Faculty and Staff


ADMINISTRATION

Dr. Preston Atwood

HEADMASTER
prestonatwood@regentsacademy.com

Preston Atwood has served as Regents’ headmaster since June 2020 and enjoys teaching
Senior Thesis in the Rhetorical School. He earned his Ph.D. and M.A. in Classical & Ancient
Near Eastern Studies (Hebrew Bible Major; Greek Minor) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a Th.M. and M.Div. at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and a B.A. in Humanities at Scarborough College. Dr. Atwood was previously the headmaster at Grace Classical Christian Academy in Granbury, TX, and held numerous administrative appointments at UW-Madison (2014-2019), the National Association of Professors of Hebrew (2015-2017), and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (2010-2014). Dr. Atwood has also been the recipient of many grants, fellowships, awards, and scholarships, affording him opportunities to present his scholarly research in many countries and states, including a summer-long research stay in Jerusalem, Israel. Dr. Atwood is married to Emily and has seven kids, five of whom attend Regents. Aside from his more scholarly pursuits, Dr. Atwood enjoys fishing, music composition, conducting experiments with his sons, crafting with his daughters, drinking Mediterranean coffee, and taking his wife out to non-chain restaurants.

Dr. John Quant

LOGIC & RHETORIC SCHOOL PRINCIPAL, LATIN
johnquant@regentsacademy.com

John Quant serves as Head of the Logic & Rhetoric School and teaches Latin. He has a B.A. in English, with a minor in Jewish Studies from the University of Minnesota, a M.A. in Religion from Yale University, and a Ph.D. in Old Testament from Emory University. Dr. Quant has been married to Holly for 15 years, and they have five children, four of whom attend Regents. Long ago he was president of the Juggling Club at the University of Minnesota, and a member of the Yale Anti-Gravity Society. In long forgotten days of misspent youth, he enjoyed reading, juggling, snowboarding, wakeboarding, board games, and working out. Now, he enjoys studying biblical and classical languages, making ‘dad jokes,’ reading children’s books, and listening to audio books while doing the dishes.

Mr. Lance Vermillion

GRAMMAR SCHOOL PRINCIPAL
lancevermillion@regentsacademy.com

Lance Vermillion serves as the Grammar School Principal. He has been involved in classical
Christian education since 2001, after graduating from Stephen F. Austin State University with a B.A. in History. In his years since, Lance has taught multiple grade levels and a variety of subjects from P.E. to rhetoric in three different classical Christian schools. He currently coaches the Jr. High soccer and girls Jr. High basketball teams. Lance has been married to Anna for twenty years, and their five children all attend (or have graduated from) Regents Academy. When not in school, Lance enjoys hunting, fishing, hiking, gardening, serving as a secret service agent (in family Nerf wars), and recognizing Far Side moments in everyday life.

SUPPORT STAFF

Mrs. Jennifer DeKerlegand

BUSINESS MANAGER
businessmanager@regentsacademy.com

Jennifer DeKerlegand is the school’s Business Manager. Jennifer graduated from Stephen F. Austin State University with a B.S. in Early Childhood Education. Jennifer began working at Regents in 2006. She was the school secretary from 2006 to 2013. As the school grew larger, so did the secretary job. In 2013, Regents hired a full-time secretary, and Jennifer became the Business Manager. Jennifer is married to Dirk, and they recently celebrated their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. Dirk and Jennifer are the proud parents to three lovely daughters. The oldest two daughters graduated from Regents, and the youngest will graduate in 2021. Jennifer’s daughters are at least the fifth generation of children in her family to be born in Nacogdoches (otherwise known as a BIN – “Born In Nacogdoches”). In Jennifer’s spare time, she loves to travel with her family. Jennifer has been on eight cruises and already has a ninth cruise scheduled for next summer.

Mrs. Jeni Gilbreath

SECRETARY
office@regentsacademy.com

Jeni Gilbreath serves as the school’s secretary. She was born and raised in Michigan until she moved to West Texas to live with her husband and raise their sons. Her love for the flora and fauna of the desert lead her to pursue and earn a degree in Agriculture Science at Odessa College. Her oldest son is a recent graduate of Regents Academy, and her other son is in 7th grade. She has been married to her husband, Lance, for seventeen years. In her free time she enjoys photography, world traveling, and riding motorcycles with her husband.

Mrs. ReKay Maness

LIBRARY, ART, TEACHER’S AIDE
rekaymaness@regentsacademy.com

ReKay Maness serves as the school’s Librarian, Teacher’s Aide, and teaches Grammar School
Art. She has been married to Jacob for eighteen years and has a son, Jericho, who is presently attending Regents. She has been a practicing Medical Massage Therapist for the past thirteen years. She was formerly an AWANA Commander, but she now volunteers as a Sunday School teacher, Children’s Church leader, and VBS helper at Calvary Baptist Church. Her hobbies include collecting rare books, listening to big band and swing music, and drinking coffee with her husband on the front porch.

Miss Emma Terrell

ATHLETIC DIRECTOR, TEACHER’S AIDE
emmaterrell@regentsacademy.com

Emma Terrell serves as Regents’ Athletic Director and 3rd-5th Grade Teacher’s Aide. She
attended Regents for eleven years as a student and graduated in 2017. She has an Associate’s Degree in General Studies from Angelina College. She has two younger brothers still at Regents, a sister who graduated in 2019, and her mother teaches 4th grade. She has been involved in sports from a young age, and played soccer for city recreational, select, and school teams. In her free time, she enjoys playing the piano and spending time with her family. Emma is passionate about the success of the athletics program at Regents and loves being part of the administrative team.

Miss Sarah Grace (“Gracie”) Alders

READING/LITERACY SPECIALIST, TEACHER’S AIDE
graciealders@regentsacademy.com

Sarah Grace (“Gracie”) Alders is a Teacher’s Aide for 1st and 2nd grade as well as the Reading/Literacy Specialist in the grammar school. After starting at Regents Academy in kindergarten and graduating from there in 2017, she spent the last four years at New Saint Andrews College in Moscow, Idaho, where she earned her B.A. in Liberal Arts & Culture and a Certificate of Music. While in college, she taught and tutored Latin and developed a love for Biblical Hebrew and Classical Greek. She was born and raised on a poultry, cattle, and timber farm in Nacogdoches, with her 9 siblings. Her hobbies include working outside on her family’s farm, playing games with her siblings, nieces, and nephews, and trying to play jazz piano.

Mrs. MacKenzie McKnight

KINDERGARTEN TEACHER’S AIDE
mackenziemcknight@regentsacademy.com

Mackenzie McKnight is the Kindergarten teacher’s aide. She was born and raised in West Texas. She and her husband, Jordan, are high school sweethearts and have been together for thirteen years. Together they have two kids, Jaxson and Laykin. As a family, they enjoy movie nights, fishing, and other outdoor activities. Mackenzie lived in Iturbide, Mexico, for three years helping her missionary grandparents and still loves to visit along with her family when the opportunity arises. 

Mrs. Brittany Burke

COMMUNICATIONS/ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT
brittanyburke@regentsacademy.com

Brittany Burke serves as the school’s Communications and Administrative Assistant. Brittany graduated from Southeastern Oklahoma State University with a BA in Communications and a minor in Education. Brittany has been married to Wesley since 2012, and they have four children, three of whom attend Regents Academy. In her free time, she loves to travel with her family, go on walks with her children, and enjoy the outdoors.

LOGIC & RHETORIC SCHOOL

Mr. Robert Baker

SCIENCE, MATH
robertbaker@regentsacademy.com

Robert Baker teaches ASPC, Chemistry, Physics, and Advanced Algebra with Trigonometry in the Logic & Rhetoric School. Robert received a B.S. degree in Chemistry and Mathematics, as well as a Master’s degree in Education from Stephen F. Austin State University. He spent thirty-four years in public education teaching sciences and mathematics, with the majority of those years dedicated to elementary and secondary administration. Robert has been married to JoAnn for almost fifty years. They have four children and six grandchildren, two of whom are enrolled at Regents. Robert’s greatest joy is to spend time with his family.

Mrs. Rebecca Beauregard

MATH
rebeccabeauregard@regentsacademy.com

Rebecca Beauregard teaches Pre-algebra, Algebra, and Geometry in the Logic & Rhetoric School. She has a B.A. in Mathematics, with a minor in Secondary Education from the State University of New York at Geneseo, as well as a M.Ed. in School Counseling and Guidance from the University of Arizona. Before trading in her gradebooks and dry-erase markers for full time motherhood, she taught middle school math in Tucson, AZ, for eight years. Rebecca was married to Matthew in 2004 and now has four children, three of whom attend Regents. For fun, she likes to read fluffy novels, enjoy the outdoors, and play board games.

Wesley Berke

Mr. Wesley Burke

OMNIBUS
wesleyburke@regentsacademy.com

Wesley Burke teaches Omnibus IV (Antiquity II) in the Rhetoric School. He has a B.A. in Liberal and Applied Studies and is currently pursuing a Masters in Divinity at BMA Theological Seminary. Wes is the pastor/church planter of Redemption Baptist Church in the city of Nacogdoches. Wesley has been married to Brittany for eight years and they have four children, with his two oldest attending Regents. Wesley grew up in East Texas, but he moved back to Nacogdoches in 2019 from Washington D.C., where he completed the Capitol Hill Baptist Church pastoral internship under senior pastor/author Mark Dever. He enjoys playing basketball, hiking, camping outdoors, reading various Christian literature, and playing with his children.

Ms. Lina Burklin

OMNIBUS, SCIENCE, GOVERNMENT
linaburklin@regentsacademy.com

Lina Burklin teaches Earth Science, Omnibus I (Antiquity I), and Government in the Logic & Rhetoric School. She has a B.A. in Music, with a minor in British Studies, and she holds a Texas teacher’s certificate. In the first nine years of her teaching career, Lina served at a small missionary boarding school in the remote Zambian bush. Since returning stateside, she has been very excited to follow her longtime dream of working at a classical Christian school and living on the same continent as her family. In her free time, Lina is an avid reader, knitter, and crafter, who also enjoys traveling and learning new skills of all kinds.

Dr. Rick Hurst

BIOLOGY, OMNIBUS, APOLOGETICS
rickhurst@regentsacademy.com

Rick Hurst teaches Biology, Omnibus V (Christendom II) and Christian Apologetics in the
Rhetoric School. Rick’s undergraduate degree is in Chemistry, and he practices as a local
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon, but studying Christian theology, literature, history, and basic
sciences has consumed much of his personal study since becoming a believer in college. Dr.
Hurst’s primary motivation for teaching is to help teenagers develop a rich worldview, with
the Lord Jesus Christ as its defining focus. Rick and his wife, Christy, have four children and
ten grandchildren, six of whom attend Regents.

Mrs. Lauren Lawrence

OMNIBUS, SPANISH
laurenlawrence@regentsacademy.com

Lauren Lawrence teaches Omnibus III (Modernity I), Spanish I and II, and she serves as the House Coordinator for the Logic & Rhetoric School. She has a B.A. in Liberal Arts, with a minor in Latin American Studies, for which she studied in Costa Rica and Argentina. Her sweet husband, Daniel, has also been a teacher for many years, but he currently works as a Technology Specialist at Pineywoods Charter Academy in Lufkin, TX. Lauren and Daniel have been married for eight years. They have two dogs, Hope and Mancha, and a cat named Tito. During her free time, Lauren loves to be outdoors kayaking, riding bikes, walking, gardening, and spending time with Daniel and their dogs.

Mr. Jason Modar

ECONOMICS, OMNIBUS, LOGIC, RHETORIC
jasonmodar@regentsacademy.com

Jason Modar teaches Economics, Logic, Rhetoric I, and Omnibus VI (Modernity II) in the Logic & Rhetoric School. He managed to hoodwink his alma mater, William Jessup University, into awarding him with a degree in Bible & Theology. Before escaping to Texas and working at Regents, Jason worked at a Christian radio station in California. He and his wife, Kelsie, have been married for four years. They have two daughters and are expecting a son this November. You will occasionally find Jason attempting to recapture his youth playing basketball with Regent’s students. Jason also likes to read, listen to podcasts, run, and write third-person website bios.

Mr. Stuart Priest

WRITING I & II, OMNIBUS
stuartpriest@regentsacademy.com

Stuart Priest teaches Writing I & II and Omnibus II (Medieval) in the Logic and Rhetoric School. He has a B.A. (summa cum laude) and M.A. in Religion from Baptist Missionary Association Theological Seminary and has completed all of the coursework for the M.A. degree in History at Stephen F. Austin State University. He has been married to his wife Rachel for four years, and they have three sons. In his free time, Stuart enjoys reading classical literature, collecting premium Bibles, tinkering with computers, playing with his sons, and taking walks with his family.

Mrs. Lara Sowell

LATIN
larasowell@regentsacademy.com

Lara Sowell teaches Latin I, II, and IV in the Logic & Rhetoric School. She attended Texas Wesleyan University for one semester and then transferred to University of Texas at Arlington where she studied German and Mathematics. She met her husband, Mark, while working as a pharmacy technician at St. Joseph Hospital in Fort Worth. They married in 1992 and Lara joined Mark in Cleveland, OH, where he was attending medical school. They are immensely proud of their four children, Camille, Tyler, Jonathan, and Andria. In 1994 the couple became interested in classical Christian education. After settling in Nacogdoches in July 1999, Mark and Lara met like-minded people and started planning Regents Academy in the fall of 2001 and opened it to students in the fall of 2002. Lara agreed to teach Latin at the school even though she had only taught introductory Latin in a home school setting. Over the years she taught herself Latin and has been teaching it every year since the school opened. Lara enjoys going for walks, hanging out with friends, listening to audio books, and reading braille, which she also taught herself.

GRAMMAR SCHOOL

Mrs. Anna Vermillion

PRE-K
annavermillion@regentsacademy.com

Anna Vermillion teaches K-Prep in the Grammar School. She graduated from a classical Christian school in Texarkana where she read many of the great works of literature, studied Latin and Greek, and had a love of learning instilled by teachers who were both enthusiastic and learned. Anna has been married to Lance for twenty years, and they have five children, the oldest of whom (James) graduated from Regents in 2020. The other four (Leah, Susannah, Clara, and Jesse) can be found in various classrooms and hallways around Regents. For fun, Anna loves to read, drink coffee with friends, and spend time with her family: traveling; playing games; and laughing.

Mrs. Janet Duke

KINDERGARTEN
janetduke@regentsacademy.com

Janet LaFontaine Duke teaches Kindergarten in the Grammar School and runs the After-School Care Program. She holds a B.A. in Criminal Justice from Indiana University. She spent twenty years in the hospitality industry before joining the faculty at Regents in 2008. She taught K-Prep until 2015 and then switched to the Kindergarten position. She is married to local doctor, David Duke. She has four stepdaughters, three of whom are graduates of Regents. She enjoys hiking, reading books, wearing comfy PJs, and spending time with family (including fulfilling her duties as Wicked Evil Stepmonster). She is uniquely suited to the role of Kindergarten teacher, as she also enjoys children’s books, snacks, and recess.   

Mrs. Holley Chapman

FIRST GRADE
holleychapman@regentsacademy.com

Holley Chapman teaches first grade in the grammar school. She has a B.A. in English with a minor in History from Texas A&M University. Holley has been married to Andy for 14 years, and they have two children at Regents: Max (8) and Charlotte (5). For fun, the Chapmans enjoy camping together and have recently started to do rock climbing too!

 

Mrs. Angie Nichols

SECOND GRADE
angienichols@regentsacademy.com

Angie Nichols teaches second grade in the grammar school. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Child and Family Development, with a minor in Health Science from Stephen F. Austin State University. Bringing to Regents Academy twelve years of teaching experience, Angie is elated to teach where two of her kids attend school. Gregg and Angie have been faithfully married for twenty-one years and have been abundantly blessed with raising Joshua (18), Jacob (16), and Elizabeth (8). As a family, the Nichols enjoy traveling, horse shows, working the ranch, boating, and playing with all their dogs and puppies. One of their family’s life verses is, “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine according to his power that is at work in us” (Eph 3:20).

 

Mrs. Amy Tyre

THIRD GRADE
amytyre@regentsacademy.com

Amy Tyre teaches 3rd grade in the Grammar School. This is her twentieth-year teaching, and her fourteenth year at Regents. She received her Bachelor of Science in Education at Mississippi College in Clinton, MS. She began her teaching career in Richland, MS. She is glad to have had the opportunity to travel to Rome, Pompeii, and Athens, places she teaches about in Greek and Roman history as a 3rd grade teacher. Amy has been married to Brian for twenty-three years. He is currently the lead pastor at New Hope Church in Nacogdoches, as well as the coach for Regents’ girls basketball team. They have one child, Trinity Tyre, who is a senior at Regents this year. Trinity also plays on the girls basketball team. Amy is active at her church, and is very supportive of Brian’s ministry. She particularly enjoyed serving on a mission team to Haiti in 2017. She also enjoys traveling, reading, and spending time with family.

Mrs. Katrina Terrell

FOURTH GRADE
katrinaterrell@regentsacademy.com

Katrina Terrell has taught 4th grade in the Grammar School since 2008. She has a B.S. in Interdisciplinary Studies from Stephen F. Austin State University. Katrina has been married to Jeremy for twenty-two years. They have four children, two of whom have graduated from Regents, and two of whom still attend. In her free time, Katrina enjoys traveling with her family, working in her garden, and spending time outside.

Mrs. Lori Cunyus

FIFTH GRADE
loricunyus@regentsacademy.com

Lori Cunyus teaches 5th grade in the Grammar School. She also coaches cross country and track and manages the school’s 4-H Club. She is wife to Michael and mother to Rachel and Sydney. Her girls have attended Regents since they started school, and she has been teaching here (in 2nd and 5th grades) since 2011. She graduated from Texas A & M University with a degree in Agricultural Development, and she has a Master of Science degree in Agriculture from Stephen F. Austin State University. She loves babies, the outdoors, adventures, animals, hiking, gardening, horseback riding, reading, and teaching kids about God’s beautiful world and awesome truths. Her family lives just outside of town on a farm where they have lots of critters and many projects going on at any given time. They worship with their church family at North Street Church of Christ, where their kids are active in the youth group and Michael is an elder.

Mrs. Beth Smith

FIFTH GRADE
bethsmith@regentsacademy.com

Beth Smith co-teaches 5th grade with Mrs. Cunyus. She has a BA in Psychology and is currently pursuing a MA in Classical and Christian Studies. Beth has been married to Aaron for thirty-three years, and in addition to their three grown children and two grandchildren, they have one son, Nate, who is in ninth grade at Regents. Beth served as a military spouse with various roles and responsibilities for over twenty-six years until Aaron retired from the US Air Force in 2016. After this, Beth, Aaron, and Nate served as overseas missionaries with the Rafiki Foundation, where Beth was a Dean at the Rafiki Classical Teacher’s College in Uganda, East Africa. When their time at Rafiki was complete, Aaron returned to work for the US military at MacDill AFB in Tampa, Florida, until the Smith family moved to Lufkin, Texas, to spend more time with their extended family.

Mrs. Mary Austin

SIXTH GRADE
maryaustin@regentsacademy.com

Mary Austin has taught 6th grade in the Grammar School since 2018. A native Nacogdochean, she is a graduate of Texas A & M University with a B.A. in English Literature. Her love for teaching sprang from years of teaching God’s Word in children’s and youth ministry alongside her husband, Bobby. They have three children, two of whom attend Regents. Mary counts it a great privilege to be part of the Regents team, coming alongside students in deeper thinking from a Christian worldview.

Mrs. Becky McMorries

SIXTH GRADE, PHYSICS
beckymcmorries@regentsacademy.com

Becky McMorries has returned to Regents to co-teach 6th grade with Mrs. Austin and teach 12th grade Physics. She has a B.S. in Chemistry and an M.S. in Kinesiology from Stephen F. Austin State University. This will be her 12th year of teaching and 5th year at Regents Academy. She has been married to Kyle for 17 years and they have two children at Regents, William and Susanna. In her free time, she likes to run, bike, and travel with her family.

Fine Arts and P.E.

Mrs. Tracie Lasater

UPPER SCHOOL ART
tracielasater@regentsacademy.com

Tracie Lasater teaches upper school art. While her degree is in finance from the University of Texas at Austin, Tracie has worked in many career fields. She worked in investment banking on Wall Street for J.P. Morgan and commercial banking for Vectra Bank in Colorado. While living abroad as an expat, Tracie founded and ran a successful online silver business, which later developed into a brick-and-mortar silver store in the Houston Heights. After her family moved to Nacogdoches, Tracie served as the executive director for Millard’s Crossing Historic Village and founded Thumpers Christian Bookstore and Cafe. Tracie is a lover of creativity and a portrait artist with a preference for the medium of pastels. Tracie is married to Albert, has four children, and is a member at Grace Bible Church.

Mr. David Brewer

MUSIC
davidbrewer@regentsacademy.com

David Brewer teaches lower and upper school music. He has a Bachelor of Arts in Music from
Northwest Missouri State University and a Master of Music in Choral Conducting from Oklahoma State University. Before joining the Regents Academy family, he worked as the Director of Music at Christ Episcopal Church of St. Joseph, Missouri. In 2020, he was awarded the Missouri Choral Directors Association Opus Award for Choral Composition Excellence for his work, Welcome Home. Recently, David married his bride, Kathryn Barnes, who attends Stephen F. Austin State University as a music education major. David is a budding composer, with works published by Alliance Music Publications, Inc., Colla Voce Music, LLC, and through his website dwbrewermusic.com.

Mrs. Julianna Dutton

MUSIC
juliannadutton@regentsacademy.com

Julianna Dutton teaches the Grammar School music classes at Regents.  She primarily works with the K-prep – 4th grade classes. Julianna grew up playing piano and singing in her church and school choirs. Music has always been a passion for Julianna, and she enjoyed competing for and earning spots in the Texas All Region and All State Choirs, competing at the state level for Solo and Ensemble, and participating in her college choir during her time studying. Julianna graduated from Scarborough College at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary with a degree in Humanities and Biblical Studies. Currently, she is working on her Masters Degree in Biblical Counseling. In addition to teaching at Regents, Julianna also teaches private piano lessons from her home.  Julianna and her husband Nathan, who is a youth pastor at Fredonia Hill Baptist Church, relocated to Nacogdoches in the summer of 2020. In her free time, Julianna enjoys listening to the newest true-crime podcasts, reading a good book or enjoying a drink from Sonic. 

Mrs. Emily Atwood

DRAMA
emilyatwood@regentsacademy.com

Emily Atwood teaches Drama at Regents Academy. She has a B.A. in Humanities and is in the process of earning a M.A. in Theology, with a concentration in Women’s Studies. Emily married Preston Atwood in 2008, and they have six children. The older four children attend Regents currently, so when Emily is not teaching drama, she is doting on the two youngest children at home, running around taking care of a family, and managing the home. She particularly enjoys cooking, gardening, singing, and being outdoors as much as possible. Dates with her husband usually involve hole-in-the-wall international food restaurants; “family dates” almost always involve outdoor activities such as hiking, fishing, swimming, camping, or “playgrounding.”

Mr. Caleb Homer

PHYSICAL EDUCATION
calebhomer@regentsacademy.com

Caleb Homer teaches P.E. for all grades at Regents Academy. Caleb graduated high school from Center, TX, in 2006. He, his wife Lauren, and their two children have lived in Central Heights since 2015. They are members at Fredonia Hill Baptist Church. He received his undergraduate degree from Texas Christian University (TCU) and a M.B.A. from the University of Texas at Tyler. A former college athlete, Caleb played Division III football as a wide receiver at Howard Payne University and later Division I rugby as an outside center/fullback at TCU. As owner and operator of NarroWay Fitness, Caleb coaches daily CrossFit classes and leads an indoor rowing studio, encouraging his members and employees to stay active, live a healthy lifestyle, and keep the main things the main things. In his spare time, Caleb enjoys investing time with his family on the homestead, works toward improving his overall fitness, and is always in the process of learning something new.