Meet Our Teachers & Staff
Our teachers and staff 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 videos and profiles below.
Hear From Our Teachers
Profiles of Our Teachers and Staff Members
Riley has always had a passion for working with students. His experience coaching and tutoring led him to realize God was leading him towards a career in education. Riley remembers the impact of his teachers and hopes to have a similar influence on his students.
Esta previously taught at Heritage from 1999-2012, and started the Spanish program in our middle school! After 13 years of teaching, Esta and her family left to be missionaries in Latin America. They spent seven years serving in Colombia and Mexico.
Coming from a family of educators, Lesley always knew she wanted to follow the same path. The experiences in Christian education in her own life prepared her well to teach at Heritage.
Emily plans on filling her classroom with conversations about Jesus. “I will speak openly about God’s Word and how He is working in my life, and I will encourage students to do the same."
Tae was born in a refugee camp, and her experience there inspired her to become an educator. “I wanted to become a teacher because I have always wanted to go to Thailand to teach in the refugee camps."
Lisa loves getting to know her students and seeing them grow in confidence throughout the school year. Knowing that math can be tough, she works to encourage her students that making mistakes is part of learning.
Rhonda has been teaching and coaching at Heritage for 26 years, having coached 26 different HCS teams including basketball, softball, track, volleyball, and lacrosse.
Sherman is known around the Hoosier state for his unbelievable high school and college basketball career. He still holds the second place rank for scoring and field goals made at Indiana State University, trailing only behind basketball legend Larry Bird.
Debbie finds it a privilege to be able to work as a first grade teacher’s aide in the elementary school. She also enjoys so many friendships with teachers and aides who love Jesus and their students.
Dave just completed his 32nd year of teaching high school history at HCS this spring. He most loves hanging out with his students and sharing Jesus’ love for them.
Wende enjoys being the catalyst that inspires her students to do their best and be all that God created them to be. She loves seeing her students take ownership of their learning.
Jim Benedict has been a staple in the Heritage middle school for almost 30 years. He is also the reason Heritage has a cross country program, which he started in 1986.
Bill Burdine has been teaching 5th grade at Heritage for 25 years! He loves helping his students develop a desire to be at the center of God’s will and watching the joy that unfolds from that.
Terra loves watching her students discover the beauty of reading. “It is truly awe-inspiring to witness,” she said. “Seeing a child’s eyes fill with excitement when a whole new world is opened is one of the great joys of my life and career.”
LeAnn has been teaching high school math at Heritage since 2007. She loves seeing her students gain confidence in their math ability as they move through the school year.
Seventh grade Bible teacher Paul Houck will complete his 38th year of teaching at Heritage this spring (2021)! In addition to teaching, Paul also coaches track and field at HCS.
Jenni Kolenda teaches 5th grade history, language arts, and Bible in the intermediate school. She enjoys building relationships with her students and sharing Jesus in her classroom every day.
Diann most loves witnessing growth in her students, whether that be when they begin to grasp a deep spiritual truth or when an idea or concept in literature finally clicks with them.
Bryan Baker teaches 7th grade Bible and middle school and high school health, and he coaches middle school baseball. He loves being able to have discipleship and meaningful conversations with his students.
Jolie is a Heritage “lifer,” having attended Heritage for all 13 years of school. She has enjoyed being a part of the Heritage staff in her various roles and loves getting to connect with students across grade levels
This year, Maggie started working in the HCS nurses’ office. Though her job looks a little different this year due to COVID, she enjoys getting to know the students and being a support to them.
Alison keeps the athletics department rolling, confirming all athletic events, putting rosters together, assisting coaches' meetings, stocking concessions, you name it.
Krista enjoys working as part of the HCS community and loves using her skills to be able to contribute to the HCS mission.
“One of my biggest joys is simply being a consistent, encouraging presence in their lives... So having the opportunity to be a reassuring presence, a voice that reminds them of His constancy, and a person who cares about each of them as an individual–that is my goal and source of joy.”
Katie is a permanent substitute teacher in Prep-K through 6th grade. Katie grew up spending a lot of time in a school setting–and at Heritage. Her mom, Sharon Rager, was an HCS elementary teacher for many years, and Katie attended HCS for most of her schooling.
Ashley primarily works with first graders and loves getting to do fun crafts and play soccer with them. Her favorite part of working with students is watching them learn something new for the first time.
“I love how uninhibited and creative young kids are when it comes to creating art. I love seeing how students take an art project and add their own unique features and interpretation.”
Sharie has loved getting back into teaching. She has a heart for working with teenagers and she most loves seeing them grow, academically and spiritually.
Lindsi loves seeing students have fun and learn at the same time, and she’s eager to form relationships with them over the year.
Laura is teaching freshmen and sophomores, laying the groundwork for reading and writing critically. She remembers her own sophomore year was when she fell in love with the subject of English and began to care more about her writing.
Eileen is excited to be teaching her favorite subjects – social studies and science! “Hopefully the students will grow to love them as well,” she said. “I look forward to applying what we learn to our everyday lives and seeing how it all connects together!”
Jessie loves teaching 2nd graders because they are becoming more independent but they still think she’s funny! She most loves witnessing students finally understand a concept they’ve been struggling with.
Michelle is teaching Intro to 2D, Drawing, Painting, Portfolio, and AP 2D Art and Design. Many of the students she has now are students she’s had since elementary.
Michaela joins us as a recent Elementary Education graduate from the University of Southern Indiana. She is excited about developing relationships with her students and watching them grow and transform throughout the year.
Jessica enjoys building relationships with her students and discovering what they enjoy doing outside the classroom. She also loves seeing them grow in confidence with their math abilities.
Lauren loves watching her students learn things they never thought they could do, and she’s especially excited about being able to openly talk about Jesus and pray with her students.
Thirty years ago, Angela Ruiz-Pearce was a busy young mom with a high school diploma. Today, she’s the Director of Curriculum and Instruction at Heritage Christian with four degrees under her belt. Angela has seen how God has guided her on her path to Heritage.
Kate’s journey of becoming a high school English teacher at HCS was a whirlwind. Though she had a stable job in marketing, Kate longed to work in education.
Janet enjoys watching her students have “aha” moments when they figure something out. She also loves building relationships with her students and creating hands-on lessons.
Having attended Heritage from K-12, Rachel was excited when a position for an Educational Support Services (ESS) teacher came up. She loves getting to work with different grade levels and helping children improve their reading skills.
Kelly Skinner is an HCS alum from the class of 1997 and has returned to Heritage to teach Honors Chemistry, Honors Physiology, and 7th grade Life Science.
Molly Straka is our newest 5th grade Instructional Aide. Molly has been a Heritage parent for years and is excited to be back in the classroom.
Jordan has been around HCS for several years through St. Vincent as a strength and conditioning coach, but 2019-20 is his first year as an official HCS employee!
Julie comes to Heritage with years of experience teaching in public schools at both the elementary and junior high levels. She’s eager to be able to share her faith with her students here at Heritage.
Meet Kristina Thompson, our newest Prep-K teacher! Kristina has a passion for serving others and being surrounded by children, so she’s excited about this role.
Kristin graduated from Eastern Illinois University and is currently working on her Masters in Literary Instruction from Ball State University. Working with children has been a desire of hers ever since she was a child herself – she used to play school in her basement every day after school.
Rebecca most loves getting to interact with her students. Though those interactions have changed since becoming an online teacher, she still loves encouraging and talking with them through writing.
Kimberly first discovered an interest in teaching when she worked in a daycare in high school. She studied Elementary Education at the University of Southern Indiana, and has previously taught third and fifth grade.
After a successful 10-year chemical engineering career and time at home with her young children, Lisa Foster returned to college and earned her teaching certificate. She taught in several public schools before God opened the door to teach at Heritage.
“There’s hardly a day that I don’t come home without a smile after being around the kindergartners. They love you so unconditionally!”
High school art teacher Melissa Lawler is a jack-of-all-trades when it comes to her art. When she’s not at school teaching, she may be knitting, spinning, and dying a sweater, taking photos, or selling her ceramics artwork.
ESS teacher Melissa Meabon and her children joined the Heritage community this year! Before coming to Heritage, Melissa worked in a variety of teaching positions.
Brad Gregory keeps busy teaching all 5th-12th grade band classes, middle school and high school jazz bands, and two seventh grade Bible classes. He also plays in the pit orchestra for Heritage musicals and runs the Honors Band Day.
For over 10 years, third grade teacher Jennifer Nutter has been sending letters to former students who accepted Christ in her classroom.
Christy Deaton grew up among teachers, with a grandmother and two parents who dedicated their lives to teaching. When the time came for college at Indiana University, she knew she wanted to study Elementary Education.
The littlest Heritage students have had the joy of learning under a new music and PE teacher this year, Angie Rihani!
Ann Hrinowich joined the Heritage community as a substitute teacher last spring, then came on as a fourth grade teacher in 2018.
Anyone who’s attended Heritage in the last 30 years knows Janice Houghton, the school librarian! She loves getting to introduce students to good books, to be a part of dozens of research projects, and to collaborate with teachers across all grade levels.
After a 20-year career in higher education, Kirsten transitioned to a new environment when she joined the HCS Discipleship team in 2014. Today, she serves as the High School Assistant Principal.
In his nearly 35 years in education, Mr. Nikirk has been an assistant principal and head principal in various schools around Indiana.
Barb Standish wanted to be a teacher ever since she was little and is now so thankful that she could fulfill that dream with the many roles she's held throughout her teaching career.
Becky joined the Heritage family in the summer of 2017 as the Director of Discipleship. She loves pouring into the lives of students and challenging them in their walk with Christ.
Brenda Klingerman first began teaching 4th grade at HCS and when the beloved Mary Jane English was about to retire, transitioned to assistant principal, and then principal in the elementary school.
After being a substitute for a Heritage 4th grade teacher on maternity leave last year, Taylor now works full time as a 5th grade Language Arts teacher.
When she began her job at Heritage in 2015, Lacy was no stranger to the Heritage campus. Lacy and her husband, Kevin, both attended HCS and were high school sweethearts.
Ms. Pabón’s aim is to help Heritage Christian School provide students an excellent education in a welcoming, supportive environment which values the presence and unique contribution of each student.
Marna Reutman graduated from Butler University with a degree in music theory and composition, but after offering private music lessons to children, she realized her passion for teaching.
Katie Jensen has taught a variety of grade levels and subjects over the years, but has now found her home at HCS as a third grade teacher's aid.
Jodi Sarver has always been an educator at heart. She currently serves as a teacher for Educational Support Services (ESS).
Janna came to HCS in 2016 and says what she loves most about her job is being able to take things off the teachers’ plates so that they have more time and energy to devote to their students.
After rekindling a childhood love of teaching through homeschooling her own children, Becky Rogers completed Indiana Wesleyan’s transition to teaching program and joined the Heritage family.
Carol Lamke didn’t always plan on being a teacher. Her education is in Speech Pathology with a minor in Instrumental and Vocal Music. She now serves the Heritage community as a second and third grade aid.
Mrs. Goossen found her love of literature—and her faith in Christ—while in college. After receiving her degree in English Literature, she planned on continuing in academia and becoming a college professor, but God had other plans.
Denise began to work at Heritage in 2013 with the students in our ABCare program and then transitioned to working with our preschool students.
This teacher is a familiar face to anyone who has been through High School at Heritage. Erik Smith, our high school director of guidance, has dedicated a life of service to the HCS community - first as a math teacher then in his current role in the guidance office.
For high school history teacher and head high school baseball coach Dan Ambrose, Heritage hits close to home. His four children all currently attend HCS—one in elementary school, one in intermediate school, and two in high school.
Art teacher, Allie Benson, loves turning her classroom into a space for expression and relaxation from the pressures of everyday life. Her art room is also a place to build deeper relationships with her students—and talk to them about how faith in God “changes the way we do everything.”
Kim Everhart started out ministering to middle school girls as the soccer coach then moved to the 7th grade Language Arts department in 2017.
Kathy Meyers coordinates the Middle School robotics teams, and works with grades 5-12 in various technology subjects. Under her supervision, students learn engineering design, modeling, and robotics automation with Project Lead the Way.
Kaleigh Bennett teaches the age that she realized her love of learning: First Grade! She also leads the kindergarten and first grade Math Pentathlon club and participates as an elementary mentor teacher for the tutoring program.
Holyn Jacobson has been a part of the Heritage community since 2005—first as a student (Class of 2012), and now as the STEM teacher for the 5th and 6th grade and elementary school.
Stacia Floberg has been a Heritage parent for many years, but just recently stepped into teaching here a few years ago when a position in the 6th grade opened up.
Teaching is a family legacy for Educational Support Services (ESS) teacher Tracy Helm. Her mother set an example of excellent teaching and by the time she was a freshman in high school, Helm knew she wanted to follow in the footsteps of her role model.
We recently got to know new HCS teacher Lori McCullough. She joined the Heritage family in 2016 as a substitute teacher and now serves as one of our Prep-K teachers in our Early Childhood Education program.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
"Everything I do is with the intent that students fully comprehend math and honor God more," Caleb Schnake says. His classes include writing papers, measuring the school with trigonometry and standing on desks—practices uncommon for math classes, but every bit as effective.