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
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
In 2018, Joy graduated from Spring Arbor University with a degree in Elementary Education and Early Childhood. She student taught in a second-grade classroom and preschool classroom after graduation. She has been working in preschool centers since then. Joy is from Michigan! She loves being outside especially near the ocean or the mountains. She loves listening to music, watching movies, being alive outside, and being with her friends and family. Joy currently attends Mission Community Church. Joy comes from a family of educators. Both her parents taught at the Christian school she attended from preschool to senior year. She has a brother who lives in Virginia and a sister who is a teacher here in the chandler school district. Joy has 5 nephews–3 of the 5 live in Virginia and the other 2 live here in Gilbert. Joy started at GCS in the fall of 2020.
“Do you send the lightning bolts on their way? Do they report to you, ‘Here we are’? Who gives the ibis wisdom or gives ibis wisdom or gives the rooster understanding? Who has the wisdom to count the clouds? Who can tip over the water jars of the heavens?” Job 38:35-37
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)
Rachel Boylan graduated from Concordia University Nebraska in 2011 with a B.S. in Education and a B.A. in English and completed a master’s in reading instruction in 2015. Originally from Southern California, Ms. Boylan has spent her life traveling 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 English at Gilbert Christian since 2015 and is looking forward to many years to come!
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 2-6 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. Diane feels totally blessed to be a part of the GCS community.
Sarah Carson received her B.S. in Elementary Education from Millikin University. She holds a PK-3rd grade certification in Ohio and Arizona. Her teaching experience started in 1997 and involves 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 just completed 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 two daughters named Charleigh (3) and Skylar “Sky” (born on February 14th). 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.
Tyffany Clements received her B.A. in Elementary Education from Arizona State University. Her experience includes 2 years of teaching kindergarten at Hull Elementary in Chandler, 2 years of teaching preschool in her home, and 8 years of homeschooling. She grew up in Salina, Kansas, but has lived in Arizona since 2001. Outside of teaching, Tyffany enjoys spending time doing large puzzles and camping, hiking, and biking with her family. Tyffany and her husband Kirby have been married since 2002 and have three boys, Keaton, Treyton, and Carsten, who all attend Gilbert Christian Schools. Tyffany has been a part of our Gilbert Christian Schools staff since 2019 and is excited to be a part of all that God is doing here. She is thrilled to be following her passion for teaching as well as leading her students to discover and follow God’s purpose for their lives. She and her family currently attend Desert Springs Church. Tyffany joined the GCS staff in 2020.
“The heart of a man heart plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” Proverbs 16:9
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 to continue to develop the 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 Bachelors of Arts in Liberal Studies from California State University, Fullerton in 1998, and in 2000 her teaching certification and Masters in Education from National University. She started teaching 6th grade in 2013 at Mesa Public Schools and, through an incredible God story, was placed at GCS in 2019. The Doest Family attends Christ Church of the Valley-East Valley campus where they have the opportunity to serve God and others through various ministries. Her life is filled with the love from her husband and three boys. She enjoys running, cooking yummy meals, and her most treasured times are with her family around the dinner table or at the beach in Southern California.
Philippians 2:3 “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.”
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 an 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, since 1987. She has two adult children and is blessed with grandchildren. 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 and has been teaching in the classroom ever since. She spent one year in a charter school before joining GCS in the fall of 2012. 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.
Rachelle Hayes has been a part of Gilbert Christian Schools since 2015 and wholeheartedly enjoys serving the students and parents of GCS. Mrs. Hayes is originally from Minnesota where she earned her Bachelors of Science Degree from the nationally accredited teaching college, St. Cloud State University. She moved to Arizona and began her teaching career in 1998. Mrs. Hayes has been a public and charter school teacher and has experience with students in the primary, upper elementary, and middle school grades. Rachelle received her Masters in Educational Leadership from Northern Arizona University in 2001 and is ACSI certified. She and her husband Dean have been married since 2000. They have three children Mikaily, Nolan, and Kianna. As a family, they worship and serve at Rock Point Church. They also enjoy watching and playing sports, swimming, vacations, and going to the movies together. Rachelle is passionate about God and teaching his children and considers it a blessing to be his hands and feet in the classroom and in their home.
Her favorite verse is Ephesians 2:9-10, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
Mr. Henderson graduated from NAU in 1983 with a B.S. in Public Relations. In 1991, he completed his B.S. in Elementary Education. He worked as a classroom teacher at Shumway Elementary School in Chandler teaching 5th and 6th grade for nearly 8 years. He left the classroom and joined the school fundraising industry, and as a result, worked with students in over 350 different schools and organizations all across the state of Arizona. In 2015, he returned to the education field joining GCS at that time. Mr. Henderson grew up in a Christian home and at age eleven he made a decision to follow Christ. He has been married to Trinka, a first-grade teacher with GCS, for 37 years. Their daughter, Mariah and husband, Luis, live in the valley with their new granddaughter, Kodi. Mr. and Mrs. Henderson currently attend Sun Valley Community Church, while serving in the area of missions. They previously attended Compass (Chandler) Christian Church where Mr. Henderson served as an elder for nine years and youth/children’s ministry leader for 19 years. He has a true heart for leading young people to understand God’s Word and looks forward to teaching Bible and ELA 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.”
Mrs. Trinka Henderson is a First Grade teacher at the Greenfield campus. She received her B.S. in Early Childhood Education with a Special Ed. an emphasis in 1985 from NAU. She began teaching in the Chandler School District that year as well. In 2001 she received her Masters in Curriculum and Instruction from NAU. She was called into teaching in Christian schools in 2002 where she taught at Hope Christian Academy for 13 years and 2 years at Bethany Christian School. She joined GCS in 2016 and helped open the Greenfield campus the following year. Mrs. Henderson’s husband, Mark is a 6th-grade teacher here as well, and they attend Sun Valley Church, where they serve in the missions area. They previously attended Compass Christian Church where she served in youth ministry for 19 years. Their daughter, Mariah, husband Luis, and new granddaughter, Kodi live in the valley. Mrs. Henderson is looking forward to helping little Kodi learn to read and loves summer travels to the cool pines of northern Arizona and Colorado. Teaching is her passion and she says “it is a gift from God, to pour His life into young lives enabling them to grow spiritually, emotionally and academically.” Her students have a unique way of beginning each school day. “We recite Eph. 6:10-20 every day and the kids love to put on the full armor of God to begin our day of learning.”
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.
Having been a part of Gilbert Christian Schools for over twenty years, in a variety of roles including parent, prayer/mission coordinator, substitute, part-time and full-time teacher, Mrs. Hightower has experienced from a unique perspective, the development and emergence of a quality Christian school. Her passion for her own four children, as well as those who continue to attend here, has been to help them grow physically, academically, emotionally and spiritually to be all they can be in Christ. Mrs. Hightower’s varied background including a B.A. from East Stroudsburg University, PA, along with extensive dance and performance experience gleaned from years of living in the NY metropolitan area, have enabled her to serve in a variety of roles at the school. The shared focus of staff and teachers alike, to support one another, while wholeheartedly serving the Lord, their families and students is unmatched by anything she previously encountered. Mrs. Hightower continues to be exceedingly blessed to be able to teach, facilitate prayer and provide ministry opportunities that lead to the expansion of God’s kingdom at GCS and beyond, through the impacted lives of our students and families!
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 teaches all-day kindergarten. She received her B.A. in elementary education from Westmont College. She began teaching elementary school in Colorado in 1993. She taught second and third grade in Colorado, and then she stepped away from teaching to be home with her children. She is enjoying being back in the classroom. Her favorite things to do are spend time with her family, read, and explore the outdoors. Mrs. Hoyle loves to teach and feels honored to be able to share the love of God with her students. Her family attends Christ Church. Mrs. Hoyle and her husband have been married for over 25 years 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.”
Melissa Hudson graduated from Arizona State University in 2017 with here Degree in music education and state certification in K-12 music. She finished her masters in Curriculum and Instruction in Applied Behavior Analysis in 2019. Mrs. Hudson taught middle and high school band and choir at ASU Preparatory Academy for three years. She worked with the Phoenix Girls Chorus for 2 years. She also teaches private piano and voice lessons. Melissa enjoys any sort of craft including scrapbooking, knitting, and sewing. She also enjoys playing sports like volleyball and basketball. Mrs. Hudson is the worship leader at CrossPoinTempe Church and lives with her husband Jaron. Melissa joined the GCS staff in 2020.
“Sing to the Lord, all the earth; proclaim his salvation day after day.” 1 Chronicles 16:23
Justine received her English Education degree at Illinois State University in 2010. She’s been a teacher for 9 years and loves coaching cross country and track & field. Justine attends Living Streams Church in Phoenix and joined the GCS teaching staff in 2020.
Her favorite verse is Ephesians 1:17, “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him.”
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.
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 Reformed Baptist Church in Gilbert. She has been married to her husband since 2013 and has two children, Aaron and Harper. 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 minors in Sports Physiology and Bible, from Biola University. 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. While staying home with her children, she continued to teach online for a distance learning program. Amanda was grateful to move back into the classroom when she came to Gilbert Christian. She has taught in the computer lab, as well as science classes. God had plans when He made a way for her to move into the counseling department. She loves working with students in social, emotional, and academic ways. 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 currently attend Redemption Gateway. Chris started working for GCS in 2019 teaching in the GEAR program. Starting the 2020-21 school year, Chris will be the Athletic Director at the Greenfield Campus.
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 (Go Cougs!) with a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies and minors in English and Bible in 2000. Christina is entering her 4th year as the College and Career counselor at GCHS and feels so blessed to work alongside and mentor students as they process through their next steps. Education and church ministry has been her focus for the last 20 years as she has taught in Jr. High/High School, Children’s Ministry, Marriage Ministry, Women’s Ministry, and 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. Her role as the College & Career Counselor allows 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 loves the most about coming to school every day. Christina and her husband Brandon are active members of Mission Community Church along with their six children who all attend Gilbert Christian School.
Mrs. Lazorchak earned her Master’s degree in Education from Southern Methodist University and a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Arizona. She began teaching middle school when she moved to Dallas, Texas where she served two years with Teach for America. Mrs. Lazorchak loves being at GCS and being able to work in a faith-based educational environment. She loves the opportunity to be able to study and learn more about God’s creation on a daily basis with students. In her free time, Mrs. Lazorchak loves to run, read and spend time with loved ones. She currently worships at Antioch Community Church in Tempe. She joined the GCS staff in 2019.
“We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” Romans 5:1-5
Le Blanc, Laura
Mrs. Le Blanc graduated Cum Laude from ASU in 2004 with a Bachelors Degree in Integrative Studies and holds an Arizona Teacher Certification. She has been teaching since 2010, but also enjoys traveling and teaching Women’s Bible Study. Mrs. Le Blanc and her family attend Sun Valley Community Church. She and her husband Brian have been married since 1998 and have two young adult children. Mrs. Le Blanc joined the GCS teaching team in 2019.
Her favorite Bible verse is Philippians 1:6 “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
Krista received her Bachelor Degree in Education from ASU with reading and math endorsements. She also earned a Middle School and ESL endorsement. Krista spent 5 years teaching junior high math in Mesa Public Schools and 4 years teaching in various positions at Gilbert Christian Schools. In her spare time she enjoys learning mixed martial arts. She started attending Central Christian church in 4th grade and has been attending for over 30 years. Krista is married with 3 children who attend Gilbert Christian Schools. She has been a part of our GCS staff since 2015.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; and he shall direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and depart from evil.” Proverbs 3:5-7
Matthew Littlefield has been an educator for the last 19 years, starting his career as a Science teacher and Baseball coach at Oaks Christian High School in California. He became a teacher after graduating Summa Cum Laude from Vanguard University with his Bachelors of Science in Biology and Chemistry. His family moved to Arizona in 2005, where he continued teaching at an all-boys boarding school, 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 2011. 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 teachers. Matthew raises his four children by himself after being widowed in January 2013 when his wife suddenly passed away. He feels incredibly blessed to be part of such an amazing community and school.
She studied International Commerce in her hometown Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico, at Kino University, where she received her bachelor’s degree. She became part of our GCS family as a Spanish middle school teacher in 2016. In her school days, she had the privilege of attending a Christian high school. For her, those were the most meaningful years of her childhood. She loved how all her teachers taught her to approach every situation in her life with the Bible, and it was there that she learned to have a real relationship with Jesus. She also met her best friends there, and even over time, they still stayed close, like family. She married the love of her life, Josue Lopez, in 2001. He is now one of the pastors and the worship leader at their church: Redemption Church West Mesa. They have two children: Misael and Michelle, and both love to serve in their church as part of the worship team by playing drums and piano.
Her favorite Bible verse is Philippians 4:8, and she would love to share it with you in Spanish: “Por lo demás, hermanos, todo lo que es verdadero, todo lo honesto, todo lo justo, todo lo puro, todo lo amable, todo lo que es de buen nombre; si hay virtud alguna, si algo digno de alabanza, en esto pensad.” Filipenses 4:8
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.
Mrs. Martin has been part of Gilbert Christian Schools since 2000. She teaches all-day Kindergarten and feels blessed to partner with parents in the education of their children. Mrs. Martin grew up in Phoenix and attended college at Arizona Bible College, where she studied Elementary Education. She continued her education at NAU receiving a MA in Education. Mrs. Martin and her husband have been married for over 30 years and have three children, Amanda, Nik, and Michael. Mrs. Martin’s favorite thing about teaching is sharing the love of Jesus with her students every day. Her prayer is that they will know they are loved with the everlasting love of God and will accept the free gift of salvation through Jesus.
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.
“I was awarded a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Educational Leadership with a concentration in curriculum and instruction from Columbia International University in South Carolina in 2019. I also hold a Master of Education degree in Educational Administration (1996) and a Bachelor of Science degree in Secondary Education-Mathematics with a minor in the Teaching of Physical Science (1990), both from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. I hold three professional certificates: Secondary Principal Administrative Certificate from ACSI (through 2023) and from the state of Illinois a General Administrative Endorsement and a Teaching Mathematics and Physical Science, Grades 6–12 (Type 09) Certificate (both through 2022). I’ve been an educator since 1990. The first 18 years of my professional life were spent in public high schools in the suburbs of Chicago where I taught high school mathematics, physical science a few times, served a mathematics department chair, and an associate principal for curriculum and instruction. In 2008, I began my career in Christian schools serving at El Camino Academy in Bogota, Colombia (2008-2013) where I filled the role of Secondary Principal (2008-2010) and K-12 Director of Academics (2010-2013). After finishing our five-year term, we relocated to Maryland where I served as the Upper School Principal (2013-20) at Annapolis Area Christian School. I was raised in the Chicago suburbs and I’ve been a Chicago Cubs fan since I could talk. It was a tortured existence most of my life until the Cubs finally won the World Series in 2016! Vicki and I met and fell in love while teaching at a public high school in the suburbs of Chicago. There was a romance in the Mathematics Department! We married in 1994 and have two adult daughters.” Mr. McCollum joined the GCS administration in 2020.
Romans 10:9-10 “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth, one confesses and is saved.”
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.
“BUT GOD shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” -Romans 5:8
Susan loves teaching children in a Christian environment and helping students grow academically and spiritually. She has a B.S. in Elementary Education from Northern Arizona University and has over 10 years of classroom teaching experience, in addition to home educating her own children for 9 years. She has enjoyed being a second-grade teacher at GCS since 2016. Teaching children to love reading is one of her passions, and she enjoys sharing and discussing books with budding second-grade readers. She and her family, including 3 children who attend GCS, worship at Sun Valley Community Church.
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13
Mrs Murray 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
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. 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 grown daughters: Hannah and Amy. Mike and Lynne are foster parents to immigrant children. 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.
Mrs. Pam Palacio is all things Drama! Since 2006 she has produced and directed over 30 theatrical plays and musicals at Gilbert Christian Schools. Each year she produces 4 plays for the High School and Middle Schools and leads 2 Elementary Drama Clubs. Mrs. Palacio is a graduate of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, and studied Theater at the University of Hawaii. She has taught Drama, Student Council, Choir, Speech and Debate, and Yearbook at GCHS. She has also directed plays through MoezArt Productions. She and her husband, Mark, married in 1990 and have 4 wonderful children. Born and raised in Hawaii, she became a believer in LA, where she and her husband enjoyed the great teaching at Grace Community Church, pastored by John MacArthur. She homeschooled her kids there, and, after moving to Gilbert, they became a part of the GCS family for many years. They joyfully attend San Tan Bible Church where she serves in the nursery. She loves to point her students to Christ through glorifying God with the Fruit of the Spirit – in rehearsal and onstage! All Glory to God
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 Social Studies at Gilbert Christian. She is married to Shawn Patterson, head of the Security Department at GCS. All of their children are grown adults. Their daughter Kaitlyn serving in the United States Space Force and their youngest son Kyle attending the United States Air Force Academy!
1 Thessalonians 5:18, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
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 her sweet first graders. She holds a master’s degree in elementary education and is still excited about teaching after many years! “My goal is to meet every child where they are at, personally get to know my class families, and most importantly share the love of Jesus with the children. When not in the classroom I am reading, playing tennis, or hanging out with friends and family.”
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.”
David was raised as a missionary kid in Peru, South America for most of his life. He returned to the United States to attend Wheaton College, IL, before pursuing a Master’s degree in Linguistics at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. He finds great joy in widening his students’ perception of the world by exposing them to new cultures and a new language in class.
“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:37-39
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 been teaching at Gilbert Christian since 2010, earning her Master’s Degree in Education from Texas Woman’s University and her Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature and Communications from The University of Iowa. After starting her teaching career in Texas public schools, she considers it a calling and blessing to be a Christian educator, specifically due to being able to incorporate a Christian worldview throughout every subject, an integral element that GCS encourages and supports. It is her passion to teach and instill a life-long love of learning in her students, and to help foster their relationships with God, whether planting the seeds to start an initial relationship or watering the seeds someone else planted, God does work and grows them each year. Mrs. Renaud and her husband, Kevin (a captain in the Arizona Army National Guard), attend Central Christian Church (the Gilbert campus) with their daughter, Grace, currently a senior at Gilbert Christian High School. Their daughter, Katie, recently graduated from high school and is currently attending Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, studying mathematics and environmental sustainability studies. They also have two soft-coated wheaten terriers. Smokey, the younger wheaten, is a service dog for Mrs. Renaud.
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.’”
Rayom has been teaching the Bible since 2015 both in the United States and in different countries around the world. Some interesting facts about Rayom– he speaks Portuguese, is a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, loves to read and learn, enjoys surfing, and traveling to different countries to witness and participate in the work God is doing around the world. Mr. Ribeiro and his family attend Redeemer Bible Church. He has been married to his wonderful wife, Brooke, since 2013. They have two sons, Benaiah Ackson, who was born in 2015, and Cedar Haddon, who was born in 2019. Mr. Ribeiro joined the GCS teaching staff in 2020.
“I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul will make its boast in the LORD; the humble will hear it and rejoice. O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt HIs name together.” Psalm 34:1-3
“This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” John 17:3
Jenny received her Bachelors in Arts Degree from Western Governor’s University. She has been teaching since 2010 and was born and raised in Florida where she learned to swim in the Atlantic Ocean. She and her wonderful husband have been married since 1985 and have 4 wonderful sons and attend Rock Point Church. She enjoys swimming, reading, movies and hiking. 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. 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 3-year-old daughter, Rory, and a 10-month-old daughter, Riley. 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. Samp graduated Summa Cum Laude in 2012, from Northern Arizona University with a degree in Elementary Education. In 2015 she graduated, With Distinction, completing her Master Of Education in Early Childhood Education. She has been a volunteer at Sun Valley Community Church in their “Special Needs One-On-One” Sunday school program and taught elementary music at both Calvary Academy and Faith Christian School in Mesa. Incorporating joy through music is just one way Mrs. Samp brings God’s love to the boys and girls in her classroom.
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.
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
Deborah Tennison received a Bachelors Degree in Liberal Arts at Azusa Pacific University in 1995, then completed a fifth year for her teaching credential in 1996. She began teaching in 1997, but then moved back to Arizona, where she worked at ASU in their Human Resource and Development Department while taking additional courses for her Master’s Degree. She then taught for another 4 years, but took a long break to be a stay-home mom with her two children. She came back to work at Gilbert Christian in the 2019-2020 school year, and worked as an instructional aid and long-term sub in 4th grade the last quarter of the year. She enjoys hiking and paddle boarding, playing piano and singing, spending time with her two children and watching their many sporting events. Deborah and her family attend Redemption Gilbert. She has two children, boy/girl twins, Blake and Brianna, who will be sophomores in high school this year. They have both attended Gilbert Christian since Kindergarten, and are enjoying GCS High School. Deborah has been a part of GCS since 2019.
One of her favorite verses is Psalm 121:1-2, which says: “I lift up my eyes to the hills- where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.”
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 an Arizona Teaching Certification for K-8. Her teaching experience includes 2 years as a 4th-grade teacher and Choral/Music faculty at Arizona School for the Arts, Rosie’s House, and Rolling Hills Charter School. As a performer, she has played piano for Opera Idaho and sung on 2 Grammy award-winning albums with a professional choir. Mrs. Tutty has served as Assistant Artistic Director and Accompanist with the Phoenix Girls Chorus since 2010. She loves family hiking, jogging, listening to her favorite podcasts, Boise State Football, and Starbucks dates with her husband. Jeremy and Kandis have three children; Kambry, Chaucer, and Ellerie, and currently worship and serve at Central Christian Church in both Children’s and Marriage Mentoring ministries. She has been a part of GCS Staff since 2018 and loves guiding students to sense and experience God in unique ways through music.
“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
Laura Welling graduated from Western Washington University in 2003 with a degree in elementary education and child development. She has spent 14 years in education as a classroom teacher in Christian schools and as part of the high school counseling team. It is her greatest privilege to tell students of the goodness of God and share with them how to love Him with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength. She loves to paint, explore new places, and be with her nieces and nephews! Laura joined the GCS teaching staff in 2020.
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your graciousness be known to everyone. The Lord is near.” Philippians 4:4-5
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.