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Pinnacle Administration

Dr. Shelly L. Shope


Dr. Shope earned her Doctorate in Educational Leadership and MSA in School Administration from Gardner-Webb University. She received her B.S. in Elementary Education from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Working in education for 25 years has allowed Dr. Shope to experience many roles. She has worked as a teacher at the elementary level as well as an adjunct professor for Queens University in their Master's program for School Administrators. Dr. Shope was also an adjunct professor teaching Educational Technology at the college level. She has served in an administrative capacity for over 20 years. Dr. Shope has served as an assistant principal, principal, Director of Title I, and Executive Director of K-8 Instruction. Dr. Shope has coached teachers and principals throughout her administrative career. Each of these former experiences has allowed her to continue the development of her passion for working with students, teachers and administrators. It is her goal to help support teachers, staff, students, and parents as we continue to build the tradition of excellence that is Pinnacle Classical Academy.

Dr. Shope lives in Shelby, NC. She is married to Chris Shope and has 2 children Xan, and Hailey, and their English Bulldog Charli.

Mrs. Wendy Clary

Dean of Elementary Education

Mrs. Clary has a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education, with a Pre-K add-on certification from Gardner-Webb University. She also had a certification in Academically and Intellectually Giftedness, kindergarten through 12th grade. She has worked in education since 1992 in the following grades and areas: Pre-K, 5th grade, 3rd grade as a classroom teacher, EC itinerant teacher, and AIG teacher. She, along with a diverse group of educators, wrote a grant for a Family Resource Center that served the needs of K-5 families at Township Three Elementary School. Mrs. Clary also served as the director for the NIKE Grant that helped fund this project. She was awarded the 1991-92 Student Teaching Award from Gardner-Webb, and was chosen as Township Three’s Teacher of the Year in 1996. She proceeded to be named the Cleveland County Teacher of the Year for 1997-98. She was nominated and voted on by her peers at Pinnacle Classical Academy Charter School in 2014 to receive the first award given by the school for Distinguished Teacher of the Year. She has also been recognized by Alpha Delta Kappa as a recipient of the 2010 State Excellence in Education Award and by WBTV’s C.J. Underwood’s Thanks to Teachers.

Mrs. Clary’s responsibilities include: K-2 curriculum support, professional learning communities, professional development, instructional matters, teacher evaluations, and public and community relations. She has helped with the development and initiation of Pinnacle’s initial charter and has served in different roles since the school has received its charter in 2013.

Mrs. Laura Beth Richardson

Dean of Intermediate Education

Laura Beth Richardson began her teaching career in 2011 after graduating from University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education. Certified to teach kindergarten through 6th grade, she started her teaching career as a 1st and 2nd grade teacher at a Montessori school in High Point, NC. In 2016, she moved back to her hometown of Shelby, NC and continued her teaching journey at Pinnacle Classical Academy. At Pinnacle, she taught 3rd grade through 2020, during which time she was awarded Teacher of the Year. Beyond the classroom, Mrs. Richardson served as the Student Success Coordinator and Associate Dean at the 4-12 campus through the spring of 2023. She is thrilled to continue her career at Pinnacle as the Dean of Intermediate Education and is committed to working with teachers and families to ensure all Pinnacle students dare to soar! 

Mrs. Richardson’s responsibilities include: 4-8 curriculum and instruction, 4-8 daily management, evaluation and supervision, human resources, teacher licensure, professional development, and beginning teacher support. Mrs. Richardson is also Pinnacle’s McKinney Vento liaison. 

Laura Beth is married to Ryan Richardson and together they have two sons, Baer and Thorin. Laura Beth loves camping with her family, cooking, reading, and vacationing on Ocracoke Island.

Mrs. Angela Brooks

Dean of Secondary Education

Associate Dean Angela Brooks began her teaching career in 2004 after graduating as a North Carolina Teaching Fellow from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She began her teaching career as a high school social studies teacher at North Gaston High School in Dallas, NC. She continued her teaching journey with the opening of Pinnacle Classical Academy in 2013 in Shelby, NC. At Pinnacle, she taught a variety of grade levels and subjects. She earned her Master of Arts in Executive Leadership Studies in 2017 from Gardner Webb University.

Mrs. Brooks’ responsibilities include: 9-12 curriculum, 9-12 daily management development, evaluation and supervision, human resources, community relations.

She is married to Derrick Brooks and together they have two wonderful children, Amy and Will. Angela loves being with her family, traveling and reading.

Mr. Jeff Ziegler

Dean of Academics

Jeff Ziegler came to Pinnacle Classical Academy in 2019 after teaching at Thomas Jefferson Classical Academy, a charter school in Rutherford County, from 2003 to 2019, serving concurrently as the school's academic dean from 2006 until 2018. Prior to becoming a high school teacher, he worked as a development officer at two colleges and as an editor. He received his bachelor's degree in classics from Princeton University and his master's degree in Austria.

Mr. Ziegler's responsibilities include teaching (Latin II, Logic/Rhetoric, and Great Books), assisting with the curriculum and with teacher recruitment, assisting with the advising of students as they prepare to apply to college, and organizing presentations by college admissions officers.

Ms. Kendra McGinnis

Associate Dean of Elementary Education

Kendra McGinnis graduated from Appalachian State University with a BS in Elementary Education, in 2002. She began her career as a first-grade teacher in Lincoln County. While there, Kendra earned a Master's Degree in Reading Education from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. In 2012 she transferred to Gaston County as an Instructional Facilitator. In this position, Ms. McGinnis was responsible for supporting and coaching classroom teachers. Her focus was to work with teachers to improve instructional techniques. She stayed with Gaston County for seven years before accepting the position of Associate Dean at Pinnacle Classical Academy. Kendra has a passion for teaching, building relationships, and growing young learners.