Chadd Watkins graduated from Southern Adventist University in 2002 with a degree in Physical Education, Health and Wellness. He’s currently working towards a Masters in Leadership. Chadd has served Madison Academy and Highland Academy as Teacher, Coach, Dean, Vice Principal and Principal. Chadd is married to his lovely wife Nikie and they have two boys Carson and Camdon. In his spare time you will see Chadd playing golf, participating in sports, enjoying family, and bird watching.
Six word story – Called, then equipped, for the journey.
Haroldo Álvarez attended the Adventist University of Colombia in Medellin, graduating with a degree in Music Education. In graduate school, he completed a program in Choral Conducting at California State University at Los Angeles and a Masters of Arts in Teaching with emphasis in Curriculum and Instruction at La Sierra Academy in Riverside, CA. It has been an honor to participate in the life of thousands of young people through music education in Colombia, Venezuela, Brazil, Southern California, and Portland, TN. Haroldo is married to Liana and they have three children, Albany, Lestter and Melodie. The whole family enjoys trying to educate three dogs and a cat without much success.
Six word story – Jesus: Master, Savior, Teacher, Friend, Mine.
Larry Ashcraft graduated from Georgia Cumberland Academy in 1977, Southern Adventist University with a B.A. Math and Physics, and NCATE Teacher Training in 1981, and Andrews University, M.A.T. Physcis in 1983. He began teaching in Louisville for 2 years, then taught public school in North Carolina for 29 years. He as been a part of the Highland Academy team since 2014. Larry is married to Linda Ashcraft who is a Highland Academy Alumnus. They have two daughters Claire and Amelia. In his spare time, Larry enjoys road bicycling, fixing electrical/electronic/mechanical stuff, and conversing with people about God’s character.
Six word story -Jesus, The Father: indistinguishable characters–Wow!
Linda was born and raised in Evansville, Indiana, and is a Highland Academy Alumnus. She graduated with an AS in accounting from Southern Missionary College (now Southern Adventist University.) This is her 6th school year at Highland Academy. She lives here in Portland with her husband, Larry and their two daughters. Claire is a 2018 graduate from Highland Academy and Amelia is a sophomore here. When she’s not working, Linda enjoys playing with her dog, reading, listening to audiobooks, knitting, and learning to crochet.
Six word story – Christian-educated for years, Christian for life.
Christen Case graduated from Highland Academy in 2009 and attended Southern Adventist University to obtain two degrees, one in mathematics and one in chemistry. She also completed a master’s degree in mathematics at the University of Louisville in Louisville, Kentucky. She has taught one year at both Madison and Highland Academies, and looks forward to many more years in Adventist education. When she’s not in the classroom , she enjoys gardening, reading, and singing at the top of her lungs!
Six word story – Best childhood, coming back for more.
Diana Drusky has 15 years of experience as an Administrative Assistant and Yearbook Advisor. Three years at Highland Academy and twelve years at Highland Elementary. Her husband, Roy (Twig) Drusky lll is a Highland Academy Alumnus. Twig and Diana have two children Roy and Emmylou. They both graduated from Highland Academy and Southern Adventist University. In her spare time, Diana enjoys reading, walking, sewing, and having friends and family over for Friday night dinner.
Six word story – Amazing God, wonderful family, much love.
Ken received a BA with honors in English from Andrews University in 1975 and an MAEd in the Diverse Learner from the University of Phoenix in 1995. He has professional certification from the SDA church in both English and History. In the past 40+ years of teaching he has taught all grades from 1st grade through college freshmen, all levels from at risk and special education to advance placement, and in schools as diverse as one room with eight students to a large, public high school with over 1500 where he taught over 100 students per day. His favorite place to be is his classroom, but when not there he enjoys his vegetable garden and flower beds. He reads himself to sleep almost every night. He and his wife Sue both enjoy history and always find the Junior History Tour fascinating and inspiring.
Six word story – Lonely. Frightened. School became my salvation.
Robert Hillebert received a Bachelors in Business Administration from Andrews University. Rob spent a year at Holbrook Indian School in Arizona as a task force worker in the business office. He then began a 2-year business internship with the Lake Union Conference. At the end of the internship he accepted a call to be Assistant Treasurer at Illinois Conference. Before coming to Highland he served a combined 14 years as Assistant and Associate Treasurer at Illinois and Wisconsin Conferences. He is married to his wonderful wife Sarah. They have two awesome boys Tyler and Nathan. His hobbies are boating, camping, hiking, animals, and wood working.
Six word story – God’s not finished with me yet.
Sarah Hillebert RN, is in her 4th year as Head Dean of Women at Highland Academy. Prior to Highland, Mrs. Hillebert worked for two years at Wisconsin Academy as Head Dean of Women and School Nurse. A graduate from Lake Michigan College, Mrs. Hillebert is a Registered Nurse specializing in Women’s Health and School Nursing. Mrs. Hillebert has completed 2.5 years of course work toward a degree in Elementary Education and Psychology. Prior to her nursing degree, Mrs. Hillebert spent three years working in the field of education as a task force teacher. She taught 3rd, 5th, and 7th graders in a one room school in Stewardson, Illinois; taught 5th grade Home Study International to two special needs students in Scotland, UK; and was a paraprofessional working with 2nd and 3rd grade special education students at Martin Luther King public school in South Bend, Indiana. In the past, she has been involved in Conference Prayer Ministry, Shepherdess Ministry, Health Ministry, Summer Camp Nursing, and Pathfinders. Mrs. Hillebert has been married to Robert Hillebert since 2001 and has two children, Tyler and Nathan. Tyler is a Sophomore at Highland Academy and Nathan is in 7th grade at Highland Elementary. In her free time, you will find Mrs. Hillebert hanging out with the youth, working in her flower garden, reading, exercising, or sharing music.
Six word story – Education’s purpose is “taking to give”.
Michelle went to Southern Adventist University where she graduated with her nursing degree. She has 26 years of nursing experience with a focus in Adolescent psychology, Adult physchology, and Home Health. Michelle has currently been the Highland school nurse for the last 9 years. She is married to Christopher and they have three wonderful children who all attended Highland Academy. Macy is currently taking nursing at Kettering College, Chadwick is taking nursing at SAU, and Corbin is serving as a Army Medic in Alaska. Her hobbies are photography, exercising, animals, cooking/entertaining, and praying.
Six word story – Talk less, pray more, breath easy.
After serving the Lord in pastoral ministry for the past 11 years, Will Labrenz is excited to now serve chaplain/Bible teacher at Highland Academy. Will has a passion for encouraging young people to follow Jesus. Will’s family includes his wife Christy, and children: Ethan, Bailey, and Elijah.
MAPMIN (masters in pastoral ministry) from Andrews University.
Hobbies include playing guitar, impersonating Elvis, hiking, and the joys of cayenne pepper.
Six word story – “Wow the crowd and follow Jesus”
I am a grateful alumnus of Highland Academy’s Class of 2002. From here I attended Union College for 4 years, plus one year of student missions. During the year of student missions I taught English in the Galapagos Islands of Ecuador, while also learning to speak Spanish. I graduated with a Bachelors of Science degree in secondary mathematics education and a minor in religion. My first job was teaching 6th – 8th grade math at Spencerville Adventist Academy in Maryland. Our first daughter was born at the end of that year and I transitioned to working as a adjunct instructor at Howard Community College in Columbia, Maryland. I taught there for three years until my family moved to Indiana. In Indianapolis I taught at Christel House Dors, a program for adults seeking to earn a high school diploma. When our third child was born in 2011 I began working as a stay-at-home mom and childcare provider, and continued for the next 4 years. In 2017 I returned home to Highland Academy to teach, mentor, support and in general “love on” the amazing students here. I have been married to Antonio Lopez for 11 years and we have four children, Corinthia, Levi, Malachi, and Lucia. As a family we enjoy serving our church, hiking, canoeing, gardening, and watching Steeler football. My personal hobbies include reading biographies and sewing.
Six word story – I teach to repay the investment.
Daniel Palma has a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from Cebu Institute of Technology University, Cebu City, Philippines. His work experience includes; Project Engineer/Manager – ADRA Philippines, classroom teaching and educational administrative support for 16 years. This is his 5th school year at Highland Academy. Daniel is married to his lovely wife Maddie, and they have three children, Kaitlin, Russell, and Imari-Ashley. In his spare time Daniel enjoys arts, crafts, and web design.
Six word story – Learn, Enjoy, and travel the world.
Steve Rogers is a proud alumnus of Highland Academy, and graduated from Southern Adventist University with degrees in both history and religious studies. After graduating , Steve served two years as the assistant boys’ dean and gymnastics coach at Shenandoah Valley Academy; and now he and his lovely wife, Emily, are glad to come “home” to Highland where Steve cheerfully performs those same duties.
Six word story – Man, I really love Highland Academy!
Kimberly Roth graduated from Southern Adventist University in 2001 with a B.A. in Mathematics with Secondary Education. She completed her Masters in Educational Administration in 2017 from Fort Hays State University. Kimberly has taught high school math in Tennessee, Oregon, Alaska, and Nebraska, and served as Principal at a Christian school in Alaska. Kimberly is married to Danny who is a Nurse Anesthetist and has two children Ethan and Julianna. A few of her hobbies are traveling, mission trips, hiking, and scuba diving.
Six word story – With Jesus, to infinity and beyond!
Roger Schmidt is the lead pastor of the Highland Seventh-day Adventist Church. Before answering the call to full-time pastoral ministry, he served as a teacher at both Madison Academy and Mt. Pisgah Academy. After returning to school to study for the ministry, he served 5 years in the Gulf States Conference as pastor of the Bass Academy Church which included teaching Bible at the academy. His wife, Latonia, and two children, Sam and Madison, moved to the Kentucky-Tennessee Conference in 2005 to pastor the Jackson/Leach district. In 2010 he was able to once again blend his teaching and pastoral ministries by moving to Highland. He earned his undergraduate degrees in History and Theology as well as his Masters of Religion from Southern Adventist University. Pastor Roger’s favorite hobbies are backpacking, kayaking, and motorcycling.
Six word story – Church schools led me to Jesus.
Heather Severance is proud to be the wife of Highland’s associate pastor. Steve and Heather have been married and in ministry together for 14 years now. They and their two children, Kevin and Amy, love the Highland community very much and Heather is proud to support the mission of Highland Academy through working in the food service. Heather enjoys music as her favorite hobby/ministry.
Six word story – How can I keep from singing?
Verne Sherman has been in teaching for a total of 38 years; 36 of those being in Christian education, has earned both a BS (elem ed/general science), and an MA (educational administration and supervision) from Andrews University. He still enjoys teaching because there are still students with whom he can connect and spark an interest in learning. I enjoy (most of) the non-teaching components of my job because there is such a wide variety of things coming across my desk. I began working at Highland in 2010, the same year that my son, Tom, and daughter, Molly, began their freshman year here. They graduated as part of the HA Class of 2014. My wife, Sandy, is active in the Highland Church. Zoe, our dog, tries hard to catch any stray snack or nap that wanders by. I have many, many, interests; however, some of them have been pushed to the back burner by a shortage of free time and/or a surplus of birthdays. I still actively enjoy camping and fishing.
Six word story –
Stephanie Thornton is a third generation Seventh-day Adventist, raised in Keene, Texas and took business classes at Southwestern Adventist University before moving to Tennessee. The Lord has led her on a interesting career path and for the past eight years, she have been blessed to worked in the cafeteria here at Highland Academy. Stephanie has two sons, Austin and Ethan who graduated from Highland Academy. My favorite hobbies are travel and reading.
Six word story – Loved daughter of God. Always learning!
Andy Wade, an alum of Highland, graduated from Southern Adventist University with a B.S. degree in Physical Education Health and Wellness in 2005, followed by a Masters degree in Outdoor Teacher Education in 2010. He has worked at Highland Academy since 2005 and has enjoyed using his talents in many different areas and avenues over the years. Andy married his wife, Bekki, in the spring of 2006, and they have three beautiful daughters: Tessa, Ellisen, and Annie. In his free time he enjoys outdoor adventures, disc golf, and introducing people to the beauty and lessons of nature.
Six word story – Giving so that others may LIVE.
Anita was born and raised in Ohio, graduated from Mr. Vernon Academy and attended Andrews University. She and her husband John have 2 sons, Jason and Chadd, and 4 grandsons. Anita started working at Highland Academy in 2000, 3 years in the business office and 16 years as Food Service Director. She has been in food service and office management most of her career. She enjoys playing the piano, scrapbooking, swimming and cooking.
Six word story – His grace is sufficient for me.
Melissa McCoy-Weisner, a graduate of Highland Academy, graduated from University of Phoenix with her English Degree. While volunteering as a youth leader, she received her Masters Degree in Human Services with an emphasis in working with teens and family from Liberty University and a Masters in Education from Union University. Melissa has served as a youth leader at Oasis Seventh Day Adventist Church and a teacher in Robertson County Tennessee prior to serving at Highland Academy. Melissa is married to what she refers to as a rock and spiritual leader, Vaughn Weisner, also an educator in Robertson County. They love kids and have extended their family to include a total of 5 kids with 2 left at home; one attending Highland Academy and one still in elementary school. In her spare time, Melissa is singing and speaking about her other passion which is prayer. She makes sure to cut out time in her schedule to “fill up the love cups” of her family and spend time out in nature.
Six word story—I’m a new creature in Christ!
Hellos, my name is Steve Wilson. I am married to the most beautiful, Rhonda Wilson. We have three wonderful children, and one grand child. We have lived, and worked at Highland Academy now for three marvelous years. I love the area around the school, and the opportunity for being out in nature. I’ve been in Education now for almost 40 years. I’ve worn many hats in the 40 years, and I enjoy the Deaning hat the most. I have a BS in Physical Education, and a Minor in Religion. I am currently working on a Masters in Outdoor Education. Sure hope to see your child here at Highland
Six word story – A Guide To Our Heavenly Home.