CAK gets new principals

Sandra ClarkFarragut, Feature

Christian Academy of Knoxville has named three administrators to its team.

Jessica Thomas, currently assistant principal at CAK, has been promoted to head principal of the elementary school. She replaces Kelly Kennedy, who stepped down from her role to spend more time with her family. Kim Giles has been appointed to assistant principal of CAK’s elementary school, while Susan Wallis was named head principal at the high school.


Giles most recently served as K-8 director of student services at Grace Christian Academy, while Wallis served as high school principal at Berean Christian School. Wallis replaces CAK’s Donald Snider, who retired after 13 years of service to the school and more than 30 years in education.

Thomas began her career at Maryville Christian School teaching both middle school science and social studies. This work was followed by a call to full-time ministry where she served as the director of Christian education and youth for First United Methodist Church in Alcoa, Tenn. In addition to teaching history for Sweetwater High School, she has served as a district-wide data and instructional coach for Monroe County. Prior to serving in an administrative capacity, Thomas enjoyed working with teachers as a technology integrator at CAK. She has a bachelor’s degree in history/secondary education from Maryville College, and an educational administration and supervision degree from Lincoln Memorial University. She also faithfully attends Calvary Chapel in Blount County. Thomas is married to Chris and they have a child, Liam, who is a fourth grader at CAK.

Giles has been in education for nearly 20 years, serving as a teacher in the middle and elementary grade levels. She has served as a mentor teacher and lead teacher. She holds a bachelor’s degree in speech communication with a minor in elementary education from the University of Tennessee. Giles also holds a master’s degree in elementary education and is currently completing her educational administration and supervision degree in instructional leadership from Lincoln Memorial University. Giles attends First Baptist Church of Alcoa and is married to her husband, Matt. They have two daughters, Marlee and Addy.

Wallis brings a wealth of experience in biblical integration in all aspects of academics, budgeting, master scheduling, data assessment, performance evaluations, missions, technology and much more.

CAK will enjoy the added benefit of Wallis’ experience as an Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) accreditation team member (Southeast Region) and certified Tennessee Educator Acceleration Model (TEAM) evaluator with the state of Tennessee. Wallis describes herself as an educator at heart and has a passion to support and help teachers get better at their craft. She loves all things mathematics, is fluent in sign language and is working to complete her doctorate in educational administration and policy studies from UT. She and her husband, Brian, attend Fellowship Church and have five children (James, Jesse, Erin, Matthew and Amy).

“We have been faithfully praying that the Lord would send us an exceptional team of administrators to lead us into the next 40 years at CAK,” said Head of School Bob Neu.

(Report by Melissa Tindell, public information official at CAK)

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