A Place for Hope and Healing
The Academy at Double H Ranch is located within the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in rural Pickens County, near Jasper, Georgia. The Academy was co-founded in 2012 by Rebecca Hampton (CEO) and the North Central Area Mission Center a subsidiary of the Georgia Baptist Mission Board. In 2019, the Academy became a standalone non-profit organization, and now serves qualifying children in the community whose families are often below the poverty level.
The Academy starts each day with devotion, the Pledge of Allegiance and prayer. The Accelerated Christian Education (ACE) curriculum provides individualized studies for each student and an award program for advanced learning using positive reinforcement for chores well done, good grades and outstanding attitudes. The Cowboy Kids earn Cowboy Bucks as an incentive which can be used in the Academy’s General Store. In addition to the ACE course work, the Academy has extracurricular activities such as Art, Piano, Guitar, Sewing, and STEM programs, along with offering the students a variety of clubs.
The Academy provides an Equine Assisted Psychotherapy and Athletic Equestrian League (EAP-AEL) approved facilitator and implements an Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association (EAGALA) certified program of equine therapy on Fabulous Fridays. The Academy partners with Collaborations, Inc. to provide one-on-one therapy sessions for students with clinical psychologists. The Academy provides agriculture classes, Bible class, chapel, dance, and the Mighty Broncy life skills program. Daily balanced and nutritious meals are served to allow our students to perform to their highest levels.
The Mission of The Academy at Double H Ranch is to help low-income, at-risk students in Pickens County and surrounding areas prepare for life by providing a safe, loving, Christ-centered learning environment in which each student is treated with respect, and is inspired to reach his/her full academic, emotional, physical, and spiritual potential.
Meet Our Staff
Meet our staff of certified teachers, tutors, coaches and equine therapist, who provide the Academy’s classroom learning environments and Fabulous Friday, along with extracurricular activities such as art, piano, guitar, and sewing programs.
Linda comes to the Academy with over 30 years of teaching experience, most recently in Cherokee County. She has a BS from Jacksonville State University and a M. Ed. from Georgia State University.
Lead General Studies Teacher
Marlou has been teaching in Georgia schools for over 35 years and in Special Education for 10+ years. She is currently the Children’s Director at Cool Springs Baptist Church, and has published a children’s book, A Pony, A Promise, and A Prayer.
Mary Ellen Kimble
Mary Ellen is a retired teacher with over 32 years in Education, teaching Physical Education, Health, Biology and Middle School Science. She volunteers on Tuesdays at the Academy, providing science projects and labs, and works with her husband training horses and teaches barrel lessons to adventurous students.
Debbie brings with her 32 years of teaching experience and is certified to teach grades K-8 and gifted students. She graduated from UGA with a BS degree in Elementary Education, and later received her M. Ed. from Converse College, also in Elementary Education.
Steve & Johnette
Directors of Nutritious Meals
Steve is a graduate of Loyola University with his BA degree in Business, and Johnette is a graduate of Kennesaw State University with a degree in Nursing. Both now retired, they spend time coordinating and creating nutritious meals for the Cowboy Kids at the Academy. Steve also drives the bus on school field trips.
Director of Summer School
Cathy comes to the Academy with 15 years of experience in Education and is currently teaching High School in Forsyth County. Prior to her teaching career, she held various positions over a 22 year span in Corporate Banking. During the summer session at the Academy, Cathy serves as program director and teacher.
Life Skills Coach
Sam is a proud part of the Academy’s Fabulous Friday program, in which he combines spiritual training for the Academy students, along with important life skills channeled through his love of horses and riding. He is a pastor at Living Water Ministries, a corrections ministry, and is also a chaplain for Floyd County Correction Facility.
Rebecca is the founder of the Academy at Double H Ranch and serves as the EAP-AEL Equine Therapist for the Cowboy Kids and has successfully integrated the EAGALA certified program into the Fabulous Friday agenda. Rebecca’s life is focused on creating an environment for the Cowboy Kids to succeed in life.
Life Skills Coach
Benny is an integral part of the Fabulous Friday program. Before coming to the Academy, Benny was a professional bareback bronc rider for 16 years, and a counselor/rodeo coach for 13 years. He is also an ordained minister and loves preaching the Gospel.
Director of the Academy
Saundra is the glue that keeps all key areas within the Academy held together and operating efficiently. Her skills in business administration, years of managing a law firm and working for The North American Mission Board has aided her in the role of School Principal along with her passion of “missions”.
Lt. John Bordelon
Director of Information Technology
John has been instrumental in implementing new technologies at the Academy. He graduated from the Virginia Military Institute with a degree in Mechanical Engineering, and later served as a U.S. Navy pilot. He is presently employed by Delta Airlines as a transport pilot.
In addition to Kathy’s service provided to the Academy as its bookkeeper, she is the Church Secretary at Sutallee Baptist Church, where she cooks for their Wednesday night dinners. Kathy also cooks and serves lunch at the Academy on Thursdays.
Scott is a proud part of the Academy’s Fabulous Friday program. He is currently Senior Pastor at Shoal Creek Church and has a Bachelor of Music degree from University of South Florida, a Master of Music from DePaul University and a Master of Theology degree from Truett McConnell University.
Col. John Harvey M.D.
Field Trip Coordinator
John wears many hats at the Academy, but his favorite one is planning field trips for the Cowboy Kids. He has been a general surgeon for over 30 years and is currently a Professor and Program Director for Northside Gwinnett Hospital Transitional Year and is responsible for training young doctors.
Bob is the grant writer for the Academy and assists Saundra in handling business matters. He earned a BS degree from Clemson University in Engineering Analysis and an MBA from the University of Georgia. He recently retired from Rosemount, where he spent 30 years as a Sales Engineer.
Meet Our Board Members
The board members of the Academy are active, collaborating board members. All board members help raise money for the school through the pursuit of individuals, church donations, foundation grants, and utilize their diverse talents to help with the school’s needs. Many of the board members prepare meals for the Cowboy Kids, teach summer school, assist in coordination of school events, needs and projects, along with setting Christian theology guidelines for the Academy.
CEO & Board Member
As CEO, Rebecca oversees the overall operation of The Academy at Double H Ranch. After purchasing the property in 2008 in her own quest for hope and healing, she sensed that God was leading her to turn the Ranch into a safe place for others also. Since then, dozens of at-risk kids have benefitted from her obedience to God’s call.
Chair of the Board
Saundra wears many (cowboy) hats around the Academy. In addition to serving as School Principal, she stays actively engaged in fundraising and promotion events. Her high call in life is to be a servant of God, and is willing to carry a heavy load for the Academy so that at-risk kids can have hope and healing.
Vice-Chair of the Board
Bob comes to the Academy from a technical sales background and can assist with business matters that require attention to details. Most of his time is dedicated to researching and applying for grant money to fund school operations. He is excited to think about what God may have in mind for the Academy.
Rev. Bob Edmundson
CFO & Board Member
Reverend Billy has been on the Board since 2012 and has been the pastor of Sutallee Baptist Church for over 30 years. He has a heart for children’s ministry, having one of the largest ministries in North Georgia. Reverend Billy quietly raises money for the Academy with little fanfare, but his efforts make a huge difference.
Secretary & Clerk of the Board
As Secretary on the Board, Mariea documents and distributes minutes taken at our Board meetings. She is also actively engaged in organizing church events for the Academy and is the school’s planner for graduation ceremonies. Also, Mariea’s cooking skills are enjoyed often by the Cowboy Kids!
Dr. Tony Bagdonis
Tony has been on the board since 2019. In this short period of time, he has participated in and is actively engaged in fundraising. Tony holds a MS and PHD from Florida State University. His academic and professional skills are useful to the Academy as it develops a structure to allow student body enrollment to increase in the coming years.
As a realtor at Big Canoe for many years, Walt has leveraged his relationships with key people and his BS degree in Marketing from the University of Tennessee to assist in meeting specific needs at the Academy. Prior to his real estate career, he was a missionary in Iraq for 4 years. More recently, Walt has published a children’s book entitled A Heavenly Dream.
Advisory Board Member
After serving over 35 years in the commercial insurance industry in key underwriting management positions with several well-known national companies, Judy brings a wealth of experience with her to the Academy as an Advisory Board Member. Her proven ability to organize data and people will make Judy a valuable resource for the Academy.