From soaring academics to shining character every student has different strengths, but all students learn to value and root for each other.

Character focus, peer empowerment, and mixed-ability learning create a real-life community where students recognize their own strengths to give and their need to learn from others. Character and true friendship are carefully taught. Multi-age and multi-ability learning help students master knowledge by teaching. Unique hearts spark personal love for growth.

Christ

From Him and to Him are all things (Romans 11:36). The Kelly School seeks to put Christ first in everything. We truly believe the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 9:10), and the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge (Proverbs 1:7). All subjects are taught from a biblical worldview.

Character

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind (Luke 10:27). All teachers are committed to representing Christ well and assisting students to grow in character.

Community

Love your neighbor as yourself (Luke 10:27). The Kelly School is a safe community where students learn to encourage and challenge each other in a positive manner.

“I love that The Kelly School is a 'no judgment' zone. Kids with all abilities come together in an environment tailored to teach and learn in a way specific to each kid. The Kelly School not only teaches kids the fundamental skills for living/life after school but also enriches their lives with moral and Biblical principles. I do not know where we would be without the amazing foundation that The Kelly School has provided.”

Cristina G.

The Kelly School Staff

Kerri Stein - Founder, School Director, & Principal

When Kerri meets a student, she sees untapped potential. Kerri takes a 9th grader who can’t read nearly to grade level in a couple years, and the 10th grader with math talent to college level.

But grade-level isn’t the metric, personal motivation is. Self-propulsion and personal responsibility become a way of life for students. Students learn to recognize whether they’re doing their best or just what’s comfortable in every area, from spelling to encouraging others.

Kerri’s helped children surpass their self-imposed ceilings for over 35 years. She holds numerous K-12 teaching certifications, a bachelor’s in education, and a master’s in theological studies. In addition to directing the school, Kerri teaches 6-12th grades and serves as school principal.

Nikki Patterson - Director of K-5 & Middle Elementary Teacher

Nikki makes each child feel like the most important person in the room, and she teaches her students to do the same. She nurtures students’ excitement and personalities to build hearts that love learning and love others.

Her value for each student empowers them to want to try again and to know they can.

Nikki has fifteen years of experience instructing children. She served as the director of children’s ministry at Threshold Church and co-authored Threshold’s Kids Empowered curriculum. In addition to directing K-5th grades, Nikki teaches Middle Elementary.

Mary Dodds - Director of Operations

Mary is the tech, human relations, finance, student records, and every other department that keeps things running behind the scenes. Mary believes good can always be better, and will find a way to make it happen.

She worked as a paralegal for twelve years, has managed websites, and has served as tech support wherever she goes.

Jeanne Mears - Educational Specialist

Jeanne has a passion for seeing the struggling learner succeed. She helps every student understand his value in God’s eyes.

Jeanne is an experienced education therapist and has a bachelor’s in business education, a master’s in exceptional student education with a concentration in educational therapy, and a graduate certificate in dyslexia. Jeanne has over thirty years of teaching experience, and instructs students in language arts and math.

Sara Patterson - Lower Elementary Teacher & Program Advisor

Sara helps students understand themselves, who they want to be, and how to get there. She draws out strengths, giving kids a place to thrive, help others, and plan futures they’d love.

Sara’s love and security are a force of nature, propelling each child to her best possible self.

A homeschool mother of six adopted children, Sara’s professional passion is personal. She’s spent over a decade working with adopted and foster children and advising their parents. Sara serves as the Lower Elementary teacher and program advisor.

Kara Shultz - Upper Elementary Teacher

Kara sees straight to the heart when she meets a child, and she loves seeing students flourish in who they were created to be.

A lifelong, homeschool mom of three, co-op teacher, and substitute teacher, Kara has a bachelor’s in Liberal Arts with a teaching focus and a minor in Spanish. Kara also served as a division sales manager and has a passion for providing respite care for foster and adoptive families.

Gray Good - 6-12th Grade Teacher

Gray draws students into his contagious excitement for learning, especially about the Bible. His insightful questions help students honestly explore the core of anything from worldview to history to character struggles. Every student in Gray’s presence knows what it is to feel loved and to have fun.

Gray joined The Kelly School in 2017 as the first teacher. He has served as chaplain at the Youth Intervention Center, a Sunday school teacher, YIC volunteer, and serves as youth leader at DOVE Christian Fellowship Elizabethtown. Gray teaches 6-12th grades.

Jeremy Schmoel - 6-12th Grade Teacher

Jeremy capitalizes on each student's strenghts and helps students handcraft strategies to grow

Jeremy has decades of experience teaching Bible to all ages from Awana to serving as the Director of Adult Bible Education at Hope Community Church. While studying and preaching Bible, Jeremy worked as a master foreman and homeschooled his nine children, four of whom are adopted.

Doug Ruhl - 3-12th Phys Ed. & 6-12th Grade Teacher

Doug has a passion for mentoring students in health and physical education to build healthy minds and bodies. Words and relationships are coached as much as physical activity. Doug has a bachelor’s in marketing, a master’s in educational strategies, and K-12 teaching certificates in business and health and physical education. Doug left a decade of public school teaching to attend ministry school and focus on ministering to youth.

Sunny Graybill - 6-12th Education Support

Sunny loves building strength, resiliency, and success in students who learn differently. She brilliantly blends encouragement and challenge, knowing when to adapt and when to help students overcome their own personal blocks. Sunny has been teaching since 2011 in home school, classical conversations, and co-op settings. Sunny is a licensed practical nurse and is motivated to use her own learning struggles to help others.

Sherrie Ainsley - Math Teacher

Sherrie loves making math simple, clear, and relatable to her students. She holds a bachelor’s in elementary education with a mathematics minor, a master’s in education, and a middle level math certification. She’s taught upper level math for over a decade and over 20 years of teaching experience in both public and homeschool settings.

Julie Ware - 6-12th Grade Science Teacher

Julie comes alive showing God the creator to students through art and science. She has a bachelor’s in studio art with additional studies in biology. Julie has been teaching since 1996 in private school, home school, and co-op settings. She’s written her own curricula in art history and psychology. Julie has a passion for helping students of all abilities learn well.

Garry Morton - 6-12th Career Counselor

Garry’s enthusiasm for helping students discover their personal, God-given bent is contagious. Owner of The Better Choice Career Coaching, Gary helps students plan careers based off of their personal interests, natural talents, unique values, and spiritual gifts. Gary has 35 years of experience in corporate America, decades of career counseling, and previously taught 5-6th grade.

Bethany Good - Substitute Teacher

Bethany lights up the room and her students. They genuinely miss her when she’s not there and feel safe talking to her about their emotions and struggles. Bethany has volunteered with kids her whole life, including volunteering at Cornerstone Ministries and now serving as youth leader at DOVE Christian Fellowship Elizabethtown.

Butch Craven - Elementary Reading Buddy

Butch has a heart for seeing students grow, and students feel loved and valued in his presence. A retired systems engineer, Butch blesses elementary students with a patient reading buddy.

Evelyn Keener - Elementary Reading Buddy

Evelyn lavishes love and patience. After over 40 years of teaching kids with challenging needs in Canada, she retired to private tutor most subjects for grades K-12. Evelyn volunteers as an elementary reading buddy.

Samantha Simmons - 6-12th Art Teacher

Sammi exudes fun and delights in each student. She’s had a life-long passion for eclectic art, has a glowing heart for the elderly, and blesses students with unique projects to make learning come alive.

“I love the commitment of every single faculty and volunteer to help the students thrive in who they were created to be! Every child is so special with something unique and beautiful only they bring to this world. At The Kelly school students are celebrated for who they are and encouraged to never stop learning and never stop strengthening their character, and I love that!”

Bethany S.

School History

God calls us to do things we can’t do, so we have to rely on Him. I prayed, “Lord, where do you want to lead me? How do you want to grow my faith?” God said, “Start a school.” I wept. My passion has always been kids & education. So in a sense, it wasn’t anything new, just a HUGE release. (In fact, I secretly went for my masters in hopes of such a thing; I just hadn’t told anybody.) Ephesians 2:10: ”For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God planned beforehand so that we would walk in them.” This is my prayer for every teacher, every volunteer, and every student at The Kelly School: that they would know why they are here and live to fulfill their God given destiny.

The name: Everyone asks, “Why ‘The Kelly School’?” I named the school after my parents, Tom and Bev Kelly. They taught me everything I know. They taught me to love God, rely on Him, love kids, and teach kids. They are my heroes.

The Kelly School started informally in 2014 with just one student. In 2016 The Kelly School became a DBA with eight students. In 2017 The Kelly School grew to fifteen students and became an incorporated private school recognized by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Currently about 70 students attend.