Staff Directory

Alisha Gilliland

ES Computer and Aide

I was in the military for 8 years; in the military I was a Hospital Corpsman with the Marine Corps; I was blessed to have many different roles that took me all over the world.  After transitioning out of the military; I married Sam and graduated from Trident University with a Masters in Healthcare Mgmt.  Sam and I have 3 children and have a small farm.  My calling is to lovingly guide children to discover and understand their unique and special gifts.  Although we are different, we are of one body in Christ with many different functions, all EQUALLY important (1 Corinthians 12:12-31).

Amanda Smith

Admissions Director

GCS is a blessing to me and my family, I love knowing my children are being taught God’s Word and that the teachers have the freedom to pray with and teach God’s Word to kids everyday.  I look forward to helping your family experience the same blessing in the admissions process.



Amie Thompson

Art Teacher and ES Aide

Grace has blessed my family in so many ways. My husband and I have two girls that have attended Grace for several years. They both have grown spiritually and academically by leaps and bounds.  I am so blessed to be a part of the GCS family. Watching how the young minds and hearts of our students grow is very exciting. Also, I am very excited to help our young people be creative through art and Christ.

Angela Cole

Accounts Receivable Staff

I work in the Grace Chapel Ministries Finance Office as the Accounts Receivable cashier for Grace Christian School & CDC. I attended Central Carolina Community College and received a 2 year Associate Degree in Business Administration. I have worked at Grace for the past 5 years. The best part of my job is being in a Christian environment with a staff that strives to do God’s will & daily makes an impact in the lives of our students and their families.

Ann Dickens

HR, Accounts Payable, & Payroll

I serve the ministries of Grace Chapel by serving in the finance office.



April Ward

Music Teacher

I graduated from Southeastern Free Will Baptist College with a BA in Music Education. From 2001-2005, I served as the music teacher at Grace Christian. After a few years off, I am back serving as the music teacher and hand bell teacher. I also teach piano lessons, which I have been doing for 13 years. At Grace, one of the ways the attributes of God and Christ are learned is through music. I love the fact that we can use music to influence their Christian life.

Arnold Womble

Director of Food Services

I serve as the Director of Food Services for Grace Chapel Ministries.  I love my job and enjoy serving Grace Church, Grace Christian School, and the CDC ministries.

Arrington Crilly

Upper School Teacher

I graduated from Grace Christian School and then graduated from UNC-Greensboro with a Bachelor’s Degree in History in 2014.  I received a minors in archaeology, anthropology, and classical studies.  I was called to Grace Christian School because I am passionate about teaching young people from a Christian worldview.

Ashley Tipton

Upper School Teacher

I am so blessed to be a part of the GCS family. I serve as an Upper School English Teacher. I am currently in graduate school at Liberty University. English Literature is a passion of mine and I am so thankful to be able to share this passion with my students.  I love teaching at Grace and coaching Varsity Cheerleading. I attend San Lee Chapel with my husband and three children, Cayleigh, Jordan, and Harper. Being a teacher is one of my life’s biggest blessings. I love my school and my students.

Psalm 103:2 (ESV) “Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.”

Barry Matthews

Upper School Teacher

After graduating from Campbell College with a BA in History and Campbell University with a M.Ed. in Social Studies Education, I began my 35 years of teaching in the Lee County schools. I served, as social studies teacher and department chairman, mentor, and student teacher supervisor; in addition I served on various school, district and state committees and presented at the state social studies conference. The Christian atmosphere is one of the most enjoyable things about teaching at Grace. Being able to speak freely of Christ and what He has done for me is the thing I love most. I enjoy the academic freedom here; truth is not only a Christian but academic virtue. Since I arrived here, I have taught U. S. History, World History, North Carolina History, World Studies, Government, and Economics.

Candice Wortham

Learning Support Director

I graduated from Auburn University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Education. My emphasis during college was Early Childhood Special Education.  I spent six years teaching in public and private schools before I took time off to be at home with my children.  I have been back in the classroom now for three years. My family and I are very excited to be a part of the GCS family.  I am especially thrilled to be able to freely live my faith out loud in the classroom!

Carlos Villalobos

Spanish Teacher

This is my first year teaching part-time at Grace Christian School.  I really enjoy having the opportunity to teach the middle school students the Spanish Language and also about the Spanish Culture.  In addition to my ministry at GCS, I also serve as Pastor at Bethel Church in Sanford.

Chris Pratt

Ministries Director

I serve on the staff of Grace Chapel Ministries and also coordinate chapels and lead worship for Grace Christian School.

Cindy Cook

Elementary School Teacher

I graduated from Bluefield State College in 1994 with a degree in Nursing, then went back to school and graduated in 2010 from Fayetteville State College with a Bachelors Degree in History and with 21 hours of elementary education courses. I have been teaching elementary grades at Grace since 2007. I enjoy teaching at GCS because of the love the staff has for the children and because of the ability we have as teachers to praise our Lord openly.

Clover Jensen

PE Teacher

Physical Education is a passion of mine.  I love teaching students how to take care of their bodies and challenging them to reach new heights.  GCS has been a blessing to me and I love my job!

Dale O’Quinn

Director of Maintenance

I serve as the Director of Maintenance for Grace Chapel Ministries.  I love my job and enjoy serving Grace Church, Grace Christian School, and the CDC ministries.

Dr. Royce Baker

Teacher and Visitation Pastor

The Lord called me to the mission field where me and my wife served as missionaries for many years to France.  We have returned to our home church and are excited about serving at Grace Christian School teaching Bible and other subjects.

Janet Hopson

Learning Support Teacher

I love teaching at Grace Christian School and I serve as one of the Learning Support Teachers primarily working with Middle and High School students.  I also teach middle school grammar and writing classes.

Jesse Wilson

Upper School Dean of Students/Upper School Teacher

I graduated from The University of North Carolina at Pembroke with a Bachelors Degree.  I also played 4 years of college basketball.  After college I joined the U.S. Army, where I served on two deployments; to Afghanistan and Iraq.  The Lord has made a home for me here at Grace Christian.  I started teaching in the Spring of 2016.  My passion is teaching and learning the Lord’s word and sharing it with our younger generation.  One of my life verses is, Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ which strengthen me”.

Joel Murr

Senior Pastor

Pastor Joel Murr began serving as our Senior Pastor in October of 2014. He previously served as Interim Pastor since November of 2013 and was our Student Pastor for the previous 14 years. Joel has a heart for the church and is passionate to reach the next generation while seeing the church grow in the Lord. He loves our youth and missions. He has headed up trips for both students and adults to do ministry all over the world — ranging from Brazil to Guatalama to California to New York. Joel has led teams to all corners of the earth with the conscious goal to spread the power of the gospel to as many people as possible. A former collegiate all-American basketball player, Joel is the founder of Coach Murr’s Basketball Academy and uses sports to share the gospel with young people through the conduit of athletics. He resides in Sanford with his beautiful wife Libbie and three children, Jeremy, Anna, and Jonah.

Johnathan Bullard

Operations Director & Business Manager

Johnathan’s professional background includes 17 years of multi-unit executive management in the financial services industry.  His duties include the day to day operations of the Grace ministries; as well as the oversight of the finance department.  Johnathan and his wife Maci reside in Sanford with their two children and serve as active members here at Grace Chapel.

Phil 4:12-13 “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.  I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”  (NIV)


Kelly Whiteheart

Elementary School Teacher

I earned my Bachelor’s degree from Palm Beach Atlantic University in West Palm Beach, Florida. I have taught for 18 years, working in K-4, Kindergarten and 1st grade classrooms. I believe that God has called me to this field and it is a joy to be able to come to work and share Christ with my students.

Kim Casey

Guidance Counselor

I am excited to serve at Grace and truly feel blessed to have 3 children receiving the benefits of Christian education at Grace.  I have a bachelors degree in Psychology and Sociology from Union University. After graduating I worked for 2 years in social services before returning to school. I graduated from Liberty University with a Master’s degree in Professional Counseling. I have worked with children and families in the mental health field for 15 years. Serving children is my passion and I feel so blessed to have this opportunity to serve the Lord and the students and Grace Christian School.

Lynn Kruger

Learning Support Teacher, CEI, and NILD

I graduated from Tabernacle Baptist Bible College in Greenville, SC with a 4 year degree and, years later, became a Professionally Certified Educational Therapist. I have practiced for 9 years as a Therapist from the National Institute for Learning Development in Virginia Beach, Virginia, and the Creative Educational Institute in Texas. I have been a Reading Lab Facilitator and Lab Supervisor for 13 years. Here at Grace, I have served in the Learning Support Program for 6 years. Grace has been my home for 16 out of my 28 years of teaching. Christian Education has been a calling of God in my life. The Lord opened the door for me to work with students with a learning difference in 2000. Truly this is my mission field and what God has gifted me to do, in accordance with Phil. 4:13 — I can do all things through Christ…. God used Grace Christian to equip me to do what God had been preparing me to do all my life.

Maci Bullard

Elementary School Teacher

I graduated from Campbell University with a degree in Elementary Education. I taught second grade at Broadway Elementary School for 6 years.  For the past several years I have taught Kindergarten at GCS.  I love the spirit of this school and this ministry. I love knowing that God’s Word is being taught to my own children and I get the pleasure of teaching about God’s love to other children! My family and I are so thankful to be a part of the ministries of Grace Christian School and Grace Chapel Church.

Mandy Pratt

Elementary Principal

I graduated from Bob Jones University with a degree in Practical Christian Training/Child Care. I have been teaching for 14 years and serving here at Grace for 7 of those years. I have been in both public and Christian education and truly enjoy the fact that we can share the gospel here at Grace. The freedom we have to point children to Christ and guide them in their walk with Jesus is why I love it here!

    Mary Ellen Patton

    International Student Coordinator

    I am a graduate of Clarion University with a degree in nursing.  For the past 25 years my husband and I have served in Christian schools.  At Grace Christian School I serve as the International Student Coordinator.  I love serving the families of our school and look forward to seeing our International Student program grow in the coming years.

    Michelle Bailer

    Upper School Teacher

    I graduated from Grace Christian School in 2007 and from NC State University with a degree in Civil Engineering in 2011.   I joined the instructional staff at GCS after graduating from college and I love teaching in the Upper School Math Department. I enjoy teaching math because it is so practical! Every time a student’s light bulb suddenly goes off, it makes me feel like I just conquered the world!

    Michelle Wilson

    Elementary School Teacher

    My parents were missionaries so I was privileged to grow up in the country of Brazil.  I returned to the United States after high school where I graduated with a degree in Elementary Education from Cedarville College.  I have thirteen years of teaching experience in the US and at Amazon Valley Academy in Brazil.  My husband and I were married in Brazil but have been living in the US for the past couple years.   I am so excited to serve the Lord at Grace Christian School!

    Mike Matson

    Upper School Teacher

    I am excited to serve at GCS as a Middle School Bible Teacher and also as an Athletic Coach.  I recently left a career in the pharmaceutical industry to answer God’s calling into full-time ministry.  I currently attend Carolina College of Biblical Studies where I am pursuing a degree in Pastoral Ministry and Leadership.  Teaching God’s Word is the joy of my life and I am honored to have the privilege to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18) with each of my students.

    Mike Mibb

    Upper School Teacher

    I graduated from Southern Illinois Carbendale in 1970 with a Bachelors of Science in Forest Resource Management and a minor in Biology.  I have been working in education for over 40 years.  I love working at GCS because I’m called from God to do so.  I enjoy working with students and soccer players and watching them grow in their knowledge of the Lord.

    Pam Beal

    Academic Dean and Upper School Teacher

    I received a B.A. in English from UNC-Greensboro and my M.Ed. from the University of South Carolina at Columbia. After teaching in NC public schools for 31 years, I joined the teaching staff here at GCS where I teach high school English.  I currently serve as the Academic Dean.   I love being a part of a Christian “family” at Grace; I am excited about the enthusiasm of the students here.

    Patricia Mikesell

    Elementary Teacher and Aide

    I love serving at Grace Christian School.  I currently serve at an Elementary Centers Teacher, Library, and ES Aide.

    Ramona Willett

    High School Math Teacher

    I attended UNC-Chapel Hill during my freshman year and then transferred to Liberty University where I completed my BS in Math Education. I began teaching in 1982 right here in Lee County.   I taught at East Lee for 5 years and then transferred to Lee County High School until retiring June 2012.  For the last few years I have taught Upper School Math Teacher at Grace Christian School.  It is a privilege to be part of the GCS family!

    Sarah Edwards

    Elementary School Teacher

    I earned my Bachelors degree at Liberty University in the area of Childhood Psychology. I have been at Grace for four years as the second grade teacher and I really enjoy working with the students and faculty. Prior to coming  to GCS, I worked in the school system for several years in the areas of special education in kindergarten, pre-kindergarten, and second grade.

    Shania Ross

    Elementary School Teacher

    I am very passionate about art.  I love teaching students and watching them use their creativity and imagination on each lesson.  A quote I often tell my students is, “Everything has beauty but not everyone can see it.”  GCS has been a true blessing for my family and I.  I love working with wonderful Christian people.  It is wonderful to be able to go to work and have the freedom to pray and seek after God.

    Stacey Mann

    Upper School Teacher

    I grew up in Charleston, SC and graduated from Clearwater Christian College in 2006 with a Bachelor in Biology, with a concentration in Health, and minors in Bible & Psychology.  I accepted Christ at the age of 13, as a direct result from being in a Christian school, much like Grace.  Because of this, I have a heart for ministry, and specifically, teenagers.  Teaching allows me to blend a subject matter that I am passionate about with my burden for teenagers.  I hope that by building relationships with the kids that I teach and by sharing my personal experiences, they will be encouraged to avoid the mistakes I made at their age and instead follow the Lord’s leading in their lives.  I taught at Grace from 2007-2011, left, got married, moved to New Hampshire, and now I’m back!  My husband and I are expecting our first child in May 2016.  I love my mini-schnauzer, Wrigley, and the Clemson Tigers.


    T. Elaine Clegg

    Elementary School Teacher

    I am a graduate of North Carolina Central University and North Carolina A&T University.  Currently, I am working towards my doctoral degree in education from Walden University.  My husband Charles and I are the proud parents of six daughters.  I am a servant at heart, therefore it brings me joy to serve my fourth graders everyday.   I count it an honor and a blessing to be a part of the GCS family and I’m thankful God brought me here!

      Tammy Strickland

      Elementary School Teacher

      After graduating from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a BS in Early Childhood Education and minors in music and child development, I began my teaching career in the Lee County School system where I taught first and second grades for 29 years until my retirement. I attended GCS as a child and am thrilled to be able to come back to Grace and continue my teaching career in Christian education.  My family and I have been part of the Grace Chapel Church and Grace Christian School ministries for many years.  I am so excited to be able to integrate Biblical principals into my daily lessons.  My desire is to have all students reach their potentials and equip them with skills that will help them be successful in life.

      Teresa Stone

      Office Receptionist

      I serve as the Academy Office Receptionist.  It is my privilege to greet many of our students and families each day as they stop by the office.

      Terri Rush

      Upper School Teacher

      I have an Associates Degree in Medical Assisting Technology from Youngstown State University and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology, Sociology and Community Health.  My background includes 15 years associated within the Youngstown Ohio public school system and then several years in the medical community.  It is very rewarding to see Grace students grow in their knowledge of both God and academics, and I am proud to be part of their educational process!