Headmaster, English Department Head
11th Grade English, Senior Seminar
Ben Hughes has taught at Mars Hill since 2006 and has served as chair of the English Department for over a decade. He has taken on the role of Headmaster for the 2023-2024 school year. A Mars Hill alum ('04), he majored in English at Asbury University ('08), and was ordained as the pastor of Emmanuel Christian Fellowship in the summer of 2017. He and his wife Emily homeschool their five children, the oldest of which (Micah) is in his first year at Mars Hill.
History Department Head
Western Civilization I and II, Worldview, 8th Grade American History
Since receiving his history degree at the University of Kentucky, Chad Grissom has continued his education through classes on Biblical languages, geography and archaeology of the Bible, and personal study of the Bible, theology, history and philosophy. These studies have taken him to California and Israel. He is committed to life-long learning that spills over into his classes. He is also the pastor of Trinity Christian Fellowship and gives pastoral direction to a local pre-school-6th grade cooperative.
Melissa Pittard, PhD
Math Department Head
Algebra 1, Calculus
Dr. Pittard is currently a senior lecturer in statistics at the University of Kentucky. She has been teaching math at Mars Hill since 1996. She earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Potsdam College in New York State and earned her master’s degree and Ph.D. in statistics from the University of Kentucky. She has also homeschooled her own five children.
William J. John, MD, FACP
Science Department Head
Biology, Chemistry, Physics
Dr. John, who has held the science department to high standards since Mars Hill’s inception, is currently a lead drug developer for AbbVie pharmaceuticals. He received his medical degree at UK, then after post-graduate training in medical oncology, he became the associate medical director at the Markey Cancer Center. He and his wife, Catherine, have had 9 children graduate from the Mars Hill program.
Billy and his wife, Brenda, were both part of the original group of college students who planted Lexington Christian Fellowship from a Bible study that started in 1974. Today, they still work with the same group of friends to give vision and direction to the CF congregations. Billy also co-founded Mars Hill, and served as the the Headmaster for 30 years. He and Brenda launched the cooperative when their children reached middle school. He has also completed the Master of Arts (Christian and Classical Studies) program at Knox Theological Seminary.
Carly has been married to JP Barlow for 18 years, and they have five children, three of which are enrolled at Mars Hill. She was formerly a CPA for PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Michelle Cochran has a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Georgia Tech, and she has discovered a love for teaching in her eighteen years of homeschooling. Her three children have graduated from Mars Hill. She has previously taught homeschool classes in PreAlgebra, Algebra 1, Geometry, PreCalculus, and ACT Prep. She has been a private high school math tutor for nine years. She has a passion for helping students understand math concepts and see the beauty of how math applies to science.
Kate Flannery, MAT
11th Grade American History
Kate Flannery, who taught U.S. History and Art History at Paul Laurence Dunbar High School for 7 years, received her bachelor’s in Secondary Social Studies Education from Asbury College and her master’s in Educational Leadership Studies from UK. Mrs. Flannery has also studied and developed a lecture series on the philosophy of modern education.
Audrey Grissom, MA
Latin Grammar III and IV, Latin Translation I and II
Audrey Grissom is a Mars Hill graduate of 2015. She received her Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Modern and Classical Languages, Literatures, and Cultures with a focus in Greek philosophy. She has taught Latin at Mars Hill for two years and at a local pre-school-6th grade cooperative for five years. She has also taught violin lessons privately for seven years. She is the oldest daughter of the Mars Hill History Department Head Chad Grissom and English teacher Shannon Grissom.
Shannon Grissom, MA-SLP
8th Grade English
Shannon Grissom recieved her Bachelor’s degree in Communication Disorders and her Master’s Degree in Speech/Language Pathology from the University of Kentucky. She has taught at Mars Hill since 1998. Shannon and her husband, Chad, have homeschooled thier six children, four of whom are graduates of Mars Hill.
Kel Hahn, MDiv
9th Grade English, 10th Grade English
Kel Hahn is the Communications Manager for the University of Kentucky Office of Philanthropy. He received a bachelor’s degree in English from Indiana University in 1997 and a Master of Divinity degree from Asbury Theological Seminary in 2008. He and his wife, Dawn, have four children: Samuel, Carter, Ian and Emily. Kel has taught at Mars Hill since 2006.
Matthew Henderson, JD
8th U.S. History
Joel Jirak has Bachelors degree in Computer Science and Philosophy from Georgetown College and has a Masters of Information Networking from Carnegie-Mellon University. He and his wife Bethany have seven children, two of which are Mars Hill graduates.
7th Grade English
Jordan John is the Marketing and News Director for the University of Kentucky’s College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. She received a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Asbury University in 2010, and has previously worked as a News Editor for the Frankfort State Journal, Marketing Director for the Stanford Stewardship Group, and Deputy Director of Public Affairs for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. Jordan has taught at Mars Hill since 2019 and is married to Dr. Jerram John, a graduate of Mars Hill.
Rodney Johnson, CPA
Born in Costa Rica, Rodney Johnson primarily lived in the Dominican Republic where his parents serve as missionaries. Rodney has served in 27 countries around the world sharing the gospel alongside his family. He received his bachelor’s in accounting from Asbury University’s Howard Dayton School of Business as well as a minor in Spanish. He is currently employed with Edward Jones Financial Investing, a Fortune 500 company.
Latin 1, Latin 2, Logic
Arthur Martin graduated from Mars Hill in 2016. He graduated from Eastern Kentucky University with a bachelor’s degree in Philosophy, and there discovered his love for Christian Personalism. Some of his favorite authors include Deitrich von Hildebrand, C.S. Lewis, and J.R.R Tolkien
C. Andy Martin, MSCS, BSEE, BSCS
Physics, Physical Science, Algebra 2
C. Andy Martin has been a principal engineer at Badger Technologies since 2017. Previously, he has been a firmware engineer at Lexmark for 10 years and prior to that as a software engineer at Lumenware for 3 years. He received his master’s of science in computer science, bachelor’s of science in computer science and bachelor’s of science in electrical engineering from UK. He also minored in mathematics and graduated Summa Cum Laude with Honors in the Honors Program.
Marilyn Nehls, PhD
7th Grade Life Science
Marilyn Nehls received her B.A. in Exercise Science from Asbury University and her M.S. in Nutritional Sciences as well as her Ph.D. in Exercise Science from the University of Kentucky. Her research is focused on nutrition and exercise interventions to mitigate and prevent chronic disease, especially cardiovascular disease. She is currently a Lecturer in the Department of Kinesiology & Health Promotion in the College of Education at the University of Kentucky, where she teaches various nutrition- and exercise-based courses.
Kenton Sena, PhD
8th Grade Earth Science
Kenton Sena earned a B.A. in Biology from Asbury University and a M.S. in Forestry and a Ph.D. in Integrated Plant and Soil Sciences from the University of Kentucky. His research is focused on restoration ecology—restoring high-quality ecosystems on highly degraded sites. He is currently a lecturer in the Lewis Honors College at the University of Kentucky, where he teaches the honors foundations course (HON 101), as well as interdisciplinary courses in ecology and the environment. In his spare time, he enjoys time in the forest with his wife Susanna and children Silas and Eden.
Stephen is a Mars Hill graduate of 2011. He received a bachelor's degree in computer science from the University of Kentucky, and is currently employed with AppOmni Inc. as a software engineer. Stephen has an affinity for the game of chess, and hopes to one day resurrect the Mars Hill chess club.