Rob Cain has served as our Athletic Director and Campus Pastor since June 1, 2010. Prior to that, he was the chaplain for our football team and a frequent Chapel speaker. Rob is the pastor of The Lighthouse, a church that meets here in the ACA gym each Sunday at 10:30 AM. He is deeply involved in short-term international student missions, and is the founder and director of No Compromise Ministries. Rob served as a full-time employee of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, specifically working to set up 4-day Festivals for Franklin Graham. He and his wife, Taffy, have been married for 26 years and have two kids, Hudson and Maddie. Hudson plays college football for Stillman, and Maddie plays basketball, volleyball, and softball at ACA.
Dan Carden was born to Patsy and A.E. Carden in Fort Monmouth, New Jersey where Dr. Carden was stationed at the time. Dan attended Tuscaloosa City Schools until moving to Connecticut where his father attended graduate school. After graduation in 1971 from Coventry High School, he attended The King’s College in NYC for one year before transferring to the University of Alabama where he received a B.S. in Biology with a minor in English in 1976. In 1975 he married Janie Christensen, a native of New Mexico.
Dan began his teaching career in 1976 at West End Christian School, believing God had called him into Christian Education. In 1979 he received his M.A. degree in Administration from the University of Alabama. After the birth of their first son, Chris, the couple moved to the Bahamas to teach in a school for Bahamian children under Gospel Missionary Union. After the birth of their second son, Dan and Janie moved to Lustre, Montana, a farming community in northeastern Montana, where he served as the headmaster for three years.
Desiring to be closer to family, the Cardens moved back to Tuscaloosa after the birth of their third son, Nate. Dan worked as the business manager and salesman for a vinyl siding company owned by his brother-in-law for two years. After the birth of their daughter, Meagan, Dan accepted the position as headmaster at West End Christian, where he began his teaching career. He served in this capacity from 1986 until 1989 when he moved to American Christian Academy where he remains today. Dan completed his doctorate from the University of Alabama in 2005 in Educational Leadership.
Dan is the oldest of six children. His father. Dr. A.E. Carden, is a noted metallurgist who was a professor at the University of Alabama for over 30 years. Four of his siblings are also educators.
Dan was invited to be a member of Leadership Tuscaloosa, a group formed to reach out to the community. He was selected and participated in Chuck Colson’s Centurion program where a select group of men around the country were mentored and challenged through reading and meetings with Chuck Colson. For three years Dan was a member of CoMission, a coalition sent to Russia and The Ukraine to help educators implement a curriculum that is based on Biblical morals and values. He is a passionate reader and loves art and art museums. He has been on the ACSI (Association of Christian Schools International) Southeast Regional Council. He has served as a consultant for Advanced Ed (formerly SACS) on school accreditation visits across Alabama. Dan’s newest ‘hobby’ is farming – and he can be seen on weekends in overalls feeding goats, cows and turkeys.
Dan Carden was born in Fort Monmouth, New Jersey. He attended the Tuscaloosa City Schools before moving to Connecticut where his father could attend graduate school. He graduated in 1971 from Coventry (Conn.) High School. He attended a Christian college in New York (The King's College) for one year and then transfered to the University of Alabama where he received a B.S. in Biology with a minor in English in 1976. He married Janie Christensen in August of 1975. The two met when they were 14 and 13 years old at a church where the Cardens attended while Dan's dad conducted research at the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory.
In 1976 he began teaching. He was offered a job in the Tuscaloosa County schools but chose to teach at a local Christian school. He started to work on his Master's degree and received that degree in 1979 from the University of Alabama. After 3 years in the science department at West End Christian School and the birth of their first son, Chris, they moved to the Bahamas to teach in a mission school for Bahamian children. Two years later their second son, Kevin, was born. They also moved to northeastern Montana that year where he became the headmaster of Lustre Christian High. He served in that capacity for three years. At the end of this term a third son, Nate, was born.
Wanting to be close to family the Cardens moved back to Tuscaloosa where Dan became the business manager and salesman for a vinyl siding company owned by his brother-in-law. After two wonderful years and the birth a daughter, Meagan, an opportunity opened as a headmaster at the school where he began his teaching career. He assumed that title in 1986. Three years later he moved to American Christian Academy where he remains today. He completed his doctorate in July of 2005.
He is the oldest of six children. His father, Dr. A.E. Carden, is a noted metallurgist who was a professor at the University of Alabama for over 30 years. His mother, Patsy, worked in the home all of his life. Four of his siblings are educators and his brother, Ben, teaches his clients the art of physical exercise. The family traveled extensively across the United States while he was growing up. He lived in places like Oak Ridge, Tenn.; Cape Cod; Iowa; Los Alamos, New Mexico.
Dr. Carden loves to travel and leads most of the field trips taken by the students at ACA. He traveled to the former Soviet Union three times to help their Department of Education implement a curriculum that is based on Biblical morals and values. He is a passionate reader and loves to videotape events involving people. He has taught numerous classes on photography. He attends the Church at Brookhills.
Mrs. Cindy Garner is our Director of Curriculum and Instruction. Though she enjoyed teaching fourth and sixth grade reading and English for several years at ACA, Mrs. Garner is excited to be working in a different role.. After retiring from the Tuscaloosa City School System in 2010 with 25+ years of teaching and administration experience, she did contract work with a couple of schools. Missing the full immersion school experience, Mrs. Garner was very happy to return to the classroom in 2014 through employment at American Christian Academy.
Married to Kirk Garner for 33 years, Mrs. Garner has been quite busy raising their four children. Paige,28, their older daughter, has a two year old daughter, Delainey. Sarah and Michael, 20, are both in college. John, 17, is a junior in high school. The Garners enjoy frequent trips to the beach, kayaking, surfing, and paddle boarding. Grandma spends a lot of time building sandcastles and pulling Delainey on a boogie board. Family time is extremely important to Mrs. Garner, so she encourages family road trips, Sunday dinner gatherings, and attending church together.
I have held the position of Admissions Director at American Christian Academy since 1994. I love my job as Admissions Director because I have the opportunity to meet new and interesting people on a regular basis. I truly believe ACA has something very special to offer families and students. We have an outstanding facility,a challenging academic curriculum which prepares students for college, an excellent athletic program, and a caring, loving, envrionment. I also love coming to work each day because the atmosphere is Christ-centered, upbeat, and the faculty and staff are fun loving and great friends. I love ACA! GO PATRIOTS!
Hello ACA family!
I am so excited to be joining American Christian Academy as your new Middle and High School Principal. Over the past few years, I have had the opportunity to experience, as a parent, the amazing culture that makes ACA what it is, and I am honored to continue building upon what God is already orchestrating here regarding Christian education.
Over the last year, I have felt the Father deeply stirring my heart about making a change from public education to Christian education. I did not know exactly what that looked like, nor what He had in store. As I stepped out on blind faith following the Holy Spirit's leading, I began to realize how Peter must have felt when he stepped out of the boat and walked on water.
A little over four years ago, our family made the decision to move three of our four children to ACA. Multiple factors influenced this decision, but the two main ones were Christ-centered education and a family atmosphere. After experiencing the love and care that each member of ACA's faculty and staff gave to our kids, I knew we had made the right decision. During this four year time, I began sensing "a need for change." I did not know exactly what that looked like nor how God planned to implement this need for change, but I was actively listening. This past spring, I felt the Father pulling me more to ACA. I hesitantly sent an email letting Dr. Carden know that I was sending my resume in total obedience to the Holy Spirit's prodding. I had no idea if there was a teaching position open in my area of certification. A few hours later, Dr. Carden emailed me back with an invitation to interview. I accepted, but I had no idea what position I would be interviewing for. I was thinking English or history; he was offering administration. After a month of various interviews and meetings, I graciously accepted Dr. Carden's and Dr. Warner's invitation to join the team at ACA. Since making this decision, I have felt right at home and at peace.
Over the last three years, I have had the opportunity to serve alongside you as a parent in the trenches of Christian education. I am eager to continue this journey with you as both a parent and administrator at ACA. I have already shared how God guided our family to ACA and how he pressed upon my heart to seek out a position as a Christian educator, but I would like to share a little bit more about myself. I am a complete product of public education. I received my Bachelor of Science degree in Collaborative Special Education K-12 in 2003 from the University of Alabama, and earned my English and reading specialist certification in 2004. I received my Master's in Instructional Leadership in 2018 and my Educational Specialist degree in Instructional Leadership in 2020 from the University of West Alabama.
I was born and raised in Mobile, Alabama. I moved to Tuscaloosa in 1997 to attend college and left only briefly to work in Birmingham before coming back home to Tuscaloosa. I began my teaching career at Rudd Middle School as an 8th grade special education teacher in 2003. I taught 8th grade for two years before transferring to St. Clair County High School in 2005. In 2006, I had the opportunity to transfer to Clay-Chalkville High School and be their reading specialist and inclusion special education teacher. In December 2010, my family and I moved back to Tuscaloosa because Joel felt the Father calling him back to school and some form of ministry. I continued my commute from Tuscaloosa to Clay-Chalkville for the remainder of the school year before accepting a position as a 9th grade English teacher at Hillcrest High School here in Tuscaloosa. In July of 2018, I was offered a position at Brookwood High School to be their At-Risk Coach and for 3 years I worked to increase student attendance and decrease the number of student failures. I served as an Assistant Principal at Brookwood High from January 2021 until June 2022. I truly believe that all students have the ability to excel; we simply have to figure out what works best for them. I am passionate about highlighting each individual student's God-given talents and helping them find ways to use these talents for the glory of the Father.
Joel and I were married in August 2001 and we have four children (affectionately called "the Crazies.") Abigail, our oldest, will be a freshman at Samford University in the fall. Silas is next and he will be a 9th grader; Adah will be in 6th grade this year; and Asher, our youngest, will be in 3rd. We have two dogs (Lacey, a yellow lab; and Hazel Anne, a miniature daschund) and a cat (Indy). I enjoy watching various sporting events and attending musical theater shows. I like to work in my yard and love playing in the dirt.
I look forward to partnering with you this year as we love, serve, and care for our students, our faculty and staff, and one another. I know that God has amazing things prepared for us here at ACA, and I am overjoyed to be a leadership partner. I am eager to see what HE has in store.
It is truly an honor to be a part of this amazing family!
In HIS Grip,
Sheree Kizziah, Ed.S.
I was born in Orlando, Florida but moved to Alabama at the age of three. I grew up in Samantha, AL where I attended Walker Elementary and graduated from Northside High School. After graduation, I attended Shelton State Community College before transferring to the University of Alabama where I received a degree in elementary education.
My husband Tim, is the pastor of New Horizon Family Worship and we have been blessed with two wonderful children. Caleb participates in Track & Field by throwing shot put, discus and javelin and football. Caitlin enjoys playing the trumpet in band and taking weekly piano lessons.
There has always been a passion in my heart for teaching children. My first experience as a teacher occured at age 15 with a group of 4 & 5 year olds at church. This opportunity confirmed my calling to the teaching field and I have pursued it whole heartedly since that day. My teaching career has included:
- two years at Tuscaloosa Christian School
- five years as a Children's Pastor
- fourteen years at ACA
This year, I will be assisting ACA in Elementary Administration. I am so excited about what God has in store for our school and am thankful to be a part of the ACA family!
Meagan Randall graduated from ACA in 2004. She received her Bachelors of Science in Consumer Affairs with a concentration in Event Planning from the University of Alabama in 2008. After working in Atlanta and Birmingham, Meagan was excited to have the opportunity to work at ACA. She started teaching Elementary computer when she started at ACA but has been the Director of Development since 2011.
Meagan and her husband, John were married in 2009. They have a beautiful daughter, Eva Rylee and are expecting a son in June 2015. They attend the Church of the Highlands.
Marla Shaw graduated from Hillcrest High School and attended the University of Alabama School of Business. She is married to David and they have two children, Kristin (20) and Will (16). They currently attend Church of the Highlands. She enjoys spending time with her family and friends. Roll Tide! and Go Patriots!
What a privilege it is to serve as the Head of School at ACA!
I was born and raised in California and am a product of Christian education from preschool through my PhD. I received my Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology and teaching credential from Christian Heritage College, my Master of Arts degree in Biblical Studies from Trinity Bible College and Theological Seminary, and I earned my PhD in Organizational Leadership from Columbia International University.
I began teaching at a Redwood Christian School in 2002 in the San Francisco Bay Area. I’ve taught PE, Bible, and Christian Ministry (missions), I’ve coached basketball, been an assistant principal, and a principal. In the summer of 2022, we moved to Tuscaloosa, and I am now the Head of School at ACA. A few of my favorite things about working in a Christian School include: continuing the spiritual formation and development of students in conjunction with the home and church through Christian education, guiding students to discover the calling God has placed upon their lives, and fostering enthusiasm for learning, for challenges, and for growth.
My wife Amber and I were married in 2005 and have three children. We have twin boys, Elijah and Isaac, and a daughter, Abrielle. We also have a very lovable dog named Marvel! Being from California, I am a Padres, Lakers, 49ers, and USC fan. As we now live in Tuscaloosa, I am also open to the idea of adding UA to this list. My two favorite pastimes are fishing and hunting. If you enjoy fishing and hunting and are willing to let me tag along, please let me know!
What an exciting adventure it has been to become a new member of the ACA family!
I grew up in a small town in Northeast Alabama and then moved to Tuscaloosa to attend the University and Tuscaloosa has been my home ever since! I graduated from the University with a Bachelor's degree in Child and Adolescent Development and have been working with children of all ages for the past 17 years.
The past 8 years have been spent in “Pre-School World”. I served both as teacher and administration for 5 years at Calvary's Little Friends School, then worked with the Alabama Quality STARS Enhancement Program through the University of Alabama for 3 years providing technical assistance for preschools around the state that wished to improve and provide quality care to the children they served.
My hobbies include: attending my children's sporting events, event planning, and all things Disney!
My husband Adam and I have twins, Cade and Adeline, and an adorable pup Archie. Our family is also in the process to bring another child home through adoption and cannot wait to see what the Lord has in store for us through this.
“Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever!” Ephesians 3:20-21
Justa graduated from ACA in 1998, and graduated from The University of Alabama in 2004 with a degree in Criminal Justice and Forensics Science. She has been employed at ACA since 2009 and has served in many roles. She has been the Daycare Director since 2009 and currently works in the front office.
Justa attends The University Church of Christ. She has 3 children, Jentry, Jackson, and Jodi Caroline and has been married to her husband, Johnny, since 1998.