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.

Julie Volstad
First Grade – Apex

Julie joined the HLA team this summer.  She will be teaching first grade.  She has taught preschool at Shepherd’s Weekday Preschool for 13 years and has taught many HLA staff students.  Julie is excited to move into a new environment in her teaching career and is excited to be at HLA with her youngest son who is in 6th grade.  She will be both a teacher and a co-teacher.  She is looking forward to partnering with parents in the education of their children and in their spiritual formation as well.  


Julie attended Toccoa Falls College and got a B.S. in Interpersonal & Organizational Communications.  That is where she met her husband, Rob, and they have been married for 29 years.  They have been in NC for most of their married lives and they have 3 children.  Julie loves to read, hike, play games, and she is passionate about emotional health through a variety of inner healing modalities. 

Caitlin Todd
First Grade – Apex

Caitlin feels so blessed and excited to have joined the HLA staff this year. She and her husband of 11 years have a wonderful daughter who attends HLA. Born and raised in eastern North Carolina, she treasures this area she calls home. 


Caitlin earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. She has been a registered nurse and patient and family educator for the past six years. Her nursing career has brought forth and inspired her true passion of educating and empowering others. She has a love for learning and hopes to spark that in others as well. 


 She is so happy that she listened to the Lord’s nudges to pursue teaching and feels there is no other job she would rather have than teaching first graders at HLA! She is excited to combine her love for Jesus and education while supporting, encouraging, and inspiring her students. She is delighted to partner with parents in their child’s learning and spiritual journey while feeling greatly honored at the opportunity. 

Dona Froning
Second Grade – Apex

​​Raised in the southwest, Dona earned her Bachelor of Arts at Colorado State University and her Master of Arts at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. While studying African Art History, she trained in Museum Education at the Elvehjem Museum of Art. Upon graduation, she worked as the Curator of Education at the Saginaw Museum of Art and taught art history at Saginaw State University in Michigan.  Though she is enthusiastic about art and history, Dona’s heart is teaching elementary students. God faithfully provided teaching positions in Montessori schools in Michigan and North Carolina as well as an opportunity to work at Hope Community Church as the Preschool and Elementary Curriculum Coordinator.  Dona feels blessed to join Heritage Leadership Academy as a second-grade teacher, where she can combine her passion for education with her desire to encourage this generation of students to know, love, and serve God.


Marrying in 1997, Dona and her husband Dave, a Michigan native, moved to North Carolina in 2005, where they are raising their two sons and daughter. The family attends and serves together at Hope Community Church. We also enjoy family movie and game nights as well as traveling to new places.

Amber Ross
Third Grade – Apex

Amber has over ten years of teaching experience, four of those have been teaching third grade at HLA.  She received both her Bachelors and Masters Degree in Liberal Studies with an emphasis on Early Childhood Education from California Baptist University.  

She believes that as a christian educator, she has an awesome responsibility to guide young minds in cultivating their knowledge of who God is, who he has made them to be, and help shape their biblical worldview.  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.
Jennifer Walton
Fourth Grade – Apex

My name is Jennifer Walton. This is my first year on staff at HLA but our 5th year as part of the HLA family. I previously taught in the Beaufort and Wake County public school systems for a total of 11 years as a 4th grade, kindergarten, and PreK teacher. I have a BS and Master’s degree in elementary education from East Carolina and The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I’m super excited for this amazing opportunity. Look forward to sharing the year with you.

Kellie Auerweck
Fifth Grade – Apex

Bio Coming Soon. 

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
Algebra 1 and Precalculus – 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 math, while her children also became HLA students.  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.

Sunny Yang
MS/HS Elective teacher + Student Support Specialist – Apex

 Sunny Yang believes God’s heartbeat is family. She joined HLA because she is passionate about serving homeschooling families, raising up Kingdom warriors one day at a time! Graduated from Liberty University, Sunny majored in Special Education, Elementary Education, and history. She enjoys living simply with Jesus, soaking up His creation daily.

Juliana  Jensen
Fundamentals + Pre-Algebra – 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.

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.
Cheryl Klassa
Physical Science + Chemistry – Apex

Cheryl is married to John and is mother to three adult children. She was raised as a military child, moving to Germany and back to the States again. Somewhere along the way she fell in love with science and earned a Bachelor’s in Chemistry from the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Her first post-college job was in Research Triangle Park doing research based on the Clean Air Act. She chose to stay home when her children were born. They were attending a local private school when Cheryl felt called to homeschool. She spent thirteen years homeschooling her children through high school graduation. During that time, she also volunteered at her church teaching Sunday school and chaperoning youth trips.

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.

Kaitlyn Long
Middle/High English + History, Middle Journalism – Apex
Kaitlyn is a proud graduate of the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Middle Grades Education, with minors in Psychology and English. A native of Apex, she is a product of Wake County Public Schools and has grown up being led by devoted educators in her family and schools. It is here that she discovered her love both for learning and teaching. Kaitlyn has always felt God calling her into education, and is in awe of the doors He has continually opened to steer her career path in a direction she is truly passionate about.
While living in Wilmington, Kaitlyn served with Port City Community Church’s middle school ministry as a small group leader and intern. God used this experience to guide her towards ministry and to foster a desire to combine her love for Jesus with the gift for teaching that He has given her. She is excited to join HLA, and for the opportunity to invite Jesus into her classroom on a daily basis!
When she is not teaching, Kaitlyn enjoys reading, practicing calligraphy and creating digital art.
Shawn Bertholf
Middle/High School Science – 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.
Jade King
Middle School Art – Apex

Jade is excited to be joining such a wonderful team at HLA! She is originally from Kentucky and has a degree in Business Administration from Western Kentucky University. She moved to North Carolina in late 2008 after graduating, and met her husband Adam shortly after. They have been married since 2011 and have two girls, Lennon and Everly, who will be attending HLA this year for the first time. 

Jade served alongside her husband while he was a Student Pastor for 11 years at a church in Cary. In early 2020, they felt the Lord calling them to a new season of ministry in church planting, and launched Family Church in Apex this Spring. Jade is passionate about reaching students, teaching them about Jesus and helping them understand their role as His followers. 

Growing up, Jade was involved in Gifted and Talented Art and has always had a passion for drawing, painting, and exploring different forms of art. A fun fact about Jade is that she is an identical twin! She loves the beach, spending time with her kids, and her Cavachon, Luna. Jade is thrilled to be able to use her passion for art and student ministry experience at HLA this year!

Jerusha Miller
Director of Performing Arts/Choir – Apex

Jerusha Miller has had the privilege of sharing her love of music through voice and piano for over 30 years by performing in a variety of schools, churches, and mission’s groups. Her repertoire spans across many genres having sung in classical choirs, jazz ensembles, theater groups, and on worship teams. Although she holds a master’s degree in Education, it is her love of music that keeps her part of the theater program as she is committed to sharing this passion with younger generations. She believes that music is one of the many gifts the Lord has given to us to have an even deeper connection with Him here on earth. It is such an honor being the musical director for the theater students at Heritage Leadership Academy as they share their many talents with their families, friends, and community.

Erin Rice
Middle/High School English– Apex

Erin lives with her husband Andrew in Fuquay-Varina. Both grew up in Cary, NC, just a few doors down the street from each other! Inspired to teach after receiving an amazing education under caring, Christian teachers, she studied English at Grove City College. After teaching for three years at her alma mater Cary Christian School, she earned a Masters in Romantic and Victorian Literature at the University of St Andrews in Scotland. Once back home, she taught for two years at Sandhills Classical Christian School before joining HLA.

Erin is passionate about literature’s ability to point students to the gospel, and is overjoyed to have the opportunity to teach and minister to students at HLA.

Gentry Doggendorf
Geometry + Algebra 2 – 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.
Nicholas Armogida
Middle P.E/Spanish + High School Spanish/Missions/Musical Performance – Apex
Nicholas Armogida is a Raleigh native who met the Lord after leaving high school.  God soon blessed him with a wonderful wife, Candace, and they have four amazing children together.  He has served as Youth Pastor at Calvary Chapel in Apex for a little over the last decade and has now started a non-profit to raise funds for missions work in Haiti.  His time serving with Haitians has given him key insight into relational evangelism, gospel missions, learning foreign languages and the nature of poverty.   He will be teaching Spanish classes with a missions focus as well as musical performance classes.
Nicholas values honesty, humility and compassion and brings those qualities into the classroom for his students.  For leisure, he enjoys exercise, playing music, reading, and being outdoors in God’s Creation.  Nick considers the spiritual gift of teaching as a part of his purpose and calling from the LORD and considers it an honor to teach students in a classroom setting.
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. They have four amazing children: Hannah, Abby, Ben, and Sam. The Lord opened the door for her to teach 1st – 12th grade art at her children’s classical Christian school in Southern California. Then 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 eighth grade students. She couldn’t 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.

Jill McGuire
Physical Education – Apex (K-6)

Jill and her husband, Ben, grew up in the bluegrass of Kentucky and ventured to North Carolina six years ago with the ministry of Cru. They live in Angier with their three kids, Reece (11), Wyatt (7), and Claire (5), who all attend HLA.

Jill has a passion for health and wellness and helping others on their journey towards a healthier lifestyle. She loves working out, cooking yummy food, and trying out new restaurants in the triangle.

She considers it such a blessing to be a part of the HLA family. The opportunity to teach children that our bodies are a gift from the Lord and how to beat care for them in order to serve Him for decades to come is such a gift.

Jasmine Landherr
Physical Education – Apex
Jasmine moved to North Carolina 5 years ago when she felt a tug from God to call Raleigh her home while driving through. She graduated from University of Minnesota- Duluth with her Public Health Education degree and has enjoyed continuing to learn ever since. She is excited to jump into the gym with the students after training boot camps for adults these past 5 years. Not only does she love working out but she knows the value of our bodies & taking care of the vessels that God has given us. She also has certifications as a Personal Trainer, Health & Nutrition Coach, Run Coach & Youth Sports Coach. She was introduced to the University model of HLA last winter & soon became thrilled to be part of families lives on a whole new level. 
Jasmine loves the outdoors & you can find her & her dog Hartley on the trails or at the lake reading when she is not helping others with their fitness journeys!
Annette Moore
Middle/High School Math and History – Apex
Annette is thrilled to join the HLA family!  Born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, she now calls North Carolina home.  She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Mathematics from the University of Dayton and her Master’s in International Studies from North Carolina State University.  After graduating from college, she taught ESL in Japan and worked with a Christian ministry there.  She has also taught high school math, ESL (online), and worked with international students and scholars at a local university where she enjoyed planning new student orientation and handling visa and immigration matters. 
In her free time, she can be found exercising, playing the piano and flute, and exploring new places with her husband and daughter.  Her favorite cuisine is Thai.  Hot cocoa and bubble tea are her favorite drinks.  Annette hopes to inspire the next generation to love and serve the Lord and use his/her gifts to glorify God.  
Lisa Yarborough
High School Math and History – Apex

Lisa is married to her husband Mike and they have three children, a 10th grade son and two adult daughters – both products of the Wake County Public School System and North Carolina colleges and universities. Lisa is blessed to have grown up on a horse farm in rural Massachusetts from where she felt called to work with high school students, so she earned a BA degree in Psychology with a minor in English and a concentration in Education at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, and then an MA in Counseling & Education at California State University, Dominguez Hills, in Carson.

However, God had other plans, so Lisa worked as a children’s social worker and taught independent living skills to teens until having her first child and moving to Apex in 1996, where she began both launching a small business and working in geriatric then mental health social work for ten years. After her third child was born in 2006, Lisa had the opportunity to focus on raising her three children on their small farmstead in Apex and running her part-time business providing bookkeeping and other support services to other small businesses. Once her youngest child finished elementary school, Lisa was led to HLA where she discovered the joy of co-teaching her son from 6th thru 8th grade, and this past year, she homeschooled him and was blessed to co-teach 9th grade English with another homeschool educator.

Lisa is thrilled that the Lord has now called her to teach Economics and Business & Consumer Math as part of the HLA teaching family. God’s timing and plans are perfect! Lisa has a love for the Lord and His Word, and she thoroughly enjoys the high school atmosphere, interacting with students, and sharing her passion for learning and discipleship.

Dana Cordell 
High School Bible – Apex
Originally from the mountains of East Tennessee, Dana attended Carson Newman College and pursued a psychology degree. However, God redirected her path as she married her husband Sean and they moved to Wake Forest where she graduated with her bachelors in Biblical Studies from Southeastern Baptist Theological College (now, The College at Southeastern). Sean and Dana have served in full time ministry roles for over 25 years. Dana has a love for God’s Word and her passion is to help others treasure Christ. Her classroom strategy for teaching Bible is blend between head and heart, knowing that the goal is to make whole-hearted lovers and followers of Jesus who know Christ and desire to make Him known. 
Dana has over 12 years of education experience, from homeschooling, directing classical conversations, and teaching Bible to middle and high school in a private school for five years. She and her husband Sean have four children between the ages of 10 and 19. Dana serves alongside her husband as pastors wife at Treasuring Christ Church in Raleigh North Carolina. Dana loves cooking, watching sports, being outdoors, reading, and has a special place in her heart for her bulldog Josie. 
Ryan Doherty
Faith and Missions – Apex (High School)
Ryan has been on Staff at the Summit Church since 2007 serving as a Campus Pastor in Durham and now is currently serving as Pastor of Mobilization and Prayer at the Apex Campus. His wife, Morgan is a nurse and they have three kids Samuel (13), Corrie (11) and Charlie (9) and a bulldog named Lucy. He also has woodworking side hustle to support his book budget. 
Ryan has traveled to 26 different countries leading short term teams, providing ongoing care to missionaries and partnering with global church workers and as a result, has become an international soccer jersey collector and a self proclaimed bag-snob. 
Ryan received a B.S. Psychology from Liberty University and a M.A. Church Planting from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and is excited to partner with HLA to help mobilize the next generation to make disciples across the street and around the world. 
Matt Walton
Faith and Culture – Apex (High School)

Matt moved from Indiana to North Carolina in 2002 to pursue a ministry opportunity and attend Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he received his M.Div in Biblical Counseling. Upon arriving it wasn’t long until he met his soon to be wife, Jennifer. Together they have two boys who are currently students at HLA. Matt has spent over 20 years in ministry and currently serves at the Lead Pastor of The Passage Church in Knightdale. Teaching students and leading student ministries has always been a high priority in Matt’s life and he is excited to have another avenue to do that here at HLA. If you want to talk tennis, Indiana basketball, or Spiritual Formation Matt is your guy.

Rachael DeFreitas
Interventionist – Apex

Rachael is a graduate of The North Carolina State University, where she earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and her Master of Arts in Education.  After teaching for 5 years in Wake County, she took a break from the classroom to stay home with her three children.


Rachael is so excited to be back in the classroom at HLA, where she hopes to inspire in her students a lifelong love of learning, while strengthening their relationship with Jesus. She and her husband, along with their 3 children serve and attend Hope Community Church and love spending time in Kure Beach with their 2 dogs.

Josh Estep
HS Apologetics – Apex

Bio coming soon.

Robbie Spiers
Middle 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.