Joyce Parr, M.Ed.  – Principal,  Academic Teacher

Mrs. Parr has over 20 years of experience as a teacher and an administrator in both public and private schools.  She has a Bachelors of Science in Elementary and Middle Education from Liberty University, Lynchburg, VA and a Masters of Education in Educational Leadership from Lynchburg College, Lynchburg, VA.   Mrs. Parr has been a big sister in the Big Brother/Big Sister program, and she, along with her husband,  were foster parents and later became therapeutic foster parents. Her passion for her faith, curriculum, instruction, teacher support, and reaching each child is evident to those who know her.  A couple of Mrs. Parr’s favorite verses are Exodus 14:13-14  – 13 Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. 14 The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”


Donna HansonAcademic Teacher

Mrs. Hanson has over 17 years of full time teaching in grades first through sixth in both public and private schools, and she has over 10 years of experience homeschooling her children while teaching Physical Education in a home school cooperative. Mrs. Hanson’s experience also includes establishing a successful home school cooperative of 400 students and serving as Vice President of that cooperative.  She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from York College of Pennsylvania in York, PA and earned credits in Science and Math Curriculum from Loyola College in Prince George, MD.  Her  motto for education is “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember.  Involve me and I learn.” — Ben Franklin.  She also loves to watch children’s excitement as they discover the power of prayer!  Anyone who knows Mrs. Hanson knows she is passionate about her faith and she excels at providing instruction in a fun, creative, and “hands-on” way to her students!


Melissa Holyfield – Academic Teacher

Mrs. Holyfield has over 16 years of teaching experience in grades 2nd – 8th in both public and private schools. She has a Bachelor of Science in Education (K-8) from Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA.  Mrs, Holyfield especially enjoys teaching reading and writing, and she believes “There is no such thing as a child who hates to read; there are only children who have not found the right book. ” ( Frank Serafini)  In her free time, Mrs. Holyfield loves to read, watch baseball, and spend time with her family.  She believes in Christian education and loves being able to share her faith with her students.  A verse that means a lot to her is Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”


Jane Hopkins – Academic Teacher

Mrs. Hopkins has many years of experience teaching physical education, speech, and special education.  She has a Master of Education degree in Administration and Supervision from National Louis University, Chicago, IL and a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Physical Education and a minor in Speech Communication.  Mrs. Hopkins also holds a certificate for coursework completed in Special Education from the University of Central Arkansas. Her experience includes coaching high school volleyball and football.


John Hopkins – High School Teacher

Mr. Hopkins has a Bachelor of Education degree from the University of North Texas in Denton, TX with a minor in Physical Education/Kinesthiology, and he has a certificate or coursework completed in Special Education from the University of Central Arkansas.  He has experience teaching algebra, consumer education, economics, geometry, government, Spanish and Woodshop, and he has coached baseball, football, and track.  Mr. Hopkins has also been an Athletic Director, Lead Teacher, and established and supervised the student government at the previous high school for which he worked.

Aside from Mr. Hopkins’ experience, he loves the Lord. He and his wife lead Bible studies at their previous church before relocating the Virginia.


Melissa DiGrazio  – Music Teacher

 Melissa DiGrazio started dancing at the age of 5 and continued her training studying ballet, tap, and jazz at the Kathleen Academy of Dance in Hillsborough, NJ. There she was trained to teach the 3-6 year old program as well as tap and jazz classes for children and adults. Other dance training includes classes at Broadway Dance Center in NYC and workshops throughout NJ, VA, and NY. Throughout her childhood, she had participated in school choirs, dance performances, and musicals. Miss Melissa graduated from Piscataway High School in Piscataway NJ in 1993 with honors and was part of the award winning concert choir as well as lead roles of Peggy Sawyer in “42nd Street” and Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz.” In July 1998 she received her Kindermusik certification and began teaching the following fall. She graduated Cum Laude from Rowan University in Glassboro, NJ  in May 1999 with a Bachelors of Arts  in Music. Since completing her education, she has been working “for” children for the past 18 years with roles of camp counselor and director, after-school teacher, dance teacher, pre-school music teacher, piano teacher, and substitute teacher. She is a member of the Charlottesville Music Teachers Association and the Blue Ridge Partnership for Kindermusik Educators and is currently the music teacher at Millstone of Ivy Preschool in Ivy, VA and a dance instructor at Angell’s School of Dance in Palmyra, VA since 2003.  She continues her Kindermusik education yearly at the Kindermusik International Conventions which are held throughout the US each fall.  Since 1998, “Miss Melissa” has been highly involved with “Camp Happy Times”, a one-week summer camp for children
with cancer, as a counselor. In her spare time (yeah right!) she spends loving the outdoors, especially the beach, and relaxing with family and friends.
Christy Krammes – Spanish and Art Teacher

Mrs. Krammes has a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Bridgewater College in Bridgewater, VA and a Masters of Arts in Teaching from Mary Baldwin University in Staunton, VA.  She has over 10 years of experience in both public and private schools teaching preschool students up to high school students.  For the last decade, she has taught Spanish at the middle and high school level.  Mrs. Krammes has also taught public and private painting parties for Fun Night Art.  Being extremely artistic, she loves to incorporate art and creativity into Spanish as well. She believes that being “hands-on” and artistic is the best way to retain information.


Teri Landow – High School Teacher

Mrs. Landow has a Bachelor of Arts in History, with a minor in English, from Mary Baldwin University in Staunton, VA.  She is also a member of Phi Alpha Theta, the National History Honor Society. For several years she taught art for Kindergarten through 8th grades at The Light Academy, incorporating history into each lesson, if possible.   In her classes, Mrs. Landow likes to leave what she calls “mustard seeds” in her students – bits of information to help them grow, become curious, and help them reach further to become the best version of themselves, and can share their knowledge with the world.

Jesus told them another parable: “The Kingdom of heaven is like this.  A man takes a mustard seed and sows it in his field.  It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it grows up, it is the biggest of all plants.  It becomes a tree, so that birds come and make their nests in its branches.”   Matthew 13:31-32


Wendy Nichols – History

Mrs, Nichols has a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Lynchburg College in Lynchburg, VA.  Her experience includes home schooling her children, working as a substitute teacher, being a school nurse, working as the Assistant Director for a preschool, serving as the Children’s Ministry Director  and teaching Sunday School at her church, and teaching history for several years at her home-school cooperative.   She believes teaching using a variety of methods – visual, auditory, tactile, games. presentations, projects, and “hands-on” activities make learning effective and fun!


Tami Russell – High School Physical Education

Mrs. Russell owned a fitness studio in Pittsburg, PA and taught classes there before relocating to Palmyra, VA earlier this year. She has a Bachelor of Science in Recreational Therapy from Longwood College in Farmville, VA.  Her experience and certification includes being an ACE certified personal trainer,  a POUND certified group fitness instructor, and she has experience working with high school exercise group.  Mrs. Russell has also volunteered with Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Pittsburg, PA.