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
Shannon Albert received a Bachelors of Social Science at Azusa Pacific University in 2002. She began teaching in 2002, but took a long break and began subbing off and on again since 2013. She also loves the being at the beach with family, making homemade chocolate and reading. Shannon and her family attend Redemption Gilbert. Shannon has been married to Jared for 17 years and has two sons who attend GCS. Ethan who is in 9th grade and Brady is in 7th. She has been a part of GCS staff since 2015.
Philippians 4:8 has been one of her favorite verses since she was in high school. “Finally brethren, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy think on these things.”
Joanna has her BAE in Elementary and in Special Education along with an ESL Endorsement. She is also C.L.I.P. Trained (Reading Recovery). Her experience involves 4 years of teaching Sp. Ed in Tempe, AZ, 5 years teaching Elementary Ed. (grades K-3) in Tempe, 1-year teaching 1st grade in Mansfield, TX, and 2 and a half years homeschooling her children in Queen Creek. Joanna is a native Arizonian and has spent the last 2 and a half years homeschooling so that the family could travel. Her favorite place is to be with family and friends at their cabin in the White Mountains. Joanna met her husband Mark in school and have been friends since 1975. They went to kindergarten together and have now been married for over 15 years. They have 3 children: Avery, Caden, and Tessa who all attend Gilbert Chrisitan Schools. The whole family worships at Sun Valley Community Church where Joanna and Mark have served as mentors for engaged/pre-engaged couples. Joanna became a part of our Gilbert Christian Schools staff in 2018.
“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
I am a native Californian, recently relocated to Arizona from San Diego, where I was a teacher and coach for 20 years. I primarily taught Earth Science for 8th graders, but I also taught a variety of other subjects, including Bible, Math, and PE in Jr. high and high school, and even coached tennis. Since the beginning of this school year at GCS, I have been teaching 6th grade Earth Science, Bible and Ancient History, and beginning with 2nd quarter, and I am now teaching 7th grade Life Science and World History. My wife, Gail, and I attend Rock Point Church and love our new life here in Arizona. I am very excited to be on the team at GCS, and I’m looking forward to the opportunity to serve the Lord Jesus Christ and GCS as God uses me to influence young lives.
My life verse is James 1:2 which says, “Consider it all joy my brethren when you encounter various trials, for the testing of your faith produces endurance.”
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!
My name is Melissa Baker, and I am honored to be a part of the Gilbert Christian School family.
I am from Ohio but have lived in Arizona most of my life. I graduated from Grand Canyon University with a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and Special Education. I have been married for 12 years and have been blessed with two beautiful girls ages 15 and 9, one of which has special needs. This is my first year of teaching and I am very excited to be used by God in fulfilling my passion. In my spare time, I love to go camping and hiking and am an avid reader and writer. One day, I hope to be able to publish a book. My husband and I are members of Summit Vista Bible Church in Gilbert where I fill in often as a Sunday school teacher and Children’s Church teacher, in addition to serving as a door greeter. I believe that academic excellence is an expression of worship of our Almighty God. Each child is an expression of God’s principle of individuality. Students are seen as individuals created in God’s image, unique and possessing certain gifts and qualities that set them apart from all others. My purpose in teaching is to creatively identify my students’ gifts and abilities and have them apply these for the Kingdom. I desire for my students to be immersed in modeling God’s love as they work diligently through each subject. It is my role as an educator to address the ‘whole child’ by providing instruction, opportunity, and setting an example in loving God, loving our neighbors, developing a prayer life, embracing the Great Commission, and walking in purity in our thoughts and actions.
“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity.” I Timothy 4:12
Mrs. Benham has her B.A. in Early Childhood Education with a dual degree in Special Education. She has been teaching since 2014. Mrs. Benham shared the interesting fact that she is adopted by wonderful, helpful, and supportive parents. She and her husband Jake currently worship at Sun Valley in Tempe and at home have their furbaby, Sophie. Mrs. Benham became a part of our GCS Staff in 2018.
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear.” 1 John 4:18
I grew up in Tucson and graduated from Tucson High School in 1967. Shortly after that, I joined the Navy and spent four-plus years on Navy bases in northern California and Guam working on aircraft. After completing military service, I worked for Seven-Up Bottling in Tucson for three years. Upon feeling the tugging of the Holy Spirit to enter full-time ministry, I moved our family to California in 1975 to attend Bible college. After graduation, I joined a church staff as the worship and counseling pastor. In 1983, God led me to help start a Christian school in south Orange County. We began with 38 students and eventually grew to over 600. I retired in June of 2015 after 32 years as the assistant superintendent, and we moved to Queen Creek to be near our youngest grandchildren. In September of 2016, I was offered the position as Future Families Liaison and joyfully accepted the position. I love assisting families in their search for the best Christian education for their children!! My wife and I have been married for 47 years, and we have two grown children and seven grandchildren…and the youngest two are enrolled in Gilbert Christian!
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)
Ms. Boylan graduated from Concordia University Nebraska in 2011 with a B.S. in Education and a B.A. in English. She is currently studying for a master’s degree in reading instruction. Originally from Southern California, Ms Boylan has spent her life travelling around the world with her missionary family. She’s lived in Namibia, Guatemala, Mexico, Sierra Leone, and all over the U.S., and she now calls Arizona home! Ms Boylan loves school and loves her students even more. She has taught high school for four years, focusing mainly on English and honors or AP English, but making the occasional foray into theology, social studies, and Spanish as well.
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.
Diane Buchanan is returning to co-teach art for 2-8 grades. Her passion is writing and teaching art curriculum that incorporates a biblical component. Diane earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Ohio University. The Air Force moved her and family to Phoenix in 1975 where she has lived ever since. She spent 25 years serving as a Children’s Pastor before returning to the art classroom where she can combine her three passions: Jesus, art, and children. She is blessed with three children who have families of their own. Her granddaughter, Natalie Smith, will once again be one of her GCS art students. Diane feels totally blessed to be a part of the GCS community.
Sarah Carson received her B.S. in Elementary Education/PK-3rd grade certification in Ohio and Arizona. Her experience involves 14 years of teaching every grade from Kindergarten to 3rd grade. Sarah has lived in Illinois, Indiana, South Carolina, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Arizona. Arizona is her 5th state to be certified to teach in, and she has loved learning new things everywhere she has gone! Sarah has been married to her husband Derek since 2000 and they have two sons. Both David and Drew attend Gilbert Christian Schools. Sarah has been a part of our Gilbert Christian Schools staff since 2018.
“Be joyful always; pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Mrs. Ceton was raised in a Christian household and attended Christian schools her whole life. She attended Phoenix Christian Preparatory Schools from Preschool-12th grade. After high school, she attended Biola University. While she originally wanted to work with 1st graders, she felt God leading her to work with high schoolers. She graduated in 2013 with a Bachelors in English, as well as 3 minors: Secondary Education, TESOL (teaching ESL), and Bible. She decided to continue pursuing her education and graduated wither Masters of Arts in Teaching in 2015 from Biola University. She is currently taking some grad level English classes through GCU in order to be certified to teach Dual Enrollment. Before coming to Gilbert Christian, she worked 2.5 years at Phoenix Christian focusing on freshman and sophomore English. She has worked for Gilbert Christian since 2017 teaching freshman, juniors, and seniors. She has been married since 2015 and has a daughter named Charleigh. She attends Cornerstone Church in Chandler, where she is a part of the “Young Families” group.
Mr. Chisum has a Master’s in Elementary Education from NAU and is coming to us with 16 years of teaching experience. He is looking forward to teaching at a Christian school where he can share his faith without restraint. He enjoys serving in children’s ministries at Redemption Gateway Church.
Mary has her B.A. in Elementary education with a minor in Bible from North Central University in Minneapolis. “I am so excited to be apart of the GCS family! I am a firm believer in Christian education and know that this is a specific calling that God has placed on my life. I am honored to have the privilege of coming alongside students and watching them grow academically, but more importantly spiritually. One of the most important things to me is my family and that is why I strive to establish the security and support of a family within the classroom. I was born and raised in Minnesota, where I attended college and began my teaching career. Prior to graduating college I also had the privilege of being a part of a ministry called Master’s Commission (a discipleship program) not only as a student but also as a staff member running their academic programming.” Mary has been a part of GCS since 2018.
“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23
God brought Mrs. Cifuentes to Gilbert Christian in 2012 after teaching middle school for six years in the Kyrene School District. The integration of faith and learning was what attracted her most to GCS in addition to the genuine care teachers and administrators hold for each student. Mrs. Cifuentes currently teaches 4/5 science and loves seeing students explore, problem-solve, and understand God’s world around them. Mrs. Cifuentes was blessed to attend Wheaton College (IL) (M.A.) and NAU for her Master’s in Educational Leadership. She and her husband enjoy spending time with their three daughters, attending Christ Church, going on lots of walks, and trying not to step on too many Legos around the house.
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.
My name is Carissa Converse and I am a California native. I moved from a very small, rural town up near Yosemite National Park, California. I came to Arizona to start my college education at Arizona State University and after meeting my husband at the college church we both attended, I decided to stay for good. I started my career during my student teaching at Arizona State University where I got hired full-time as a long-term substitute in a gifted classroom. After graduating I was hired with Mesa Public Schools as a sixth-grade teacher and taught there for two years. I am very excited about the opportunity to help create and develop a resource program with Gilbert Christian Schools. I am passionate about student learning and making sure that each student feels successful and encouraged through education. Each child has a God-given gift and I love helping children discover their strengths.
“For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us.” Romans 12:4-6 NIV
Mrs. Cunningham began teaching at GCS in the year 2000 and is now blessed to serve as PK-8 Principal. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from Ottawa University and an M.Ed in Curriculum & Instruction: Leadership Emphasis from Concordia University Portland. Mrs.Cunningham is passionate about encouraging students at GCS to live a life worthy of the Lord (Colossians 1:9-10). She loves developing programs and fostering a community that helps students to think deeply about the word of God and its application to their lives. She is thankful for the great blessing of her amazing husband, Jim, her three loving adult sons, and her two beautiful grandchildren. Mrs. Cunningham worships at Scottsdale Bible Church.
Ms. Daily has been teaching in the elementary grade levels since 2009. Before teaching at GCS, Ms. Daily previously taught in Idaho where she completed both her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Education and Administration. Ms. Daily’s greatest joy is serving God; however, she feels very blessed and honored to serve the students and families at Gilbert Christian Schools, too. Ms. Daily currently resides in Gilbert, AZ with her two children and attends Sun Valley Community Church.
De Bruin, Kayla
Miss De Bruin grew up in Pella, Iowa and attended Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa. She graduated in 2016 and moved to Arizona in the summer. Miss De Bruin has been teaching at Gilbert Christian since 2017. She enjoys being part of the GCS community and loves guiding students to be disciples of Christ while teaching them academically. Miss De Bruin lives in Chandler and attends Christ Church in Gilbert. Miss De Bruin earned an Elementary Education degree with an endorsement in Early Childhood from Dordt College. She graduated in 2016. Miss De Bruin has been teaching since 2016. She enjoys reading, watching movies, playing tennis and spending time with family. Miss De Bruin currently attends Christ Church in Gilbert and begin working for GCS in 2017.
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9
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.
Frank received his B.A. with a major in Psychology from the University of Dayton and his M.S. with a major in Counselor Education from California State University, Los Angeles. He received credentials to work as a school counselor and school psychologist. He also earned a License to practice as an Educational Psychologist. Frank received his Administrative Services credential from California State University, Dominguez Hills.
He worked as a special education teacher, a school psychologist, the Director of Special Education, and then became the Assistant Superintendent of Student Services. Frank was also an Adjunct Professor at CSUDH in the graduate education department as well as serving on the Advisory Committee for the Loyola Marymount University School Psychology Program. Overall, he has spent over 30 years in the field of education, working with populations that include special needs and at-risk students, as well as being in positions where he would make policy decisions for the entire unified school district.
Frank is a member of Desert Springs Church in Chandler. He is married to Shana and has two sons, Bryan and Eli, as well as a daughter in law Tiffany, granddaughter, and grandson.
Jim Desmarchais is thrilled to be a part of the Christian education at Gilbert Christian School. He was born in Pittsburgh, PA, and grew up in Pittsburgh, Southern California, and Toronto, Canada. Jim received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Toronto and his Master’s Degree from the University of Phoenix in Educational Administration. He has taught elementary physical education and sixth grade. At the administrative level, he served as the assistant principal at Rhodes Junior High, the principal at Barbara Bush Elementary School (which was named an A+ School), and later as principal of Robert Frost Elementary School in Mesa. Jim also served three years as the children’s pastor at East Valley Bible Church (Redemption Gilbert). He currently attends Redeemer Bible Church. Jim brings a passion for working with kids and families and is honored to be part of what God is doing at GCS. Jim is married to Natasha and has two sons. Christopher and Steven, who are both GCS Graduates.
Mrs. Desmarchais has been teaching Physical Education since 1989. She took a wonderful hiatus to stay home for eight years and raise her boys, returning to teaching in 2009. Mrs. Desmarchais has a Bachelor’s Degree in Physical/ Health Education and Dance from the University of Toronto, the city in which she was born and raised. She moved to Gilbert, with her husband Jim, in 1988 where she received her AZ teaching certificate, allowing her to teach PE grades K-12. She continued her graduate work in Secondary Education at ASU and the University of Phoenix. Mrs. Desmarchais came to Gilbert Christian Schools in 2008 and established the Elementary PE Program, teaching K-6 grade students for six years. In 2015 she continued her teaching at the High School by teaching a girl’s Fitness/PE class. Besides her faith and her family, teaching students about physical education and have them understand and appreciate that fitness is a lifestyle, is what she most cares about. Mrs. Desmarchais is a member of Redeemer Bible Church in Gilbert and serves in the Nursery ministry. Her favorite pass time is anything that involves being with her husband, Jim and her two boys, Christopher and Steven, both GCS graduates. Mrs. Desmarchais enjoys being active: hiking, bike riding, and working out. She balances that with her love of cooking/baking and finding new restaurants to enjoy!
Mrs. Doest received her B.A. in Liberal Studies from California State University, Fullerton and her M.A.Ed. from National University. Mrs. Doest has taught 6 years and all in the 6th grade. Mrs. Doest has lived in four different states. She enjoys running, cooking yummy meals, and spending time with her husband and three boys. Mrs. Doest attends Christ Church of the Valley-East Valley campus. Mrs. Doest has been married for nineteen years and has three teenage boys. Her family enjoys spending time together. Her most treasured times with her family are around the dinner table and frequent visits to the beach in Southern California. Mrs. Doest joined our GCS staff in 2019.
Philippians 1:27, “Conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.”
Alumni:Class of 2011
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 Earle started at GCS in 2008 as a playground aide as well as substituting and coaching varsity softball team. She began teaching morning pre-kindergarten in 2011 and currently teaches both morning and afternoon pre-kindergarten. Mrs. Earle provides an excellent program that prepares each child for kindergarten with a focus on the joy of the Lord.
Mrs. Enright graduated from Truman University in Kirksville, Mo with an education degree in General Science with a minor in Biology. She taught 1st – 3rd combination class during her first 7 years at Gilbert Christian. She then took a break and came back to GCS to teach science and has blessed the school with the immense task of being the Curriculum Coordinator. She loves working with the amazing Godly staff at GCS. Mrs. Enright and her husband George attend Pursuit Christian Fellowship.
Graduated from the University of Michigan with Honors and Distinction in 1998. Worked in clinical research at the Ann Arbor VA Hospital in the fields of Hypertension and Geriatrics. She is a published author in the scientific research community. Worked in the pharmaceutical industry as well as nutritional counseling in recent years. Rebecca was a science tutor throughout college, a substitute teacher for over a decade as well as several stints at homeschooling. She worked for several years recently as a certified nutritional consultant and did numerous presentations on health and wellness in schools and other venues nationwide. Rebecca is passionate about all things health and wellness. She enjoys playing and watching all sports especially tennis, basketball, volleyball, and swimming. She has run a marathon and many 1/2’s as well as several triathlons. She also loves music, sings and plays both the piano and trumpet. She also serves on the board locally at the House of Refuge, assisting homeless families in gaining permanent housing. Rebecca and her family currently worship at Rock Point Community Church. Rebecca has been married to Jay since 1998, they have 4 children: Lexi, Jace, Abby, and Olivia. They have loved their time living in Arizona and also spend as much time as possible in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Rebecca began working for GCS in 2019.
1 Corinthians 13:13, “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love; but the greatest of these is LOVE.”
Mrs. Fellows was born and raised on the east coast working as a licensed commercial insurance broker/legal admin before moving to Arizona with her family in 1996. Since her children were still quite young, she was a stay-at-home mom. During those years, she decided to fulfill a life-long goal to complete college and graduated with honors from the University of Phoenix in 2004 with a B.S. degree in Management with emphasis on technology. Wishing to keep the same school hours/vacations as her children, she became a certified substitute and moved from being a Para-educator to substituting in the Chandler Unified School District. She did this for 11 years and gained most of her teaching experience from long-term positions in kindergarten, first, fourth, and fifth grades. In 2015, she became certified in Career and Technical Education. Through daily prayer and devotion, Mrs. Fellows feels God has led her to Gilbert Christian HS. She feels truly blessed and humbled by all the Lord has helped her achieve. Mrs. Fellows looks forward to directing her Christian beliefs and values through education to encourage the growth of students who embrace God’s wisdom in every subject they study. Mrs. Fellows has been married to her husband, Bill, for 28 years and has two adult children. They currently attend Sun Valley Community Church.
Mrs. Field graduated with her Master’s degree in natural science from ASU, where she completed a research project on the benefits of teaching proportional reasoning to strengthen understanding of scientific concepts. She completed her bachelor’s degree in physics at San Diego State as a McNair scholar, where she published multiple papers and worked as a GTA. After graduation, she worked in a research position for two years. Since 2008, Mrs. Field has taught at GCS, teaching everything from 7th-grade science to college physics and robotics. She coaches the robotics team, The Knights of the Lab Table and has led them to the First Tech Challenge World Championships two years in a row. Mrs. and Mrs. Field and their 4 children attend Harvest Bible since 2008.
Curtis Field received his Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Arizona State University in 1995. He received a Certificate from the East Valley Bible Church Pastoral Training Center in 2007. This was a three year Master’s Level education from within EVBC. He is currently pursuing a Master’s in Missional Theology through Covenant Seminary. Curtis was a Pastor at Redemption Church Gilbert from 2005 to 2019. He was the Gilbert/Queen Creek Area Pastor and the Pastor of Care Ministries for the first 5 years and the Pastor of Biblical Counseling and Care Ministries for the next 9 years. Curtis loves spending time with his family and loves having extended family through his brothers and sisters in Christ in the Redemption Community Curtis and Angela lead. He also enjoys traveling when possible and is interested in other cultures. He has been blessed to travel through Europe, Scandinavia, and Mexico. He grew up in Southern California 30 minutes from the beach and loves the ocean. However, being landlocked in a desert can make it difficult to visit the ocean. Movies, great TV shows, and his beloved Steelers are regularly showing at home. Curtis and Angela have attended Redemption Church Gilbert since 1999, and it has been a wonderful church home where they have grown to love Jesus and desire to honor Him with all of their lives. Curtis is truly blessed to be married to Angela, an amazing woman who loves Jesus and is his best friend and the love of his life. They have been blessed by God with four beautiful daughters – Anna (27), Savannah (24), Alyssa (22), and Tiana (20). They also have two ridiculously cute dogs named Wyatt and Toby, a Maltese and a Yorkshire Terrier. He joined our GCS staff in 2019.
Curtis finds it impossible to have a favorite verse and has too many favorite verses to count. However, it’s hard to beat a verse that lays out comprehensively the North Star of the Christian life: “Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it. ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” – Matthew 22:37-40
My wife, Tera, and I are originally from South Dakota. We moved our family to Gilbert, AZ in 2012. We have five children: Taylor, Brayden, Gwyneth, Maycee, and Owen. Taylor graduated from GCS and married Saile Daimwood, another graduate. She is soon to graduate from Azusa Pacific University while Braydon is attending Bethel University. Gwyneth, Maycee, and Owen currently attend GCS working their way to graduating like their older siblings. I am an Internal Medicine Physician and own OneLife Medical Center in Queen Creek. We currently attend Redemption Gateway Church. I have been a Gilbert Christian Board member since 2014.
Psalm 90:16-17:“Let Your work appear to Your servants and Your glory to their children. And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands for us; Yes, establish the work of our hands.”
Holly Garza graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education in 2011. Holly has been teaching for nine years, eight of which have been at GCS. 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 8:288
Jason Gehl is a Sr. Private Wealth Advisor for the Private Wealth division of Ronald Blue Trust and serves his clients out of the branch office in Phoenix, Arizona. As a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER certificate and an experienced wealth advisor to individuals, families, and businesses, Jason uses his objective perspective to help clients make wise financial decisions, live generously, and leave a lasting legacy. His goal is to help those he serves have the clarity and confidence to focus on the things that matter most to them. Originally from Madison, Wisconsin, Jason graduated from the University of St. Thomas with a Bachelor of Science in Business Finance. Active in his community, Jason is a member of his local church in Gilbert, AZ where he serves in leadership and with the youth ministry. He is also a board member of Gilbert Christian Schools and coaches various Gilbert youth sports teams. Jason works with individuals through different avenues, such as Crown Financial Ministries, to advise members in biblical principles of finance and stewardship. Jason and his wife, Courtney have five children and currently worship at Calvary East Valley. He has been a GCS Board Member since 2016.
Colossians 3:23-24:“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”
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
Mrs. Hallaran served as an elementary substitute teacher and Pre-K aide at Gilbert Christian Schools and found herself genuinely enjoying loving, nurturing and guiding preschoolers in particular. She is thrilled for the opportunity to teach Pre-K at the Greenfield campus. Mrs. Hallaran is an Arizona native, married for almost 25 years to her husband Scott, and has three beautiful children, McKenna, Olivia, and Jameson. Having earned a Bachelor’s degree in Business, she is now pursuing an Early Education degree. She is passionate about learning and playing while sharing Christ and guiding our “littles” to know and love Jesus.
Ms. Hammond 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. Ms. Hammond is excited to be at GCS and to be 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, Ms. Hammond loves to run, read and spend time with loved ones. She currently worships at Redemption Church Tempe. Ms. Hammond is looking forward to becoming Mrs. Lazorchak later this year and celebrating this sweet season alongside her family and loved ones.
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
Mrs. Harrington holds a Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction and a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Western Governors University. She began her teaching career in 2011 at a Christian school in Oregon, teaching technology classes to grades Prek through 12th grade. She then taught 6th grade from 2012-2019. Mrs. Harrington and her husband have been blessed with ten grandchildren and love spending their free time with them. Mrs. Harrington counts it a privilege to serve the families at Gilbert Christian Schools.
Rachelle Hayes has been teaching in Arizona for ten years and is excited to integrate her love for the Lord and to teach in the classroom. Mrs. Hayes is originally from Minnesota where she earned her teaching degree from St. Cloud State University. Rachelle received her Masters in Educational Leadership from Northern Arizona University. She and her husband Dean have been married for 15 years. They have three children ages 13, 11, and 9. As a family, they worship at Rock Point Church. They also enjoy watching and playing sports, swimming, vacations, and going to the movies together. She is passionate about God and teaching his children and considers it a blessing to be his hands and feet in the classroom and their home.
Mr. Henderson graduated from ASU in 1991 with a B.S. in Elementary Education. He worked as a classroom teacher at Shumway Elementary School teaching grades 5 and 6 for nearly 9 years. He left the classroom to work on school fundraising teams, and as a result, was able to work with students in schools all across the valley. Mark Henderson grew up in a Christian home and at age eleven he made a decision to follow Christ. He has been married to Trinka for 31 years and they have one adult daughter. Mr. and Mrs. Henderson currently attend Sun Valley Community Church. They previously attended Chandler Christian Church where Mark served as an elder for nine years and youth/children’s ministry leader for twelve years. Mark has a true heart for leading young people to understand God’s Word and looks forward to teaching Bible to students in his new GCS homeroom. Mr. Henderson explained the call on his life during his interview, “I know God has given me a talent and gift to work with kids as a teacher. He has given me a passion to work with young people.”
Hi, I’m Trinka Henderson. I’m blessed to be teaching first grade at the Greenfield campus this year. I earned my Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education in 1985 and my Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction in 2001 from Northern Arizona University. I taught 17 years in the Chandler Public School District before being called into teaching in Christian Schools. I taught for two years at Bethany Christian School and 13 years at Hope Christian Academy. This will be my second year at Gilbert Christian. Teaching is my passion! I consider it a gift from God, to pour His life into young lives enabling them to grow spiritually, emotionally and academically. My husband Mark and I attend Sun Valley Church and have a love for missions and count it a joy and privilege to share Christ in ANY way that He chooses to use us. We are blessed with a beautiful 22-year-old daughter, and love living in our home state of Arizona!
Mrs. Hendrix has been an Aide at Gilbert Christian Schools for 6 years. Additionally, she taught Kindergarten science for three years. Before coming to GCS, Mrs. Hendrix homeschooled her two children and helped her husband run a business. She has been married to her husband Gary for 26 years and has two children, one graduated from GCS and the other is currently a senior. Mrs. Hendrix attends The Grove church in Chandler. She is blessed to be a part of GCS. Mrs. Hendrix loves teaching the children and sharing Jesus’ love.
I am a proud husband and father of three amazing children. One is married and about to become a lead color stylist at a very prestigious hair salon about to open in Nashville TN. The other two are currently in third and fifth grade and enjoy being active and playing all kinds of sports. I attended Mesa Community College and Arizona State University where I started as a Music Education major and switched to Music Theory and composition. I enjoy studying music to try to figure out exactly what the composer was thinking and trying to communicate. This is my first year teaching band. However, I have taught youth (7th-12th grade) for at least ten years in the churches that I’ve been a member of. I am a member of Hiway Baptist Church in Mesa and am in training to serve as a Deacon there. I lead one of the small youth groups, and I also play in the praise band for services on a rotating basis. I have wanted to teach band since I was in high school but never really had a realistic opportunity until I heard about Gilbert Christian looking to start a band program. This is the perfect scenario for me I get to teach band in a Christian environment where I am not only able to, but also encouraged to share my faith. I am of course a huge music fan, but I am also a huge sports fan. My son plays baseball, so I have probably focused more on that in recent years than the other sports however basketball was and still is my favorite sport.
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, I have experienced from, a unique perspective, the development and emergence of a quality Christian school. My passion for my own four children, as well as those who continue to attend here, has been to do all I can to help them grow physically, academically, emotionally and spiritually to be all they can be in Christ. My varied background including a B.A. from East Stroudsburg State University, PA, along with extensive dance and performance experience gleaned from years of living in the NY metropolitan area, have enabled me 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, our families and students is unmatched by anything I have encountered. I am exceedingly blessed to be able to continue 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!
Debbie moved from Kansas City, MO one year ago with her family. She and her husband enjoy six children and five grandchildren. Debbie was raised in a loving Christian home, and that strong heritage is what she has instilled in her children and grandchildren. In her spare time, she loves watching her kids in sporting events, scrapbooking, and worshipping and pleasing God in everything she does.
Mr. Holsinger received a full-tuition scholarship in 1992 from the Gibson Greetings Foundation to study Fine Art at Miami University where he earned a BFA degree with two areas of artistic specialization in 1996: Fine Art Painting and Graphic Design. After beginning his career as a graphic designer for Campbell Hausfeld, and later as a graphic designer at Cedarville University in their on-campus public relations department, Mr. Holsinger began teaching Visual Fine Art at Dayton Christian High School in 1997. After that, he moved from Dayton, Ohio to Phoenix, Arizona to begin work as a professional fine artist and commercial art apprentice to a highly successful Phoenix abstract artist/designer—one of the co-owners of the Phoenix Art Group. Mr. Holsinger worked there as a professional artist/designer for over six years in their large art studio and gallery space along with more than forty other professional artists. In 2004, he left to establish his own fine art business, Holsinger Fine Art Studio, where he creates fine art for various private clients, businesses, agents, art publishers, and art galleries, nationally and internationally. In 2011, after sensing the Lord’s tug at His heart toward his gift and calling as a teacher, Mr. Holsinger began teaching Visual Fine Art and Creative Design at GCHS. He and his wife, Natalie, have five children, four of which currently attend GCS at the High School and the Agritopia Campus. They attend Apologia Church in Mesa, Arizona.
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. 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 little princess, our 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?”
Mrs. Hoyle received her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Westmont College. She taught elementary school in Colorado for four years and homeschooled in Washington state for seven years. Her favorite things to do are spend time with her family, read, and explore the outdoors. Mrs. Hoyle loves to teach and feels blessed to be able to spend time in God’s word with her students. Her family attends Sun Valley Community Church where she serve as an usher and greeter. Mrs. Hoyle and her husband have been married since 1994 and have four wonderful children. Three of her children have the privilege of attending GCS. She has been a part of the GCS staff since 2018.
Mrs. Hoyle’s favorite verse is Jeremiah 29:11. “For I know the plans that I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”
Mr. Jarles attended Northern Arizona University where he obtained a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education with an emphasis in History, as well as a Bachelor of Science in Electronic Media with an emphasis in Broadcast Journalism. He has been teaching since 2002 at various high schools including Mountain View, Valley Christian, and Blue Ridge. Mr. Jarles has taught a wide range of classes such as AP Composition and Language, World History, Senior level English, Government and Economics, and Broadcast Journalism. Mr. Jarles has two wonderful children that attend GCS, Abrielle and Alijah. He loves teaching at GCS, and being able to share the Gospel with students on a daily basis, taking these daily interactions and using them as teachable moments.
Rochto Joassin graduated Tallahassee Community College in 2014 before he transferred in 2016 to Florida State University to earn and receive his Bachelors Degree in Social Work. Since September of 2017, Rochto has been working to earn his Masters Degree in Missional Theology from the Missional Training Center Seminary Program located in Tempe, AZ, and also known as MTC. Rochto’s experience working with youth begins in 2012 where he first began serving in ministry at a local church in Tallahassee, FL. Rochto first started as a volunteer, then served as an intern, before being hired as the full-time Youth Pastor to teach, counsel, & mentor the youth in the church. Rochto has also completed an internship working with at-risk youth and has volunteered his time within the community serving at-risk youth in Tallahassee, FL. In January of 2019, God led Rochto to his next ministry opportunity serving within the school system with Gilbert Christian Schools. Rochto is both excited and grateful to be teaching at GCS. Something you may not know about Rochto is that he loves hip hop culture and art. Rochto and his family are also involved in inner-city ministry serving youth in Phoenix. Rochto has been married to his beautiful bride, Wandaline, since 2015 and has been blessed with two amazing boys; Micah and Kai.
The Joassins are currently worshipping at Redemption Church. Rochto has many scriptures that he can call his favorite, however, he loves the words of the Psalmist Asaph found in Psalms 73. “Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Psalm 73:25-26
Allison attended Arizona State University and graduated in 2015 with a B.A. in Elementary Education. She has been teaching in Arizona since 2015. Outside of teaching she enjoys spending time with her family, being outdoors and shopping. Allison currently attends Agros Church in Gilbert. She has been married to her husband since 2013 and their first son was born in September of 2017. She has a Jack Russell Terrier named Luna. Allison joined the GCS staff in 2019.
Psalm 46:1, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”
Mrs. Johnson earned her BS in Physical Education, with a minor in Bible, from Biola University located in La Mirada, CA. Following graduation, she completed her post-baccalaureate teaching certification through Ottawa University, in Arizona. In 2002, she earned her Masters in Education from Northern Arizona University. She taught in the local public schools as a science and PE teacher, before staying home to take care of her children. She and her children are grateful to be part of the Gilbert Christian family for so many years.
Mr. Johnson graduated from The Ohio State University in 2005 and 2006, receiving a Bachelor’s of Science in Mathematics and a Masters of Education in Mathematics focusing in Secondary Education. After college, Mr. Johnson moved to Georgia where he taught for two years at East Paulding High School. In addition to his teaching responsibilities, Mr. Johnson coached several sports including basketball, golf, and fastpitch softball. In 2008, Mr. Johnson moved to Arizona to Fountain Hills High School. During his five years there, Mr. Johnson taught Geometry, Geometry Concepts, Algebra 2, Algebra 2 Honors, AP Calculus AB, and AP Calculus BC. He was also the head coach of the basketball team at Fountain Hills amassing 98 wins, five consecutive trips to the state tournament (including state runners-up in 2011), and two region coaches of the year. In 2013, Mr. Johnson changed to Skyline High School in Mesa, Arizona. He taught Geometry, Geometry Honors, and Algebra 2 in his time at Skyline. In 2015, Mr. Johnson joined the high school staff at Gilbert Christian High School as a math teacher (Algebra 2/Trigonometry, Precalculus, Statistics, Calculus 1, and Calculus 2) and as the varsity assistant boys’ basketball coach. In 2017, he moved to administration serving as the high school vice principal. In 2019, Mr.
Johnson became the district athletic director. In his free time, Mr. Johnson enjoys golfing and spending time with his wife, Andrea, and daughter, Stephanie.
Chris has received his B.A. in Pastoral Studies from Vanguard University, a Single Subject Teaching Credential (grades 8-12) in Social Science, and a Special Education Teaching Credential – Mild/Moderate for grades K-12. He has been teaching for over 15 years in private and public schools. Chris enjoys mountain and road biking, playing soccer, and enjoys being outside with his family. His wife Kelly, and children Asa and Gavin are currently seeking a church home in the valley. Chris started working for GCS in 2019.
Isaiah 55:8-9, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways, declares the Lord. For the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.” NASB
She received her Bachelor’s Degree from Vanguard University of Southern California in 2000 and her teaching credential from California State University Dominguez Hills in 2005. She has been teaching since 2001 in California She enjoys reading, cooking, baking, and spending time with her family. She can also play the guitar and has led worship at her church in the past. As she and her husband are new to the area, they are still searching for a home church. She and her husband, Chris, have 2 boys: Asa and Gavin. Kelly began working for GCS in 2019.
Her favorite verse is Psalm 37:4 “Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.”
Mrs. Kao has completed her B.A. in Business Administration from the University of Massachusettes (Amherst, MA). She also has a K-8 Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from Notre Dame de Namur University (Belmont, CA.) and a Master of Education – Language and Literacy from Harvard Graduation School of Education (Cambridge, MA). Mrs. Kao has been teaching for since 2011 and has been a Children’s Ministry Director since 2015. An interesting fact about her is that she still stays in touch with her own 3rd-grade teacher. Her and her husband George, have 2 boys and 1 girl. They currently worship together at Cornerstone Church in Chandler. Mrs. Kao has been a part of our GCS Staff since 2017.
“The Lord God is my Strength, my personal bravery, and my invincible army.” Habakkuk 3:19a AMPC
Mr. Keener graduated from Wittenberg University in 1978 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history and secondary education. He earned his Masters of Science degree in Sports Management from the United States Sports Academy in 1986. Mr. Keener spent 35 years at Detroit Country Day School in Beverly Hills, Michigan where he taught history, coached the boy’s varsity basketball team and served as the Director of Upper School Athletics. When he left Michigan, he had the second highest boys coach winnings in Michigan prep history with a record of 688-121. In that time he coached DCDS to nine state championships and produced four McDonald’s All-Americans. As a member of Rosedale Park Baptist Church, he was active in many ministries including youth Sunday School, church landscaping, the homeless ministry and the urban garden ministry. Mr. Keener came to Gilbert Christian Schools to work in an environment in which the pursuit of academic and athletic excellence is achieved in an atmosphere of Scriptural based spiritual growth. Away from school, Mr. Keener enjoys gardening, hiking, and watching sports events. He and his wife Nedra have two grown sons.
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.
Steve and his wife, Drew are both natives of Arizona. When considering schooling options for their children, Gilbert Christian Schools quickly rose to the top because of their commitment to academic excellence and the genuine care the teachers have for each student, all within the framework of a Christian worldview. Steve and Drew have three children at GCS in elementary school. Steve has seen and been a part of the growth of the valley as a leader in the Arizona construction industry for over twenty years and their family loves being outdoors whenever they get the opportunity. Steve and Drew are members of Grace Bible Church in Tempe and serve in various ways with a passion for seeing the unreached come to Christ.
Christina Lang is a California native who graduated from Azusa Pacific University with a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies and minors in English and Bible in 2000. Education and Church Ministry have been her focus for the last 17 years as she has taught in Jr. High/High School, Children’s Ministry, Marriage Ministry, Women’s Ministry, and most recently as a Keynote Speaker in several churches and conferences across the country. Her greatest joy is to proclaim the message of freedom that can be found only when one surrenders their entire life to the saving grace of Jesus Christ. She has written for several publications, including Focus on the Family, and published her first book (a woman’s Bible Study) in 2015. Christina feels strongly that God led her family to Gilbert Christian School. Her new role as Guidance Counselor will allow her to pair two of her greatest passions: education and ministry. Working with students, teaching them to live intentionally by setting attainable goals, while simultaneously realizing that their greatest worth will always be found in their Creator is what she is most excited about. Christina and her husband Brandon are active members of Mission Community Church along with their six children who all attend Gilbert Christian School.
Krista received her Bachelor Degree in Education from ASU with reading and math endorsements. She also received a Middle School endorsement. Krista has spent 5 years teaching junior high math in Mesa Public Schools and 3 years teaching in various positions at Gilbert Christian Schools. An interesting fun fact about Krista, is that she does Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. She has worshiped at Central Christian since 4th grade and attended for about 30 years. Krista is married with 3 children who attend Gilbert Christian Schools and her and her husband also foster. 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
Matthew Littlefield has been an educator for the last 15 years, starting his teaching career at Oaks Christian High School in California. He became a teacher after graduating from Vanguard University with his BS in Biology and Chemistry. His family moved to Arizona in 2004, where he continued teaching at St. Paul’s Academy while working on his Masters in Educational Leadership from Ottawa University. Upon getting his Principal certificate, he became an administrator at St. Paul’s before moving on to AAEC South Mountain and AAEC Red Mountain where he was the Principal until 2010. During this time he completed a Certificate in Graduate Studies from Ottawa in Psychology. After completing his Masters, he continued his education at ASU where he completed his doctoral work in Educational Leadership, Policy, and Change. In February 2014 he joined the GCS community as the high school principal. His four kids attend GCS and allow him to see his students grow and mature under the guidance of Christian teacher’s. Matthew raises his four children by himself after being widowed in 2013, when his wife suddenly passed away. He feels incredibly blessed to be part of such an amazing community and school.
Mayra Lopez studied International Commerce in her hometown Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico at Kino University, where she received her bachelor’s degree. It was until 2009 that she began working in Children’s Ministries with East Valley Bible Church and also started teaching private Spanish lessons to small groups of homeschool children. In 2012, she taught Spanish for elementary and middle school (fifth-eighth grades) at Grace Community Christian School in Tempe. After that, she worked at Eduprize Schools for three years as an aide, and just for the last year, as an aid in the enrollment department too. She became part of GCS as a Spanish middle school teacher in 2016. In her school days, she had the privilege of attending to a Christian high school. For her, those were the most meaningful years of her childhood. She loved how all teachers taught her to address every situation in her life with the Bible, and it was there that she learned how to have a real relationship with Jesus. She met her best friends there, and after all these years they still stayed so close, as a family. Mayra is married to her best friend and love of her life Josue Lopez who is one of the pastors at Redemption Church West Mesa, and he is also the worship leader. They have two children: Misael (16) and Michelle (12), and they’re also part of the worship team by playing drums and piano.
“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
Mr. Lovelady received his Bachelor of Arts from Washington State University and a Temporary Principal Certification from ACSI. He is currently working towards his Masters in Educational Leadership. For the past 25 years, he had the privilege of working in Tacoma, Washington, at Life Christian Academy with middle school and high school students in a variety of roles including teacher, dean of students, varsity basketball coach, athletic director, dean of spiritual life, department chair, upper vice principal, middle school principal, and director of advancement (marketing, retention, tuition assistance, alumni, and fundraising). He has thoroughly enjoyed mentoring students, partnering with parents, and building relationships with the staff and teachers. Mark was the 15-time speed skate champion and the school table tennis champion at his last school. He also had the privilege of coaching both the High School boys and girls basketball teams last year and both teams qualified for the state tournament (first time in Washington State history) Currently, Mark and his wife are looking for a new church home in Arizona for their family. For over 35 years they were attending Life Center Church in Tacoma, Washington and also served as an assistant youth pastor for 15 years. He has been married to his wife Jennifer for since 1994. They have four children Alexis, Luke, Landyn, and Ashton. Alexis is currently working in Scottsdale and Luke is on scholarship playing basketball at Western Washington University. Landyn will be a Senior at Gilbert Christian High School this year and Ashton will be in the 8th Grade at our Greenfield Campus. Mark joined our Gilbert Christian Schools staff in the summer of 2018.
“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Romans 12:2
My name is Amy Majeski, and I have been a part of the Gilbert Christian community since 2013. I feel very privileged to work in a school where the Lord is the foundation and focus. I know that God specifically called me to Gilbert Christian Schools, a responsibility I do not take lightly. It is my goal as an administrator to cultivate a trusting and productive relationship between parents, students, and staff through a Biblically centered worldview, where students can gain an understanding of the world we live in, interpret life situations and apply Biblical truths in all areas of life. I earned a BA in Social and Behavioral Science and Elementary Education from Seattle Pacific University with endorsements in K-12 Social Studies and History in 1995, and MS of Education in Educational Administration from Grand Canyon University in 2019. God truly directed me to Christian Education where my philosophy of education is firmly founded in my love for Christ. Living out 1 Corinthians 13:4 “Love is patient, love is kind….” gives me strength every single day to share this love with others around me.
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.
My name is Kim Martin, and I have had the privilege of being a part of Gilbert Christian Schools since 2000. I teach all day Kindergarten, and I feel blessed to continue to educate alongside dedicated and excellent teachers. I grew up in Phoenix and attended college at Arizona Bible College, where I studied Elementary Education. My husband and I have been married for over 30 years and have three children, Amanda, Nik, and Michael. My favorite thing about teaching is sharing the love of Jesus with my students every day. My prayer is that they will know they are loved with the everlasting love of God and will accept the gift of salvation through Jesus. I’m delighted to learn and explore with your children this year!
Mrs. Masci earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from Arizona State University. She received her Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis on Reading from Grand Canyon University. Mrs. Masci has been teaching since 2009 and in those years she has taught 2nd and 3rd grade in the Chandler Unified School District. She has been born and raised here in our lovely state of Arizona. Mrs. Masci and her husband have been married since 2014 and are currently worshipping and serving at their church Redemption Tempe. She became part of our GCS Staff in 2018.
“The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise Him.” Psalm 28:7
Mrs. Mazzola earned her MS in Mathematics in 2017 and in Math Education: Curriculum and Instruction in 2002. She taught for five years before staying home to take care of her children. Since 2012, she has also taught Algebra and Trigonometry at Chandler-Gilbert Community College. She began her career with GCS as a substitute teacher. Mrs. Mazzola and her husband, Dan, have three boys who attend GCS, Daniel, Joshua, and Anthony. The Mazzola’s are active participants of Redemption Church, lead Bible studies and are Cub & Boy Scout den leaders. Mrs. Mazzola loves to share God’s ingenuity with her students through the instruction of mathematics.
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.
Amy graduated from California State University, Long Beach in 2006 with my Bachelor’s Degree and Teaching Certificate for K-8th grade. Then, she graduated from Azuza Pacific University in 2009 with my Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership. Amy also holds my Standard Arizona Teaching Certificate for PreK-12th grade and Arizona Principal’s Certificate for PreK-12th grade. She began teaching in 2003 at a Christ Lutheran Preschool in California. In 2006 Amy moved on to teaching elementary school first in California and now in Arizona. She taught all grades preschool through 5th grade and have been an Instructional Coach as well. Amy loves to exercise and take Zumba and Hip-Hop classes. She was in competitive dance as a child (for 18 years actually) which lead me to my first job working at Disneyland in the character department. Disneyland was a magical place to work. She and her family currently attend and serve at Rockpoint Church in Queen Creek and love it! She is married to her high school sweetheart in 2004. They have three beautiful children and two fur babies. Amy became part of the GCS staff in 2019.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
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.
“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” Isaiah 26:3
Mrs. Moore is so happy to teach children in a Christian environment because she loves to help each child grow academically and spiritually. She has a BS in Elementary Education from Northern Arizona University and is Arizona state certification. She homeschooled her own children and has spent many years in the elementary classroom including teaching 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 Grace Community Church.
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13
John received his Bachelor of Arts in Vocal Performance from Grand Canyon University in 2018. He has been teaching since 2019. John serves as a deacon at Agros Reformed Baptist church, enjoys rock climbing, and within three weeks had sung at Carnegie Hall, graduated from GCU, and married his beautiful wife! John joined the GCS staff in 2019.
“Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”‘ John 11:25-26, NKJV
Mrs Murray earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from Westmont College in Santa Barbara, then a Master’s Degree in Special Education from the University of Phoenix. She began her teaching career at Gilbert Christian Schools as a substitute teacher in 2008. Mrs. Murray considers teaching at GCS a great blessing and cherishes every day with her students!
Miss Nelson is an Arizona native and recently graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Education for Early Childhood and Early Childhood Special Education. She currenlty worships at Redeemer Reformed Baptist Church. She feels blessed to be able to combine her love for the Lord with her passion for teaching and can’t wait to see what God has in store this school year! Miss Nelson has been teaching at Gilbert Christian Schools since 2017.
“For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.” John 1:16
Ness, Marry Katherine
Mrs. Ness was born and raised in Georgia but moved to Arizona in 2009 to attend college. She is a graduate of Grand Canyon University, where she received a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education with an emphasis in Math and a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction of Reading. Mrs. Ness began her teaching career in 2011 in her hometown of Lilburn, Georgia, at the Christian school that she attended kindergarten through twelfth grade. In 2014, she moved to Arizona to work with English Language Learners, but was excited when God called her back into Christian education. She became a part of the GCS Staff in 2017. Mrs. Ness and her husband, Thomas, attend and enjoy serving at Scottsdale Bible Church.
Coach Norris graduated from Grand Canyon University in 2012 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise Science with an emphasis in Health Education. Coach Norris has been a teacher since 2016 as a Physical Education/Weight Lifting Teacher and Sports Performance Coach. During the 2018-2019 school year, Coach Norris served in an Administration role as an Athletic Director and Head of Discipline at a 7th-12th Junior High and High School. Prior to working in Education, Coach Norris was a Personal Trainer/Sports Performance Coach for 7 years. Coach Norris is the Head Football Coach at Gilbert Christian High School and has been a high school football coach in Arizona since 2009. Coach Norris attends New City Church in Phoenix, AZ and has been a member since 2014. He began working for GCS in 2019.
“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32
Mike Paasch received his MA in Spanish Linguistics at New Mexico State University and his BA in Political Science at ASU. Languages have been a big part of his life: he is fluent in Spanish and spent a year studying Arabic. He and his family have lived abroad for the gospel in Mexico and North Africa. God saved him during his college studies and gave him a desire to reach the nations far and near with the good news of Jesus. He is married to Lynne and has two daughters: Hannah and Amy. They are foster parents. He has engaged in cross-cultural service for many years. His desire is to encourage this generation of students to pour out their lives for Jesus!
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
Mr. Pasquariello Graduated from Washington State University in 2007 with a BA in History. He received his Masters in Teaching from City University of Seattle in 2009. After moving to Arizona in 2009, Mr. Pasquariello began working in the Washington Elementary District at New Beginnings Academy, the behavior school for that district. In his final year at New Beginnings, he was the on-site coordinator. In 2013 Mr. Pasquariello took a job at Carson Jr. High teaching 7th-grade social studies. At the same time, he began first as an assistant then as the JV Boys coach at Westwood High School. In 2015 He began teaching at Westwood High School where he taught World History, US History, and AP US History. In addition to basketball, Mr. Pasquariello also coached Girls Golf. Mr. Pasquariello enjoys spending time with his family, whether it is a quiet night at home or going out to experience what Arizona has to offer. He also enjoys watching and playing basketball, reading (mostly history), and playing video games. Mr. Pasquariello and his family currently addend Redemption Church Gateway. Mr. Pasquariello married current GCS teacher Mrs. Pasquariello in 2011. They have two children. The oldest, Tate, born in 2012, began Kindergarten at GCS in 2018. Bryton was born in 2015. Mr. Pasquariello joined the GCS staff in 2019.
“For it is by grace that you have been saved through faith. And this is not of yourselves but it is the gift of God” Ephesians 2:8
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 History at Gilbert Christian. She is married to Shawn Patterson, head of the Security Department at GCS. All of their children are grown now and two presently 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.”
Mrs. Perey has her Bachelor’s in Education and 28 years of experience. She is married to her husband Dale and has four children Lane, Allison, Sara, and Grant. She and her family currently worship at Reformation OPC. Mrs. Perey has been a part of GCS Staff since 2018.
“They who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31
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.
Mary Phillippe has been a believer in Jesus Christ since she was 15 years old, and she is looking forward to sharing her faith with GCS first graders as a first-grade teacher for 2019-20. She holds a master’s degree in elementary education, and she has over 17 years of classroom experience. “I am very excited to get to know the children at GCS. I want to know each child and family well,” said Mrs. Phillippe. Her son Austin works in the family business and attends college and her daughter Logan is an ASU graduate. Mary attends and serves at Sun Valley Church and has served as a volunteer at the Crisis Pregnancy as part of her ministry to others.
Kellie received her Bachelors of Science in Business Management and has prior experience teaching Sunday School, coaching Jr. high softball, and being a mom at home. She loves to play sports and defines herself as pretty competitive in that area. Currently, Kellie worships at Impact Church in Scottsdale, AZ. She has been married to her husband Brandon for 11 years and they have four boys: Elias, Kaden, Tobin, and Judah. All four of their children attend Gilbert Christian Schools. Kellie joined our staff in 2018.
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39
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.”
Mrs. Purtell has a B.A. in Education, an M.A. in Reading Instruction, a Principal Certification, and is recognized as Highly Qualified in Middle School/High School History. She has over 12 years of experience and loves to read and hike. Mrs. Purtell has actually hiked in Spain, Croatia, France, Switzerland, Italy, Austria, Slovenia, Scotland, and of course the USA. She has been married to her husband Dan for over 25 years with four children: Sarah, Nathan, Rebekah, and Rachael. Mrs. Purtell joined our Gilbert Christian Schools staff in 2018.
“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust’.” Psalm 91:1-2
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.
Jordan Rakita received his Masters of Music in Choral Conducting from Northern Arizona University. Prior to that, he completed a Bachelor of Music Education and a Bachelor of Arts in Music from NAU. Jordan has been teaching since 2015, working primarily with high school students. He loves to play basketball and ultimate frisbee. Jordan currently attends Calvary Chapel Central in Glendale where he is one of the worship leaders. He has an amazing wife Kayla, a daughter named Ruby and another child due in September. They are waiting to find out if it’s a boy or girl! Jordan joined our GCS staff in 2019.
Ephesians 2:4-5 “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ-by grace you have been saved.”
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 taught 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 in Christian education because of the ability to interweave God in the school day, and specifically the atmosphere at GCS. It is her passion to teach and instill a life-long love of learning in her students. Mrs. Renaud and her family attend Central Christian (Gilbert campus).
I am a parent of a 6th grader and a 4th grader and currently enjoy coaching 6th-grade soccer. I am also the Executive Pastor of Mission Community Church. I really enjoy the outdoors and anything that has to do with fishing, hiking, soccer, and eating. Our family currently worship at Mission Community Church and we truly believe that Jesus is the answer. I have been a member of the Board since 2014.
Romans 10:13:“For ‘Whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’”
Jenny received her Bachelors in Arts Degree from Western Governor’s University. She has been teaching for over 7 years and was born and raised in Florida where she learned to swim in the Atlantic Ocean. Jenny and her wonderful husband have been married since 1985 and have 4 wonderful sons. She is the oldest in her family of 6 children. Jenny became part of the GCS Staff in 2019.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6
Mr. Roberts earned both his B.A. and M.Ed. from Arizona State University. He is certified to teach K-12 physical education and also holds an administrative certification. While at ASU, Mr. Roberts played as an offensive lineman for the Sun Devil football team. He has 35 years of teaching experience and spent the first 31 years of his career teaching Physical Education in the Mesa Public School district before joining the GCS team in the fall of 2015. Mr. Roberts was recognized as the 1998 National Elementary Physical Education Teacher of the Year by the National Association of Sport and Physical Education. He loves working with both children and young adults in order to cultivate in students a love for physical fitness and an active lifestyle. Mr. Roberts is thankful for the opportunity to impact the lives of students both in their physical development and in their development in godliness. He loves the Word of God and is blessed to be able to share the Gospel and love for Jesus with the students of Gilbert Christian.
1 Timothy 4:8 “For bodily exercise has some value, but godliness has value in all things, having the promise of the life which is now, and of that which is to come.”
Mr. Robinson graduated from Grand Canyon University in 2014 with a Bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education (English). He currently attends Tempe Nazarene Church, where he serves on the church board and as the lead guitar player for the main service’s worship team. He married his wife, Megan Robinson, in 2010. He and his wife are parents to a 2-year-old daughter, Rory, and are expecting another daughter, Riley, to arrive in August of this year (2019). He is also currently pursuing his Master’s in Biblical and Theological Studies at Phoenix Seminary. In his spare time, he plays guitar and enjoys spending time with his family. He also likes playing and watching soccer. He is excited to work at GCS because of the ability the school provides to implement Biblical and spiritual teaching and guidance throughout his classes, which he believes provides each student with a truly complete education.
Mrs. Ruggiero was born and raised in New York City. She earned a B.S. in Elementary Education from East Stroudsburg University in Pennsylvania. She taught in private schools until she and her husband, Will, and daughter, Jessica, relocated to Apache Junction, Arizona. As her husband built his horseshoeing business, she began teaching second grade in a small Christian school in Apache Junction and then in Chandler. Six years after moving to Arizona, her family was blessed with another little girl. With her husband’s business established, she stepped away from her teaching career to home-school their daughter, Janelle. Although it was an incredible blessing to home-school, they are thrilled that Janelle now attends Gilbert Christian. Mrs. Ruggiero has taught second grade at Gilbert Christian since 2017. As a family, they attend Rock Point Church and enjoy horseback riding, hiking and family game night. They continually praise and thank God for His faithfulness and provision as they look forward to another great year.
“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen” Ephesians 3:20-21
Mrs Ryals has a Masters degree in Early Childhood Education from Auburn University. She spent ten years serving 1st-grade families in private and public education before moving to Arizona. She has taken extra college courses and attended technology conferences as the Lord has prepared her to serve as a teacher. She and her husband (Alex) and their two daughters (Abby and Alyssa) attend Christ Church where she is involved in children’s ministry.
Mrs. Samp graduated, Summa Cum Laude in 2012, from Northern Arizona University with a degree in Elementary 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.
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.
Dakota Smith has been teaching 9th Grade Bible and leading as the Spiritual Life Director at GCHS since 2015. He also serves as the Young Families Pastor at Mesa Baptist Church. In 2012 he graduated from Arizona Christian University, and in 2017 earned his Master’s from Grace School of Theology. He has also served as a missionary for the Bob Tebow Evangelistic Association in the Philippines. In 2014, he married his wife and best friend, Shannon. As a Registered Nurse, she also has a passion for the lost and joins Dakota in ministry efforts. They have three children: Selah (4), Josiah (2), and Hosanna (6 mo). As for hobbies, Dakota loves hiking, backpacking, and the Dallas Cowboys. Ultimately, his passion is for the lost as he makes it his final endeavor to unashamedly proclaim the Good News of Jesus (Rom. 1:16) to all who will hear.
Ashley first started at GCHS as the school’s certified athletic trainer in 2015 after graduating from the University of South Florida. In 2017 she began teaching sports medicine as well. Ashley currently attends Compass Christian Church in Chandler. One of her life verses is Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” She honestly believes it was God’s plan to bring her to GCHS. This school quickly became like a family to her. Nothing brings her more joy than getting to teach what she is passionate about every day while helping students and athletes grow spiritually as well. Watching students go from not knowing how to rip tape to taping ankles confidently each year has most definitely been a highlight in her time here.
Mr. Stow has a B.S. in Physical Education from Southeastern Oklahoma State University, an M.A in Christian Education from Southwestern Seminary, and an M.A. in Organizational Leadership from Biola University. He has 13 years of teaching experience and also has experience working in a church and non-profit settings. From 2015-2017, Mr. Stow and his family lived and served on a University campus in central China. He loves to travel and experience new cultures. Mr. Stow has traveled to six of the seven continents (Antarctica is on his bucket list). Jay and his family enjoy serving International students at ASU. Jay is thankful for his family, his wife Jennifer and daughter Landry. They attend church at Calvary East Valley in Gilbert. Mr. Stow joined our Gilbert Christian Schools staff in 2018.
“Then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose.” Philippians 2:2
Mrs. Tolson is teaching the 3-year olds at Gilbert Christian’s Greenfield Campus. She has a AA degree in Early Childhood Education from Central Arizona College. She also attended Northern Arizona University and majored in Business Administration. She has taught preschoolers for more than 35 years and has been both a Director and an Assistant Director at three Christian preschools. Mrs. Tolson provides a loving, nurturing and fun-filled environment that encourages and fosters curiosity, a love of learning, and the freedom to be creative. She LOVES her job. Mrs. Tolson is enthusiastic about teaching and bringing experience and knowledge to the classroom. She is an active member of the Children’s Ministry at her church and knows how important it is to provide a Christ-inspired classroom environment and to instill moral values in our children. Her goal is to help the children learn the educational basics and to understand that all our blessings come from God. Mrs. Tolson is excited to be a part of such a fantastic teaching team. She looks forward to sharing age-appropriate scriptures and stories with the little ones and to help them to “meet, know and follow Jesus”.
“Always give thanks to God.” Ephesians 5:20
Mrs. Tutty received her B.A. in Music and Speech Communication from the University of Washington and her Masters in Music from Boise State University. She also holds her Arizona Teaching Certification for K-8. Mrs. Tutty has spent 2 years as a 4th-grade teacher; Choral/Music faculty at Arizona School for the Arts, Rosie’s House, and Rolling Hills Charter School. She has served as Assistant Director and Accompanist with the Phoenix Girls Chorus since 2010. Mrs. Tutty loves family hiking, jogging, listening to her favorite podcasts, Boise State Football, and Starbucks dates with her husband. She and her husband Jeremy have three children; Kambry, Chaucer, and Ellerie, and they currently worship at Central Christian Church. Mrs. Tutty has been a part of GCS Staff since 2018.
“Cast all your anxiety upon Him because He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7
Mrs.Vanni was born in Florida, raised in Georgia, but found her home in Arizona. Her career began as a Designer of interior spaces and printed materials. She has a Bachelor of Science in Design from the College of Architecture at Arizona State University. Mrs. Vanni worked for 10 years in the Architecture field, then gave it up when she became a mom but God had another plan to use her gifts and talents in a different way. She is currently Greenfield’s Art teacher…teaching 2nd – 8th graders to tap into their creativity and to open their eyes to God’s beautiful artwork that surrounds us all. Mrs.Vanni enjoys quiet moments, paint on her hands, the smell of rain before a storm, the sound of waves on the beach, reading a good book, gazing at the stars, and helping someone in need. She is a visionary with her head in the clouds but her feet firmly planted in God’s word. Her life is a reflection of Christ inside of her and it is a masterpiece in the making. She has been married to her husband, Steve, for over 20 years and has two children that attend GCS.
” For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”…Ephesians 2:10 NLT
Debbie taught for many years homeschooling her children, teaching art and substituting at a nearby elementary Christian school. In 2013, Debbie joined the faculty of GCS as a sixth-grade teacher, and in 2017, became part of the founding team that opened GCS Greenfield which was a great privilege for her where she now teaches Honors History and Honors English to 7th and 8th-grade students. Debbie believes God has called her to encourage and minister to students at GCS by sharing her faith in and love for Christ that they may be nurtured in their walk with the Lord. Among the gifts, God has given Debbie are a passion for history and art and a love of language arts. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from Grand Canyon University where she earned her Highly Qualified status in both K-8 Language Arts and Middle School History and will soon have her Masters degree in Teaching American History and Government. Debbie married her high school sweetheart, Michael, and they live in Mesa with their two little dachshund puppies. They have a son in Mesa, a daughter and son-in-law in Colorado, and a grandson, Daniel, who is the light of their lives!
Marie Wilson has served in education for many years. She began teaching in 1986 in the Chandler school district and became the principal of Chandler Christian School in 1997. After seven years at CCS, her husband’s work took them to Southern California where she taught and led the after school program at Mariners Christian School. Marie has also been principal and assistant superintendent for a large charter school district here in Arizona. Although she enjoys all aspects of school leadership, Marie feels God has genuinely called her to Christian Education and is delighted to be the first principal of the GCS Greenfield campus. She loves educating children, supporting parents, and mentoring teachers in a Christ-centered environment that brings God glory. Marie holds a Bachelor’s Degree from AZ State University and a Master’s Degree from Northern AZ University. Marie and her high school sweetheart, Doyle, have been married since 1986. They have an adult son and daughter, son-in-law and grandson.
One of her favorite verses is Psalm 119:105 “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.”
Mr. Wilson teaches High School Bible and serves as the Director of Biblical Integration for the district. He received his Masters from Phoenix Seminary and his Bachelors from Northern Arizona University. He is an avid bowhunter and outdoorsman. Mr. Wilson has been married to his wife Jeannie for 9 years and they have two children, Abigail and Caleb, who both attend GCS. He joined the Gilbert Christian Schools staff in 2017.
“For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.” Hebrews 10:14
Mrs. Zimmerman has a BA in Elementary Education an MA in Bilingual/Multicultural Education and is Certified by the Arizona Department of Education to teach grades K-8, with endorsements in middle grades (5th – 9th) and ESL. She has taught in public schools and private Christian schools for over 18 years with experience teaching in elementary school, middle school and behavior disorder classrooms. Much of her experience includes training in science and math, including the opportunity to train teachers to teach science through the D.E.S.E.R.T. Project, science conventions, and the Christian School Educators Science Academy. She currently attends Two Rivers Church in Gilbert. She has been married for over 22 wonderful years of marriage. They have two children, a young adult and a student who attends GCS.
“It is both an honor and a blessing for my family to be a part of Gilbert Christian School. Though I have been shot by a machine gun, fallen from out of a tree, and have been run over by a truck, the Lord sustains me, keeps me, and has filled me with his joy!”
Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.