Academic Support Center

Academic Support Center

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

Academic Support Center

Advocating for all Learners

At Grace Community School, we hold fast to the belief that 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 Support 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 5-6 year olds)
  • Educational Therapy (dyslexia, dyscalculia, and dysgraphia for elementary)
  • Reading Lab (elementary classroom curriculum support)
  • Learning Lab (junior high and high school assisted study hall with learning strategies and organizational support)
  • Screening and follow-up testing

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.

For more information about fees or services, please contact:

Debbie Hale, Elementary Academic Support at 903-593-1977.
Mary Dirksen, Junior and High School Academic Support at 903-566-5600 ext. 153.


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.

Mary Dirksen

Mary Dirksen

JH & HS Academic Support

Mary joined the Grace family in 2012 when her husband, Joe, accepted the role of junior high principal. Mary was appointed to the position of launching the Academic Support Center (ASC) in grades 6-12.  Mary has served in four other junior high and high schools as an educator and counselor for over thirty years. She has a master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction and completed advanced work in special education administration. Her passion is advocating for students and partnering with parents.

Debbie Hale

Debbie Hale

ES Academic Support

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.