From Our Founders
Thank you for your interest in True Light Shines Academy. Starting this school was truly a calling from God, and we’re blessed to be able to offer this educational opportunity to you and your family. As educators, we understand that learning takes place when children are actively engaged, so we are proponents of hands-on learning.
We believe that education does not begin and end in the classroom and therefore seek to build a strong relationship with parents in order to reinforce and broaden the learning experience. We view each student as a unique individual with different talents, strengths, and gifts. Through a cooperative and integrative relationship with the family, we strive to teach God’s word while creating engaging lessons that guide students to mastery of a skills and concepts.
We look forward to the opportunity of meeting you and your family and working in His name to make a positive difference in your lives.
-- David and Nancy MacLaren
True Light Shines Academy believes that every child is different and learns differently at a different pace. We’re committed to forming a partnership with student and parents in order to establish and meet individual goals while educating and discipling through a central God-focused curriculum.
True Light Shines Academy is a K-12 school that integrates God’s Word throughout our core subjects. We aim to enrich the overall academic process and experience through direct family involvement in the learning process.
Board of Directors
Tom is a co-founder of True Light Shines Ministries, Inc. and currently works as Network Administrator for the Lewis Center for Educational Research (LCER). Tom supplies technical network support for the LCER, which operates two charter schools and works in partnership with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) of NASA. He has certifications from Cisco, NEC, Juniper, HP, Trapeze, ShoreTel, and Foundry. He currently resides in Apple Valley in Southern California.
Ruth M. Deatrich
Ruth attends and is a member of Grace Assembly Church of Wake Forest, NC. She is a Registered Nurse and graduated in 1982 from Garden City Community College with an Associate’s Degree in Nursing. She practiced nursing at Scott County Hospital in Scott City, Kansas, for 18 years and has been actively working as an independent contract RN for the past 10 years. Ruth received her Childbirth Education Certificate from Educational Resources, Inc. in Shawnee Mission, Kansas. Ruth is married and has a large family with numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren living in a variety of states. She has lived in North Carolina for a number of years.
John received his Associate Degree in Electronics from Central Florida Community College; served in the U.S. Army; and worked in the private sector for several years, including one position associated with the space program. The Lord called him into ministry in 1977. He went back to school, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Palm Beach Atlantic University, and his Master of Divinity Degree from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, in Florida. He was ordained in 1980, and has served in ministry in both Florida and North Carolina. John and his wife, Marilyn, are active members of Grace Assembly, where they pastor the Maranatha Ministry group for seniors. John and Marilyn have been married over 50 years, and have three daughters and six grandchildren.
David has many years experience in both public and private school as well as providing professional teacher training. In addition, David served as Curriculum Developer and Lead Trainer of teachers for a partnership program between NASA and the Lewis Center for Educational Research, then as Director of Curriculum Development and Global Programs where he worked directly with NASA scientists overseeing the radio astronomy educational partnership. David received his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from San Diego State University, California, and completed graduate level studies in Elementary Education. He earned a Multiple Subjects Teaching Credential (K-12) from California and holds a Standard Professional Teaching License from North Carolina.
Nancy has many years experience in the field of education and administration. Over her extensive career, she has served as a public classroom teacher and charter school principal, as well as teaching and administrating at True Light Shines Academy. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Social Sciences from California State University, San Bernardino, and completed graduate level studies in elementary education and school administration. She received her Standard Teaching Credential (K-9) in California.
Jennifer is the Children's Pastor of Grace Assembly in Wake Forest, NC, and is currently working towards becoming a licensed pastor with the Assemblies of God. She has extensive experience in working with children and families as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She teaches, manages, and leads the children's ministry at Grace Assembly and has also worked with non-profits helping families through crisis management, parenting skills, and social skills development of children. Jennifer received her Master's Degree in Social Work from Virginia Commonwealth University and is a mother of two boys—ages 15 and 17.
Pastor John Thrift
Pastor John currently serves as the Lead Pastor at Grace Assembly of God. He loves serving God and the people in our community, which includes serving True Light Shines Academy and pastoring the students of TLSA. John was employed with the Town of Wake Forest for 15 years; working as a lineman, Electrical Superintendent, and then the Assistant Public Works Director for his last 8 years there. He has lived in North Carolina all of his life, and has been married to his wife, Sherry, for over 40 years. He has a son and a daughter who attend True Light Shines Academy.