Michael Phillips, Headmaster

Headmaster Phillips earned his B.S. in Interdisciplinary Studies with a concentration in Biblical Studies and Theology from Boyce College in Louisville, Kentucky. He has also studied religion and philosophy at Carson-Newman College and theology at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. In addition to his work at Smith Prep, Mr. Phillips is the Director of Veritas Academy, a non-traditional private school serving the state of Florida. He is the Executive Director of Legislative Affairs for the FCCPSA and a member of the Association of Christian Classical Schools and the Society of Classical Learning. Mr. Phillips is working on his Master’s in Liberal Studies from Rollins College.


Maria Coe, Administrator and Director of Guidance

Mrs. Coe and her husband of 25 years were part of the Smith Prep community from 2006 to 2012. She is a firm believer in Christian Classical Education and parental involvement. Mrs. Coe received a B.A. in Ministry from Palm Beach Atlantic University. She is looking forward to serving families, faculty, and staff at Smith Preparatory Academy.




Michelle Banks, Administrative Assistant

Mrs. Banks is a charter member of our lower school program. She joined our staff in 2014 coordinating our events, student life and the Smith Prep Foundation. She and her husband of 15 years homeschooled their 5 children. She received her Christian Education degree from Taccoa Falls College.






Upper School Faculty

Miguel Benitez (Middle & Upper School Language Arts and Rhetoric)

Mr. Benitez received a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Social Sciences from Florida Atlantic University and a M.A. in Christian Apologetics from Biola University. He is currently working on his PhD. in Humanities, through Faulkner University. Mr. Benitez has been a teacher for 5 years teaching both high school and college students. He loves to spend time with his wife of 8 years and their 2 small children.




William Eggleston (Upper School Latin)

eggleston_william-1-grayscaleWilliam Eggleston has been teaching in Classical schools for 15 years, mostly in Latin and the humanities. He has a BA in philosophy from the University of Wyoming and a MA in Theological Studies from Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando. He is married to the wonderful Jessica, who teaches at the International Community School in the upper school. They homeschool their two children, Edward and Chloe.



Katie Eisenberg (Pre-Algebra)

Mrs. Eisenberg received her BA in Mathematics from the University of Florida. She became a Smith Prep parent in 2012. She and her husband have 6 children and 2 businesses. She loves how her sons have learned to think and discuss different ideas in the classroom while at Smith Prep.

Monica Elwood (Chemistry and Algebra II)

Mrs. Elwood and her husband of 25 years have 2 children. She received a BS in Chemistry from theUniversity of Miami with a minor in math. She has been a science and math tutor since college and in 2015 she joined the Smith Prep community not only as a parent but also as a teacher of Pre-algebra, Algebra I and Algebra II.




Carolyn Hunter (Algebra I)

Mrs. Hunter received her B.S. in Psychology from UCF and Masters in Teaching from Pace University in New York City. She taught middle school in Brooklyn for 7 years. Mr. and Mrs. Hunter recently relocated to Central Florida where they are raising their 2 small daughters and homeschooling through Smith Prep.

Michael Phillips (Middle & Upper School Bible, History, and Logic)

Laura Roberts (Middle School Science)

Mrs. Roberts has been teaching science in the Central Florida area for over a decade. She studied Animal Science at the University of Florida and earned a BS in Cardiopulmonary Science from the University of Central Florida. She is nearing the completion of a MA in Christian Education from Whitefield Theological Seminary. While homeschooling her own children, Mrs. Roberts (the Zoo Mom) discovered a true love for teaching and developed a wildlife education business to inspire students to a love of God’s creation.



Lower School Faculty

Christine Brown
(Lower School Art)

brownchristineMrs. Brown received her Bachelors in Studio Art from Towson University, with a concentration in metalworking, jewelry, and sculpture.  She set up her first studio in Boulder Colorado twenty years ago and has been creating and teaching art ever since. She believes everyone is made in the image of an incredibly creative God and creativity should be intentionally nurtured by everyone.




Niki Hutchings
(1st and 2nd Grade)

Mrs. Hutchings is a committed educator, loving wife, and mother of three children. Before coming to Smith Prep, she worked for seven years teaching blind students enrolled in the Orange County school system. She is an enthusiastic proponent of classical Christian education and is currently homeschooling her own children.  Mrs. Hutchings enjoys good food, good conversation, and cultivating a passion for the Lord in her students.




Mary Kuckuck
(Lower School Music)

Mary Kuckuck’s love of music began as a child growing up in a musical family. She pursued music as a teen, writing songs, leading worship, and directing her school and church choirs. She earned her B.A. in Music Education from UCF where she learned to play “almost all the instruments” and studied the five major methodologies of music education, which she has implemented in public and private schools throughout Central Florida. She continues to develop her composition skills as founder of the Florida Christian Songwriters Association and as an arranger for the Bach Festival Society of Winter Park.


Alicia Mercantini (Kindergarten)

Mrs. Mercantini and her husband have three adult children and they were a Smith Prep family for over 6 years. During those years she was very involved in the classroom assisting and teaching as well. Her passion are children and helping people.




Julia Rang
 (5th and 6th Grade)

Mrs. Rang and her husband of 37 years homeschooled their 3 children. A Central Florida native received her BS in Exceptional Child Education from UCF. In years past, she taught in Orange County Public middle and high schools, and served as the first learning specialist at the Geneva School.





Melissa Phillips (3rd and 4th Grade)

Mrs. Phillips has taught first and second graders at multiple schools including Sayers Classical School in Louisville, Kentucky. She was instrumental in putting together Smith Prep’s Lower-School curriculum, training our teachers, and enjoys standing alongside our families as they walk the path of classically educating their children.