Academic Team

Shelterwood Academy is a Christ-centered therapeutic boarding school for teens struggling with mental, emotional and behavioral health challenges.

Kelly Wilson
Director of Education

Ms. Wilson has over 20 years of experience working in education, and she could never see herself doing anything different. Her experience includes spending 13 years as a special education teacher and seven years as a Special Education Process Coordinator. During her career, she has worked alongside students with various educational disabilities, as well as mental health and neurological diagnoses across all grade levels. She has also assisted school districts, administrators and teams of teachers in ensuring that all students’ educational, social, emotional and adaptive functioning needs were met.

She’ll be quick to tell you that at Shelterwood, she loves working with a dynamic group of teachers, therapists and providers to be a positive influence in our students’ lives — seeing them grow emotionally, educationally and spiritually. Her biggest reward is seeing changed hearts and minds. When she’s not at school, she loves gardening, being outside, dreaming big dreams … and figuring out how to get those dreams accomplished.

Kortney White

Education Administrative Assistant

Renee Bartlett

History Teacher

If it has to do with social science classes, you’ll find Renee teaching it. But don’t just call her a Social Studies teacher. Because Renee also builds personal relationships with students — individualizing their educational experience, instructing her class in ways that they will understand, and helping them with whatever they need (even if has nothing to do with social science). So what does she love to do when she’s not at Shelterwood? That’s easy. Watching NFL games with her family. Favorite team? That’s even easier. The Chiefs (naturally). 

Dakota Topping

English Teacher

Courtney Bennett
Science Teacher

Ms. Bennett loves science so much, that at Shelterwood she teaches all the different types of sciences that are offered — including Biology, Chemistry, Earth and Space Science, and Physics. She is grateful to have the opportunity to open the door to the world of science for our young students. And speaking of young students, she’ll have one of her own in September when she has her first baby.

On weekends, she loves to play tennis and read, and when she has a little more time, you might find her headed to Texas, where her family lives. Ms. Bennett is also our “birthday representative,” celebrating the students at Shelterwood and making them feel loved on their special day.

Joseph Svoboda
Math Teacher

Mr. Svoboda knows his job is about more than math. Beyond helping his students understand and be successful at the subject, he also gets to know all his students, thanks to the small class sizes at Shelterwood. His desk may be a mess (except for during Parents’ Weekends), but that’s just because he puts all his focus into teaching. Mr. Svoboda has two sons — one at the University of Missouri and the other at the University of Kansas, so we’re not going to ask about the school rivalry that may go on at home. He’s also a sports fan who follows the Kansas City Chiefs, Kansas City Royals and KU basketball. (Sorry, Tigers.)

Sophia Payne
Music Teacher

Music. Music history. Music performance. Music theory. Piano lab. Songwriting. If it has to do with music, Ms. Payne teaches it. She loves helping her students enjoy life more through what she teaches in class, and she is passionate about how music can make a profound impact on all of us. On weekends, Sophia is likely cooking or watching one of the two sports she’s interested in: Kansas City Chiefs football or the dog show. And her son was named after Spiderman and Wolverine. (No, his name is not Marvel.)

Amanda Balich
Independent Studies Teacher

As an Independent Studies Teacher, Ms. Balich facilitates online learning — including electives and credit recovery. When asked, she’ll tell you that the most gratifying part of her job is meeting students’ needs in unique ways. She knows her students well, and because of that, she is able to individualize instruction and provide a personalized educational experience for each kid she teaches. Ms. Balich spends most weekends hiking, rock climbing or finding new coffee shops with her husband and dog.