Dr. Jay Spencer – Academic Dean
Dr. Spencer has been involved in distance/online education since 1988 and with Liberty Online Academy since its inception in March of 2007. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Tennessee Temple University, a Master of Arts from Liberty University and his Doctor of Ministry with Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. He has additional graduate studies in Higher Education Administration from Walden University and Argosy University. As dean, he also is responsible for Liberty’s non-degree programs offered in the university’s online program and is an adjunct professor in the School of Religion. He has been married to his wife, Freda, for more than 30 years. Mr. Spencer and his wife have four children, five grandsons and one granddaughter.
Dr. Kelly Bingham – Superintendent
Dr. Bingham has worked with LUOA since 2008 and has enjoyed watching the tremendous growth of the academy. She has a bachelor’s degree in clinical psychology from Liberty University, a master’s degree in education from Lubbock Christian University, and a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) from Liberty University. Mrs. Bingham and her husband, Lance, have a son and daughter (and son-in-law) and live in Lynchburg, Va. She enjoys traveling around the country with her family and taking missions trips overseas. She also enjoys photography, scrapbooking, reading and writing.
Heidi Mills – Director of Academy Operations
Mrs. Mills was born and raised in Lynchburg, Va. She attended Liberty University and graduated in 2006 with a Bachelor’s in Social Science, and is currently working on her Master of Education. She taught World History at Liberty Christian Academy for two years, and in June 2009 she became an Academic Advisor for the Liberty University Online Academy and now serves as the Director of Academy Operations. In her spare time, Heidi enjoys reading, being outdoors and playing sports.
Shelly D. Bailess – History & Bible
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 and Western Civilization for Tennessee Temple 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.
Maria Dowdy-Pribble – Science
Mrs. Dowdy-Pribble has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology from Randolph Macon Women’s College, and a Master’s of Arts degree in Counseling from Liberty University. She is currently working on her Doctor of Education from Liberty University. For eight years, Mrs. Dowdy-Pribble taught middle and high school math and science for a private school. In her free time, she enjoys working in children’s church and performing in her church’s drama department. She lives in Lynchburg, Va., with her husband, Todd and their son, Nikolai.
Richard Garman – Mathematics
Mr. Garman serves as the LUOA math department chairman and he also maintains an Academy math teaching schedule. Earning a bachelor’s degree from The College of William & Mary and a master’s degree from Hollins University provided excellent educational preparation for his teaching career. Additional professional development coursework has been completed at the University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, Radford University, Roanoke College, and VA Western Community College. During the past 30 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 wife Joanie for 32 years. The Garmans home schooled their daughter Ginny. She currently attends Liberty.
Kelley Niblett – Elementary
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.
Christopher Rusk – English
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 various ages — young children through 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.
Instructional Support Team
Jimmy Thomas – Instructional Designer
Mr. Thomas holds a Bachelors of Science in Social Sciences with teacher certification, Master of Arts in History, and will finish an Education Specialist in Curriculum and Instruction degree in spring 2014. After finishing his BS degree Mr. Thomas spent eight years teaching GED and high school history and government classes. He has been teaching US history and Western Civilizations classes for almost four years with Liberty University online. He has experience in developing curriculum in each part of his career. In his spare time he spends time with his wife and teenage daughter, as well as hunting and fishing to relax.
Amanda Bass – Instructional Technologist
Mrs. Bass was born in Michigan before completing two yearlong ministry internships, one in Florida and the other in Michigan, and then moving to Lynchburg in 2007. She graduated from Liberty in 2010 with a degree in Visual Communication Arts. She has taught music at a private academy, served as Director of Debate at Liberty Christian Academy, and acted as a secondary caretaker for a special needs child. She started at the Online Academy in 2013. Mrs. Bass and her husband, Ryan, both work for Liberty and enjoy time with friends and family. She also enjoys photography, problem solving activities and being outdoors.