Teaching runs in Jamie Auch’s family, as has been evident throughout his 16 years at Christ School.
Mr. Auch is a third-generation independent school teacher and Math instructor. He was the head coach for Varsity Football in 2008 and 2009 and has assisted with multiple sports.
Mr. Auch earned a B.A. in Art History and minor in Mathematics from Washington & Lee University (Va.), making him the product of a single-sex education from middle school through college.
In his free time, Mr. Auch likes to camp, bike, and kayak. He is also a big fan of vintage Volkswagen vehicles. Mr. Auch and his wife Christina have two daughters, Casey and Emma.
James Ballantyne joined the faculty in 2022 as a multi-disciplined educator with a motto perfect for Christ School: “I do not teach science. I teach young men.”
Mr. Ballantyne is responsible for Chemistry classes and coaches in the Outdoor Program. He has also taught Biology, Physics, Algebra, and Engineering in his decade-plus career. No matter what the subject may be, Mr. Ballantyne keeps student inquiry, engagement, and humor at the heart of every lesson.
He received his undergraduate degree in Biology from Southeastern Louisiana University and his master’s in teaching from Nicholls State University. A gifted athlete, Mr. Ballantyne owned and operated a wrestling academy for five years before leaning into teaching full-time. He taught at three different high schools. However, Christian Brothers High School in Memphis helped him zero in on the all-boys environment where he felt he could have the greatest impact.
Mr. Ballantyne and his wife, Jill, have four children, James, Elijah, Mahri, and Selah.
William Ballenger has donned many hats as a teacher, coach, house parent, administrator, and AP exam reader befitting a boarding school veteran spanning more than two decades.
He and his wife, Kristin, came to Christ School following five transformative years overseas at King’s Academy in Jordan, where he chaired a department, was a member of the Hiring Team, and shepherded aspiring, young teachers as Director of Teaching Fellows. Previously, Mr. Ballenger was a faculty member at Saint Andrew’s School (FL) and Blue Ridge School (VA), where he crossed paths with long-time faculty member Jamie Auch.
Mr. Ballenger’s favorite fictional character is Indiana Jones, and he has lived out his own share of adventures: hiking the entire Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, and Camino de Santiago; completing three coast-to-coast bicycle treks; and paddling 2,000+ miles on America’s National Wild and Scenic Riverways. He firmly believes in the educational value of travel, bringing history alive for students by integrating his personal globetrotting experiences at historic sites in over 50 countries and 47 states across five continents into his curricula. Mr. Ballenger is a seven-time Teacher of the Year, four-time graduation speaker, and three-time Yearbook Dedication honoree by vote of the students.
A boarding school alumnus (The Lawrenceville School in New Jersey), Mr. Ballenger graduated magna cum laude from Alma College before earning a Master’s degree in Social Studies Education through his graduate studies at the University of Virginia and the University of Oxford (England).
Major animal lovers, he and Kristin, a veterinarian, are thrilled to live among the boys as Head of Young Dorm. Since returning stateside from Jordan, they have relicensed as foster care parents to resume a calling that they previously enjoyed for years: “whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me” (Mark 9:36).
Kathy Belk has fulfilled a number of roles in Christ School’s Advancement Office since 2002: Office Manager, Annual Fund Director, Constituent Relations and Special Events Coordinator, and Advancement Services Coordinator. Kathy worked on all seven of Christ School highly successful Auction & Galas.
She presently serves as Director of Advancement Services, works with the Archives, and acts as liaison to the Christ School Parent Council.
Ms. Belk received her B.S. in Accounting as well as a B.S. in Business Administration in Management from the University of North Carolina-Charlotte.
In the past, she has devoted her time outside of Christ School to being Co-Leader for the Girls Scouts Troop 30437 out of Hendersonville, N.C. She also enjoys spending time with her fiancé, cooking, camping, working in her yard, and spending time with her dogs. Ms. Belk has one daughter, Jennifer.
True happiness for Thomas Benton entails his head in the stars or his kayak floating down a whitewater river.
The Hendersonville, N.C., native is joining the Math Department this year. His biggest passions are paddling local waters and scientific pursuits in the areas of astronomy and astrophysics.
Mr. Benton received his undergraduate degree in Physics with a minor in Mathematics from UNC Asheville. While there, he received N.C. Space Grant funding for research in radio astronomy and for his work at UNCA’s Lookout Observatory. Mr. Benton later earned his master’s in the Optical Sciences from the University of Arizona.
He has taught in North Carolina and Arizona, most recently as a Math instructor at his hometown’s Hendersonville High School.
Mr. Benton has been an avid kayaker for nearly 20 years. When he is not at work or out on the water, Mr. Benton also partakes in woodworking, model-making, writing, and watching science fiction programming. He is married and has a young son.
Now entering his 20th year, Director of College Guidance Kirk Blackard has perfected a system that ensures every boy gets individual, personalized attention from the moment they step on campus until the very end of the college-application process.
Christ School's Class of 2023 was the College Guidance Office's latest triumph - the seniors enrolled at colleges in 20 different states and earned a combined $2.7 million in scholarships. Multiple students went to Auburn, Samford, Clemson, Virginia, Illinois, UNC-Chapel Hill, UNC-Charlotte, UNC-Wilmington, High Point, and Long Island University.
Mr. Blackard has been involved in college admissions and college counseling since 1991. A graduate of St. Christopher’s School in Richmond, Va., Mr. Blackard received a B.A. from Wake Forest University in 1989 and his master's from Virginia Commonwealth University in 1995.
Mr. Blackard lives on campus and his interests include basketball, tennis, and cooking.
Jameel Brenneman is a jack-of-all-trades and has gotten a chance to show that versatility in his time at Christ School. Mr. Brenneman joined the faculty in 2018 as an English and Arabic instructor. He has also coached soccer, tennis, and assisted with the Christ School Broadcast Network (CSBN).
Mr. Brenneman graduated in 2012 from Indiana’s Huntington University with a degree in broadcasting before getting a master's in Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Michigan four years later. His interest in the Middle East stems from the fact that his mother’s side of the family is from Palestine.
Mr. Brenneman’s introduction to boarding school came with two years at The Stony Brook School in Long Island. He also wore many hats there, including teacher, coach, and dorm parent.
Mr. Brenneman was excited to move to North Carolina, in large part because he is a big fan of barbecue, so much so that he and his brother took a 10-day culinary road trip across North Carolina and South Carolina during the summer of 2018. His other interests include sports, music, and crossword puzzles. His wife's name is Amy.
Antonio Britto spent much of his childhood frolicking in the sand and surf of North Carolina beaches. So he was pleased to return to the Tar Heel state and join Christ School's English Department in 2019.
Mr. Britto teaches World Literature, is an assistant coach for football, and a dorm parent.
Mr. Britto graduated from Virginia Tech in December 2018 with a B.A in Literature and Creative Writing. While in college, he completed an internship at Blacksburg (Va.) High School, where he assisted AP English and Creative Writing classes. After graduating, Mr. Britto worked as an assistant JV baseball coach and substitute teacher at Collegiate School in Richmond.
In his free time, Mr. Britto enjoys reading, writing, playing disc golf, hiking, and cooking Italian food.
Being active in nature is cathartic for Eric Cain, who expects to be smiling just as widely as the groups he leads through the Outdoor Program.
Coaching will complement his new roles as a History instructor and Houseparent in South Carolina House.
Mr. Cain is a self-described lifelong learner who has taught at high schools in Georgia and North Carolina. Additionally, he has worked with educational/enrichment programs for students, such as the N.C. Governor’s School, and helped lead the Cothran Center for Vocational Reflection at his college alma mater of Furman University.
When he lived in Atlanta, Mr. Cain served as a youth minister and pastoral resident in a local congregation.
Mr. Cain holds master’s degrees from Wake Forest University (Arts in Education) and Mercer University (Divinity). He completed his undergraduate studies at Furman in 2004, majoring in History and Political Science with a concentration in Latin American Studies.
His hobbies include hiking (and many other outdoor activities), poetry, cooking, and traveling. He is happy to share stories with the boys about some of the truly unique and interesting places he has visited over the years. Mr. Cain loves spending time with family, friends, and his cats.
No one knows Christ School soccer better than Guy Campbell ’00.
He has been involved with the program as a coach or player for 17 years now, striving to give every Greenie the same positive experience that he had, on and off the field.
Mr. Campbell is not only proud of the past, but excited about what the future holds as Christ School’s Soccer Program Director and Varsity Head Coach.
Mr. Campbell has won 121 games and four Carolinas Athletic Association championships as a head coach at Christ School. Seven of his teams have reached the NCISAA state playoffs, 18 players have been named all-state, and five continued their careers in college. Outside the high school season, Mr. Campbell has coached with the Asheville City Soccer Club since 2019. He was an assistant for the men’s USL League Two team this year.
Mr. Campbell’s longtime support for Christ School in general was recognized last year at Alumni Weekend when he received the Bill Sewell ’57 Service and Loyalty Award.
He is Vice President, Owner, and Partner of Carolina Colortones, a local building supply company that specializes in pre-finished materials. Mr. Campbell received his B.S. in Political Science from Presbyterian College in 2004.
Mr. Campbell and his wife, Erica, are parents to Bradley ‘24, Wyatt ‘26, and Davis '28.
Music has always been vital to the education and development of boys at Christ School. St. Joseph’s Chapel comes alive each year with notes sang or played by Greenies.
This tradition spoke to Director of Music James Cassarino, who has been chair of the Fine Arts Department, Organist, and Choirmaster since 2019.
He and his wife, Elise, co-wrote Christ School's alma mater, "Sing to Thee, Christ School Eternal," which was approved by Head of School Dr. Sean Jenkins and the Board of Trustees in 2022. Participation in the Choir and general interest in music have increased exponentially under Mr. Cassarino.
Prior to Christ School, Mr. Cassarino completed a 20-year tenure as Professor of Music and Music Department Chair at Green Mountain College in Poultney, Vermont.
While at Green Mountain College, Mr. Cassarino helped create and oversee a vibrant program that included course work in music and performing opportunities in both instrumental and choral ensembles. He also served as Music Director and Organist for Trinity Episcopal Church in Rutland, Vt. Mr. Cassarino previously filled those same roles for St. Mary’s Church in Newport, R.I., as well. His educational background includes degrees in music and in theology from Castleton (Vt.) University, Ball State University, St. John’s University, and the University of Wales.
Reaching others through a visual medium has always appealed to Chris Childers.
In his role as Director of Video Operations, Mr. Childers produces video content for the Communications Department, handles technical elements of school gatherings, and oversees the student-run Christ School Broadcast Network.
Mr. Childers is an award-winning filmmaker of digital shorts and graduated Magna Cum Laude from Western Carolina University in 2019 with a degree in film and television production. He is currently pursuing a graduate degree from the University of Tennessee. After graduation from WCU, Mr. Childers worked as an administrative assistant at Link Horne Middle School in Lynchburg, Va., and then as a news photographer and editor at ABC 13 WSET-TV in Virginia.
Mr. Childers enjoys hiking and camping for hobbies as well as being a massive fan of the Carolina Hurricanes and Carolina Panthers. His wife's name is Elora.
Benjie Colberg has endeared himself to the boys through a variety of roles in two stints at Christ School.
He became Special Assistant to the Head of School and Dean of Campus Life starting with the 2022-23 academic year.
Previously, Mr. Colberg had been Dean of Residential Life, Varsity Lacrosse head coach, Assistant Director of Admission, a dorm parent and Head of House, Form Advisor, and Faculty Advisor to the Honor Council.
Mr. Colberg received a B.A. in Economics from Denison University in 2015. There, he was part of three conference-championship lacrosse teams, two of which reached the NCAA quarterfinals. Mr. Colberg captained the team his senior year.
After three years of work here at Christ School, Mr. Colberg left in 2018 to take part in The Fellows Program, a nine-month leadership development and vocational discernment program through Trinity Presbyterian Church in Charlottesville, Va. He earned his master's in Education from the Vanderbilt Peabody School of Education in the summer of 2021.
Mr. Colberg likes to travel to visit friends and family, any competitive game, reading, watching University of Virginia basketball and Washington Commanders football, and photography. In his opinion, "The Lord of the Rings" movies are the greatest film trilogy of all-time.
Mr. Colberg lives on campus with his wife, Ali.
Matt Cole grew up in the greater Boston area and gravitated to teaching as he comes from a long line of educators.
One of his grandfathers taught Mathematics at The Episcopal Academy in Philadelphia, the other was a college professor at two schools in Massachusetts – Northeastern University and Bentley University. Many of his extended family have followed similar paths.
His family background along with belief in the merits of a boarding school education has served Mr. Cole well as a Science instructor, Outdoor Program coach, and houseparent at Christ School.
Mr. Cole graduated from Union College (N.Y.) in 2019 with a degree in Geology.
He spent much of his free time volunteering for multiple organizations throughout the city, which led to him being awarded a Minerva Fellowship by Union. This fellowship is given to a select group of graduating seniors to partner with non-profit organizations in the global south. He worked with The Samburu Project to help drill water wells for local populations in Samburu County, Kenya, where he lived for nearly a year.
Mr. Cole is an avid outdoorsman, having grown up backpacking and camping in the White Mountains. He also enjoys baseball and basketball, as well as playing the drums.
Christ School underwent a basketball renaissance in Josh Coley's first year and won a state championship in his second. Suffice it to say, all Greenie student-athletes are in capable hands with Coach Coley as Athletic Director.
His two-year record is 47-15 with Varsity Basketball after inheriting a program in 2021 that had won just three games the year before. Christ School defeated Carmel Christian, 53-48, for the NCISAA 4-A championship on Feb. 25, 2023, in Lewisville, N.C.
Before arriving in Arden, Mr. Coley had nine years of coaching experience from Charlotte area high schools Garinger, Carmel Christian, and United Faith Christian Academy, where he directed the NCISAA program to a 94-28 overall record with four conference championships as well as a state finals appearance and two trips to the NCISAA semifinal round. During his time at United Faith, Mr. Coley served as Athletic Director, where he was responsible for managing budgets and staff, as well as enforcing state association rules. More than 20 student athletes at United Faith signed basketball scholarships with Division I or Division II colleges.
Mr. Coley has coached or played professional basketball in three leagues - the NBDL, American Basketball Association, and United States Continental Basketball League. He was a point guard for two pro teams in the Raleigh/Durham area (the Carolina Jaguars and Cary Invasion) from 2010 to 2012.
Mr. Coley graduated from N.C. Central University’s Turner School of Law in 2012 with his M.B.A./J.D. after receiving a B.A. in Communication Studies from UNC Greensboro in 2008.
Mark Crawford came back home to western North Carolina upon completing active duty with the 82nd Airborne Division in the 1990s, starting a long career in education. He has shared his unique perspective as an AP U.S. Government and Politics instructor at Christ School in 2019.
Mr. Crawford taught various Political Science courses for the 11 years at Western Carolina University, and prior to that was a full-time substitute teacher in the Buncombe County Schools system for 13 academic years. He is a West Point graduate who served for a little over a decade as an officer in the U.S. Army. Mr. Crawford was a Ranger, paratrooper, and Jumpmaster who was deployed for the Gulf War in 1990. Upon returning home, he initially worked in construction, and then real estate while substitute teaching. He has served a brief stint in the N.C. House of Representatives and been Administrator of the Swannanoa Valley Medical Center.
Mr. Crawford keeps it simple when it comes to his hobbies: reading and chess.
Patrick Dansdill earned the “Most Respected” award from his Wheaton College (Ill.) football coaches and teammates in 2013.
They were onto something.
Mr. Dansdill has distinguished himself the past decade with a willingness to explore many different courses in K-12 education. He joined Christ School's faculty in 2022 as a Spanish instructor and assistant football coach.
Mr. Dansdill graduated from Wheaton with a B.A. in Elementary Education.
He has previously worked with students in Art, Business, English, Math, Music, Physical Education, Science, and Social Studies. Mr. Dansdill's last teaching job before Christ School was at Hall Fletcher Elementary School in Asheville.
Mary Dillon's name has been synonymous with arts at Christ School the past 22 years.
She sat in the director's chair for nearly 40 plays staged in Pingree Auditorium, the last of which was 2019's "The Mystery of Irma Vep." The productions are immortalized by cast-signed posters hanging on the walls.
Furthermore, Mrs. Dillon has served as faculty advisor for The Stump student news organization - which reported digitally and in print - and helped introduce Winter Film as an after-school option in 2018.
Currently, Mrs. Dillon teaches English and English as a Second Language (ESL).
Mrs. Dillon is a graduate of the University of St. Thomas and the Bread Loaf School of English at Middlebury College. She has directed five productions for the Montford Park Players in Asheville.
Her husband's name is Roger.
Assistant Head for External Affairs Betsy Ellis P'24 has shown a penchant for taking fundraising at Christ School to unprecedented levels since her hiring in 2018.
Each fiscal year reaches new heights for the school, an upward trend that continued with 2022-23. There was record giving to the annual Christ School Fund and new benchmarks set for the school's annual Day of Giving with the Advancement Department surpassing its goals of 1,000 donors for $1 million in 24 hours.
The newly-renovated Patrick Beaver Student Center was largely made possible by the 2022 "Work Hard, Play Hard" auction.
Mrs. Ellis assists Head of School Dr. Sean Jenkins with strategic initiatives, ever mindful of affording every boy the same opportunities she would want for her son, Ben '24, who is a 2023-24 Job Prefect.
Mrs. Ellis previously worked in Christ School's Advancement Office from 2002 to 2004, assisting with fundraising for the renovation to St. Joseph’s Chapel. In 2004, Mrs. Ellis became Director of Advancement at Asheville's Evergreen Charter School. After the birth of her son, Ben, Mrs. Ellis joined Asheville's Pisgah Legal Services, where she worked for 11 years. Her job grew to Director of Philanthropy, managing a talented team, 1,600 donors, and increasing the non-profit's annual campaign from $200,000 to more than $1.4 million a year.
Mrs. Ellis was ready for a new challenge and the opportunity to return to Christ School came at the right time.
Mrs. Ellis, her husband James (an attorney in Black Mountain, N.C.), and their three sons live in Van Every House. When she is not working, Ellis loves to travel, cook, and entertain. She also enjoys spending time at the family's place on Lake Champlain in Vermont.
Cissy Elmer and her family have been ingrained in the Christ School community for some time.
The 2023-24 academic year will be her 18th and notable as the first for the bookstore in the newly-renovated Patrick Beaver Student Center.
Mrs. Elmer handles all purchasing for the store as Bookstore Manager. Mrs. Elmer’s husband, Danny, is Director of Human Resources and Facilities. Their two sons, Ben ’09 and Sam ’13, attended Christ School from the eighth through 12th grade.
Mrs. Elmer received her A.A. degree in Arts from St. Mary’s College in 1980.
In her spare time, Mrs. Elmer enjoys beekeeping, hiking, spending time with her family, and checking out Asheville’s ever-growing culinary scene.