Ilhami and Anne Konur
Windswept Academy was founded in 2009 by Ilhami and Anne Konur. The Konurs fell in love with the people of the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation in 2001 when Mrs. Konur, along with her church, visited Eagle Butte, South Dakota from Virginia. For several years thereafter the Konurs visited South Dakota before ultimately deciding to move there in 2006 to begin a faith-based school on the reservation.
Phil Lawrence, a local Pastor, was instrumental in helping the Konurs begin the school. As the Pastor of a local church he was able to provide the Konurs with space for Windswept Academy to operate for the first few years. When Windswept Academy started running out of space at the local church, Pastor Phil was vital in assisting the Konurs in finding a building for the school to move in to. Windswept Academy purchased and renovated this building into a school. The school has expanded several times and now houses a multi-purpose room and classroom capacity for Kindergarten through 12th grade. Windswept dedicates itself to providing students from the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation with a Christ-centered, quality, academic education in a Biblically-directed learning environment.
These days, the Konurs travel throughout the United States speaking with churches and other organizations about the work at Windswept Academy and raising the much-needed support to operate the school while sharing stories of the wonderful Lakota students and families. In the Fall of 2018 with the start of the 2018-2019 school year, Windswept Academy celebrated their 10th year.
Ilhami and Anne Konur are residents of South Dakota. When they are not traveling, telling others about Windswept Academy, they are spending time with their 6 children, 22 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren.
Charles Shupick – Kindergarten
Mr. Shupick is the Kindergarten Teacher at Windswept Academy. He is a lifelong resident of the area, where he has farmed and ranched for over 20 years. He is the third generation on the family farm which was established in 1915. Eight years ago, Mr. Shupick was asked to substitute teach for one week at Windswept Academy. God had other plans as he continues to teach Kindergarten at the school to this day.
After Mr. Shupick graduated from the local high school, he continued his education at Dakota State College, Madison, SD for one year. His love of children is what drives him, along with a lifelong desire to teach. His grandmother was a teacher in the country schools of old for over 50 years; and a wonderful role model to Mr. Shupick. He and his wife, Wendy have two beautiful children. Their son, Matthew, is the manager at the local auto parts store. Their daughter, Macy, was recently married and is attending college to become a teacher.
His hobbies and interest all revolve around the outdoors. He enjoys hunting and fishing with his wife, daughter and son-in-law, along with snowmobiling and morning walks with his son. Mr. Shupick is actively engaged in the community and the local school district. He has been on numerous boards, both locally and statewide. He is thankful for all the support to Windswept Academy and the children; and prays that God continues to bless you and yours.
Beth McLeod – 1st Grade
Ms. McLeod attended Bob Jones University in Greeneville, SC for two years. She worked for Fayetteville Street Christian School in NC and Bethany Stepping Stones in NC for 29 years as a child care worker, Pre-K & Kindergarten teacher, and then as the Director of the Bethany Center. She continued her education at Guilford Technical Community College.
Ms. McLeod has one adult son. She is currently enrolled at Oglala Lakota College finishing her bachelor’s degree in education and learning the Lakota language.
Leota Johnson – 2nd Grade
Leota Johnson is excited to be teaching second grade at Windswept Academy. She worked for the Cheyenne Eagle Butte Elementary School for the last fifteen years and loved her job. God led her to move to Windswept and she is excited to see what God has in store.
Mrs. Johnson has a bachelor’s degree in Christian Education and Elementary Education.
Her desire is to bring strong academic and spiritual training to the children at Windswept Academy.
She lives on a ranch north of Firesteel, SD with her husband, Allen. They have five grown children. Mrs. Johnson’s favorite pastime on the ranch is riding the 4-wheeler around looking at the cows and growing calves.
Darla Shupick – 3rd Grade
Darla Shupick is an enrolled member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe. She was raised on the border of the reservation. After moving to Eagle Butte, Mrs. Shupick began her education to become a teacher. While going to school, she worked as a Head Start Teacher for 5 years and earned her Child Development Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education. Mrs. Shupick continued her education at Black Hills State University for one year and obtained her Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Oglala Lakota College.
She taught 1st grade on the Pine Ridge Reservation for 3 years. She taught 1st grade for 6 years at Cheyenne Eagle Butte School until the Lord put it upon her heart to open a State Certified Preschool. In the last year of the Preschool the Lord started to lead her in another direction to teach at Windswept. This is currently her 3rd year teaching 3rd grade at Windswept Academy.
Ashley Tessneer – 4th Grade and Spanish
Ashley Tessneer was born and raised in the small town of Shelby, N.C. She attended Cleveland Community College for 2 years, studying to become a foreign language teacher. Ms. Tessneer transferred from Cleveland Community College to Piedmont Baptist College (later known as Piedmont International University) of Winston Salem in 2010 to major in Elementary Education with a Missions Emphasis. She has a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and is ACSI certified in Elementary Education and Bible.
After taking her first missions’ trip to Oklahoma, she felt God’s call on her life to go into the mission field. In July of 2013, she moved to South Dakota and began her first-year teaching at Windswept Academy. She has taught 2nd, 3rd , and 4th grade since coming to Windswept Academy. Ms. Tessneer is presently teaching 4th grade plus high school Spanish 1 and 2.
During her free time, Ms. Tessneer enjoys spending time with youth and friends. She plays the drums/percussion for the praise band at her church. During breaks, Ms. Tessneer enjoys a visit back to North Carolina where she spends time with two adorable nieces. She also visits and shares with 4 to 5 churches about Windswept Academy’s goals and plans for the upcoming year. She loves her job and the environment where she gets to serve our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ every day.
Amy Brown – 5th Grade
Ms. Brown was born in Germany. She is from Cedarville, Ohio and has lived in Atlanta, Georgia. She graduated in 2013 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre with a minor in Psychology and Bible from Cedarville University. After college, she was involved in community theatre and church ministry, including directing a major production for the community youth program. Ms. Brown continued her education at the Dayton School of Medical Massage (2015) and received her LMT title. She worked for a doctor’s office near Dayton, Ohio for 3 years as well as a residential facility for trouble youth where she helped mentor and develop behavior & social skills for youth dealing with a variety of issues ranging from personal trauma to mental disorders.
Her diverse background and training have kindled a strong passion both to help and to heal in many areas of life. She loves to problem solve, tackle hard issues, explore new ideas, kindle the imagination, express herself in music and drama, read a good book outdoors, and have adventures with her large dog. She is overjoyed to begin her teaching career at Windswept Academy for our 2018-2019 school year. Look out 5th grade – adventure awaits!
Middle School & High School
Amy Bochman – Literature and Grammar
Ms. Bochman, who graduated from Black Hills State University with a B.S. in Elementary Education, is teaching sixth through eleventh grade Grammar and Literature classes. She has a K-8 Elementary and Middle School teaching certificate. In addition, she has endorsements in middle school language arts, mathematics, natural sciences, and social science on her teaching certificate.
Ms. Bochman has spent 17 years as a public-school teacher. After adopting two Colombian sisters, she home schooled for 3 1/2 years.
Ms. Bochman enjoys a variety of hobbies including gardening, needlework, sewing, crocheting, and playing piano and violin.
Adam Cowan – Science
Mr. Cowan came to Windswept Academy in 2012. He teaches middle and high school Science, Health and 4th grade Math. He received his B.A. in Bible and his MA degree in Theology from Bob Jones University in Greenville, S.C. Mr. Cowan and his wife, Rachel, had a desire to serve the Lord in the mission field. They served in many part time ministries from church plants and youth groups. They have 5 daughters, with 2 sets of twins.
Over the summer Mr. Cowan completed a continuing education class through Conexus in the Philosophy of Education.
Mr. Cowan enjoys reading biographies, history, and science fiction books as well as watching television shows with his wife.
Rev. Ben Farrar has been living and Pastoring in Eagle Butte for seven years. This is his first year teaching at Windswept Academy as the Theatre Arts teacher. He has served in other roles at WA such as a Pastor and Substitute Teacher.
Mr. Farrar is from Morganton, North Carolina. He received his master’s degree in Biblical Theology from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
He has been involved with more than forty dramatic productions, and revels in the opportunity to use his skills to point people to Jesus and teach young people to communicate.
Whether you’re interviewing for a job, expressing yourself to friends and family or just trying to explain your opinions, communication matters. The ability to send your thoughts into another person’s mind through the mighty power of speech can often mean the difference between success and failure. In Theatre Arts, we will not only learn the fun part of being part of a school production, we will learn to express ourselves through the spoken word. And that’s a skill that applies anywhere.
Mr. Holley has a bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education from Trinity Baptist College; and a master’s degree in Christian Education from New Hope Bible College. He is a certified teacher from the Association of Christian Schools International.
Prior to coming to Windswept Academy in 2011, Mr. Holley taught sixteen years at Gospel Light Christian School in Walkertown, NC. He is from Walnut Cove, NC. In his eight years at Windswept Academy, he has taught 3rd and 4th grades, Mathematics and Language.
Presently, Mr. Holley teaches Math to middle school and high school; as well as teaching middle and high school boy’s Bible class and middle school PE. Mr. Holley serves in the role of Headmaster for Windswept Academy.
He enjoys reading, watching Netflix, and spending time with family.
Mrs. Holley is from Indiana, Pennsylvania. She graduated from Trinity Baptist College with a B.S. in Secondary Education and Business; an M.Ed. in Christian Education from New Hope Bible College; and is certified by the Association of Christian Schools International
Mrs. Holley has 24 years of teaching experience. She has been teaching at Windswept Academy for 8 years. She has served in several roles at Windswept Academy: 1st-2nd grade, 6th-7th grade, Sign Language, Spanish, Office Manager, and presently teaches the middle school and high school girl’s Bible Class. She is the high school Yearbook Advisor and serves as the Director of School Administration.
Her love of teaching is credited to her junior high history teacher, Mr. David Ledgerwood. His zeal for Christ and enthusiasm for history inspired her to major in Education. God called her into ministry as a teenager and she is thrilled to be serving at Windswept Academy. She attempted to be a stay-at-home mom with her newborn son but was drawn back to the classroom as a volunteer. She also enjoys reading and spending time with her family. She is active as a Sunday school teacher, youth leader and pianist in her church. She is thankful that God placed her in this ministry.
Christina Osthus – Music
She was home-schooled with her three younger siblings in Eagan, Minnesota. She graduated with her Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Minnesota-Morris and obtained her certification in 7-12 grade English Language Arts. After three years of teaching she began her Master’s Degree from Black Hills State University in Reading Education, earning her degree in 2014. She has loved music since watching Sound of Music when she was five years old and has had training in piano and voice. She taught English at Cheyenne – Eagle Butte E.A.G.L.E. for eight years before taking a sabbatical to invest in youth ministry and her family. Besides teaching at Windswept Academy, she keeps busy subbing, tutoring, teaching music lessons and parenting classes, and keeping up with her roommates.
Chuck Sharp – History
Mr. Sharp graduated from Ashford University with a bachelor’s degree in History. He is a North Carolina government retiree. He began teaching Middle and High School History at Windswept Academy in 2017.
When he was nine years old he accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Savior. He met his bride in the youth program at church. They have 4 adult married children and 12 grandchildren. They reside in Pierre, SD and travel an hour and a half to teach at Windswept Academy. The love of the Lord and the students at Windswept Academy pushes him to serve in this ministry. Besides the love of his family and of history, he enjoys hunting, fishing, camping and target shooting. His wife, Ann Sharp, volunteers at Windswept Academy as the librarian.