Administrative Leadership & Staff
Wendell Meadows, Head of School
Wendell Meadows assumed his duties as head of school at FACS in1996. His resume includes more than three decades of experience in Christian education. He has served as head of school at Christian schools in Georgia, California and Tennessee. Mr. Meadows holds a Bachelor of Science in education with a double major in history and Bible from Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida. He earned his Master of Science in education from Troy State University in Troy, Alabama. “To be able to interact with and develop relationships with students and point them toward Christ is an awesome privilege,” he said.
Joe Newman, Secondary Principal
Joe Newman, Ph.D., began teaching history at FACS in 1998 and became our dean of students in 2004. In 2006, he accepted his current position as secondary principal, overseeing personnel, course content, classroom instruction and student discipline. He holds a Bachelor of Science in philosophy and theology from North Central University in Minneapolis, Minnesota, a Master of Educational Administration from the University of Memphis, and a Ph.D. in U.S. history after 1877, also from the University of Memphis. Prior to coming to FACS, he served as a pastor in Texas, Louisiana and Tennessee, taught history in Louisiana and Tennessee, and served as headmaster at Frayser Assembly Christian School, Memphis.
Sharon Schaade, Elementary Principal
Sharon Schaade has served FACS in various capacities since 1976. She assumed her present duties in the July, 2013. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Evangel University and a Master of Arts in Counseling from Liberty University. Mrs. Schaade taught elementary school at FACS for 12 years beginning in 1976, served on the FACS School Board for several years while her children were preschool aged, served for a time as Chidren's Director for Memphis First Assembly, worked several years in an FACS administrative assistant position that involved curriculum coordination and discipline, and most recently served as guidance counselor and curriculum coordinator for the elementary school. "Our goal is to work alongside parents to lay a foundation spiritually, academically, and emotionally, that will help students become strong men and women who stand heads above their peers in their generation," Mrs. Schaade said.
Ellen DiGirolamo, Director of Admissions
Ellen DiGirolamo coordinates all FACS admissions activities. She received her Bachelor of Science in business administration from Evangel College in Springfield, Mo. Mrs. DiGirolamo has served in admissions at FACS since 2000. Previously, she worked as a sales representative for a major soft lines company. “I feel this is a continuation of experiencing and enjoying new relationships,” she said of the transition from business sales to admissions. “One of the very special times of my job is when I am able to sit in my office and pray with parents and students. I love being able to share that God is able to do exceedingly abundantly above anything we ask or think.”
Jeannie Smeltser, Director of School Counseling
Jeannie Smeltser coordinates testing for students in K-12, directs college and career planning activities, disseminates scholarship information, develops secondary student and master schedules, and coordinates senior graduation. Her department also conducts parent workshops, oversees character education activities, and provides personal counseling to secondary students. She graduated with honors with a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education and Master of Science in Education (with elementary and secondary school counseling endorsements) from the University of Memphis. Ms. Smeltser taught at FACS for nine years early in her career. She then worked in education in Texas and in counseling ministry in Indiana before assuming her current position with FACS in 1994.
Robert Downing, Director of Athletics
Robert Downing directs all FACS athletic programs. Mr. Downing holds a Bachelor of Science in Education from Delta State University and a Master of Education in Secondary Administration from Southeastern Louisiana University. He also holds educational certification PreK-12 in Tennessee and K-12 in Mississippi. Mr. Downing has 38 years’ experience in seven school settings, half as a classroom teacher and half as an administrator. This includes work as an assistant principal, director of transportation, and junior/senior high principal. He has coached for 30 years, serving elementary, secondary and college students in a variety of sports including football, baseball, softball, basketball and track. In addition to his full-time experience elsewhere, Mr. Downing has a long association with FACS as a parent and as a coach for and several FACS athletic teams.
Deborah Wade, Director of Communications
Deborah Wade directs the school's marketing and business communications functions including the school website, advertising, media relations, school publications, and email communication, and coordinates advancement efforts related to major gifts. She also serves as sponsor for the high school Student Ambassador student leadership organization. Mrs. Wade graduated with honors from Kansas State University with a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and a minor in speech. She also has completed development training with the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education and certification in grantwriting from The Grantsmanship Center Inc. She previously worked as education reporter for a Midwestern metro daily, creative supervisor for a regional advertising agency in the Northeast, and communications director for a national consumer finance company.
Carrie McDaniel, Director of Media Services
Carrie McDaniel, FACS Class of 2001, joined the administration as Media Services Director in 2007. She completed her Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education (emphasis in English) at Evangel University in Springfield, Missouri, and her Master of Science in Library and Information Science at Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Under her direction, the FACS library has become fully automated.
Merilyn Turman, Before & After-School Care
Merilyn Turman directs our elementary before- and after-school care programs as well as our summer Crusader Care program and coordinates our preschool licensure compliance. She has served FACS in early childhood education positions since 1987. Previously, she worked for several years as a Certified Dental Assistant and in the transportation industry. Of her work here, she says, "I am so thankful to God for allowing me the awesome privilege of watching the children grow in His love at FACS.
Kathy Petermann, IT Coordinator
Kathy Petermann joined the FACS staff in 2009. She coordinates all of the school's technology capabilities, including classroom instructional technology, the school's one-to-one laptop program, the school's iPad program, office technology and networking. She previously taught mathematics at FACS for several years. Mrs. Petermann holds a Bachelor of Arts in Education from the University of Mississippi in Oxford, MS, and a Master of Education from Union University. She previously chaired the Math Department at Southern Baptist Educational Center (now Northpoint). "When I was ten years old," she said, "God used my neighbors from First Assembly Christian Church to share the gospel with me through an after-school Bible study. I trusted the Lord at that time, and feel so blessed now to be able to serve Him here at FACS.
Jason Hall, Dean of Students for Men
Jason Hall serves as Dean of Students and as an assistant varsity football coach. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Bible and missions from Central Bible College in Springfield, Missouri. He also has studied history at the University of Memphis and commercial aviation at Delta State University. He is an ordained minister with the Assemblies of God, and served for seven years as a youth pastor before coming to FACS in 2005. “I’m thrilled to be at FACS because I believe in the school’s purpose and mission,” Mr. Hall said.
April Spain, Dean of Students for Women
April Spain began serving in a new position as Dean of Women in 2017. In addition to disciplinary and dress isues, Mrs. Spain is heavily involved in developing programs that promote spiritual development for girls at FACS. She previously taught phycical education and wellness and coached at FACS. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Education from the University of Memphis. Her favorite scripture is from Philippians, 4:13: "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
Clay Meadows, Junior High School Counseling
Clay Meadows joined FACS in 2008. In addition to teaching responsibilities, he develops and implements spiritual-development and peer-relationship programs for junior high students and provides counseling to junior high students. He holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology from Crichton University and is pursuing an advanced degree through Union University. He is a graduate of the FACS Class of 1999. Past work includes experience in retail management and banking. “My main goal at FACS is to allow God to use me in any way He wants for His purposes,” Mr. Meadows said.
Janet R. Adair, RN, CPNP
Janet Adiar provides school health educational programs to students, oversees screenings, audits immunization cards, manages school reporting to the State Health Department, trains faculty and staff on health issues, and provides CPR, First Aid and AED training. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, completed certification as a coronary care nurse with Greater Community Hospital in Creston, Iowa, and completed her Pediatric Nurse Practitioner training at the University of Iowa College of Nursing. She is a board-certified pediatric nurse practitioner. Ms. Adiar has nearly 40 years' experience in various nursing, research, and nursing administrative positions, including service to both Methodist/LeBonheur Healthcare and St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital.
Susan Gilmore, Office Manager
Susan Gilmore joined the FACS staff as an administrative assistant in 2007. She completed four years of childhood education at the University of Memphis. She has worked for more than five years as an administrative assistant, with experience at Christ United Methodist Church, Bellevue Baptist Church and Capital Investment Realty. "FACS does a fantastic job of pairing Biblical truth with all academic subjects," she comments.
Jennifer Sedory, Accounts Payable
Jennifer Sedory has worked in various finance positions for more than 16 years. Since her son Dylan’s first day in JrK at FACS six years ago, Jennifer says she has been in love with our school, the faculty, and the staff, adding that it has been her desire and prayer to find a place to serve with the FACS team. This year the Lord answered that prayer, as she has accepted a full-time position in the Finance Office as an FACS Bookkeeper. In her new role, Jennifer is responsible for the all of our payroll, our outgoing expenses, and our general accounting.
Angie Kerby, Accounts Receivable
Angie Kerby has a strong business background with experience in general office management, accounts payable and receivable, payroll and tax accounting. She is also experienced in marketing and sales. She came to FACS in March, 2016, from Regel ParmaLab in Germantown. She has also worked for HealthNet Federal Credit Union, Liquid Grafix, Bott Radio Network, and Synchronics, Inc. For ten years, she owned and operated her own business, SeaLyon Marine Hut & Canvas Works, at Pickwick Lake. Ms. Kerby earned an Associate’s Degree in Business Data Processing (minor in accounting) from State Technical Institute of Memphis and a Bachelor of Science in Marketing from Christian Brothers University.
Cindy Pillow, Finance Office Assistant
Cindy Pillow serves parents in the Finance Office. She began working at FACS in 2003 and previously served as a junior Kindergarten teacher and as an educational assistant. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of California at San Diego. “I’m so grateful and blessed to have a great job that I love,” she said.
Peggy Nickles, School Store Manager
Peggy Nickles manages our school store, The Gathering Place. Peggy’s diverse creativity has produced many twists and turns throughout her life. Retail merchandiser, artist, giftware creator, public speaker, author, lyricist, founder of The Beautiful Hat Society, and creator of Hymn Blessings are all roles she has enjoyed in her various artistic expressions. She also has worked as an administrative assistant for Holt Engineering. “The Lord is constantly changing us, making us into vessels He chooses to use at different times, in different ways, and in different situations.” Peggy said adding that she is “very blessed that God has chosen to weave FACS into the fabric of my life.”
Karen Lane, Office Receptionist
Karen Lane has welcomed our parents and students in the school office since 2004, and now welcomes them to the office in our new educational building. Prior to moving to the office position, she taught junior kindergarten here for one year. She also worked as an educational assistant at Altruria Elementary School. “I love the students and enjoy getting to know their parents,” she comments.
Carolyn Long, Administrative Assistant
Carolyn Long joined the FACS staff in 2008 and serves as administrative assistant in the Guidance Office where she maintains school records. She also serves as sponsor for the secondary school Chapel Band. Mrs. Long has been active on Memphis-area worship teams for the last nine years. As an independent artist, she has released two CDs.
Judy Bragg, Administrative Assistant
Judy Bragg serves as an administrative assistant to the elementary principal. This includes coordination of the FACS School of Music under the direction of the elementary principal. Mrs. Bragg previously taught the FACS SPARK Program, SrK, JrK, second and third grades, and music, and served as a substitute teacher, all at FACS. Mrs. Bragg holds a Bachelor of Science in Education from the University of Memphis. “My favorite verse is Proverbs 22:6: ‘Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.’”
Carolyn Tidwell, Elementary Coordinator
Carolyn Tidwell has been at FACS since the school was founded in 1972, teaching in the elementary classroom as well as coordinating the school's reaccreditation efforts until assuming her current duties in 2017. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from the University of Memphis. Mrs. Tidwell has been listed in Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers every year since 1990. She also received the FACS Excellence in Teaching Award in 1994 and the Dr. James E. Hamill Award in 2011.
Dee Dee Volz, Photographer, Office Receptionist
Dee Dee Volz takes most of the photos for the school's web site, Legacy Magazine, and various marketing and advertising materials. She has a strong background in photography, including several years of operating her own portrait studio. Ms. Volz also serves parents and other school visitors as a receptionist in the main school office, the junior high office, and the Jones Center for Guidance and Counseling.
Cindy Delugach, Attendance Secretary
Mrs. Delugach joined the FACS staff full time in 2016 as Attendance Secretary. She previously served as a substitute teacher and as a long-term sub in the Attendance Office.
Judi Bramlett, Athletic Office Assistant
Mrs. Bramlett serves as administrative assistant to the Athletic Director. She began work at FACS in 1999 as a substitute teacher and has worked at FACS as an elementary educational assistant, junior high physical education teacher, freshman girls' wellness and physical education teacher, and varsity volleyball and softball coach.