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Bulldog News

Coach Perry Petruccelli is MDCA’s New Head Girls Basketball Coach

Mount Dora Christian Academy is excited to announce Perry Petruccelli as the school’s Varsity head girl’s basketball coach. 

Petruccelli has worked at Mount Dora Christian Academy for the past five years. He is also an alum of MDCA, playing basketball for seven years in the program and graduating in 2010. Petruccelli is one of the school’s secondary math teachers but is multi-talented. He has been the varsity bowling coach, boys middle school basketball coach, and a junior class sponsor. Petruccelli was named Secondary Teacher of the Year in 2020 and recently married Amanda DiPrato on February 26th, 2022.

About this role, Petruccelli states, “The basketball program at MDCA has always been a huge part of my life and I’m incredibly excited to contribute to work in a program that values the development of not just the athletic abilities of our students but also their lives as Christ-centered athletes.

Petruccelli replaces former head coach Reid Hillin who will be moving to Abilene, Texas to become a youth minister.

Kinkel Named Vice President of Development for Mount Dora Christian Academy and Children’s Home

Mount Dora Christian Academy and Children’s Home (MDCA&CH) has named Dr. Tony Kinkel as Vice President of Development effective January 3, 2022. Dr. Kinkel succeeds Tim Deem, who is retiring after serving in that capacity since 2009. Founded in 1945, MDCA&CH has a current enrollment of 694 students and provides services for single parents and a home for needy children. The Vice President of Development is tasked with leading efforts in
fundraising and donor relations.

Dr. Kinkel comes to MDCA&CH with a unique blend of teaching, administrative, policy-making, and leadership experience. A native of northern Minnesota, Dr. Kinkel brings 35 years of public service to the job including 16 years as a state legislator and 13 years as a community and technical college president. Currently, Dr. Kinkel serves as Executive Director of the Minnesota State Board for School Administrators.

Dr. Brian Mast, President of MDCA&CH, was effusive in his praise of outgoing VP Deem. “Tim has done an outstanding job for our organization over the past sixteen years, beginning with his tenure on the Board of Trustees in 2005. He has built relationships with donors, churches, and grant-making foundations that have resulted in millions of dollars in donations. The school and children’s home have greatly benefited from his leadership.” He continued, “We are delighted to welcome Tony to the Mount Dora family. He will bring fresh perspectives to help us enhance relationships with parents, alumni, and the MDCA&CH community as we continue to grow and add new programs and facilities.”

“This is a dream come true,” Kinkel said. “To be a part of ‘educating, equipping and empowering students and parents to love God and impact the world’, is the crowning achievement of my career. To work with President Mast, and to build upon the great work of Vice President Deem, is an honor and a privilege.”

Dr. Kinkel is married to his wife, Melva. They have two children; Brett, age 33, who lives in Kansas City with his wife and son, and Kellen, age 20, a junior at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

The new science lab is complete, thanks to wonderful donors like the Chaffins. 

The new science lab is complete, thanks to wonderful donors like the Chaffins. 

On August 18th, MDCA recognized the completion of the Wishart Science Lab. 

This science lab will serve our middle school students and Secondary Science Teacher Amanda Colwell ('03). About the new lab, she says, “We now have the resources that I needed to hit home in my lessons. Sometimes they do not get it when it is just books and words. They need to be able to see and touch...thank you so much for your help in making those dreams come true.”

Head of School, Dr. Lori Hadley, mentioned, “This project elevates what our teachers are doing. This facility for our middle school students can build an interest in science at an early age.

For many of these projects, the question is: Where do we get the money? That is where Lisa Chaffin comes in. After taking Chaffin on a tour of the campus, she said, “My heart is with that science lab. That is where I want to help out.” She had a plan, and she knew what her parents would have wanted. They were educators. Lisa and her husband, Lynn, decided to donate funds in memory of Lisa’s parents, Jack and Maxine Wishart

It is beautiful, I know as an educator and as a long-time Christian, God works in mysterious ways. It’s unexplainable how He brings us here. When I came on this campus, I just knew that if my parents were alive, this is where they would have wanted their funds to go. We believe in Christian schools. I know they would have loved this; it would have brought tears to their eyes. When I walked into this room, I know my dad would have loved it in here,” said Chaffin. 

MDCA would like to thank serval people for their work on the new lab. David Jass was the architect. His skill and expertise on the plans got us the permits for the new lab. Chris Sadowski and Mark Starcher from Evergreen Construction. About the completion of the lab, Mark stated, “The study of science leads you to the glory of God...It opens up a whole new world of who God is.

MDCA would like to thank Lynn and Lisa Chaffin for their generous gift in memory of Lisa’s parents, Jack and Maxine Wishart. There is a bronze plaque that has been placed outside the doorway to the lab with their name. 

Coach James Bayly is MDCA’s New Head Softball Coach

Mount Dora Christian Academy is excited to announce the hiring of Coach James Bayly as the school’s head softball coach. 

Bayly joins the MDCA team with 20 years of coaching experience. Prior to accepting the position at MDCA, Bayly served as the head softball coach at Lake Brantley High school for the past 10 seasons where he compiled a list of accomplishments including conference and district championships, coach of the year, and an overall 70% winning percentage. Coach Bayly is also very connected in the travel softball world.  MDCA’s Director of Athletics, Megan Ziegelhofer says, “Coach Bayly is an outstanding addition to our staff at MDCA! Our softball program has been very successful over the years and Coach Bayly has what it takes to elevate it to an even higher level. He will be an asset to the Mount Dora Christian family and a tremendous Christian influence on our female student-athletes.”

Bayly replaces former head coach, Josh Swearingen who moved back to his hometown in Jacksonville to be closer to his family. Swearingen compiled a 115-41 win-loss record during his 6 seasons at MDCA with 5 district championships, 4 regional championships, and 4 final four appearances. 

“I am excited about the opportunity to work with the culture that MDCA manifests.  Due to my extensive coaching expertise, I know that I will be able to continue building on the legacy of faith, education, and service while expanding the softball program.”

MDCA Welcomes New Secondary Leadership Team

Mount Dora Christian Academy has named Sara Hill Secondary Principal and Reid Hillin Secondary Assistant Principal. 

Sara Hill graduated from MDCA in 2004 with a passion for Christian education. She earned her bachelor's degree in Business Administration in 2009 and her master’s degree in Taxation in 2010, both from the University of Central Florida.  After working in accounting for three years, Sara felt God’s calling to education and completed her certification to become a teacher. 

She joined MDCA’s faculty in 2013 as a secondary teacher and coach. She earned her dual master’s degree in Organizational Leadership and Curriculum and Instruction from York College in 2018. Hill was appointed as MDCA’s Secondary Assistant Principal in 2018. She recently completed her doctoral degree in Educational Leadership from the University of Central Florida.   

Head of School, Dr. Lori Hadley says, “Dr. Hill has been a part of the MDCA community her entire life. Her unique understanding of where the organization has been, the growth that has already occurred, and our goals for the future make her the perfect choice to lead our secondary school.”

About her new position, Hill says, “I am excited to take on the role of Secondary Principal at MDCA.  My goal as an administrator is to emulate Jesus’ example of servant leadership and to have a positive impact on others. The past school year was challenging, but we have an amazing opportunity this year to build our community up stronger than ever.”

New Secondary Assistant Principal, Reid Hillin was born and raised in Nashville, TN. He moved here last summer to work at MDCA. “It was a fantastic first year. The community here made us feel welcome from day 1, and we loved it.” Prior to arriving at MDCA, he worked at Lipscomb Academy and Ezell-Harding Christian School in Nashville. His experience is in the classroom and on the basketball court at both schools. Hillin has his Undergraduate and Graduate Degrees from Lipscomb University in Bible and Conflict Management.

About his new position, Hillin states, “I am thrilled for this new opportunity. Our teachers are remarkable at what they do. I cannot wait to help them educate, equip, and empower our students to live lives of purpose and love in the Kingdom of God. I can't believe I get to come to work and serve these teachers and students each day. It is a gift.”