Mrs. Pawson – Upper Grades/Principal
Tobi Pawson has her Bachelor’s in Psychology from Liberty University and is currently earning her Master’s in Developmental Psychology with a focus on the cognitive effects of trauma on the developing brain of children. She is a certified teacher in the state of Florida and has over 20 years of informal and formal teaching experience, including teaching multigrade groups (Prek-12th), math tutoring (1st grade through college), teacher’s aide (ACA), and has created various curriculums with differentiated learning models for educators.
Tobi is very passionate about creating a classroom environment centered on a holistic approach for learning. She does not see education as a “one-size-fits-all” method, but, rather, utilizes a whole-child model as a foundation including emotional, social, and spiritual components of learning. In her classroom, she infuses concepts of emotional intelligence, resilience focus tools, with the core center and foundation being the Bible. She emphasizes leadership skills training and team building with community service and industry. Her biggest joy of teaching is finding creative ways to teach Biblical abstract concepts with an experiential approach to give each child an opportunity to have a concrete understanding on the vastness of God’s love and the excitement of His soon return!
In her spare time, Tobi loves to read, journal, spend time at the beach, observe God’s incredible beauty in nature, or anything that involves spending quality time with her husband of 26 years and their three grown children.
Mrs. Hickman – VPK Director
We are incredibly blessed to have 28-year veteran early childhood educator, Lura Hickman, teaching our precious VPK students.
Lura Hickman was born & raised In New Jersey where she attended Adventist educational schools growing up. Her family relocated to Florida to be near extended family and relatives. Lura and her husband take pleasure in spending time with their three children and three grandchildren.
Mrs. Hickman is certified by the Department of Children & Families (DCF) and the Early Learning Coalition (ELC) both under the Florida State Department of Education (DOE). Through these departments, she holds the Florida Childcare Professional Credential, as well as the Florida Childcare Education Director Credential with VPK endorsement.
Lura Hickman, an experienced early childhood teacher, is no stranger to Adventist Christian Academy where she has been a VPK Instructor for 15 years. In addition, Lura worked at Kids’ Safari with infants, toddlers, pre-school, & Pre-K as well as after school care for 12 years. She also, taught VPK at World of Knowledge Montessori.
Mrs. Hickman lays a solid foundation in beginning math and reading skills. She incorporates the Biblical view of Creation when teaching science and cultural awareness with social studies skills. In addition, she incorporates social/emotional skills to help children be aware of their personal feelings and how to work with others. Centers are utilized including a multitude of hands-on experiences and explorations. Circle time is used for reading story books, discussions, and sharing. Small group and individual instruction are incorporated throughout the year appealing to children’s personal learning styles and pace to integrate the scope and sequence of the curriculum.
Lura states, “Of all the early childhood ages I have taught, I love working with the VPK (4-year-olds) the most. I can teach children Bible stories together with Jesus and His love. I enjoy praying with children and teaching them life values and morals. For these reasons, through the years, I have loved working at our Adventist Christian Academy.”
Ms. Estupinian – Lower Grades
Stephanie Estupinian is very excited to be back at ACA where she taught lower grades for 7 years. She was very missed when she was gone for the past two years in Texas. Here’s what she has to say:
Serving in the FL Conference for eight years and taking various workshops throughout my 10-year career, I strive to make the learning process hands-on and exciting while still preparing them for current real-world issues.I’m beyond excited to develop bonds with my new families this school year and am cranking up the energy! I’m an out-of-the-box kind of teacher, happily engaged, and obsessed with my Corgi Sanford. I love interior decorating, pho, music, and my mom’s pupusas! I can’t wait to meet you and reconnect with familiar faces!
Mrs. Hecht – Kindergarten
Susan Hecht is a familiar face for many of us at our school. She was our beloved Kindergarten teacher for 12 years at ACA and took some time off to be a stay-at-home mom to her son, Isaac, who is one of our upper-grade students. Here’s what she has to say:
It is great to be back teaching the little ones as they start their educational journey at ACA. I love teaching this age group because their minds are little sponges and so open for learning and talking about Jesus. I have always said that if we could all look at Jesus through the eyes of a five-year-old, the world would be a better place. I love spending time with my family, reading, and baking.
Please welcome our new teacher, Carmelita Winters!
Due to our significant increase in enrollment, we have had to open a third classroom for our K-8 th program! We are very excited to welcome Ms. Winters to our ACA family. Ms. Winters is a seasoned teacher with over 20 years of experience. She comes to us with a plethora of gifts and talents, including creating a highly successful summer reading program in an underserved community for struggling readers. She has a deep heart passion and commitment to her students and finds her most joy when she is in the classroom. Ms. Winters just arrived in this area last month and felt impressed to apply to the nearest SDA school. We are blessed to have her on the ACA team and are so excited to see what the Lord has in store for our 2022-2023 school year!