Christopher Rusk – Interim Dean
Mr. Rusk holds a master’s degree in English and is currently working on a doctoral degree in education. Throughout the past decade, Mr. Rusk has worked in various teaching roles with learners of all ages ages — ranging from young children to adults. He has a particular passion for working with international students in ESL settings. As a homeschooling father of six, he has had many years of experience working with non-traditional forms of education. This experience gives Mr. Rusk the ability to relate to many of the issues facing today’s students and their parents. In his spare time, he enjoys being with his wife of 18 years, and their four sons and two daughters. Mr. Rusk resides in the Lynchburg, Va., area.
Dr. Bunnie Claxton – Superintendent
Dr. Claxton has been involved with distance/online education since 2005 as a former homeschool parent and online college instructor. She graduated with a Bachelors of Arts degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of Georgia, a Masters of Arts Degree in Special Education from Liberty University, an Autism Certificate from Liberty University, and her Doctorate in Education in Curriculum and Instruction from Liberty University. She has taught in the public, private, and homeschool arena and has been an instructor at the university level. Bunnie and her husband of 20 years have a teenage daughter and son.
Aaron Marks - Director of Admissions, Recruitment, and Strategic Communications
Mr. Marks was born and raised in Lafayette, LA before moving to Raleigh, NC – where he attended and graduated from North Carolina State University with a degree in Philosophy. He pursued his graduate studies at Liberty University, attaining a Master of Arts in Religion, a Master of Religious Education, and a Master of Divinity. He has worked in the field of education as an admissions professional and adjunct professor for over 7 years and has been with LUOA since May of 2016. In his spare time he enjoys playing various musical instruments, including the piano and guitar, and traveling with his wife Naomi, who is a 1st-grade teacher.
Dustin Miller – Director of Advising
Mr. Miller earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Education, followed by his Master's of Education in Administration & Supervision in May 2014 and is currently pursuing his Doctorate in Education. He enjoys working with students and their families and has been an active volunteer in the Lynchburg community. He has teaching and tutoring experience with Liberty Christian Academy and Faith Christian Academy - both in the Lynchburg area. He is married to Crystal and they both expect to be involved in, and/or open an orphanage wherever the Lord leads them.
Cameron Ward – Director of Curriculum
Mr. Ward received his Bachelors of Science in Mathematics from Liberty University while double minoring in Creation Studies and Biblical Studies. He originally joined LUOA as a teacher of mathematics and later became the chairman of the Science Department. He is passionate about physics, mathematics, and research. In particular, Mr. Ward is passionate about defending God’s Word through creationism from a scientific approach. Mr. Ward is married to Amaris Ward, and they have a beautiful daughter named Hadassah.
Eric Williamson – Director of Academic Assessment and Research
Mr. Williamson received a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration: Marketing from the University of Arkansas at Monticello in 2008 and a Master of Divinity degree from the Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary in 2013. He grew up in Monticello, Arkansas and moved to Lynchburg, Virginia in 2010 to serve as an Academic Advisor for Liberty University Online, where he later served as an Assistant Director and finally an Associate Director of Academic Advising before becoming a part of the LUOA team in November 2015. Mr. Williamson and his wife, Hannah, have three children. He enjoys reading and studying the Greek New Testament, cycling, and chess.
Joel Salinas - Director of Strategic Affiliations
Mr. Salinas received a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Towson University, and a Master of Arts in Christian Ministry from the Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. He grew up in Bolivia, and moved to Lynchburg, Virginia, in 2013. Mr. Salinas has served as part of the LUOA team since February of 2014 and is happily married to his wife, Ashley, who serves as a Spanish teacher for LUOA.
Jennifer Saccocio – Assistant Director of Strategic Communications
Mrs. Saccocio graduated from Liberty University with a Bachelor’s degree in Communication: Advertising and Public Relations in 2014 and a Master of Business Administration degree in 2017. She is also certified in Google AdWords. She has been with Liberty University Online Academy since May 2017. She and her husband, Mike, love staying active by running, cycling, and traveling.
Sarah Testerman – Elementary School Chair
Ms. Sarah Testerman earned her B.S. degree from Liberty University. She went on to earn her Masters of Education from the University of Phoenix. She has taught in private and public education for many years. Education has been her calling since she was ten years old. She watched her 5th Grade teacher in a Public School standing up for his faith and leading an after-school “Good News Club.” Ms. Testerman was saved at an early age. She has held many leadership positions in the church.
Kelley Niblett – K-12 Faculty Chair
Mrs. Niblett is a native of Georgia and moved to Lynchburg, VA in the spring of 2013. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Communications from The Master’s College and a Master’s of Arts in Education from Central Michigan University. For fourteen years she worked at a Christian academy in McDonough, Georgia where she started and was director of the online academy. She believes the best part of working for LUOA is being able to meet and help families and students from around the world. Mrs. Niblett is married to Vance and has two sons. In her free time, she enjoys traveling with family and friends, reading, watching sports, and cheering on the University of Georgia Bulldogs.
Shelly D. Bailess – High School History Chair
Mrs. Bailess earned a Bachelor of Science degree and a Master of Arts in History from Liberty University and is currently finishing her Master of Education with Liberty University. She has a passion for history that has translated into several career opportunities. She has taught US History courses for the Liberty University residential program and for Liberty University Online. She has been married to her husband, Jeff, for 18 years and has three daughters. In her spare time she enjoys traveling and touring historic sites, performs in community theater, and serves as a mentor for the graduate students in the History program at Liberty University.
Richard Garman – High School Mathematics and Bible
Mr. Garman serves LUOA as the department chairs for Mathematics and Bible. He earned his bachelor’s degree from The College of William & Mary and master’s degrees from Hollins University and Liberty University Baptist Theological Seminary. Mr. Garman has also completed professional development coursework at the University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, Radford University, Roanoke College, and VA Western Community College. During the past 40 plus years of teaching experiences, Mr. Garman has taught students ranging from lower elementary to high school and college levels. Mr. Garman grew up in Roanoke, Virginia. After accepting Jesus Christ as savior at the age of eight, active church attendance and church leadership roles became an integral part of his Christian journey. He has been married to his beautiful wife Joanie for over 35 years.
Kyra Marken – High School English
Ms. Marken, a native Virginian, received a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts in English from Liberty University. She taught literature and rhetoric to middle and high school students in a brick-and-mortar school for seven years, as well as summer reading classes to students ranging from pre-K to adult. She loves reading, traveling, and spending time outside exploring the beauty of creation. She particularly loves hiking in the Blue Ridge Mountains, and her favorite hike is a stretch of the Appalachian Trail called Dragon’s Tooth.