Meet Our Staff


Headmaster – Jeff Johnston

After earning his bachelor’s degree from Brock University, Jeff worked for a short time as a youth pastor. Feeling the call to serve young people as a classroom teacher, he moved from his home in Canada to Grand Rapids, MI, to pursue teacher certification from Cornerstone University, where he was recognized as Student Teacher of the Year. He began his teaching career by opening a home school cooperative then later joined with National Heritage Academies as a middle school instructor. He continued teaching in Greensboro after marrying Laura, a native to North Carolina. In 2004, Jeff accepted the position of Assistant Principal at Greensboro Academy, while working to complete his master’s in educational leadership/curriculum and instruction from Calvin College. Through the years of moving from student to instructor to administrator, Jeff’s passion for classical, Christian education deepened. The Christian Education Society of Mebane, Inc. was born out of his vision as he shared it with other local parents through monthly meetings beginning in 2004. Years of prayers were answered when Bradford Academy opened its doors in 2008.

Jeff and Laura are parents to four children, all of whom attend, or have graduated from, Bradford. Jeff’s service as a Sunday school teacher combined with his school teaching has afforded him opportunities to teach students from age three through twelfth grade. Though a full-time administrator, Jeff still endeavors to find avenues of teaching and interacting with students by leading all-school Forum each week and teaching an IST (Intensive Short Term) class to upper school students.

Executive Assistant – Laura Johnston

A native of Mebane, NC, Laura Johnston had the privilege of growing up the middle of three children and daughter of loving, Christian parents.  She and Jeff were married in 1999, shortly after she graduated from UNC-Greensboro.  They welcomed their first of four children, Avonlea, in 2002.  She was thankful for the privilege to be a stay-at-home mom while their children were little, and then to be able to volunteer at Bradford Academy when its doors opened. Laura gladly joined the staff officially in 2014. Between her work in the office and coaching cross country, she is thankful for each opportunity afforded her to interact with students on a personal level. She counts it an immense privilege to work alongside her husband, Jeff, and to see her children benefiting from the influence of exceptional teachers and education for the glory of God!

In her downtime, Laura enjoys running, hiking, vacationing in the mountains, and serving her church family.

Parent Ambassador – Amy Fairchild

In addition to teaching rhetoric-level art, Amy works as the school’s Parent Ambassador by connecting future Bradford Academy families to needed resources, conducting tours, and introducing them to other Bradford Academy families.

To reach Amy, please call 919-563-9001 or schedule a tour.

College Counselor – Amanda Kromhout

Amanda Kromhout is originally from northeast Tennessee, graduated from Grove City College in Pennsylvania as an English major and history minor, and now is glad to be part of the Bradford Academy team teaching middle school humanities, Latin, and serving as the college counselor. She wanted to teach because she loves both learning and students! She taught fifth grade for eight years at Bradford before moving to her current position. She is thankful to be teaching at a classical Christian school where she can share with her students the same love of learning blended with a love for the Lord that many of her teachers and professors have shared with her throughout the years.

In her spare time, she loves pursuing art, taking ballet classes, reading, running, traveling, being outdoors, and having a good conversation with friends around a table or over a cup of tea. Amanda has been teaching at Bradford since 2012.

Athletic Director – Nathaniel Johnston

Nathaniel Johnston was raised in Graham, NC before moving to Raleigh where he earned an undergraduate degree in history and a commission in the army national guard while at NC State University.

For the past eight years, Coach Johnston worked at Thales Academy, a private classical school in Rolesville. During that time, his teaching responsibilities focused on American history, Ancient history and physical education. He coached fifteen boys’ and girls’ teams in multiple sports. For six years he served as the school’s athletic director.

In his personal time, Coach Johnston loves to spend time with his wife and children, serve his church family, play sports, go backpacking, and read.


LOWER SCHOOL (K – 5th Grade)

Lower School Dean – Ellen Mitchell

Ellen Mitchell graduated from Davidson College with a degree in religion and worked with Young Life ministry. She and her husband, Brent, have six children, whom they homeschooled for 15 years. Part of that journey included being introduced to classical education through Classical Conversations, where she taught 5th and 6th graders. The next chapter brought them to Bradford with her two youngest children in 2011. It has been a joy to see the benefits of Bradford’s classical education from having taught Kindergarten, then 3rd grade and finally from the vantage point of being Dean of Students for the Lower School.

Though her youngest two have now graduated from Bradford, she still enjoys cheering on the Archer athletic teams. She is an active member of Mebane Bible Church. Spare moments are spent reading, fellowshipping with others, and enjoying her adult children whenever they are in town.

TK 5-Day Teacher – Fallon Grubb

Fallon Grubb was raised here in the great town of Mebane, NC as the youngest of 3 children. Fallon joined the Bradford Academy team as an assistant in our TK program in 2018 and became the 5 day TK teacher in 2019. She attends Mebane Bible Church and serves as the coordinator for the children’s ministry at church. Her desire is to help even the youngest students grow in truth and create a love of learning. She is married to her husband Zach and has a wonderful daughter, Ashlyn, who attends Bradford Academy.

In her spare time, she enjoys reading, cooking with her daughter, and spending time with friends and family.

TK Teacher’s Assistant – Claudia Weber

Claudia Weber serves as a teacher’s assistant in the TK Program. She has an undergraduate degree in business administration from Universidad APEC, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. For 13 years she homeschooled her 4 children from kindergarten to 6th grade. She thoroughly enjoyed her experience and time with her children during those formative years. Now she works with our TK kids and loves her work and seeing the kids grow in maturity and academically!

Kindergarten Instructor – Barbara Rivera

Barbara was born and raised in upstate New York. She received her bachelor’s degree from the State University of New York at Binghamton with a double major in political science and history. She has over 20 years’ experience teaching Sunday school, Vacation Bible School, and was a director and teacher of the Awana program which focuses on teaching children the Bible and Bible memory. She enjoys reading, especially in history and theology, but her greatest passion is serving others in the name of Christ. Barbara has been actively involved in various mercy ministries both locally and internationally. She has been teaching at Bradford since 2015.

First Grade Instructor – Tracy Morgan

Tracy Morgan is a native of Hickory, North Carolina, and moved to Mebane with her family in 2019. She has been married to her husband Brent, for 17 years and they have one daughter Riley. Riley is currently a student at Bradford Academy in the upper campus. Tracy has a master’s degree in counseling from Lenoir-Rhyne University and graduated from UNC-Greensboro with her undergrad degree. She has experience working in both private Classical Christian education and public school education. She worked as a School Counselor and Spanish teacher in the public school sector for several years. After the birth of her daughter, she stayed at home and worked part-time as the Children’s Ministry Director of her church. When her daughter went into school she began teaching at Hickory Christian Academy for 7 years as a Spanish and Latin teacher.

First Grade Instructor – Amber Smith

Amber Smith discovered her love of teaching in high school where she earned her preschool teaching assistant certification while working at Head Start and volunteering in a 2nd grade classroom. After high school she earned her preschool teaching and administration certification. She worked as a nanny and preschool teacher. After moving to Tennessee, she worked as an assistant to the recovery pastor at her church. She also created the children’s recovery ministry and helped other churches set up their children’s recovery ministries. She has led VBS ministries, church youth groups, camps, and local short term mission trips over the last 25 years. Amber and her husband Kyle loved their time as foster parents for teenagers. Amber graduated from Liberty University with a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education Interdisciplinary Studies and an Associate of Arts in Education. She has a professional educator’s license for the state of North Carolina. She worked in the public school system for 7 years before coming to Bradford Academy. She is grateful that God has placed her at a school that shares her Christian values and world view!

In her spare time Amber enjoys camping and hiking in the mountains with her husband Kyle and their dog Annie. She also enjoys reading, cooking, gardening, spending time with friends, and visiting family out of state.

Second Grade Instructor – Dona Hedgecock

Although she was raised in a small town in central Indiana, Dona Hedgecock spent her summers visiting family in North Carolina and moved here in 1985. She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 1989 with a Bachelor’s degree in Education and has worked over twenty-five years as an educator and school administrator in public and private schools, including seventeen years at a classical, Christian school in Greensboro. She joined Bradford in 2022 and loves teaching in the Lower School where she can share her love of learning, reading, and God’s Word with young students. She is a member of Covenant Fellowship ARP Church in Summerfield and has five children, the youngest of whom is a Bradford high schooler. In addition to teaching, Ms. Hedgecock enjoys talking to her children, cooking for and spending time with friends and family, driving scenic back roads, and curling up with a book on Sunday afternoons.

Second Grade Instructor – Donna Eng


Donna Eng joined the Bradford teaching staff in January 2023.  She was born in Kansas and spent many years moving around the country and internationally before settling in Elon, North Carolina with her family.  She has a wide range of experiences in teaching from volunteering in the church nursery and children’s church to teaching K-4 at the Okinawa Christian School when her Navy husband was stationed in Japan.  She has been married to her husband, Ed, for almost 40 years and the Lord has blessed them with 10 children (now ages 24 to 36). She devoted 30 years to homeschooling them through high school and is delighted to now get to help educate the next generation.

She enjoys spending time with her four grandchildren, baking, and reading to discover God’s ways of staying healthy through diet, essential oils, and lifestyle.

Third Grade Instructor – Aimee McDorman

Growing up in southeast Pennsylvania, Aimee McDorman was often involved in leading youth ministry at her church. A summer missions trip to Kenya as an undergrad confirmed her desire to pursue education in service to the Lord. After graduating with a degree in elementary education, she joined a University Press and worked closely to develop a reading curriculum for elementary teachers and students. After marriage, her love of teaching led her to homeschool her 5 children using the classical model, before joining the Bradford Academy family in 2018. Her passion for teaching is evidenced by a love for her students. She wants them to see God’s beauty in the world, and to grow in knowledge and wisdom. At Bradford, she also manages the yearbook student staff, assists with girl’s basketball and soccer, and often photographs school life! She has been married to her husband, Rob, for 21 years, and together they love to travel, read, spend time with family, and serve at their local church.

Third Grade Instructor – Lyndsey Meredith

Lyndsey Meredith, as part of a military family, grew up living in different locations throughout her childhood including North Dakota, England, Maryland, and Ohio. At the age of 17, she graduated from high school, joined the Ohio Air National Guard, and enrolled at Bowling Green State University and completed an Undergraduate and Master’s Degree in Communication Studies. While in the military, she worked as a Chaplain Assistant and received several distinctions and decorations including the Air Reserve Meritorious Service Medal. Lyndsey also served as a Crisis Action Team Member at the National Guard Bureau in Washington, DC.

In addition to teaching 3rd grade at Bradford, her work as an educator includes serving as an instructor at the collegiate level (taught courses at Bowling Green State University and Alamance Community College), homeschooling her three children using the classical model, and teaching Sunday School and Vacation Bible School. In her free time, Lyndsey enjoys spending time with her husband, Michael, and their three kids (all attend Bradford), running, traveling, and being involved with their church.

Fourth Grade Instructor – Julie Burtram

Julie Burtram is originally from Lubbock, Texas where she attended Lubbock Christian University with a degree in Elementary Education. She is married to her best friend, Brian and together they have three sons. Julie has taught with the public school systems in Texas and North Carolina as well as served in a variety of teaching positions with Colonial Baptist Church Homeschool Cooperative. A passion for speech and debate led to coaching middle school speech with Speak Out, competing in the National Christian Forensic Communication Association. A love for teaching openly about our Savior and a passion for sharing His world through Classical Studies led Julie to a teaching position at Bradford Academy. Julie loves how the Lord’s handiwork is woven through all content areas. Fourth graders have a passion for learning and enjoy their learning process. It is a privilege and joy to share in the Lord’s work at Bradford Academy.

Julie’s favorite place to be is at the beach listening to the waves, smelling the salt air, and reading a great book. In her spare time she loves learning to play piano, train for running events, paddleboard, and try new craft projects like sewing and painting with watercolors.

Lower School Music and PE, Upper School Band – Grace Bennington

Grace Bennington grew up in Durham, North Carolina. She fell in love with Alamance County when she attended Elon University in 1999. Grace received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Music Education and Bachelor of Arts Degree in Flute Performance from Elon in 2003. She taught middle school and high school band at three schools in Chatham County before accepting a job as the band director at Woodlawn Middle School in Mebane, NC in 2005. She left Woodlawn in 2018 with the birth of her twins to stay home and raise her three children. Grace attends Berea Baptist Church and serves as the Children’s ministry coordinator. She and her husband, Patrick, fell in love with Bradford Academy and the Classical Christian School model while looking for a school for their oldest child to attend. All three children will attend Bradford soon. Grace loves working with children and is excited to teach at a school where she can share both her love of the Lord and her love for music with her students.

Grace enjoys raising and playing with her three children; gathering with family and friends; playing her flute and teaching lessons, and helping others discover and reach their purpose.


Upper School Dean – David Smith

Dr. David Smith has been married to his wife, Tracy, for 28 years and they are the parents of three young adults: Gresham (21), who is in the United States Army, Isaac (18), who loves playing baseball and Katherine (16), who loves weight-lifting. David is also pastor of Covenant Fellowship Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Summerfield, NC. He has been ordained since 1995 and pastored churches in Missouri, North Carolina, Indiana and Pennsylvania, and served on numerous presbytery and denominational committees. He has taught and coached at the high school level (cross country, track and wrestling) in Christian schools in Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania and North Carolina. He is currently an adjunct professor with Columbia International University and Erskine Seminary. His M. Div. is from Covenant Seminary and Ph.D. is in historical theology from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. His doctoral dissertation on B. B. Warfield was published in the Evangelical Theological Society’s Monograph Series and he is co-author with Ronald E. Hoch of Old School, New Clothes: The Cultural Blindness of Christian Education (Wipf & Stock). David enjoys spending time with his family engaging in good conversations, playing board games, watching movies and going to sporting events.

Sixth Grade Instructor – Rachel Stevenson

Rachel Stevenson received her BA in Spanish with an emphasis on TESOL from Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. Upon graduating in 2012, she taught second grade at Bradford Academy from 2012 to 2017. She then moved back to Ohio where she spent the next 18 months working at the Cedarville University School of Pharmacy as part of a team hired to develop an ESL program to support international Pharm.D. students. During that time she returned to WSU to earn her MA TESOL degree, which she completed in 2020. She then spent the next two years working for the Clark County ESC as an ESL tutor to K-12 students and as an advisor to teachers and administrators for the schools in that district. Rachel is thankful and excited to have the opportunity to return to Mebane and to be a part of the Bradford team again.

Logic School Art and Rhetoric School Spanish – Charity Palmer

Charity Palmer teaches logic school art and rhetoric school Spanish at Bradford Academy. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Spanish Education with a minor in art from Appalachian State University. Having taught previously at a middle school in Durham, she is grateful to have been at Bradford since 2018. She and her husband, Bradford middle and high school teacher, Jason Palmer, have four beautiful daughters. Three are current students at Bradford Academy and the fourth will begin soon. Charity and her family attend Mebane Bible Church where they are thankful for the focus on strong Biblical teaching.

Gathering with friends and family, spending time reading, creating works of art, and playing with her sweet girls are among some of her favorite things.

Logic – Bryan Crotts

Bryan is a native of Burlington, North Carolina. He attended Ms. Bolden’s Playschool, Burlington Christian Academy, Turrentine Middle School and is a 1995 graduate of Walter Williams High School. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Bible and Religion in 1999 from King College, Bristol, Tennessee. In 2003, he earned a Master of Divinity degree from Reformed Theological Seminary in Charlotte. He is an ordained minister in the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church (ARP) and serves as Pastor of First ARP Church in Burlington. His wife, Mandy, teaches at Bradford and two of his children are high school students involved in clubs and athletics. Go Archers!

Rhetoric and Literature – Callie Oldham

Callie Oldham grew up in Hendersonville, NC, but most recently comes from Savannah, GA. She teaches rhetoric and literature in the upper school. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Covenant College in Lookout Mountain, GA, as well as a Master of Arts in Teaching in Secondary English Education from the University of Georgia. Before coming to Bradford, Ms. Oldham had 4 years of teaching experience in various school settings. Her favorite books to teach involve knights and chivalry, and Dante’s Inferno.

Outside of Bradford, Ms. Oldham loves knitting, reading, cooking, and the coffee shops in downtown Mebane.


Math and Physics – Lori Byrd

Lori Byrd is a part-time math and physics instructor at Bradford Academy. She holds a B.S. in mathematics and physics from Roanoke College. Lori spent two years teaching math and science at a Virginia high school and six years teaching math to underprivileged students through a federal program, Upward Bound. In more recent years, she enjoyed homeschooling her four children – especially in math and science. She and her husband, Stephen, serve together at Grace Reformed Baptist Church where Stephen is a lay elder. A special focus is their ministry to college and career students. Lori’s current hobbies include efficiency cooking, DIY home projects, and being an “adopted mom” to college students. She began teaching at Bradford in 2016.

 Chemistry Instructor –  Kenneth Duke James, Jr., Ph.D.

Dr. James is an entrepreneur and consultant in the pharmaceutical industry. A founder of two companies, he is an inventor of four drug candidates (including the FDA-approved drug RezzayoTM) and one repurposed drug that have been out-licensed or sold to other companies for further clinical development. Prior to his work in pharmaceutical discovery and development, his studies took him to places such as the Galapagos Islands and the rain forests of Costa Rica studying the ecology of those regions. Kenneth received his B.S. from Furman University with a double major in chemistry and biology. He also received a doctorate in organic chemistry from Indiana University, working in the field of molecular evolution supported through NASA’s exobiology program. Kenneth worked as a visiting scientist at Albert Ludwig’s Universitaet (Freiburg, Germany) supported by a grant from NATO. He concluded his academic training with post-doctoral research at Duke University. He has 20 U.S. patents, over 100 foreign patents, and approximately 50 scientific publications.

Kenneth is a deacon of Grace Reformed Baptist Church, where he also serves as treasurer.

Science and Math – Johannah Frueh

Johannah Frueh is originally from upstate New York. She earned her Bachelor’s of Science from Grove City College with degrees in biology and secondary education. After living for a short time in her husband’s hometown of Pittsburgh, PA, she and her husband, Eric, relocated to North Carolina in 2006, where Johannah began her teaching career. She taught middle school science at Eno River Academy (formerly Orange Charter School). Since 2013, she has homeschooled her three children, Molly, Ian, and Zeke, joining the Bradford Academy staff as a part-time science instructor in 2017. She is excited to expand her role in the upper school science and math classes as her children become students at Bradford Academy. She is passionate about teaching and loves the opportunity math and science teaching provides for cultivating a love for the order, beauty, and complexity of God’s creation in her students.

In her free time, she enjoys reading, hiking, cooking, camping, and exploring all that North Carolina has to offer. She is a member of Mebane Bible Church, where she serves on the children’s curriculum development team.

Humanities, Latin, College Counselor – Amanda Kromhout

Amanda Kromhout is originally from northeast Tennessee, graduated from Grove City College in Pennsylvania as an English major and history minor, and now is glad to be part of the Bradford Academy team teaching middle school humanities, Latin, and serving as the college counselor. She wanted to teach because she loves both learning and students! She taught fifth grade for eight years at Bradford before moving to her current position. She is thankful to be teaching at a classical Christian school where she can share with her students the same love of learning blended with a love for the Lord that many of her teachers and professors have shared with her throughout the years.

In her spare time, she loves pursuing art, taking ballet classes, reading, running, traveling, being outdoors, and having a good conversation with friends around a table or over a cup of tea. Amanda has been teaching at Bradford since 2012.

Bible Survey – Stephen Byrd

Stephen Byrd spent his childhood in Ohio and then Virginia. He received degrees from Liberty University, Virginia Tech, and the University of Virginia and earned a Ph.D. in special education. For ten years, he was an elementary and special education teacher in Christian and public schools in Virginia. Currently, Stephen is an associate professor at Elon preparing college student teachers to work with children with special needs. Stephen was ordained as one of the pastors at Grace Reformed Baptist Church in April of 2012. His ministry responsibilities involve college ministry, pulpit supply, counseling, and event planning. Stephen is a Bible Survey teacher for Bradford Academy 10th grade students. He is married to Lori, who teaches math and science at Bradford. They have four young adult children.

Visual Art – Amy Fairchild

Amy began teaching rhetoric-level art at Bradford Academy as a part-time adjunct instructor in 2016. It was through her love of Christ and desire for students to develop a Christian worldview that led her to accept the position at the school. Her enjoyment of art history and desire to create beauty has instilled a passion to continue learning and developing her own knowledge of art. She finds the debates and discussions she leads during art class push her to a constant pursuit of truth, goodness, and beauty in all areas of life. Additionally, Amy works as the school’s Parent Ambassador by connecting future Bradford Academy families to needed resources, conducting tours, and introducing them to other Bradford Academy families. She is also the women’s basketball head coach for the Archers and serves on several school committees. She married Tony in 1998 and the Lord blessed their marriage with three children. Their oldest son was one of the students that formed the first Kindergarten class at Bradford Academy in 2008. She and her husband have joyfully been members at Grace Reformed Baptist Church since the beginning of their marriage. After their church, they consider Bradford Academy one of the greatest influences for good in their lives and one of the richest blessings for their family.

Bradford PLUS

After-School Program Director – Jennifer Gowl

Jennifer Gowl joined the Bradford team in 2018 as Director of Bradford Plus. She specialized in classical faith-based education while homeschooling her son from 2008 – 2017. Jennifer is active in her church, Mebane Bible Church. When not at Bradford or Mebane Bible Church, she can be found enjoying family time with her husband and son enjoying hockey, gardening, and reading. Focused on her faith and service opportunities, she loves to work with children and values finding ways to support her co-workers. Jennifer’s family has long-standing ties with the Mebane community and she looks forward to being involved with our Bradford families. She is enthusiastic to direct Bradford Plus – our exciting after-school program – and help our families with after-school care.

After-School Program Assistant – Ava Webster

Ava Webster is a local to North Carolina. She grew up for a short time in Mebane, but spent most of her adolescence in the small town of Hurdle Mills. Working as a church intern, Ava met her husband, Will. The Webster’s continue to work alongside each other at Mebane Bible Church. Will leads the youth at MBC, and Ava assists him. Will and Ava also enjoy teaching Sunday school together.

The Lord placed Ava at Bradford Academy in 2019. She began working as a long-term substitute teacher for Bradford Plus. In 2020 she was asked to join the Bradford team as an official staff member. Alongside Bradford Plus Director, Jennifer Gowl, Ava enjoys working with the children that attend Mom’s Helper and after-school. Ava is thankful for the opportunity to work amongst the staff, parents, and students.