Over half of Hilger Higher Learning’s faculty and staff have over ten years of teaching and administration experience at Hilger Higher Learning! In addition, our faculty and staff have well over 200 years of combined teaching and administration experience, in private schools, public schools and at Hilger Higher Learning. Our faculty and staff consider it a privilege and honor to teach students who are in the process of being homeschooled. While most of our teachers have vast teaching experience, many of our faculty and staff have also homeschooled their own children, so they understand how to best help homeschool students in the learning process. Teachers provide weekly accountability of assigned and turned-in homework, as well as feedback on graded assignments. Also, tests and quizzes taken in the classroom are graded and handed back with comments. Our teachers love helping students learn and fully understand what is being taught in and out of the classroom! We invite you to learn more about our faculty and staff by reading over their short biographies.
Eddy Hilger: Administrator
Eddy and his wife, Carlee, are the founders of Hilger Higher Learning, Inc. In 1995, Eddy graduated from Covenant College, with a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies, with emphases in Biology and Physical Education. After helping start Clumpies Ice Cream Co., he coached the cross country team and worked in the admission’s office at Covenant College. In 2004, Eddy realized his life-long dream of becoming a professional athlete when he signed his first contract to race as a professional cyclist. After riding for 3 professional teams and racing in 10 countries around the world, he retired in 2007. His foresight and academic vision for the homeschool community aided Carlee in the development of Hilger Higher Learning since its inception. Over the years, Eddy’s desire to serve the homeschool community has grown more and more. Now he serves full time as the head administrator for Hilger Higher Learning. Eddy and Carlee have 4 children: Jackson (14), Kenzie (12), Brooks (8) and Kervens (7).
Carlee Hilger: Biology, Anatomy & Physiology
Carlee and her husband, Eddy, are the founders of Hilger Higher Learning, Inc. In 1995, she graduated magna cum laude from Covenant College, with a B.A. in Natural Science. For the next three years, she taught high school science and coached both basketball and tennis at Landmark Christian School in Atlanta, Georgia. Upon her return to the Chattanooga area in 1998, she created what is known as Hilger Higher Learning. The combination of her passion for homeschooling, out-going personality, and love for teaching Biology and Anatomy was the catalyst behind HHL. After 19 years, her goal is still the same as it was at the outset… to offer quality education classes with a biblical worldview to homeschooled students in the Chattanooga area. Eddy and Carlee have 4 children: Jackson (14), Kenzie (12), Brooks (8) and Kervens (7).
Lois Anderson: Administrative Assistant to Administrator
Lois was born in Mexico City and lived there for 10 years, a daughter of missionaries. In 1975, she graduated magna cum laude from Biola University, La Mirada, California. While in college, she traveled extensively overseas with evangelistic drama teams. She has also served as secretary for evangelistic broadcasters, pastors, missionaries, hospital administrators, and lawyers. She is married to Dr. Ken Anderson, who served as music professor at Covenant College for 11 years. Lois home educated their six children for over 25 years, and has been teaching and assisting at HHL for many years. A few of their children have taken classes at HHL at the high school level. She loves to serve others, encourage young people to learn and grow and likes to help keep things organized and efficient. Her listening ear, care, love, experience, and gentle spirit are a delight to have at Hilger Higher Learning.
Tamela Bacon: Spanish I and II
Tammy is a 1995 graduate of Covenant College. She spent several months living and studying in Central America. While she was there, she had the opportunity to volunteer at an orphanage in Costa Rica. After returning from Costa Rica, she acted as a translator on a mission trip to Mexico. She taught Spanish I, II, and III at Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas, Nevada from 1996-2002. Tammy began teaching Spanish at HHL in 2002 and has played a vital role in providing Hilger students with an excellent Spanish curriculum. Her excellent teaching style, eagerness to improve, and care for students are but a few of her traits. Her desire to see students understand the Spanish language and culture are other wonderful attributes she brings to the Hilger family. Tammy and her husband, Mike, who is a teacher at Chattanooga Christian School, have 4 children.
Julie Bingham: Physical Science and Chemistry
Julie graduated from Covenant College in 1995 with a B.A. in Chemistry and a minor in Mathematics. During college, she worked as a chemist at Taylor Laboratories. Upon graduation, she was offered a position as a research and development chemist at Alco Chemical Company where she worked for four years. Julie came on board with Hilger Higher Learning in 2001 and has steadily improved our Physical Science and Chemistry classes. Her experience as a chemist and over 15 years of teaching enables Julie to teach her students the practical side of these rather challenging classes. Along with teaching at Hilger, Julie is an adjunct chemistry professor at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, where she teaches chemistry labs. Julie and her husband, Keith, who is also a teacher, have two children.
Peter Bradshaw: Logic, Middle School Literature and Composition, Middle School Ancient Civilizations, Middle School World History, Middle School American History, High School Literature and Composition (English I & II) and Critical Thinking and Skill Building Games (Elementary age)
Peter graduated in 2014 from Covenant College with a B.A. in English. He then moved to Cairo, Egypt to be the middle school English, History, and Geography teacher at a small international school where he taught for two years. He especially likes helping students to see the beauty which can be found and created in words. Peter enjoys Poetry, Logic, Literature, and the Middle Ages. He wrote his Senior Thesis as a poetry sequence, blending seasonal imagery from the southeast with the cycles of the Church calendar. Having grown up on the unique land of Southern California, Peter’s heart is also very rooted to particular places and loves to teach students to see the goodness of particulars of every context. He is now glad to be in the Chattanooga area.
Kim Crossman: Beginning Elementary Science and Elementary Science
Kim graduated magna cum laude from Covenant College in 1987 with a Biology major and Chemistry minor. After college, she worked at Erlanger hospital and as a chemist for the City of Chattanooga. For over a decade, she has been teaching and developing the science curriculum for the Mother’s Day Out Program at Lookout Mountain Presbyterian Church. Kim’s favorite aspect of teaching science is watching children’s eyes light up as they learn about God’s world. Kim came on board with Hilger Higher Learning in 2009. She is incredibly nurturing with our elementary students, and her love for children is very evident. In addition, she creates a positive classroom environment with encouragement, excitement, control and a good listening ear. Kim and her husband, Brian, who is a professor at Covenant College, have three children.
Sarah Duble: Middle School Science
Sarah graduated from Covenant College in 1997 with a B.A. in Middle School Education. She also received her A.A. in Basic Health Sciences from Covenant in 1994. After college she taught 6th grade English, P.E. and Art at Chattanooga Christian School. When she first came to Hilger Higher Learning in 2002, she taught elementary science and elementary Spanish. When the middle school science position opened up, she jumped right in and has since created an excellent 3 year middle school science curriculum. In teaching science, she hopes students become more amazed by our Creator, who made all things, and leave her class with a desire to learn more about God’s creation. Sarah and her husband Troy live on Lookout Mountain with their five children.
Stephanie Dunn: Elementary History and Bible, Middle School Latin I, and High School Latin I & II
Seeking to deepen her understanding of the Bible, Stephanie graduated cum laude from Austin Peay State University in 2010 with a B.A. in Classics and a minor in History. She is a member of the American Classical League, National Junior Classical League and the Tennessee Junior Classical League. Stephanie came to HHL in 2014 after teaching High School Latin, Mythology and Etymology for 3 years at Riverdale High School. She has served extensively in youth, music, and mission’s ministries since she was a teen. The Lord brought many opportunities in 2010 with travel to Corinth, Athens, Mycenae, Greece and Haiti. Stephanie has a passion for ancient languages, youth ministry, Biblical studies, music, and missions. She seeks to inspire students to delve deeper into the Word of God and as a result, gain confidence in knowing who they are in Christ.
Pam Fields: Government, Economics, World Geography, US History, and World History
Pam holds a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and a master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction, with certifications in both Special Education and Reading. She has 35 years’ experience as teacher and educational diagnostician, including 10 years homeschooling her 2 daughters. Pam began teaching at Hilger Higher Learning in 2004, and has helped develop nearly all of our Social Studies and History classes. Pam also is on the staff of Signal Mountain Christian Homeschool Co-op, where she teaches History, Latin, English Grammar, Writing, and Study Skills for a group of Middle School students. Additionally, Pam continues her part-time private practice as a Learning Specialist and Educational Diagnostician. Further, Pam was recently awarded the Chattanooga Chapter of Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge Distinguished Teacher Award. Actively involved at her home church of Signal Mountain Presbyterian, Pam leads a weekly women’s Bible Study on Thursday evenings and teaches Confirmation/Disciple classes each winter/spring. She also serves on the board of Student Venture, the Middle and High School Ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ (Cru). Pam and her husband Jim have been married for 30 years and have two grown daughters, Emily and Catherine. Pam enjoys reading, hiking, travel and discipling girls and young women. Her family shares a passion for missions and evangelism.
Sherrie Forrest: Algebra I and Geometry
Sherrie graduated from Arkansas State University in 1992 with a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics Education. She taught for a few years in Arkansas before starting a family with her husband Joey. She felt called to put her career on hold to stay home with her children for nearly 20 years. After renewing her teaching certification, she took a temporary position at Ooltewah High School. Since then, she decided to homeschool her daughter and has been involved at HHL. After substitute teaching Geometry a few times at HHL, she knew she would love to teach in a Christian environment. She again has felt a calling on her life; this time to mentor students and try to foster a love for mathematics in them. She loves to teach mathematics in creative ways, always referring students back to The One who created this geometric world. She loves running, being outdoors, volunteering in the youth program at her church, and spending time with her family. She is very excited to be able to openly share her faith while teaching mathematics. Sherrie and her husband, Joey, have three children.
Bev Fowler: Personal Finance and Health & Wellness
Bev was born in Kentucky but grew up here in Chattanooga. She graduated from Girls’ Preparatory School and then went to Fort Worth, TX where she completed her B.S. in Education, magna cum laude, from Texas Christian University. For several years she taught and substituted at schools in Fort Knox, KY and Colorado Springs, CO. After that, God blessed her with children and she transitioned to being a stay-at-home mom while also leading Precept Bible studies. In the summer of 2009 she qualified as a Personal Trainer with NFPT and currently holds that certification while helping private clients. Bev also recently completed MoneyLife Mentor training with Crown Financial Ministries. Her four children have been homeschooled since their birth and enjoy several classes at HHL. Bev loves books, learning, being outdoors, and organic strawberries! She believes it is of utmost importance that believers are good stewards of all their blessings such as: talents, time, possessions, and health. She is very excited to help students towards that end by teaching the Personal Finance and Health & Wellness classes.
Shelley George: Elementary Creative Writing and Grammar, Middle School Literature & Composition, High School Literature & Composition, (English I-IV), Contemporary Christian Authors, College Composition, CS Lewis & JRR Tolkien, ACT Workshop
Shelley is a 1995 cum laude graduate of Christian Heritage College (now known as San Diego Christian College), where she was voted Female Student of the Year in 1995 and earned a B.A. degree in English with a minor in Physical Education. She has been teaching English and coaching since 1995. She was voted Middle School Teacher of the Year in 1999 at Landmark Christian School in Atlanta, GA. While Carlee Hilger and Shelley are best friends and grew up together, Landmark is where she and Carlee first began teaching together. Shelley also worked for 7 years at Providence Christian School in Dothan, AL. She served as the Girls Athletic Director, Dean of Students, and taught several English and Physical Education classes. She was voted Coach of the Year (1-3A) after her Varsity girls basketball team completed a 29-0 season in 2004. Shelley came to HHL in 2005 and has helped build an amazing English department in our Elementary, Middle and High School. Her passion to help students of all ages learn, along with her incredible knowledge and encouraging spirit are a delight. She enjoys encouraging students in the identification and development of their gifts. Shelley also enjoys any activity that is outdoors!
Ellie Henry: High School Choir & Music Appreciation
Ellie holds a Bachelor of Music Degree from Covenant College. She has been performing since age 3, and has played leading roles in The Sound of Music, Hello Dolly, Annie, Fiddler on the Roof, Guys and Dolls, and Bye Bye Birdie. She has also given several classical recitals. She has been giving voice lessons for four years but has a passion for working with choirs. Before coming to HHL in 2012, Ellie worked with the Chattanooga Christian Ladies Chorale on tours to New York City and Orlando, Florida. She has been a part of church music all her life. Her husband David is currently a full time music minister at Lookout Mountain Presbyterian Church. While a student at Covenant, Ellie worked as an assistant director for the North Shore Fellowship children’s choir as well as volunteering for the youth group at Lookout Mountain Presbyterian Church. Ellie loves to help other singers see God’s character in the beauty of music, and gain confidence in using their voices in worship.
Tina Holcombe: Elementary Choir, Middle School Choir and Ladies Ensemble
Tina received her bachelor’s degree from Tennessee Temple University in 1987. She holds a degree in Christian School Music Education and has taught music in some form or fashion ever since graduating from college. Teaching alongside her husband for 5 years before starting a family, Tina taught at Stone Mountain Christian School as the general music teacher, private piano instructor, and band director. The band won several awards in the state of Georgia’s Christian School Association while under her direction, as well as 2nd place on the national level. After moving to Chattanooga so her husband could take a full time position as Worship Pastor at Grace Baptist Church, Tina created the Chattanooga Homeschool Band in 1995, and consistently has 55-60 students each year. Tina also directed the middle and high school choirs of Grace Academy from 2001-2014, where the choir consistently received superior ratings at choral events. Teaching music is a great joy for Tina, and after coming to HHL in 2016, she is thrilled to be working with the students at Hilger Higher Learning. She believes that music is a beautiful creation of God that brings glory to Himself, while simultaneously blessing the music makers with the thrill of creating and participating in an art form. Tina will lead the choirs with this truth at the forefront. She believes that singing and making melody in our hearts to the Lord is an act of obedience for those who love the Lord. Plus, it is just a ton of fun! Tina and her husband, Fred, have three older children.
Ellie Ingle: Middle School Math #1, Middle School Math #2, and Pre-Algebra
Ellie graduated from Covenant College in 2001 with a B.A. in Middle School Education. She received her degree with honors. Soon after graduating she taught seventh grade math at Chattanooga Valley Middle School, located in Walker County, Georgia, for four years. In 2004 she came on board with Hilger and has continued to improve our middle school math program. She loves to be hands-on with middle school students and help them fully grasp mathematical concepts. In addition, she enjoys middle school students’ great curiosity when it comes to how math might be used in their future. Her goal is for students to learn practical ways that math is used in their lives. Ellie and her husband Josh have three young boys.
Marissa Kuntze: Middle School and High School Bible
Marissa graduated from Northern Michigan University in 1997 with a B.S. in Nursing and allied Sciences and a minor in Psychology. She spent the next six years working for Neighborhood Family Center educating special needs children and mentoring families to accommodate their child’s special needs. During this time Marissa was an active elementary and middle school substitute teacher in several communities. Marissa relocated to Wisconsin in 2006 and then to Chattanooga in 2009. Marissa has been an involved member in her Christian faith community her entire adult life. As a single, she was involved as a youth leader. As a mother, she involved herself with “moms” groups and nursery ministry. Over the last 12 years she has participated in children’s church ministries. She has participated in Bible Study curriculum at Precept Ministries International beginning in January 2010 and now volunteer teaches a youth class each week. Marissa resides in Soddy Daisy, TN, with her husband and two daughters. She became acquainted with HHL as a home-school mom, where her daughters were enrolled. This connection, her deep love of God’s Word, and His open door, led her to a teaching opportunity at Hilger in the fall of 2014.
Joyce McPherson: Creative Writing Workshop
Joyce has a Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and is currently studying for a doctorate in education at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. She has been a columnist for Practical Homeschooling and Welcome Home Magazine and has published seven children’s biographies. Her lively biographies illustrate the impact of the Christian worldview on western civilization. She is also the mother of nine children. She has been a homeschool educator since 1992 and currently directs the Homeschool Shakespeare Troupe. In her spare time she enjoys reading history, working with young people, and writing. Joyce has offered the Creative Writing workshop at HHL on several occasions. She wants to help students apply the concept that they are sub-creators under Christ so that they can use their gifts to work out our Lord’s command to “love one another.”
Olivia Oster: Middle School Literature and Composition
Olivia graduated from Covenant College with a B.A. in English in 2000. After college, she spent a year teaching English as a Second Language in China before marrying her college sweetheart and settling on Lookout Mountain. From 2001-2003 she enjoyed teaching middle school English at East Lake Academy in Chattanooga. From 2003 until now, she has taught at various homeschool tutorials, and for the past seven years she has taught her own five children at home. This year she is teaching ESL to Chinese children online as well as homeschooling two of her children and teaching a class at Hilger Higher Learning. She loves writing curriculum and preparing for multi-sensory, interactive lessons that challenge and draw in the student. In her free time, Olivia loves to read, bake, travel, practice yoga, hike, and go on dates with her husband. She is constantly in awe of her Father God and His provision and love.
Trista Plantholt: Our “Catalyst”
Trista Plantholt was born in Memphis, TN, but lived most of her life on the Emerald Coast in Northwest FL. She graduated from the University of West FL with a B.S. in social work/counseling. Shortly after graduation, she and her husband, Mike, were married. Trista worked as a youth counselor for foster care teens until she and her husband were blessed with two children, at which point she became a stay-at-home mom. In 2007, Trista and her family moved to Chattanooga, TN. She began homeschooling the same year. Both of her children attended HHL for high school. She plays a key role in managing her father’s ministry, Billy Gray Ministries. She has co-authored, and edited several books with him. Trista has been a part of the HHL staff since 2013, serving as study hall monitor and an extra hand to Lois Anderson. She has loved every minute of getting to be a part of the Hilger students’ lives. Although she started as merely the Study Hall Monitor, she has stepped into many roles and has amazing rapport with students, faculty and parents.
Rachel Scott: Algebra I and Algebra II
Rachel grew up in Cleveland, Tennessee, and graduated summa cum laude from Tennessee Technological University in 1995 with a BS in Civil Engineering and a minor in Mathematics. After teaching a year of high school math near Nashville, she and her husband relocated to Ohio with his job, and she worked with a mutual fund company. When her first child was born, Rachel stayed home to be a full-time mom and began homeschooling five years later. For almost a decade, Rachel has been homeschooling her three daughters and tutoring many students in math. Upon coming to teach at HHL in 2012, it’s evident that Rachel’s desire is to help students learn and understand math, while seeing the orderliness of God in His creation. She and her husband Brian attend church with their family at Woodland Park Baptist Church, where Rachel serves their AWANA program as a TNT leader.
Emily Ann Simpson: Elementary, Middle School and High School Art
In 2nd grade, a peer asked Emily Ann Simpson what she wanted to be when she grew up. As she was putting the finishing touches on a “Rainbow Fish” art project, she said, “An artist, of course!” Her love for the arts became more apparent as she drew in the dirt on the softball field instead of playing short stop, and sang My Heart Will Go On from Titanic on the soccer field instead of playing defense. In high school, under the instruction of Sandra Kandros, she was challenged to push past her comfort zone with new materials and ideas. She and Kandros shared a faith in Christ, love for art, and love for people. Kandros was ultimately the one who challenged Simpson to become an art teacher – an idea she had never considered. In 2012, Emily Ann traveled to NYC for 3 weeks on the NYC Tribeca Arts Summer Project where she realized her passion for the integration of art and faith. Post-summer project, the hunt was on for ways to use her art to share Christ with others. The art department quickly became her mission field as well at Life Care Center of East Ridge, where she worked as an Art Therapy intern. In 2014, she graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in Art Education from The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Over the last three years, Emily Ann has taught art at Barger Academy of Fine Arts and Normal Park Museum Magnet. Now, in her 4th year of teaching, she is excited to make a mess and have fun with Hilger students. She is eager to nurture and guide students as they play a part in the redemption of creativity that the world has so skewed. She hopes to inspire a love of art in her students and to show them how it can be used in relating to and glorifying God. She is also looking forward to helping students see the power that art has in helping us to understand the Bible, and how art can be a tool in sharing the good news.
Meleah Smith: Biblical Worldview
Meleah grew up in one of South Carolina’s home education pioneer families where she graduated high school in 2000. Being brought up with a love of learning and always being encouraged to think, Meleah naturally developed a love for worldview studies. She served on summer staff with the Summit Ministries worldview and leadership camp at Bryan College and Cedarville University for seven consecutive summers. During this timeframe, she started her college career at the University of South Carolina Honors College as a Palmetto Scholar. She then transferred to Bryan College where she was a part of the Bryan College worldview team and traveled the southeast doing programs at churches and Christian schools. Meleah graduated magna cum laude with her B.A. in Communication in 2004. Since her senior year of high school, Meleah has been a youth leader, actively involved in discipling students. She has a strong passion to help others understand not only what they believe, but why they believe it so they can defend it with love and grace. Meleah has been actively involved at HHL since 2011, both as a faculty member and consultant helping with marketing, social media and coaching (which is what she does for her “day” job).
Carla Stevenson: Pre-Calculus and ACT Math Workshop
Carla Stevenson has a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Tennessee Technological University, 1982. She taught in the Electrical Engineering Technology department at Chattanooga State off and on for 15+ years. She taught high school math classes to home school students in her home for a number of years while home schooling her own children. After teaching at HHL for a few years, she decided to take a year off, but is back with us. Currently, she is self-employed as a math, physics, and sometimes chemistry tutor. She tutors students at McCallie in the upper school learning center, and she has students from other private and public schools as well as home school students. She and her husband have lived in Chattanooga for 34 years and have 3 grown children. They are active at Covenant Presbyterian Church.
Kim Tisdale: Elementary, Middle School and High School Drama
Missouri native Kim Tisdale’s love of theater began in high school with a shy and reluctant entry into a drama class that ended with leading roles in plays such as All American and A Thurber Carnival. That love continued through college where she graduated cum laude in 1991 with a B.A. in Theater and minors in both Music and English from Central Methodist University in Fayette, MO. Kim has enjoyed leading roles in both musicals and plays such as Two by Two, Nunsense, Plaza Suite, The Cherry Orchard, and Agnes of God, among others, and has directed and co-directed plays as well, the most recent being Shakespeare’s The Tempest in Chattanooga’s very own home-school Shakespeare Festival. She served as wardrobe mistress at Ballet Tennessee in their productions of A Christmas Carol and Cinderella and has, since 2009, served as costumer and wardrobe mistress at Chattanooga Ballet for their productions of The Nutcracker, as well as various other productions. From 2001-2004, Kim was privileged to work as the Children’s Ministry Coordinator at Christ Church Episcopal, in Chattanooga, where she discovered a passion for teaching children of all ages. Her goal in reaching students of theater is to see their enjoyment and growth in their art, and to assist in their greater understanding of God’s joy in His children as they “do all to the glory of God.” Kim began teaching at HHL in 2012. She lives in Chattanooga with her husband Michael and their three children.
Cathy Youngblood – Language Arts, Elementary Literature, and Elementary Math
From the earliest days of her Signal Mountain upbringing, Cathy Youngblood has been drawn to children’s literature. Whether from her mother’s playful reminder from a book to be a “polite little elephant” or helping a childhood friend who insists that Cathy taught her to read when they were girls, children’s books and their influence have always been an integral part of her life. After graduating from Girls Preparatory School, that fondness only continued and thrived at Vanderbilt University where she received a BS in Education and a MEd in Language and Literacy. She has served as an elementary school teacher in Nashville and in Orlando, always aspiring, among other things, to cultivate a love of literature and reading within the children she was entrusted to nurture and teach. That aspiration became more focused upon the arrival of her first child, when she left the classroom to stay home to nurture her own family and children. Cathy is a member of Rock Creek Fellowship on Lookout Mountain where her husband, Eric, is the senior pastor. She is the privileged mother of two boys who (thankfully) love to read. Cathy came to HHL in the fall of 2014 and continues to be eager in sharing her joy and passion for children’s books with our elementary students.