Apex Staff

Dawn Frink
Kindergarten – Apex
Dawn is a native North Carolinian and has raised her family in Holly Springs, homeschooling her three children from kindergarten through 12th grade. All have completed or are attending college. She and her husband enjoy their empty nest but also delight in seeing their children serve the Lord and bloom where they’re planted.

After receiving a Master’s degree in Social Work from UNC Chapel Hill concentrating on families and children, she turned her focus to education to better meet the individual needs of her own children. That focus blossomed into a tutoring business, Foundations Educational Services, where she specializes in early elementary reading, writing, and math. She also administers the Woodcock Johnson Tests of Achievement annually for homeschooled, public schooled, and private schooled students. Through her interaction with parents who have committed to educating their children, Dawn has found a passion in partnering with families to provide emotional support, practical guidance, and encouragement. Dawn is excited to enter the kindergarten classroom supporting children through their transition into school while laying a solid academic foundation on which to grow.

Karen Doyle
Kindergarten – Apex
Karen is thrilled and feels so blessed to be a part of the amazing staff at Heritage Leadership Academy. She has been married for 19 years and has three wonderful children, ages 15, 13, and 6. She moved with her family to Cary about two years ago from the Florida Keys where they lived for 5 years. Before living in the Keys, they lived in Loveland, CO for 12 years. Karen earned her BS Degree in Psychology with a double minor in elementary and secondary education from Ursinus College.

After graduating from college, she worked in two different adoption agencies both as a birth parent counselor and as the office manager. She says it was a joy to watch families come together and to have the chance to pray with her clients in her different positions. Karen claims her love and passion in life is working with children. Her favorite times during the day are witnessing those ”ah-ha” moments when a child’s eyes light up just as they have learned something new. Karen is so excited about working in a Christian environment and having the opportunity to share not just knowledge but the love of our Savior with the kids! It is her hope and prayer that each child she gets to work with will see Christ in her as she strives to teach and touch their lives for God’s glory.

Meagan Seymour
First Grade – Apex
Meagan is a teacher at heart and so enjoys the craft of the classroom. She graduated with her BA from Wake Forest University but it was her NC teaching license from NCSU that truly struck a cord in her heart. She taught at two local public high schools for many years before deciding to stay home after the birth of her first born. From that point until now, she has been either teaching for the NC Virtual Public School or at her church in the 1nd and 2nd grade Sunday School class. Meagan‘s youngest son recently began kindergarten and she felt God’s call to return to the classroom. It was with great joy that she joined the HLA family.
Meagan has a  sincere heart for discipling younger generations. She is honored and humbled by the opportunity the Lord has given her to be in the classroom. It is her fervent prayer that the Lord will use her as His servant in the process of growing and nurturing her students. Meagan is wife to Aaron for 16 years and mother to three beautiful, wiley little boys, Collin, Tanner, and Cole. All three of her children attend HLA with her.
Catherine Lael
First Grade – Apex
Cat joined the HLA team in October of 2019 teaches first grade. She is a native North Carolinian who grew up just down the street from the Apex campus. She studied at Southeastern University in Florida, as well as Zion BIble College in Rhode Island. She has three daughters, and her and her husband Jon raise their family in Apex. Cat enjoys making music, gardening, and exploring parks with her family.

Cat is passionate about connecting with the emotional and social needs of each student in her class. She believes the mission of the Gospel is to reach people at the heart first, and the mind will follow. She enjoys watching the children learn in an environment where they feel respected and loved.
Jessica Penley
Second Grade – Apex

Jessica earned her BS in Elementary Education from North Carolina State University. Following graduation, she served as campus field staff with Cru at NC State for about four years before turning her focus back to Elementary Education. She has K-5 teaching experience in both public and private schools, as well as in tutoring settings. When working with children, she is 

passionate about nurturing each child as a whole, seeking to invest in them not only academically, but also emotionally, socially, and spiritually.
Jessica is wife to Jordan, who is the Mission Director at Vintage Church in Downtown Raleigh. In addition to her commitments to church and teaching, Jessica also directs a dance company that she founded in 2014. She feels honored and blessed to teach and shepherd students at Heritage Leadership Academy!
Dona Froning
Second Grade – Apex

Bio coming soon.

Amber Ross
Third Grade – Apex
Amber has over eight years of teaching experience, most of those years have been spent teaching third grade for the North Carolina Public Schools System.  She received both her Bachelors and Masters Degree in Liberal Studies with an emphasis on Early Childhood Education from California Baptist University.  This past year she was recognized as one of the third-grade teachers who ranked in the top 25 percent in the state and in Harnett County for the growth her students showed in the area of reading.

She believes that as an educator, she has an awesome responsibility to guide young minds and help shape their learning.  She hopes to inspire each student to have a love for life-long learning. She desires to partner with parents in helping teach responsibility, accountability, to encourage creativity, and facilitate critical thinking.  “Let my teaching fall on you like rain; let my speech settle like dew.  Let my words fall like rain on tender grass, like gentle showers on young plants. (Deut 32:2).”

Christa Liso
Third Grade – Apex
Christa has been an elementary school teacher for 5 years and has a passion for seeing children grow, discover and learn. She earned her BS in Elementary Education, with an ESL endorsement, from Florida Gulf Coast University in 2011. As of December 2018, she is Nationally Board Certified in elementary education extending through all subject areas and she is always seeking ways to grow in her teaching practice.
Christa was born and raised in sunny Southwest Florida and she and her family love spending time at the beach. She and her husband Justin, daughter Madelynn and Westie puppy Rufus, live in Holly Springs. Christa loves Jesus with all her heart and desires to glorify Him in every part of her life. This will be Christa’s first year at HLA and she cannot wait to see what amazing things God will do in the hearts and minds of her students this year.
Lauren Brady
Fourth Grade – Apex
Lauren earned her BA in Religion from Meredith College along with her K-6 certification. She also has a minor in History. After graduating, she taught 4th grade at a local elementary school for five years.
At becoming a mother, she left teaching and returned home for a while. As her children got older, she fell in love with the idea of Jesus being in her children’s textbooks as they learned, so when her children were school age, she homeschooled them for 4 years. Her family began at Heritage the first year it opened. Heritage has been a great alternative option for her family and she feels right at home in the 4th grade.
 Katie Talbo
Fourth Grade – Apex
Katie and her husband Logan have four beautiful daughters and have lived in North Carolina for the past seven years since moving here from Florida.  Their family are members and serve in various roles at Redeemer Community Church in Fuquay-Varina. Katie is a graduate of Johnson University and holds a degree in Bible and Christian Leadership with an emphasis in Early Childhood Development.  Since graduating college, Katie has been blessed to serve in roles from a full time mom, children’s church directory, homeschool co-op instructor and now most recently teaching here at HLA.

Katie fully believes that our only hope is found in Jesus.  Being able to take that love for the Lord and mix it with her love of teaching seemed like the perfect fit for Katie.  She strives to teach her own children, and now her students at HLA, that when we use the gifts and abilities given to us by our perfect and purposeful God, we will become successful in the deepest sense. 

Michelle Stevens
Fifth Grade/High School Guidance Counselor – Apex
Michelle joined HLA-Durham in 2018 after spending 10 years as an Army wife and a homeschooling mom. This year she moved to the Apex team to teach and grow into the guidance counselor role for the opening high school. 

Michelle received a B.A. in Religious Studies from Westmont College, a M.A. in Counseling Ministries from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and graduated from the Focus on the Family Institute. In private school settings, she has taught Spanish, Bible, and has served as a guidance counselor. Michelle is passionate about discipleship and encouraging others in their walk with Jesus. She treasures investing in students and supporting parents in their journey.

Juliana  Jensen
Fifth Grade – Apex
Juliana graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with an Elementary Education degree and certification to teach 1st – 8th grades. Feeling a tug on her heart toward full-time ministry, she attended seminary and studied in a Family Ministry program with a focus on discipleship counseling. As her family grew, she was surprised to discover a strong desire to homeschool her own children.

After 4 children and 10 years of homeschooling and co-op teaching, Juliana made a transition to a home-based business of one-on-one academic testing and educational consulting. She now believes that God has uniquely prepared her to teach in the UM educational setting at HLA and she looks forward to supporting and nurturing her students and their families both spiritually and academically each year.

Juliana enjoys gardening, making music and spending time with family and friends.

Susan Ruark
MS/HS – Apex
Susan recently moved to Pittsboro from New Mexico, but she has spent most of her life on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. There she taught everything from 3rd grade through college level classes, mostly at Christian schools, but also public schools and colleges. Her areas of  special interest are history and reading.

She loves to sing, as well as fellowship with other women in small groups and bible studies. She is a historical re-enactor, representing colonial women from the 1600’s. Book clubs, reading voraciously, art, gardening, traveling, antiquing, yard sales, and her little dog, Cricket, keep her very busy! She is so excited about starting a new school, making new friends, learning from one another, supporting one another, and serving God in His new Heritage Leadership Academy.

Heidi Reid
Sixth Grade – Apex

Heidi comes to HLA from the beautiful Great Lake State of Michigan where she was born and raised on a small dairy farm.  After graduating from Great Lakes Christian College (1992) with a BRE majoring in religion and minors in counseling, business, and education she went onto get her MEd in K-8 education with specialties in middle grades Math & Science at Milligan College in Johnson City Tennessee (1994).  After marrying her husband Jonathan in Michigan (1995), they quickly moved south where the weather is warmer and the sun shines more often. They moved to Raleigh two years ago from Marietta, Georgia with their three teenage children, the oldest of which has already headed off to Liberty University, opening a whole new chapter of family life. The youngest (Jorja) started as a 9th grader this year at HLA.

Heidi brings over 25 years of teaching experience to HLA, having taught at both middle and high schools for public, private, and Christian schools, homeschool and homeschool hybrids.  One of her greatest joys is watching children learn that their Creator reveals Himself to us through Math and Science and to give students confidence in applying knowledge gained in the world around them.

Janice Gregory
Sixth Grade – Apex

Janice is beyond excited to return to the classroom and feels extremely blessed that it is at HLA.  Born and raised in Prairie View, Illinois, she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Education from the University of Illinois.  Upon graduation, she accepted a position with Dade County Public Schools in Miami, FL where she received Teacher of the Year honors for the 1984-85 school year.  After 6 years in the classroom, she left teaching to pursue other adventures.  She landed in North Carolina in the early 90’s where she met and married her husband, Martin.  They were blessed with 3 beautiful daughters, Katie, Lily and Abbey.  When their youngest, Abbey, was ready for school, they enrolled all 3 girls at a local christian school.  It didn’t take long for Janice to feel God’s pull back to the classroom. After more than a decade of chasing the world’s idea of success, she finally returned to the classroom. . .the place God created her to be.  She taught there for 10 years as her daughters attended the same school.  She left the classroom again after the birth of her grandson, Tucker, in 2016.  This time she pursued her favorite adventure yet. . .being a Grandma!

She learned about HLA from a fellow teacher shortly after the school opened.  Though intrigued by its concept, she was too busy being Tucker’s grandma and welcoming her second grandchild, Summerlin Faith in 2018.  But God’s plan is ALWAYS the best, and she once again felt pulled to return to the classroom.  She listened to His leading and applied to HLA.  No openings; not His time.  Then on July 26th she received an email from HLA asking if she’d be interested in teaching 6th grade!  It was finally His time, and, as always, His timing and plan is perfect (Proverbs 16:9).  The university model allows Janice to pursue her heart’s desires – teaching and being a Grandma.  She gives God the glory for the entire journey that has led her here, to HLA, where she can share her passion for reading, writing and history with His young leaders in training.

Kim Porter
Pre-Algebra, Algebra, & Geometry – Apex
Kim grew up in Wilmington, NC and has lived in the Fuquay-Varina/Holly Springs area since getting married in 2004.  Her husband is Jeremy and they have two daughters.  Kim graduated from NC State in 2004 earning a BS in Mathematics Education.  She taught math at Cary High School and was a 1st grade TA at Green Hope Elementary before having children of her own.  Kim felt the Lord leading her to be a stay-at-home mom, also knowing that she would homeschool her girls.  While homeschooling, she also taught classes at co-ops and tutored high school math students.  Through homeschooling, she was able to teach (and learn!) from a God-centered perspective, which created an excitement and love for learning in her.  In 2018, Kim joined the HLA team teaching 3rd grade and Pre-Algebra while her children also became students at HLA.  This year, Kim is excited to focus on teaching Pre-Algebra, Algebra, and Geometry (as well as helping her 6th and 7th grader on satellite days).  Kim hopes to instill a passion for learning in her students because learning about the world around us helps us to know our Creator!  Kim loves Jesus and is thankful for the opportunity to be used by Him through teaching at HLA.
Chris Cockerham
Logic, & Leadership – Apex
After growing up in the northern Virginia area, Chris moved to North Carolina to attend UNC Chapel Hill where he studied Biology. While in school, Chris found two great things: his wife Jenni and a heart for young people.Over the past 23 years, Chris has served at the Cary YMCA as a Teen Director, as the area director for Young Life in the Wake County area, as a campus pastor for Hope Community Church and now serves as the Divisional Coordinator for Young Life College in the Southeast.
Chris brings his passion and energy for loving God and others into the classroom hoping to inspire others to love learning and discovering the beauty and intricacies of God’s world. When he is not teaching he loves walking his dogs with his wife, playing with his kids, reading, being active, laughing, nice slow dinners and watching comedies. He has always considered the chance to teach kids one of the greatest honors of his life.
Ursula Fagerstrom
Middle/High School English – Apex
Originally from the Emerald Coast in Florida, Ursula’s first job aspiration was to be a journalist so that people could “know the truth and the truth would set you free” (John 8:32). Following that dream, she attended the University of Missouri, earning a Bachelor’s in Journalism, and began working at The News Tribune in Tacoma, Washington, as a sports copy editor and designer, as well as a freelance reporter covering Christian music. At the same time she served as a volunteer youth ministry worker at Our Savior’s Baptist Church in Federal Way, Washington.

Wanting to merge the two vocations, she earned an English major and a Master’s in Teaching at the University of Washington to become an English Language Arts teacher.  She married her husband, Eric, in 2004 and they have three children – one boy and twin girls. She enjoys reading, traveling – she’s visited 47 of the 50 states (airports don’t count) – learning to cook new allergy-friendly creations for dinner and a movie themed family nights, and cheering on her children at sporting events or cheering with them watching American Ninja Warrior.

Kelly Frazier
Middle/High School History & Logic – Apex
After leaving her lifetime home on the farm in upper South Carolina and following the advice of her family, Kelly studied business in college despite her desire to become a teacher. She worked in a computer software company for twelve years on both domestic and international accounts by both teaching classes and writing manuals as well as other responsibilities. After marrying Joe, she became a stay-at-home mother, which led to homeschooling their children for ten years. Eventually, Kelly became a tutor then director at Classical Conversations for five years, realizing her dream of becoming a teacher after receiving training to teach the Classical Christian model. She led two programs for eighth grade students for a couple of those years. Answering God’s call for their family, the children were enrolled in traditional Christian private schools and Kelly was employed as an eighth grade English teacher. After seven years at Cary Christian School, Kelly joined HLA. In her twelfth year as an eighth-grade teacher, she eagerly leads the students in Omnibus and Logic instruction, exploring God’s loving work through history and literature. Outside of the classroom, Kelly enjoys spending time with her four children and husband. Her photographer daughter recently graduated from college, oldest son is a college senior while her twin sons are off to college for their first year. She can be found knitting, camping, or taking in a movie with her husband in her spare time. Every year promises exciting adventures ahead for Kelly, her family, and her students.
Shawn Bertholf
 – Apex
After growing up in New York, Shawn moved to Florida to attend Clearwater Christian College where he studied Science Education. After college, Shawn moved to Seoul, South Korea to teach high school science and met his wife, Allison there.  While in Seoul, Shawn received his Masters in Education from Liberty University online.  After living overseas in Korea for 14 years, the LORD had called Shawn and Allison back to the states.
Shawn has taught both middle and high school science for more than 17 years.  Shawn brings his excitement and passion for GOD’s creation to the classroom.  His desire to have the students explore what GOD has created is shown in his labs and hands-on activities.  When he is not teaching he loves spending time with his children, watching movies, and traveling.
Gentry Doggendorf
Geometry – Apex
Gentry is excited to return to the classroom this year after being a full time mom for the past 9 years.  She and her husband, Jeff, have lived in North Carolina since 2006 and have two children, Josie and Jay.  Gentry and her family are active members of Macedonia Baptist Church where they have attended for many years.

Born and raised on a wheat farm in Kansas, Gentry loves being outdoors and traveling back to the family farm whenever she can.  She earned an Associates of Arts degree from Hesston College (a Christian college in Hesston, Kansas) where she played volleyball and basketball.  She then transferred to Kansas State University and graduated Summa Cum Laude with a BS degree in Secondary Mathematics Education.  She has 9 years of teaching experience in the Kansas and North Carolina public school systems.  During this time, she received National Board Certification, served as a Department Chair, and coached volleyball for several years.

Gentry has loved her time at home with her two children, but has recently felt the Lord calling her to return to education.  She is excited to follow where God is leading her, and is thankful for the opportunity to work in a Christian environment.  Gentry enjoys working with young people and looks forward to using her abilities at HLA to help students build confidence in themselves, their math skills, and their walk with God.
Josh Estep
HS Apologetics – Apex

Bio coming soon.

Katye Wood
Music – Apex
Growing up in a musical family Katye was able to take both piano and violin lessons as well as performing with several choirs and in many musicals. It helped develop a deep love of learning music and being a part of group performances. She was able to continue that learning at Taylor University, in Upland Indiana, where she studied Music Education and Communications Studies.

After Taylor Katye interned in youth ministry at a church, worked as house staff in a therapeutic boarding school, and taught preschool for ten years, as well as teaching private piano, voice, and violin lessons for the last 20 years and various week long music camps. She is so excited to go back to her first love of teaching music in the classroom where she is passionate about helping students learn about themselves and their world through the lens of music and giving them the tools to be life long music makers and music enjoyers!

Jay Helms
Physical Education – Apex
Jay is a local product, having grown up in Cary. From an early age, he had a sense that some of his best gifts lie in teaching. After getting a Civil Engineering degree in college, he earned a Master of Divinity degree from Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, KY. He then served as a pastor in the eastern half of North Carolina in the United Methodist Church for 15 years. Most recently, he was worked with Networks Basketball and the YMCA of the Triangle to coaching teach over 1,200 young athletes of all ages and skill-levels.

Some of the books that have informed Jay’s life journey over the last half-decade are “Love Does” by Bob Goff, “Mindset” by Dr. Carol Dweck, “Beautiful Outlaw” by John Eldredge and “The Underground Railroad” by William Still. Additionally, he enjoys road trips and videography. When you see him, ask him about the time he flew his drone over Beverly Hills.
His favorite Bible verse is 2 Corinthians 8:9, “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.”

Jay met his wife Carla in college. Together they have four children, Anna (15), David (13), James (11), and Roger (1).

Laura Mann
High School Spanish – Apex
Laura graduated from Furman University with a BA in Spanish, and a minor in Secondary Education.  She also has a MA in Intercultural Studies from The College at Southeastern in Wake Forest.  Laura and her husband met in Mexico City, where she was the Director of the Baptist Campus Ministry at UNAM.

Laura, her husband, and two boys have lived in Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, and Indonesia, and have traveled extensively around the world.   They speak in Spanish at home. Laura has previously taught Spanish at the high school level in a public school setting, English as a Second Language to students of all ages, homeschooled her two boys, and currently substitutes at all grade levels in the Wake County Public schools.  She loves to study languages and cultures, and strives to teach her students to do the same. Laura and her family are active members of the Summit Church.

Kim Elliott
Art – Apex
Kim Elliott was born in raised in Los Angeles, California. She graduated from California Lutheran University with a Bachelor ‘s Degree in Fine Art. A couple years after graduating college, she met the love of her life, Josh on a missions trip to Guatemala through their church. Twenty one years later, they have four amazing children: Hannah (18 years old), Abby (16 years old), Ben (14 years old) and Sam (11 years old.) About a decade ago, the Lord opened the door for her to teach 1st – 12th grade art at her children’s classical Christian school in Southern California. Six years ago, the Lord paved the way for Kim and her family to leave Los Angeles and move to North Carolina. This year, she will be serving at all the HLA campuses (Hope, Summit Apex and Durham) as the art teacher for first through ninth grade students. This will be her fifth year teaching art (and she could not be more thrilled!)
Beverly King
Spanish – Apex
My name is Beverly King and I am very excited to be a part of Heritage this year at the Apex campus. My formal education includes a Bachelor’s degree in French from North Georgia College, a French immersion program at Laval University, and the Governor’s Language Institute Spanish immersion program at Appalachian State University. Previously, I have served as a foreign language teacher for K-12 students in both public and Christian schools. I am pleased that Heritage allows me to apply my foreign language skills in a Christian environment which includes both elementary and middle school students.

My experience has been that learning through song allows students to retain new language concepts far longer than simple memorization. I have applied this wonderful tool of teaching in all of my elementary classes and they have enjoyed it! In my middle school classes (7/8), it is my desire to provide the students with some conversational skills in the language which they could easily incorporate, whether it be on a mission trip or family trip to a Spanish-speaking country. I am also excited to take a closer look at Spanish-speaking countries around the globe.

Anya Butcher
Latin – Apex
Anya is wife to Jonathan and mother to Josiah, Lydia, and Micah. They have lived in Raleigh since 2011 and are members of the Summit Church, where they have served in the children’s ministry, small group leadership, and other volunteering. Besides Spanish language and culture, she has studied Latin, German, and sign language, and she always loves learning about other cultures and times. In her spare time she enjoys baking, quilting, and playing the piano.

Anya graduated from Asbury University in Kentucky with a degree in social work and a minor in Spanish. After moving to Raleigh, she taught high school Spanish at North Raleigh Christian Academy from 2011-2014, taking one year of maternity leave to substitute in the elementary, middle, and high school. She transitioned to staying home when her second child was on the way and have spent the last three years caring for our family as well as babysitting for several other families in her home.

Robbie Spiers
Middle and High School Worship Band – Apex
Recently married 2 years ago, Robert (Mr. Robbie) moved to Apex to live with his new bride KK and stepsons Austin and Grant. Originally from Virginia, he has 2 grown sons, Joel and Nathan. Robbie is active at Summit-Apex as a Small Group Co-leader with his wife and is on the Summit-Apex worship team.
Prior to moving to NC, Robbie was a public-school Band Director at Lancaster High School in Virginia. He has a Bachelor of Arts in Instrumental Music from James Madison University. While at Lancaster he grew the high school band program to 190 members in 10 years. His bands performed all over the Eastern US as well as overseas in London, Bahamas, and Bermuda. His bands were known for their superior performances both in concert as well as marching band. He retired in 2018 after teaching at the same school for 33 years. In 2018 he was named teacher of the year for Lancaster County Schools. In addition to his teaching job Robbie was the Music Director and Worship leader at Kilmarnock Baptist Church (Va) for 10 years. He directed the choir, lead the worship band, and planned music for all services.
“I feel extremely excited and blessed to be a part of HLA. The fact that I can teach music, disciple young people, and serve my Lord and Savior is incredible.”
In his spare time, Robbie enjoys walking, biking, playing the trumpet and just spending quality time with his wife. Robbie volunteers weekly at “With Love from Jesus” where he enjoys being God’s Hands and Feet.