Get to Know Your Teachers
Read the biography of your child’s teacher. Visit each teacher’s classroom page and get the articles, assignments and activity sheets you need to help your child in their studies.
Rebekah Shaffer is a graduate of Pensacola Christian College with a Bachelor of Science in elementary education. Mrs. Shaffer taught school for four years before giving birth to Grace (12, a sixth grader at Covenant) and Luke (8, second grade). After her children enrolled in school, she began as a substitute teacher and art teacher at Covenant. Mrs. Shaffer is in her second year in the kindergarten class. Rebekah’s husband, Jeremy, is the executive pastor at Lewis Memorial Baptist Church and teaches theology at Covenant. Email Mrs. Shaffer.
Although Deide McComas is a native of Chattanooga, Tennessee, as a young girl her family moved to Barboursville. In 1992, the year after she married her husband, Kevin McComas, they moved to Columbus, Ohio. After their twins, Jake and Maddie, enrolled in Brice Christian Academy, she began working as an aide there—preparing her for her current position. In 2005, the McComases returned to West Virginia, where she homeschooled Jake and Maddie until their graduation in 2016. Mrs. McComas is also co-director of the children’s ministry at Lewis Memorial Baptist Church. Email Mrs. McComas.
Mindy Stanley has been teaching school for 43 years, the past 22 at Covenant. She loves working with young children and showing them how much fun learning can be. Mrs. Stanley’s goals for her classroom include instilling a love of learning, shepherding children’s hearts, and infusing a love for—and awareness of—Christ in all areas of life. She is regularly amazed at the progress and maturity demonstrated by six- and seven-year-old children. Mrs. Stanley is convinced that educating these students is “educating for eternity.” Email Mrs. Stanley.
Mrs. Helmstetler stepped in to the first-grade aide position at the beginning of January. Her heart’s desire is to serve and love God’s people with a grace-filled and humble spirit. She believes deeply in the important grounding through scripture that every child receives at Covenant. Nichole has been married for 10 years to Jason who is our middle school boys basketball coach. Together they have three children, Kamren, Lily, and Lyla. Nichole is currently pursuing a degree in social work at Liberty University. She attends City Church in Huntington and volunteers with a local nonprofit, Rebuild.
Lori Magnusson grew up near Portland, Maine but moved here 25 years ago when her husband, Andy, received the call to pastor Baptist Temple in Huntington. Mrs. Magnusson is a graduate of Gordon College, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in elementary education. She has been at Covenant for 20 of her 25 years in the classroom. “I love teaching at Covenant,” she says. “Teaching at Covenant School has been a great joy and privilege. Our mission at Covenant is to partner with parents to immerse our children in a Biblically-centered curriculum and encourage them to develop a Scriptural worldview, and I am honored to participate in that process daily.” She has three grown children and five granddaughters, one of which is a first-grader at Covenant. Email Mrs. Magnusson.
Susan Jimison is a 1992 graduate of Marshall University, with a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education. She taught for one year in Cabell County Schools before starting at Covenant. She helped develop the kindergarten program and was the original kindergarten teacher. Although a veteran of many years in the classroom, Mrs. Jimison is still amazed by both the academic and creative abilities of her students. She considers it a privilege to come alongside parents and guide young minds, from both a classical Christian education approach and a biblical perspective. Email Mrs. Jimison.
In addition to teaching fourth grade, Sarah Lafferty is the band instructor at Covenant. She teaches beginning band (grades five and six) and secondary band (grades seven through 12) while her fourth graders are in music, Latin or physical education classes. A 2009 graduate of Morehead State University, she has a Bachelor of Arts in music education and is licensed to teach pre-kindergarten through grade 12, and vocal music. This will be Miss Lafferty’s seventh year at Covenant. “Along with our curriculum, I encourage my students to be compassionate, empathetic, and giving through outreach,” she says. Email Mrs. Lafferty.
Beth Butcher is a graduate of Marshall University, with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in early childhood special education. For the past 14 years she was a teacher in the Rock Hill (Ohio) School District. Kyle, her husband of 14 years, is a radiologic technologist at Cabell Huntington Hospital. The Butcher family is active at First Baptist Church of Kenova, where Kyle is a deacon. Mrs. Butcher helps with FBC’s AWANA program and American Heritage Girls, and is on the praise team. They have four children; the three school-age kids attend Covenant. Email Mrs. Butcher.
Sixth grade teacher Sheree Yeager is also a licensed professional counselor, with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in counseling from Marshall University. Prior to teaching, her work focused on counseling women, children, and families experiencing emotional and physical abuse. God led her to Covenant as a parent and eventually opened the door for her to teach. Prior to her current position, she served as a substitute teacher and assistant teacher. Mrs. Yeager enjoys exploring new concepts and watching students’ critical thinking skills expand. She is married to Matt Yeager. Their children, Emma (freshman) and Eli (fifth grade) attend Covenant. Email Mrs. Yeager.
Leigh Bucklad graduated from the University of Central Florida with a Bachelor of Science in elementary education. Over the last 17 years she has taught a variety of grades, including pre-kindergarten, first, second and fifth grades. Last year was her first teaching art at Covenant. She “absolutely” loves teaching and creatively engaging students with the curriculum and seeing them grow during the school year. Leigh’s husband, Brad, has been the area and college director for Young Life in Huntington since 2013. They have three children; the two oldest will be first- and third-graders this year at Covenant. Email Mrs. Bucklad.
Born and raised in Parkersburg, Travis Huffman graduated from Parkersburg High School in 2010 and has lived in the Huntington area since then. He graduated from Marshall University in 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences and a minor in chemistry, math and physics. Continuing his education, he earned a Master of Arts in teaching (ages five to adult) in 2016. He is married to his high school sweetheart, McKenzie, and is a member of 26th Street Church of Christ in Huntington. Email Mr. Huffman.
Larry Bryant attended Morehead State University and has bachelor’s degrees in health and physical education and history, and a master’s degree in secondary education. He has 42 years of teaching experience, the last seven at Covenant. Mr. Bryant says that children who understand history are better equipped to become citizens. “Since we live in a representative government, citizens should know what has been successful or failed in the past to make wise choices on promises of candidates today,” he says. Larry and MaDonna have been married for 43 years; they have four children and two grandchildren and attend Expression Church of Huntington. Email Mr. Bryant.
Madison Smith is a graduate of Marshall University, where she earned her Bachelor of Arts in 2009 and her Master of Arts in 2011. She is excited to be teaching literature, saying reading opens students to brand new worlds, expands their horizons, and allows them to empathize and understand in ways they could never imagine. “I can’t wait to see how each student grows and learns throughout this year,” Mrs. Smith says. Her hobbies include traveling, reading, writing and cooking. She and her husband, Aaron, and their one-year-old son, Samuel, live in Proctorville and attend Norway Avenue Church of Christ in Huntington. Email Mrs. Smith.
Prior to entering the ministry, Dr. Wayne Harrison owned a medical supplies business in Scott Depot. A graduate of West Virginia State College (now university), he earned his Ph.D. in religion at Covington Theological Seminary in Rossville, Georgia. Since receiving the call to ministry, Dr. Harrison has been a Christian school teacher and director, prison minister, and missionary. He and his wife, Ruby, have been married for 53 years and have three daughters, six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. “I truly believe teaching is a calling,” he says. “By working together, we can help shape the next generation into successful, God-honoring adults.” Email Dr. Harrison.
A missionary kid, Melanie Phelps grew up in Caracas, Venezuela. After using her fluency in the corporate world for 10 years, she sensed God calling her to the classroom to share her love of languages. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish from Marshall University, with her studies preparing her for both corporate work and the classroom. Her desire is to instill an awareness in her students that God created languages to stretch us into dependency on Him. And, to use them to share the gospel to the ends of the earth. Email Mrs. Phelps.
Dr. Jeremy Shaffer holds a Bachelor of Arts in Bible from Pensacola Christian College, a Master of Divinity from Pensacola Theological Seminary, and a Doctor of Ministry from Liberty (University) Baptist Theological Seminary. The executive pastor at Lewis Memorial Baptist Church, he has taught Bible classes at Covenant for six years. “My desire is to motivate and encourage students to be active listeners rather than passive ones because education is only one part of the learning process,” he says. “In whatever class I teach, the Scriptures are the sole authority.” He and his wife, Rebekah (kindergarten teacher), have been married for 16 years. Email Dr. Shaffer.
Dr. Jackie Fannin earned her Ph.D. in biomedical sciences at Marshall University. She teaches secondary science classes at Covenant. During the summer of 2017, Dr. Fannin conducted research on the effects of a high fat diet on the formation of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease to non-alcoholic steatohepatitis in aging mouse models. Dr. Fannin strongly advocates a hands-on learning approach with her students, including the use of experiments, demonstrations, and field trips. Email Dr. Fannin.
Rebecca Revely is a wife, mother and a recipient of God’s amazing grace through Jesus Christ. She is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in education through the University of the Cumberland’s and has a B.U.S with emphasis in Music Education from Morehead State University. She most recently served as a substitute teacher, focusing in music with the Ashland Independent School System. Rebecca is the author of children’s and youth books and serves alongside her husband Shonte’ in Music Ministry at their church, Gateway Church of God in Ashland, KY. In her free time, she enjoys blogging about life and music ministry. The Revelys currently reside in Kentucky with their three children. Email Mrs. Revely.
Greg Withrow is an audio engineer at Christ Temple Church. He grew up in Sissonville and has spent most of his life involved in music and sound. He loves teaching the secondary students at Covenant, and says he is excited for the day when the students will be able to do their own audio visual work for school performances. Greg is happily married to Kasey Withrow and they live in Huntington. Email Mr. Withrow.