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Mark Merrill
President
 

Mark Merrill is the President of Briarcrest Christian School. He previously served as a board member, Vice President of Business Affairs and Interim President. Prior to joining Briarcrest, Mark was Vice President and Treasurer of Sofamor Danek Group and worked in public finance and public accounting. He is a Certified Public Accountant and received his Bachelor's degree from Christian Brothers University and his MBA from the University of Memphis. Mark and his wife, Ripple, are native Memphians and have a daughter and two sons, all of whom graduated from Briarcrest. He is a former deacon and treasurer at First Evangelical Church.  Mark and his wife are members of St. Patrick Presbyterian Church (EPC) in Collierville.

 

Steve Simpson
Headmaster

Stephen R. “Steve” Simpson grew up in Memphis, Tennessee, and attended Union University before graduating from the University of Memphis with a Bachelor of Science degree in Secondary Education. He earned a Master's of Education in Education Administration and Supervision from the University of Memphis. He has been principal of Snowden School, Overton High School, White Station High School, and Hernando (Mississippi) High School. He has served as principal of Briarcrest Christian High School for the past eight years before being named Headmaster in 2009. Steve has been married to Dianna, his college sweetheart, for 43 years. He has three grown children and four precious grandchildren.

 

 

Josh Davis
Director of Development
   

Josh Davis is the Director of Development for Briarcrest. Mr. Davis, his wife Jan, and their two daughters are all alumni of Briarcrest. He has been an active member of the Briarcrest community for many years. Mr. Davis has announced Briarcrest football games on the radio and has served on the Briarcrest Board of Trustees. He and his family are active members of Independent Presbyterian Church.

 

Patricia Whitley
Director of Business Affairs

Patricia Whitley is the Director of Business Affairs for Briarcrest Christian School.  Patricia has been an employee for Briarcrest for the past 22 years in the accounting department.  She began her career working for East Park Baptist Church, the church that first began Briarcrest. 

She has been married to her husband, Terry, for 37 years and has two sons, Jeffery and Justin who both are alumni of Briarcrest. Her greatest joy has been to see how the Lord has allowed Briarcrest to grow and how members of a small church with faith and vision started a school that has blossomed into what Briarcrest is today. Patricia is an active member and treasurer of Kirk Baptist Church in Eads, Tennessee. 

 

 

Beth Rooks
Director of Communications
 

Beth Rooks is the Director of Communications at Briarcrest. She manages and directs all Marketing/Communications and Advertising for the school.  She is happily married to her husband, Ed and has two sons, Heath, who is a junior at BCS and Hayden, who is in fourth grade. 

She received a Bachelor's of Arts degree in Journalism and Communications from the University of Memphis before working as Director of Brand Communications and Marketing for The Promus Companies (now Hilton Hotels) for 17 years. She has won several Golden Bell and Silver Anvil Awards for Excellence in Communications and Public Relations.  She and her family are members of Collierville First Baptist Church. 

 

Eric Sullivan
High School Principal

Eric Sullivan joins Briarcrest as the High School Principal after working in education for more than 15 years. He grew up in Brownsville, Tennessee and attended the University of Memphis. He holds a Bachelor's of Science in Education and a Master's of Science in Leadership and Policy Studies. He and his wife, Amy, have two children, Drew and Taylor. They attend Faith Baptist Church in Bartlett, TN. In his free time, he enjoys fishing, running, golf , water sports and spending time with his family. His favorite bible verse is Philippians 1:6, "...being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."

 

 

Sharon Watson
Middle School Principal
 

Sharon Watson earned her Bachelors, Masters, and Educational Specialist Degrees at the University of Memphis where she proudly wore the blue and gray as a U of M Lady Tiger. She began her teaching career at Briarcrest in 1976 as a science instructor and coach. Her coaching career was marked by state volleyball championships in 1981, 1987, 1989, and 1990. Ms. Watson began her tenure as the Principal of Briarcrest Christian Middle School in 2002. She is an active member of Grace Evangelical Church where she plays percussion in the praise band.

 

 

Caron Swatley
Elementary Principal (Houston Levee Campus)

Caron Swatley is a native of Shelby County and graduated from University of Memphis with a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education, a Master of Science in Instructional Design and a Master of Science in Educational Leadership.  She began her career in Memphis City as a first grade then taught fourth grade and seventh grade in Shelby County.  She is entering her tenth year at Briarcrest where she has served the last two years as the Director of Academic and Student Services at the Middle School.  

Caron has been married to her husband, Terry, for 28 years and they have twins – Matt and Jake.  Matt is a senior nursing major at the University of Memphis and Jake is in his fourth year at the United States Military Academy at West Point.  Caron and Terry are members of Grace Evangelical Church.  God has blessed Caron with a love for children and she looks forward to serving the families at Briarcrest.  "Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it." Proverbs 22:6

 

 

   

  

Karen Fienup
East Memphis Principal

 

 

Karen Fienup attended the University of Tennessee at Martin, and graduated from the University of Memphis with a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting and a Master of Arts in Teaching. She joined the Briarcrest family as a teacher’s assistant in junior kindergarten and taught second grade for 14 years before stepping into the role as Assistant Principal at the Houston Levee campus. She is currently the Principal of our East Memphis campus. Karen and her husband Craig have been married over 35 years and have three children who are Briarcrest graduates: Chris (’98), Kevin (’01), and Katie (’03). She is the proud grandparent of four granddaughters. Craig and Karen are active members of Germantown Baptist Church.

Karen’s desire is for each child to grow in their relationship with Jesus, to develop a love for learning, and to become a successful learner in the classroom. She is blessed to be able to serve our Briarcrest East Memphis families. Her favorite Bible verse is Proverbs 22:6 – “Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” 

 

 

Nancy Blaylock
Director of Admissions

Nancy Blaylock, Director of Admissions, has been with the Briarcrest family since August of 2005. Growing up in Clarksdale, Mississippi, Nancy graduated from Lee Academy in 1979. She went on to earn her Bachelor’s degree in social work from Delta State University in 1983. Nancy has two daughters.  Her youngest daughter, Meredith graduated from Briarcrest in 2008.  Two Bible verses hold a special place in Nancy’s life – Proverbs 3:5, “Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” Also Isaiah 41:13, “For I am the Lord you God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you.’”

 

Blaylock, Nancy

 

Cathy Bronars
Director of Curriculum and Instruction

 

 

Cathy came to Briarcrest in 1999 and currently teaches math and serves as the Math Department Chair and the Director of Curriculum and Instruction. She has a B. S. in Computer Science, Secondary Math Certification from East Carolina University, and her Masters of Education from Union University. She has worked in the private sector as a Software Systems Analyst. Cathy began teaching in the Department of Defense schools as an elementary computer science teacher. More recently, Cathy taught both middle school and high school math. Cathy has taught in both the public system and private systems in three states and in the U.S. schools in Japan.

 

Scott Palmer
Director of Information Technology

Scott joined Briarcrest in 2013 as the Director of Information Technology. He manages and directs all technology for the school. He earned his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Memphis and his MBA from Union University.  Prior to joining Briarcrest, Scott worked as the Assistant Director of IT for Youth Villages.  He has been in the IT field in various roles for over 14 years.  Scott and his wife Jan have two children, Adyson and Noah, and they attend St Francis of Assisi Catholic Church.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

              

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76 S. Houston Levee Rd, Eads, TN 38028
6000 Briarcrest Avenue, Memphis, TN 38120
Phone: (901) 765-4600
info@briarcrest.com