Our Team

Our mission is to provide a high quality education for our students.

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Dr. Hannah Reeder, Owner

Dr. Reeder received her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Appalachian State University. She holds a doctorate in Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis from East Tennessee State University. She also has her K-12 school administration certification. Dr. Reeder’s career includes experiences as an elementary classroom teacher and assistant principal. In addition to owning and operating High Country Academy, she serves as the Director of Clinical Education at Appalachian State University in the Reich College of Education. Dr. Reeder loves sharing her passion for learning with the families at High Country Academy.


Lauren Fearrington, Director

Lauren moved to Boone from upstate South Carolina where she taught elementary school for ten years. She holds a masters degree in elementary education from Converse College, where she also earned an additional endorsement in gifted education. Lauren handles all of the day-to-day operations of the center and will be your first contact when inquiring about tutoring. Call her at (828) 263-4233 to learn how High Country Academy can help you and your family.




Lauren moved to Boone from upstate South Carolina where she taught elementary school for ten years. She holds a masters degree in elementary education from Converse College, where she also earned an additional endorsement in gifted education. Lauren loves teaching young students and providing them with the specific skill practice they need to succeed. She is very excited about working with students at High Country Academy!


Patty Swartzbaugh, Elementary

Patty moved to the High Country last September, bought an apple farm and has been enjoying life in the beautiful mountains.  She started her career as a Speech and Language Pathologist in the Tennessee public schools, then became passionate about literacy and returned to school to earn a Master's degree.  Patty worked in a private school as a reading and writing specialist working with children in small groups, and has most recently worked as program manager for the Nashville Adult Literacy Council. Patty is looking forward to helping children learn skills and strategies for an extraordinary future.


Emily driver, Middle Grades/ Upper Elementary

Emily was born and raised in the eastern part of North Carolina, but has lived in Boone since the fall of 2012. She received her Masters in Middle Grades Education from Appalachian State University. She tutors all subjects for upper elementary and middle school. In addition to her work as a tutor at High Country Academy, Emily currently teaches social studies at West Wilkes Middle School. Emily has a passion for education, and loves to see students of all ages grow and learn! 


Deci Yahya, Elementary

Deci grew up near High Point, but has lived in Boone since August 2015. She will graduate from Appalachian State University in May 2019 with a degree in special education. She is also a part of the 4+1 Master's program, and is in the process of completing a Master's in Reading Education. Deci loves working with students and helping them reach their goals, and has completed several successful field experiences in the classroom. She is excited to be a part of the High Country Academy team where she can continue to help students and pursue her passion for education. 



Debbie is a high country local with 27 years experience as a classroom teacher in public education, and has worked at Hardin Park and Cove Creek Schools. She believes middle schoolers should have a strong foundation for high school and they should dream big. Debbie has served as the Watauga County Association of Educators President and North Carolina Association of Educators District President.  Debbie holds a Masters in Education from Appalachian State University.


Brandon Lee

High School Math/Science

Brandon was born and raised in Boone, North Carolina.  He received his Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Criminology and Criminal Justice from Appalachian State University, and is currently pursuing a second Master's degree in Cyber Security from Southern New Hampshire University.  He has been involved in teaching and tutoring at both the high school and university levels for many years and enjoys sharing his love of learning with others. 


TAYLOR DALE, Elementary

Taylor received her bachelors in elementary education with a concentration in diversity studies from Appalachian State University. She is currently working towards getting her masters in reading education and a certificate in autism spectrum disorder. Taylor spent 5 weeks of her student teaching in San Jose, Costa Rica teaching English and science. She has volunteered abroad in Mexico and Nepal and has run four half marathons. 



Natasha graduated from Appalachian State University with a degree in Elementary Education and currently teaches middle school math at Valle Crucis School. She takes time out of her busy schedule to tutor because she wants to be able to reach more students and make more of a difference. She says that being a tutor gives her the opportunity to make one-on-one connections with students, which is priceless. To her, it is all about that “light bulb” moment when students make connections.




Meet Dan, our lead high school math and science tutor. Dan was originally a businessman who began his teaching career through SAT classes. SAT tutoring led to tutoring in calculus, physics, chemistry, and other subjects. Dan found that he really enjoyed explaining the subject matter to students. Dan holds a graduate degree in Law from Rutgers and has over ten years experience tutoring students. 



Sydney Setser, Elementary

Sydney received her Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education at Appalachian State University in 2018.  Currently, she is also pursuing a Masters in Special Education with a concentration in Emotional and Behavioral disorders; through her student teaching in the local school district, she has learned so much about the ins and outs of successful pedagogy.  Sydney is excited to be a part of High Country Academy, and to share her philosophy of making meaningful connections with students in order to facilitate their love of learning.