Hiring Godly, qualified teachers and administrators is crucial to fulfilling our mission as a school. Our staff must exemplify the highest Christian character as they reflect Christ’s love and encourage each child’s own obedient response to God. Our staff meets the educational requirements as established by the State of Ohio and are licensed to teach in their area.
Mrs. Susan Gifford, Academy President
Mrs. Gifford has been serving as the Administrator for the school since its opening in the 2005-2006 school year. She brings more than 20 years of business experience to her position. Mrs. Gifford holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Bowling Green State University, a Master’s from Cleveland State University and has completed coursework in Early Childhood Education at Lakeland Community College. Mrs. Gifford, her husband Russ live in Orwell.
Mr. Russ Gifford, Interim Troy Campus Administrator
Mr. Gifford holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Math from Heidelberg College and a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from Illinois Institute of Technology. Mr. Gifford serves as board chair and is husband to our Academy President Mrs. Gifford. They reside in Orwell.
Mrs. Susan Petrick, Three/Four Preschool Teacher
Mrs. Petrick holds a Bachelor of Science in Education from Bowling Green State University with a teaching license for Kindergarten through Eighth Grade. She also served as Three/Four Preschool Teacher and Tutor at Agape. Mrs. Petrick, her husband Shawn and daughters Rachel and Lindsey reside in Middlefield. Mrs. Petrick joined Agape for the 2012-2013 school year.
Mrs. Rebecca Yost, Four/Five Preschool Teacher
Mrs. Yost holds a Bachelor’s of Arts degree from Kent State University in Art Education. Before teaching at Agape, she taught art classes for the Grace Home School group. She resides in Middlefield with husband Neil and children Keegan, Deacon, Corah and Claire. Mrs. Yost has been with Agape since the 2005-2006 school year.
Mrs. Bridget Cole, Kindergarten Teacher
Mrs. Cole earned her Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from Lake Erie College and taught for three years at Painesville Christian Academy. Mrs. Cole joined Agape’s teaching team for the 2018-2019 school year and resides in Chardon with her husband and six children.
Mrs. Amy Taddeo, Kindergarten Enrichment Teacher
Mrs. Taddeo holds a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from Lake Erie College with a teaching license for First through Eighth Grade with a concentration in reading. Mrs. Taddeo, her husband Al and daughters Isabella and Maddy reside in Chardon. Mrs. Taddeo joined Agape for the 2015-2016 school year.
Mrs. Amy Minor First Grade Teacher
Mrs. Minor is a graduate of Geneva College where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Human Resources Management. Mrs. Minor has served at Burton Public Library as Children’s Services Assistant and as a Special Education teacher in the Knightsen Schools in California. She also served as a substitute teacher in the Kirtland School District elementary schools before moving to California. Mrs. Minor resides in Burton with her family and joined Agape for the 2023-2024 school year.
Mrs. Havilah Southern, First Grade Teacher
Mrs. Southern has been with Agape since our first school year in 2005-2006. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education from Kent State University. Prior to joining Agape, she was a teacher at Head Start. Mrs. Southern, her husband Mike, and sons Elijah, Abram, Aaron and Caleb reside in Hiram.
Mrs. Rachel Snedeker, Second Grade Teacher
Mrs. Snedeker holds a degree in Elementary Education from Nyack Christian College in New York. She has served at Agape as a long-term substitute teacher for the Three/Four Preschool and worked with our First Grade students during the 2016-2017 school year teaching small groups in Reading and Math. She resides in Burton with her family and joined Agape for the 2021-2022 school year.
Mrs. Melissa Babic, Third Grade Teacher
Mrs. Babic holds a Bachelor of Arts in Middle Childhood Education with concentrations in Language Arts and Social Studies. Mrs. Babic first joined Agape’s teaching team in the school’s second year – the 2006-2007 school year. She taught combined classes of Third/Fourth Grade and Fourth/Fifth Grade for three years prior to moving to North Carolina. While in North Carolina Mrs. Babic taught for eight years at Neuse Christian School teaching both Fourth and Fifth Grades.
Mrs. April Westover, Third Grade Teacher
Mrs. Westover earned her Bachelor of Science in Education from Youngstown State University with a teaching license for Preschool through Third Grade. Mrs. Westover resides in West Farmington with her husband Brian and her two sons. Mrs. Westover joined Agape for the 2018-2019 school year.
Mrs. Bethany Brown, Fourth Grade Teacher
Mrs. Brown earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Kent State University and her Master of Arts and Consumer Sciences, Child Life from the University of Akron. She has served at Agape as a Tutor working with students in grades First thru Fourth in addition to serving as a substitute teacher. Mrs. Brown served as a Preschool teacher for three years at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church and Preschool. Mrs. Brown resides in Burton with her family and joined Agape for the 2021-2022 school year.
Mrs. Melissa Smith, Fifth Grade Teacher
Mrs. Smith holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education and Special Education from Cedarville University and has teaching experience as an Intervention Specialist. Mrs. Smith resides in Middlefield with her husband and four children. She joined Agape during the 2022-2023 school year.
Mrs. Jeni Najjar, Sixth Grade Teacher
Mrs. Najjar holds a Bachelor of Science in Education from Kent State University after attending The Moody Bible Institute for two years. She earned her teaching certification for Kindergarten through Eighth Grade and taught Third Grade and Fourth Grade at Berkshire Elementary before staying home to raise her family. Mrs. Najjar resides in Huntsburg with her husband Rick and children Callie, Nathaniel and Cooper. She joined Agape for the 2016-2017 school year.
Mrs. Mary Carr,
Middle/High School Social Science Teacher
Mrs. Carr holds a Bachelor of Arts in Secondary Education and a Masters of Education in Reading and Literacy with a Reading Endorsement from Baldwin Wallace College. She holds a Teaching License in History Grades 7 thru 12. Mrs. Carr and her husband Mike reside in Sagamore Hills. She joined Agape for the 2011-2012 school year.
Mrs. Renee Christy, Middle School Teacher
Mrs. Christy holds a Bachelor of Science in Special Education from Youngstown State University. During her more than 20 years in the classroom she has taught in public and Christian schools, in Ohio and Texas and has taught a variety of grades from Kindergarten through High School and a variety of subjects including English Language Arts, Bible, Science, Math, Social Studies and even Spanish. She joined Agape for the 2023-2024 school year.
Mr. Will Coley, College & Career Counselor
Mr. Coley earned his Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a minor in Sociology from Bowling Green State University and holds a Master of Arts in Counseling and a Master of Arts in Religion both from Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary. He currently serves as Senior Pastor for Parkman Congregational Church and brings 10 years of experience in counseling. He resides in Parkman with his wife and two children and joined Agape for the 2023-2024 school year.
Mrs. Jessalee Detweiler
Middle/High School Science Teacher
Mrs. Detweiler holds a Bachelor of Science in Molecular Biology from Grove City College. She served as a Research Assistant in the Department of Ophthalmology at Case Western Reserve University and also served as a High School Chemistry tutor. Mrs. Detweiler resides in Burton with her family and joined Agape for the 2021-2022 school year.
Mr. Roger Murillo, Math Teacher
Mr. Murillo brings more than 30 years of education experience serving as a teacher and as a Christian school Administrator. He holds a Bachelor of Arts Degrees in Sociology and Elementary Education from Seattle Pacific University. Mr. Murillo resides in Girard joined Agape for the 2023-2024 school year.
Mrs. Rebekah Page, Math Teacher
Mrs. Page holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Masters of Arts in Elementary Education with a Gifted-Talented Endorsement from Conway University in South Carolina. She has also earned her national board certification in Early Adolescence Mathematics for ages 11-15. She has been teaching math in the South Carolina schools since 2005. Mrs. Page, her husband and three children will be relocating to Geauga County. She joined Agape for the 2023-2024 school year.
Miss Brenna Rupe, Middle School Teacher
Miss Rupe holds a Bachelor of Science in Middle Level Science and Social Studies Education from Grove City College. Miss Rupe first joined Agape for the 2020-2021 school year before serving at Heart Light Ministries in Texas for the past year.
Miss Callie Schaden, Spanish & English Teacher
Miss Schaden graduated from Agape and went on to earn her Bachelor of Arts in English and Spanish from Cedarville University along with a minor in Bible. While at Cedarville she studied abroad for one semester in Valencia, Spain. Her experience includes serving at Love & Hope Children’s Home in El Salvador as a summer volunteer and serving as a Camp Counselor at Camp Asbury leading groups of Middle and Junior High Students. Miss Schaden joined Agape for the 2023-2024 school year and resides in Huntsburg.
Mr. Brian Westover,
Middle School Bible Teacher
Mr. Westover holds a Bachelor of Arts in Pastoral Ministries. He serves as the pastor of North East Community Church in Burton Ohio. Mr. Westover resides in West Farmington with his wife April and their two sons. Mr. Westover joined Agape for the 2021-2022 school year.
Mr. Kevin Wilmot,
Campus Chaplain & Bible Teacher
Mr. Wilmot is a graduate of the Moody Bible Institute. He holds a Bachelors in Education with a Major in Bible. He also earned a Bachelors in Physics and a Bachelors in Religious Studies from Cleveland State University. He joined Agape as a Student Teacher in the Fall of 2014 before graduating and now teaches Bible. He resides in Claridon with his wife Kelly and their five children.
Mrs. Sarah Zajac MT-BC, NMT, High School English Teacher
Mrs. Zajac earned her Bachelor of Music Therapy from Baldwin-Wallace University. In 2017 she completed specialized recognition in Neurologic Music Therapy. As founder of her private practice, she has provided music therapy services throughout Northeast Ohio for fourteen years. Mr. and Mrs. Zajac reside in Middlefield with their four children Abigail, Michael Jr., Gideon, and Judah. She joined Agape for the 2022-2023 school year.