Upper School Student Life Team

(from left to right)

Bethany Thornton works at the upper school as the international student program coordinator and school counselor. She holds degrees from Eastern University and Denver Seminary. Bethany values the opportunity to offer hospitality to our students from other countries as well as connecting with students facing various crises such as self-harm.

Angela Beall works as the administrative assistant to Eric Hansen. She holds degrees from Elim Bible College and Westminster Seminary. Angela enjoys coming alongside our students in their daily lives at school, whether helping them get to class on time or helping them with the next step in their personal life.

Leia Joseph works part-time as one of the ninth grade level deans as well as meeting with girls in crisis. She holds degrees from Catholic University and Westminster Seminary. Leia is grateful for the opportunity to walk alongside teenage girls in both the joys and trials of high school, and is passionate about exposing the lies given by culture to young women today.

Cynthia Tilghman-Lee works as the Upper School Anatomy Teacher, Grade Level Dean of 11th grade and the Sponsor of the African American Culture Club. She holds degrees from North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University and Tuskegee University School of Veterinary Medicine. Her medical residency was completed at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her passions lie within the areas of cultural diversity and the encouragement of women of all ages.

Eric Hansen serves as the Dean of Students, where he oversees student life and discipline at the Upper School. He holds degrees from Messiah College and Covenant College. Eric is passionate about kids growing in their understanding of the Lord and of themselves, and beginning to catch a vision of their potential influence on others around them.

Doug Scheidt serves as the chaplain and upper school senior Bible teacher. He holds degrees from Wheaton College and Trinity Evangelical School of Divinity. Doug is passionate for students to know and defend truth.

Jake Palumbo teaches Biology and AP Chemistry as a part of the upper school science department and serves as an Assistant Dean and Sophomore Grade Level Dean as well as the faculty sponsor for the Prefects. He holds degrees from the University of Richmond and Covenant College. He loves having the opportunity to work with students and to help them see how a biblical worldview reveals the richness and meaning in all of life.

Student Life Team Vision

Student Life Team Vision

AACS believes that students’ academic success can only be fully achieved when other areas of students’ lives – their physical, social, emotional, spiritual, and relational selves – are healthy and working in concert with each other. Therefore, our goal and privilege as a Student Life Team is to help students navigate the challenges of high school and achieve social, emotional, and spiritual health. We aim to do this both by identifying – and responding to – individual student needs, and also by providing events and facilitating discussions that we hope will challenge kids to grow in the ways mentioned above. The Student Life Team is chaired by Dean of Students Eric Hansen, and also includes Jake Palumbo and Cynthia Tilghman-Lee (Grade Level Deans); Angela Beall, Leia Joseph, and Bethany Thornton (each of whom has extensive counseling training); and Chaplain Doug Scheidt.

Mission of Student Life Team

AACS’ Student Life Team seeks to help our students flourish as young men and women of social and emotional health and of Godly character and convictions. We seek to identify, and then appropriately address, both individual and corporate student needs. We react to student needs as they arise, and we seek to tap into the larger needs of the student body and proactively start important conversations that we hope will help meet these needs. We want to love students well and fulfill the school’s mission by modeling a true home-school partnership.

Upper School
Student Life Events

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Parent Resources

Have Smartphones destroyed a generation? - a lengthy but sobering and thoughtful article from The Atlantic on teens and smartphones.

Research Reveals the 5 Biggest Influencers on Your Child’s Spiritual Health: - “What do you think makes the biggest impact on a child’s spiritual development? Dinner as a family? Being at a church with a vibrant kids and student ministry? While surely those are all good things .. none of them showed up in our recent LifeWay Research study on how kids really grow spiritually. The study analyzed 2,000 Protestant adults who finished their parenting journey with one or more kids now between 18-30.”

A High School Counselor's Tips to Raising Teenagers - student life team member, Leia Joseph, wrote an article about parenting teens last year that topped the top articles for 2017 on the Biblical Counseling Coalition website. If you haven’t had a chance to read it, you’ll find her lessons learned through work with students at AACS over the years in this piece.


Conference Reviews

As a student life team, we are consistently seeking to learn from those who are experts in their fields of study, particularly pertaining to areas of need identified in our student body. Our greatest desire is to help our students at the upper school think well and navigate through difficulties and challenges in all areas of life in light of our place in the narrative of creation, fall, redemption, and restoration. Though many webinars and seminars have already been attended by various members of the SLT this year, we wanted to highlight two in particular.

Click here to read reviews for both Being Human: Gender, Sexuality, and Fulfillment and Girl Drama