For twenty-six years, ESS Director Julie Hight has shepherded and developed the group’s vision: to offer support and resources for students with learning differences and to give them every opportunity to thrive in the Heritage academic environment.
Meet Our Teachers
Our teachers make us distinctive. They are committed, sacrificial servants who care for our students. They mentor by modeling a Christian lifestyle. They cultivate character inside and outside of the classroom. We invite you to take a peek inside our classrooms by exploring the teacher profiles listed below.
My favorite part of teaching is expanding my " family." I sincerely love my students as my own, and love building bonds and relationships with the families. Last year, I was able to teach a 2nd generation student, and I still keep in touch with many of my little people, who are now not so little.
We recently sat down with Sandy Taylor, high school Spanish teacher, to talk about her background, working at Heritage, and why she loves teaching.
Tony Hinkle came to HCS in 1995 and has taught all but one year since his arrival. Currently, he teaches integrated chemistry and physics, zoology, and botany in the high school, as well as core middle school science classes.
In 1st grade, Grace Ries had a teacher at HCS who made a huge impact on her. Since then, Grace knew that she wanted to make the same difference in kids' lives. Grace is now a first grade teacher and living her dream.
First as a parent and now as a high school language/literature teacher, Kim Davis has "always loved the community at Heritage." Her four children all attended HCS K-12, she started substitute teaching when the youngest was in first grade, and then officially started teaching in 2011.
There are 685 stones in a jar at Catherine Curry's house. Those stones represent the 685 students that Curry has worked with in the nearly 23 years that she has been a Kindergarten teacher at Heritage. Continue reading to learn more about Curry.
It’s easy to see Hannah Benson’s enthusiasm for art and her love for her young students. It’s displayed all over her elementary art classroom, from students’ self-portraits mounted on primary-colored walls to a painted paper plate floral arrangement at the front of the room.
When Heritage debuted a pilot of an innovative, ground-breaking approach to language arts instruction for 5th grade students this year, it arrived in the unexpected and precious form of an adorable, ebony canine named Baxter the Reading Dog.
In talking with Tia Cavanaugh-Favors, it doesn’t take long to discover her heartfelt passion for children and her love for Heritage students. The path that led her to her newly created role of discipleship diversity mentor has been paved with educational, professional and life experience that makes her perfectly suited for the job.
For Elena Landa, an experienced educator with 17 years in private and public school classrooms, much of her current personal and spiritual growth is happening in the context of her first year of teaching Spanish to Heritage intermediate and middle school students.
In talking with Heritage Bible teacher Dan Stroup, it’s easy to feel as if you’re the only person in the room. You get the sense that he’s really, truly listening. That he’s genuinely interested in what you have to say. And the truth is that he is.
Each teacher at Heritage has their own unique personality that makes students want to be more involved in the classroom, allowing teachers to make school fun and engaging. Elementary Teacher, Kyle Ray, is one of these teachers. He has a positive energy and desire to connect with his students that will make him a great addition to theHeritage community.
As you walk into the elementary gym, seeing the plethora of students running around or playing games, you may spot Miss Alicia Michaelsen, the elementary PE teacher. Her positive energy and love for the students is evident in the way she interacts with them.
One of the many unique features of Heritage is its long history and how God has worked through the years in the Heritage community. Katie Heath, the elementary librarian, is no exception to experiencing this history. She is married to Craig Heath, a 2006 Heritage graduate, whose mother taught in the elementary for many years.
Jacobson joined HCS' Educational Support Services (ESS) faculty in 2006 and has taught multiple grades within the Explorers and Directed Studies programs. Today, she teaches elementary students in the STAR small-group reading program and oversees the SEARCH AND TEACH one-to-one early intervention program.
Freeman's 28-year career in education has at different times placed her in first-, third- , fourth- and fifth-grade classrooms. Fourth grade, she says, is her favorite. "At this age, they still love their teachers. I get hugs every day," she says. "In fourth grade, they're learning to be self-sufficient."
On a window ledge in Teresa Stroop's first-grade classroom sits a black, three-ring binder whose contents this Heritage teacher cherishes. In cutout letters and shapes, it's labeled "The Stroop Troops." Inside its covers are slip-covered pages with class photographs of every student she has taught during her 27 years at Heritage Christian School.
Choir Teacher, Erin Voiles firmly believes that every student has the ability to sing. Even, and maybe especially, those who don't think that they can. Over her three years of teaching here, she has seen many students do things vocally that they never dreamed possible, by embracing their unique voice and working hard to develop it.
"It's all about encouraging the student to question deeply," she explains, "to verbalize their thinking and then come up with a process of strategy for learning the concepts." This process of learning through self-discovery empowers the student and helps them tap into their strengths, she says. Meyer loves to help "connect the dots" for students who sometimes struggle to understand concepts in a traditional setting.
Somers never tires of teaching the nine-week elective course about Lincoln that he developed over 12 years ago. Lincoln's life has become a springboard for Somers to draw spiritual applications from the pages of history. The legendary president's life changed in 1863, when he came to know Christ.
"As believers, it is important that our minds be engaged in our walk with the Lord, just as much as our hearts," says Carter Booker, Heritage Bible teacher and Bible Department Head. To that end, Booker challenges his students to think critically and deeply about what it means to follow Christ. His senior Bible classes examine prevalent worldviews that stand in stark opposition to the Gospel: Naturalism, New Age, Pragmatism, Positivism, Pluralism and Consumerism.
With administration, recruitment, and marketing experience at Butler University, Tami Crabtree is well versed in any and all aspects of the college search, making her the obvious choice for one of Heritage's high school guidance counselors. Now, she coordinates school-wide events, organizes the annual Christian College Fair, and assists with every step of the college search process.
Talk to Freshman in accelerated math and you'll hear two things: "Schnake's class is killing me!" and "You have to take Schnake next year." What I thought would be contradictory statements often came from the same people, and often in the course of one conversation. With my friends' encouragement, I took Schnake's Honors Geometry course in my sophomore year. I was ready to change my schedule within the first week, and ended the year looking forward to math class for the very first time in my life.
Imagine a colorful, spacious classroom at Heritage Christian School, where sun spills through big windows. Conga drums, xylophones, keyboards and a well-used guitar adorn the room. No need here for desks and chairs that typify other elementary school rooms.
Van Antwerp is what some call a "life long student" as well as a teacher, having both a masters in education and a law degree. "Teaching math is my first love," she admits. "I really went to law school because I wanted to keep going to college--I'd probably still be going to college if it paid." Luckily, Van Antwerp was able to transform this love of learning into a love of teaching as early as her college days.
With 25 years of her life spent at Heritage, Rachel Smiley is perhaps even more of a fixture of the school than homecoming lip sync competitions or the playground ark. Now a core member of the Educational Support Services (ESS) department she integrates her life and family so deeply into the school that it becomes difficult to imagine it without her.
Some Heritage teachers have been blessed with the opportunity to be both a student and a faculty member. Kristen Gotsis, who first came to Heritage when she began 6th grade, has recently moved back from Lansing, Michigan with her husband to embrace this special community of believers by coming back as our new 7th grade Language Arts teacher.
We say all the time that our teachers are what make Heritage special. The impact they have extends beyond the classroom and into the Indianapolis community. For five years, Jennifer Nutter and her family have worked with friends to provide donated items to refugee families on Indy's west side.