Michelle Abbott attended Baylor University where she received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Music History and Literature. In 2017, she completed a Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education at Arizona State University. Michelle lived in California, Texas, and Washington before moving to Arizona in 2007. Michelle has been married to her husband Josh since 2000 and they have two daughters, Grace and Mercy, who both attend Gilbert Christian Schools. The Abbott family attends Christ Church in Gilbert.
“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:17
Mrs. Avery graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Elementary Education from Western Baptist College in Oregon with an emphasis on Bible and music. She has taught grades PreK-3rd for over 20 years most of which in Christian schools. Mrs.Avery is excited to help students relate the Word to their lives. She enjoys getting to know the students and their families. She attends Grace City and serves in leading worship. She’s been married since 1990, and her twins graduate in 2020 from Gilbert Christian High School. She loves to plan vacations and of course go on them!
Ricky graduated from Grand Canyon University in December of 2015, with a Bachelor’s degree in Christian Studies with an emphasis in Biblical Studies. Ricky is currently attending Phoenix Seminary. He will be graduating with his Master’s of Divinity in May of 2021. Ricky loves playing basketball and golf. Ricky also enjoys snowboarding, hiking, camping, and many other outdoor activities. He and his wife Erica have been married since 2017 and currently attend Desert Hills Bible Church. Ricky has been a part of the GCS teaching staff since 2020.
“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Revelation 21:4
Kelly Boggs graduated from Asbury University, a Christian college in Lexington, Kentucky, in 2001 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Middle School Education with an emphasis in English and social studies. Over the years Mrs. Boggs has taught English in grades 7-9 since 2001 in both Christian and public schools with a few years of substitute teaching in between while her daughters were young. Her family moved to Arizona from the Buckeye state in the summer of 2018, and she homeschooled her daughters in their year of transition before teaching at GCS. Kelly loves to read all kinds of books, enjoys traveling when she can get away, and can be found playing cards and board games with her family in most of her free time at home. She and her family worship at Life Link Church in Gilbert, and she and her husband currently serve in the greeters ministry. She has been married since 2003 to Chris Boggs and has two beautiful daughters, Charis and Gianna, who also attend Gilbert Christian. Mrs. Boggs began teaching at GCS in 2019.
“Put your heart and soul into every activity you do, as though you are doing it for the Lord Himself and not merely for others.” Colossians 3:23 (The Message)
Mrs. Brown is an ASU graduate and earned her BA in elementary education. After graduation, she worked at Hull Elementary School in Chandler until she left the workforce to raise her two children, Grafton and Deklan. She returned to teaching in 2015 and considers Gilbert Christian the perfect place to work. “I love working in an environment where my passion for teaching and my Christian faith go hand-in-hand. I love the Word and Jesus, so to teach in a Christian school thrills me.” Mrs. Brown and her husband Vince attend Desert Springs Church where she serves in children’s ministry and women’s ministry as a speaker and Bible study leader.
Mrs Clouatre has a passion for Christian education and years of experience teaching 4th and 5th graders. Before joining the GCS in 2014, she taught 4th grade for six years at a California Christian school, and two years at the 4th and 5th grade at Bios Christian Academy. She delights to make learning interesting and see God glorified in each lesson. She holds a bachelor’s degree in communications from New Mexico State University.
De Bruin, Laura
Miss De Bruin is a seasoned Christian teacher with years experience teaching in upper elementary Christian classrooms both in the Midwest and in the Phoenix area. She has a degree in Elementary Education from Dordt college and began teaching at GCS, 4th grade in 2017. She loves working at Gilbert Christian and seeing how God helps young 4th graders grow and mature both academically, socially, and spiritually. She attends church at Redemption Tempe and runs marathons in her free time.
Mrs. Dudley earned her M.A. in Organizational Management from the University of Phoenix and a B.S. in Exercise Physiology from Grand Canyon University. In 2009, Mrs. Dudley found her love of teaching when she became involved in children’s ministry. Mrs. Dudley decided to go back to school to become a state certified teacher in Early Childhood Education. She began teaching at GCS in 2016 and feels blessed to teach the minds and hearts of her students, keeping Jesus as the focus. Mrs. Dudley and her husband have two children. The family attends and serves at Central Christian Church.
Holly Garza graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education in 2011. She spent one year in a charter school before joining GCS in the fall of 2012. Holly earned a Master’s in Educational Leadership from the University of Texas in 2020. Holly has a love for science and firmly believes that studying God’s creation on a daily basis with students is one of the greatest privileges. Holly and her husband, Josh, currently attend and serve at Christ Church Gilbert.
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
Mrs. Gonzalez earned her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from The King’s College in New York. She has taught PreK, 2, 3, 4, and 6-8 grades in Christian schools in New Jersey and Tennessee before coming to Gilbert Christian in 2013. Mrs. Gonzalez desires to see her students grow in their knowledge, understanding, and love of the Lord while helping them develop a Biblical worldview. She is passionate about Christian education and feels blessed to be a part of Gilbert Christian Schools where she can minister to the students in her class and their families.
Ms. Sarah Gripp graduated from Northern Arizona University with degrees in instrumental music education and violin performance and began teaching at GCS in 2018. Prior to this, she was an intern in the NAU Suzuki Strings program, teaching private lessons and helping with group classes for elementary students. Additionally, she has student taught elementary and junior high orchestra students with Gilbert Public Schools. Sarah played with the Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra for several years and enjoys playing violin and mandolin in her church worship teams. She is excited to help students develop excellence in God’s gift of music, for His glory!
“Therefore, he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.” Hebrews 7:25
Ashlyn Gross graduated from Dordt University in 2019 with a major in Elementary Education and a minor in Physical Education. Ashlyn was born in Texas but considers herself an Arizona native. Ashlyn has attended Christian schools from kindergarten through college and her favorite subject has always been P.E. She has previously taught 6th grade and now hopes to enable the students at GCS to grow in their love for being active and to appreciate how God has uniquely created each one of us in His own image, for His glory. Ashlyn attends Phoenix United Reformed Church. She joined the GCS teaching staff in 2020.
Her favorite Bible verse is Isaiah 40:31, “But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
Having been a part of Gilbert Christian Schools for over twenty years, in a variety of roles including parent, prayer/mission coordinator, substitute, part-time and full-time teacher, Mrs. Hightower has experienced from a unique perspective, the development and emergence of a quality Christian school. Her passion for her own four children, as well as those who continue to attend here, has been to help them grow physically, academically, emotionally and spiritually to be all they can be in Christ. Mrs. Hightower’s varied background including a B.A. from East Stroudsburg University, PA, along with extensive dance and performance experience gleaned from years of living in the NY metropolitan area, have enabled her to serve in a variety of roles at the school. The shared focus of staff and teachers alike, to support one another, while wholeheartedly serving the Lord, their families and students is unmatched by anything she previously encountered. Mrs. Hightower continues to be exceedingly blessed to be able to teach, facilitate prayer and provide ministry opportunities that lead to the expansion of God’s kingdom at GCS and beyond, through the impacted lives of our students and families!
Mrs. Hoppal holds a Master’s Degree from Northern Arizona University in Educational Technology, a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from Missouri Southern State University, and an Associate’s Degree in Bible and Elementary Education from Ozark Christian College. Before coming to Gilbert Christian in 2010, Mrs. Hoppal taught sixth grade for two years (2008-2010) at J.O. Combs Unified School District in San Tan Valley. She loves to travel. Each summer, her husband and their 4 kids pack up and road trip around the country. They are planning to visit each state before their oldest son, Tommy, graduates high school in 2024. Her family attends Central Christian Church- Gilbert campus. She and her husband Jason married in 2012 on the beautiful island of Kauai. Together, they have 3 sons and 1 daughter. Mrs. Hoppal as been a part of the GCS staff since 2010.
Matthew 6:27, “Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”
Justine received her English Education degree at Illinois State University in 2010. She’s been a teacher for 9 years and loves coaching cross country and track & field. Justine attends Living Streams Church in Phoenix and joined the GCS teaching staff in 2020.
Her favorite verse is Ephesians 1:17, “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him.”
Mrs. Kost loves to create wonderful lessons and encourage her students to always do their best and glorify God with their lives. She holds a B.S. in Elementary Education from Grand Canyon College and is Arizona State Certified. Before coming to GCS, she taught 4th grade in public school and homeschooled her own children for 15 years. God has given her a tremendous heart for children and her entire family loved and cared for foster children in their home from many years. Mrs. Kost has three grown daughters and two who attend GCS. She and her family worship God together at Cornerstone church.
Mrs. Lazorchak earned her Master’s degree in Education from Southern Methodist University and a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Arizona. She began teaching middle school when she moved to Dallas, Texas where she served two years with Teach for America. Mrs. Lazorchak loves being at GCS and being able to work in a faith-based educational environment. She loves the opportunity to be able to study and learn more about God’s creation on a daily basis with students. In her free time, Mrs. Lazorchak loves to run, read and spend time with loved ones. She currently worships at Antioch Community Church in Tempe. She joined the GCS staff in 2019.
“We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” Romans 5:1-5
Krista received her Bachelor Degree in Education from ASU with reading and math endorsements. She also earned a Middle School and ESL endorsement. Krista spent 5 years teaching junior high math in Mesa Public Schools and 4 years teaching in various positions at Gilbert Christian Schools. In her spare time she enjoys learning mixed martial arts. She started attending Central Christian church in 4th grade and has been attending for over 30 years. Krista is married with 3 children who attend Gilbert Christian Schools. She has been a part of our GCS staff since 2015.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; and he shall direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and depart from evil.” Proverbs 3:5-7
She studied International Commerce in her hometown Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico, at Kino University, where she received her bachelor’s degree. She became part of our GCS family as a Spanish middle school teacher in 2016. In her school days, she had the privilege of attending a Christian high school. For her, those were the most meaningful years of her childhood. She loved how all her teachers taught her to approach every situation in her life with the Bible, and it was there that she learned to have a real relationship with Jesus. She also met her best friends there, and even over time, they still stayed close, like family. She married the love of her life, Josue Lopez, in 2001. He is now one of the pastors and the worship leader at their church: Redemption Church West Mesa. They have two children: Misael and Michelle, and both love to serve in their church as part of the worship team by playing drums and piano.
Her favorite Bible verse is Philippians 4:8, and she would love to share it with you in Spanish: “Por lo demás, hermanos, todo lo que es verdadero, todo lo honesto, todo lo justo, todo lo puro, todo lo amable, todo lo que es de buen nombre; si hay virtud alguna, si algo digno de alabanza, en esto pensad.” Filipenses 4:8
Mrs. Manley holds a B.A in elementary education she earned from Arizona State University. Before coming to Gilbert Christian School, she taught first grade for three years for Gilbert Public Schools. For three years, Mrs. Manley worked in Gilbert Christian’s kindergarten program as a teacher in the half day and full day program before taking over the full day first-grade classroom from 2016-2019. 2019-2020 school year, Mrs. Manley will return to the kindergarten full-day program to serve our families. Mrs. Manley loves being able to combine her two passions in the workplace; her love for the Lord and her love of teaching. She enjoys working towards the success of her students with both families and staff. Her children attend GCS, and her family worships at Rock Point Church.
Mrs. McLaughlin earned her bachelor’s degree in secondary education/English from Edinboro University, graduating Cum Laude. Her master’s degree in English is from Northern Arizona University. Mrs. McLaughlin began teaching in 1991 and has taught at the high school, middle school, and elementary levels. She leads her students to be better communicators and critical thinkers through a variety of creative means. Mrs. McLaughlin is a committed believer with a strong Christian testimony.
Heather graduated from Western Washington University in 2012 with a degree in Early Childhood/Special Education. In 2013, Heather moved to Zambia, Africa, where she provided Special Education for elementary school children, as well as coordinated the Special ed. program at an International school. She also volunteered in community outreach through a ministry in Zambia. She returned to her Bellingham, Washington, hometown in 2016, and taught 2nd grade for three years at a Christian Classical School until 2019 when she transitioned to teaching 1st grade at GCS. In her free time, Heather enjoys reading classic literature and traveling. She is a self-proclaimed Tolkien fan and crazy cat lady.
“BUT GOD shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” -Romans 5:8
Susan loves teaching children in a Christian environment and helping students grow academically and spiritually. She has a B.S. in Elementary Education from Northern Arizona University and has over 10 years of classroom teaching experience, in addition to home educating her own children for 9 years. She has enjoyed being a second-grade teacher at GCS since 2016. Teaching children to love reading is one of her passions, and she enjoys sharing and discussing books with budding second-grade readers. She and her family, including 3 children who attend GCS, worship at Sun Valley Community Church.
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13
Mrs. Murray began her career at Gilbert Christian Schools in 2008. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from Westmont College in Santa Barbara, CA, as well as Masters Degrees in Special Education and Sports Management. Mrs. Murray has had the pleasure of teaching multiple grade levels at GCS, including 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade. Currently, she is embracing her latest position as a middle school G.E.A.R. Resource teacher. Mrs. Murray cherishes every student individually and loves the learning and laughter that takes place in her classroom. She is passionate about teaching from a Christian worldview and considers her job an absolute blessing!
Mrs. Pam Palacio is all things DRAMA! She has produced and directed over 30 theatrical plays and musicals at Gilbert Christian Schools since 2006. Each year she produces 4 plays (for the High School and Middle Schools) and leads 2 Elementary Drama Clubs. Mrs. Palacio graduated from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, after studying Theater at the University of Hawaii. She has taught Drama, Student Council, Choir, Speech and Debate, and Yearbook at GCHS. She has also directed plays in the valley with MoezArt Productions. Born and raised in Hawaii, she became a believer in Los Angeles, where she enjoyed the great teaching at Grace Community Church, pastored by John MacArthur. She and her husband, Mark, married in 1990 and have 4 wonderful children. She homeschooled her kids for 8 years, and, after moving to Gilbert, the Palacio’s became a part of the GCS family for many years. They joyfully attend San Tan Bible Church where she serves in the nursery. She loves to point her students to Christ through glorifying God with the Fruit of the Spirit – in rehearsal and onstage! All Glory to God!
“I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ”. . . . Philippians 1:3-6
Cassie has her Bachelor’s in Health Education from Lee University. She has a huge passion for kids of all ages and has taught since 2006. She also loves God, basketball, coffee and chocolate. She is a native of beautiful Arizona and actually a Sun’s fan, she says, if you can believe it! Cassie worships at Redemption Gateway with her family. Her and her husband, who is also a teacher at the High school, have been married Since 2011. They are blessed with two little boys, Tate and Bryton. Cassie joined our GCS staff in 2017.
“In him, we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace.” Ephesians 1:7
Mrs. Patterson graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay in 1990 receiving a BS in communication and business. She had been home raising her four children until her last child entered GCS in 2006. Since then Mrs. Patterson has been teaching Middle School Social Studies at Gilbert Christian. She is married to Shawn Patterson, head of the Security Department at GCS. All of their children are grown adults. Their daughter Kaitlyn serving in the United States Space Force and their youngest son Kyle attending the United States Air Force Academy!
1 Thessalonians 5:18, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
Ms. Perry is an accompanist with over 30 years experience. She studied piano performance at Western Oregon State University. She taught music at Eastside Christian School for fourteen years and was the accompanist at Central Christian Church (Mesa) for twenty-three years. She currently performs with various groups around the valley and teaches private piano lessons. She has accompanied all of the Gilbert Christian Schools choirs since 2007.
Mrs. Poweleit has been teaching at GCS since 2006. Her life’s passion is to reach others about the love and freeing joy found in the life-saving blood of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! God placed the ministry of teaching on her heart years ago and, after receiving her Masters in French Literature in 1992, she taught AP and Baccalaureate French classes at Dixie High School in KY, and long distance learning classes in French, Spanish, German, and Japanese at the elementary level. She delights in her amazing husband and children, women’s Bible studies and Christian fellowship, and has been a Minister of Care since 2005 to her church’s homebound and nursing home parishioners with whom she prays, shares the Gospel, and offers Eucharist. Mrs. Poweliet was a Foreign Language Teacher in KY (1992-1996) and has been teaching at GCS since 2006. “I have an amazing twin sister and I am one minute older than her. Also, I am
learning to play the ukulele.” She currently worships at Holy Cross Catholic Church with her husband Christian David and they both have two sons Christian and Drew.
1 Peter 5:10 “And the God of all grace who has called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm, and steadfast.”
Katelyn Rachoy has been an orchestra director at Gilbert Christian since 2013. An Arizona native, she earned a B.M.E. in Music Education with an Instrumental Emphasis from the University of Arizona. Mrs. Rachoy started playing the viola at age seven and loved the experiences she had in school orchestras, youth symphonies, private lessons and festivals and hopes to share that joy with her students. Her teaching experiences have been in early childhood strings, middle school outreach band, and elementary through high school orchestra. Prior to teaching at Gilbert Christian, Mrs. Rachoy substituted for music classes in the Mesa Public School district. Katelyn and her husband John attend Grace Bible Church of Phoenix where she enjoys serving in the nursery and on the worship team. She loves teaching at a Christian school where she can motivate students to glorify God with their gifts and abilities.
Mr. Ramos has taught MS mathematics in both public and charter school environments. He believes the junior high years are some of the most important years in a student’s education, so it is a blessing to teach students during these important years. Mr. Ramos is a veteran of the United States Air Force and holds a B.A .in Education with an endorsement in mathematics from Boise State University and is certified by the state of Arizona in science. Mr. Ramos attends Christ Church in Gilbert with his daughter. He wants families to know, “My faith in Christ is of the utmost importance in my life, followed next by family. I consider
it a privilege to serve Christ in and through Gilbert Christian Schools.” Mr. Ramos has been a part of GCS staff since 2018.
Mrs. Renaud has been teaching at Gilbert Christian since 2010, earning her Master’s Degree in Education from Texas Woman’s University and her Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature and Communications from The University of Iowa. After starting her teaching career in Texas public schools, she considers it a calling and blessing to be a Christian educator, specifically due to being able to incorporate a Christian worldview throughout every subject, an integral element that GCS encourages and supports. It is her passion to teach and instill a life-long love of learning in her students, and to help foster their relationships with God, whether planting the seeds to start an initial relationship or watering the seeds someone else planted, God does work and grows them each year. Mrs. Renaud and her husband, Kevin (a captain in the Arizona Army National Guard), attend Central Christian Church (the Gilbert campus) with their daughter, Grace, currently a senior at Gilbert Christian High School. Their daughter, Katie, recently graduated from high school and is currently attending Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, studying mathematics and environmental sustainability studies. They also have two soft-coated wheaten terriers. Smokey, the younger wheaten, is a service dog for Mrs. Renaud.
Mrs. Samp graduated Summa Cum Laude in 2012, from Northern Arizona University with a degree in Elementary Education. In 2015 she graduated, With Distinction, completing her Master Of Education in Early Childhood Education. She has been a volunteer at Sun Valley Community Church in their “Special Needs One-On-One” Sunday school program and taught elementary music at both Calvary Academy and Faith Christian School in Mesa. Incorporating joy through music is just one way Mrs. Samp brings God’s love to the boys and girls in her classroom.
Cheryl Sciutto graduated from Arizona State University with a bachelor’s degree in Special Education with endorsements in the areas of Learning Disabilities, Cognitive impairments, and social/emotional disabilities in 1993. She has since taught in many environments including homeschool, private Christian schools, Public School, and even a one-room schoolhouse! The empowerment of students is a mission for Cheryl! She most recently started working with struggling learners at her own learning center based on her passion for Kinesthetic learning techniques. Cheryl has been teaching children of all ages for over 23 years and has no plans of retiring any time soon. Cheryl enjoys travel, National Parks, and water sports. Any opportunity to combine all three, she will be there! She attends church at Crossroads Nazarene and has been a member there since 1996. Cheryl has a wonderful husband who works as a chef/restaurant owner, three grown daughters, and two amazing stepdaughters. She has two grandsons and a granddaughter. Cheryl Sciutto has been a part of our GCS teaching staff since 2020.
John 10:10, “The thief comes only to kill, steal, and destroy; I came to give life, and that you might live it abundantly.”
Mr. Shue joined the 5th-grade team during the 2019-2020 school year after teaching 6th grade the year prior. He enjoyed a 23-year United States Navy career and he retired from active duty service in 2015. For seventeen of those years, he was a classroom instructor and taught military leadership, management, marksmanship, and physical fitness curriculum. He was also a certified high school Naval Science Instructor through the Navy Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (NJROTC) Program. Mr. Shue has completed studies at Vincennes University, Arizona State University, and Grand Canyon University. Towards the end of his naval career, God called him to Christian education and younger students. He is sincerely grateful to serve at Gilbert Christian Schools where he can teach, mentor, and pray with his students. His wife Jolina is the Vice-Principal at the Agritopia campus, and they have three wonderful children.
Mrs. Shue joined the GCS family in 2016 after her husband retired from the Navy and they moved their family to Arizona. The Shue’s have three children and have been married since 1999. Mrs. Shue earned a Master’s Degree in Educational Technology and a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Development from Azusa Pacific University in California. Her desire as an administrator is to build meaningful relationships with the students, parents, and staff while keeping God in the center and guiding the students to interpret the world through a Christian worldview.