The Hilliard Institute

The Hilliard Institute is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation offering sensory education programing, experiential learning, and academic research and publishing while also supporting philanthropic initiatives through fundraising and educational training and activities—all under the umbrella of the concept of Educational Wellness

The Hilliard Institute. 4440 Savage Pointe Drive. Franklin, TN 37064

Email Dr. K. Mark Hilliard at

or Professor Jessa R. Sexton at

Alex Beene is an author, journalist, and educator from Tennessee. A constant traveler and advocate for global human rights, he’s been to over 20 countries and is certified in English as a Second Language instruction from the University of California, Los Angeles. He has been named one of the top Forty under 40 leaders in West Tennessee by the Jackson Sun and is a constant contributor to charitable projects in the region that promote community development and the arts. His work has been featured in various publications throughout the Southeastern United States, where he received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees Journalism from the University of Mississippi.

Image consultant and author Lori Bumgarner assists professionals in developing an image and personal brand to advance their careers.  As the owner of paNASH (“paNASH” is a play on the words “panache” and “Nashville” where Lori works and resides in case you didn’t catch that!), Lori has worked with a variety of clients including GRAMMY award-winners, music industry executives, professional athletes and entertainers, entrepreneurs, and more.

Lori has been featured in The Wall Street Journal's online blog, WSMV-TV's Better Nashville, and WVOL radio where Oprah Winfrey began her broadcasting career, and she has written for various magazines and newspapers on topics such as networking and dressing for success. 

Lori possesses a combined fifteen years experience in career coaching, image consulting, and media coaching. She holds a master's degree from the University of South Carolina and a bachelor's degree from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Hilliard Press is proud to be the publisher for the second edition of her Amazon #1 bestselling book, Advance Your Image: Putting Your Best Foot Forward Never Goes Out of Style.

James Byers is a graduate of David Lipscomb College, magna cum laude, and teaches an Asian Bible class at Harpeth Hills Church of Christ where he serves as a deacon. He has been a minister in congregations in Tennessee, Georgia, and Florida. He had a career with the State of Tennessee as a teacher in Williamson County and with the Department of Human Services. He is married to the former Marie Potter, and they have one son, Tracy Byers, who is married to the former Evie Wade. James and Marie are also proud grandparents of three grandchildren. 

Hilliard Press is the publisher of all four of Byers's books: The Apostle John: A Blessed Life; Hope of Heaven: Expectations and Descriptions; Angels of Great Joy: God's Messengers of the Nativity; and James, the Brother of Jesus. 


Charles E. Hilliard is in the fourth grade at Columbia Academy in Columbia, Tennessee. He lives in Columbia with his parents and two younger brothers. Charles is ten years old. This is Charles’s first published book, but he says there will definitely be more books to follow. When not writing, Charles enjoys reading, learning all he can about space and the solar system, and playing with his brothers.

Jack Hilliard was a native of West Tennessee. He received his Bachelor’s degree from Freed-Hardeman University in Henderson, Tennessee, and his Master’s degree in Counseling and Guidance from the University of Memphis in Memphis, Tennessee. He spent his entire life as a preacher for Churches of Christ: preaching, teaching, and studying all over the world. He traveled to eleven countries and drove, literally, from coast to coast within the United States. One trip to the Bible Lands gave Jack the opportunity to share a series of Bible Land Lectures on his experience.

Mr. Hilliard lived most of his life in church service in the southern parts of the United States including Kentucky, Missouri, and Tennessee. Much of this life vocation took place in mission fields including Bermuda and the Appalachian Mountains. For four decades, he lived with his wife of sixty-one years, Lola Carter Hilliard, in Henderson, Tennessee, where they both retired from Freed-Hardeman University. In addition to preaching and university administration, Jack taught on the radio for fourteen years, wrote regular newspaper articles for over seventeen years, and made several appearances on live television. He counseled on marriage, finance, spirituality, and a variety of behavior health issues including mental, emotional, and physical health. 

While preaching, sometimes part-time and other times full-time, Jack also worked in a variety of other professions including sales and public relations—for an insurance company and two colleges. He also owned two businesses. In his early career Jack served as president and vice president of multiple civic clubs, was the president of three PTA organizations, was a member of the board of trustees for three children’s homes, and served as the chairman of the Jellico, Tennessee, Area Health Council. Jack worked for eighteen years with Freed-Hardeman University: in admissions, as Director of Placement, and as Director of Church Relations. His wife, Lola, worked many of those years by his side. The couple retired from full-time employment in 1994. After retirement, Hilliard was been busy with mission work, teaching, traveling, and writing. He has nine books. 

Jack Hilliard passed away in 2014, and this press is named in memory of Jack and Lola. 

Dr. Mark Hilliard received his bachelor’s degree from Freed-Hardeman University in Community Health; his M.S. from Middle Tennessee State University in Community, School, and Public Health and Wellness Education; and his Doctor of Arts Degree from Middle Tennessee State University with major study in Human Performance, Behavioral Science, and Physical Education. He completed his dissertation and has conducted extensive research into the unique learning styles of Native Americans, specifically the Eastern Band of the Cherokee, and he oversees a yearly cultural study course on the Cherokee Reservation, conducts wellness education workshops on the Reservation, and is a minister for a Cherokee Missions Church on the Reservation in Cherokee, North Carolina.

Dr. Hilliard recently retired from O’More College of Design where he served for fourteen years as the President and CEO. Previous to that appointment, he served as the Provost, Executive Vice President, Academic Dean, and as a Full-Professor of Behavioral Science. He also taught adjunct courses at Middle Tennessee State University and Columbia State Community College, served as the medical director of the Tennessee Division of the American Cancer Society, and was a wildlife biologist with the U.S. Department of the Interior, Young Adult Conservation Corp. He is a Visiting Fellow and member of the Summer Research Institute at Harris Manchester College, Oxford University, and a former member of The Oxford Roundtable. 

Professor Hilliard has three published works: Catcher of Dreams; Spirit-Ritual: Beyond the Sacred Veil; Proverbs through the Generations; and Educational Wellness. He is currently working on Sacred Spaces--Sacred Places and a co-written text on global competency. 

Coming from a long line of educators, Jessa R. Sexton thrives on sharing knowledge—and (more importantly) her love of learning. Through the art of the written and spoken word, she has found a means to do so; these are skills she delights in toning, tuning, and tinkering. Researching the masters, trying and succeeding (or failing), distributing her discoveries: all is a process that brings her joy and develops her as a writer, speaker, educator, communicator-in-general, mother, wife, friend, co-worker, and Christian.

She was first published in her elementary school’s literary magazine for a rather repetitive poem she wrote about lightning in the 4th grade. The writing bug has invaded her immune system ever since. Once through O’More Publishing and now printed with Hilliard Press, her children’s books, textbooks, devotionals, and educational guides reflect her love of research, writing, and ever-learning. 

Professor Sexton taught and tutored for nine years on writing, literature, education, research, and speech to ninth grade through college level including positions as graduate assistant in the Harding University Writing Lab, teacher at Searcy High School and with Upward Bound (the latter being a government-funded educational resource for low-income or possible first-generation college students), and Associate Professor at O’More College of Design.

In her role as an educator, as Executive Editor of O’More Publishing for seven years, and in her current position as owner and Executive Editor of Hilliard Press, Sexton brings students and authors to a better understanding of writing and encourages not her own voice to come through, but the best version of that writer’s voice.

Jessa is a professional writer. She and Jay, her husband of fifteen years, have two sons and one daughter. Together, the family of five enjoys visiting the park, going on a walk, reading a good book, and watching cartoons.

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J. Allen Smith’s experience with troubled teens in public education, his work with rescued mules on the family farm, and his faithfulness to our awesome God has led him to share the road of recovery for Tiger the Mule. He has a story to share that not only speaks to how to treat these hybrid equine, but lessons we all can use to help young people who face difficulties in life.

Dr. David Woodfine is a man of tremendous experiences and emotion—and, in his own words, he has loved each encounter. 

In his early career, David trained and served as a chef and catering manager. He also served his country, spending eleven years with the Territorial Army (Britain’s Reserve Land Forces) as a regular reserve. He then became a teacher for the Business and Technology Education Council (B.T.E.C.) for the Oxford City and Guilds and for the Wine and Spirit Education Trust, training chefs for famous restaurants around the globe.

To widen his experience, David left his home in England for a while and was employed as a butler at various places throughout Europe. In this role he served highly respected dignitaries and was fortunate to have tea with kings and queens. On returning to England, David became the butler to Sir Anthony and Lady Bamford. David would later become the butler to His Grace The Duke of Marlborough at Blenheim Palace, which most of us know as the birthplace of Winston Churchill. In his role as butler, David often looked after royalty including His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales (Prince Charles) and Her Royal Highness The Princess of Wales (Princess Diana), as well as multiple European Heads of State. Her Royal Highness Princess Margaret was always a favourite guest of David’s at Blenheim, as was the actress Joan Collins. 

More recently, David was appointed as the High Steward of Harris Manchester College, University of Oxford. He served at Harris Manchester for twelve years in a professional role as a counselor and mentor to his students, a teacher, and an overseer of multiple aspects of the University hospitality program.. David has a passion for hosting weddings and other grand events, one of the most notable being the wedding of Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Upon his retirement from Harris Manchester in 2011, David became the Master of the Oxford City Guild of Chefs. In this role, David oversees the organization of multiple Oxford University grand affairs with Oxford’s top chefs. 

His newest claim to fame a second edition of his cookbook, From Kitchen to High Table: The British-American Edition, which Hilliard Press is overwhelming grateful to publish. He is currently working on two children's books, to be released in 2015.