Meet Our Team

Wafaa Elghoroury

Meet Our Founder & Director of Education

After years of struggling with finding the right education for her children and the right career for herself, Wafaa finally realized that sometimes a good fit needs to be tailored.

Wafaa sought a special education degree in order to gather the information she needed for individualizing education. Her previous medical and psychology degrees coupled with the special education and Montessori training armed her with knowledge of child development and best practices in education.

Wafaa learned about curriculum development and integration, community building, and fostering integrity, independence, leadership, respect, and peace in the school environment. She works closely with Sphinx Academy staff to fulfill the school’s mission for creating a transformative educational model for our students.

Meet Our Learning Coaches & Staff

Nancy Werner

Learning Coach

Nancy grew up in Canada where she began a career as an R.N. at the age of 19, later obtaining her BSN. She has lived in Germany and Australia. For a brief time, she was a nurse here in Lexington–before staying home to raise her children. She then earned a master’s degree in education, and she has since taught middle-school language arts and science, as well as a summer writing camp. Nancy has been with Sphinx Academy since 2016, and is currently Assistant Director.

Nancy has written short stories and a novella. She believes that everyone has stories to tell and everyone can write. Nancy firmly believes and proves that writing and creativity are skills that can be learned and developed.


Jennifer Lincoln

Learning Coach

Jennifer was raised in Anchorage, Alaska prior to moving to Florida where she attended the University of South Florida, earning her Master’s in Elementary Education with a Reading Endorsement for students in grades K-12. Prior to joining Sphinx Academy in 2017, Jennifer worked in the field of alternative education, focusing on academic differentiation as well as working with students to build organizational and study skills. In addition to her background in education, she is also trained in the Orton-Gillingham method used to help students with dyslexia.

Jennifer is the Sphinx Academy School Counselor, National Honor Society advisor and the standardized testing administrator. She is also our Physical Education and Archery instructor and strives to make fitness fun for our students. She believes there are several pathways available to the same end goal in learning; as teachers we help each student find the pathway that is the right fit for them.

Ben Saderholm

Learning Coach

Ben grew up in small-town Kentucky and earned his BA in Mathematics and Russian from Grinnell College in Iowa. After graduating, he worked in math classrooms in a paraprofessional role for several years. He earned a master’s degree in Secondary Education from the University of Kentucky, joining the staff at Sphinx Academy in 2018.

Ben finds beauty and joy in mathematics (though he recognizes this as a controversial view). In the classroom, he focuses on helping students repair their relationship with math by strengthening foundational skills, by making connections between areas of math, and by sharing his excitement for topics which don’t appear in standard math curricula.

Marialyce Gradek

Business Manager, Registrar

Originally from Alexandria, VA, Marialyce has lived in Lexington since 2000. She has degrees from Virginia Tech and the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. Marialyce worked for PricewaterhouseCoopers out of the Atlanta and Louisville offices for four years before leaving the workforce to raise her triplets who are now age 16. In 2011 Marialyce started her own business, Trio Bookkeeping Solutions, LLC and became bookkeeper for Sphinx Academy in its inaugural year. She joined us as a permanent staff member and Office Administrator in February 2017. In addition to handling all of our accounting needs, Marialyce performs the duties of an Admissions Officer, Registrar and Website Administrator.

Meet Our Board of Directors

Wafaa Elghoroury

Eric Patrick Marr

Debbie Arbaugh

Yolande Jones

Blayne Borden

Andrea Fiero

Brad Clark

Marialyce Gradek (ex officio)