New Staff at Amelia AcademyBy Jean Tremaine
Several new faces greeted students at Amelia Academy this fall. The Upper School welcomed Mont Linkenauger, Jason Morris and Martha Womack. Between them, they bring more than 75 years of teaching and coaching credentials to the table.
Over the past 30+ years, “Coach Link” taught science at the high school and college levels, as well as coaching football and track. He is teaching science courses for grades 7-10 at AA, emphasizing lab work.
As an educator, he wants his students to THINK not just memorize answers for a standardized test! This is one reason why he loves teaching in private schools and eagerly joined AA.
He’s also coach cross-country. Sports are a long time passion & he especially loves track —in fact, he attended college on a track scholarship.
Martha Womack taught English at AA 37 years ago, before accepting a position in Farmville. She eagerly returned to AA this fall to teach language arts. Returning to the Academy was a ‘homecoming’.
One of her primary goals is to ensure her students learn to write a good research paper. She is an expert at this—in fact, she actually wrote a book on this subject in 2015: “The Black Folder: A Guide for Writing a Research Paper”.
Jason Morris is another new face on campus. He is expanding Bible study for grades 6-12 and coaching varsity volleyball. He created a special curriculum for each grade.
Mr. Morris worked in the corporate arena for 20+ years, but spent the past year re-evaluating on a “sabbatical with the Lord”. During this “Advent” period, he studied the Bible intensely and grew in his faith. His Bible curriculum is a natural outreach of this important time of growth and change.
He brings a well-developed passion for coaching & volleyball to AA, as well as his reverence for the Bible. A past member of regional and national teams, on sand and grass, he’s played volleyball for more than 25 years.
Both his deep conviction in his faith and his knowledge of the sport are evident when he coaches. “We can be as good as we want to be. If we give it our best, everything else will take care of itself,” he told the AA volleyball team.
Along with these new faces, some ‘old’ faces at the Academy added additional subjects to their course load to further diversify the curriculum. Bill Childress shifted his focus to teach technology courses and maintain AA’s website.
Jerry Wyngaard, who teaches Physics, is also teaching Chemistry. Mr. Wyngaard, a retired military officer and Deacon in his church, is much beloved by AA’s Upper School students for his commitment to providing a solid understanding of these most complex subjects.
AA expanded its popular Equine Studies program this year when they hired Charlie Transue. Owner of CTC Performance & Sport Horses in Powhatan, he formerly coached the equine team at Rutgers University. He brings a passion for event horses and strong background in competitive horse sports to the Academy. He is teaching riding to 6-12 graders and will help develop a varsity level competitive equine team.
Mr. Transue has a long history of working with Sport horses. A Sport horse comes in many breeds and colors, but all perform and excel at events. He has shown Quarter, Paint, Appaloosa and Arabian Sport Horses and has qualified six. He is highly respected in this elite venue and his students have lead nationally in competition.
He will teach from local stables in Amelia, allowing students to spend time off-campus, honing their riding skills and familiarizing themselves with hands-on horse care.
Joanne Garner joined the Academy’s Lower School to teach second grade. Mrs. Garner was drawn to AA because of its solid Christian orientation and small class size. She likes the focus that can be given to every student in this environment.
Mrs. Garner understands the importance of working with each child to ensure every student excels. She homeschooled her own kids for a time and has taught multiple elementary curriculums at private Christian facilities.
Recently, Mrs. Garner devoted her energies to the development of a healing ministry based on challenges she faced in her own life. An active Christian Counselor with biblical counseling and life coach certificates through American Association of Christian Counseling, she shares her faith daily.
With her husband, she hosts a non-denominational church in her home. She teaches at a retreat center in Montpelier, as well.
Each of these dedicated educators is eager to help AA’s students grow academically and mature as good citizens.
But the very first new face a visitor to AA is likely to meet is Jesse Roberts. This busy mother of three AA students has taken on the front office tasks of secretary and recruiter— roles which demand calm and seamless multi-tasking. As the former Chief Deputy Clerk of the Nottoway Combined District Courts, Mrs. Roberts knows how to juggle many tasks simultaneously and smile through it all.
Parents, faculty and staff already know Mrs. Roberts. She co-chaired the new “Patriots At Play” space with Jennifer Hayghe, who teaches math at AA. Mrs. Roberts oversaw the installation & construction of the new playground during summer vacation. The renovated space with its shiny new equipment and one-of-a-kind tiled arch is already popular with students.
These skilled educators, coaches & staff members bring dedication, experience and unique life skills to their new roles at AA. According to Head of School Rodney Taylor, “It’s sure to be a good year at the Academy—probably one of our best years ever!”