Elite Learning Staff and Instructors

Dawn Stafford is the Executive Director for SVETN. Prior to taking this role in January 2012, she served as the Elite Learning Program Administrator for over four years. Mrs. Stafford has also been the Business Law instructor for Elite Learning for the past ten years. She also teaches Personal Finance and Introduction to Business courses for Elite Learning. She taught Business and Information Technology courses for twelve years at Northwood High School before joining SVETN full-time in 2007. Mrs. Stafford received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration with 6-12 Certification from Virginia Intermont College. In 2004 she graduated from Virginia Tech with a Master of Arts degree in Career and Technical Education. She also received the distinguished honor of National Board Certified Teacher in 2008. As well as these academic accomplishments, Mrs. Stafford received her Educational Specialist degree from Virginia Tech in 2009 with a major in Education Leadership and Policy Studies. Mrs. Stafford continued her doctoral studies in Career and Technical Education at Virginia Tech, where she received ABD status. In 2014, she completed the Applying Quality Matters Rubric training. She also received certification as a Quality Matters Peer Reviewer. This is a program designed to evaluate and improve the quality of online courses. Courses: Business Law, Economics & Personal Finance, and Principles of Business & Marketing.


Adam Tolbert serves as the Educational Technologist for SVETN on a part-time basis. Additionally, he has taught Personal Finance (FIN-107) for Elite Learning since Fall 2009. Adam works full-time at the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center in Abingdon. Adam is a 2008 graduate of Liberty University with a Master of Science in Management degree, a 2006 graduate of the University of Virginia’s College at Wise with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Government, and a 2003 graduate of Northwood High School. He has been a student in many online and dual enrollment courses throughout his educational career. Adam was recently honored as a recipient of a “40 Under Forty” award from The Business Journal of Tri-Cities Tennessee/Virginia in 2017.


Donna Reynolds is the administrative assistant for SVETN. Donna is a graduate of Virginia Highlands Community College with an Associate’s degree in Accounting. Donna has worked in the accounting industry for twenty-nine years and oversees all financial functions of SVETN. She is responsible for maintaining the SVETN website and social media outlets. She has been employed with SVETN for the past ten years. Donna is a member of the American Society of Administrative Professionals, The Association of Executive and Administrative Professionals, and The American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers.


Joey Shipley is an instructor of Honors English 9, Honors English 10, English 11, SAT/ACT Prep, and 20th Century History at Twin Springs High School where he also coaches the scholastic bowl. He is a graduate of East Tennessee State University, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in English as well as a Master of Arts degree in History. Mr. Shipley continued his doctoral studies in history at the University of Kentucky, where he received ABD status. Mr. Shipley is a designer and online facilitator and instruction of professional development workshops for educators, and he teaches various evening courses at the National College of Business & Technology in Bristol. Course: SAT ACT Prep (English).


David S. Burns has a B.S. in Theatre and an M.S. in English from Radford University, where he also worked for two years under a graduate teaching fellowship. Since 2004, he has been an instructor at Northwood High School in Saltville, Virginia.  During that time, he has taught English 9-12, Dual Credit English, Theatre, and Advanced Composition. In addition to teaching, Mr. Burns coaches forensics and directs the school’s theatre program.  He also teaches Play Analysis for the Virginia Governor’s School program at Virginia Highlands Community College.  In 2014, Mr. Burns completed the Applying Quality Matters Rubric training. He also received certification as a Quality Matters Peer Reviewer. This is a program designed to evaluate and improve the quality of online courses. Courses: Public Speaking and Creative Writing.


Lorna King is a graduate of Radford University where she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Middle School Education. Even though she found teaching middle school rewarding, Lorna continued her education at Morehead State University where she obtained a Master of Arts degree in English. She currently teaches dual enrollment English, drama, journalism, and film for Wythe County Public Schools. Mrs. King enjoys theatre and can often be seen performing in productions at Wytheville Community College or as a part of the Holston River Performing Arts Company in Marion. Currently, she serves on the Virginia High School League film advisory committee, a group dedicated to inspiring young filmmakers. She has a passion for literature, writing, performing, and film and encourages her students to use those avenues for self-expression. When not teaching or performing, Ms. King is actively involved in her children’s academic and extracurricular pursuits.  Course: SAT ACT Prep (English).


Jonathan Powers is a graduate of Emory and Henry College where he earned his Bachelor of Sciences degree in Mathematics Education. After obtaining his undergraduate degree, he taught Geometry and Trigonometry for Wythe County Public School for nearly a decade before continuing his education at Radford University where he obtained a Masters of Science degree in Mathematics Education. He currently teaches dual enrollment Precalculus I/II, dual enrollment Applied Calculus I, dual enrollment Statistics I, Trigonometry and Advanced Mathematics, and Algebra 1 for Wythe County Public Schools. In his free time, Mr. Powers enjoys playing video games, reading science fiction, going to amusement parks, Dinosaurs, and helping Lorna King with many of her extracurricular duties, like film, theatre, and forensics. Courses: SAT ACT Prep (Math), Pre-Calculus, and Calculus.


Karen Diamond is a graduate of Radford University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education. She received her Master of Science degrees in Curriculum & Instruction and Educational Leadership from Radford University.   She is licensed to teach Elementary, Middle School Mathematics, and Business Education. Ms. Diamond is currently an ITRT with Wythe County Public schools and has been in this position for the past 5 years.  Prior to becoming an ITRT, she taught Computer Science for Pre-K to 8th Grade and Technology and Mathematics to middle school students.  Course:  Computer Science Foundations.


Dr. Terry W. Mullins is a graduate of James Madison University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Studies Education. He received his Master of Science degree in History from Radford University and completed his Doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction at Virginia Tech. He has also completed Advanced Placement training for United States Government at the University of Alabama in Birmingham. Mullins also completed the Applying Quality Matters Rubric training. Quality Matters is a program designed to evaluate and improve the quality of online courses including QM Certified Course that Dr. Mullins has taught. 

Dr. Mullins taught history and government for 30 years in Bland County and Tazewell County. He also served as a Professor of Education at Concord University in Athens, West Virginia for 14 additional years. Dr. Mullins is also a founding member and former president of the Tazewell County Historical Society, a former member of the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center Board of Trustees in Abingdon, Virginia, a representative on the Virginia Council for the Social Studies, member of the Board of Directors of the Melungeon Heritage Association, and a member and vice chair of the Tazewell County Tourism Committee. He is also an elected member of the Tazewell, Virginia Town Council, where he now serves as Vice Mayor.  In addition, Mullins has published several articles and has presented programs related to education, teacher education programs, the Melungeon people, cultural diversity, Virginia history, coalfield history, and Tazewell County history to a wide variety of audiences and organizations. In addition to the history of Pisgah United Methodist Church, Two Centuries of Faith, Dr. Mullins has authored or co-authored several books including Bishop, VA-WV, a Coalfield Community and its School; Images of America: Tazewell County; Images of America: Tazewell, Virginia; Images of America, Burke’s Garden; Images of America, Jewell Ridge; Images of America, Bluefield, Virginia; Hidden Histories of Tazewell County, Virginia; Melungeons Out of the Dungeon; the Cove at Maiden Spring; Thompson Valley Traditions; Tannersville in Freestone Valley; Cedar Bluff, Historic Mill Town on the Clinch; Big Creek High School, 1931-2010; Ramey, a Southwest Virginia Success Story; and most recently Taz the Turtle’s Tazewell Train Station Adventures. Courses: World History and Virginia and United States History II.