values in creating positive classroom experiences. Outside the classroom, Gray has been named the head coach for middle school girls’ volleyball at the academy beginning this fall. In her free time, she is an active member of Nashville’s Junior League chapter, enjoys spending time with friends and loved ones, cooking breakfast (eggs are her love language!), and hiking the trails at Warner Park.
Sara Jones, first grade faculty. Education: Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education, Lipscomb University. A native of Memphis, Jones spent the last two years teaching first grade at QSI International School of Bratislava in Slovakia. She is an avid global traveler having visited 16 different countries and has a heart for service for women and children. When not teaching or traveling, Jones enjoys reading, spending time with family, and worshipping.
Kagney Paden, part-time lower school spiritual life. Education: Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education, Lubbock Christian University. Originally from west Texas, Paden taught first and second grade for a number of years before moving to Nashville in 2013. She sees service to others as the greatest expression of her faith and desires for all people to have a deep and meaningful relationship with the Lord. She and her husband, Matt, have two children who attend the academy, Zaylee (seventh grade) and Parker (third grade). Paden loves spending time with her family and friends, music, art, reading, baking, and interior design.
Sarah Patterson, second grade faculty. Education: Bachelor in Interdisciplinary Liberal Studies and Master in Elementary Education, James Madison University. Originally from Roanoke, Virginia, Patterson attended JMU on a volleyball scholarship. She taught first and second grades and a first/second grade combination class at Hortons Creek Elementary in Cary, North Carolina, for four years. In her spare time, she coaches volleyball, is a new restaurant connoisseur, and enjoys walking her yellow labrador.
Jessi Seaton, part-time student success coordinator. Education: Bachelor of Science in Psychology, Lipscomb University; Master in Marriage and Family Therapy, Trevecca Nazarene University. Seaton has served as a behavioral therapist for children with autism, a marriage and family counselor, and an associate center director at Lindamood-Bell Learning Processes in Dallas, Texas. She has worked with students with ADHD, dyslexia, autism spectrum disorders, receptive and expressive language delays, and general learning challenges. With her background of working with children of typical and different learning abilities, paired with her counseling experience, Seaton brings a unique perspective to helping each child succeed to the best of his or her abilities. Other interests include photography, learning piano, and family walks around the neighborhood with her two dogs. She and her husband, Ryan, have two children, Ella and Jack, currently enrolled in the lower school.
Katie Tomlin, third grade faculty. Education: Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education, Kennesaw State University. After serving last fall as student teacher at Bullard Elementary School in Kennesaw, Georgia, Tomlin was hired to fill a vacant teaching role in the same school. She made the decision, however, to move to Nashville this summer and join the academy team. When Tomlin is not in the classroom, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, being outdoors hiking, kayaking, and exploring, traveling the globe, and visiting local coffee shops with good company.
Justin Wade, student support. For the past 13 years, Wade has worked as an advocate for children at Black Fox Elementary in Murfreesboro City Schools as athletic director, a behavior specialist, and in the extended school program. Additionally, he has coached basketball for 14 years and currently serves as Lipscomb Academy girls’ basketball varsity assistant. Wade enjoys sports, history, music, spending time with family, and the zoo.
Gavin Hammers, assistant head of middle school. Education: Bachelor of Arts and Master of Education, Lipscomb University; Administrator's license. As a first generation college graduate, Hammers was influenced and mentored by the director of Upward Bound, a secondary education program aimed at creating successful first generation college students. Modeling the investment of time and faith poured into students that he witnessed at Upward Bound, he eventually sought a career in education beginning with an elementary after-school program. Hammers was named an Ayers Leadership Fellow while in the graduate program at Lipscomb University as an inspiring school leader. With 15 years teaching experience at Dupont Hadley Middle School in Metro Nashville Public Schools, Hammers also served as department chair, restorative team leader, and teacher mentor. He and his wife, Rachel, have three children that will be attending the academy in the fall.
Dr. Allison Ackerman, dean of students. Education: Bachelor of Science, Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction, Louisiana State University; Doctor of Education, Liberty University. With 16 years teaching experience, Ackerman has taught AP Literature, AP Psychology, British/American/World Literature, and middle school English. Having a former military husband, she has taught in Texas, California, Virginia, Florida, and Tennessee, most recently at Christ Presbyterian Academy. They have three children who will all be attending the academy this year, and two dogs, a German Shepherd and a Yorkie.
Chasity D. Bagsby, chemistry faculty. Education: Bachelor of Science and Master of Science, Middle Tennessee State University. A National Science Foundation Graduate Stem Fellow in K-12 Education, Bagsby has taught high school chemistry since 2013 serving as faculty at Hillsboro High School (2013-2015) and at Hume-Fogg Academic High School (2015-2021), both Metro Nashville Public Schools. A collegiate volleyball player and a current triathlete, the Tennessee native pursues all things science, math, and fitness and spends cherished time with her husband and daughter.
Heather Corcoran, part-time student success coordinator. Education: Bachelor in Social Work, Harding University; Master in Counseling, Trevecca Nazarene University. Most recently, Corcoran served in Student Life at Lipscomb University as the student care coordinator which gave her a unique perspective on students transitioning from high school to college, especially those who were at high risk for harm to self and others. She has worked in a variety of settings with children and adolescents for almost 20 years as a social worker, school counselor, and preschool teacher. She has a strong desire to be a positive spiritual influence on children and adolescents. Corcoran and her husband have been married for almost 16 years and have two sons, Max (sixth grade) and Charlie (4th grade), both at the academy. They have been active members at Otter Creek church since 2009 and enjoy volunteering in children’s ministry.
Kyle Dingus, Bible faculty. Education: Bachelor of Arts in Bible and Ministry, Harding University; Master of Divinity, Harding School of Theology. For the past four years, Dingus has served as the preaching minister at Algoa Church of Christ in Algoa, Arkansas, in addition to serving as the young professionals minister at Pleasant Valley Church of Christ in Little Rock for more than two years. A native of Kansas City, Missouri, Dingus loves spending time with his wife, Abby, having theological conversations, furthering his learning through books and podcasts, playing and watching sports (primarily basketball and football), music, movies, playing games, and the outdoors.
Alaina Griggs, academic support testing coordinator. Education: Bachelor of Science in Psychology, Master of Education in Leadership of Higher Education. Originally from Southern Indiana, Griggs previously worked at Lipscomb University for almost four years as an associate registrar. Prior to Lipscomb, she worked in Washington, D.C. She and her husband live in Bellevue with their four-year-old son. She has always liked helping others reach their goals.
Leslie Heneger, academic counselor. Education: Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education with a Middle School Social Studies Endorsement, Master of Science in School Counseling, Butler University. A native of Indianapolis, Henegar served 10 years as a sixth-grade social studies faculty member at Lebanon Middle School, two years as school counselor at Hattie B. Stokes Elementary School, and 14 years as director of student services at Lebanon High School all in the Lebanon Community School Corporation. Passionate about sports and student-athletes, she coached both track and eighth-grade volleyball for five years and served as an assistant high school tennis coach for five years.
Susan Reece, English faculty. Education: Bachelor of Science in Education - Secondary Language Arts, Master of Science in Curriculum and Instruction, University of Kansas; teaching certifications in Secondary Language Arts 7-12/ Elementary K-8 add-on. For the past 17 years, Reece taught fourth, sixth, seventh, and eighth grades, as well as advanced high school English courses for the past 10 years, at Ezell-Harding Christian School and was twice named Teacher of the Year in 2014 and 2019. Prior to Ezell-Harding, she taught high school English for two years at Mt. Juliet High School in Wilson County Schools, as well as four years at Olathe North High School in Kansas. As an Advanced Placement English teacher, her students have maintained a 90 percent pass rate (2014-2020).
Alison Turner, math faculty. Education: Bachelor of Science in Business and MBA Business, University of California-Riverside. At UC Riverside, Turner served as an undergraduate instructor mentoring 700+ students in marketing and competitive strategic analysis courses. Previously, she worked as a mathematics tutor, specializing in upper-level math courses. A strategic marketing consultant, she owns Alison Turner Consulting advising and mentoring entrepreneurs and business owners.
Mary Grant, orchestra director. Education: Bachelor of Music, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga; Master of Music in Violin Performance, Florida State University. One of nine children, Grant was born into a musical family that valued the arts and the Bible. Upon graduation, after being named a Presser Scholar at UTC as an outstanding music major, she joined the Chattanooga Symphony as a first violinist. Additionally, she performed globally during the summers in Mexico with an international orchestra for nine weeks and in Spain with a university orchestra, as well as in Italy and Costa Rica. Grant discovered a love of teaching, first through the Suzuki Violin Method, working with very young students, and later in classes and larger orchestra and band settings with middle and high school students. She taught strings and band at Girls Preparatory School (GPS) in Chattanooga for 20 years in addition to a co-ed honors winds and strings orchestra with GPS and McCallie School students.
Noel Hicks, band director. Education: Bachelor of Science in Music, Lipscomb University. After taking a one-year leave to assist family out-of-state, Hicks returns to Lipscomb Academy this fall to continue teaching band. During his previous 11 years at the academy, the band program experienced unprecedented growth. In 2014, the high school concert band received an invitation to the Tennessee State Concert Festival, an honor the program had never before earned in school history, and continued to achieve that level of success for six consecutive years.
Sydney Mann, middle school theatre director. Education: Bachelor of Arts in Drama/Speech Licensure, Harding University. A graduate of Goodpasture Christian School, Mann was heavily involved in her middle and high school theatre program and pursued that passion at Harding University. While at Harding, she worked several years with Pied Pipers, a children’s improvisational troupe, as director and crew and as a summer intern at Nashville Children’s Theatre.
Ben Bleyle, student accounts representative. Education: Bachelor of Science, Austin Peay State University. Prior to joining the academy, Bleyle spent two years in the Lipscomb University Business Office as the university student accounts representative. While in college, he was the pitcher for Bethel University’s baseball team before transferring to Austin Peay to complete his degree. Bleyle is currently pursuing a MBA with a concentration in leadership from Lipscomb University with a projected completion date of December 2021.
Abby Dingus, ministry team. Education: Bachelor of Arts in General Studies emphasizing Bible and Public Relations, Harding University. The daughter of Ugandan missionaries, Dingus has spent her life helping others walk into freedom through a life in Christ. Modeling the example practiced by her parents, she chose the path of ministry sharing the transformative power of a relationship with Christ. Appointed worship and college pastor in Searcy, Arkansas, after a two-year internship, she dedicated her time leading and mentoring young adults. Dingus additionally graduated from Ten Thousand Fathers Worship School, an institution focused on training, purposeful coaching, and spiritual mentoring for worship leaders and pastors. Currently, she has completed the first year of spiritual direction training at Lipscomb University’s Institute for Christian Spirituality. She and her husband, Kyle, moved to Nashville this summer.
Jeff Odom, computer technician. Education: AAS in Computer Networking, Nashville State Community College. For the last decade, Odom, a Nashville native, has served as a health care, corporate, and academia technical support specialist. Having worked with Crye-Leike Realtors, Caterpillar Financial, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and Vanderbilt University, he specializes in customer support and computer networking. Odom is a graduate of the Nashville School of Preaching and has served for the past three years as the pulpit minister at Brown’s Chapel Church of Christ in Dickson with plans to continue his education in Marriage and Family Therapy. A jokester at heart, he believes all answers in life can be found together with love, patience, a little humor, and time in God’s word.
Grant Parker, ministry team. Education: Bachelor of Arts in Music with an emphasis in Contemporary Music Production, Lipscomb University. Parker, a Nashville native and Lipscomb Academy graduate, has lifelong experience in worship. He followed the example of his father, a worship minister for more than two decades, and now uses his passion to further the Kingdom. As a worship leader at Harpeth Hills Church of Christ since 2016, Parker values community and views life through the lens of the mission field.
Change in Position
Suzanne Craig, PK-fifth grade theatre teacher. Education: Bachelor of Science in Music Education, Master of Education in Instructional Leadership, Endorsement in K-8 Elementary Education, Lipscomb University; Certification in K-12 Theatre, K-12 Music, and 7-12 Speech. Craig has served at the academy for the past 25 years as middle and upper school theatre teacher and former music teacher, and beginning this fall, she will lead the new theatre program for the lower school. In 2010, “Mama” Craig was named Middle School Teacher of the Year. Prior to the academy, Craig taught K-8 music and served as the K-12 productions coordinator for 13 years at Greater Atlanta Christian School where she received the 1997 “You Made a Difference” award. Additionally, she taught K-12 music at Middle Tennessee Christian School in Murfreesboro for two years. Craig appreciates how the love of music and production has infiltrated her whole family. Her husband, Richard, is a self-employed drummer and property manager; their two daughters teach theatre in Mt. Juliet and Chattanooga; and their son is an audio/visual tech for productions at Kings Island in Cincinnati. Mama Craig loves Jesus, her students, Snax the cat, singing harmony, playing guitar and uke, sewing, watching musicals, and HGTV.
Melanie Grogan, director of spiritual life. Education: Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Belmont University; Master of Arts in Christian Ministry, Lipscomb University. A Nashville native and alumna of the academy, Grogan has served as lower school director of spiritual formation for the last five years and is the co-creator of Heart and Mind, the social-emotional-spiritual learning initiative implemented at the lower school in 2019. She completed the first year of spiritual direction training at Lipscomb University’s Institute for Christian Spirituality in 2020. Prior to joining the academy, she was a pediatric nurse and still has an active license. She and her husband, Eric, have four children two of which graduated from the academy while the other two are currently enrolled.
Dr. Crystal Hastings, head of middle school. Education: Bachelor of Arts and Master of Education, Tennessee State University; Education Specialist, Middle Tennessee State University; Doctor of Education, Tennessee State University; licensure as a professional administrator (PK-12). Hastings most recently served as assistant head of middle school at the academy. Formerly, she was principal and assistant principal at Christiana Middle School in Murfreesboro. Prior to serving in an administrative capacity, she taught English and journalism at Page High School in Franklin and at Antioch High School in Nashville. Hastings and her family have been a part of the Lipscomb community since 2007. She and her husband, LaFonza, have one daughter, Prisca, a Class of 2021 graduate.
Kevin Starks, associate head of mustang life and head varsity boys' basketball coach. Education: Bachelor of Science in Physical Education and Health, Abilene Christian University. During the 2020-21 academic year, Starks served as assistant athletic director and boys’ varsity head basketball coach at Lipscomb Academy. In addition to his new role with Mustang Life, he will continue serving student-athletes as head basketball coach, mentoring and transforming young lives. Previously, at Grace Christian Academy (2020) in Franklin, he served as director of student and family life providing strategic leadership and program development with an emphasis on intentional interactions. In his role as associate head of student and family life at Brentwood Academy (2019), he worked to create a healthy culture on campus and promoted student engagement through proactive retention activities. As athletic director (2005-2019) and associate head of school at Harding Academy (2012-2019) in Memphis, he was tasked with creating an optimal faculty and staff culture on campus, as well as implementing a school-wide strategic plan. Starks has held coaching roles at Dallas Christian and Fort Worth Christian High School, both in Texas, Harding Academy, and Grace Christian Academy. As a result of his strong leadership and investment in his student-athletes athletically, academically and spiritually at Harding, he was awarded TSSAA Tennessee Coach of the Year (2016), twice was named Memphis MOST Favorite: Best Sports Coach (2016 and 2017), and was the recipient of Basketball Coaches Association of Tennessee (BCAT) Coach of the Year (2008 and 2012). Because of his talent, work ethic, and commitment to the advancement of student-athletes at Harding, Starks received the TSSAA A.F. Bridges Athletic Director of the Year designation (2013-2014).
Amy Welch, director of spiritual life. Education: Bachelor of Science in Psychology, Abilene Christian University; Master of Science in Social Work, University of Texas-Austin; Master of Arts in Christian Ministry, Lipscomb University. An alumna of the academy, Welch has served at the academy since 2009 in various part-time and full-time roles as math and science tutor for high school students, faculty, director of spiritual formation, and director of social-emotional counseling. Prior to working at the academy, she was an adjunct faculty member at Abilene Christian University and a special education counselor for the Taylor-Callahan Education Cooperative in Abilene, Texas. She and her husband have four children, one an academy graduate and three currently enrolled.