Academic Success Center

Academic Success Center

Helping students develop their academic and non-academic gifts to the glory of God.

Academic Success Center

At Grace Community School, we believe each child is fearfully and wonderfully made. Furthermore, we recognize that each child at Grace is called to live in community, to celebrate each other’s God-given gifts and to minister to each other’s needs. Our goal is to partner with students, parents, and teachers for the academic success of each unique learner so that together we can grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Academic Success Center offers a range of varied experiences and connectivity to background knowledge, interests and abilities in order to enhance the mastery of essential skills, knowledge and understanding for identified students.

One aspect of assisting Christian families to educate, encourage, and equip their children to influence the world for Christ involves supporting students with professionally-diagnosed mild learning differences. Grace provides the following fee-based services:

 

  • Early intervention (Search and Teach for students 5-6 year olds)
  • Educational Therapy (diagnosed learning differences at elementary and middle school)
  • Reading Lab (Orton Gillingham based reading and spelling instruction, as well as modified reading comprehension instruction for elementary and middle school)
  • Learning Lab (small groups of middle school and high school students with guided study hall with executive functioning instruction and core content reviews)
  • Academic Advisory (high school students receive individualized executive functioning instruction and tutorial support).

In conjunction with teachers and parents, Grace designs specific academic plans for identified students with diagnosed learning differences which may be reflected on report cards and transcripts.

Speech therapy provided by the Independent School District may be available to diagnosed students on our campus. Grace can recommend outside resources or options for diagnostic services, social skills training, spectrum disorders, occupational therapy, physical therapy, or other services not available at Grace.

 

 

Meet Our Staff

Sarah Hecht

Sarah Hecht

Director of Special Academic Programs

Sarah Hecht serves as Director of Special Academic Programs. Before joining Grace, Sarah was a kindergarten teacher, dyslexia specialist, and founder of educational centers in Colorado. Sarah has her bachelors in Elementary Education, and master’s in Curriculum and Instruction from Colorado Christian University. Sarah also has additional certification and training from Barton, Lindamood Bell, Orton-Gillingham, Handwriting Without Tears, ASDEC, and more. She and her family moved to Tyler in 2016 from Grand Junction, Colorado. Sarah and her husband, Gary, have four children. Alyssa, Ashlynn, Aden, and Ayle all attend Grace. The Hechts are members of Cross Brand Cowboy Church. Sarah enjoys running, spending time with her family, hiking in the mountains, and enjoying the great outdoors.

Lisa Ackroyd

Lisa Ackroyd

High School Academic Success Center

Lisa joined Grace in 2020. She has spent nine years teaching middle school math and coaching middle school soccer. She also taught robotics and technology for two years. Most recently she has been providing private tutoring for dyslexia and math. She completed her dyslexia training through LEAD in Dallas. Lisa received her BS in Computer Science from SUNY Utica, and her master’s degree in Educational Leadership from St. Leo University. She and her husband, Mike, live in Tyler and have two daughters, Lexi and Ashleigh.

Krystal Ashby

Krystal Ashby

Testing Proctor Academic Success Center

Krystal joined the GCS Academic Success Center in January 2020 as a testing proctor. Krystal received her Associate’s degree in Applied Science, surgical technology and nursing, from Tyler Junior College. She worked as a registered nurse for a home and community service program advocating for individuals with developmental differences since 2012. Krystal and her husband, Chase, have two children, Kalynn and Kynlee, who both attend GCS. She and her family love traveling, spending time with family and friends, going to sporting events, and attending church at Concord Cumberland Presbyterian Church.

Beth Beach

Beth Beach

Elementary School Academic Success Center

Beth joined GCS in October 2018 working in Academic Support as an NILD educational therapist. Prior to coming to Grace, she taught 6th math/history, 5th, and 3rd grade at Cypress Christian School for 11 years. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Houston with a B.S. in Interdisciplinary Studies (Gr.1-8) and also has a secondary math teaching certificate (Gr. 8-12). Beth and her husband, William, have three daughters, Alyssa, Kristin, and Lauren. Beth and her family have been members of Cypress Bible Church in Houston since 1990, and look forward to finding a new church home here in Tyler.

Jeanne Crawford

Jeanne Crawford

Elementary School Academic Success Center

Jeanne has worked at GCS since 1981, initially as a second grade teacher (’81-’84) before moving to first grade and now in the Academic Success Center. She previously taught two years at another Christian school as a kindergarten/first grade teacher. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Tyler, her master’s degree in Reading at University of Texas at Tyler, and completed her Learning Therapist training at Southern Methodist University. Jeanne and her husband, King, have four children. Shafen, her oldest son, graduated from Texas A&M and works for Edward Jones. He is married to Katy, a teacher and tutor, and they have two sweet boys, making Jeanne a proud Nana. Miranda, her oldest daughter, a Marine, is stationed in Virginia as a parachute folding instructor. Michael, her second son, graduated from Grace in 2012 and Texas A&M. Jennifer, her youngest daughter, graduated from Chapel Hill and works in kindergarten after-care at Grace. Jeanne and her family worship at Green Acres Baptist Church.

Stephenie Gilmore

Stephenie Gilmore

Middle School Academic Success Center

Stephenie received her Region VII Alternative Teaching Certification in Math 4-8, in 2003 and has been teaching in various capacities for the past sixteen years. Her career began in public middle school, but most recently she home-schooled her five children. She is thrilled to be teaching in a school setting once again, and her kids are equally excited to be attending Grace. When they aren’t at school, the Gilmores can be found watching Aggie football, playing sports, relaxing with friends, and working on house projects.
Julie Gourlay

Julie Gourlay

Elementary School Academic Success Center

Julie began with Grace Community School in 2017 as a third grade teacher and now works in the Academic Success Center. She has taught junior kindergarten, kindergarten, and third grade for four years at Lake Norman Christian School in Davidson, North Carolina. Julie received her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Southeastern Bible College in Birmingham, Alabama. In her spare time, Julie enjoys reading, traveling, exploring new places, and learning new ways to create different kinds of crafts

Debbie Hale

Debbie Hale

Elementary School Academic Success Center

Debbie has worked as an educational therapist for over ten years at both Grace and other Christian schools –even in a school in Africa.  She has been with Grace Community School since 2015, serving in academic services in the elementary.  She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Tyler and her master’s degree in Education from Regent University.  Debbie is a professionally certified educational therapist with NILD and a certified dyslexia therapist with the International Dyslexia Association.

Penny Hawkins

Penny Hawkins

Middle School Academic Success Center

Penny Hawkins joined Grace in 2019. She received her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the University of North Texas in 1990 and has taught in Christian Education for 14 years. Penny and her husband, Jeff, have two adult children BrieAnna and Zachry. She attends Grace Community Church.

Sarah Jones

Sarah Jones

Middle School Academic Success Center

Sarah has been an elementary public school teacher for the last 17 years. She has taught in various districts around east Texas and has spent the last 7 years as an RTI teacher for her campus. She received a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education, specializing in reading and music, from East Texas Baptist University in 2003. She has been happily married to her husband, Brandon, since 2003 and they have four children: Kate, Kennedy, Addison, and Drake. She spends her time with her children’s sporting events and relaxing with family and friends. She and her family attend Rock Hill Baptist Church in Chandler.

Julie Reilly

Julie Reilly

Middle School Academic Success Center

Julie joined the GCS Academic Success Center in 2019 as an educational therapist. She earned a Master’s degree in Education from The University of Texas at Tyler. Julie also graduated from Texas A&M with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Psychology and later obtained her teacher certification in Math at The University of Texas at San Antonio. She has taught in a variety of school settings and grade levels, with her longest experience being in teaching middle school math. Julie has been married to Art for 35 years and they have two married sons.

Candice Zimmerman

Candice Zimmerman

High School Academic Success Center

Candice earned her Bachelors of Arts degree in English from the University of Texas at Tyler. She also has additional training and certifications from Neuhaus Academy for Dyslexia, Shelton School for RTI, and the OnRamps dual enrollment program through UT Austin. Candice and her husband, Jeff, have two children, Chloe, and Carter who both attend GCS. They attend Green Acres Baptist Church where they enjoy singing in the choir and praise team. Candice volunteers with the high school choir at church, Praise Alive and loves spending time traveling with her family.