DR. DEWAYNE JOWERS
PASTOR & ACADEMY PRESIDENT
Dewayne Jowers was born to Tom and Gwen Jowers in Jacksonville, Florida. He graduated from Trinity Christian Academy. He received a Doctor of Ministry from Christ’s College and entered the Pastorate after being ordained in 1987.
He was called to Grace Baptist Church in March of 1995. He displays the heart and love of a Pastor/Shepherd. He has led Grace Baptist Church into active and faithful participation in supporting missionaries and missions projects around the world.
He was invited to serve on the Board of Directors of the Rock of Ages Ministries by Dr. Ron Gearis and has worked alongside Dr. Charles Keen and First Bible International in getting the Bible to people groups who have never had one.
Pastor Jowers was married to Lisa O’Steen, daughter of Milo and Colleen O’Steen, in 1982. They have three grown sons: Tim, Christopher, and Jonathan, and six grandchildren.
Pastor Jowers is a lover of college football and an avid Georgia Bulldog fan.
Mrs. Heather Barber
Mrs. Barber holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Accounting from the University of Phoenix. While working as an accountant, she began to feel the call to teach and went back to college to obtain her Florida Teaching certificate. In 2012 she became certified to teach Pre-K through 6th grades.
Mrs. Barber began her career in education at Grace Christian Academy in 2012. Over the years, she has taught each grade from VPK through the 4th Grade and now serves as the Academy Principal. She is an educator who enjoys making learning fun through creative activities and projects. She has a passion for teaching reading and strives to encourage a love of reading in all students. As administrator, she worked to obtain accreditation for the school, and began the VPK program. It is her desire to lead GCA in a Godly direction and to partner with families, staff, and students to ensure that each student at GCA excels both academically and spiritually.
Mrs. Barber makes herself available to help the GCA family and she goes above and beyond to meet the needs of the Academy. Her love for the ministry of GCA is evident in the work that she does leading the academy.
Mrs. Barber is the proud parent of two graduates from GCA. In her free time, she enjoys serving at Church, spending time with friends and family, boating, reading, and traveling.
Mrs. Lisa Jowers
Lisa Jowers was born and raised in Jacksonville, Florida. She graduated from Trinity Christian Academy in 1977.
She has served alongside her husband, Pastor Jowers, at Grace Baptist Church since March of 1995. She has been the
Secretary/Bookkeeper at Grace Christian Academy since January of 2005. She enjoys working with the staff, students
and parents at GCA.
She has been married to Pastor Jowers since February of 1982. She has three grown sons, Tim, Christopher and
Jonathan and his wife Victoria. She also has two granddaughters, Tori and Camdyn, and four grandsons, Jase, Hunter,
Easton and Lincoln.
Her greatest enjoyment comes from serving the Lord at Grace Baptist which also includes teaching the Teen Girls
Sunday School Class. She also loves spending time with her husband, children, grandchildren, church family and
friends. Her favorite places to vacation are the mountains, the beach and cruising.
Mrs. Casey Dawson
LEAD TEACHER - VPK AND KINDERGARTEN
Mrs. Casey Dawson is the lead teacher in our Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten classroom. She is a proud graduate of Grace Christian Academy, and she holds a VPK Staff credential from the Childcare Education Institute. Mrs. Dawson enjoys teaching children the foundation of education. She is a creative teacher who makes learning fun and exciting for her students.
Mrs. Dawson is a faithful member of Grace Baptist Church and has served in many areas including Pastor’s Secretary, VBS worker, nursery worker, and Sunday School teacher.
Mrs. Dawson is a proud parent of two beautiful children, one if whom is a current GCA student. She enjoys crafting, traveling, and spending time with family.
Mrs. SECRET RAFUSE
ASSISTANT TEACHER - VPK AND KINDERGARTEN
Mrs. Secret Rafuse joined the staff of Grace Christian Academy in the fall of 2023 as an assistant teacher in our VPK and Kindergarten class. Prior to joining the GCA staff, she homeschooled her four children for several years. Mrs. Rafuse has a certification in cosmetology and held various positions before being called to be a stay-at-home mother and then later a teacher.
Mrs. Rafuse enjoys watching children discover new things for themselves and thrive from their learning experiences. She loves being a team player and helping others brings her great joy.
Mrs. Rafuse is a member of Grace Baptist Church and in her free time she enjoys family time, swimming, horseback riding, and tending her hobby farm.
Mrs. Denise Bennett
Teacher - 1st and 2nd Grade
Mrs. Denise Bennett joined the staff of Grace Christian Academy in the fall of 2023 after 13 years in the medical field as a Medical Assistant and private caregiver. Prior to that, she was in the accounting field. She holds a Medical Assistant Certification and an Associate’s Degree from FSCJ. She is a wife and mother of 5 children. Before returning to the work field, she homeschooled for several years using the Abeka Curriculum. She also was a parent volunteer in the public school system for grades kindergarten through fifth grade. One of her favorite responsibilities in the public school system was cultivating a love for reading through the Accelerated Reading Program. In her free time, she loves sharing Jesus with children at her local church, reading Christian historical fiction, and spending time with her family and their spoiled dogs.
Miss Andrena Noland
Teacher - 3rd and 4th Grade
Miss Andrena Noland graduated from Maranatha Baptist University in 2020 with a Degree in Elementary Education before returning home to teach in northern Canada. She also recently earned the CELTA certificate to teach English as a second language. God has given Andrena opportunities to work with students from a wide range of cultural and language backgrounds as well as neurodiverse students. She loves showing God’s character through meeting students exactly where they are and teaching them the skills needed to grow both spiritually and academically.
Miss Noland recently moved to Florida to be near family and is very excited to serve alongside the other staff and volunteers at Grace Christian Academy. After school, she will be found loving on her dog and her nephews.
Mrs. Kerri Dryden
Teacher - 5th and 6th Grade
Mrs. Kerri Dryden joined the staff of Grace Christian Academy in the fall of 2022 after serving over 19 years on the mission field of Haiti. She has a bachelors degree in Accounting from Pensacola Christian College, and she homeschooled all three of her children from kindergarten through twelfth grades.
Both in the U.S. and on the foreign field, Mrs. Dryden has taught in various capacities, including Bible, English and music. She enjoys encouraging her students to work to their fullest potential and at the same time develop Godly character traits.
In her free time, Mrs. Dryden enjoys doing puzzles of any kind and playing the piano and various other instruments.
Mr. Grant Dawson
Teacher - 7th, 8th, & 9th Grade
Mr. Dawson holds a Bachelor’s Degree in church ministries with an assistant pastoral focus from Trinity Baptist College, which he received in 2016. He has served in Grace Baptist Church ministries since 2013 in the areas of children’s and youth Sunday school, children’s church, Vacation Bible School, youth pastor, and music director. Most recently, he has taught at GCA, since 2016, serving as a preacher, athletic director, and coach. He has a passion for Bible, English, and History.
Ms. Kim Shank
Teacher - 10th, 11th, & 12th Grade
Miss Shank holds bachelor’s degrees in Physics from Jacksonville University and a Civil Engineering degree from Georgia Institute of Technology. While serving on active duty in the Navy's Civil Engineer Corps, she also earned a master's degree in Environmental Engineering from the University of Florida. She left active duty in the military to teach high school physics and math while completing twenty years of military service in the reserves. She has taught internationally for over fifteen years in the Arabian Peninsula and is excited to be teaching in her home state of Florida at Grace Christian Academy. She enjoys helping students learn and encouraging them to love the Lord with all their heart, soul, and mind. During her free time, she enjoys DIY projects and gardening.
Mrs. Sarah Waddell
K - 12TH GRADE
Mrs. Waddell began working at Grace Christian Academy in 2017 as a volunteer and a substitute teacher. She then joined the academy staff full time. Mrs. Waddell has excelled as a Math teacher, guiding students to grasp the various concepts of Mathematics. She has taken every opportunity to grow as a teacher by pursuing training opportunities through Pensacola Christian College’s Abeka Teacher Training Program. Mrs. Waddell enjoys building character and encouraging spiritual growth in all of the students she teaches. Mrs. Waddell is also the proud parent of two GCA students.
Ms. Victoria Weber
Teacher's Aide / Aftercare
Miss Victoria Weber joined the GCA staff in 2022 as a teacher’s aide and after-care teacher. She is a proud former student of Grace Christian Academy and she does a wonderful job helping teachers and staff throughout the school day. Miss Weber has recently returned to Baldwin after spending the past few years on deputation then in Mongolia, where her family serves as missionaries to the people of Mongolia. Miss Weber enjoys helping and teaching children. Her love of children is evident in the way she communicates with children and the way they flock to her. Miss Weber is a faithful member of Grace Baptist Church and is always ready and willing to serve in any capacity she can. We are pleased to have her on our staff.