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Led by CCS President, Chad Dirkse, our senior leadership guides CCS in the development of a grace-filled community designed to foster the growth of each student from their unique point of need to the peak of their potential.

Meet Our Leadership Team

Senior Leadership

Chad Dirkse

President, 9 Years of Service

BA Education, Covenant College

MBA Educational Leadership, LeTourneau University

Chad Dirkse is serving in his tenth year as President of Chattanooga Christian School. Originally from Wisconsin, Chad graduated from Covenant College with a BA in Elementary Education, and he also holds an MBA with a specialization in school leadership from LeTourneau University. He moved from Elgin, IL to Chattanooga in 2009 with his wife, Heather, and three children - Clara (CCS Class of '14), Coleman (CCS Class of ‘16), and Kate (12th grade). The Dirkses live in the Hixson area and are members of North Shore Fellowship. Chad also serves as a Fellow at the Center for Advancement of Christian Education (CACE). More information can be found about CACE at their website cace.org.​


Bryant Black

Upper School Head, 20 Years of Service

BS History, Vanderbilt University

MEd Educational Leadership, Covenant College

Bryant Black is in his sixth year as the Upper School Head after serving CCS for fifteen years as a history teacher and department head, soccer coach, and Director of Curriculum and Instruction. In addition to having a BS in History from Vanderbilt University and an MEd in Educational Leadership from Covenant College, Bryant served four years as a Surface Warfare Officer in the US Navy where he met his wife, Ashley. He and his wife have three sons: Michael (12th grade), Porter (CCS Class of 2015 and a student at UTK), and Taylor (CCS Class of 2012 and graduate of UTK). They live in St. Elmo and are members of North Shore Fellowship. Bryant is passionate to see our students mature as disciples of Jesus Christ in terms of their intellect, their character, and their faith.


Shonda Caines

Lower School Head, 4 Years of Service

BA English, Covenant College

MEd Special Education, UTC

Tennessee Teaching Certification K-12 Special Education

Shonda Caines, Lower School Head and Director of Exceptional Education Programs, joined the CCS staff in 2014. She is married to JR Caines, a former CCS faculty member and current senior pastor at East Ridge Presbyterian Church. Shonda and JR have three children: Emma (CCS Alumna), Jack (10th grade student at East Lake Academy), and Lou (10th grade student at CCS). Shonda has extensive experience working with students with disabilities, both as a special education teacher and as mother to Jack, who was born with Down syndrome and later received a diagnosis of autism. She received her formal training at Covenant College (BA English) and UTC (MEd Special Education) and is a National Board Certified Teacher.


Carla Dean

Chief Financial Officer, 6 Years of Service

BS Accounting, Auburn University

Master of Accountancy, Auburn University

Certified Public Accountant

Carla, a Certified Public Accountant, has served as the Chief Financial Officer for CCS for the past six years. She began her career practicing public accounting with an international accounting firm and upon moving to Chattanooga, transitioned into corporate accounting. Carla received her BS and Masters of Accountancy from Auburn University. She and her husband, Clint, have two daughters: Mary Morris (7th grade) and Maddy (5th grade). The Deans are members of Lookout Mountain Presbyterian Church.


Stephen Ibach

Chief Technology Officer, 25 Years of Service

BS Secondary Education (Math), UTC

Stephen Ibach earned his BS in Math Education from UTC, and began his CCS career as a high school math teacher in 1993. After several years in that position, he began meeting the growing needs in the areas of technology and network administration and now serves as the Chief Technology Officer. He and his wife, Willa, have five children: Ethan (CCS Class of 2013), Samuel (CCS Class of 2015), Sydney (CCS Class of 2017), Joseph (12th grade at Ridgeland), and Noah (11th grade at CCS). The Ibachs live in Flintstone and are members of Chattanooga Valley Presbyterian Church.


John Stroud

Vice President of Advancement, 1 Year of Service

BA Communication, Samford University

MS Advertising, Northwestern University

John spent the last 30+ years in various sales and marketing roles with packaged goods agencies and companies, with the most recent 11 years spent at Chattem where he was Chief Commercial Officer. He is married to Merrile and has four daughters, all CCS graduates (Anna '10, Sally '12, Tay Tay '16, and Beebe '18). John and Merrile are members at Lookout Mountain Presbyterian Church where they teach three-year-old Sunday School.  


Daniel Russell

Athletic Director, 6 Years of Service

BA Early Childhood Education with ESOL Certification, Berry College

MS Athletic Administration, Ohio University

Tennessee Teacher Certification, PreK-6

Daniel Russell, Athletic Director, joined our staff in 2012 after teaching 1st grade at Clifton Hills Elementary. Originally from New Jersey, Daniel earned his BA in Early Childhood Education from Berry College with an ESOL certification, and an MS in Athletic Administration from Ohio University. Daniel was an assistant cross country coach for two years at Covenant College and currently serves as Head Cross Country Coach and Head Track & Field Coach at CCS. In 2017 his role changed from 6th grade math teacher to Assistant Athletic Director, and in 2018 he assumed the role of Athletic Director. Daniel and his wife, Meredith, have a son named Levi who will soon begin school in the PreK program at CCS. The Russells live in the Southside of Chattanooga and are members at North Shore Fellowship.