Ironwood Academy
As iron sharpens iron, so does one person sharpen another. Proverbs 27:17
Ironwood Academy is a hybrid program for parents who want more control over their child's educational experience. We combine the best of a homeschool tutorial and a flexible traditional school, offering college-preparatory courses in a Christian environment taught by the most qualified and engaging teachers.

ENROLLMENT IS OPEN FOR the 2021-2022 academic year.  

We are a Christian, non-denominational, hybrid tutorial program for students in grades 1-12. We offer a new approach to parents who want more control over their child’s educational experience and who also want more time together as a family. Imagine a balance between homeschooling (but where we do the heavy lifting) and a progressive affordable private school with a flexible schedule. More like college, students attend classes two to three days a week and work independently or with assistance to complete their assignments. Our Instructors are certified teachers with advanced degrees who have a passion for the subjects they teach.

Students in grades 1-12 will attend classes on two to three days of the week. On those days, they will receive instruction in four required core academic areas–English, History, Math, and Science. In addition, the tuition covers one elective course, for a total of five (5) courses.

Weekly Feature:  Ironwood Academy’s Faculty Dream Team 

Lynn Peck returns to Ironwood Academy as a Math Instructor for 2021-2022. She brings her outstanding teaching skills to our 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students.  Lynn graduated summa cum laude (with highest honors) from Vanderbilt University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics. She also has a Masters of Education degree in Secondary Education from Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College, where she graduated with a GPA of 3.9 out of 4.0.   Lynn’s love for middle school students stems from her time at the Harpeth Hall School where she taught for six years covering Standard and Honors Pre-Algebra, Math 7, Honors Algebra 1, and Honors Geometry.

Since 2015, Lynn has been teaching Algebra I and Statistics at Ravenwood High School.   Ravenwood is not only where Lynn first started her teaching career before transferring to Harpeth Hall, but it is also where she met her husband, Josh Peck.  Josh currently teaches Robotics and Engineering at Ravenwood.  Lynn and Josh have two children: a 12-year old son, Brody, and a 10-year old daughter, Avery.  

Allison Jarrett Timmons returns to Ironwood Academy for 2021-2022 as our Art Instructor. Allison holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Studies with a Concentration in Studio Art from Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina, as well as a Master of Arts degree in Art Education from New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development. Allison has taught all ages in a variety of settings, from traditional schools to homeschool tutorials to college to community education. She served as an Adjunct Instructor and Teaching Artist at Watkins College of Art, Design and Film and Watkins Community Education, as a 3-D art teacher at Father Ryan High School, a ceramics instructor at high schools and camps in New York, and as a private art instructor with her own studio, Art School. No matter who she is teaching, Allison’s primary goal is to teach the creative process, and to encourage students to take risks with their work and try new things. She enjoys teaching through contemporary art using traditional and non-traditional media and materials, and wants all of her art students to believe in their own innate creativity. 

Allison was raised in Nashville and attended Father Ryan High School. When she is not teaching, she volunteers her time with the American Legion Auxiliary Volunteer Girls State Program, a citizenship and leadership program for high school girls. Her own artwork and creative projects include lettering, embroidery, writing, sculpture, and quilting with her mother Anita. Allison and her husband Matthew have a 6-month old daughter, June, and they spend their free time together playing music, renovating their Donelson home, and chasing after their silly dog Gracie. Allison is thrilled to be able to return to the Ironwood community!

Tiffany Anton joins Ironwood Academy as a Math and Science Instructor for 2021-2022. She teaches Chemistry, Algebra I and II, and Science 8. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry as well as a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Entrepreneurial Studies from Kennesaw State University. Tiffany comes to us with industry experience as a Quality Control Chemist for a major chemical company and a chemical distributorship, both in Atlanta, GA. More recently, she has taught Chemistry and Math classes at Rutherford Tutorial Academy as well as homeschooling her three daughters. 
Her oldest daughter attended Ironwood Academy in 2014-15, and we are pleased to welcome her younger two daughters to Ironwood this year. Tiffany also has experience as a children’s ministry leader, having taught elementary school students at Judson Baptist Church for 11 years. Tiffany and her husband, Nick, have been married for 30 years. Their family enjoys travel and spending time at the beach.

Linda Oursler teaches Social Studies at Ironwood Academy.  She has a Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education as well as a Bachelor of Science degree in physical education from Houston Baptist University.  In addition, Linda has a Master of Arts degree in biblical studies from the International School of Theology in San Bernardino, California.

Linda has over 30 years of classroom teaching experience in public and private schools as well as homeschooling her own children. Prior to joining Ironwood Academy, she taught at Franklin Road Academy in Nashville for six years.

Linda received professional certification from the Association of Classical Christian Education and she is a Certified NeuroEducational Evaluator.  She evaluates and works with children from a neurodevelopment perspective and designs individualized therapy programs tailored to their needs to help them develop.  Linda is a dyslexia specialist.  In addition to her neurodevelopment work, Linda also tutors elementary children in the Wilson Reading and Orton Gillingham Learning and Language Development methods.  She has lectured locally and overseas on how the brain functions and how children develop educationally.

Linda and her husband, Dr. Henry Oursler, have been married for 38 years and they have three grown children (Brandon, Becca, and Brooks) and four grandchildren (Caleb, Claire, Maverick, and Deacon).

Elizabeth Elfers joins Ironwood Academy to teach English I, American Literature, and British Literature to our high school students.  She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Xavier University in English and Theology, where she graduated summa cum laude (with highest honors).  She also has a Master of Theological Studies degree, summa cum laude, from Vanderbilt University Divinity School where she was a Founders Medalist.  In addition, in 2011, she was a Fellow in the Vanderbilt University Cal Turner Program for Moral Leadership.

Elizabeth has extensive experience in teaching, administrative leadership, and youth mentoring.  Most recently, from 2015-2020, she was Dean of Campus Ministry and Student Life at Father Ryan High School in Nashville.  In her leadership role, Elizabeth provided direction and oversight of student service opportunities such as Room in the Inn, Special Olympics, and Relay for Life, as well as overseeing student mission trips.  Prior to her tenure at Father Ryan, Elizabeth facilitated youth and adult volunteer opportunities as Co-Director of Lydia’s House in Cincinnati, Ohio.  She previously served as Associate University Minister at the University of San Diego for four years facilitating domestic and international immersion experiences for college students.  Elizabeth taught Great Books, Theology, and Social Justice at Pope John Paul II High School and was a Writing Consultant at Vanderbilt University’s English Language Center tutoring international students. Her extensive classroom experience in all grade levels, combined with her passion for reading, writing, and providing leadership development for youth and young adults, makes Elizabeth a tremendous addition to Ironwood Academy’s dream team faculty.  She and her husband, Jim, who is a Spanish teacher at Pope John Paul II High School, have been married four years and are the proud parents of a two-year-old daughter, Margie, and a four-month-old son, Oscar.  In her free time, Elizabeth volunteers for the homeless through Room in the Inn and other charitable organizations.  She is a Franklin, Tennessee native and her entire family is local.  Elizabeth plays guitar, enjoys live music, and she loves reading, especially works by Jane Austen, John Steinbeck, and J.K. Rowling.

Ironwood Academy Offers Unique Emotional Intelligence (EQ) Curriculum

Ironwood has collaborated with national Christian child development expert, Dr. Joshua Straub, to curate a first-of-its-kind emotional intelligence (EQ) curriculum that will be taught to all students in grades 1-12.  Ironwood Academy’s objective is to provide an emotionally-safe environment in which students (and parents) will be given specific tools to identify and regulate emotions and, just as importantly, to recognize and respect others’ feelings.  The curriculum will include training on neurobiological concepts regarding brain structure, development and function; healthy problem solving and coping skills; cognitive flexibility and language processing; as well as teaching and practicing listening and social skills.  

Dr. Josh Straub commented, “The EQ curriculum is at the intersection of psychology and spirituality, providing essential life skills that are rarely taught in schools.  When Google found a few years ago that ‘soft skills’—that is, empathy, emotional safety, and emotional intelligence—were the top characteristics of their most productive teams, it began to change the way we view how we prepare today’s students. Ironwood is at the forefront of this movement.”

Dr. Joshua Straub is a speaker, author, and family and leadership coach. A champion of human empathy, Josh leads Famous at Home, a Spring Hill-based company equipping leaders, organizations, military families, and churches in emotional intelligence and family wellness. He also is a Fellow of the Townsend Institute for Leadership and Counseling. As a marriage and family coach and consultant, and professor of child psychology/crisis response, Josh coaches leaders to be famous at home so they can thrive on their stage. He also speaks regularly for Joint Special Operations Command and serves military families across the country.

Josh is author/ coauthor of six books including Safe House: How Emotional Safety is the Key to Raising Kids Who Live, Love, and Lead Well and coauthor, along with his wife Christi, of their first children’s book, What Am I Feeling?  He and Christi also host the In This Together podcast and, in partnership with LifeWay Christian Resources, are the creators of TwentyTwoSix Parenting, a community of parents growing together to encourage the spiritual growth of their kids.

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Please call us for more information about tuition and classes. 615.589.6312

Alumni Spotlight: Brian Ericson

Brian Ericson attended Ironwood Academy for four years and graduated in 2015. Ironwood’s excellent instructors and academic programs developed his love for writing and the arts, so he continued his education at Lee University and majored in English writing. While in college, Brian was an editor for the school paper, a tutor in the writing center, a campus tour guide, and a freshman orientation leader. He was also heavily involved in the theatre program and served as the vice president of Lee’s chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, the international English honor society. Brian graduated summa cum laude in 2019 and now lives back in Nashville, where he works full-time as a political contributor to Young Voices, a nonprofit based in Washington, D.C.

Alumni Spotlight: Mitch Parker

Congratulations to Ironwood Academy alumnus, Mitch Parker, who was accepted to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. During his time at Ironwood, Mitch was Student Council President and received our Outstanding Leadership Award.

Mitch Parker

Alumni Spotlight: Olivia Owen

Olivia Owen attended Ironwood Academy for 5 years. Because of Ironwood’s flexible schedule she was able to compete internationally, riding horses in over 8 countries, while still excelling in her studies. After graduating a year early in 2017, she took a gap year during which she lived in Europe and rode for the U.S. team. These experiences in partnership with Ironwood’s challenging college-preparatory curriculum prepared her for both college and the professional world. Olivia is now a senior honors student at the University of Kentucky, where she is double majoring in Business Management and Finance with a minor in International Business. She was chosen for a global scholar pathway that enables her to continue her international interests by taking specialized international business classes and studying abroad. In addition to her classes, Olivia is very involved in her sorority, where she serves as President.

Alumni Spotlight: Trevor Gersmehl & Danielle Starmer

Trevor Gersmehl graduated early from Samford University with a degree in sports management.  He is engaged to be married in June to another Ironwood Academy alumna, Danielle Starmer.  Danielle also graduated from Samford with a degree in Nutrition and Dietetics and is a registered dietitian.

Alumni Spotlight: Grace Butler

Grace Butler attended Ironwood for 5 years and graduated in 2016.  The flexible schedule during the school year also allowed her to be very competitive in the equestrian sport and even compete in England and France while still gaining a quality education. Because of the customized course plan Ironwood provides, Grace was able to graduate high school a year early and use her time until attending college the next year to gain some college credits and valuable experience in her field of interest.  Now, Grace is a senior at Auburn University studying Animal Science and she was recently accepted to Auburn’s School of Veterinary Medicine.  In addition to attending classes, she is also the president of the Auburn Eventing Team, which has won the national championship in the sport of eventing for the past 2 years. Grace is also a leader in her greek sorority on campus, volunteers at a wildlife rehabilitation center, and stays on top of a busy class schedule.

Alumni Spotlight: Madeline Watts

Madeline Watts attended Ironwood Academy for four years and graduated in 2016. She is now a senior at Tennessee Tech University studying graphic design and she runs cross country, indoor and outdoor track and field for the university. Maddie runs long distance events such as the mile, 3k, and 5k.  She also competed at the American Championships in West Virginia where she placed 1st in age group and 6th overall in the US for women in the 10k trail event.

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