Now enrolling for the 2022-2023 school year! 903.534.9992 [email protected]

Teachers & Staff

Mrs. Walker with students.

Our Teachers

It is the goal of King’s Academy Christian School staff to partner with parents to develop the whole child through professional classroom instruction and guided home study.

Every teacher at KACS is a born again Christian and has a living, active relationship with Jesus Christ. Not only does the staff provide rigorous academics to challenge the student, but they engage in the Christ-centered discipleship of the child.

Kara Bertles

Kara Bertles, Art History, Algebra I, Algebra II, Pre-Calculus
Our family moved to Tyler in 2011 – my husband and I and four children, with a married daughter staying behind in Michigan. We continued homeschooling our children here, but quickly joined the athletic teams at KACS. In 2018, when our youngest was a senior, we enrolled him as a student at KACS. I am very impressed with the dual emphasis on family strength and academics that KACS promotes. My own educational background is a BS in Computer Science from the College of William and Mary. As my last child neared his senior year, I began asking God what He wanted me to do after 25 years of homeschooling. He answered by having me teach a Pre-Calculus class at KACS! I have thoroughly loved the atmosphere with the other teachers and staff. I am excited about using the math that, to me, is so much fun (yes, fun!).

John Booker

John Booker, 7th grade Bible
I am excited to be a part of the family at KACS. I am a veteran teacher having worked on all levels of education, including the collegiate level. I received my undergraduate and Master’s degree from UTT and completed more than 60 hours of graduate work in Curriculum and Instruction at Texas A & M. My credentials include ESL certification and Reading Specialist. And, I completed a degree in theology from Faith Bible College. My grandchildren attended here and my daughter-in-law worked here. I already feel at home during my first year at KACS!

Sammie Braswell

Sammie Braswell, 6th grade History, US History Part 1, Geography

It is my pleasure to serve as a teacher at King’s. My wife Gina and I were hoping for a University Model School before we knew it existed. I am a parent with children attending King’s. I can assure you I have the well-being of your child’s development, coupled with ease of cooperation between parent, student, and myself as faculty. I am a Christian, Husband, Father, and Patriot of this great nation. I am a retired U.S. Army Officer and have a varied military background that involved teaching military leadership and tactics to Army Officer Candidates (OCS). This often involved looking at history to see what worked, what didn’t work, and what we can learn from it. I have been blessed with the opportunity to travel all over the world in my military service and as a result, geography is very real to me. I have taught criminal justice at the collegiate level and love our country and its constitution. Ultimately this is a partnership. I sincerely welcome input from you as a parent and co-educator.
Daniel David

Daniel David, 9th grade Bible

I am excited to be at King’s again this year! I am happily married and have three children which attend KACS. We have been in Tyler for four years now and have loved the friendly hospitality of this community. I completed a B.S. at Texas A&M (Cum Laude) and an M.A. at Dallas Theological Seminary (Honors). Following my gifting in teaching and a calling to minister to youth, I served as a high school Bible teacher at Pantego Christian Academy from 2015-2017.

During my undergraduate studies, I worked as a counselor at Pine Cove Christian camps and an intern at Christ United Methodist Church, College Station. I then worked in a professional non-profit organization for eight years as a Program Manager and Solutions Trainer – getting to train teams in Haiti, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Jerusalem. I have served as a student and adult teacher, discipleship leader, and class director within his churches in Irving and Tyler and my wife and I worked (on the side) with a ministry in DFW called Apartment Life. I currently work for Pine Cove as a Business Analyst.
Daniel David

Janet Gibson, MS STEM
I received my MBA in Finance from the University of St. Thomas in Houston, Texas. I have worked for 20 years in the Oil & Gas industry in various Finance and Accounting roles throughout Texas and Colorado before deciding it was time to change the scenery and move to Kennebunk, Maine. While in Maine, I worked for the American Heart Association and taught Economics part time. I have volunteered with March of Dimes, Ronald McDonald House, Girl Scouts, Girls on the Run and coaching soccer. I enjoy many outdoor activities including: running, biking, snowboarding and paddle boarding. I reside in Flint, Texas with my husband Terry, my daughter Ray, and our labradors Bear and Roxy.

Shayla Hinkeldey

Shayla Hinkeldey, 1st grade
I am so thrilled to be joining Kings Academy! Working with children has been my passion and calling since I was young. I am so blessed to get to be a part of this amazing school and can’t wait to get to know my students and families. I graduated from the University of Texas at Tyler in 2012 with a degree in Education and taught second grade for three years. I really enjoy giving students a strong foundation and teaching them that learning is so much fun! Aside from being a full-time teacher I have worked with children in almost every other capacity, including daycare, tutoring, and children’s ministry.I have been a stay at home mom for three years and I am so excited to be back in the classroom. My husband Chaz and I have been married for almost twelve years, and we have two daughters, ages 4 and newborn.

Diana Hernandez

Diana Hernandez, 3rd Day Spanish, Teacher Aid

¡Hola! ¡Es un placer ser parte del equipo de KACS!  This is my third year being involved at KACS. My daughter will start her Sophomore year and my son 7th grade.

Prior to transitioning to KACS, I was a homeschool teacher for several years. I am honored to join as a third day Spanish Teacher and Aid at KACS. I love seeing what God is doing in the lives of those involved in this Universe Model School. Looking forward to the new challenge!

Ashley Hollis

Ashley Hollis, IT Director, Yearbook/Journalism
Our family has been at King’s since 2012 when my oldest daughter began first grade here. We now have a 10th, 9th, and 7th grader attending school here, and a 4 year old at home. I received my Bachelor’s of Business Administration in Management Information Systems from Texas A&M University in 2000. After working at Josh McDowell Ministry doing tech support and building content management databases on their website back-end, I returned to UT Dallas for my teaching certification. I taught at Bell Elementary in Tyler for 5 years before staying home after my second child was born. I have a love for yearbook, photography and videography, and love sharing my skillset through our yearbook and journalism news casts. I participated in Newspaper and Yearbook throughout high school as a photographer, including developing my own black and white film and photos.

Jeanne Jorash

Jeanne Jorash, 6th grade Math, Drama, Speech, Creative Writing
This is my 5th year here at KACS. Before coming to Tyler, my family had lived overseas in several countries. I have had a variety of  teaching experiences, including Speech and Drama in public school, leading a Homeschool Drama troupe in Budapest, Hungary, various classes in Kiev, Ukraine, and English in China, along with homeschooling my own 8 children. KACS has an amazing group of teachers, staff, students, and parents!  I have taught Speech here for the past 4 years and it is my 3rd time teaching 6th grade Math.    We were new to Tyler four years ago, as well as KACS, and everyone made us feel welcome and part of a family. As the Drama teacher here, the students, staff, and parents have risen to the occasion each time, and with the Lord’s graciousness, we have had productions not less than miraculous! That’s how God works at this school, and I am anticipating MORE from Him this coming year!

Jordan Kulaga

Jordan Kulaga, 4th grade Science
This is my second year teaching science at King’s Academy. Science is a great subject to teach because kids are naturally curious about the world around them, and it’s easy to get them excited about the subject matter. Many people in our society believe you have to choose between God and science, but I believe God designed the universe in an orderly manner and He allows us to understand His design through scientific principles. I thoroughly enjoyed becoming a part of the King’s family last year and am so grateful both as a teacher and a parent to be surrounded by others who love Christ and are making it a priority to teach the next generation about what He’s done for us.

Vinni Lee

Vinni Lee, Kindergarten
I have taught at King’s Academy for 11 years. I retired from teaching Kindergarten in Tyler ISD.  I love teaching at King’s Academy because of the relationships I have been able to develop with the staff, parents, and children. There is just such a loving and relaxed atmosphere in which to work. It is so nice to be able to teach biblical principles while teaching academics. My goal for my kindergarten students is to lay a strong academic foundation so that each child will successfully become a lifelong learner. In addition to the academics, I want each child to develop socially and to learn to apply biblical principles in everyday living.

Ginger Lynch

Ginger Lynch, 4th & 5th grade Math & STEM, 3rd Day Tutoring
I have over 40 years of experience in education. I graduated from East Texas State University (now Texas A & M, Commerce) with a Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education and special education with several additional endorsements. I am retired from Tyler ISD. My experience includes teaching students in grades K-5th. The University Model School provides a great opportunity for teachers, students, and parents to work together. I consider it a privilege to be on staff at King’s Academy. I want you to know that I feel honored to teach in a Christian school, and I am committed to making my students show growth in areas of spiritually, intellectually, emotionally, and socially. I believe that God has a special purpose for each child, and it is my privilege to be a part of each of their lives.

Ann McLane

Ann McLane, 4th & 5th grade Bible, 4th & 5th grade History
I have taught for 25 years. I consider being invited back to teach again at King’s Academy this year as a wonderful opportunity for working with such a great staff and with the University Model.  I am excited to meet the students and begin another year teaching in this Christian environment!

Rachel Montgomery
Rachel Montgomery, 3rd grade
I am so excited to be a part of King’s Academy. After college I taught for nearly 3 years in a small school in Mexico City, Mexico. When I returned to the United States, I taught in bilingual and dual language programs in public schools in Texas for 12 years. After 15 years of teaching, God made it clear that I needed to turn my attention to my family and their spiritual and educational growth. God has opened a door for King’s Academy to be an avenue for that growth. I get to teach, which is something I love, and I get to be with my family more, which is something I want. Our family is excited for the opportunity to grow with the KACS community. We look forward to what God has in store for us as we journey with Him through this adventure.
Cindy Nick

Cindy Nick, Texas History, 8th grade Bible
This will be my first year to teach at KACS and I am thrilled to be joining this incredible family of educators, students and parents. After recently retiring from public education, I prayed that God would open the door for me to continue using my gifts and talents to serve Him in a way that would impact future generations and be pleasing unto Him. God has truly blessed me with the opportunity to teach Texas History and 8th Grade Bible at KACS.

I am honored to have been a recipient of the Tyler ISD Secondary Teacher of the Year Award and to have had the privilege to guide and mentor teachers and students both here and abroad. I received my Bachelor’s Degree in Education from Stephen F. Austin University with teaching certifications in History, Physical Education and Dance. I am looking forward to teaching at KACS because I believe the values reflected in the mission of the University-Model school gives me a unique opportunity to partner with parents in nurturing, guiding and developing the intrinsic God given gifts and talents within each student while equipping them to influence their community and their world for Christ.

Nikki Reese

Nikki Reese, 3rd Day Enrichment, Study Hall, Tutor

I grew up in the Pacific Northwest and graduated from Multnomah Bible College, majoring in Bible/Theology and Educational Ministry.  I’ve worked with kids as a Children’s Ministry Director, Sunday School & Children’s Church teacher, VBS director and subbed in preschool classes at a local daycare.
My family has been involved at KACS in one way or another since 2009 when my husband taught a class for several years.  Our daughter started attending classes in 2015 and our son is starting his first year.  Now I get to join in as the 3rd Day Enrichment teacher along with helping with reading classes, monitoring Study Hall, and helping 3rd Day students with their homework.  I’m looking forward to working with the students of all ages!  I love to help children discover the joy of reading and desire for the Enrichment students to marvel at our amazing God through our activities.
Shannon Reynolds

Shannon Reynolds, 3-12th grades PE
I am very excited and energized about my second year at Kings Academy and being able to share my love of physical fitness in movement/sports as the lower level PE teacher. My two amazing children are both attending Kings Academy, Aidan Michael who is a junior and Madison Grace who is in the 7th grade. I love everything about the university model and the impact Kings Academy has had on my family. I originally began my career as an engineering specialist in the plasma etch area at Dallas Semiconductor teaching fitness part time for fun. I then promoted myself to mother after my son was born and have since been teaching some type of fitness for nearly 21 years. My current certifications include: crossfit level1, pilates mat, strength training, sculpt, cardio kickboxing, ballet barre, Zumba, zumbatomic (kid Zumba), Zumba toning, bolly X and a certified personal trainer. I currently teach classes and train at All About Dance Studio, I am the wellness coordinator for Smith County and I also partner with Baylor Scott & White Texas Spine and Joint Sports Medicine Department on special projects. I also serve currently on two boards: New Creation and 1:3 Foundation and serve as a Leader of Light for Refuge of Light.

Tammy Rickelman
Tammy Rickelman, 2nd grade
I am so happy to be teaching at King’s Academy. We have been a King’s family for 12 years. I have 24 years of teaching experience, including public school, Classical Conversations, homeschool co-ops and five years at KACS. I have been a stay at home mom and grandmother for the last five years and am very excited to return to the classroom. I have a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from the University of North Texas and a Masters in Education in Math and Science from the University of Central Florida. I am very excited to be back on the KACS team!
Heidi Shorts

Heidi Shorts, Art
This is my second year teaching art at King’s.  I previously taught 15 + years in both private and public schools, for homeschool groups, special needs students, preschoolers, women’s groups & private lessons, as well.


I love art and I love the creative process!  one of my greatest joys is helping students feel successful.  I believe we are all equipped by our great Creator to reflect Him in our own creative work…and it’s going to be different for each of us.  I’m thankful to be teaching in a school where we can make those connections and develop life skills that begin with art and touch so many other areas into the future!
Kira Smith

Kira Smith, 7th grade English, 8th grade English, 3rd-5th Music, MS Keyboarding & Computers
This is my first year teaching at King’s Academy, and I am thrilled to be a part of this new community! I have spent the past two years teaching 4th Grade at a Christian School in Bellingham, WA. My husband and I recently moved to Tyler with our 3 month old son, in order to be closer to family. We are excited to get to know the KACS family and get plugged into Christian fellowship in Tyler. My favorite thing about teaching is helping to kindle a lifelong love of learning in my students. The world that God created is big and wide and there are always new things to learn and wonder at!

Josie Taylor

Josie Taylor, 2nd grade assistant, Elementary Art
I am a King’s Academy 2016 alumni and a graduate from Belhaven University in December as of 2020 with a Bachelor of Art degree. King’s has been such a blessing for me and my family, and I am very grateful for the love and dedication they have shown us over the years. This year I will be assisting the 2nd grade as a teacher’s aide as well as teaching the 3rd-5th grade art class alongside the primary art teacher. I look forward to sharing with the students the passion and joys of creating and exploring artistic expression, incorporating the beauty of our Creator and how we can use art to glorify Him.

Angela Vrba

Angela Vrba, Kindergarten
Hello to the KACS Family! My name is Angela Vrba. I am married to my husband Anthony and we will celebrate our 40th anniversary Aug. 15. We have two children, Meagan and Connor, and 4 grand dogs. Our daughter is engaged and her wedding date is set for Fall 2022. We are very excited about adding another member to our family. I am honored to have been chosen to teach kindergarten at King’s Academy this school year. I am a retired teacher with 29 years experience in elementary education. At the beginning of my teaching career, back in 1981, I taught first grade in TYLER ISD. I taught 3 years in TISD and then took a position in Whitehouse ISD as a first grade teacher. After 2 years teaching in Whitehouse my daughter was born and I took a break and stayed home for six years. During those six years I taught preschool 2 days a week at Stepping Stone. I also was able to complete my masters in early childhood education. I started back to teaching when my son started Kindergarten. I took a Kindergarten teaching position at that time and taught K for 14 yrs at Cain Elementary in Whitehouse. A Reading Recovery position came open at our school and I decided to take that position. After several years that position changed to intervention teacher. I worked with struggling readers K-5th until I decided to retire in 2016. After retiring we built our dream home on Lake Palestine where we currently live. We love the lake life. I have been a Christian since a young age. My faith means everything to me! I enjoy reading and learning more everyday. I participate in Bible Study Fellowship, and also love doing daily devotionals, and other Bible studies. I am honored that God called me to this position at KACS. I have always wanted to teach at a Christian school, but have never had the opportunity in the past. God is so good and faithful! I look forward to getting to know each of you and to work in partnership with you to make this a great year!

Robin Walker

Robin Walker, Third grade
I have been so moved and impressed by the quality and depth of thinking that I see from these students.  I attribute this to the beautiful commitment of our parents to our precious Lord, but also to the Godly atmosphere that permeates throughout King’s Academy.  In my 36 years of teaching, I’ve seen how our youth are being attacked from all sides.  We are slowly seeing the effects of a secular world and how these negative influences and teachings are subtlety entering our public school programs.  No longer are our public schools looking out for the child’s spiritual welfare, they are consumed with test scores.  When this happens, our children become departmentalized and seen as numbers, not as a beautiful creation of God.  At King’s Academy, we are placing God and His teachings first.  Through the eyes of our creator, we then journey into His wonderful world of knowledge.  This in turn then enables our students the freedom to grow and understand God’s truth.  This then unlocks their spirits so they discover their God-given gifts.  I believe that is the essence of a Godly education.  We are equipping young children to be God’s mighty warriors in an ever-changing world. 

Natalie White

Natalie White, Second grade
I graduated with a BS degree in Elementary Education, with a specialization in math and reading, from Howard Payne University in 2001. I went on to earn my ESL and G/T certifications, along with my mentoring teacher qualifications. I have been teaching for 13 years in public education schools in Texas. I am particularly excited about having the opportunity to teach at KACS though, because of the loving, Christ-centered, flexible atmosphere. My goal is for my 2nd grade students to master every mandated objective for grade level graduation through interest-based, engaging lessons, while also instilling biblical truths in all of my students. My desire is for my kids to know who God is, what He has done for them, and who they are in Him once they accept His salvation. I look forward to an amazing year!

Vickie Williams, Upper Campus Curriculum Coordinator, Academic Advisor, Anatomy & Physiology, Chemistry, Physical Science
I am teaching and also serve as the Dean of Curriculum & Instruction and Academic Adviser. I am a graduate of the University of Texas at San Antonio, and I am beginning my 36th year of teaching, 26 of which have been in the Christian school setting. This is my 6th year at King’s.   I have served in many capacities, but most of my teaching experience is in the math and science classrooms.

Jennifer Zimmerman

Jennifer Zimmerman, First grade teacher, Elementary Music & Drama
Hello! This is my 15th year teaching in Texas. I love teaching at King’s because of the families, staff, and students that I get to work with. It is a true blessing to be a part of this ministry. I wear many hats here. I teach Music and Drama on Mondays, I teach 1st grade on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and I teach Choir on Wednesday afternoons. I love each different subject, I love to learn, and I love to share my passion for each of them with our students. The best part of my day (aside from the smiles and hugs), is sharing God’s truths with these little minds. What a joy it is to be at King’s Academy!