Meet Our New Staff

Meet Our New Staff

Edward Blanchard
12th Grade History

I am excited to be back in Raleigh and to be a part of the NRCA learning community. Our connection goes back to the original campus, and I am amazed at the development of NRCA over the years. Our two oldest children graduated from NRCA, and most of our other children have attended at some point. 

We moved to Raleigh in 1989 to start a business, and the Lord has given me the opportunity to serve as a pastor and to work at international schools in Korea and China. 

My wife Patty teaches science and will also be joining the faculty of NRCA. We look forward to building relationships with students, families, and other colleagues. 

Patricia Blanchard 
9th Grade Science

My name is Patricia Blanchard, and I am thrilled to be at North Raleigh Christian Academy! This year, I am teaching two courses—ninth-grade biology and anatomy. I love life science because, in all aspects, the Creator’s reflection is so evident!  

My husband and I first moved to Raleigh in 1989 and raised our family here, including four children who attended NRCA at various times. We served for most of the past 13 years in east Asia (South Korea and China). After leaving China, we spent three years near our oldest son in Columbus, Georgia, and recently returned to NC, where we still have a home. We’ve been a part of the Christian and Missionary Alliance during most of our years in Raleigh. 

We have six children who live scattered across the world. Interestingly, all have lived internationally, and all are teachers! Three of our children are married and have blessed us with the best “bonus” children, as well as six adorable grandchildren. 

When I’m not at work, my husband and I enjoy quiet mornings sipping coffee, walking on the beach, trying new restaurants, and spending time with family. I especially love to travel, explore new places, meet new people, and learn about new cultures. Every person and every culture reflects the Creator in some unique way!  

I am always amazed and thankful for the education and experiences the Lord has used to prepare me for each place he leads me to serve. I earned a BA in Biblical Studies and Christian Education from Wheaton College, which prepared me so well for many roles in my life and gave me a wonderful foundation for developing a solid philosophy of Christian education. Later, I earned a BS in Physician Assistant Studies from East Carolina University and an MHS from Duke University School of Medicine. I practiced medicine here in Raleigh for 12 years before the Lord led me to teaching and overseas ministry. I am currently a candidate for a postgraduate diploma in Member Care from the University of Gloucester, and I’m working on a Master of Education at Cairn University. I love learning, and I hope that in the coming year, my students will grow to love learning as well!  

Karen Brown
Attendance Assistant

Hi NRCA Family! My name is Karen Brown, and I am one of the attendance administrators. I look forward to seeing everyone’s sweet faces in the lobby.  

I have been married 17 years to my wonderful husband, Peter, and we have four amazing kids–Zoe (9th), Rilynn (6th), Colby (4th), and Noah (2nd).  

Fun fact about my family: we spent the entire summer of 2020 traveling across the US in our camper. It was the most epic experience we’ve ever had together, and God deeply ministered to our hearts along the way. I personally developed a renewed reverence and love for God’s creation. After our trip, we moved onto some land, and God has given us a space to cultivate and create different things. I am an avid flower, fruit, and vegetable gardener. In my spare time, you will almost always find me outside.  

Sarah Brown
2nd Grade

My name is Mrs. Sarah Brown, and I am so incredibly thankful for the opportunity to serve as a second-grade teacher this year at NRCA! I graduated from Concord University with a BA in Elementary Education and a master’s degree in reading. Over the past twelve years, I have worked as a classroom teacher in grades K-3 and as a reading specialist.  

I grew up on a farm in the beautiful mountains of Pocahontas County, West Virginia. My husband Lee and I have been married for ten years, and the Lord has blessed us with three children: Isaac (8), Daniel (6), and Ruthanna (3). My family enjoys traveling, spending time with loved ones, gardening, and exploring God’s Creation.   

The Lord brought my family to North Carolina last summer so my husband could attend Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.  

I am so blessed to be a part of the NRCA family and am grateful for the opportunity to serve with you this year!  

Sara Gealy
8th Grade Bible/Admin Support

My name is Sara Gealy, and I will be serving as an administrative assistant and teaching two classes of eighth-grade Bible this year at NRCA. My husband, Todd, will be teaching US history here, and we have three children who are attending as well.  

I was born in Colorado but grew up in Emerald Isle, NC, and attended Columbia International University in Columbia, SC, to study missions and Bible teaching. I taught Bible at a Christian school for five years, and during that time, I met my husband. After our first son was born, we moved to Bangkok, Thailand, to serve as teaching missionaries at an international Christian school there. Our other two children were born in Bangkok. After 13 years of ministry there, we recently returned to the US and moved to Raleigh. Our story of how God brought us from Thailand to Raleigh and NRCA is such a wonderful testimony to God’s care and leading, and we are so excited to be here! During my free time, I enjoy spending time with my family, going to the beach, running, and drinking coffee. As a family, we are all excited about getting to eat Papa John’s pizza and Chick-fil-A again after returning to America!  

Todd Gealy
11th Grade History

We are excited about starting our first year here at NRCA and look forward to meeting you. I was born in Raleigh, grew up in Salisbury, and then returned to attend NC State. After college, I served in campus ministry (CRU) at USC in Columbia and helped lead a team in Russia for a year. After earning my master’s degree in education, getting married, and starting a family, God led my wife and me to Bangkok, Thailand. We served there at an international Christian school for 13 years, and God really blessed us during our time in Asia.  

My wife Sara will be teaching eighth-grade Bible and helping in the office while I teach 11th-grade US history (Honors/AP). Our three kids will also be attending NRCA. We are thankful for the opportunity to serve this community and look forward to seeing how God works in and through us. 

Outside the classroom, I enjoy running, working out, playing basketball, reading, and watching sports. I have enjoyed serving in missions, and I would definitely recommend checking out overseas opportunities, but if you ever make it to Thailand, you might want to avoid the chocolate-covered crickets. 😊  

Bobby Jencks
5th Grade Bible

My name is Bobby Jencks, and I am honored to start my first year here at North Raleigh Christian Academy. You can hardly imagine how excited I am to start my new position as the fifth-grade Bible teacher. In the past, I have served as a homeroom teacher in grades K-6, teaching the traditional core subjects such as English Language Arts, math, science, social studies, and STEAM. However, this year, I have the distinct privilege and blessing of teaching the subject that I am most passionate about, the living Word of God!!!    

Up to this point, all nine years of my teaching experience have been in China at various international schools where professing Christ was illegal. While I was serving as an educator in China, I used my position as a platform to partner with the local church. My experiences and opportunities to serve alongside the indigenous peoples of China have spurred in me a passion for preaching and proclaiming the Word of God.  

In the spring of 2022, my family and I relocated to Raleigh, North Carolina, in order to provide more Christian community for our family. Recently, we became members at Open Door Church on Durant Rd, just down the street from NRCA. At Open Door, I am an active volunteer in the children’s ministry, where I teach AWANA to students in third and fourth grades on Sunday nights.  

I look forward to making an eternal impact in the lives of my students, and I pray that God will give me the opportunity to disciple every single student who walks through my door so that when they leave, they will be made more into the image of the glory of God.  

Meghan Kidd
2nd Grade 

Hi everyone! My name is Meghan Kidd. I was born and raised in Raleigh and have lived here my entire life, apart from my time in college. I attended Appalachian State (GO MOUNTAINEERS!) and have a degree in elementary education. I married my high school sweetheart, Cameron, and we have four beautiful kids, Lily Kate (12), Sterling (9), Brecken (6), and Boone (23 months). This year will be my 16th in the classroom, and I’ve taught kindergarten, third grade, and fifth grade prior to coming to NRCA to teach second grade! We attend the Summit Church and are incredibly thankful for their ministry. In my free time, I enjoy watching my daughters cheer, cheering on my oldest son as he plays baseball/football, and running after my toddler. I also enjoy sewing and embroidery when I get the chance. I am incredibly passionate about teaching and count it true joy to spend my days with little ones in the classroom! My family and I are so excited to be a part of the NRCA family, and I’m praying the Lord will use me to love my second graders well this year!  

Sarah Lech
3rd Grade

Hello, my name is Sarah Lech, and I am the new third-grade teacher. I graduated from NRCA in 2015 and from Liberty University in 2019. Teaching is my passion, and for two and a half years, I have had the privilege of helping young children grow academically and in their walk with the Lord.  

In addition, I am on staff in the preschool department at Bay Leaf Baptist Church. When I am not working, I enjoy spending time with family and friends, reading, hiking, going to the lake, wakeboarding, and kayaking.  

I am so excited to be a part of this amazing school and looking forward to a great year.  

Nick Mini
Assistant Athletic Director

I will be serving North Raleigh Christian Academy as Assistant Athletic Director and Cheerleading Program Coordinator. I will also have duties teaching strength and conditioning. Originally from Rochester, NY, I came to NRCA from Liberty University, where I gained NCAA Division 1 experience in competitive cheerleading, strength and conditioning, and sports nutrition. I earned master’s degrees in sport management and executive leadership, and I am a current doctoral student at Liberty.  

I have been married to my best friend Kreestel for one year, and we hope to start a family in the near future. Though we have lived in Raleigh for only two months, we have been attending the Summit Church-Capital Hills Campus. In teaching and coaching, I wish to motivate all young people of NRCA to reach their full potential as Christ-following leaders of the next generation.  

I look forward to witnessing NRCA’s mission be put into action as we help our community grow in wisdom and stature. Go Knights!  

Tami Oden
Choral Department Assistant 

My name is Tami Oden, and I will be serving as the pianist and music assistant in the choral department. I have been a part of the NRCA family since 2007. I have two children who graduated from NRCA in 2014 (James) and 2016 (Abigail) and a current ninth grader (Deborah).  

My husband, Bob, and I met on a mission trip to Rostov-on-Don, Russia, in college in 1990 and lived in Rochester, NY, for several years before moving to Raleigh in 2000. My grandparents were from the Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus region, and I learned to speak Russian as a child. I also learned to play the piano when I was six years old. Whenever we visited my grandparents in Buffalo, I loved to help my grandmother clean her church, where I usually migrated to the sanctuary to dust the pews and play the piano.  

I’m looking forward to helping students enjoy learning new music and worshipping God as they practice and perform with the choirs from kindergarten through 12th grade at NRCA.  

Ashley Perry
12th Grade English  

My name is Ashley Perry, and I will be teaching 12th-grade English. I graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill with a BA in English and music and graduated from UNCG with an MA in English. Previously, I taught English at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and various area community colleges. I am thrilled at the opportunity to use my prior experience to help prepare our seniors for reading and writing in college and beyond.  

I was born in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and except for a six-year stint in Racine, Wisconsin, I have lived in North Carolina my entire life. My husband (John) and I have three daughters, all of whom will be starting their fourth year at NRCA this fall. Our family attends Open Door Church, where my husband and I serve as Care Group leaders and where I also serve as a member of the worship team.  

Carrieanna Tatum
MS / HS Art

Hi, my name is Carrieanna Tatum. I will be teaching art at NRCA. I grew up in Fayetteville, North Carolina, but moved to Wendell about four years ago to follow God’s calling for my husband to be the student pastor at Central Baptist in Wendell. We have loved serving at our church in the student ministry, worship ministry, and children’s ministry. My husband and I have also loved getting to do missions locally and in other places, such as Baltimore and the Baptist Children’s Home. We have two children. Emma is a smart and creative little four-year-old girl who loves to dance, and Ben is a silly and energetic two-year-old little boy who loves all things involving music and sports. I have a passion for the Lord, art, and teaching, so I am excited to see what the Lord has in store for this year.  

I look forward to seeing the students grow in their creative thinking, problem-solving, and skillsets. It is evident that God’s had a hand in this exciting opportunity at NRCA, and I cannot wait to see His beautiful plan unfold.  

Courtney Watkinson
5th Grade History 

My name is Courtney Watkinson, and I am teaching fifth-grade US history. I graduated from Sweet Briar College in Virginia, have my BA in Government, and my postgraduate teaching licensure in Pre-K through sixth grade. My husband, Brad, and I have two daughters, Anne Bradley (a rising seventh grader) and Molly (a rising fifth grader). We’ve lived in Raleigh for almost 13 years, coming from Richmond, Virginia. We attend Providence Baptist Church which has been such a huge blessing in our family’s lives. We became a homeschooling family in the fall of 2020 when my girls were in third and fifth grade. They had previously been in Wake County Public Schools. My eldest started sixth grade at NRCA in the fall of 2021, while Molly was homeschooled for fourth grade. Our family was warmly greeted by the community we felt here at NRCA as we began our journey as a Knights family. The Watkinsons are happiest when we are on Falls Lake on our boat or at the beach with sand in our toes. During the school year, we can be found at the soccer field or on the gym courts, as both girls are involved in many sports. I am so excited to have the privilege and opportunity to get back into the classroom and join both of our daughters here at NRCA this year.  

Alexis West
7th Grade Science

Hello, my name is Lexi West, and I am thrilled to be your seventh-grade Earth and Space Science teacher. My husband, our 16-month-old son, and I moved to North Carolina in June for my husband to attend seminary at Southeastern in the fall. Before the Lord led me to NRCA, my husband was a youth pastor at a local church, and I was a teacher in Seffner, Florida. My husband and I met at Pensacola Christian College, where I majored in biology and speech education with a minor in missions. My husband has been blessed to start a job on the facilities team at Faith Baptist Church in Youngsville, where we attend. In the classroom, I incorporate lots of stories from the different opportunities God has given me to make learning not only fun but relatable and interesting. I love animals, colorful and farmhouse things, anything crafty, reading, and being outdoors. This year I am excited to teach science to my students, and I hope they can see just how amazing and evident God is throughout His Creation!  

Matt Zeblo
Technology Director

I am from Raleigh, NC. I attended Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, and returned to Raleigh after graduating with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. I also played baseball at Belmont and coached varsity high school baseball for eight years after my playing career ended. I have been married to my wife, Emily, for nearly five years, and we have three children – a daughter, Hannah, and twin boys, Luke and Charlie. We recently joined Bay Leaf Baptist Church and are excited to get involved there. I have been working in the technology field for 11 years and am excited for the opportunity to serve at NRCA as the Technology Director.  

I am looking forward to getting to know the NRCA community better this year!