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.

Anitra Elmore
First Grade – Apex

Anitra holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Barat College of DePaul University (Lake Forest, IL) and a Master of Science in Elementary Education from Nova Southeastern University (Las Vegas, NV). She has a diverse teaching background, which includes experience in public school, private Christian school and homeschooling. She excels in classroom discipline and management and maintains an engaging, student-centered learning environment that incorporates multiple learning styles and hands-on discovery.

Anitra became a Christian in high school and has since served the church in teaching ministry, women’s ministry, and administrative support. Whether serving in the church or in the classroom, she maintains a commitment to amplifying the Truth of the Gospel and educating others to live full and purpose-filled lives. Anitra has been married to her husband, Darold for 24 years and they have two children: Annah, 17 and Donovan, 13. They’ve lived in a number of states, including Illinois, Nevada and Louisiana, and they are proud to call North Carolina their home.

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.
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!
Donna Slater
Second Grade – Apex

Donna began her career in education in 2004. She received her Bachelor’s of Science degree and Teaching Certification from Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas, and her Master’s of Education in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Literacy from the University of Texas at Arlington. She is also trained in Dyslexia instruction. She has taught kindergarten, first grade, fourth grade, and a dyslexia pull-out program in Texas public schools.

Donna has been married to her husband Scott since 1990. Their daughter and son-in-law, Hannah and Elijah, are expecting Scott and Donna’s first grandchild, Beau, to be born at the end of November! Scott and Donna also have a son, Samuel, who recently moved to Durham and is loving living in a new place. In July 2017, Donna and Scott came to Durham on a vacation/personal mission trip/church planting, fact-finding trip.Through a series of God-orchestrated events during that week-long trip, they headed home to Texas feeling as if God had something for them in Durham. A year later, (to the day!), they moved to Durham to be a part of the inaugural year of HLA-Durham. Donna’s favorite thing about teaching young elementary students is witnessing the amazing growth they experience in reading and being a small part of those successes in her students’ and families’ lives.

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. 

Susan Ruark
Fifth Grade – 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.

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.

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.

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.

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
Omnibus, Logic, & Life Science – 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.

Gregory Soderberg
Leadership – Apex

Gregory Soderberg teaches History, Logic, and Leadership at HLA – Durham and Leadership at HLA – Apex. He has 18 years of teaching experience in Christian schools. He holds a B.A. in Liberal Arts and Culture (New St. Andrews College), an M.A. in Church History (University of Pretoria), and is completing a Ph.D. in Historical Theology (Free University of Amsterdam). He also serves as the Academic Dean of LAMP Seminary RDU in Raleigh and is a Proctor for the BibleMesh Institute.

He also works as a freelance writer and has published numerous articles and book reviews. He was a contributing author to the Omnibus VI: The Modern World textbook and the books More Than Luther: The Reformation and the Rise of Pluralism in Europe, and Reforming the Catholic Tradition: The Whole Word for the Whole Church. He has served in a wide range of church ministries and non-profits, ranging from prison ministry to foster care and Safe Families for Children. He and his wife have five children who all attend HLA. 

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. 
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 Elliot
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