White FHU Logo
White FHU Logo

Six new teachers will join the Freed-Hardeman University faculty this fall, according to Dr. C.J. Vires, vice president for academics and provost at FHU. They, along with returning faculty, will convene Aug. 22 for the fall faculty convocation.

New members of the faculty are Kathryn Deck, instructor in graphic design; Dr. Leah Gray, assistant professor of management; Susan Lankford, instructor of communication sciences and disorders; Lisa Raine, instructor in computer science; Andrea Watson, instructor in school counseling; and Dr. Michael Yopp, associate professor of music.

Deck earned a Bachelor of Arts from FHU in 2014. She has worked at 8th Day Software, Diplomat Specialty Pharmacy and Ramsey Solutions where she was a product designer for Ramsey + and Financial Peace University where she designed web apps and native mobile apps. She and her husband Josh have a young son, Noah.

Gray is also an FHU alumna, having received a Bachelor of Business Administration in 1997. In addition, she holds a Master of Arts from University of Phoenix and a Doctorate of Health Sciences from Massachusetts College of Pharmacy. She has 14 years of management and teaching experience in higher education. She has been the human resources director at Quebecor World and worked in management at Lowe’s. The mother of four holds an Advanced Emergency Medical Technician license and works part-time for Medical Center EMS.

Lankford earned a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Arts in 1994 and 1996, respectively, from Appalachian State University. She has been a licensed and certified speech-language pathologist for 26 years. In addition, she has taught for 16 years. She and her husband Chris have two sons, Dalton, a 2021 FHU graduate, and Thaddaeus, a senior at FHU. “I am thankful, honored and excited that it is now my turn to be a part of the FHU family,” she said.

Raine received a Bachelor of Science from FHU in 2014. She has worked nine years in the FHU Admissions Office and has professional certification as a Salesforce Platform App Builder and Entry Level Python Programmer. She and her husband Kevin have two children, Benjamin and Hannah.

Watson holds a Bachelor of Arts from Bryan College, a Master of Arts from Tennessee Technological University and an Education Specialist degree, also from Tennessee Tech. She has worked as an assistant principal and a middle school counselor as well as a social worker. Watson is working on a Doctor of Education in instructional leadership and is conducting research regarding social-emotional learning curricula implementation. She and her husband Ryan have two children, Ansley and Jackson Thedford.

Yopp holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Memphis, a Master of Arts from Adams State University and Doctor of Music Education from Liberty University. He has directed bands at the middle school and high school levels as well as at the university level. He has been named the director of FHU’s new jazz band. Both his master’s thesis and doctoral dissertation deal with the recruitment and retention of musicians for band programs. “I am honored, as well as humbled, to be a member of this wonderful faculty and institution. For the last 150 years, Freed-Hardeman has been a fixture for the entire Church brotherhood with the highest Christian and educational standards,” Yopp said. “My prayer is I will leave a musical legacy within the program that maintains those same high standards of excellence with integrity and Christian foundation.”

New students are expected to arrive in Henderson Saturday, Aug. 19, for Welcome Home and a period of orientation to campus life. Advising and registration for classes will be Aug. 22. Tolling of the Bell and the first day of classes are set for Aug. 23 to officially open the school year.

The mission of Freed-Hardeman University is to help students develop their God-given talents for His glory by empowering them with an education that integrates Christian faith, scholarship and service. With locations in Henderson and Memphis, FHU offers associates, bachelor’s, master’s, specialist and doctoral degrees.