About Epiphany

Middle School Faculty

History - Samantha Bivans

  • Position: Introduction to Latin, Latin I, Latin II, Latin III, AP Human Geography, and Exchange Student Coordinator
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Background: BA in Anthropology from East Carolina University, MA in Classics from University College Dublin, Ireland
  • Educational philosophy: Ms. Bivans's educational philosophy continues to grow and develop with every new class of students she instructs. She wants her classroom to be a place where students feel like they can be themselves. She maintains a professional environment, yet truly believes that students have the most success understanding the material when what they are learning is presented in a fun way. Ms. Bivans loves seeing her students form relationships between the classical world and the world in which they live. As students learn from her and make connections through her class, Ms. Bivans also learns from them and gains new insights into how to teach in a productive, fun, and challenging way.
  • Hobbies: Samantha loves to spend time with her dogs.  She enjoys long walks and going on hikes, and tries to travel as often as possible, even if it's simply a day trip to somewhere nearby. 
  • Fun facts: Samantha lived in Dublin, Ireland, for a year to complete her master's degree. While abroad, she backpacked around Scotland for several weeks, and she also traveled to England, Italy, and Greece. Some of her life dreams include backpacking around Southeast Asia and teaching English to students in South America or Asia.
  • Favorite place she has traveled: Peru.  It was her first experience traveling to a country where she did not know the language.  She did not know anyone in her travel group.  She broke her ankle on the third day of the two-week trip.  The trip was extremely enjoyable despite all of the hurdles.  She learned that she can push herself to overcome any obstacles she encounters.  

English - Tracy Bryant

  • Position: Middle School Language Arts Teacher
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Background: Graduate of UNCW with 30 years of teaching experience
  • Educational philosophy: Students should enjoy learning and building relationships.  Mrs. Bryant uses a variety of teaching styles. 
  • Hobbies: Walking/exercise, playing golf, traveling--Mrs. Bryant has a goal to play a golf course in all 50 states.
  • Fun facts:  Tracy has already played golf in 26 states, she enjoys time with her family, and watching her youngest daughter play competitive golf. 
  • Favorite place she has traveled: Pebble Beach, CA

Physical Education - Joshua Campbell

  • Position: Middle and Upper School Physical Education
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Background: Associate's degree from Craven Community College in PE; Bachelor's degree from the University of Mount Olive in Park and Recreation, Leisure Studies
  • Educational philosophy: Finish what you start, finish it strong, and never give up. Give it your best!
  • Hobbies: Love being involved in active sports. Anything recreation and being outdoors.
  • Fun facts: Joshua is a huge Duke fan! He loves running 5Ks and loves dogs.

Science - Jon Fitzgerald

  • Position: Middle School Science, Middle School Science Olympiad Head Coach, Golf Coach
  • Email:[email protected]
  • Background: MS from East Carolina University
  • Educational philosophy: Mr. Fitzgerald believes that students should be engaged and should be excited about learning the course content. To that end, he strives as a teacher to spark his students' interests and encourage their curiosity through hands-on, problem based learning in the classroom. 
  • Hobbies: Hiking, kayaking, music, and travel
  • Fun facts: Jon has been skydiving, he drank cobra blood in Thailand, and he loves NBA basketball.
  • Favorite place he has traveled: Kyoto, Japan. 

Science - Kathryn Gerber

  • Position: Middle School Science Teacher
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Background: BA in Biology from Randolph-Macon Woman’s College, Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from George Mason University

Spanish - Craig Hearne

  • Position: Middle and Upper School Spanish Teacher
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Background: BA from East Carolina University; AA from Florida College.  Before becoming a teacher, Mr. Hearne was a pastor for 30 years.
  • Educational philosophy: Mr. Hearne believes learning should be challenging, but fun.  Why say it if you can sing it better?
  • Hobbies: Hunting, fishing, surfing--anything outdoors.
  • Fun facts: Every year, Mr. Hearne returns to Honduras, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua to preach. He also loves to surf.
  • Favorite Place He has Traveled: Honduras, Costa Rica, Spain, Nicaragua

Spanish - Cristobal Heiss Joerger

  • Position: 7th Grade Spanish Teacher
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Background: Majored in Journalism and Philosophy at Universidad Católica de Chile
  • Educational philosophy: Señor Heiss believes students should have a growth mindset, embrace the struggle of difficult topics and enjoy the process.
  • Hobbies: Computer programming, martial arts, and hiking.
  • Fun facts:  Cristobal speaks German and is an Iron Chef (in his imagination). 
  • Favorite place he has traveled: Luang Prabang, Laos

Math - Wendy Hopkins

  • Position: Pre-Algebra, Algebra 1
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Background: BA in Psychology from St. Bonaventure University, MA in Education from the University of Connecticut
  • Educational philosophy: Mrs. Hopkins underscores the school motto, ToLove God and Your Neighbor as Yourself. Not only is this a moral guideline, but also an educational one, for when the students of The Epiphany School of Global Studies love their neighbors, they open themselves up to learn wonderful things about the world.
  • Hobbies: Mrs. Hopkins's hobbies include scrapbooking, tole painting, and watching pro football and NCAA basketball.
  • Fun fact: She and her husband raised five children for 23 years in a house with one bathroom. Phew!
  • Favorite place she has traveled: Benedictine Abbey of Regina Laudis, Bethlehem, Connecticut

Arts - Alyssa Howell

  • Position: Middle School Chorus Teacher
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Background: BA from East Carolina University in Vocal Performance
  • Educational philosophy: Ms. Howell enjoys working with students and believes that although music should be enjoyable, there should be structure in the classroom. Music, like any other subject, has to be taught and students are capable of becoming an ensemble especially in a choral setting.
  • Hobbies: Ms. Howell enjoys horseback riding, reading, knee boarding, hiking and most of all, singing. She also enjoys learning new languages. She took French, Italian, and German courses at East Carolina University.
  • Fun fact: Ms. Howell has performed in Carnegie Hall.  She has five solos on a chamber singers CD that was selected for a Grammy. She used to ride horses in rodeos, and she has sold airplanes in Alaska.
  • Favorite place she has traveled:  Alaska--one of the most breath-taking, picturesque places you will ever see, if you are so fortunate.  

Spanish - Eugenio Lopez Torres

  • Position: 6th and 7th Grade Spanish
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Background: Bachelor of Arts in Education from Universidad Catolica de la Santisima Concepcion, Chile.  Master of Language Teaching from Universidad Andres Bello, Chile. 
  • Educational philosophy: Señor Lopez teaching practices are based on respect, humility, and honesty.  These three elements help to create an appropriate learning environment. 
  • Hobbies: Eating, going to the gym, going to the beach, traveling, and watching TV.  
  • Fun facts:  Eugenio loves Italian food but has never been to Italy.  He also loves hot weather and consequently, has been to Brazil 5 times and hopes to go again and again. 
  • Favorite place he has traveled: South Lake Tahoe

History - Cherise Milburn

  • Position: Middle School Social Studies
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Background: Bachelor's Degree in Anthropology from Fort Lewis College; Master of Education in Secondary Social Studies Education from Georgia State University
  • Educational philosophy: Mrs. Milburn's goal is to foster critical thinking skills in the classroom that can be applied to the world beyond. She strives to encourage students to develop an appreciation for diversity, to motivate the youth to become active citizens in their immediate and global communities and to inspire students to choose a path of lifelong learning.
  • Hobbies: Whether she is hiking, boating, gardening, or camping, Cherise loves to enjoy the great outdoors. She also dedicates much of her time to raising awareness on the issues surrounding Human Trafficking through her work with the Pearl Ministry.
  • Fun facts: In keeping with her passion for the outdoors, Cherise once spent a month living in a tent in the Colorado Mountains. She also has spoken in London regarding Human Trafficking.
  • Favorite place she has traveled: It's a tie between China, Zambia, and Botswana

English - Amy Quinn

  • Position: Middle and Upper School English
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Background: BA in Journalism from UNC-Chapel Hill (1999). Mrs. Quinn homeschooled her 3 children for 14 years and taught writing, literature, and grammar to 4th-12th graders through Classical Conversations.
  • Educational Philosophy: "Children are souls to be nurtured, not products to be measured."
  • Hobbies: Yoga, Hiking, Surfing, Camping, Mountain Biking
  • Fun Facts: Amy rode on the equestrian team at UNC, and competed on an international level in off-road triathlons after college. Now she enjoys slower-paced activities like yoga and hiking. Amy holds a trauma-sensitive yoga certification. Her family has visited 16 of our country's national parks. Each June, they travel to The Great Smokies to witness the synchronous fireflies. 
  • Favorite Place you have traveled: Amy's favorite international destination is the Mentawai Islands in Indonesia; however, her favorite place on earth is right here in the United States- The Jedidiah Smith Redwood State Park in Northern California.

Math - David Siler

  • Position: Pre-Algebra
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Background: Holds a BS in Mathematics Education from North Carolina State University, Master of School Administration from East Carolina University
  • Educational Philosophy: Mr. Siler heard once that "learning is too important to take seriously," so he tries to keep an atmosphere in which every student is welcome and wants to engage in their learning. 
  • Hobbies: David enjoys his family, most water sports, gardening and most other outdoor activities.  He also likes crossword puzzles, playing chess, and making hot pepper jelly. 
  • Fun Facts: David camped in a volcano in Italy, slept on a beach in Greece, and slept through gunfire in Guatemala. 
  • Favorite Place He has Traveled: "It's difficult to name only one!"

Arts - Arlington Tart

  • Position: Middle and Upper School Instrumental Music Teacher
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Background: BA from the Berklee College of Music, MA in Jazz Performance from East Carolina University
  • Educational philosophy: Every student learns music differently. Therefore, tailoring one's approach when teaching new material to accommodate each student's needs is imperative.
  • Hobbies: Fishing and cooking
  • Fun facts: Arlin was a chef for 10 years and he worked as a radio frequency technician before returning to school for music. 
  • Favorite place he has traveled: Boston, MA

Arts - Jodi Tomboulian

  • Position: Middle School and Upper SchoolVisual Arts Teacher
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Background: BS Ed in Math and a BS Ed in Art from Western Carolina University; NC Licensed in: Art for K–12, Mathematics for 6–12, and Social Studies for 6–9, currently working toward Masters of Arts Education at ECU. 
  • Educational Philosophy: After teaching a self-contained class, Mrs. Tomboulian realized that the disciplines should not be taught in isolation but should be integrated, and connections should be made between disciplines whenever possible.  In her art classes, she not only teaches technique but also encourages her students to create meaningful works--often writing artist's statements about their artwork.  
  • Hobbies: Mrs. Tomboulian loves arts and crafts and Chinese culture and arts. She is a member of the Twin Rivers Art Association (TRAA) and actively participates in church and missions.
  • Fun facts: Mrs. Tomboulian has petted a panda bear in Chengdu, has seen the Terracotta Soldiers in Xian, and has flown over an active volcano in Hawaii. She was also a former foster parent to eight teenage girls—of whom she formally adopted one and unofficially adopted three others.

History and Math - Beth White

  • Position: 6th Grade American History, 6th Grade Math, and 7th Grade Math
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Background: BA in Elementary Education from Mississippi State University; Masters of Science in Elementary Education from Mississippi State University
  • Educational philosophy: Mrs. White believes that to teach a child we must value them first!  Understanding that every child has unique qualities is vital to the learning process and the development of every student.
  • Hobbies: The beach, reading, and cooking
  • Fun fact: Beth is a PADI Certified Scuba Diver; however, she hates to scuba dive!
  • Favorite place she has traveled:  The Czech Republic and Ireland