Faculty – Eukarya Christian Academy
Eukarya Christian Academy Founder and Headmaster
President of the Eukarya Family Center Board of Directors
Mr. Donnelly was raised on the campus of a boarding, preparatory school in the Cleveland area. He is the son of an English teacher and a Librarian, each of whom provided crucial assistance in the founding of Eukarya. Dan has been married to Donna for 20 years and is the father of Nolan and Owen; who are both ECA alum. He earned a B.A. from Oberlin College majoring in History and a Master’s of Social Work from the University of Maryland at Baltimore. Dan has worked with children and adolescents since he was a teenager, first as a day camp counselor then later as a child psychiatric specialist at Children’s National Medical Center in DC. After earning his Master’s degree, he served as a child and family therapist at the National Family Resiliency Center in Columbia, MD. He and Donna moved to Winchester in order to open a Sylvan Learning Center franchise in 2000 where he served as a director for nearly eight years. He and a small group of parents and staff members started Eukarya in the spring of 2010. The school started with 8 students in the fall of that year. He has been involved in local churches serving mostly in children’s ministry, as a small groups co-director with Donna and more recently as a licensed pastor in the Brethren Church (Ashland, OH).
Joanie learned about God’s love for her at the age of 12 and her world has never been the same. In 1992, she moved to Tulsa, OK to work with a youth missions organization. It was there that God placed the burden on Joanie’s heart for Biblical Education. She remained in Tulsa, attending Bible College, where she majored in Teaching/ Biblical Ed. After graduating from Bible College, she moved to Botswana, Africa. While in Africa, she continued her studies in education by correspondence, taught in a local Christian school (Ngamiland Christian Academy), taught discipleship classes to the American students, and conducted research for the U.S. Center for World Missions. When she moved back home to the States, she met her husband at a local Bible study, and they got married one and a half years later on a beautiful December day in 1997. Both teaching in schools at the time, they finished up their school year, packed up their belongings and moved to Minneapolis, MN to continue studying education at North Central University. During their 20 years of marriage, they have been blessed with too many adventures to fill a page, their biggest and most amazing of which are named Joseph, Sarah, Benjamin, Micah, and Levi. God moved their family to the Winchester area in 2001. After one year of their eldest attending a local public school, the Lord began to direct them into the arena of homeschooling. They continued in the Classical Christian home education of their five children for the next 10 years, during which Joanie directed a local homeschool co-op for several of those years. Over this ten years, the Lord often crossed their paths with the educational services provided by Dan Donnelly and his staff. Their eldest began attending ECA’s Arrowsmith program in the winter of 2014, and the results were astonishing. Joanie joined the faculty of ECA in the fall of 2015, teaching in the lower school. She accepted the role as Principal in June 2017 and is excited about Eukarya’s future: “When we take a child from cradle to college, teach them about the heart of God for them, equip them with learning methods that fit their individual needs, pour into their minds curriculum of beauty and virtue, while helping them see how their unique giftings can impact those around them, there is no limit to what that child can become.”
Upper School Christian Studies & Math; Baseball Coach
Robert Anderson was born in the Army hospital in Seattle, Washington where his dad was stationed in the Navy. The family moved to Southern California. which is where he grew up. After graduating from high school, Robert attended Biola College (now University) for 4 years but didn’t graduate. After 3 years in the Army, including a year in Korea, Robert finished his college education at Cal State University, Fullerton (CSUF), graduating with a teaching credential and a B.A. in History. He taught in a few places in Southern California for the next 10 years, getting an M.S. in Education at CSUF in the process. After participating in 2 Civil War teacher workshops, Robert decided to move to Winchester, Virginia in the summer of 1994. His first job in Winchester was as a docent at George Washington’s Office Museum. Over the past 25 years, Robert has been a substitute teacher, reference librarian, charter bus driver, tutor at Sylvan Learning Center, became a licensed Washington, DC tour guide, and for the last 8 years an instructor at Eukarya Christian Academy. He and his wife Terri have a 22-year-old daughter.Robert loves to travel. He has been to all 50 states. He has seen the graves of 39 of the 40 dead US Presidents. Last year, he and 2 of his life-long friends completed their quest of seeing a baseball game in the home stadium of all 30 MLB teams.
U2nd Grade; Music & Drama
Ms. Balcom comes to ECA holding two degrees in Opera performance from Nazareth College of Rochester and Northwestern University of Chicago. Debbie performed with Virginia Opera in Norfolk, as well as Michigan Opera Theatre in Detroit for several years. In 1997, Debbie moved to Winchester to raise a family and begin teaching. She has taught music and drama for over 10 years and has given private voice and piano lessons as well, including Musical Theatre classes and Master classes in voice at the Shenandoah Conservatory Arts Academy. She has also been featured as a local soloist for many area churches, the Museum of the Shenandoah valley, and historic Belle Grove Plantation. Debbie has one daughter, Rebecca, who graduated from ECA in 2016
Upper School Omnibus
Jordan grew up locally. She graduated high school in 2008 and headed to Cedarville University to study Communication, Business, and Women’s Ministry. Part of her junior year was spent in Ireland, investing in new relationships, and worshiping with a local church. Following graduation in 2012, Jordan traveled on the Secret Keeper Girl tour speaking to moms and preteen girls around the country. Then during the winter of 2013 she traveled with Axis Ministries, a worldview speaking team that presented to high school students across the nation. Currently, she is working on a Certificate of Christian Studies through Gordon Conwell Seminary. Jordan teaches Christians Studies and Literature at Eukarya.
Upper School Christian Studies, Math and Science Instructor
Mr. Ray comes to us as a parent, grandparent, and educator. He and his late wife, Janet, are blessed with three children and five granddaughters. Ray has studied at God’s Bible College, Penn State University, and Clarion University. He has taught various academic subjects for over 40 years. During those years, he has also helped start several Christian schools and served as administrator of Christian schools. Ray currently teaches math and science in our Upper School at Eukarya. He enjoys spending time with his family, the outdoors, and teaching.
Upper School Art
Hannah is thrilled to be a part of the team at Eukarya! The last five years have been filled with many transitions for Hannah after moving from Wisconsin to Virginia at the end of high school. In this time, she has pursued a degree in Apologetics at Liberty University, acquired a beautiful network of friends, found a loving church home, worked at some incredible jobs, and become engaged to her best friend (wedding set for February 2021)! In addition to teaching at Eukarya this year, Hannah will continue working with the ministry of AbbaCare, traveling to local schools and churches teaching students the biblically-based truths of value, integrity, and purity. During her short windows of free time, Hannah loves exploring new & places, drinking quality coffees, and expressing herself creatively in music, drama, and art – all alongside the people she loves.
5th & 6th Grade
Mrs. Coffman has over 40 years’ experience as a classroom teacher. She has worked in many Christian schools in Virginia as well as founded several private schools – still in operation today. Mrs. Coffman and her late husband Lewis were blessed with 3 children, 10 grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.
Learning Center Specialist
Rae Cromeens is a veteran Academic Language Therapist who has moved here recently from Dallas, Texas to be with her daughter and two grandchildren. Rae is also a veteran of marriage having celebrated her 52nd anniversary to her high school sweetheart Gary last May. She began her journey in education with a BS of Elem. Ed from North Texas State University and then a Masters of Education from Dallas Baptist University. Over her career, she has served students as a teacher, administrator, and educational therapist in more settings than we can list! And she has also earned certification in more types of educational therapy than we can list! As a co-leader in our Eukarya Academy Learning Center, we value her vast professional knowledge and deep passion for helping struggling students to achieve their best! Most recently, she has completed Level II certification of Equipping Minds cognitive therapy, and is helping the teaching staff to implement the concepts in all the classrooms.
Rae’s hobbies include working in the yard, knitting and crocheting, reading, taking classes, attending webinars and conferences that deal with the brain and how students learn.
Upper School Biology; Upper and Lower School Latin Instructor
Carole is an avid lover of the heart of God, desiring to spread that awareness into every sphere of life. Growing up in the rural areas of northern NJ, she acquired a passion for creation, specifically horses, and after receiving a bachelor’s degree in Animal Science from Delaware Valley College worked for Merck Sharp & Dohme as a Biologist. Carole facilitated studies on osteoporosis compounds among others. She married fellow graduate Mike Hofmann and together they have five beautiful children. Through the next season in her life, Carole homeschooled, became licensed as a Parelli Professional teaching Natural Horsemanship, taught Latin, and prophetic mentoring. Along with helping with their family landscaping business, Stonehouse Outdoor Design, Carole operates Insight Horsemanship in the summer months continuing to teach Natural Horsemanship. Carole also teaches Latin at Eukarya Christian Academy throughout the school year. It is Carole’s life desire to partner with the Lord to have His Kingdom come and His will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.
Mary Lou Nagel
Mary Lou has a passion for teaching our young students. She graduated from Indiana University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Science in Education and holds a certification for English as a Second Language. Having taught kindergarten for 8 years at Winchester Academy, she is delighted to join ECA for a third year and continue with this adorable age group. She also taught 8 years of ESL in Frederick County Schools and had previously spent 11 years overseas teaching various grades at the International Schools in Lisbon, Athens, Dhahran, Rangoon and Helsinki. Mrs. Nagel and her husband are blessed with two daughters, their husbands and four little grandsons.
Upper School Instructor – Arrowsmith Instructor
Dawn has been a teacher for the past 5 years at Eukarya. She taught preschool at a Fireside Christian School in Warrenton, VA and worked from 2009-2013 directly with Nancy Mason as a teacher’s assistant at the Homespun Schoolhouse. Dawn continued as Nancy’s assistant at Eukarya during 2013-2014 in the 1st-3rd-grade classroom. She is thankful for the amazing opportunity to be certified as an Arrowsmith Program instructor.
Aurélie was born and raised in northern France. At age 18 her family moved to Madrid, Spain, where she fell in love with the country, the people and the language. She studied Landscape Architecture in Madrid and Paris and met her husband Randy during an internship in Florida. God brought them to the Winchester area in 2000, where they quickly felt at home. While raising and homeschooling 3 boys, she started teaching French and Spanish in the community, both privately as a tutor and in classroom settings at local homeschool cooperatives. Anthony, the Schmid’s youngest son, joined Eukarya Academy in March of 2017, where Aurélie began teaching Spanish. Becoming part of Eukarya Academy has been a blessing for both of them. Aurélie is also a passionate potter and President of the Shenandoah Potter’s Guild.
Office and Financial Administrator
Mrs. Perry is a wife and mother of 3 – Emily, Mallory, and Gideon – all of whom attend Eukarya. Though her children have been enrolled since 2015, she didn’t join our staff until the summer of 2017. Experienced in the areas of finance and office management, she has been a welcome addition to our staff. She enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, and reading.