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
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.
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
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.
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. In 2019 she moved to the Apex team to continue to teach as well as serve as a school counselor in the 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.
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/Admin Assistant- Apex
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
High English + History – Apex
Middle/High School History – Apex
Middle/High School Science – Apex
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
HS Apologetics – Apex
Bio coming soon.
Music – Apex
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!
Physical Education – Apex
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).
Art – Apex
High School Bible – 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.
Latin – Apex
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.
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.