Faculty & Staff

Faculty & Staff

The Mars Hill Academy staff consists of exemplary Christian men and women who love our students, and desire to serve our families and the Lord in all that they do. Get to know our staff by reading their bios below.

Administration

Mr. Mark Cotterman

Head of School

Mr. James Waldy

Grammar School Principal / Dean of Faculty

Mr. Matt Beatty

Dean of Academic Affairs

Mrs. Lisa Cotterman

Finance Manager

Mrs. Patsy Hall

Office Manager / Admissions Director

Mrs. Lisa Knodel

Marketing & Communications Director

Mrs. Erin Edwards

Office Support

Mrs. Barb Weitzel

Office Support

Mrs. Lynnae Beatty

Athletic Coordinator / Office Support

Faculty

According to the Mars Hill Academy Foundational Documents: MHA teachers will be bright, highly motivated, industrious, and humble. They will love each student in their classroom, viewing each child as a gift from God and teaching as an opportunity to sow seeds of grace and truth deep within the students’ hearts. They will also evidence a strong desire to grow intellectually and spiritually throughout their lives, and be eager to discover and implement classical teaching methods, knowing that recovering the lost tools of learning begins with them. Most importantly, they will possess a radically God-centered worldview that informs all they set their hands to do. They will not be perfect, but competent and teachable. They will not assume to know their students better than the children’s parents, but offer encouragement and helpful criticism as appropriate.

Mrs. Melanie Ahern

Kindergarten

Dr. Michelle Augustine

Rhetoric School

Mr. Paul Brinkerhoff

Rhetoric School

Dr. Michael Cernucan

Rhetoric School

Mrs. Maria Chastain

Kindergarten

Mrs. Lisa Cunningham

Fourth Grade

Mr. Lyn Cunningham

Rhetoric School

Mrs. Traci DeBra

Third Grade

Mrs. Leann Gage

Grammar School

Mr. Tim Giese

Grammar & Rhetoric Schools

Mrs. Tricia Hicks

Sixth Grade

Mrs. Ruth Hopson

Grammar & Rhetoric Schools

Dr. Christopher Jero

Rhetoric School

Mrs. Amy Kirk

Kindergarten

Mr. David Liebing

Sixth Grade

Dr. Laura Lucas

Grammar School

Mrs. Molly Milligan

Fourth Grade

Mrs. Melanie Ruppersburg

Grammar School

Mr. Andrew Stapleton

Rhetoric School

Mrs. Abby Taylor

First Grade

Miss Betsy Thistleton

Grammar & Rhetoric Schools

Mr. Andrew Waldy

Grammar & Rhetoric Schools

Mrs. Amanda Walker

Grammar & Rhetoric Schools

Mrs. Natalie Walls

Second Grade

Mrs. Lynn Wong

Grammar School

Administration

Mr. Mark Cotterman
Head of School

Mr. Mark Cotterman serves as Head of School. He holds a B.S. in Industrial and Systems Engineering from Ohio University and spent more than 25 years in the business consulting industry. Mr. Cotterman and his wife Lisa have three daughters, all of whom graduated from MHA. The Cotterman family attends Hope Evangelical Free Church.

 

Mr. James Waldy
Grammar School Principal / Dean of Faculty

Mr. James Waldy serves as Grammar School Principal and Dean of Faculty. He also teaches Astronomy in the Rhetoric School. He holds a B.A. in Elementary Education, an M.A. in Educational Administration from Tri-City Bible College, and an Ed.S. in Educational Administration from Bob Jones University. Mr. Waldy and his wife Tami have five children, all of whom have received a classical Christian education. Three of their children are MHA graduates. The Waldys attend Cincinnati Primitive Baptist Church. 

 

Mr. Matt Beatty
Dean of Academic Affairs

Mr. Matt Beatty serves as Dean of Academic Affairs. He has a B.A. in English from Grove City College and an M. Div. from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, with additional coursework in biblical counseling from Westminster Theological Seminary. Mr. Beatty and his wife Lynnae have four children: one MHA alumna and three MHA students. The Beatty family attends Kenwood Baptist Church.

 

Mrs. Lisa Cotterman
Finance Manager

Mrs. Lisa Cotterman serves as Finance Manager, and teaches Pre-Algebra and Algebra in the Rhetoric School. She holds a B.S. in Mathematics and a B.S. in Math Education from the University of Nebraska at Kearney. Mrs. Cotterman taught math for five years in the Houston, Texas area before moving to Cincinnati. She and her husband Mark have three daughters, all of whom are MHA graduates. The Cotterman family attends Hope Evangelical Free Church.

 

Mrs. Patsy Hall
Office Manager / Admissions Director

Mrs. Patsy Hall serves as Office Manager and Admissions Director. She earned a B.S. in Mathematics and Physics from the University of Cincinnati. Before joining MHA, Mrs. Hall was secretary and Director of Children's Ministries at Faith Presbyterian Church. She and her husband Chris have two children, both MHA graduates. They are members of Grace Bible Presbyterian Church.

 

Mrs. Lisa Knodel
Marketing & Communications Director

Mrs. Lisa Knodel serves as the Marketing and Communications Director. She earned her B.A. in English from Covenant College. With nearly 20 years of experience in school district communications and journalism, Mrs. Knodel was a Warren County education reporter, school district community relations coordinator, marketing and communications consultant, and freelance writer.  She and her husband, Chris, have two children who both attend MHA. They are members of Southwest Ohio Reformed Presbyterian Church.

 

Mrs. Erin Edwards
Office Support

Mrs. Erin Edwards serves as an Office Assistant.  She is a graduate of Purdue University with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering.  Mrs. Edwards and her husband Keith have two daughters, both MHA graduates.  They attend Center Pointe Christian Church.

 

Mrs. Barb Weitzel
Office Support

Mrs. Barb Weitzel serves as an Office Assistant.  She graduated from International Business College, and has worked as an insurance underwriter and as an executive secretary.  Mrs. Weitzel and her husband Chris have three children at MHA.  The family attends Kenwood Baptist Church.

 

Mrs. Lynnae Beatty
Athletic Coordinator / Office Support

Mrs. Lynnae Beatty serves as the Athletic Coordinator and Office Assistant.  She graduated from Grove City College with a B.A. in Elementary Education. Mrs. Beatty and her husband Matt have four children:  one MHA alumna and three MHA students.  The family attends Kenwood Baptist Church.

 

Faculty

Mrs. Melanie Ahern
Kindergarten

Mrs. Melanie Ahern teaches the afternoon session of full-day Kindergarten. She attended Grace College and earned an A. D. in Nursing. Mrs. Ahern homeschooled her two sons for Kindergarten with the MHA curriculum and began substitute teaching in 2002, which led to her current position. She and her husband Jim have three Mars Hill Academy graduates and attend Bible Chapel of Delhi Hills.

 

Dr. Michelle Augustine
Rhetoric School

Dr. Michelle Augustine teaches Logic and Rhetoric and also serves as a Senior Thesis advisor in the Rhetoric School. Dr. Augustine holds a Ph.D. in Sociology, with an emphasis in Criminology and Research Methodology/Statistics, from the University of Kentucky. Prior to becoming a mom, she taught at the university level, conducted quantitative research, and published in academic journals. Dr. Augustine has since been a grant writer for various non-profits, including MHA. She and her husband Bill have three children at Mars Hill Academy. They attend Cincinnati Primitive Baptist Church.

 

Mr. Paul Brinkerhoff
Rhetoric School

Mr. Paul Brinkerhoff teaches Logic and Christendom in the Rhetoric School. He earned a B.A. in History from Wheaton College and an M.A.R. from Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. Mr. Brinkerhoff has previously taught and served in administrative roles in Louisiana and in West Virginia. He and his wife Bette have four children, all of whom are MHA graduates. The Brinkerhoffs are members of Covenant OPC.

 

Dr. Michael Cernucan
Rhetoric School

Dr. Michael Cernucan teaches New Testament Survey, Rhetoric, and Spanish in the Rhetoric School, and serves as coordinator for the Senior Thesis program. He holds a B.A. in Philosophy from Wheaton College, an M.A. in Old Testament from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and a Ph.D. in Bible and Ancient Near East from Hebrew Union College.  He and his wife Amy have three young children, two who attend MHA. The family attends Providence Bible Fellowship.

 

Mrs. Maria Chastain
Kindergarten

Mrs. Maria Chastain teaches Kindergarten in the Grammar School. She earned a B.A. in Elementary Education from Cumberland College and a Master’s of Education from Union University in Jackson, TN.  Mrs. Chastain has ten years of teaching experience in Georgia, Tennessee, and Illinois. She and her husband Brian have four MHA students.  The family attends The River Church in Liberty Township.

 

Mrs. Lisa Cunningham
Fourth Grade

Mrs. Lisa Cunningham teaches fourth grade in the Grammar School. She has a B.A. in Music from Tennessee Temple University and a B.S. in Education from Shreveport Christian College, as well as 40+ graduate hours in education. Mrs. Cunningham homeschooled and taught in a Christian school in Houston prior to teaching at Mars Hill. She and her husband Lyn have six children: two current MHA students and four MHA graduates. The Cunningham family attends New City Presbyterian Church.

 

 

Mr. Lyn Cunningham
Rhetoric School

Mr. Lyn Cunningham teaches Literature & Composition, American Humanities, and Modernity in the Rhetoric School. He has an undergraduate degree in English and a law degree from the University of Houston. Mr. Cunningham left a 21-year-long career in law to join the MHA staff in 2011. He and his wife Lisa have six children: four MHA graduates and two current MHA students.  The family attends New City Presbyterian Church.

 

Mrs. Traci DeBra
Third Grade

Mrs. Traci DeBra teaches third grade, as well as fifth grade Grammar and Composition in the Grammar School. She holds a B.A. in English from Northern Kentucky University. Mrs. DeBra has taught literature and composition at the junior high and high school levels in public, private, and homeschool settings. She and her husband Josh have six children, including one MHA graduate and two current MHA students. The family attends Hope Evangelical Free Church.

 

Mrs. Leann Gage
Grammar School

Mrs. Leann Gage teaches 1st-6th grade P.E. She also assists with bookkeeping. Mrs. Gage has a B.B.A. in Accounting from Baylor University and a Masters in Accounting from the University of Texas. She and her husband, Joe, have three children, all of whom attend Mars Hill Academy. The Gage family attends North Cincinnati Community Church.

 

Mr. Tim Giese
Grammar & Rhetoric Schools

Mr. Tim Giese teaches fifth grade in the Grammar School and directs the choir and Chamber Singers in the Rhetoric School.  He holds a B.A. and M.A. in Music/Piano from Milligan College, and has completed some postgraduate studies.  Mr. Giese and his wife Mary have three sons, all MHA graduates. The family attends Trinity Reformed Episcopal Church.

 

Mrs. Tricia Hicks
Sixth Grade

Mrs. Tricia Hicks teaches sixth grade in the Grammar School. She earned a B.A. in Secondary Education, with an emphasis in History and English, from Calvin College. Mrs. Hicks taught ninth grade English in Michigan, and seventh and eighth grade Language Arts in Virginia. She and her husband Matt have four children: one MHA alumnus and three MHA students. The family attends North Cincinnati Community Church.

 

Mrs. Ruth Hopson
Grammar & Rhetoric Schools

Mrs. Ruth Hopson teaches fourth grade Math in the Grammar School, and Biology, Earth Science, and Algebra in the Rhetoric School. She holds a B.A. in Biology from the University of Tennessee in Chattanooga, and received training in classical teaching at Logos School in Moscow, Idaho. Mrs. Hopson and her husband Brian have three adult children (two MHA alumni), and attend Good Shepherd Orthodox Presbyterian Church.

 

Dr. Christopher Jero
Rhetoric School

Dr. Christopher Jero teaches Old Testament Survey, Biblical Interpretation, Latin, Hebrew, and Greek in the Rhetoric School. He holds a Bachelor of Music degree (violin) from the University of Northern Iowa, an M.A. in Old Testament from Columbia International University, and a Ph.D. in Hebrew and Cognate Studies from Hebrew Union College. Dr. Jero and his wife Rebecca have four children, two of whom attend MHA. The family attends Bible Chapel of Delhi Hills.

 

Mrs. Amy Kirk
Kindergarten

Mrs. Amy Kirk teaches Kindergarten. She holds a B.S. in Elementary and Early Childhood Education with a concentration in English Literature from Miami University. Mrs. Kirk taught first grade for five years in private and public school settings, and then homeschooled her children for 10 years. She and her husband Stephen have seven children: two MHA graduates and five current MHA students. The Kirk family attends Hope Church.

 

Mr. David Liebing
Sixth Grade

Mr. David Liebing teaches sixth grade in the Grammar School. He holds a B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Cincinnati. Mr. Liebing has experience in purchasing and materials management; teaching experience in church, co-op, and homeschool settings; and biblical counseling. He and his wife Ellen (second grade teacher) have five children, all MHA graduates. The family attends the Bible Chapel of Delhi Hills.

 

Dr. Laura Lucas
Grammar School

Dr. Laura Lucas teaches third through sixth grade science in the Grammar School.  She received a B.A. in Chemistry from William Jewell College (Liberty, MO) and went on to earn a Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry from the University of Kansas.  Dr. Lucas spent 12 years in Research and Development for the consumer products and flavor industries.  She and her husband Robie have two MHA students. The family attends Hope Church in Mason.

 

Mrs. Molly Milligan
Fourth Grade

Mrs. Molly Milligan teaches fourth grade, as well as fifth grade Grammar and Composition in the Grammar School. She holds a B.A. in English and a B.S. in Education from Miami University. Mrs. Milligan has taught grammar and writing classically for the past 15 years to her children and for homeschool groups. Before that, she taught high school literature and writing. Mrs. Milligan and her husband, Chris, have three daughters: two MHA graduates and one current sophomore. Their family attends Sycamore Presbyterian Church.

 

Mrs. Melanie Ruppersburg
Grammar School

Mrs. Melanie Ruppersburg teaches first and second grade Geography and History. She earned a B.A. in Elementary Education, with Minors in Bible and Math, from Cedarville University. Mrs. Ruppersburg previously taught the first and second grade Library class and second grade reading at MHA and middle school Math at a Christian school in Kentucky. She and her husband Ron have two children, both of whom attend MHA. Their family attends Faith Bible Church.

 

Mr. Andrew Stapleton
Rhetoric School

Mr. Andrew Stapleton teaches Antiquity, Apologetics, Greek, and Worldview in the Rhetoric School. He holds a B.A. in History and Christian Thought from Grove City College, and an M. Div. from Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. Mr. Stapleton and his wife Leah have three young children, one of whom attends MHA. The family attends North Cincinnati Community Church.

 

Mrs. Abby Taylor
First Grade

Mrs. Abby Taylor teaches first grade in the Grammar School. She earned a B.S. in Elementary Education from The Ohio State University and a Master's Degree in Education from the University of Dayton. Mrs. Taylor has previous experience teaching first grade, and also served as Women's Ministry Director at Hope Evangelical Free Church in Mason. She and her husband Steve have three children: two MHA graduates and one current MHA student. The family attends Hope Church.

 

Miss Betsy Thistleton
Grammar & Rhetoric Schools

Miss Betsy Thistleton teaches Rhetoric School math, including Algebra II, Geometry, and Calculus, as well as sixth grade Latin in the Grammar School.  She earned a B.S. with a double major in Mathematics and Religion from Hillsdale College, where she was a member of Kappa Mu Epsilon, a national math honorary, and a calculus tutor for the math department. Miss Thistleton graduated from Mars Hill Academy in 2012, and currently has four brothers attending the school.  She attends New City Presbyterian Church.

 

Mr. Andrew Waldy
Grammar & Rhetoric Schools

Mr. Andrew Waldy teaches fifth grade Grammar in the Grammar School, as well as Literature & Composition and History in the Rhetoric School. He graduated from Cair Paravel, a classical and Christian school in Topeka, Kansas. He went on to receive a B.A. in History and a B.A. in English from Grove City College. Mr. Waldy attends Christ the King Church.

 

Mrs. Amanda Walker
Grammar & Rhetoric Schools

Mrs. Amanda Walker teaches first through eighth grade Music and eighth grade Spanish. She also directs the MHA String Orchestras. An alumna of Mars Hill Academy, Mrs. Walker holds a B.A. in Music and Spanish from Hillsdale College and a Masters degree in Music Education from Bowling Green State University. Before coming to teach at MHA, she taught private and group string lessons in northwestern Ohio. Mrs. Walker and her husband Brad attend New City Presbyterian Church.

 

Mrs. Natalie Walls
Second Grade

Mrs. Natalie Walls teaches second grade in the Grammar School. She earned a B.A. in Elementary Education from Michigan State University and a Master's Degree in Middle Childhood Education from the University of Cincinnati. Mrs. Walls taught mathematics at Mason Middle School, and homeschooled her children before joining MHA. She and her husband Chris have three children at MHA. Their family attends Hope Church.

 

Mrs. Lynn Wong
Grammar School

Mrs. Lynn Wong teaches Kindergarten through third grade Art in the Grammar School. She earned a B.A. in Fine Arts and an M.A. in Art Education from Miami University. Mrs. Wong has taught in both public and private schools. After serving as Art Director for Senior Citizens, Inc., Mrs. Wong developed Made in His Image, a home-based business teaching art to homeschooled children. She and her husband Arthur have two children, one an MHA graduate. Their family attends Center Pointe Christian Church.

 

Employment at Mars Hill Academy is open to qualified individuals who are Christians of good character, without regard or reference to race, gender, national or ethnic origin, color, age, or disability.  Mars Hill Academy is a religious educational ministry, permitted to discriminate on the basis of religion. All prospective and current employees must agree with MHA’s Foundational Documents, Corporate Bylaws, and all of the guidelines and expectations in our Employee Handbook, and be willing to conduct their lives in conformity with the school's Statement of Faith and the school's declaration and agreement to ethical and moral integrity.

Please use one of the following application forms if you'd like to join the MHA team.