Kindergarten – Apex
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.
Kindergarten – Apex
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).”
Third Grade – Apex
Fourth Grade – Apex
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.
Fifth Grade – Apex
Bio Coming Soon.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Fundamentals + Pre-Algebra – Apex
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.
Logic, & Leadership – Apex
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.
Middle/High School English – Apex
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.
Middle/High English + History, Middle Journalism – Apex
Middle/High School Science – Apex
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!
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.
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.
Geometry + Algebra 2 – Apex
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.
Middle P.E/Spanish + High School Spanish/Missions/Musical Performance – Apex
Art – Apex
Spanish – Apex
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.
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.
Physical Education – Apex
Middle/High School Math and History – Apex
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.
High School Bible – Apex
Faith and Missions – Apex (High School)
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.
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.
HS Apologetics – Apex
Bio coming soon.
Middle School Worship Band – Apex
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.