Dr. Shirley Huelsman, Academic Dean
Shirley Huelsman, an educator since 1974, received her Bachelor and Master’s Degrees in French from Winthrop University and her Ph.D. in Foreign Language Education and Supervision from The Ohio State University. During her career, Dr. Huelsman has taught students ranging from kindergarten through graduate school. In addition to her experience as a university supervisor and liaison for student teachers in the public schools and as an elementary education supervisor, she served as the Middle School Principal at Gaston Christian School for three years. As Academic Dean, Dr. Huelsman enjoys her role as facilitator, helping both the students and the teachers of GCS to meet the challenges inherent to the teaching-learning process. She arranges professional development opportunities for the faculty and coordinates the mentorship program for teachers new to GCS. Other responsibilities include the analysis of student standardized testing, textbook and curriculum review, and observations of teachers in the instructional setting.
Shirley is married to Glenn Huelsman, a retired Letter Carrier for the United States Postal Service. Their son Kerby, a GCS graduate, is an engineering student at UNC-C.
Nancy McDaniel, High School Principal
Nancy McDaniel received her undergraduate degree in English Education from Erskine College and holds a North Carolina teaching license in English/Language Arts (grades 6-12). In August 2008, she completed course requirements for a master’s degree in School Administration at Gardner-Webb University. Nancy taught for six years with Gaston County Schools and has been on staff at Gaston Christian for 22 years. She currently serves as an Advanced Placement English teacher in addition to administrative responsibilities.
Nancy and her husband Sam, employed with Caromont Health, have two children, both graduates of Gaston Christian. David, his wife Sarah and grandsons Elliott and Joel live in Denver, Colorado; their daughter Liz and her husband Ben live in Gastonia, North Carolina.
Virginia Conover, Middle School Principal
Virginia Conover received her undergraduate degree from The King’s College with concentrations in elementary education, social studies, and linguistics. She has done additional graduate coursework at Carlowe College and Shenandoah University. Virginia is permanently certified in the state of Pennsylvania and has participated in administrative training through ACSI. She has been involved in Christian education on the middle school level for thirty-one years having taught eleven years in Pennsylvania and Maryland. She has worked both in the classroom and administration at GCS for twenty years.
Virginia has one son, Matthew, a GCS graduate. Matthew and his wife, Jana, and son John, live in St. Louis, Missouri, where Matthew is completing research in a post doctoral program at Washington University Medical Center.
Karen Brooks, Coordinator for International Students, Academic Development, and Online Education
Mrs. Brooks received her undergraduate degree from Western Carolina University and her Master of Education degree in elementary education from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She holds teaching certificates in the areas of Early Childhood (K-3), Intermediate (4-6), Middle School (7-9) with a Science concentration, and Reading education (K-12). She received Mentor training and supervision certification with the Gaston County public schools. Before coming to GCS, she was a classroom teacher and supervising teacher for many years in the public school system, and served as an instructor at Gaston College. Since coming to Gaston Christian School in 1999, Mrs. Brooks has served as Academic Advisor in the high school, Elementary Principal, Elementary Dean of Curriculum, and currently serves as Coordinator for our newly formed programs for International Students, Academic Developement, and Online Education. As Karen begins her 13th year at GCS, her responsibilities include a focus on academic support for NILD and AdvancEd accreditation as part of advancing GCS academics.
Karen has been married to her husband, Curtis, for 24 years and they have one daughter, Meredith, a graduate of GCS and North Greenville University, majoring in Psycology.
Adam Mehaffey, Elementary Principal
Adam Mehaffey received his undergraduate degree from Appalachian State University and his Master’s Degree from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. He received his Master of School Administration degree from Western Carolina University in August of 2010. He began teaching at GCS in January of 2005 and has taught History in both the middle school and high school programs at GCS. Adam also served as High School Dean of Students before becoming Elementary Principal.
Adam and his wife have two sons and twin daughters. He enjoys spending time with his family, reading, and traveling. He is also an avid college football and basketball fan.
Fred Chase, SACS Coordinator
Mr. Chase began his teaching ministry in 1957 as a math and science teacher in the public schools of Wheelersburg, Ohio. After teaching for two years, he began his administrative ministry as a supervising elementary principal in Belpre, Ohio. For the next 18 years, he held a variety of administrative positions that included 13 years as a public school superintendent in Ohio and Pennsylvania. In 1977, Mr. Chase received God’s call to Christian education, which began as superintendent of Mansfield Christian School and has subsequently led to serving five other Christian schools as Headmaster.
Mr. Chase’s B. S. and M. Ed. degrees were earned at Ohio University and his doctoral course work was completed at Penn State University.
Fred and his wife, Ruth Ann, have been married for 61 years and their family includes six daughters, four grandsons, four granddaughters, and one great-grandson.
Susan Jennings, Early Childhood Principal
Susan received a degree from Southern Wesleyan University, where she studied psychology and education. She has been married to David Jennings for 38 years. Their three children are graduates of Gaston Christian School: Allison works in restaurant management; Holly is working at The Blair, McGill and Hill Group; David, II, is in graduate school at UNC Chapel Hill in the nurse practioners program. Susan has been with GCS for 18 years. She taught at the Catawba Heights Campus, and then moved to the Parkwood Campus as the elementary principal, and now serves as Early Childhood Principal. She formerly taught at Kernersville Wesleyan Academy (Kernersville, NC), First Wesleyan Christian School (Gastonia, NC), and Nazarene Christian School (Asheville, NC).