Ms. Berlin is originally from Otisville, Michigan. For her undergraduate degree, she moved to North Carolina to receive her B.A in American Sign Language from Gardner-Webb University. After graduating, she traveled all around the country learning about different biological and ecological topics from local experts while she finished her Master's in Teaching Biological Sciences from Miami University Project Dragonfly as part of San Diego Zoo Global. There she focused on environmental and conservation education, empowering young students to find a passion for nature. Ms. Berlin has been working with The Master's Academy since 2020, helping the Forest School students to foster that excitement for learning while also helping them to see the awe and inspiration of the nature that God has created.
Mr. Somerville is originally from Rutherford County but moved to Mexico when his parents became missionaries to that part of the world. He graduated from El Monte Home School, then attended Appalachian State University where he earned his B.S. in Biology (Ecology/Evolution/Environmental Biology). He completed a one year Bible Certification program from Columbia International University. Mr. Somerville works with our students in the Outdoor School Program using projects, experimentation and activities that will require them to apply their knowledge to hands on activities. He is a vibrant Christian who believes God created all of nature for His glory. Mr. Somerville has a desire to inspire curiosity in his students and help them feel comfortable asking the tough questions, while at the same time helping them find answers through Scripture.
Mr. Stiver grew up here in Rutherford County on the south side of Cherry Mountain and spent the vast majority of his time in the woods. He earned an Associates of Arts degree from Isothermal Community College and a Bachelors of Science in the field of Parks and Recreation Management from Western Carolina University. From there, Mr. Stiver went westward, first to Colorado, then to Wyoming for the National Park Service where he spent 13 years as a Federal Law Enforcement Ranger. This unique role encompassed Emergency Medical, Search and Rescue, Wildlife/Conservation law, as well as maintenance technician and Wildland Fire. Mr. Stiver has traveled all over the western states fighting wildfires as an Engine Boss for fire engines and working with heavy equipment as a Heavy Equipment Boss. Additionally he has traveled outside the country to Nepal, Thailand, Korea, Honduras, via missions and freelance. Throughout his travels he has learned new skills and abilities along the way. Working side jobs as a remodeler, carpenter, mechanic, welder, fabricator, forestry technician, heavy equipment operator, big rig driver, to name a few. With his wife Sarah and their two children, they have felt called to return to Western NC to be willing to allow God to use them in a new field of experience.
Mr. Schenkel has been a part of the TMA family for several years. He has been teaching and working in administration of Christian schools for 46 years. Mr. Schenkel has a B.A. in Christian Education and an M.A. in Church Administration from Bob Jones University. He has also served on three state boards of education for Christian schools and has started two Christian high schools. Mr. Schenkel is a strong man of faith. He serves as a Deacon in his church. In his free time, he enjoys most sports -- especially golf, tennis, and college basketball. In June 2021, he will have been married to his wife for 50 years. Together, they have 4 children and 4 grandchildren and cherish spending time with them.