Faculty & Staff

saraya anderson Administrative assistant

saraya anderson

Administrative assistant

kim barnhart first grade teacher

kim barnhart

first grade teacher

MIKE CARMEN Upper & Lower School Teacher


Upper & Lower School Teacher


Mrs. Anderson graduated from Boyce College in Louisville, KY with an Associates in Biblical and Theological Studies.  She and her husband, Kyle, have been serving in music ministry for over 10 years, and they have two children, Hudson and Gracie.  Mrs. Anderson enjoys reading, crafts, and music.  It her smile that greets every guest in the front office at HRA.



A Cookeville native, Mrs. Barnhart holds a B.S. in Elementary Education (K-8) from TTU.  She taught in the public school system for 15 years before taking a few years off.  She joined the HRA faculty in the fall of 2017 as a first grade teacher.  Mrs. Barnhart has 3 girls, all of whom attend HRA.  She and her husband, Ryan, go to Post Oak Presbyterian Church, where Ryan is the pastor. Grew up in Cookeville




Mr. Carmen has been an associate minister in the Christian Churches and Churches of Christ for twenty-one years with ministries in Ohio, Indiana, and Tennessee. He graduated from the Cincinnati Christian University in 1995 with a B.S. degree in Biblical Studies (emphasis Psychology) and in 1999 with a M.A. degree in Biblical Studies (emphasis Old Testament). In 2012 he graduated from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary with a M.Div. in Professional Ministry. Over the years teaching opportunities in private schools and churches have afforded him the privilege of explaining, applying, and affirming the Bible’s teachings through a deeper understanding of theology, history, and apologetics. His wife, Sondra, is a Park Ranger for the Army Corps of Engineers. Together they enjoy traveling and sightseeing, exercise, their church, and just being together.

CHERYL CLICK Theatre Instructor


Theatre Instructor


Mrs. Click holds an MA in Theatre Studies from Regent University and a BA in Theatre from UT Knoxville. After a brief period of time in the professional theatre she gave her life to Christ Jesus and focused on missions and theatre ministry. Mrs. Click teaches Theatre Appreciation at Motlow State, directs the Theatre students at HRA, and is currently in the process of beginning a theatre company that will present social impact plays in our local schools and churches. She attends Stevens Street Baptist Church where she teaches college age girls and is involved in the children's ministry.

JENNY CROCKETT marketing Director/upper school teacher  


marketing Director/upper school teacher



Mrs. Crockett graduated from TTU with a Master’s in Business Administration. She also has a B.S. in Environmental Science from TTU. Following the completion of her college education, she began work in the marketing department at Cookeville Regional Medical Center. During her career at CRMC, she served in multiple positions from Marketing Coordinator to Community Wellness Manager to Physician Marketing. She left CRMC to stay at home with her three daughters: Carly, Camryn, and Carrigan.  When God opened the door for her to be a part of Highland Rim Academy, she gladly walked through it. In addition to Marketing & Development, she teaches Upper School PE.  Mrs. Crockett is married to Darrin Crockett, Associate Pastor of VineBranch Community Church.

NICK DUNCAN Headmaster




Mr. Duncan graduated from Tennessee Tech University with a Bachelor's degree in Secondary Education. His study at university focused mostly on history, but he is passionate about all of the humanities. He is thankful to be a part of a school where Christ is central to all and the liberal arts are used to cultivate wisdom and virtue in students. As Headmaster, he desires to continually strive for excellence in all areas of the school that God may be glorified through the fulfillment of HRA's vision. He and his wife Stacey recently welcomed a son, John David, into their family.


ELLEN MARIE ELY Lower School Department Head & Teacher


Lower School Department Head & Teacher


Mrs. Ely graduated from TTU in 2007 with a degree in Elementary Education K-8 and began teaching at HRA the very next year. She currently teaches grammar, literature, Latin, and Christian Studies for various grades. She is married to Adam Ely. Mrs. Ely also serves as an Assistant Preschool Director at Stevens Street Baptist Church. She enjoys reading, scrapbooking, hiking, and cooking.

TERRY GANT Upper School Department Head & Teacher


Upper School Department Head & Teacher


Mr. Terry Gant graduated from the University of Tennessee in 2008 with a Bachelor’s degree in political science. After several years in law enforcement in Nashville, Mr. Gant moved to Cookeville. He returned to school at Tennessee Tech and earned a master’s degree in business administration. Mr. Gant enjoys great works of literature and history but his real passion is for theology. Mr. Gant is married to Ali, a pre-kindergarten teacher for the Putnam County School System, and they recently welcomed a daughter to their family. Mr. Gant is an active member at Midway Baptist Church where he serves as an adult Sunday school teacher. He is excited to be teaching Omnibus III and VI as well as Economics and other courses.

Dr. Barbara Gannod Upper School Mathematics/physics    

Dr. Barbara Gannod

Upper School Mathematics/physics



PENNY HICKS Lower & Upper School Teacher


Lower & Upper School Teacher

DR. KATHERINE LANGENBERG Upper School Science teacher


Upper School Science teacher



Dr. Gannod completed her undergraduate education at Calvin College in 1992, where she earned B.S. degrees in Mathematics and Computer Science as well as Secondary Education certification for those subjects. She then attended Michigan State University, earning her M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Computer Science in 1994 and 1997, respectively. After working as a university professor at Arizona State University for nearly a decade, God called her to stay home with her children and focus on their development and education. Her family moved to Ohio in 2006, and she began homeschooling her three, and eventually five, children. While in Ohio she was an active part of a homeschool co-op, where she taught a variety of ages and subjects and served on the administrative team for the co-op. In 2016, Dr. Gannod’s family relocated to Cookeville, and two of her children enrolled in Highland Rim. She and her remaining three children are excited to become part of the Highland Rim family in the fall of 2017. Dr. Gannod is eager to share her passion for the study of mathematics with students. When she’s not pondering infinity or wondering what God’s favorite number is (3, 7, 12, 40, (1 + √5)/2 -- the possibilities are endless!), she enjoys doing Taekwondo. Currently, she is a 3rd degree black belt.



Mrs. Hicks holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from The University of the South at Sewanee. She teaches literature, Christian Studies and Upper School composition. In addition to teaching Sunday School, she and her husband are the Junior Church directors at their church in Sparta. They have two boys, both of whom attend Highland Rim Academy.



Dr. Langenberg will be teaching upper school science classes beginning this fall.  She holds a degree from the University of Tennessee Knoxville in Cell Biology and Genetics as well as a Doctor of Medicine from the University of Tennessee College of Medicine in Memphis. She completed her Pediatric residency at UT/ LeBonheur Children's Medical Center in Memphis and practiced pediatrics in both West and Middle Tennessee.  Eventually, Dr. Langenberg left clinical practice to stay home with her children.  She is pleased to be in the classroom sharing her passion for studying God’s creation.  Dr. Langenberg lives in Overton County with her husband Mark, their 5 daughters, and a variety of pets. 


TIFFANY LESKO Lower School Teacher & Athletic director


Lower School Teacher & Athletic director


Mrs. Lesko graduated from Tennessee Tech in May 2012. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree with an emphasis in Elementary Education K-6. She currently teaches 4th grade. She is also the Athletic Director and HRA’s Cross Country Coach. Mrs. Lesko and her family attend Life Church, where she is a connect group leader for 7th grade girls on Wednesday nights and 8th grade girls on Sunday mornings. Her husband also serves as a connect group leader. She loves to spend time with her family. As cross country coach, she shares a passion for running with her oldest son, and she is excited about growing the cross country program at HRA. Her sons, Gage and Gavin, both attend HRA.

MEGAN MARSH Kindergarten Teacher


Kindergarten Teacher

SARAH MCKELVIE Orchestra/music teacher


Orchestra/music teacher

Kathy moore Upper school administrative assistant

Kathy moore

Upper school administrative assistant

Casey overstreet development director

Casey overstreet

development director

Colby Painter Upper School Humanities

Colby Painter

Upper School Humanities


Mrs. Marsh graduated from Truett-Mcconnell College in 2011 with a degree in Early Childhood Education. She previously taught fourth grade in Fort Worth, Texas. She and her husband Jared recently welcomed a new addition their family, a precious daughter.  They enjoy outdoor sports, travel, and books.



Mrs. McKelvie earned a Master of Music from the University of Memphis and a Bachelor of Music from the University of Cincinnati – College Conservatory of Music.  She has extensive experience in teaching both private and classroom lessons.  She is also teaching part-time for the TTU Music Department.  Mrs. McKelvie earned the distinction of Principal Viola for the Columbus Indiana Philharmonic for 13 years.  She teaches Orchestra I and II at HRA.




Mrs. Moore holds an Associate Degree in Paralegal Studies, and she brings a vast amount of organizational experience to HRA.  She will also be teaching the ACT Prep course and serving as a college advisor for high school students.  She has 3 sons, one serving as active duty in the Air Force, one serving as a reserve in the Air Force, and one who is in high school at HRA.



Mrs. Overstreet has been an HRA parent since 2013, She has a passion to see the vision of the school thrive in the community she loves and calls home.  She is a Cookeville native with a BS in Business Administration from TTU.  Her husband TJ serves as the Discipleship/Small Groups pastor at First Baptist Church Cookeville.  Together, Casey and TJ also run a very successful Advocare business where they have become National Leadership Team members.

Mrs. Overstreet has also been deeply involved in the Cookeville community.  She is a Leadership Putnam graduate, a former Habitat for Humanity Board Member, and a current Hope Center Executive Board member.  Casey's fundraising event experience includes serving as chairperson for a number of committees and events: Cooking on the Square, Heart of the City Playground Public Relations, and CCM's Gangster Gala and Invention Convention.



Mr. Colby Painter is a 2012 graduate of Westminster Seminary California (M.Div).  He is a 2008 graduate of William Jewell College in Liberty, Missouri, with a major in history and minors in Christian Tradition and Thought and Classical Humanities.  He is licensed in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church and has been preaching and teaching in churches regularly since 2012, most recently serving as pastor of Strasburg Union Church in Strasburg, Missouri.



Visual Arts


Paula Pardue teaches visual arts for Primary through Upper school. She attended Watkins Fine Arts College and graduated with a certificate in metals from TTU Appalachian Center for Crafts. She is thankful for the opportunity to share her love of art with the students at HRA. She and her husband Bill have three children Elizabeth, Ben, and Thomas. They are active members of Christ's Community Church where she has been teaching Sunday school for many years.

TAMBI PRICE Third Grade Teacher


Third Grade Teacher


Mrs. Price, a native of Cookeville, TN, holds a BA from TTU in Early Childhood Education. She is certified to teach K-3 in TN.  For eight years, she owned and operated Happy Hearts Children's Center, a private, Christian preschool in Grove City, PA.  Mrs. Price also taught 6th grade math in Houston, TX, for a year before moving back to Cookeville in 2008. Before coming to HRA, she taught in the LEAPS program and served as a substitute teacher at Capshaw Elementary school.  She is an active member of The River Community Church where she mentors young college women, facilitates bible studies, works as a youth leader, and serves on the finance committee. Community involvement is a priority for Mrs. Price.  She enjoys face painting, jogging, rock wall climbing, and spending quality time with her son, Drew.

Laurie Putman Kindergarten Teacher

Laurie Putman

Kindergarten Teacher




ALEXIS TOUSSAINT Upper School Teacher


Upper School Teacher


Mrs. Putman graduated from Lipscomb University with a BA in English, and she holds a teaching certificate from TSU.  She come to HRA with a great deal of teaching experience.  Prior to moving to Sparta, TN, she taught in the Preschool Department and in the 5th grade at Goodpasture Christian in Nashville, TN.  Mrs. Putman also served as the Preschool Director and Pre-K teacher at First Steps Preschool in Sparta for 15 years.  She also taught the 2-year-old class at the Jefferson Avenue Mother's Day Out program for 7 years.  Mrs. Putman and her husband, Tony, have twin daughters who recently graduated from Lipsomb University.



Mrs. Sullivan is a licensed teacher who is highly qualified to teach grades K-8.  She graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from TTU in 2002.  She has taught 3rd grade for 6 years in the White County Public Schools.  Mrs. Sullivan is married to John since 2001 and they have one son, Jace, who has attended HRA since Kindergarten.  Mrs. Sullivan and her family are members of Bear Cove Baptist Church in Sparta.  




Mrs. Toussaint is a licensed teacher who graduated from TTU. She has a degree in Secondary Education with an emphasis in history. Alexis has a life-long passion for literature and is excited for the opportunity to teach some of her favorite books while communicating a Christian worldview. Alexis and her husband, Joseph, have one son and are preparing to welcome a daughter.  They attend Midway Baptist Church.

chrissy werries UPPER SCHOOL TEACHER

chrissy werries



Mrs. Werries has her Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics Education with minors in History Education and Bible. After teaching in Florida for three years, she moved to Washington, D.C. where she furthered her passion for education by working for a Congressman on education issues. This led to her next position, which returned her to the teaching field, instructing Congressional staff at the House Learning Center. After taking time off to stay home after the birth of her children, she has returned to the classroom teaching mathematics and Latin.

ANGELA WILLIS Primary School Deptartment Head & First Grade Teacher


Primary School Deptartment Head & First Grade Teacher


Mrs. Willis graduated from Berry College in 1997 with a degree in Early Childhood Education. She went on to get her Master’s Degree from Lincoln Memorial University. She is married to Chris Willis and has two children, Andrew and Joanna. They both attend HRA. She enjoys reading and a variety of sports and games.

CHRISTIE WRIGHT Assistant Head of School/Upper School Teacher


Assistant Head of School/Upper School Teacher


Mrs. Wright serves as the Assistant Head of School and Academic Dean for grades K-12.  She also teaches various classes in literature, history, theology, rhetoric, and Senior thesis.  She holds a BA in English Literature from UT Knoxville with a minor in Elementary Education and an MA in Curriculum and Instruction from TTU.  Mrs. Wright has enjoyed serving families and faculty at HRA since the founding in 2007.  She makes her home with her husband Jeff and their four young children in the scenic outskirts of White Co.



Thank you for your interest in Highland Rim Academy. Here you will find the necessary information regarding the teacher application process. 

The HRA school board seeks to hire individuals who by their lives can:

  1. Testify to being a born again Christian
  2. Demonstrate active involvement in Christian ministry through membership of a local church
  3. Demonstrate a love for and desire to work with children
  4. Demonstrate a love for and knowledge of certain academic subjects
  5. Demonstrate a calling and gifting by God to teach

Individuals applying for a teaching position at HRA must have a minimum of a four year undergraduate degree from an accredited institution.  If you are interested in employment at Highland Rim Academy, please send a resume and cover letter to our Headmaster at the following address:

Highland Rim Academy
Attn: Employment Office
P.O. Box 3022
Cookeville, TN 38502

The employment committee will review all applications. Should an applicant be considered as a potential candidate for hire, the school will contact that individual to set up a teacher interview.

It is recommended that all applicants take time to read through our web page carefully to get a clear understanding of our statement of faith, philosophy of education and what is meant by classical Christian education.  

If you have any questions, feel free to contact the school office at 931-526-4472.