In This Section

Middle School Faculty

Middle School Office

Scott Schroder
Head of Middle School

B.S. Secondary Education and Social Studies, Western Carolina University
M.A. School Administration, Gardner-Webb University

Middle School Principal Scott Schroder began teaching at ACA in 1997. His love for the ACA community and working with students have made his commitment to ACA a natural choice. Philippians 1:21 has been his favorite verse since he was a teenager.

Email:  scott.schroder@acalion.org

Carmen Chaplain
MS Administrative Assistant

B.S. Exercise Science, Gardner Webb University

Carmen Chaplain serves as the middle school administrative assistant where she serves faculty, students, and families daily. One of her favorite things about Christian education is how every subject, though different from the others, points to the Gospel. Mrs. Chaplain’s favorite verse is Ephesians 2:3-5 because it reveals the character of God and how He meets us in our mess to saves us. Mrs. Chaplain enjoys being outdoors, spending time with her husband and her dog, and all things iced coffee and pumpkin.

Email:  carmen.chaplain@acalion.org

Susan Watson
Middle School Aide

Associate of Arts, Montreat College
Biblical Studies, Liberty University

Mrs. Watson originally began working as a substitute teacher at ACA in 2012. She currently serves as the middle school aide. Ms. Watson homeschooled her own children for 15 years, which provided an easy transition to working with teachers and students. Isaiah 54:13, her favorite verse, gives her comfort as she seeks to teach and train her children and her students to walk in the Lord’s ways. 

Email:  susan.watson@acalion.org

English

Mary Buys

B.A. Middle Grades Education, Covenant College

Mary Buys, whose hometown is Hills, Minnesota, holds a B.A. in middle grades education and a master’s in teaching from Covenant College. She strives to help her students appreciate the value of writing well. It is her goal to help equip her students effectively use the English language to participate in God’s world. Ms. Buys’ favorite Scripture is found in Galatians 2:20. She loves the reminder that our lives are not our own because they belong to the one who gave His life to save mankind. Ms. Buys enjoys playing and watching soccer, running, drawing, painting, and keeping in touch with her younger sisters.

Email:  mary.buys@acalion.org

Michelle Norris
English/Math

B.A. Education of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, University of Southern Mississippi
M.A. Special Education, Appalachian State University

Mrs. Norris views teaching as an opportunity to help her students recognize how God has uniquely designed them to impact this world and glorify Him in a way no one else can. Mrs. Norris studied education of the deaf and hard of hearing at the University of Southern Mississippi. She is also a certified academic language practitioner through ALTA and a member of the Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators at the certified level. Mrs. Norris also has training in multi-sensory math, LiPS, and visualizing /verbalizing.

Email:  michelle.norris@acalion.org

Chris O'Steen

B.A. English Education, University of North Carolina at Greensboro
M.A. English, Western Carolina University

After teaching at Mars Hill College and Haywood Community College, Mrs. O’Steen began teaching English and Bible at ACA in 2010. Being a middle school English teacher gives Mrs. O’Steen the chance to make a difference in the lives of her students while indulging in the subject she loves. Mrs. O’Steen is a licensed North Carolina teacher and holds a professional lifetime level ACSI certification.

Email:  chris.osteen@acalion.org

Abigail Wyatt

B.A. Elementary Education, Clemson University

The freedom to teach from a Christian perspective motivated Abigail Wyatt to become part of the ACA Middle School faculty in 2014. Mrs. Wyatt taught at numerous therapeutic boarding schools before teaching Middle School English and Bible at ACA. Mrs. Wyatt was raised in Greenville, South Carolina by a family full of educators. She holds dear to the expression of God’s goodness to those who trust in Him found in Psalm 34:8.

Email:  abigail.wyatt@acalion.org

Fine Arts Department

Alex Panagiotacos
Fine Arts Director

B.S. Music, Clearwater Christian College
M. Ed. Music Education, University of Central Florida

The community of believers working together led Alex Panagiatacos to ACA in 2008. Mr. Panagiatacos enjoys fine arts education because the students’ gifts and talents are always on display for others to enjoy. He takes pleasure in seeing students achieve more than they thought was possible. Colossians 3:17 is important to him because it is a reminder that such gifts are from the Lord and believers are to use them for His glory.  

Email:  alex.panagiotacos@acalion.org

Chris Aitken
Director of Choirs

B.A. Music Education and Piano, Grove City College
M.A. Choral Conducting, Houghton College

Mr. Aitken has taught at ACA since 2010. He believes that service to Christ is an essential part of building and protecting community. Mr. Aitken sees the ACA community as an extension of his family. In addition to his music training, Mr. Aitken also completed Landmark Outreach training and Ron Clark Academy teacher training. His favorite verses are found in the book of James.

Email:  chris.aitken@acalion.org

Jennifer Edwards
Art

B.A. University of North Carolina at Asheville
M.A. Western Carolina University

Mrs. Edwards moved from her hometown of Charlotte, Michigan to study fine arts at UNCA. She remained in North Carolina to earn her master’s degree. In addition to her years spent teaching art to students of all ages, including college students, Mrs. Edwards has authored and illustrated seven children’s instructional art books. She joined the ACA faculty in 2017. 

Email: jennifer.edwards@acalion.org

Karen Whitley
Band Assistant

B.A. Flute Performance, Music Education, Winthrop University
M. Ed. Music Education, Eastern Carolina University

Mrs. Whitley began serving ACA as an adjunct teacher for sectionals and private lessons in 2011. While in college, she discovered a love for teaching music. She decided to become a music educator because she enjoys teaching students the joy of music.

Email:  karen.whitley@acalion.org

Anna Stroud
Drama and Theater

B.A. Theater, Samford University
M.A. Drama, Covenant College

Having spent 13 years attending a Christian school in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Anna Stroud considers it her second home. Ms. Stroud knows the value of a community rooted in the Gospel and the importance of establishing a grace-based foundation that shapes the next generation’s worldview. She hopes her students leave her classroom with assurance that their value is not based on performance, but that they are accepted and celebrated for who God made them to be. Exodus is her favorite book in the Bible because it evidences God’s redemptive power and nature and provides parallels to Christ.

Email:  anna.stroud@acalion.org

Foreign Language

Jessica Harrison
Spanish

B.A. Spanish Education (K-12), Lander University

Jessica Harrison came to ACA in 2016 to serve Christ and equip students. Mrs. Harrison is originally from Columbia, SC. She is Nationally Board Certified. Isaiah 41:10 helps her remember God’s presence and His hand in her life.

Email:  jessica.harrison@acalion.org

Susan Williams
French/Spanish

B.A. French and Spanish, University of North Carolina at Asheville

Mrs. Williams has taught foreign language at ACA since 1991. Mrs. Williams is not only a language teacher, but also a student. In addition to earning degrees in both French and Spanish, she has taken many Italian courses. She believes God has led her to share her appreciation and knowledge of foreign languages at ACA. 

Email:  susan.williams@acalion.org

History

Trevor Gibbs
History/Robotics

B.S. Education, Western Carolina University

During his undergraduate studies, Mr. Gibbs studied engineering, music, and ministry before changing his major to education. When he joined the ACA faculty in 2013, it was evident that the Lord had prepared him for the position, which married the diverse skills he gained prior to focusing on becoming an educator. Mr. Gibbs loves the promise in Romans 8:26-28 that when our desires align with God’s, we can rest in His sovereignty.

Email:  trevor.gibbs@acalion.org

Ryan Teague

B.A. History, University of North Carolina
M. Ed. University of North Carolina

Mr. Teague began teaching middle school history at ACA in 2014. He was drawn to ACA because of its focus on Christ-centered academic excellence. His favorite scriptures are found in Genesis 5:24 and Romans 8:32. These verses remind him that our purpose, which has been given to us freely through Christ, is to have a relationship with God.

Email:  ryan.teague@acalion.org

Mathematics

Jennifer Hilterman

B.S. Secondary Education and Mathematics, Grove City College

Ms. Hilterman began teaching mathematics and Bible at ACA in 2015. She was led to partner with ACA because of its foundation on the Scriptures and outward focus. Ms. Hilterman holds a professional teaching certificate as well as many outdoor education certifications. She spends her summers leading high school students on adventures backpacking, climbing, rafting, and mountaineering. 1 Peter 4:11 reminds her of her purpose in light of her redemption.

Email:  jennifer.hilterman@acalion.org

Amanda McCoy
Computers

B.S. English, Western Carolina University
MLIS Information Studies, Florida State University

Amanda McCoy’s goal as a teacher is to help her students prepare themselves to participate in society. She believes that a proper education teaches the whole child. This includes academics, social skills, and spiritual development. She strives to help her students learn to use technology with confidence. Mrs. McCoy’s favorite verse is Isaiah 40:31 because it reminds her that when we focus on our true purpose, the Lord will renew our strength and give us the ability to continue serving Him despite any obstacle we may face.

Email:  amanda.mccoy@acalion.org

Susan Rich

B.A. Elementary Education, Minor in Spanish
M.A. Teacher Education, K-8 Math Education Special Endorsement

Originally from Tucson, Arizona, Susan Rich joined the ACA faculty in 2009. A 2004 Wal-Mart Teacher of the Year winner, Ms. Rich felt the call to Christian education early in her life and has worked with children since a young age.

Email:  susan.rich@acalion.org

Physical Education

Nick Ficker

B.S. Health and Physical Education, Western Carolina University.

A desire to share his faith openly and guide others to do the same led Nick Ficker to teaching and coaching at ACA in 2014. Mr. Ficker is a Certified Speed Specialist through the National Association of Speed and Explosion. He believes that God has created us to do great things both in and out of the athletic arena.

Email:  nick.ficker@acalion.org

Terry Hughes

B.S. Business Administration, Montreat College

Terry Hughes’s partnership with ACA reflects his heart for Christian education. Mr. Hughes became an educator because of the impact his former teachers and mentors have had on his life. He enjoys anything competitive. Colossians 3:23 is important to him because it helps him remember to serve the Lord in all things and to do so with his entire heart.

Email:  terry.hughes@acalion.org

Torri Render

B.S. Health and Physical Education (K-12), Health and Human Performance, Roanoke College

Coach Render joined the ACA faculty in 2011 to share her love of exercise through sports. She believes that being active is a lifestyle. Coach Render integrates the purpose mentioned in Romans 8:28 into her philosophy of teaching and coaching. She sees her role as integral to helping students discover their interests, gifts, and calling.  

Email:  torri.render@acalion.org

Science

Linda Mitchell

B.S. Chemistry, Furman University

Prior to joining the middle school faculty in 2006, Mrs. Mitchell completed graduate work in chemistry and education at five different universities and developed two US patents. She has spent over 20 years in the industry. She delights in bringing the awe and wonder of creation into the classroom. Mrs. Mitchell holds a certification in Montessori middle school. In her free time, she enjoys traveling across the country, camping, hiking, and spending time with her Yorkshire terriers.

Email:  linda.mitchell@acalion.org

Paige Clement

B.S. Middle Grades Education, Mathematics and Science, Minor in Missions

Originally from Birmingham, Alabama, Paige Clement has taught middle school science at ACA since 2013. Mrs. Clement believes that science becomes more meaningful to students when it is studied from a Biblical perspective. Likewise, students better understand the nature of God when studying His creation. Mrs. Clement also coaches volleyball at ACA.

Email:  paige.clement@acalion.org