At every level of leadership at Columbia Academy, we are blessed to have men and women who love the Lord and consider their individual roles as ministries in God’s service. While we are fortunate that Christian leadership governs our school, we are also blessed that our administrators and support staff are skilled professionals in their given roles.

President – Dr. James Thomas

  • B.S., Bible and Psychology – Freed-Hardeman University
  • M.S., General Psychology – University of Memphis
  • Ed.D., Higher and Adult Education – University of Memphis

President’s office – 931.380.8509

Upper School Principal – Jon Bennett

  • B.S., Freed-Hardeman University
  • M.Ed., Educational Administration, Virginia Commonwealth University
  • State of TN Certification: School Administrator and Science Teacher
  • Relevant Work Experience: 8 years of administrative experience in Virginia public schools, 6 as a high school principal, and 12 years as CA’s Upper School Principal

Lower School Principal – Trent Hill

  • B.S – Freed Hardeman University
  • M. Ed. – Administration and Supervision – Tennessee State University
  • State Certification: School Administration and Physical Education/Health and Wellness
  • Experience: 3 years as a classroom teacher (McNairy Central High School), 3 years as supervisor of the alternative school (Lewis County School System), 7 years as principal of Lewis County Intermediate School and 11 years as principal of Columbia Academy Lower School.

Spring Hill Campus Principal – Nathan Hixson

  • 22 years experience in private and public education
  • B.A., Liberal Studies – California State University, Stanislaus
  • M.Ed., Instructional Leadership – Freed-Hardeman University
  • State Certification: Administration and Teaching in CA/TN

Preschool Director – Lauren McDonald

  • B.S., Elementary Education – Lipscomb University
  • Work Experience – 15 years teaching a directing in preschool and elementary settings

Athletic Director – Pernell Knox

  • B.S., Biology – Freed-Hardeman University
  • B.S., Chemistry – Freed-Hardeman University
  • M.P.T., Physical Therapy – University of Tennessee, Memphis
  • Relevant work experience: 17 years in sports medicine, 5 years of coaching, Athletic Hall of Fame Inductee at both Freed-Hardeman University and Columbia Academy’s Dr. Bill Thrasher Athletic Hall of Fame, Tennessee Athletic Trainers Society (TATS) 2013 Trainer of the Year

Chief Financial Officer – Andrew Williams

  • B.B.A., Public Accounting – Freed-Hardeman University
  • M.B.A., Accounting.- Freed-Hardeman University
  • State Licensing: CPA
  • Work Experience: Public Accounting

Chief Technology Officer – Eric Karkau

  • B.S.B.A, Business Administration, Management Information Systems – Tennessee Technological University
  • Certifications: CISA, MCSA, CISSP, CSSA, MCP, MCP+I
  • Work Experience: 10+ years as CTO, 5+ years as vCISO, 5+ years IT Audit and Control & Internal Audit, 30+ years Network & Systems Administration

Director of Academics – Dr. Clint Pulse

  • B.A., History and Political Science – Freed-Hardeman University
  • M.Ed., Curriculum and Instruction – Freed-Hardeman University
  • Ed.S., Educationcal Leadership – Freed-Hardeman University
  • Ed.D., Instructional Leadership – Freed-Hardeman University
  • State Certifications: History 7-12, ILL Administrator
  • Work Experience: 19 years as teacher, asst. prinicpal, and instuctional facilitator

Director of Admissions – Cindy Zientak

  • A.S., Economics – Motlow State Community College
  • B.S., Management and Economics – University of Memphis
  • Work Experience: 10+ years Accounting & Management, 5+ years Preschool Director, 6 years Admissions

Admissions office – 931.490.4302

Director of Marketing and Communications – Ashley Gilles

  • B.S., Business Marketing – Middle Tennessee State University
  • State Certifications: Dale Carnegie Human Relations
  • Work Experience: 4 years Community Relations, Public Relations, Social Media Management

Director of Security – Ben Jones

  • B.A., Management and Human Relations – Trevecca Nazarene University
  • 15+ years of Law Enforcement and Private Security experience

Director of Spiritual Development – Ben Diles

  • B.A., Social Science – Harding University
  • M.Ed., Secondary Administration – Harding University
  • M.A., Bible – New Testament – Amridge University
  • State Certifications: History, Bible, Administration
  • Relevant Work Experience: 22 years of teaching (Bible and History), 6 years of preaching, 4 years campus minister

Columbia Academy Board of Directors

Seth Lasater, Chairman

Beth Foster, Vice-Chairman

Tim Garrison, Secretary

Jacob Love, Treasurer

Dr. Cason Shirley

Joy McDonald

Vickie Cofer

Amy Greene

David Morris

Alan Thomason

Landon Loveall

Mack Garvin

Austin Simmons

Adrienne Law