They will soar onwings like eagles...- Isalah 40:31

Our Staff

The Academy of Coastal Carolina strives to create the very best learning environment for our students, and that requires the very best teachers.  We employ an experienced faculty with diverse educational backgrounds, many holding multiple degrees and certifications in their subject areas.

Theresa Cox

Education:    Ms. Theresa Cox is a graduate of Coastal Carolina University with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Elementary and Early Childhood Education.

Experience:   Head of The Academy of Coastal Carolina since 2008 and one of the founders of the school, Ms. Cox has over thirty years of public and private classroom experience ranging from early childhood to eighth grade in both North and South Carolina. She has developed kindergarten and first grade curriculum and has also assisted in writing objectives and instructional strategies for at-risk students.

Email Theresa Cox:

Jacqueline Boehmer

Education:  Bachelor of Arts from Buffalo State College with a minor in Spanish

Experience:  Ms. Boehmer has extensive experience as a Teacher’s Assistant and currently works with The Academy’s 3 Year Old and Transitional Kindergarten classes.

Email Jacqueline Boehmer:

Stacey Bridges

Education: Ms. Bridges graduated from Coastal Carolina University with a Bachelor’s degree in Studio Art. She is also a certified personal trainer through AFAA and has several group fitness class certifications.

Experience: Ms. Bridges has 15 years of experience teaching Art for K-12 and adults. She has been with the Academy of Coastal Carolina since the school opened. She also works as a painting instructor at Next Generation Art Studios in Sunset Beach. As well as instructing Art, Ms. Bridges is also a certified personal trainer and co-owner of Core and More Fitness in Shallotte. She has been training clients and teacher group fitness classes for 6 years.

Position- Art Teacher

Email Stacey Bridges:  

Kelly Griffin Cooper 

Education: AAS in Business

Experience: Since 2008, Kelly has worked with children in several different areas. She has served on the board for Coastal Carolina Girls on the Run at the Wilmington Family YMCA along with coaching the program for 3rd-5th grades at Union Elementary School. She has been a volunteer at Mom’s Morning Out Ministry along with assisting coaching in the Shallotte Youth Soccer League.

Position: Three Year Old Program Lead Teacher

Email Kelly Cooper:

Gerri Cox

Education:  University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill (graduated Cum Laude) BSN/RN. Licensed and Certified Davis® Facilitator, Davis Dyslexia Association International.

Experience: As a former instructor at Southeastern Community College, it seemed natural for Gerri to return back to the education field. Over the past ten years, she has conducted Davis® Learning Strategies workshops across the United States as well as been a guest lecturer at UNC-W. In addition to teaching TK at The Academy, she also tutors children and adults in her private practice.  Gerri completed training in the Orton-Gillingham multi-sensory reading methods during the summer of 2010. 

Position:  Transitional Kindergarten Lead Teacher

Email Gerri Cox:

Debby Davis

Education: High School Graduate from Central Davidson High School and also had one year of Early Childhood Specialists Program.  Many different classes and workshops for education as well as for Domestic Violence while was the coordinator at the shelter.  


Experience:  Ms. Davis has worked as a Teacher’s Assistant and Substitute Teacher for over 20 years.  


Position:  Teacher Assistant - Primary Grades

Email Debbie Davis:

Karon Evans

Education: AA in Business Administration. Currently enrolled in Associates in Fine Arts-Music Education at Cape Fear Community College. Ms. Evans has her NC Early Childhood Credentials and is a licensed Kindermusik Educator.

Experience: Ms. Evans has been a Kindermusik educator for the past year at Shallotte Presbyterian Church. She is a Preschool Teacher for Sunday School and Children's Music Leader for Vacation Bible School.

Position:  Music Teacher


Robin R. Gaskins

Education:  Ms. Gaskins received a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood and Elementary Education from East Carolina University. She is also certified mentor and reading teacher K-12. Robin received National Board Certification in 2000.

Experience:  Ms. Gaskins has taught K-5 for 35+ years. She has tutored students and substituted at the High School and Elementary School level since retirement.  Ms. Gaskins taught in Craven County for 13 years and Brunswick County for 22 years.

Position:  Third Grade Lead Teacher

Email Robin Gaskins:


Shannon Grooms

Education: University of North Carolina at Wilmington (graduated Cum Laude), Masters in Early Childhood Education from Coastal Carolina University

Experience:  Upon completing her graduate degree, Shannon began teaching several child development courses for Brunswick Community College. In 2007 she began facilitating workshops for prospective UNC-W education students

Position:  Second Grade Teacher (all subjects), Upper School Math

Email Shannon Grooms:

Kathy Heffernan

Education: Bachelors of Science in Psychology, Post Graduate Classes in Birth-Kindergarten Education with a former lateral entry License in B-K Education.

Experience: Mrs. Heffernan has 13 years of experience working with children with special needs and their families.  She has provided early intervention services, as well as special education and case management.

Position: Kindergarten Lead Teacher

Email Kathy Heffernan:


Jill Heustess

Education: Bachelors of Science in Construction Management (Minnesota State University Moorhead), Masters of Science in Risk Control (University of Wisconsin-Stout)

Experience: Mrs. Heustess has 16 years of experience working as an Environmental, Safety & Health professional in construction/manufacturing/maritime industries, including providing training and educational opportunities in governmental regulations, decision making, risk assessment, teamwork and professional leadership, and First Aid/CPR.

Position: Enrichment Teacher – Life Skills, STEM and The Academy of Coastal Carolina Office Manager

Email Jill Heustess:


Gail Hickman

Education:  B.A. in Elementary Education (4-9) with Language Arts Concentration, B.A. in Early Childhood Education  (K-3), and B.A. in Special Education (K-12), University of North Carolina at Wilmington.

Experience: 33 Years in public and private school.

Position:  English & Social Studies (Grades 4-6)

Email Gail Hickman at


William Hickman

Education: Mr. Hickman holds a B.A. Degree in Social Studies Education from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.

Experience: Mr. Hickman has 31 years teaching and coaching in public schools.

Position:  Director of The Academy of Coastal Carolina High School

Email William Hickman:

April Varnam Owens

Education: Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from UNCW and Masters in Education from ECU

Experience: Mrs. Owens has been teaching and tutoring for 12 years in public, private and homeschooling atmospheres in Brunswick County.  April has taught grades 2nd through 8th grade core classes and involved in extracurricular activities for girls in elementary grades.  April has been operating online math courses for Tabtor Math for over a year and has begun to teach online courses this school year.  

Position:  Upper Level Teacher

Email April Varnam Owens:

Ramona Parker

Education: Business Administration and K-4 certification from Meredith College in Raleigh, NC.  Masters in Early Childhood Education from University of South Carolina.

Experience:  Ms. Parker has 30 years of experience as a kindergarten and first grade teacher as well as a K-5 Literacy Teacher. She is also Reading Recovery Specialist and HillRAP certified (reading acceleration intervention programs).

Position:  First Grade Lead Teacher

Email Ramona Parker:

Peggy Reeves

Education:  Ms. Reeves received her AAS in Early Childhood Education from Southeastern Community College.  Later she attended the University of North Carolina at Wilmington where she received her BA in Middle School Education (graduated Summa Cum Laude).

Experience: Ms. Reeves has had eleven years of experience working in a preschool setting as both lead and assistant teacher.  Six years were at Brunswick Community College at their Early Childhood Education Center which was a wonderful experience for her.  In addition, she has also taught Communication Skills for ten years including regular and academically gifted students at the middle school level.  

Position – Middle School English Teacher and After School Teacher

Email Peggy Reeves:

Ginger Taylor

Education:  BS from Appalachian State University

Experience:  Ms. Taylor has been working in Children's Ministry for 10+ years.  She has directed summer camps, led After School Programs and taught Bible School.

Position: Enrichment Teacher


Email Ginger Taylor: