A California native who grew up bilingual in Spanish and English, Mrs. Denise Thistle never imagined she’d end up teaching Spanish in the Midwest.
Meet Our Teachers & Staff
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.
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.
David Barber has been at HCS since 2010 and is able to blend his two career passions: serving in administration and in fine arts.
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.
This year marks the 30th anniversary since Mrs. Susan Shrack became an HCS elementary teacher! Mrs. Shrack estimates she’s taught over 870 kids in her career.
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.
Shelly Crowder is a newer face to the Heritage community, though she has years of teaching experience under her belt.
Dina has known she wanted to be a counselor since 7th grade. Through her journey with Christ, Dina discovered that God’s larger calling was for her to use her gifts to love His children and point them toward Jesus.
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.
Although she began her job at Heritage in 2015, Lacy is no stranger to the Heritage campus. Lacy and her husband, Kevin, both attended HCS and were high school sweethearts. Lacy then went on to study Early Childhood Education in college.
Ms. Pabón’s aim is to help Heritage Christian School provide international 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.
Judy Tank has been a staple of the Heritage community for over 30 years, but many people may not know that her professional career was originally headed in a completely different direction.
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.
Melody Croft teaches Spanish II, IV, and AP Spanish at Heritage. She has a deep connection with the Spanish language, one that shows both in her cultural roots and enthusiasm in the classroom.
Although not a teacher at HCS, Jodi Sarver has always been an educator at heart. She currently serves as the administrative assistant for Educational Support Services (ESS).
Although she isn’t a teacher for Heritage, Susan Dage, serves an important role for HCS. After working here for less than a year in admissions, she has worked as the Special Projects Coordinator for the past 10 years.
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 spending the first few years of college wondering what to do for a career, Susan says her choice to pursue being a teacher was “a true calling from God.”
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.
After attending the UC Santa Barbara, Betsey Taylor spent her career at public schools and homeschool groups both in California and Indiana. She now works at Heritage as the Instructional Coordinator for the Director of Academic Innovation.
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 being a long-term substitute in 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.
Teaching has always been a part of Chastity Martin’s life: from “teaching” her dolls as a child to homeschooling her own children to working with Heritage’s preschoolers. She says that her HCS students bring her such joy in life!
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.
Meet Becky Kinney, Heritage’s new Digital Literacy teacher for grades 1-4. It was during her freshman year at Anderson University when Kinney’s love of children turned into a calling to teaching.
Jennifer Harrison is an Instructional Assistant in the 6th grade, but teaching hasn’t always been a career on her radar. After graduating from Hanover College with a degree in math she worked as an accountant then took a break to start a family—she’s always had a love for kids.
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.
Brad Gregory, Concert Band and Jazz Band Director and Bible teacher, brings an interesting perspective on how God is glorified through music.
We recently got to know new HCS teacher Lori MuCullough. 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.
Beth Cardozo is well known and well loved around HCS. She's a grad, a mom to 3 girls who are all at HCS, and she now works here as an Instructional Coordinator.
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.
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 McLean'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.
In talking with Tia Cavanaugh-Goggans, 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.
Even though he does not interact with students in a typical classroom setting, Tom Flynn is able to help students grow stronger in the faith as they are preparing for the challenges of their lives after high school, including their education.
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.
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.
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.
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.