Alysha Abrams

Preschool Director

Alysha Abrams

Preschool Director

Bio

I was born and raised in the Seattle area, moving out to Bothell in 2002. I am the mother to one beautiful little boy and it is my true joy in life.

I have a great deal of experience in the Early Childhood Education field, having taught preschool and pre-kindergarten at Heritage. I’ve also taught at other preschools both traditional and Montessori. Previously, I enjoyed a career as a certified makeup artist at Gene Juarez but realized something was “missing”. I began formal training in Early Childhood Education, earning recognition on the Dean’s and President’s Lists.

I feel that God has called me to work with children and I take that calling very seriously. I have a heart for children and teaching them that they are wonderfully made by their Heavenly Father. I believe that to fully prepare our children to step out into the world they must accept and celebrate the beauty that makes them unique. If each child can learn to be confident in whom they are as little individuals everything else has a way of falling into place.

Education & Certifications

  • AAS in Child Care Management
  • Early Childhood Education Initial State Certificate
  • Early Childhood Education General Certificate
  • Early Childhood Education Infant and Toddler Care Certificate
  • Early Childhood Education Administration Certificate
  • Early Childhood Education State Certificate
  • S.T.A.R.S. certified
  • CPR and First Aid Certified

Vicki Berg

Learning Success Center

Vicki Berg

Learning Success Center

Bio

I am so thankful that the Lord led me here to HCA this year! I had just “retired” in June after 30+ years in public school, teaching mostly middle school Special Education, but also Life Skills preschool, High School Resource Room, Title 1 Reading and Math, 8th grade Language Arts, and for the past 12 years, ELL at the middle school level.  However, as I have told everyone, “When Jesus calls, you pick up the phone!” I am joining Stephanie Mosset in the Learning Success Center. My motto has always been, “There’s got to be a way”, when it comes to learning. Every child is designed by God to learn in their own very unique way and I love helping them discover what that way is and celebrate their successes.

I have a BA in English Education and a Masters in Special Education, both from the University of Washington.  I also was part of the team creating the English Language Development Standards for the State of Washington and have provided training for staff in ELL practices around the state.  Currently, I am working on my Certificate of Biblical Ministry at Northwest University.

My husband, a retired PE and Health educator, and I just moved to outer Snohomish after living in Monroe for over 30 years.  Our two daughters and their families also live in the area; one is also a PE teacher with the Seattle School District.  We have two adorable grandchildren, the lights of our lives, and we enjoy spending time with our whole crew as often as possible.

In our semi-retired lives, we like to travel in our RV with our Dandie Dinmont Terrier, cycle, garden and are active members of Cascade Community Church in Monroe.

Education & Certifications

  • Masters in Special Education,  University of Washington
  • B.A. English Education, University of Washington
  • Working toward Certificate of Biblical Ministry, Northwest University
  • First Aid and CPR Certified

Sallie Brown

Kindergarten Teacher

Sallie Brown

Kindergarten Teacher

Bio

I have a wonderful, broad range of experience and love for children. I have taught Kindergarten in the Lake Washington School District, 2nd-4th grades at Mountlake Christian School, and tutored elementary/middle school/high school students at Shoreline Christian School.

My husband Larry and I have two children - one a WSU graduate and one a CWU graduate. Larry works as a mechanical engineer at Notkin Engineering in Seattle.

Larry and I attend Northshore Baptist church. Together we host and lead a weekly community group. I have enjoyed several mission trips to Nicaragua by leading the craft for the annual Women’s Conference in Los Cedros. My hobbies are cross-stitching, swimming and reading.

Education & Certifications

  • B.A. Elementary Education, Biola University
  • CPR and First Aid Certified

Carol Chambers

Front Office/Admissions

Carol Chambers

Front Office/Admissions

Education & Certifications

  • CPR and First Aid Certified

Tasha Deffner

P3 Lead Preschool Teacher

Tasha Deffner

P3 Lead Preschool Teacher

Bio

I was born and raised in Seattle WA and now live in Bothell with my husband of 13 years and our three beautiful children; Caden, Colby and Morgan. I attend Overlake Christian Church where I first found Jesus at the age of 4 year old. I knew that God had prompted me to send my children to a Christian school and get a faith based education. Since my husband attended HCA in middle school, the obvious decision was to send our children here as well!

I worked as a Senior Representative at Trendwest resorts for five years, then following a job opportunity to become an a Executive Assistant for Bank of America. When I became a mom, I had the privilege of spending 10 years at home, taking care of them and focusing all of my energy into my family. I was very involved in volunteer opportunities and wanting my children to be successful in knowing Christ. I was approached by administration and asked if I’d be interested in working as an Assistant Teacher in the P4 classroom. I spent two years there, then moving to P5 for a year. When the P3 Lead Teacher position opened, I discovered my passion for teaching this age group. I hope to continue sharing God’s word to these wonderful children - it is such a blessing!

Education

  • S.T.A.R.S. certified
  • CPR and First Aid Certified

Andrea Elston

1st grade

Andrea Elston

1st grade

Bio

I grew up in Portland, OR. and moved to Kirkland in 1994 to attend Northwest University. I was placed at Heritage to do my student teaching and have been on staff since 1999. I still travel to Portland often to visit my family, but I feel very settled here in Western Washington.

  • Northwest University in Kirkland, WA 1994-1998
  • Graduated Magna Cum Laude with a BA in Elementary Education and an endorsement in English
  • CPR and First Aid Certified

Maria De Jesus

Preschool Assistant

Maria De Jesus

Preschool Assistant

Bio

Hola! I am "Mrs. D"!

I was born and raised in Venezuela. I moved to Seattle in June of 2000 and I’ve been in the PNW since. I am fluent in Spanish, and my second language is English. I live in Bothell with my husband Josh, two wonderful boys (ages 4 and 11) and our dog Oscar.

I have a background in early childhood development and social work. From 2004 to 2014, I worked at Children’s Home Society of Washington, where I was a parent educator for the Parents as Teachers program, providing home visits to English and Spanish speaking young mothers (23 and under) and their children from before birth through age three.

I accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior in 2012. Since then, I’ve been devoted to Him, enjoying His blessings, living joyful and for His glory. In August 2014, the Lord blessed my family with the opportunity for me to become a Stay-at-Home parent, to provide care to my two children. Since then, I opened my home to provide childcare to one child, besides my newborn at the time. I felt the Lord’s call in my heart to bless families that were looking for reliable, caring and loving childcare to live their children at while they had to go work. From personal experience, I know and understand that looking for a reliable person or place to leave your child when you need be away is hard. I gave these parents the guarantee that their children were going to be safe, loved and well taken care of while they were away. I am a believer that children learn through play. Play is a very important factor in the healthy development of children. I consider myself to be creative, energetic, enthusiastic, nurturing and very patient with children.

My family and I attend to Canyon Hills Community Church, where my oldest son and I are involved in different ministries, including Sunday preschool childcare and bilingual Summer camp.

During my free time, I enjoy sewing, watching movies and cooking shows, baking and cooking, and to eat! My family and I love traveling, hiking with our dog and camping. I truly enjoy volunteering (when I can) at my boy’s classrooms. Oh! and I have a passion for dogs and babies.

  • S.T.A.R.S. Certified (in process)
  • CPR and First Aid Certified
  • Parents as Teachers program – Certified Parent Educator
  • Promoting First Relationships Program – Certified
  • National Child Passenger Safety Certification Program – Certified Technician

Eva Fisher

Preschool Assistant

Eva Fisher

Preschool Assistant

Bio

Eva was born in New York but at age 10 moved to Marysville, Washington, and has stayed in the area ever since. After college she was recruited by Safeco Insurance where she worked as a software tester and developer supporting their human resources and payroll departments.

After living in Mukilteo for 12 years, Eva and her husband Dave moved to Bothell in 2000. She decided to take time off when her son Devan was born in 2001. Eva joined the Heritage family in 2006 when her son entered kindergarten. Heritage Christian Academy's high academic standards and strong Christian values were a deciding factor in their family’s school selection. She has been an active parent volunteer the entire time work on and leading several HCA and PTF events.

Eva attends Canyon Hills Community Church in Bothell where she has been a member since 2003. She enjoys gardening & landscape design, home improvement projects, get-togethers with her large extended family and going on photo shoot hikes with her husband and son.

  • B.A., Western Washington University, Management of Computer Information Systems
  • A.A., Everett Community College, Business Management
  • CPR and First Aid Certified

Jake Foster

CrossPointe Worship Pastor, HCA Worship Team Teacher

Jake Foster

CrossPointe Worship Pastor, HCA Worship Team Teacher

Jami Gentry

Project Manager/Administrative Assistant

Jami Gentry

Project Manager/Administrative Assistant

Bio

I was born and raised in Hamilton, MT where I reigned as State Tennis Champion. I moved to Washington when I was 19.

I grew up very involved with church, going to youth group on a regular basis. I am now a member of CrossPointe.

My husband and I have 2 beautiful children, Kyli and Kaden, who have attended HCA for 10 years. I started working here as a Preschool Assistant, then moved to the role of Assistant Preschool Director and am now the Project Manager, working with all areas of the school.

When I’m not at work, I love to spend time with friends and family.

Education

  • S.T.A.R.S. Certified
  • CPR and First Aid Certified

Angela Groom

Middle School Math Teacher

Angela Groom

Middle School Math Teacher

Bio

I was born into a Christian home in Seattle, Washington. I attended public schools through the third grade, but then I would have been bussed across town with a bus ride over an hour long. My parents sent me to private Christian schools fourth through ninth grade. I graduated from Blanchet High School, which was a powerful and intense education. I graduated from Washington State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Communications and a minor in Economics. I worked in the advertising field for nearly fifteen years and then transitioned to financial planning. At God’s direction, I went back to school and graduated from Seattle Pacific University with my Masters of Arts in Teaching in 2010. I have been teaching since graduation in both public and private schools.

I have been married for 22 years and have two teenage sons, who went to preschool here. I enjoy gardening, making soap, and hosting tea parties. I am extroverted and love spending time with friends and family.

  • B.A. Communications, Washington State University
  • Masters in Teaching, Seattle Pacific University
  • First Aid and CPR Certified

Becky Hancock

5th Grade Teacher

Becky Hancock

5th Grade Teacher

Bio

I was born and raised in the Seattle area. As a 2nd grader at Brier Elementary School, I decided I wanted to be a teacher. I never veered from that goal and fulfilled my dream after graduating from Seattle Pacific University in 1982. I taught for 6 years in two different Christian schools. Then while I had young children at home, I spent 5 years substituting for the Mukilteo School District and at HCA. In 1995, when my youngest child started kindergarten at Heritage, I began my career here as a full time teacher. Both my children attended Heritage K-9th grade, which gave me the added perspective of seeing things from a parent's point of view.

My young adult children and I enjoy camping and hiking together. I also enjoy gardening, caring for my dogs and traveling. I recently had an opportunity to travel the world with my Mother. Our trips included; South America, Australia, and the British Isles. My all-time favorite country to visit is New Zealand. In 2016 I had the privilege of traveling to Antarctica. My next travels will hopefully be bringing me on an African Safari, in 2018. Teaching is a calling that has been on my heart since childhood. Now many years into this career, the calling is just as strong and now I bring with it the experience and skills necessary.

  • B.A. Special Education, Seattle Pacific University
  • ACSI Certified (Association of Christian Schools International)

Rose Healey

Preschool Assistant

Rose Healey

Preschool Assistant

Jennifer Hough

Lead Pre-Kindergarten Teacher

Jennifer Hough

Lead Pre-Kindergarten Teacher

Bio

I was born and raised in New York.

I taught 1st and 2nd grade in the New York City public school system for 10 years. My experiences in NYC truly taught me so much about teaching and life!

While earning my Master’s Degree, I taught nursery school and loved it. There is something about the innocence and enthusiasm of 5 year olds. Their fun and loving spirit is contagious!

In 2006 my family and I moved to Bothell, which was quite an adjustment! We have made wonderful friends, and love living in the Pacific Northwest. We only wish we could persuade the rest of our family to move here!

My first experience with our school was as a parent. I loved EVERYTHING about Heritage Christian Academy and am so blessed to be a part of this beautiful school.

My husband Simon and I have two amazing boys, Charlie and Sam. When not at school you are sure to find us on a soccer field!

  • B.A. Elementary Education, B.A. English Literature, State University of New York Potsdam
  • M.S. Literacy, College of New Rochelle
  • First Aid and CPR Certified

Travis Howard

Facilities Manager

Travis Howard

Facilities Manager
  • First Aid and CPR Certified

Daniel Kebede

Physical Education/Art Teacher

Daniel Kebede

Physical Education/Art Teacher

Bio

I recall loving to draw and paint as a child in Ethiopia, where I was born and raised. When I was 15, my family moved to Tanzania and then to Botswana, where I first discovered the art of carving. Inspired by these African countries' traditional wooden masks and stone handicrafts, I began carving wood figurines.

When I moved to the United States, I studied sculpture and photography at the University of Alabama. After that, I went on to study art in Australia and Japan. My art has been exhibited at a number of Seattle area galleries with the Northwest Stone Sculptors Association and at SeaTac International Airport. One of my sculptures is on permanent outdoor display at the Bellevue, Washington campus of the Washington Society of CPAs.

In addition to art, another passion of mine is sports and physical education. I have several years of experience teaching private tennis lessons to children and adults and am a sports enthusiast. I especially enjoy playing soccer, bicycling, volleyball, tennis and other racket sports (ping pong, pickle ball, squash, badminton, racket ball).

I am thrilled to be a part of the Heritage Christian Academy family. It is a privilege for me to able to teach and also to pray for every child, just as my own grandmother used to pray for me back in Ethiopia. I believe that God has called me to change the generations, not through my art, but through my daily prayers for Heritage students.

I live in Bothell with my wife of more than 15 years and our twins, who attend Heritage Christian Academy. I speak Amharic (an Ethiopian language), Japanese, and occasionally dabble in Swahili. I enjoy camping with my family, writing, cooking, baking, and travelling.

Education

  • BA Fine Art (sculpture major, photography minor), University of Alabama
  • Additional art studies: Kanazawa College of Art, Kanazawa, Japan; Chiba University, Chiba, Japan; Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia

Elsa LaRandeau

Science Teacher

Elsa LaRandeau

Science Teacher

Bio

I grew up in the Seattle area in a bicultural home (Norwegian dad and American mom). In sixth grade a friend invited me to AWANA where I got a clearer understanding of the Good News, surrendered my life to following Jesus and developed a love for God’s Word. I went to public school from K-12 (including Running Start for 2 years) and was thankful for the opportunity to be a light in all my classes.

After getting my BA at Moody Bible Institute, I moved to Kazakhstan, where I spent the next seven years. I taught English to students age 10 to adult at several schools in the city and in a village. My favorite year was spent training English language teachers at a public school in a village in how to use more interactive methods in their classes. I learned Uzbek (fluently), as well as some Russian and Kazakh, and immensely enjoyed the host families I got to live with. Now I feel like I am Norwegian-American with some Uzbek on the inside!

Since moving back to the States in 2013, life has been full of new adventures, including grad school (getting two Masters from the University of Washington), getting married and becoming a mom! In this time I have also discovered a love for organic gardening and have started a permaculture food forest in my mom’s yard, complete with chickens! I love playing guitar, singing Scripture, hiking, and learning new things! As a teacher, I am passionate about helping my students discover and explore the interests and gifts God has put in their hearts. I want to help students dream big about what God wants to do through their lives. I hope to model this too, as I am currently pursuing a business dream of starting a magazine for English language teachers around the world who are still developing proficiency in English.

  • MA in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, University of Washington
  • Master of Education in Curriculum & Instruction, University of Washington
  • BA in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, Moody Bible Institute
  • AA, Edmonds Community College
  • First Aid and CPR Certified

Stephanie Mosset

Learning Success Center Director

Stephanie Mosset

Learning Success Center Director

Bio

I am excited to be part of the Heritage community. In 2014 I started working behind the scenes as a consultant, serving HCA students in a variety of academic areas. In 2016 I was able to see through our vision of opening the Learning Resource Center (LRC). I bring to this position a strong background, holding a Masters in Teaching and a B.A. in Elementary Education and Special Education. I worked for most of my career in the Northshore School district. I have 18 years of experience as an intermediate special education contained teacher, mentor to first year teachers, and consultant to special education teachers at Northshore.

My most important job is being a Mom to my 4 daughters, Kylie, Abbie, Lucy and Mandy. Since becoming a Mom I have continued my dedication and love of working with students through my in-home tutoring business. When I’m not teaching or being a gymnastics, soccer, swim and basketball Mom you can find me spending time with my Husband of almost 20 years. Life is blessed and I believe strongly you need to live each day with love and compassion. I feel honored to be a part of the amazing HCA family.

  • Masters in Teaching, Seattle Pacific University
  • B.A., Elementary and Special Education
  • First Aid and CPR Certified

Melody Parker

Middle School History

Melody Parker

Middle School History

Bio

I was born in Korea but grew up in Illinois. I attended college in Tennessee and lived in Indiana before moving to Washington in 1998. I graduated from Milligan College with a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education and a minor in history. I continued my education at Indiana University where I completed my Master’s Degree in Learning Disabilities.

I’ve been privileged to be part of the Heritage family since 1998. My son started in Kindergarten and my daughter in preschool. Our time at Heritage was a blessing and I’m thrilled to now be serving as a middle school staff member. Outside of teaching I enjoy hiking and running. I live in the Bothell area with my Husband.

  • M.A. Learning Disabilities, Indiana University
  • B.S. Elementary Education, Milligan College
  • First Aid and CPR Certified

Laura Pinkerton

Kindergarten Assistant

Laura Pinkerton

Kindergarten Assistant
  • First Aid and CPR Certified

Jan Sargent

P3 Lead Preschool Teacher

Jan Sargent

P3 Lead Preschool Teacher

Bio

What a joy it is to come each morning and see smiling faces in the hall and welcome eager little ones to my classroom.

Our morning is filled with activities that lay a foundation for their future years in school. Along with learning letters and numbers, shapes and colors, our students learn to play well with others, take their turn, encourage others with praise, and discover new things about God’s big wonderful world!

I want our preschoolers to know who Jesus is and come to understand that He loves them very much.

We became a Heritage family when my first daughter started 4 year old preschool. I started teaching at Heritage in 1995 when my girls were in kindergarten and 2nd grade. My husband Brian helped coach softball and soccer when they played on the school teams. Our daughters both graduated from 9th grade at Heritage and now enjoy walking the halls “remembering when”.

My education was in nursing, and I worked as a Registered Nurse for several years. My joke with people now is that I would much rather play with Playdough! I have discovered that my true passion is preschoolers and helping their families feel at home here.

Heritage Christian Preschool…….a very good place to start!

  • Education in Nursing
  • First Aid and CPR Certified

Josh Saunders

Principal / Athletic Director

Josh Saunders

Principal / Athletic Director

Bio

I have now been working in the Christian school setting for four years and couldn’t be happier that God has called me to this line of work. I am passionate about recreation and athletics, in my own life, and have loved taking that passion for sports and passing it onto my students.

I hold a Masters’ degree in Education Administration and have been able to put that to good use, this year, by serving as Vice Principal. The relationships I have been able to build with parents, students and staff are something I love about this position.

My wife and two boys love being a part of the Heritage family and are so excited to see how the Lord uses us in the positions He has placed us in.

  • B.S. Sports Management, Pensacola Christian College
  • Masters degree, Education Administration, Pensacola Christian College
  • First Aid and CPR Certified

Ken Short

IT Director

Ken Short

IT Director

Beckie Smith

P4 Lead Preschool Teacher

Beckie Smith

P4 Lead Preschool Teacher

Bio

I was born and raised in Seattle and I now live in Bothell with my wonderful husband of 30 years and our two children.

As early as I can remember, babysitting was something I enjoyed. Girl Scouts, helped shape my path towards helping others, and the songs and dances that I always remember, brings out the kid in me, helping with social interaction with our students.

After Graduating from Roosevelt High School, and during my college years at Seattle Pacific University, I worked at a local daycare facility. It has always been my passion to work within the field of childhood development.

One of the greatest accomplishments in my life was graduating from Dental Assisting School at Lake Washington Technical College and continuing to work for a Dental office in the University District for 12 years. I always say that there’s always room to share the importance of good tooth care within our peers and students.

My children growing up, had very different learning challenges, so my husband and I took it upon ourselves to resolve their weaknesses and to homeschool them. We set up a classroom in our home and provided the best class anyone could ever ask for. Field trips and science experiments were the highlight of the program.

Teaching brings me great joy and as I reflect on all my experiences with Bible Schools, Churches, and Home schooling, working with Heritage Christian Academy has given me a place to bring it all together. I feel very blessed to part of this place, sharing my faith and love of Early Childhood Education, through singing, dancing, and reading stories.

When I’m not working, I enjoy gardening, going on walks through our neighborhood and down trails, oing to local beaches and finding heart shaped rocks, and I especially love sitting with my hubby watching sunsets.

Education

  • First Aid and CPR Certified
  • S.T.A.R.S certified

Eileen Stratton

Arrowsmith Program Director/Teacher

Eileen Stratton

Arrowsmith Program Director/Teacher

Bio

Heritage has been home to my family since 1993 when my oldest of 3 sons began in the preschool program. In 1998, I expanded my volunteering to assisting teachers when needed and quickly knew that working with children was my calling. I have assisted and taught in preschool, taught Pre-K, and moved on to teaching kindergarten in 2008. God has blessed me with a heart to encourage all students to find their potential in the gifts and talents that God gives them. In 2013, the Elementary Arrowsmith Program became my teaching passion. Being able to place God first, to love each child for how God has made them, while nurturing and accentuating the positive is a must for me. Helping those with Learning Dysfunctions is a true blessing. In my spare time, I love spending time with my husband, traveling, walking, gardening, photography, and sewing.

  • BA, University of Washington
  • ACSI certified
  • Arrowsmith Program certified
  • First Aid and CPR Certified

Christa Taylor

Preschool Assistant/Extended Care Team

Christa Taylor

Preschool Assistant/Extended Care Team

Bio

I grew up in a military home and therefore I moved a lot when I was younger. I was born in Michigan but spent most of my life between Washington and California. Washington became my permanent home in 2002 and I’ve been in the Bothell area since 2007.

God has blessed me with the gift of teaching children and I feel I shouldn’t waste that gift. I love kids and am passionate about teaching them about God’s love. I have been babysitting since I was 10, I work as a Sunday school teacher in my church and also volunteer in the nursery. Children are such eager learners and so easily influenced, I believe teaching them about God at such an early age is the best thing I can do as a teacher. I love the Lord and want all these kids to know the Love of God.

I feel I was called to Heritage to love on the children in my care and teach them who God is and what He has done for us. I have been at Heritage since May of 2016 and I have loved being here! I know that this is exactly where God wants me.

Education

  • S.T.A.R.S. Certified
  • CPR and First Aid Certified

Teri Thomas

3rd Grade Teacher

Teri Thomas

3rd Grade Teacher

Bio

I grew up in Edmonds, graduating from Woodway High School, then went on to graduate from Shoreline CC and Washington State University. Go Cougs! I moved to Monroe when I was married in 1994, and my beloved husband and two sons and I still live there.

My teaching career began here at Heritage in 1987. I taught 4th grade for eight years until my oldest son was born. I later taught at Monroe Christian School for 10 years. While at MCS I taught Pre-K, 3rd grade, and 4th grade. My heart’s desire always was to return to Heritage. I knew God was leading me back in 2013. I praise God for the privilege of being back at the school where I first started teaching. I have always loved the heart and the passion of Heritage. I enjoy the family atmosphere among staff members and with our families. The sense of community here at Heritage Christian Academy is growing stronger every year. Go Eagles! Go Hawks!

  • BA Education, Washington State University
  • First Aid and CPR Certified

Katie Tufteland

Preschool Assistant/Extended Care Team

Katie Tufteland

Preschool Assistant/Extended Care Team

Bio

I was born and raised in Washington. I went to school in the Northshore School District and graduated from Ingelmoor High School.

From about the age of 10, I knew I wanted to teach. I love babysitting, working in the nursery at my church and spending time with my niece and nephew. I’ve also done volunteering at the YMCA in Bothell.

My senior year of high school, I was given an opportunity to attended an NEVAC class in Early Childhood Education. This class provided me with some knowledge of what shaping little minds was all about. In this class I, and many others, were able to put together a preschool class for 3 to 4 year olds.

In June of 2008 I stared working at a Day Care to further my experience and later became a nanny. In 2012, I started working at Heritage in the Extended Care program. Since then, I have worked as an assistant with 3’s, 4’s and 5’s.

I am currently a member of CrossPointe Church. On Sundays, I volunteer in the nursery rooms and on Wednesday nights, I provide childcare from birth to 5 year olds while their parents are attending a bible study class.

Education
  • S.T.A.R.S. Certified
  • CPR and First Aid Certified

Kelli Van Ess

P4 Lead Preschool Teacher

Kelli Van Ess

P4 Lead Preschool Teacher

Bio

I have been a part of the HCA staff since 2010. My children attended HCA many years ago and enjoyed such a wonderful experience that it made the idea of coming to teach at HCA a natural choice! I am so thankful and feel incredibly blessed to find myself a part of the HCA Ministry today.

I recognize the great importance of sharing the gospel with the littlest students. I love how we incorporate the love of Christ in every bit of our time with the kids! These little ones soak up the word and love of Jesus. They are such precious treasures! Now I am seeing siblings come through my class and I love getting to know the families even better. That is one of the beautiful things about my job, getting to maintain these family relationships with other children coming through our preschool program and my class.

I consider myself a Southern girl (from Arkansas) and lived there until 1999 when my family moved to the Pacific Northwest. My husband Jeff and I were married in 1989 and we have 3 boys, ranging in age from high school to young adult. My family attends CrossPointe Church where we serve in different capacities, including the HCA school board lead.

My hobbies include scrapbooking and I love doing bible studies. I am active in BSF and women’s ministry in CPC. When my family hangs out together, we enjoy hiking, travel, and, of course, football!

  • B.A. Home Economics, University of Arkansas
  • CDA certification
  • STARS certified
  • First Aid and CPR Certified

Norene Wirtz

Preschool Assistant

Norene Wirtz

Preschool Assistant

Bio

I have lived in Washington since 1981. I grew up in Petaluma, California, where I graduated from high school and attended junior college.

I came to Heritage when my daughter started preschool at four years old and I volunteered as a room mom. Now my granddaughter is in middle school and truly loves going to Heritage

It is a blessing for me to assist Mrs. Sargent and be able to show love to our preschoolers. We have a very fast paced, fun-filled schedule and along the way, teach them about the mighty love of Jesus. I take joy in helping them learn their letters and numbers and all the little things like putting on their coats to go to recess. In 2011, I began assisting Mrs. Sargent. We have been referred to as a “well-oiled machine” because we work so great together.

My hobby is photography. I have taken many pictures of events here at HCA. I also like treasure hunting at estate and garage sales.

Education

  • CPR and First Aid Certified

Susie Wolph

Chapel Coordinator/Kindergarten Music

Susie Wolph

Chapel Coordinator/Kindergarten Music
  • First Aid and CPR Certified

Cristen Avlonitis

Director of Marketing & Development

Cristen Avlonitis

Director of Marketing & Development

Bio

I was born in Tennessee, but moved to Washington State at an early age. I attended Heritage Christian from preschool through ninth grade where I learned invaluable lessons in my faith and education.

I worked as a representative, manager and area manager in the business department of AT&T for almost nine years before making the decision to become a stay at home mom.

Once my son started preschool at HCA, I decided I would love to be more involved and spent 2 years substituting in the preschool department when needed. God then lead me in a different direction with Heritage, placing me in the role of Marketing and Development Director. It’s been both an honor and privilege to serve the HCA community in this way. I’m excited for what lies ahead.

When I’m not serving at HCA I love to spend time with my family. Some of our favorite activities together are camping, skiing and just being outdoors.

Education & Certifications

  • Attended Seattle Pacific University
  • CPR and First Aid Certified

Cindy Boehm

Preschool Assistant

Cindy Boehm

Preschool Assistant

Bio

Hello, my name is Cindy Boehm. What best describes me is: I am a woman who loves Jesus, her husband, her family and friends! My favorite activity is to giggle. What better way to make new friends both young and old.

I am originally from Minnesota but took a job transfer to Seattle in 1988. I married in 1992 and had one beautiful daughter who is now grown and loves the Lord as her Dad and I prayed for.

In 2000, I chose to change careers and started volunteering as a teacher’s aide at a very small Christian School in Snohomish and soon moved into the lead teacher for preschool/Pre-k position where I had stayed until 2011. From there I continued my part-time position (I had started in 2001) as a Respite Care provider for families with adult children with special needs. My heart has always been for the wee little children and for those that need a bit extra love and attention.

I look forward to meeting new little friends in the classroom and I thank you for entrusting them into our care here at Heritage Christian Academy.

Education & Certifications

  • S.T.A.R.S. Certified (in progress)
  • CPR and First Aid Certified

Sarah Brown

Kindergarten Teacher

Sarah Brown

Kindergarten Teacher

Bio

I was born and raised in Shoreline, WA and I attended Shoreline Christian School. I continued my education at Central Washington University, graduating with a B.A. in Elementary and Early Childhood Education. Before coming to HCA I was a lead preschool Teacher in the Bellevue School Districts Early Learning Program. I believe that all students can succeed in their path of learning and can attain self-worth through education and a deep love of Jesus. I enjoy using a variety of instructional strategies when teaching to create an active and successful learning environment. I nurture and guide my students to become well-balanced citizens and to love Jesus. I find teaching in a Christian environment a privilege and joy, as I guide each student to learn more about Jesus and His love for them.

Outside of work I enjoy spending time with friends. I love participating in a girls bible study at Bethany Community Church Greenlake and can often be found walking around Greenlake on sunny days.

Education & Certifications

  • B.A. Elementary and Early Childhood Education, Central Washington University
  • CPR and First Aid Certified

Rachel Buchman

Middle School Lead/English
Assistant to the Principal

Rachel Buchman

Middle School Lead/English
Assistant to the Principal

Bio

I was seven years old when I discovered my passion for education. My second grade teacher had reached out to me with such genuine love that I still remember thinking to myself, “Someday, I want to be like her.” As I grew older, I began volunteering in my church’s Sunday school, and eventually, I volunteered in regular pre-kindergarten through eighth grade classrooms. I also have shared my love of the harp with students of all ages.

After school, you will most likely see me at the library delving into a new book or writing a story. I also enjoy playing my harps, painting, and attending the theatre.

Education & Certifications

My own education has been a wonderful mix of homeschool, private school, and a short stint of public school. I am appreciative that I was able to experience each of them as it has helped me find the strengths of each and incorporate them into my own teaching style.

After living in Oklahoma for four years, I returned to the Pacific Northwest and attended Northwest University in Kirkland. I graduated in 2009 with my B.A. in Elementary Education with an additional endorsement in Middle Level Humanities. I was deeply touched by the encouragement and prayers I received while there, and I have determined to continue that legacy with my own students.

  • B.A. Elementary Education/Middle Level Humanities, Minor in History, Magna Cum Laude, Dean’s List.
  • CPR and First Aid Certified

Stephenie Burke

Administrative Assistant

Stephenie Burke

Administrative Assistant

Alisa Clark

Arrowsmith Program Bridge Teacher

Alisa Clark

Arrowsmith Program Bridge Teacher

Bio

I developed an interest in teaching at the "expense" of my younger brother. On a daily basis I would convince him to allow me to teach him something new. Opportunities to teach seemed to pop up throughout my life. I was involved in playing, coaching, and refereeing soccer for ten years in a local Christian sports league. As an assistant I taught dance classes for a number of years too. I'm so thankful that my brother, and the rest of my family, encouraged me to pursue a teaching career. Now I have the opportunity to share new information each day with eager young students.

Outside of school you might still find me on the soccer field if I find a pickup game to join! I also enjoy doing art and craft projects which I frequently create with my sister-in-law.

Education & Certifications

I have always lived in the Everett area and wanted to attend a university that would not be far from my home. After high school I attended Everett Community College while working as a school age daycare teacher. Through a community college professor, I found Northwest University in Kirkland and thoroughly enjoyed my time there. I completed my Masters in May of 2010 and eagerly anticipate ways in which I can use my new knowledge to help teach your children more efficiently.

  • B.A. Elementary Ed, Northwest University, magna cum laude, president's list
  • Masters in Teaching (M.I.T.), Northwest University, summa cum laude
  • CPR and First Aid Certified

Heather Devey

Preschool Office Manager

Heather Devey

Preschool Office Manager

Bio

Our family became a part of Heritage Christian Academy when my oldest daughter started 1st grade. My other two children started in Preschool and all stayed thru middle school at HCA. In 2005 I started working in the preschool as an assistant for Mrs. Sargent.

I enjoyed working with Mrs. Sargent and took what I had learned when I went on a mission trip to the Philippines in 2008. I was part of team that helped train preschool teachers and worked in the preschool classrooms. It was life changing for me and I feel blessed that God led me to be a part of that trip.

In 2008 I took the position of Curriculum Coordinator for the Preschool. I love this job because I get to support our lovely staff and be creative! I love to organize and shop for supplies and look for new crafts for our students.

In 2018 my position changed to Preschool Office Manager. I now enjoy all the various ways I can support our staff!

  • B.A. Home Economics, Seattle Pacific University
  • CPR and First Aid Certified

Janae Foster,

RN School Nurse

Janae Foster

RN  School Nurse

Dawn Gardner

Arrowsmith Program Cognitive Assistant

Dawn Gardner

Arrowsmith Program Cognitive Assistant

Bio

My family and I have been part of the Heritage family for 8 years ever since our children started preschool here. Our son was diagnosed in the 1st grade with dyslexia and working memory issues. The following year I was introduced to the Arrowsmith program and with the help of many parents and HCA staff we were able to launch it at our school. During that time I left my job as an Apparel Operations Manager to focus on our children’s education. I was blessed to be able to turn my passion for this program and education into a job here at Heritage. I started as an assistant in September 2014 and in January I became a certified Arrowsmith teacher. I have the privilege of being able to work with our amazing middle school students. Our son is also part of the program and I’ve seen firsthand the success that can happen. I feel fortunate to be able to work with our wonderful students and help guide them through their Arrowsmith education while being able to focus on our Christian values.

  • CPR and First Aid Certified

Suzanne Gutheil

4th Grade Teacher

Suzanne Gutheil

4th Grade Teacher

Bio

Born and raised in beautiful, sunny California, I met my husband while we both were attending San Jose State University, then moved here to Washington 27 years ago. We have three sons -- one is married and living with his wife in Malawi, Africa, one is a junior this year at R.I.T. in New York, and our youngest is a freshman at WSU.

I have been teaching for over 30 years - mainly grades 4, 5, and 6 in both California and Washington. I began my career in the public school system and have been teaching in a private Christian school since 2004.

I love kids and love to teach! In my free time I enjoy going for long walks with my dog, swimming, snow skiing, reading, watching movies, gardening, traveling, and being with friends and family.

I am really excited to be here and see how God is going to impact my students’ lives this school year!

  • B.A. San Jose State University
  • Washington State Teaching Certificate K-8th
  • ACSI certified
  • CPR and First Aid Certified

Emily Harkey

Librarian

Emily Harkey

Librarian

Susie Horn

P4 Lead Preschool Teacher

Susie Horn

P4 Lead Preschool Teacher

Bio

Raised on the Eastside, I attended Bellevue Christian School all 13 years. I continued my education at Seattle Pacific University where I received a B.A in Family Economics. I place great value on Christian education and the foundation it lays for students as they navigate life.

Teaching 3 year olds at Heritage is a new found joy of mine! I’ve served in Children’s Ministry for the last 24 years. I’m now privileged to lead a class of students daily who are bursting with creativity and a desire to explore their world. Heritage truly is a great place to do these things!

Outside of my time at Heritage, I provide administrative support for the Children’s Ministry Team at Eastside Foursquare Church. In this role I lead kids worship, direct VBS, summer camps, and organize special events. I’ve enjoyed serving in all the classrooms, nursery-6th. My heart is for kids and the volunteers who love them. Over the last 10 years, I’ve also enjoyed training Preschool teachers on mission trips in the Philippines.

I met my husband Bob while working in a local Christian bookstore. We shared a love of reading and music. We’ve been married and partners in ministry for 24 years and have a young adult son and daughter. When I’m not teaching, you will find me sipping a vanilla latte, shopping for a great bargain, scrapbooking, browsing Pinterest, playing barista at the church coffee bar, or planning our next family getaway.

  • B.A. Family Economics, Seattle Pacific University
  • First Aid and CPR Certified
  • STARS Certified

Janice Howard

Spanish Teacher

Janice Howard

Spanish Teacher

Bio

I grew up in a wonderful and loving Christian home. My parents are Puerto Rican. My father was in the Army for 20 years, so I lived in different places including Puerto Rico and Panama. Spanish was the language spoken at home and we attended mostly Spanish churches. I love music, art, and dance. My wonderful husband Matthew and I have two sons, Ben and Sam.

I have worked as a preschool teacher for 1-4 year olds and have been a para-educator with special needs children. I am now happy to be teaching Spanish to elementary students at Heritage, using songs and games to make learning fun!

  • Attended Northern Illinois University, majoring in Elementary Education.
  • First Aid and CPR Certified

Julie Jackson

Computer Specialist

Julie Jackson

Computer Specialist

Wanda Knight

2nd Grade Teacher

Wanda Knight

2nd Grade Teacher

Bio

I love to learn and enjoy passing the excitement of learning onto my students. I firmly believe students learn best when they are in a safe, comfortable and loving environment. I have taught Preschool/Pre-K for four years, Kindergarten for two years, and a 5th/6th grade split classroom for ten years at another Christian school before teaching 2nd grade here at Heritage Christian School.

I am happily married, a proud mother of five daughters, and grandmother to eight grandchildren (four girls/four boys). In my free-time I enjoy knitting, crocheting, gardening, and spending time with my ever-growing family.

I met Jesus when I was five years old. He has been my faithful, life-long friend! I love sharing Jesus with all children and encouraging them to develop their own personal relationship with Him.

  • B.A. Elementary Education, Northwest University, Cum Laude
  • Masters in Teaching, Northwest University
  • ACSI Certified (Association of Christian Schools International)
  • First Aid and CPR Certified

Casey Moran

Extended Care Program Lead

Casey Moran

Extended Care Program Lead

Bio

I was born and raised in Bothell, WA. I graduated from Inglemoor High School and moved into a Nursing Assistant position but realized it wasn’t my “calling”. I have worked with rescue horses for 10+ years and have a deep passion for animals. I work at a barn in Woodinville every weekday morning and then lead Extended Care in the afternoons.

I started my career at Heritage as a P4 Assistant, then moving into Extended Care as a Lead. I love working with children and find it a true blessing to be part of their lives. It’s exciting to work with various ages in Extended Care, and be the person they get to have fun with in the afternoons after they’ve been in class all day.

When I’m not working, I enjoy the outdoors – especially hiking and wakeboarding.

Education

  • S.T.A.R.S certified
  • CPR and First Aid Certified

Juliet Murphy, RN, BSN, ESA

School Nurse

Juliet Murphy, RN, BSN, ESA

School Nurse
  • First Aid and CPR Certified

Alicia Phillips

2nd Grade Teacher

Alicia Phillips

2nd Grade Teacher

Bio

Growing up in the beautiful state of Washington, I had the privilege of attending Heritage Christian in Junior High! I went on to attend Cedar Park Christian School graduating in 2006. I graduated from Corban University (Salem, Oregon) in 2010.

Following college graduation, I spent about a year working with Flagstaff Mission to the Navajos in Arizona.

This is now my fifth year teaching at Heritage Christian Academy and I love being here. I also have the privilege and joy of serving as the Children’s Director at CrossPointe Church. I have a passion for seeing children come to love learning, love God and His Word, and love others.

During my free time I love spending time with my family and friends. My favorite activities include shopping, hiking, traveling, reading, and watching Netflix. I also enjoy coaching for a local youth Bible Quiz Team.

  • B.S. Elementary Education, Magna Cum Laude - Corban University (formerly Western Baptist College) - Salem, OR - May 2010
  • Oregon State License – Early Childhood, Elementary
  • ASCI (Association of Christian Schools International) certification
  • Washington State Certificate – Early Childhood, Elementary
  • First Aid and CPR Certified

Jana Samuelson

Lead Preschool Teacher/Extended Care Team

Jana Samuelson

Lead Preschool Teacher/Extended Care Team

Bio

I grew up in Olympia and I have lived in Washington my whole life. I met my husband in high school and after our first son was born, our family relocated to Bothell. My husband and I now have 3 boys, elementary, middle and high school aged and they keep us busy! We serve as a family at Shoreline Covenant Church where I was the Children’s Ministry Director for 13 years and a Pre-K/preschool teacher and Director of that preschool program for 10 years. Our church family is a huge part of who we are and growing our faith within our congregation is such a blessing.

God has blessed me with the love of teaching since I was young and I have used this gift in some form or another all of my life. I have many years of experience in Early Childhood Education including various preschool programs, the YMCA, the Northshore School District and a college internship through the National Head Start program. I have worked with children of all ages and their families and I enjoy the time I get to spend with both the kids and parents. I am excited to be a part of the HCA team and to work with the many amazing families here!

If I am not at school, you might find me at a sporting event! I love watching sports and cheering on my teams…Bothell Cougars, Sounders, Seahawks, Mariners, Huskies/Cougars and thanks to my son - the Golden State Warriors, but my most favorite thing to do is to watch my boys play soccer, basketball, volleyball and run track!

Education

  • B.A. Human Development, Washington State University
  • CPR and First Aid Certified

Deanna Sarkar

Music/Drama Teacher

Deanna Sarkar

Music/Drama Teacher

Bio

I'm originally from Winnipeg, Canada and my husband and I have lived in Bothell since 2008. We attend CrossPointe Church. 

I sang my first solo at a wedding reception (standing on a chair with a microphone) when I was 2 years old, and I've been performing ever since as a singer, violinist and actor.

I took formal violin lessons with the Toronto Conservatory syllabus as a teen and then majored in Vocal Performance for my undergraduate and graduate degrees. I sang professionally with early music ensemble Arcady and the Gerald Fagan singers in Ontario, and was selected for a 10-day Master Class with opera singers Nancy Argenta and Ingrid Attrot in Nelson, B.C.

While living in Dallas, I was onstage with musicals The Sound of Music (Maria), Music Man (Marian the Librarian) and Hello Dolly (Irene Molloy). I was cast in two original shows that were staged both in Dallas and in New York City's Westside Theater.

Here in Washington, I've performed with Choral Arts, Taproot Theater, StoryBook Theater, Stone Soup, Woodinville Repertory, and The Dickens Carolers. I've also had roles in various local commercials and locally made films.  As a voice-over professional, I am the voice of online training for local company Fluke BioMed and I have been the children's and young adult audiobook narrator for the Washington Talking Book and Braille library since 2009. I've recently taken up Irish Fiddling and have performed at the Washington Midsummer Renaissance Faire.

At every point in my life, I've been involved as singer or instrumentalist in worship teams and I am grateful to be able to serve with my abilities.

I am thrilled that God has led me to my most exciting role to date: Music and Drama Specialist at Heritage Christian Academy! There are so many ways for kids to learn, experience and discover a love for music and dramatic communication; I'm so happy to be helping your children develop this part of their creative selves!

Education

  • B.A. Music, University of Sioux Falls Magna Cum Laude; MMus Vocal Performance – University of South Dakota
  • CPR and First Aid Certified

Katie Saunders

P3 Lead Preschool Teacher

Katie Saunders

P3 Lead Preschool Teacher

I was raised in Okanogan, WA and I am married with two boys that attend HCA. I am outside with my family every chance I get and we like hiking, camping, sports, and our puppy, Sallie Cruz.

After high school I went to Wenatchee Valley College to play soccer and earn my AA degree. I then transferred to Pensacola Christian College in Florida where I got my Bachelor’s in Elementary Education. I got married two weeks after graduation and started teaching 4 year olds at a Christian school while my husband finished his Master’s at PCC. After a year we moved to Pennsylvania where my husband was offered a job, and I substitute taught and worked at a swim, year round with all ages. Two years later we moved back to Washington and I started teaching 4’s here at HCA and now teach 3’s.

I love the atmosphere of HCA, the relationships that our family has built, and knowing that my coworkers are praying for me every day. I also love being able to tell the kids about God’s love for them and how he cares about everything they do! We play, sing, and dance as the kids develop a love for school.

Education

  • BS in Elementary Education, Pensacola Christian College
  • S.T.A.R.S. Certified
  • CPR and First Aid Certified

Gitti Shilley

3rd Grade Teacher

Gitti Shilley

3rd Grade Teacher

Bio

I started my teaching career with Heritage at the age of 22 and have been blessed by children and staff here for over 30 years. Most of my years have been spent teaching second grade. My educational goals have centered on learning how to effectively teach children who have language, learning and reading issues. Many of my summers were spent tutoring children who needed one-on-one support. As the Arrowsmith Program was being introduced to Heritage in 2013, I was asked to take on the middle school/high school grades. I’ve now worked in the program for 4 years and I absolutely love watching kids who have rarely known academic success, suddenly gain new abilities they never thought possible. Who knew I’d enjoy teaching older kids?!

  • B.A., Western Washington University
  • Masters in Teaching, Seattle Pacific University
  • ACSI certified
  • Arrowsmith Certified
  • First Aid and CPR Certified

Jackie Shulkin

Extended Care Team

Jackie Shulkin

Extended Care Team

Bio

I have been working with children for years! I am a mother, a grandmother and I ran an in home daycare for sixteen years. After running my own daycare, I went to work for the Northshore school district. I was so blessed to be able to work in a Kindergarten class and in the office and nurses station.

My hobbies are many but I really enjoy gardening and making flower arrangements. I also really like doing art projects with children.

Education

  • AAS Early Childhood Education
  • CPR and First Aid Certified

Marcy Stahley

Administrative Assistant

Marcy Stahley

Administrative Assistant
  • First Aid and CPR Certified

Riley Sundquist

Auction Coordinator

Riley Sundquist

Auction Coordinator

Bethany Tatum

Extended Care Program Coordinator

Bethany Tatum

Extended Care Program Coordinator

Bio

I grew up in Hillsboro, Oregon in a large family of seven people. I was homeschooled for the first seven years of my school career and then attended public school for Middle School and High School. I have always been an athlete and an active member of the societies of which I have been a part. I played soccer for sixteen years for both clubs and schools, I participated in track, cross country, leadership, theater (drama club president), and I volunteered in my church's nursery which is where I developed my love for little ones. I married my husband in 2015 and moved to Seattle that same year for both of us to pursue our careers. We enjoy rock climbing, backpacking, kick-boxing, and watching great movies together. We attend Bethany Community Church in Ballard and try to put the love of Christ at the center of all we do.

I graduated valedictorian of my High school class in 2011. I attended Whitworth University and graduated in 2015 with a bachelor's degree in Psychology. I am currently a master's student in the marriage and family therapy program at Antioch University. My hope is to become a licensed family therapist within the next four years.

My favorite part about working in Extended Care is feeling like a part of a crazy, chaotic, and loving family. We never know exactly who is going to be in Extended Care on which days and I am constantly amazed at the love and generosity displayed by these little guys.

Education

  • Bachelors in Psychology, Whitworth University
  • S.T.A.R.S certified
  • CPR and First Aid Certified

Renee Taylor

Beginners Lead Preschool Teacher/Extended Care Team

Renee Taylor

Beginners Lead Preschool Teacher/Extended Care Team

Bio

I was born in Wyoming and lived there until I married my husband in 1980.

My love for children developed in Wyoming as a nanny to several families at a young age. I graduated from Sheridan High School and then went to Cosmetology School, earning a degree as a Cosmetologist. After receiving my license I flew to San Diego, where my husband was stationed at the time. It was then I became active in the church with the children ministries. Many years later I had 4 children of my own. I had no desire to put them in public school, so I worked at a Christian school in San Diego where my children later attended. For two years, I worked as a Preschool Teacher and one year as a Kindergarten teacher. When we were stationed in Washington, I home schooled my children and continued to work in the church ministries. Many moves later, my husband and I decided to settle in Washington. I worked as a nanny until the family moved, and then was led to Heritage.

I love working at Heritage because I have the opportunity to teach the youngest ones in Preschool! I also work with the elementary kids in Extended Care and have the opportunity to guide them daily as they navigate life. I can’t think of many things greater than watching and guiding young minds to develop into wherever their dreams may take them.

Eduation

  • S.T.A.R.S certified
  • CPR and First Aid Certified

Amber Tomson

Preschool Assistant

Amber Tomson

Preschool Assistant

Bio

I was born in Kenmore, Washington and grew up in Duvall. I was raised in a very large Christian family.

I started out a very young age working with my parents feeding the homeless on the streets of Seattle in the early to late 80’s. My dad being a street minister ran a soup kitchen in the heart of Pioneer square and we would do feeds on Saturday nights. I have worked in women and men’s homeless shelters providing meals and spending time with families in need during the holidays.

In 2013 I began working with friendships; Inc. a nonprofit faith based organization where I spent a year working with youth. I was assigned to various duties from directing groups of volunteers and supervising mission projects. The year I spent with Friendship’s Inc. inspired me to realize that I have a love and desire to work with children. I’ve spent the last two years living with live with my niece and nephew, watching them grow, working on many art projects, park dates, bike riding lessons, cooking together and reading many of their favorite books.

I have a passionate heart for children and believe the more time we invest in our younger generation the greater value they will carry within themselves as they grow and give back to others. I desire to show these little ones how important they are and what an amazing gift they are from God. They give us the greatest reward at the end of the day and I feel it’s a great honor and privilege to be working with them to help instill great moral character for their future ahead.

  • Early Childhood Education, Edmonds Community College (in process)
  • CPR and First Aid Certified

Lauren Valerio

Preschool Assistant

Lauren Valerio

Preschool Assistant

Bio

I was born and raised in central Ohio (Go Bucks!).  I attended Ohio Northern University, where I met my husband, Matt.  We relocated to Bothell in 2009 for his career, and I continued my work in the insurance industry at Safeco.  I decided to stay home when we welcomed our daughter in 2011.  Our family grew again in 2014 when our son was born.  Motherhood, while challenging at times, has been my favorite role yet.

We are so thankful that God led us to Heritage for preschool, and we've continued to feel so blessed as we've transitioned to elementary and started back in preschool again with our youngest. I have loved opportunities to see teachers and staff in action as they facilitate growth and learning in a safe, loving and Christ-centered environment, and I am excited to support that work on campus on a fulltime basis.  I love the excitement and wonderment that comes with the preschool years, and it's an honor to work with the children and their families as they explore and become the person God has created them to be.

As the daughter of a long-time elementary music teacher, I have a passion for music and the performing arts, and I also enjoy traveling, running and entertaining.

Education
  • BSBA in Business Management (Minor in Public Relations), Ohio Northern University
  • S.T.A.R.S. Certified
  • CPR and First Aid Certified

Karen Wilkerson

Kindergarten Assistant

Karen Wilkerson

Kindergarten Assistant

Bio

I was born and raised in the Seattle area as the daughter of a Boeing Engineer. I graduated from Washington State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education with a specialization in Music. I taught Elementary Music for several years before relocating back to the Seattle area. I moved into the business world as an administrative assistant for several years. I also spent several years serving in the Music department at Westminster Chapel in Bellevue.

While my husband, Dean, and I were raising our three children, we were active in the children’s choir at our church, serving as group leaders and day camp directors for Camp Fire USA, and staff and children’s leader, respectively, for Bible Study Fellowship.

I am passionate about working with children and seeing them learn and grow into the unique people God created them to be. Heritage Christian Academy is a wonderful, enfolding place where all of us can be supported and encouraged as we work together to become what God leads us to be and teach these precious children the love of God.

Education

  • BS Elementary Education, Washington State University
  • S.T.A.R.S. Certified
  • CPR and First Aid Certified