Our Staff

Deborah Hofland, M.S.W.
Executive Director, Philips Academy
Deborah came to Philips in 2010 with extensive experience as a school counselor, working with special needs students and developing Individual Education Plans.  She received her Master’s in Social Work from the University of Maryland and a Certificate in Non-Profit Management from Duke University. Deborah’s strong leadership is moving Philips Academy into our next stage of growth.
Amy Firth, M.Ed.
Program Director & Admissions
With a Bachelor’s in Biology Education and a Master’s in Special Ed., Amy has taught in a variety of special education classrooms in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and even Australia. Amy came to Philips in 2006 as a classroom teacher and is adept at reaching students with diverse needs and leading them in their transition to “real life.”
Tomeka Martin, M.A.
Assistant Program Director
Tomeka received her Bachelor’s from UNC Greensboro and her Special Ed certificate at UNC Charlotte. She also obtained her Master’s in Executive Leadership. She has worked in numerous settings with children and adults with disabilities since 1999. Tomeka came to Philips from CMS in 2016.
Kristen Agee, M.S.W.
Kristen Agee started at Philips Academy in 2017 as a volunteer seeking experience while she pursues her license in social work. With previous teaching experience in SC, she was hired part-time to teach some health classes and assist with student work experiences.  Kristen is a Clemson Alum and did her graduate work at USC.
Darius Chambers, B.S.
Darius has been a part of the Philips family since 2008 when his younger siblings started middle school (and he pitched in as a substitute). He received his Bachelors at UNC Pembroke and is currently pursuing his Masters. He has been working in the field of education since 2014, both in school and treatment settings. He officially joined the Philips team in January 2018.
Darcy Fredrick, B.S.
Darcy came to Philips Academy in 2013 as a volunteer exploring the field of exceptional children. She has quickly become an integral member of our staff. In addition to her passion for educating students, Darcy brings experience as a math and G.E.D. tutor. Darcy is a certified Special Ed. teacher and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University of Georgia.
Michelle Hull, B.A.
Michelle graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Art from Houghton College.  She has worked with adults with developmental disabilities in multiple settings, and as a teaching assistant in CMS.  Michelle brought her various experiences to Philips and has contributed to developing our Art and Life Skill programs since 2008.
Michael McGinnis, B.A.
Mike graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in History from the University of Iowa and is certified to teach both middle & high school.  As a teacher and coach in Iowa for over 15 year, Mike first came to Philips Academy as a parent in 2013.  He has become a valuable addition to the team.
Leigh Millikin, M.A.
Leigh received her Bachelor’s in Rehabilitation and her Master’s in Visual Disabilities from Florida State. She previously served in CMS as a Teacher of the Visually Impaired and as a Braillist. Leigh came to Philips as a volunteer, but was quickly hired to share her expertise as part of our teaching team.
Leslie Shannon, B.S.
Leslie is a returning teacher to Philips Academy, originally joining us in 2010. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and completed the Special Education licensure program at UNCC.  Leslie worked for five years in a CMS adapted high school classroom.
Joseph Steven, M.A.
Joseph graduated with a B.S. in Education with certification in both Elementary and Special Education. He also pursued his Master’s in Education with a concentration in classroom management.  Joe joined Philips in 2018 after 10 years of teaching special education in Pennsylvania high school classrooms.
Jackie Guess
Jackie came to Philips Academy as a “full-time” volunteer in 2014 (quitting her job in the corporate world after meeting our students). With experience as a youth leader, dramatist and author, she is now sharing her skills with Philips’ students as our Drama Teacher and Teaching Assistant.
Casey Turner, B.S.
Casey came to Philips Academy in 2015 as a volunteer seeking experience with students with intellectual and developmental disabilities. She has been a wonderful additional as a Job Coach and teaching vocational skills. She is currently pursuing further studies in Special Education.
Kelly Case
Kelly came to Philips Academy in 2017 as a volunteer and was quickly hired as our indispensable receptionist.