Liberty Christian Academy Staff and Faculty

Administrative Staff

Mrs. Cheryl Cavanaugh
Upper School Principal

“Our work is our worship.”

Mrs. Cheryl Cavanaugh and her husband Jody are the founders of Liberty Christian Academy. She earned her Masters of Education in Administration and Supervision from Liberty University, and she is currently pursuing her Educational Doctorate. Her love for children and quality education motivated her to open high quality child care centers. She owns the four New Beginnings Child Care Centers in Onslow County, serving over 600 children. Her desire to see children thrive educationally in a safe and nurturing environment led her to open Liberty Christian Academy. She serves at LCA on a daily basis as Upper School Principal, ensuring the vision of the school is administered in all aspects. Mrs. Cavanaugh has served her community on local boards, and she is currently representing our county on the state level as a Board Member of the NC Partnership for Children. She is a published author of children’s books, and she enjoys reading, singing, and spending time with family. She is the wife of Jody Cavanaugh, and the mother of four wonderful children: Landon, Logan, Luke, and Lexi Cavanaugh.

Support Staff

Mrs. Staci Yopp
Lower School Principal

“I have a heart for Christian education. I enjoy seeing students grow in their walk with Christ as well as in their minds academically.”

Mrs. Staci Yopp was born in Benton, IL, but has been a native of Eastern NC since the age of two. She graduated from Gardner-Webb University with a double major in Religious Education and Spanish and is currently pursuing a Masters of Education in Administration and Supervision. Mrs. Yopp is a proud wife of her husband, Jody. She also enjoys being the mother of her son, Camron and her daughter, Savannah. She thoroughly enjoys serving God in  her local church by singing on the praise team. Camping with family, time with friends, and coffee are also a favorite of Staci’s.

Mr. Adam Grayson
Assistant Principal/Athletic Director

“I truly enjoy helping young men and women develop both mentally and physically through athletics.”

Mr. Adam Grayson was born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA, but has lived the last seven years in Jacksonville, NC, and yes, he is an avid Steelers fan. “Go Steelers!”.  Mr. Grayson earned his Bachelor of Science degree from Liberty University and his Master of Science degree in Athletic Coaching Education from West Virginia University.  He is the proud husband of his wife, Bonnie, and enjoys being the father of two sons and a daughter. Mr. Grayson has coached youth and high school athletics for over ten years and is very excited about building the athletic program at Liberty Christian Academy.

Mr. Cody Quinn
Christian Life Director

“It is not what is poured into a student that counts, but what is planted.” ~ Linda Conway

Mr. Cody Quinn was born in his hometown of Beulaville, NC. He graduated from Liberty University with a Bachelors of Science in Religion and was recently ordained through the Acts 2 Network. Mr. Quinn is currently pursuing a Masters degree in Pastoral Counseling. He recently became engaged to Kelsey Sholar. Mr. Quinn believes that connecting with students, and building lasting relationships with them, opens the door to showing them how to have a personal, every day relationship with our Savior, Jesus Christ.


Mrs. Kelli Taylor
Administrative Assistant

” I love embracing every opportunity to pray with students, encourage them, and have conversations with parents about anything I can do to help them.”

Mrs. Kelli Taylor was born in  San Francisco, CA , and moved to Jacksonville, NC twenty-three years ago as a military spouse. She has three beautiful children Billy, Grace, and Ellie. She was a single mother for seven years before marrying Dennis, a Kinston native. Kelli now lives with her family in Kinston.


Mrs. Justine Lucas
Lobby Manager/Office Assistant

“The best part of my day is seeing everyone’s smiling faces!”

Mrs. Justine Lucas was born in New Orleans, LA. She is the wife of an amazing husband who is a wonderful father to their five year old son. Her boys are the light of her world.

Mrs. Moné Cavanaugh
Office Assistant

This biography will be updated soon.

Mrs. Alice Simpson

“I may not directly teach the children, but all of them feel like they are mine.”

Ms. Alice Simpson was born in Onslow County. She has been a custodian for 23 years at Richlands Primary school. Mrs. Simpson is the proud mother of a son, daughter-in-law, and two gorgeous grandbabies. She likes to be used by God no matter what task is at hand, and any one who meets her, can easily see the love of Jesus radiate through her beautiful smile.

Mrs. Pasty Sydes
Student Support Director

“I love teaching children. I love it when they get it, like when a light bulb comes on.”

Mrs. Patsy Sydes was born in San Diego, CA. She graduated from UNCW, and has been teaching for thirty years in public schools, at Bethel Christian Academy and Liberty Christian Academy. Mrs. Sydes has been happily married for forty-years and is the proud mom of two grown sons and a grandmother to five wonderful grandchildren. She believes that God called her to teach thirty years ago and she has loved every minute of it!

Mrs. Annette Cavanaugh
Student Support Director

This biography will be updated soon.

Mrs. Mary Ellen Marshburn
Teaching Assistant/Librarian

“A mind stretched by an idea never returns to its original dimensions.” ~ Walt Disney

Mrs. Mary Ellen Marshburn was born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama (Roll Tide!!!), moved to Greensboro, NC when she was two years old, and to Jacksonville fourteen years ago. Mrs. Marshburn loves Onslow County! Mary Ellen attended East Carolina University (GO PIRATES!!!) and  graduated with a degree in Child Development and Psychology. She has been in management and training in the social work and child care fields and has taught preschool. Mrs. Marshburn has been married to an Onslow County native for 14 years and they have four boys, as well as own their own business. The Marshburn family is very involved in their church teaching 4 and 5 year-olds and middle school boys.

Lower Elementary Teachers

Mrs. Bonnie Grayson
(Lower Elementary Dept. Head)
Second Grade Teacher

“Teaching is a true joy of mine. I love to see students’ faces light up everyday when they finally get it!”

Mrs. Bonnie Grayson was born in Homestead, FL. She graduated from Liberty University and has five years teaching experience in private education. Mrs. Grayson has been happily married for 22 years and is the proud mama of two sons and a daughter. She loves learning about Jesus and seeing how He works in her life everyday. A love for volleyball, Pinterest, and reading are also some things she enjoys.

Mrs. Angela Lippy
Transitional Kindergarten Teacher

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” ~ Benjamin Franklin

Mrs. Angela Lippy was born in Baltimore, MD.  After college, she moved to NC with her husband, and then lived in Hawaii, Maryland and California before coming back to North Carolina last year. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Liberal Arts and Information Technology from Villa Julie College in Maryland.  After leaving the  private industry to start a family and be with her own children, she spent 6 years as a licensed day care provider, focusing in preschool education.  She also taught preschool for a year in the Hawaii school system.  Mrs. Lippy is currently attending ECU to obtain her K-6 Teacher Certification. Mrs. Lippy married her wonderful husband, Jeff, almost 13 years ago. He is currently serving in the Marine Corps.  The Lippy’s have four beautiful and kind-hearted children (Christopher, Elizabeth, Evan and Bella) and one crazy little dog.  They love to serve God, and spend their days outside. Mrs. Angela Lippy believes that a Christ centered education will build deeper bonds between our children and God, making them stronger citizens as they grow with the Lord.

Ms. Katie Phillips
Kindergarten Teacher

“I have a heart for children and feel privileged that the Lord is using me to meet not only the academic needs, but most importantly the spiritual needs of His children.”

Mrs. Katie Phillips was born in Jacksonville, NC. She graduated from Pensacola Christian College and has five years of elementary teaching experience. Katie started teaching kids’ church when she was a teenager and has had the privilege of teaching on the child care, school and church levels ever since. She is currently the Children’s Church Director at New Hope Baptist Church. Her son, Noah, is the biggest blessing and the best Christmas gift she has ever received!

Mrs. Jessica Wolf
Kindergarten Teacher

“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” ~ William Butler Yates

Mrs. Wolf grew up in Mankato, Minnesota and has lived in many different places as a military wife before settling in Richlands in 2005. She graduated from East Carolina University with a degree in Birth through Kindergarten Education and has worked as a substitute teacher. Mrs. Wolf has been married for twenty years to her husband Ken. They are blessed with two teenage sons – Kooper and Garrett. Spending time with her family is her favorite activity and her hobbies include gardening, cooking, and reading. Mrs. Wolf is excited to serve God as a teacher of young children.

Mrs. Shawn Berkheiser
First Grade Teacher

“Children are a gift from the Lord. I have always cherished being able to care for and help them learn.”

Mrs. Shawn Berkheiser was born in Muskegon, MI. She graduated from Coastal Community College and comes to LCA with fifteen years experience in preschool – first grade. Shawn and her hard-working husband have enjoyed twenty-five years of marriage and are the proud parents of a daughter and a son. Her patient and pleasant personality have helped her to create a very loving environment for students that not only has blessed LCA families the past three years, but is assuredly to also be a blessing this year.

Mrs. Kimberly Costa
First Grade Teacher

“Tell me and I’ll forget.  Show me and I may remember.  Involve me and I learn.”- Benjamin Franklin

Mrs. Kim Costa was born Virginia. She graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education
from UNCW and has taught grades 1-3 for ten years. Mrs. Costa has been married for 13 years to her husband Devin.  They have a 5 year old son, Mason, who is going into kindergarten this year and 4 month old twin girls, Brooklyn and Brinley.  The Costa family attends Free Will Chapel Church in Richlands, NC.  In their free time, they love spending time with family and friends.

Mrs. Katie Hearn
2nd Grade Teacher

“I love teaching and seeing students learn. Christian education provides the incredible opportunity to incorporate the word of God into every lesson and I am very excited to be a part of that!”

Mrs. Katie Hearn was born in Georgia and grew up in South Carolina.  She graduated from UNCW with a BA in Education and was a teacher assistant for 3 years. This will be her 2nd year as a lead teacher. Mrs. Hearn is happily married to her husband, Ryan and enjoys spending time with her wonderful kids.

Upper Elementary Teachers

Mrs. Ginnie Postlethwaite
(Upper Elementary Dept. Head)
Fifth Grade Teacher

“Teaching is not just a job, it is my passion and my hobby.”

Mrs. Ginnie Postlethwaite was born in Charlotte, NC. She graduated from Chaminade University of Hawaii and has fifteen years of teaching experience. She is currently enrolled in classes at UNCW. Go Seahawks! Her husband and two sons are her pride and joy. Henry Wong once said, “It takes just as much energy to achieve positive results as it does to achieve negative results. So why waste your energy on failing when that same amount of energy can help you and your students succeed?” That is the basis for Mrs. Postlethwaite’s teaching philosophy. She thoroughly enjoys guiding her students in a positive and loving environment.

Dr. Julie Simmons
Third Grade Teacher

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” ~Jeremiah 29:11.

Dr. Julie Simmons was born in Berlin, Germany. She has a Doctorate degree in Education from Trevecca Nazarene University
in Nashville, TN. Her degree is in Professional Practics with an emphasis in the Multiply Intelligence Theory. This is Dr. Simmons 20th year teaching and she has taught kindergarten through Master’s level college classes. This will be her second year in third grade and she is loving it! The Lord gave Dr. Simmons the verse above over the summer after suddenly losing her husband last September. Unsure of what to do, the Lord has graciously taken care of every aspect of her life. Dr. Simmons says, “LCA is a fabulous place to work.” She is thankful how the Lord also made provisions for her daughter, Abi, to attend Liberty. She is in the eighth grade.

Mrs. Sarah Hazlett
Third Grade Teacher/Girls’ Volleyball Coach

“God has been so good in my life by allowing me the honor of teaching young people. My desire is that children will know the love of the Lord and have a yearning to serve Him.”

Mrs. Sarah Hazlett was born in Pittsburgh, PA. She graduated from Slippery Rock University and is the proud wife to her husband, Kevin. They share in the joy of raising their energetic and loving daughter, Kaydence. Her philosophy in education is simply this, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” ~ Nelson Mandela. She wants to do that one child at a time.

Mrs. Maegan Simpkins
Fourth Grade Teacher

“Teachers have three loves: love of learning, love of learners, and the love of bringing the first two loves together.” -Scott Hayden

Mrs. Maegan Simpkins was born in Fayetteville, Ga. She moved to Jacksonville with her husband last year after graduating from the University of West Georgia. Ms. Simpkins earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Early Childhood Education and this is her first year teaching. Her  husband and she will celebrate a whole year of marriage together this October 17th. They live humbly with their two cats named Jeffrey and CoCo and their rambunctious black lab named Diesel.

Mrs. Jessica Pierce
Fourth Grade Teacher

“A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.” ~ Henry Adams

Ms. Jessica Pierce was born and raised in Richlands, NC. She graduated from University of Wilmington with a Bachelors of Elementary Education. Ms. Pierce has worked in the Onslow County School system as a substitute and a title I tutor. She loves singing in the choir and is excited to try to fulfill God’s will in her everyday walk.

Mrs. Meredith Moneymaker
Fourth Grade Teacher

“This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary.” ~ Hebrews 6:19

Mrs. Meredith Moneymaker was born in Charlottesville, Virginia. She attended Mary Washington College in Frederickburg, Virginia and graduated with a Batchelors in Elementary Education with a minor in Child Psychology.  Mrs. Moneymaker has been a substitute teacher in Onslow County, both in the private Christian Schools and the public schools for the past six years. Mrs. Moneymaker is happily married to her husband Joe for 19 years, and they have a beautiful daughter, Taylor, who will be in the 6th grade at LCA.  They also have an adorable fur baby named Missy who is 17 years old.  The Moneymaker family enjoys volunteering at their church and helping others in their local community. Mrs. Moneymaker feels blessed to be able to educate children in a Christian environment and not only teach them the fundamentals but also about Jesus Christ.

Ms. Laura Ellzey
Fifth Grade Teacher

“The odds are that what you want to happen will happen if you expend energy to make it happen.” ~ Harry Wong

Ms. Laura Ellzey was born in Gretna, Louisiana, but resided further South in Buras, LA with her parents and two older sisters.  When she was four years old, her father received a recruiter’s card from the United States Navy.  As a military child, Ms. Ellzey was afforded vast multicultural opportunities.  Ms. Ellzey graduated from Liberty University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Elementary Education.   Outside of school, she volunteers as an Olympian coach with Word of Life at her church and as a Trail Guide with Trail Life USA. One of Mrs. Ellzey’s favorite verses is “I press towards the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” ~ Philippians 3:14.

Middle School Teachers

Mrs. Brandi Workman
(Middle School Dept. Head)
Middle School ELA

“I have a heart for showing young people how to have a personal relationship with Jesus and am blessed with the charge to tend to their minds and their hearts.”

Mrs. Workman was born in Dallas, Texas. She graduated from UNCW with an Elementary Education Degree and has been educating children for approximately ten years now and has an intense desire to see children enjoy learning.  She is currently pursuing her Masters degree in Education Administration and Supervision.  She is married to a retired U.S. Marine and has four children ages 22, 19, 14, and 6.  As a Navy “brat” and as a Marine spouse, Mrs. Workman was fortunate enough to travel to many places.  It was this travel that often took her to Yosemite National Park over 20 years ago and it was there that she developed a renewed relationship with God and a longing to know Him more which continues to this day.  Mrs. Workman’s goal is to create a learning environment that empowers students to invest in their education and to be accountable to themselves and to God.  Everyday, she looks forward to making her class a place where students can be nurtured and love, share, learn, have fun, and grow.

Mrs. Anna Crooms
Middle School History

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” – Benjamin Franklin

Mrs. Anna Crooms was born in Ahoskie, NC. She graduated from Heritage Bible College and has earned her Master Degree in Teaching from Liberty University. Mrs. Crooms’ life is full of joy as she loves being the wife to her husband, LeAndro, and the mother of her four children, George, Leilani, LeAnn, and LeAndro Jr. Her teaching philosophy is that teaching is wonderful, but learning is everlasting. Mrs. Crooms desires to teach in such a way that students thoroughly learn and grasp important concepts that will last way beyond their school years.

Mrs. Jemmeta Nesbeth
Middle school Math and Science

“Children are a heritage from the Lord”. ~ Psalm 127:3

Mrs. Jammeta Nesbeth was born in Jamaica, but has adopted North Carolina as home for the past 10 years. She is a passionate educator with twenty nine years of teaching experience. Mrs. Nesbeth graduated from Nova South eastern University Florida with a Masters of Art Degree in Curriculum and Instruction. She also graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Middle School Curriculum from Western Carolina University, North Carolina and earned a diploma in Teacher Education from Bethlehem Teachers’ College, Jamaica.  She plans to pursue a doctoral degree in Curriculum and Instruction in spring of 2017 with Liberty University, Virginia. Mrs. Nesbeth has been married to the love of her life, Edward for the past  twenty two years . They have been blessed with two wonderful sons Edward Nesbeth (Ejay) and Daniel Nesbeth.  Mrs. Nesbeth  loves being in the awesome presence of the Lord and enjoys praise and worship. She also serves as a member of the Praise and worship team at her church. She loves children and takes pleasure in nurturing and fostering spiritual, as well as academic, growth in each of them. She is guided by the philosophy that each child is unique and can learn when provided with positive learning experiences.


Mrs. Stephanie Detoro
Middle School Science

“Tell me and I will forget, Teach me and I will remember, Involve me and I will learn” ~ Benjamin Franklin

Mrs. Stephanie Detoro was born in Charlotte, NC and attended college at North Carolina State University where she earned a BS in Biological Sciences. She currently lives in Swansboro, NC, with her two daughters, Caroline, fifteen and Abygaiel twelve.  The Detoro family enjoys serving in their local church, and spending time on the beach when they are not on the softball field or at a dance function.  Mrs. Detoro is excited to explore God’s wonderful creation with her students and help them to grow in their personal relationship with our Savior Jesus Christ.

High School Teachers

Mrs. Lamour Thompson
Middle School Bible

“I want my students to learn the curriculum, but if they learn nothing but Jesus and that I love them, then I have been successful.”

Mrs. Lamour Thompson was born in Scotland Neck, NC. She graduated from Free Will Baptist Bible College. She is the proud wife of her husband, Terry, and they are surrounded by the love of  a daughter, son-in-law, and two gorgeous granddaughters. Mrs. Thompson loves to say, “Don’t try to put me in a box, I won’t fit!” This carries over into her philosophy of teaching also. Each child is unique and different. This fact is not a frustrating one, but is like the excitement of opening a present on Christmas morning.

Mrs. Jennifer Miller
(High School Dept. Head)

“Who dares to teach must never cease to learn.” ~ John Cotton Dana

Mrs. Jennifer Miller was born in Chinquapin, NC. She graduated from East Carolina University and is currently pursuing her Masters of Arts degree in Teaching at Liberty University. Her husband, Mitchell, and their three children are the light of her life. The Miller family attends Grace Covenant Church in Beulaville, NC, where she helps teach the Tribe Kids Junior program.  Mrs. Miller enjoys being with her family, loving Jesus, and watching the Carolina Panthers.

Mrs. Dina Martin
High School History and English
SGA Advisor, Ladies of Liberty Advisor,  and DC Coordinator

“When you do the common things in life in an uncommon way, you will command the attention of the world.” ~ George Washington Carver

Mrs. Dina Martin was born in Norfolk, VA. She is a graduate of Appalachian State and has a Masters of Divinity from South Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary. She is currently working on a secondary Masters degree through Liberty University. Mrs. Martin is not only delighted to be the wife of her husband, Kevin, but is also very proud to be the mother of a United States Marine. Along with her son, she is overjoyed to have a beautiful daughter-in-law and three wonderful grandchildren. She is excited about what God is going to do in her classes this year.

Mrs. Brittany Allen
High School English

“Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.” -Aristotle

Mrs. Brittany Allen is originally from Ripon, California. She graduated from Bethany University with a Bachelor of Arts in English, a minor in Psychology, and a Master of Arts in Elementary Education. During her time at Bethany, she was a four year collegiate volleyball athlete. Before moving to North Carolina she had the opportunity to teach in California and Hawaii. Mrs. Allen enjoys listening to worship music, reading, and exploring the outdoors with her husband Jeff. The Allens are looking forward to having their first baby in February. She believes in challenging and encouraging her students to push themselves to do their very best.

Mrs. Valerie Futrell
High School Bible, Chemistry, Biology, Physical Science, Agriculture

“Who dares to teach must never cease to learn.” ~ John Cotton Dana

Mrs Valerie Futrell was born in Duplin County where she attending East Duplin High School.  She graduated from North Carolina State University with a Bachelors of Science in Animal Science and a Bachelors of Science in Poultry Science.  She taught Agriculture in the Onslow County School system before following her true calling as a teacher of God’s word.  Mrs. Futrell is a mother of two beautiful children,Will and Amelia Jo (AJ), and is married to her husband Neal, who is the Associate Pastor of their church.  She is very excited to be able to combine her passion for education with her love for the Lord.  Her goal is to provide a safe and nurturing atmosphere for learning and growing through Jesus Christ!

Specials Teachers

Mrs. Gina Summers
Art and Drama Teacher

“Teaching is a redirection of the focus from oneself to others’ needs.”

Mrs. Gina Summers was born in Jacksonville, NC. She graduated from United Christian Bible College and taught in the Onslow Country School System for eight years. Mrs. Summers also taught at Jerusalem English Academy in Israel for 2 years. With more than twenty five years of Drama experience, she is a true asset to the drama program.  Her joy is her family, singing on the praise team at her church and pursuing whatever the Lord has in store.  Married and blessed with one daughter, who was one of the first graduates of Liberty Christian Academy.   Mrs. Summers believes in the importance of instilling, inspiring, and creating a passion within each child to learn. She also desires for students to be the best they can be, and loves that her job allows her to help them recognize their talents and gifts.

Mr. Fletcher Stubbs
Band Director

“Playing an instrument is a talent we need to develop because it is a gift from God and should be used for his glory.”

Mr. Fletcher Stubbs is originally from Bennettsville, SC and has retired from North Carolina Public Schools with over 30 years as a band director.  Since retirement he has continued teaching in private schools for nine years.  He is a graduate of East Carolina University with a Bachelor of Music Education and a Masters of Music degrees.  He is a saxophone soloist and has performed in churches throughout the southeast.  He is married to Leah Stubbs and they are staff members in music and worship at First Baptist Church, Richlands.  They have one daughter and three grandsons who live in Virginia.  Mr. Stubbs is a model railroader and is building an HO scale model of the railroad in his hometown.

Mrs. Jessica Wheeler
Spanish Teacher

“I love making language learning a positive and fun experience!”

Mrs. Jessica Wheeler was born in Olympia, WA.  She graduated from Franciscan University of Steubenville, and has taught Spanish to students K-12 for two years. Her life is full of the love from her husband, Charles, and their three beautiful children, Carol, Mary, and Thomas.

Mrs. Carol Hall
Computer Lab Instructor/Elementary Student Support

“The secret in education lies in respecting the student.” ~Rudolph Waldo Emerson

Mrs. Carol Hall was born right here in Onslow County on Camp Lejeune. She earned her Bachelor of Education from University of North Carolina at Wilmington and has been in education for thirty years. The Lord has blessed Mrs. Hall with a fabulous family –  a husband of 28 years and two wonderful sons. The oldest, Johnathan, is 25 and recently married this summer, and the youngest, Sam, who is 13 and attending 7th grade here at LCA.  Mrs. Hall has been able to serve the Lord for the last four years as her church’s Sunday School Director.

Mrs. Sara Nodurft
Physical Education

“It takes a special person to light that fire, to raise our children’s expectations for themselves and never give up on them, no matter how challenging it might be. All of us are here because, at some point, somebody did that for us.” ~ Unknown

Mrs. Sara Nodurft was born in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. She graduated from Central Michigan University with a Bachelors of Applied Arts in Commercial Recreation, Facility Management and Business. Mrs. Nodurft is a certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor through American Council on Exercise. She has worked in the fitness industry for over 14 years and is very excited about working with the students of LCA. Mrs. Nodurft’s goal is to create a safe environment to encourage each student to embrace living a fit and healthy life. She has been married to Josh for 14 years and they have three children, Dylan, Brynlee and Kaelyn. They attend First Baptist Church of Jacksonville where they are actively involved with the kid’s program.