About: Faculty

Mary E. Woolery

Head of School | Secondary Principal

Mary was born and raised in Redlands, CA. She earned her BSE in English from Arkansas State University, a Master of Art in Teaching Secondary English from Oakland City University, a Reading Coach Graduate Certificate from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and is currently finishing her PhD in Reading Education from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.  She brings to Veritas 18 years of practical classroom experience in high school and university settings, as w ell as over nine years of secondary and university administration experience. Both Arkansas transplants, she and her husband, Mel Heaps, transferred again to Kansas from central Arkansas in 2021 to serve at Veritas.

They share a sweet fur baby (L.C.), seven adult children, nine grandchildren, and are awaiting their tenth and eleventh grandchildren in the fall of 2023.

Shannon Biggerstaff

Elementary Principal

Shannon has her BSE in Elementary Education from Missouri Southern State University in Joplin, Missouri. She also has a MSE in High Incidence Disabilities from the University of Kansas. She has taught in public school and at Veritas for a combined 16 years, with her most recent time in a Special Education Resource classroom. Mrs. Biggerstaff and her husband Charlie have three boys who all attend Veritas. Outside of Veritas, she serves as the Children’s Ministry Director at Lawrence Heights Christian Church where her family enjoys worshipping and being actively involved in various ministries. She is thankful that the Lord has brought her back to Veritas where she can continue serving the amazing students, families, and staff members in this community.

Steve Lyons

Dean of Students

Steve holds a BS and MS in Industrial Engineering and Management from Oklahoma State University. In the last few years, his concern about the prevailing worldview has caused him to look for ways he can help prepare young people for the cultural challenges they are facing. Following God’s leading, he recently left his 35+ year information technology/engineering career to teach at VCS, a place he knows holds fast to a biblical worldview. He is the husband of Penny, the father of 2 daughters and sons-in-law, and grandfather of 2 girls and a boy. He serves as an Elder at Redemption Bible Church in his hometown of Baldwin City.

Tucker Flory

Athletic Director

Tucker is from Lawrence, KS, where he graduated from Veritas Christian School. He attended Baker University, where he earned his BA in Sports Administration with a business minor and enjoyed playing baseball for four years. Tucker has a passion for athletics and loves to witness the joy sports bring young competitors. Tucker now lives in Lawrence with his beautiful, Jesus-loving wife, Sara.

Kristol Kumar

Director of Digital and Visual Arts | Secondary Art

Kristol has been teaching visual art at Veritas since 2016. She holds a Masters of Visual Communication and Design from Liberty University and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Metropolitan State University of Denver. She is also the owner of Kristol Kumar Photography. As well as the staff photographer for both Topeka City Lifestyle Magazine and Lawrence City Lifestyle Magazine. She and her husband, John, have two sons who currently attend Veritas. Kristol is thankful to be saved by Jesus and covered by His grace daily.

Francesca Williams

Director of Specialized Learning

Francesca is a proud 2007 Veritas Alumni. She graduated from Geneva college with  undergraduate degrees in Elementary Education and Special Education. She also has her Master’s in Education from Baker University. She is married to her high school sweetheart, Brad, and they have four boys that attend Veritas. Her favorite thing about being at Veritas is that she is able to worship Jesus and mentor her students to become strong in their faith. Outside of Veritas she enjoys reading, baking, drinking coffee, and crafting.

Wendy Droge-Malm

Social, Career, and Technical Education Coordinator

Wendy, a licensed master social worker (LMSW), earned her BA in Social Work from KSU and MSW from KU.  Wendy spent eight years in the Army Reserves during which time she served in Desert Storm as a Hospital Food Specialist and later trained to be a Military Police Officer.  She worked in the social work field in the Elderly and Disabled Department at SRS and later as a mental health therapist before taking time away from social work to raise her two daughters—both attended Veritas from kindergarten through graduation.  During this time Wendy also worked as a polymer clay artist and continues to do so.  She served on the Veritas board for nine years.  Wendy came on staff at Veritas in the fall of 2022.  She has been married to her amazing husband, Mike, since 1996.

Michelle Derry

Business Manager

As a true sunflower state gal, Michelle was born, bred and wed in Kansas. She and her husband of 30+ years live in Tonganoxie. They have three grown children and have been blessed with five grandchildren (as of Spring 2023). Although she originally wanted to be a teacher, God had a different plan.  Michelle has worked in accounting/business management now for over 25 years. In the summer of 2017, God led her to Veritas. She considers herself blessed to work for Veritas and believes that God was placing all the right people and opportunities in her path to eventually bring her here. Whenever she can find some spare time, she enjoys loving on her grandchildren, playing games with her whole family, singing and traveling. 

Linda Walton

Administrative Assistant

Linda is a graduate of Maur Hill-Mount Academy in Atchison, KS. She has been serving at Veritas since 2001. Before joining staff at Veritas, she homeschooled her daughters for seven years. Mrs. Walton has more than 25 years of secretarial experience having worked for Benedictine College, Grandview Assembly of God Church, American Lung Association of WY, and currently at Veritas. She enjoys spending time with her husband, Scott, two daughters, and granddaughter, Isla. When she isn’t at work she can be found looking for treasures at garage/estate sales, walking, and plant-based cooking.


Sarah Jones


Sarah was born and raised here in Lawrence, KS. The Jones family now lives in Eudora. Her family consists of her husband Garrett and their son Henry. She has been working at Veritas since 2020. Previously she taught at a few schools in Kansas and Brighton private school in California. She has over ten years of experience teaching. Early Childhood education is her passion. She enjoys being able to be the first to teach young students in a school setting and building bonds with their families to know their littles are safe, loved, and learning lots. When hired at Veritas Mrs. Jones had a strong calling from God that this is where she is supposed to be. She has loved teaching here and being able to share her love of Jesus with her students. She has degrees in early childhood education, general education, and applied science. She is a member of Eudora Baptist Church. Sarah is blessed to be part of Veritas’ and her church’s community. 

Penny Lyons


Sandie Fischer

First Grade

Sandie has her BS in Education from MLC in New Ulm, MN. She is certified in Early Childhood Education and holds an ASCI Educator Certificate. Mrs. Fischer has been teaching for over 20 years in Christian schools and homeschooled her children for 6 years. She is blessed by God with her devoted husband, Dr. Ken Fischer, and thankful to God for her four beautiful and talented children who attended Veritas. Mrs. Fischer’s three main goals for her precious first graders are that they learn to love to read, that they learn to love to learn, and that they learn to love Jesus more and more each day! Mrs Fischer makes sure her students all know that in the first grade classroom at Veritas, they work hard, play hard, and pray hard!

Annette Tiegreen

Second Grade

Annette holds a BA in Elementary Education from Ottawa University, a State Teaching Certificate from 1983-1988, and an ASCI Educator Certificate. She has been teaching at Veritas since 2004 and proudly homeschooled her children for 13 years, their two daughters later graduating from VCS. Mrs. Tiegreen is married to Roger and together they have 10 grandchildren and 1 bonus grandchild from their three amazing children’s families.

In addition to loving and serving her family, Mrs. Tiegreen’s joy and passion is to serve and glorify God by teaching children to know and love God, His Word, and the lost. One of her favorite ways to do this is by putting scripture, biblical truths, grammar rules, and historical facts to music to help children memorize them. She is grateful God has called her to teach at Veritas where she may continue to love, mentor, and disciple children toward His Kingdom purposes.

Alisa Hall

Third Grade

Alisa is a graduate of Maranatha Academy in Lenexa, Ks. and has attended Oral Roberts University. She has worked in the field of education since 2008 as a preschool teacher and when her daughter was born, she began homeschooling her own kids. Alisa also taught courses at a local homeschool coop. She also has several years of teaching experience in public high school. Her love for teaching kids is seen most in helping them to know and love God, and from that helping them to grow intellectually and emotionally. Alisa has been married to her husband, Gregg, since 1996, and together they have three kids. Her passion is to grow closer to Jesus everyday, to spend time with her family, and serve God’s purposes together with Gregg in their local church. She loves teaching bible studies, spending time encouraging women to love the Lord, and eating good food, especially chocolate. As long as she’s with her family, Alisa has fun doing just about anything. 

Kimberly Defazio

Fourth Grade

Kimberly was a 1991 honors graduate of the State University of New York at Brockport, earning a Bachelors of Science degree. She grew up in New York but moved to Lawrence as a young adult with her husband and children. She and her husband have two children who attended Veritas. She has been teaching 4th grade at Veritas since 2001 where her students have learned that she leads the classroom with a love of learning and a love of laughter. She enjoys leading a women’s small group at her church and leading a couple’s small group alongside her husband.

Angie Heck

Fifth Grade

Angie is a Kansas State graduate with a degree in Broadcast Journalism. She and her husband, Brian, have two children: one an incoming senior at Veritas, and the other a 2020 VCS graduate studying architecture at KU. Angie began teaching at Veritas in 2017 when the Lord equipped her to expand her passion to teach children. It is her goal to exhibit and cultivate the wonder of learning. She spends her free time outdoors, in the kitchen baking up something delicious, and anywhere family and friends are present. A daily walk with her Savior (especially out under the stars) is her source of peace and joy.

Megan Ward

6th Grade

Megan received her bachelor’s degree in social work from Kansas State University in 2008 and her master’s in social work in 2011 from the University of Kansas. She and her husband, Chris, have two children: Annie (5th grade) and Silas (2nd grade) who are new to Veritas this year. Megan has a passion for helping young people know the truth. She is excited to begin this new adventure at Veritas. Her interests are reading and hanging out with friends and family. 

Gary Hammer

Elementary PE

Gary grew up in Lawrence and graduated from LHS in 1970. He graduated from Southwestern College in 1974. He taught out in western Kansas for three years, and then came back to Lawrence to start working on his master’s degree at KU. He completed his master’s in 1983. He taught elementary physical education at various schools in Lawrence for over 35 years. Gary retired from the Lawrence school district 9 years ago, and then started teaching all PE classes at Veritas. Gary has coached basketball at Veritas for many years before coming here to teach. He is now part time teaching only the elementary PE classes. Gary and his wife, Julie, have four children and six grandkids. He enjoys doing yardwork, hiking, playing softball, playing with his grandkids, and just staying active.

Crystal Olmsted

Elementary Art

Crystal and her family came to Lawrence in 2021 from Washington State where for the last 23 years she and her husband, Pete, ran and operated their own business working in the corporate furniture industry. During the pandemic, God guided them to Lawrence to be full-time caregivers for both the matriarch and patriarch of their family. Additionally, Crystal owned her own graphic design company and worked professionally in the design industry for over 20 years. She eventually stopped taking on clientele and pivoted her time and talents to volunteering within her church and local school district. She found herself fulfilling many roles, from Sunday School Teacher to designing and producing elementary school yearbooks. Crystal has always found herself immersed in all things design and feels that her work is God’s work and she is beyond blessed to use her talents to work with the youth at Veritas! She and her husband, who was born in Lawrence, have two sons who currently attend Veritas.

Stephanie Vaughn

Elementary Music

Stephanie is originally from Southern California,  where she received a Bachelor of Music in Music Therapy from Chapman University Conservatory of Performing Arts in 2009. She did an internship in the Lawrence public schools and while there met her husband, Erick. She applied to work at Veritas at the suggestion of her friend, Lauri Bernet, in 2014 and has worked at Veritas on and off since then. This year Stephanie is excited to be back and teaching her daughter too! In her spare time, she loves being a part of her worship team, concerts, teaching private piano and guitar lessons, kayaking, and anything Disney.

Belinda Burton


Belinda is a member of our Veritas family with a vibrant journey that spans from the lively streets of New York to the sun-kissed shores of Florida to the majestic mountains of Colorado. She embarked on this adventure, building a life with her husband William, and raising five wonderful children, two of whom now thrive within our Veritas community.
Belinda has 13 years of experience as an educator in the beauty industry, including prestigious roles at Paul Mitchell schools in Miami and Denver. The pandemic lead her to embrace homeschooling for three enriching years, solidifying her commitment to education and her family. Her love for children and community led her to Veritas, where she began as a dedicated volunteer before stepping seamlessly into her role as a para for the first grade. Belinda’s genuine care and unwavering dedication now grace our school, creating an environment where every child is treasured and supported on their unique journey.



Shanee Krein

Adminstrative Assistant | Paraeducator

Shanee earned her BA degree in Advertising and Marketing from Iowa State University in 1999. She has been married to her high school sweetheart, Adam, for 24 years and has two sons: Logan (freshman at KU) and Colby (10th grade). She was able to stay home with the boys for many years while her husband served in the Kansas Army National Guard. The military brought the family to Lawrence in 2014. Since being in Lawrence, Shanee has held various elementary school positions including: Instructional/SPED Paraprofessional, reading specialist, and most recently, 3rd and 4th grade classroom teacher. In her free time, she loves to be with family and friends, go boating on Clinton Lake, and snuggle with their Miniature Schnauzer, Scout. She is extremely excited and feels very blessed to be part of the Veritas family!

Becky Zeller


Becky was born in Washington, D.C. and raised by loving parents along with 7 siblings.   She attended DeSales Heights Academy in West Virginia and graduated from Capitol Christian Academy in Maryland.  She attended Prince George’s Community College in Maryland. 

She has worked in financial and computer industries in Maryland, Washington D.C., and Kansas. However, she most enjoyed working and volunteering with children in multiple ways.

She married Mr. Right, Ron, and moved to Kansas to join his families business. 

Locally they have a son and daughter, bonus daughter and son (In laws) and 5 grandchildren.

Her hobbies include watching sunsets with her husband, hanging out with her family, music and art.  She is happy to be once again at Veritas as their daughter attended here. She thanks God everyday by counting her many blessings.


Austin Anderson

Secondary Latin, Math, and Senior Seminar

Austin was born and raised in Kansas. He attended the University of Kansas and earned a master’s degree in accounting. While practicing accounting, he discovered his passion and calling to education. At Veritas, he teaches 7th & 8th Latin, Secondary Drama, and Senior Capstone Seminar. He is currently pursuing a master of arts in teaching, with a concentration on classical education from the Templeton Honors College at Eastern University. He and his wife Natalie live in Lawrence, along with their son Blaise. They are grateful for how much the Lord has blessed them.

Sarah Campbell

Secondary Math and Science

Sarah graduated from Bethany College with bachelor’s degrees in both Chemistry and English Literature. After a short stint in pharmaceutical research, she took time away from the workplace to raise and homeschool her four children. During that time, she developed a passion to pass on her love of learning to kids and adults alike. She is grateful for the opportunity to use scientific inquiry and mathematics to show students that all of Creation truly does declare the glory of God. Outside of Veritas, she loves to learn new things, read, run, and talk about Jesus. 

Melissa Dial

Secondary Math and Science

Melissa graduated from Missouri State University with a degree in Secondary Education with an emphasis in chemistry. She previously spent two years teaching high school science, five years homeschooling her children, and two years teaching middle school science, math, Bible, drama, speech, leadership and literature at Genesis Christian Academy. She has taught secondary math and science at Veritas for two years. She and her husband, Paul, have two children, Noah and Mary Kate. Noah is a sophomore at K-State in the music education department. Mary Kate is a junior at Tonganoxie High School. Mrs. Dial loves to read, watch movies, and travel.

Lillie Farrier

Elementary Band and Secondary Band and Choir

Lillie earned her BA in music education from Friends University in Wichita Kansas. She is currently pursuing her Kodály certification from Wichita State University. Lillie has 10 years of teaching experience as a K-12 music educator. Veritas was her first teaching job, and she was more than thrilled to be able to return to such a wonderful school in 2021. Lillie and her husband Matthew live in Lawrence with their three fur babies, Oliver, Oscar and Opal.

Jonnie Finger

Secondary English and History

Jonnie holds a BSE in Language Arts Education from the University of Kansas and she is ACSI certified. She graduated ‘With Highest Distinction’ from KU, with honors, as a Watkins-Berger scholar, Phi Alpha Theta (history honor) and Phi Kappa Phi (scholastics honor). Mrs. Finger has been listed in Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers three times. She has been previously certified by the State of Kansas in both Language Arts and Social Studies Education. Before teaching at Veritas, she ran a home-based tutoring business, Class Act Tutoring Services, for 15 years. She has been a teacher at VCS since 1997. Jonnie was the first person to serve as chairperson of the VCS Library Committee. She and her husband, Mark, have 5 children, all who attended VCS. She enjoys collecting books, drinking coffee, and spending time with her five grandchildren.

Kevin Gray

Secondary Bible | Administrative Assistant-Athletics

Kevin holds a Master of Divinity degree from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and both a Bachelor of Arts degree in Linguistics and a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism from the University of Kansas. He grew up in Denver and has lived in Lawrence for almost a decade. Before joining the faculty at Veritas, Kevin was the Next Generation Ministry Coordinator at Central United Methodist Church, and he currently attends Free City Church and serves as a drummer on the worship band. Kevin enjoys books, music, and sports, and his favorite phrase to say is, “Jesus is Lord.”

Ryan Hood

Secondary Latin and Science

Ryan received his bachelor’s in English literature and linguistics from the University of Kansas in 2012. He completed his master’s degree in history from the University of Missouri-Kansas City in 2023. He attended Cair Paravel Latin School, a classical Christian school in Topeka K-12. He won the 2007 Great Ideas Award, as well as thrice times defeating Veritas on the gridiron. He married Makenna Snyder Hood in October 2022 and is a benevolent master to two dogs, Indiana Bones and Laska X Hroðvitnir.

Katie McDaniel

Secondary Science
Katie is a proud lifetime Kansan. She graduated from Washburn University following The University of Kansas with a degree in Science and a license in Radiologic and Nuclear Medicine Technology. After thirteen years in Imaging with LMH Health, she stepped down to homeschool her children. She has taught Human Anatomy at Veritas for two years and enjoys the opportunity to use her skillset in a different way to educate students and showcase God’s incredible Creation. She and her husband of 19 years, Jake, have two boys, Kye and Jaxon, who both attend Veritas. 

John McFarland

Secondary Bible, History, Senior Seminar, Speech, and Chapel

Pastor McFarland holds a BS in Information Systems / Management Science (from Geneva College, PA), a Masters of Divinity (from the Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary, PA), and a Doctor of Ministry with emphasis in Biblical Counseling (from RPTS). Father of two VCS students years ago, John served on the Board, then transitioned into teaching high school Bible classes (including worldview, apologetics, and church history), followed by courses in speech, history, government, and senior thesis. Having started teaching with VCS in 2009, John has also coordinated our Worldview Wednesday program for twelve years. John and Lisa have four daughters and five grandkids (so far), enjoying large gatherings at their new ranch to the east. He pastors Christ Covenant Reformed Presbyterian Church in Lawrence, a congregation with deep commitment to this school and its Biblical vision for whole-child Christian education.

Katie Osborne

Secondary Math

Katie holds a BS in Mathematics from the University of Texas in San Antonio (UTSA). She moved to Lawrence in 2013 to be part of Bridgeway International, a ministry that serves international students at KU. She started teaching secondary math at Veritas last year. Outside of Veritas, she enjoys trying new foods, spending time with her family in Texas when she can, serving at her church, and crafting in her spare time. 

Debbie Rask

Secondary Economics and History

Debbie earned a BS in Business/Marketing from Liberty University before beginning her professional career in the business arena eventually culminating in the role of Director of Marketing at Baker University’s School of Professional and Graduate Studies. She left the business world to focus on her children. During 11 years of homeschooling, Debbie discovered her passion for history and began teaching in a local homeschool co-op. She has taught at Veritas for 7 years and is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in History through Grand Canyon University. Debbie and her husband, Scott, have 3 grown children.

Spencer Stewart

Secondary Bible and Greek

Spencer holds his BS in Christian Ministry from Tabor College and has earned a Master of Theological Studies from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He has been teaching at VCS since 2013 and previously taught at Victory Christian Academy in El Dorado, KS. Before teaching, Spencer spent ten years as an Associate Pastor at New Life Equipping Ministry in El Dorado. The Holy Spirit has given him great joy in teaching the glory of God in the preeminence of Christ for the joy of all peoples. Spencer and his wife, Amber, have three precious children.

Brandon Williams

Secondary Bible and Physical Education

Brandon Williams holds a BS in Secondary Education from Mississippi State University. He has devoted a large portion of his life to youth ministry through a variety of avenues. He has taught in the public school system, worked in summer camp ministry, and currently serves as the Director of Youth and Missions at Free City Church here in Lawrence. He recently completed his Master of Theological Studies at Liberty University’s Rawlings School of Divinity. He is married to Hannah Williams who will be teaching at Veritas starting in the Fall of 2023. 

Hannah Williams

Secondary Bible, English, and Logic

high school English in the Topeka Public School district for the past 2 years. Through teaching in the public school system, Hannah found her love for students and student relationships. She thinks every student needs a loving adult in their life to push them towards Jesus and towards success. Hannah is excited to begin her time at Veritas and is eager to form new relationships with her students. Hannah is married to Brandon Williams, who teaches Secondary Bible and P.E. Together they attend Free City Church in Lawrence and lead the Youth ministry there.