Academic Services

Meet The Team

“Supportive professionals dedicated to student progress and success.”


Karen Naylon

Assistant Dean

401 Smith Library | 336-888-6388


Sarah Bryce

Academic Planner and Advisor

415 Smith Library | 336-841-9510


Dr. Craig Curty

Director, Academic Services

400 Smith Library | 336-841-9014



April Cosner

Program Director

405 Smith Library | 336-841-9496

April Cosner serves as the Director of Learning Excellence. She earned a Bachelor of Science, as well as a Master of Arts in English, from Appalachian State University. She also earned a Bachelor of Science in Home Furnishings from High Point University. Throughout her career, she has served as a student advocate and curriculum developer at the middle school, high school and college levels. At Guilford College, she was an Associate Director for the Adult Degree Program. Later, she served as the Assistant Director for GEAR UP at Appalachian State University, a federally funded grant program that encouraged first-generation students to attend college. She has supported the students of High Point University for over five years in her previous roles as a Success Coach and a Career Advisor. As an alumna of High Point University, she is thrilled to be giving back to this extraordinary student body. Her professional memberships include the Association for Orientation, Transition and Retention, the National Academic Advising Association, the College Reading and Learning Association and the Learning Disabilities Association of America.

Cara Arena

Learning Excellence Specialist

408 Smith Library | 336-841- 9360

Cara Arena joined the Learning Excellence team in 2016, after earning her Master of Education in Student Personnel Administration in Higher Education from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.  She also holds a Bachelor of Arts in Professional Writing from the State University of New York College at Cortland.  With over seven years of higher education experience, prior to High Point University, Cara worked in residence life, student activities, career services, and with faculty at SUNY Sullivan, Salem College, and UNCG.  In college, Cara served as President of the Cortland Writers Association and Secretary of SUNY Cortland’s chapter of the Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity, and she met her husband when they were both working as Resident Assistants at SUNY Cortland.  In her free time, Cara enjoys running, hiking, baking, writing, and spending time with her husband, daughter and rescue dog.

Leigh Barnwell

Learning Excellence Specialist

413 Smith Library | 336-841-9834

Leigh Barnwell is a native of Greensboro, North Carolina.  She received her Bachelors of Science Degree in Biology from North Carolina Central University and a Master’s in Education from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.  Leigh also holds a Post Master’s Certification in Educational Leadership and School Administration from UNCG and serves as the science instructor for the TRIO Upward Bound Program at North Carolina A&T State University.  Prior to coming to High Point University, Leigh was a middle grades science teacher for nine years.  During her time in the school system, she founded the Kiser Kings Mentoring Program for young minority males, which focuses on cultivating the diverse skills, talents, and leadership abilites within young men to ensure their success in school, the community, and in life.  The program is still in existence and is ran in conjunction with the NC A&T State University organization, Kingdom of Youth.  Leigh is an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and an Independent Beauty Consultant with Mary Kay.  In her free time, Leigh enjoys traveling, attending live sporting and music events, volunteering, and spending time with family and friends.

Tiffany Bryant

Learning Excellence Specialist

404 Smith Library  |  336-841-9327

Tiffany Bryant received her Bachelors of Science in Heath and Physical Education and Masters of Science in Human Performance from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University.  She also received a Masters of Education from Strayer University.  Tiffany is passionate about helping students to unlock their potential in order to reach their academic goals.  Prior to joining High Point University in July 2019, Tiffany most recently served as the Director of Sylvan Learning Center in High Point, North Carolina.  In addition to her experience working in higher education as an Academic Advisor and Admissions Recruiter, Tiffany has also served as a former high school Teacher and Coach.  Tiffany is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.  The role which she cherishes the most is being a proud mom to two beautiful children, Tia and Tyson.  In her spare time she enjoys watching and attending sporting events, and spending cherished quality time with her family and friends.

Tara Craver

Learning Excellence Specialist

434 Smith Library | 336-841-9267

Tara Craver has been employed at High Point University since August 2019.  Prior to coming to HPU, she worked as a Language Development Specialist at Forsyth County Day School in Lewisville, NC.  Tara earned a Bachelor of Arts in Special Education with a concentration in Learning Disabilities from UNC Wilmington.  She has also been trained at the Associate and Certified Levels in the Orton-Gillingham method of teaching language skills.  For eighteen years, Tara taught students in grades 9-12 who were diagnosed as having learning differences, including dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia and/or ADD or ADHD, in a one-on-one setting.  She provided diagnostic and prescriptive instruction to help these students develop and improve their reading, writing, and time management skills so that they were able to graduate and go on to pursue higher education.  Tara is dedicated to helping students reach their full potential.  She is a member of IDA, the International Dyslexia Association, and she enjoys keeping abreast of current research and best practices in this field.

Peyton Davis

Learning Excellence Specialist

402 Smith Library | 336-841-9056

Peyton has been working at High Point University since September 2014 in various departments including, Student Success and Student Life. She joined the Academic Affairs staff in August 2018. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Learning from Lynchburg College and her Master’s degree from the University of South Carolina in Higher Education and Student Affairs. Peyton has worked in Higher Education since 2007 in various capacities such as Fraternity and Sorority Life, Student Conduct, and Residence Life. Her passion is helping students find their passion and purpose. When she is not working, she enjoys spending time with her husband and 2-year-old son, Jack.


Jen Grider

Learning Excellence Specialist

407 Smith Library | 336-841-9446


Kristen Haller

Learning Excellence Specialist

406 Smith Library |  336-841-9328.

Kristen Haller received her Bachelor’s degree in Family and Child Sciences and her Master’s and Education Specialist degrees in Counseling from Florida State University.  Kristen has experience working with adolscents and young adults in a variety of settings such as a public high school, private K-12 school, charter school, public university, and now a private university.  Kristen is specialized in advising and couseling, specifically, career counseling and has previously taught a course in career development.  She also taught the Foundations of Academic Success course this summer here at High Point University.  On a personal  note, Kristen enjoys going to farmer’s markets, antiquing, planning her wedding, and spending time with her fiance and chocolate labradoodle.


Kim Pope

Learning Excellence Specialist

409 Smith Library | 336-841- 9593

Kim Pope received her Bachelor’s degree in Speech Pathology from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and went on to get certified in Deaf Education (K-12) at Lenoir Rhyne.  In 2001, she completed her Master’s degree in Learning Disabilities (K-12) from Elon University.  During her post graduate work at UNCG, Kim served as a research assistant to the Chair of Special Education Department and had the opportunity to publish and to teach both undergraduate and graduate classes in Special Education.  Prior to joining the High Point University family in August 2014, Kim served as a Special Education teacher in both Guilford and Alamance County schools as well as at Wesleyan Christian Academy.  She is passionate about helping student with learning differences reach their potential, discover how they learn best, and become an advocate for themselves.  Her goal at HPU is to offer the best services possible to both students and their families as they begin their academic journey at HPU!  On a personal note, Kim is the proud mom of an amazing young man who is currently a junior at HPU.  She enjoys spending time at the beach with her family and reading.

Tonilena Soranno

Learning Excellence Specialist

432 Smith Library  | 336-841-9850


Mark Strejc

Learning Excellence Specialist

411 Smith Library | 336-841- 9123

Mark Strejc earned a Bachelor of Arts in History from Maryville College in Maryville, TN where he was also a Resident Assistant.  Mark has also earned a Master’s degree in  Business Administration from Cumberland University in Lebanon, TN. Mark joined High Point University in 2012 where he served in the Office of Student Life until 2015. In 2016 he returned as a Learning Excellence Specialist and enjoys helping students develop both academically and socially. In his free time, Mark enjoys spending time with his wife and two dogs as well as friends and other family, cheering on the Carolina Panthers and Hurricanes, hiking, and exercising.



Kaitlyn Hurt

Learning Excellence Specialist

446 Smith Library |  336-841-9436

Kaitlyn Hurt is a two-time Appalachian State University alumnus.  She received her Bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies and her Master’s degree in College Student Development.  Before coming to High Point University, Kaitlyn worked as a College Success Coach in the North Carolina Community College system.  She aslo has prior experience in working with non-traditional college students and is passionate about working with student veterans.  As a Learning Excellence Specialsit, Kaitlyn enjoys working with students to find strategies that allow them to succeed in the calssroom.  In her free time, Kaitlyn enjoys traveling with her husband, reading, and trying out new recipes.



Sarah Keene

Department Administrator

336-841-9478  |

Sarah Keene joined the Office of Academic Services in February 2018.  She provides assistance in the areas of academic advising, tutoring services, and Learning Excellence.  Prior to joining the High Point University team, Sarah has over eleven years’ expierence in administrative roles, including banking, operations management, information technology and as an excutive administrative assistant.  She enjoys the diversity of working in the higher education environment, and lending support to all areas of HPU.  In her free time, Sarah enjoys spending time with her kids, working out and reading.