South Bend Junior Academy

Happy & Healthy Students Training for Harvard & Heaven
Our Staff
Thomas Huntress (Head Teacher/Grades 5-8)

Although Thomas Huntress has taught classes for almost every grade level from elementary through secondary, his passion is working with middle school students. He began his professional teaching career in Birmingham, Alabama, but has also worked in Union Springs, NY, Portland, TN, and locally in LaPorte. All total, that has stretched across a span of nearly 25 years.  

He earned his B.A. in Education at Southern Adventist Education, with an emphasis in English and History. He also hold a Masters in School Counseling from Western Kentucky University. During his career, he has received several awards in education, including the Zappara Award for Excellence in Teaching, and has been admitted to the Who’s Who in American Education several times. The most important reward he hasreceived, though, is when he sees his students succeed, and take on positive roles in the church and  community.

Although teaching is his passion, he has several hobbies which he truly enjoys. He is a numismatist (coin collector) and often use currency in his classroom. He also is a member of the Michiana Woodturners Guild and has even taught some students how to work with wood lathes. Additionally, he enjoys tapping maple trees, boiling maple sap, and making homemade maple candy.

Toni Neri (Grades K-4)

Toni Neri graduated from Andrews University with a BS in Elementary Education. She has taught lower elementary multigrade classrooms in Colorado Springs, CO and now in South Bend. She loves teaching the primary grades because there are so many “first times.”  “I get to help my students write their first sentences or read their first book. I get to show them how to count money or tell time. Or maybe it’s learning how to jump rope or play kickball that is the new experience for the day. I will never get tired of seeing the pride and confidence that the kids display when they learn a new skill.”

But the best part for Mrs. Neri is being able to share her love for Jesus with her students. She believes that He is the Master Teacher, and Toni strives to make her classroom a place where her students can experience His love every day.

When she is not teaching, Mrs. Neri loves to run and spend time with her husband, Sam.

Arlys Fortier (Assistant Teacher)