Faculty

    INTRODUCING MARANATHA'S 2015-2016 FACULTY

At Maranatha, we view our faculty not only as those who develop and teach the curriculum, but as the “living curriculum”. Faculty members lead clubs, mentor, coach, and tutor students on a daily basis and embody our Christ-centered mission in each student interaction. Faculty members are highly educated and credentialed in their fields and yet the requirements for Maranatha faculty extend well beyond the resume. MHS staff are known to hold an intentional Christian faith and strong relational ability that inspire growth, character development, and wisdom in and out of the classroom. We are proud to highlight our outstanding faculty here. (Please click on each name to read their bios below.)  Click HERE for the Faculty phone and email directory.

    ALBRIGHT, KEYERA • Math

Algebra 2/Trig, AP Statistics

Ms. Albright is full of passion, not only for teaching, “but a desire to make learning math fun for students, to help them see the beauty of the subject and how we can use it to study God’s creation.” She holds a BA in Mathematics and a California Teaching Credential in Mathematics from Azusa Pacific University. She has experience teaching in a private Christian school and has also worked as an Educational Therapist. “In order for students to make connections from math to other areas of life, I bring in real world examples to the classroom, purposefully connecting the material to the lives and cares of the students.”

    ALEME, GIRMA • Science

AP Physics, Conceptual Physics

For a short period in 2014, Mr. Aleme used to be a summer school Physics teacher at MHS and has returned to serve our community again. Mr. Aleme brings with him 25 years of committed and dedicated experience to his teaching subject. Mr. Aleme graduated from Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia where he obtained his Bachelors of Science in1986. He has since worked in various public, private, and international high schools in Africa and has served in a couple of college preparatory charter high schools in Los Angeles and Inglewood, all while obtaining his teaching credentials. “It is my desire to empower students to become Christ-centered, college-ready, career-ready, and community oriented servants by being the type of teacher who works to serve the Lord and fulfill the vision and mission statement of Maranatha High School.”

    BAKER, DANIEL • English/ Learning Assistance Specialist

Learning Assistance Director, Journalism and News Media

Mr. Baker holds a BA in Writing from Azusa Pacific University and a MA in Humanities and Social Thought – Cross Cultural Communications from New York University. He has over four years of teaching and tutoring experience and also works as an adjunct college professor of English, where his courses focus on the intersection of faith, literature, and writing. In his graduate work he specialized in identifying Biblical truth and its impact on the lives of secular writers, as well as the failings of false religions. He states, “My hope is to strengthen the faith of students and to equip them to face the challenges of the world as victors in Christ.”

    BARNHART, DIANE • Visual Arts Chair

A.P. Studio Art - Portfolio, Honors Painting and Drawing, AP Studio Art/Portfolio, Painting & Drawing

Ms. Barnhart has a B.A. in Art from California State University, Sacramento and a M.A. in Christian Education from Denver Theological Seminary. She has been teaching at Maranatha over twenty years. She also has experience in the public sector and as a freelance artist. Ms. Barnhart is the Art Club Advisor and European Arts Trip Leader. "As Christians," she says, "we should have a greater understanding of where creativity originated since we know the Creator. It is a joy to help students discover the creativity within them and guide them toward growing this skill and giving their talents back to God as an act of worship."

    BLESSINGER, JEREMIAH • Theater/ Yearbook

Theater 1, Theater 2, Theater 3, Theater Director, Yearbook

Our Theater Director, Jeremiah Blessinger, has a decade of teaching experience in the Christian high school setting as well as over 15 years of professional film and theatrical experience as a screenwriter and assistant director for various L.A. theater companies. Mr. Blessinger graduated from Azusa Pacific University with a B.A. in Biblical Studies. He considers it a blessing and a joy to be able to openly guide students in their pursuit of faith at Maranatha, noting that “Biblical truths bleed into everything we do. Through faith we can help students see who they are and how they value themselves, and also give them the courage and confidence to pursue the arts."

    BREITENBUCHER, ALBA • Languages

A.P. Spanish, Honors Spanish 2, Spanish 2, Spanish 3

Ms. Breitenbucher has been teaching at the university level for more than fifteen years and has taught in three different countries including Argentina, Mexico, and the United States. She holds a degree in Humanities, with an emphasis in Spanish Literature and Pedagogy from the Universidad Nacional de la Patagonia San Juan Bosco, a B.A. in French from L'Aliance Française in Argentina; a M.A. in Spanish Language and Spanish and Latin American Literature from the University of California, Riverside, and is in the final stages of her doctorate. Ms. Breitenbucher is "thrilled to work at Maranatha, where I experience students’ daily excitement and love, and where I have the opportunity to give them back God’s love through my humble dedication."

    BUCKOWSKI, MICHELLE • Social Science Department Chair/ Social Science

AP Macro Economics, AP Government, AP U.S. History

Ms. Buckowski is passionate about education and has fifteen years of teaching experience including both middle school and high school. Ms. Buckowski has a B.A. in History and Political Theory from U.C. San Diego with a Minor in Cognitive Science Writing, an M.A. in Journalism from USC, and a Teaching Credential in Social Studies and English and a Master in Secondary Education from Mt. Saint Mary’s College. She is also an Advanced Placement Essay Reader for the College Board in History. “Social Science is the toolbox for being active in society. It’s the way we help students look at the moral compass of the country and make a difference by advocating change,” she states.

    CHAN, MONICA • Math

Calculus, Honors Algebra 2, Honors Geometry

Ms. Chan has over twenty years of teaching experience. She holds multiple degrees including a degree in Education and a Teaching Credential from Nanyang Technological University in Singapore; a B.S. in Pure Mathematics from the University of New South Wales in Australia; an M.A. in Education with an emphasis on Multicultural Teaching Strategies and Structure, and a Preliminary Single Subject California Teaching Credential in Mathematics from National University. Ms. Chan is multi-lingual, speaking English, Chinese (Mandarin, Cantonese, Hokkien and Teochew), Japanese, and Malay. She has taught in three different countries including Singapore, Australia, and the United States. She is excited to be at Maranatha and says, “As an educator, I not only want to pass on mathematical knowledge to my students, but also my love for God. I want my students to develop great personality, integrity, and good moral values so as to honor the Lord Jesus Christ.”

    CHANG, JENNIE • Languages

Mandarin 2, Mandarin 1, A.P. Chinese Language, Honors Chinese 2 Language & Culture

Ms. Chang immigrated to the U.S. and had to learn English as a second language. In teaching Mandarin here at Maranatha, she says, “I completely understand the commitment needed to learn a new language. I also know that languages are not learned by memorization but by application. Chinese is a difficult language to learn, but it is filled with beauty and is a robust language to use in communication and expression.” She is thrilled to be able to take what she’s learned (both academic and life lessons) and share them with her students. “Faith is a way of life and language is a medium of communicating in daily life. Both naturally go hand in hand.”  Ms. Chang holds a B.S. in Business Administration from the Walter A. Haas School of Business at U.C. Berkeley.

    CHUNG, SHARON '02 • Languages

American Sign Language 1, American Sign Language 2, American Sign Language 3

Mrs. Chung holds a B.A. in Psychology and a M.S. in Clinical Psychology both from Vanguard University of Southern California. Mrs. Chung has experience teaching as well as a background in both Clinical Psychology and ABA psychology. She has been able to utilize her ASL (American Sign Language) skills, that she originally learned while a student at Maranatha, in all of her previous jobs in various capacities. Sharon loves working at a Christian school and shares, "I love being able to talk about my faith with my coworkers and students and be able to pray with them. You can see God in everything that we do here at MHS and it is my goal as a teacher to let His message and love shine through everyday to my students."

    CRONIN, LOIS • Social Science

A.P. World History, A.P. United States History, US History/Geography

“Teaching history is more than just regurgitating facts,” says Mrs. Cronin, “but looking at history from a different vantage point, to put puzzle pieces together.” She is well-qualified for the subject as she holds a B.A. in History and a California Teaching Credential in Secondary Social Studies from Cal State University Northridge. In addition, she is an Advanced Placement Essay Reader for the College Board in History. She strives to teach students to think critically and see the world on a bigger scope. One of her favorite aspects of history is military history including strategy and modern world war.

    CROSS, PENNY • Social Science

U.S. Geography, U.S. History and Geography, U.S. Government

Mrs. MacLaren-Cross has a Bachelor’s of Liberal Arts, a Teaching Credential in History, and work toward a Master’s in Education from Regent University (Virginia Beach). She is an experienced History teacher and also has experience working with youth in residential treatment. Mrs. MacLaren-Cross is passionate about all History, especially the history of our nation. She especially enjoys teaching about the World Wars and the great changes that took place in our nation at the turn of the century.
 

    DIESTO, CHAIM '00 • Visual Arts

Photography 1, Photo1/Photo2, Advanced Graphic Design, Graphic Design

Maranatha Class of 2000 alum, Chaim Diesto, teaches Graphic Design and Photography. Chaim graduated from the Art Center College of Design, and in addition to being a teacher, he is also a seasoned designer in different fields including print, digital, UI, and UX. “Being a product of MHS and having started my design career here, I think what excites me the most is having the opportunity to come back and invest the talents and knowledge I’ve gained over the years and pour it back into the lives of high school students. This high school period was crucial to my growing and developing as an adult!”

    DIXON, CHERYL '80 • Math

Math Analysis, Statistics

Alumna Cheryl Dixon ‘80 is returning to join the Maranatha faculty team, specifically the Math Department. Ms. Dixon attended Cal Poly Pomona where she obtained her B.S. in Mathematics and her teaching credential. Since then, she has been teaching Math during the school year and has spent five summers teaching conversational English in the Middle East. Ms. Dixon is also teaching Bible in the Azusa Unified School District to 4th and 5th graders, where she is using her talents to bring the word of Christ to young people. “I’ve always loved teaching, in general. I pray each year, asking God where He wants me, and am always looking for the opportunities that He is going to bring me. I feel that whatever He brings me will be of eternal value so, for me, that means investing in students, in people’s lives. And I can do that through teaching here at MHS."

    FOWLER, DIANNA • Languages

French 1, French 2, French 3, A.P. French 

Dianna Fowler serves as our French instructor in our Languages Department.  Ms. Fowler has over twenty years of experience in Christian education.  She has extensive teaching experience along with over five years of administrative experience. Ms. Fowler has a B.A. in French from Mount Saint Mary’s College. “At Maranatha,” she says, “we are able to make an impact on students’ character by speaking Christ’s words, and by putting them in action. I enjoy working in a Christ-centered school because it gives me the ability to surround myself with opportunities to live out the message of Christ.”

    GRADWOHL, ANNA • Performing Arts

Beginning Dance, Intermediate Dance, and Advanced Jazz Dance

Mrs. Gradwohl has over 18 years of dance performance experience, as well as extensive experience in teaching and choreography of a variety of dance styles. She received her B.A. in Dance Performance from Palm Beach Atlantic University in Florida. Mrs. Gradwohl is passionate about dance and truly sees it as worship. She explains, “Dance creates an area where students can form explicit integration with their faith. This integration may take the form of liturgical worship dance, or it may create the meaning behind any style of dance. Dance allows students to express their faith physically. (Psalm 149:3)”

    HAMPTON, CHARLES • Social Science

Modern World History, U.S. Government

Charles Hampton instructs U.S. Government, Modern World History, and U.S. Government. Mr. Hampton enjoys working at Maranatha because; “A Christian school provides a community and environment for students that helps shield them from the lies that they encounter on a daily basis. A Christian school, filled with faithful students and teachers, can help teach students how to live in the world and yet not be of the world.“ Mr. Hampton has a B.A. in History from Westmont College and a Master’s in Teaching with a California Teaching Credential from Point Loma Nazarene University. Before joining Maranatha, Mr. Hampton taught in local public high schools.

    HARRIS, SHAWN • Math

Algebra I, Geometry

Mr. Harris holds a BA in Liberal Studies with an Emphasis in Mathematics from Cal Poly, Pomona. Mr. Harris has a special love for math and likes to help see people beyond just the equations. “I do like trying to get the students to look at Algebra and Geometry problems as puzzles waiting to be solved. With a little diligence and probing any question about our universe can be answered through Mathematics.” As an alumnus of Maranatha, Mr. Harris enjoys bringing the foundation he received into his own classroom. “As Christians we are charged with a standard of living that exemplifies service and love for one another, if a teacher conducts their classroom in a way that glorifies the Lord through these commandments, then no matter what the subject matter God’s love will shine through.”

    HARRISON, CLEONIE • Languages Department Chair/ Languages/ Missions Advisor

Honors Spanish 1, Honors Spanish 3, Spanish 2

Mrs. Harrison has a B.A. in Spanish from Cal Poly University, Pomona, a Masters in Education from Azusa Pacific University, and is in the process of completing her Teaching Credential. She has been at Maranatha for eight years and has experience teaching at the college level and interpreting for the deaf in the public school system. "The ministry of transformation that takes place at Maranatha is what God has called me to be a part of here. It is not only about educating young minds but it is about building the Kingdom of God and allowing His Spirit to mold us into the servants and children God has called us to be."

    JANG, DR. ALLEN • Interim Science Department Chair

 

Dr. Jang has over thirty-five years of experience in primary, secondary and university-level education. He has served in both Christian and public schools as faculty, principal, vice-principal, and counselor. He has a passion for science and has started an annual science fair at every school he has worked at including Maranatha. Dr. Jang has training in both the Western and Eastern sciences which he shares in the classroom including such practices as acupuncture and Tai Chi. His is also a university instructor in Theology and Science, a licensed pastoral counselor, and hospital chaplain. He holds many degrees including a B.A. in Religion and a M.A. in Pastoral Counseling from Pepperdine University, a Ph.D. in Educational Administration and Religious Education from Columbia Pacific University, and an N.D. (Doctor of Naturopathy) from Trinity College of Natural Health. “After I became a Christian as an adult, I looked back on my years of questioning, searching, and puzzlement as a teenager raised in Buddhism and Taoism.  It has been my life-long goal ever since to make a difference in young people's lives by broadening their horizons so that they may see Jesus, too.” 

    JOHANSEN, KRISTEN • English

English 9, English 12: English Literature

Mrs. Johansen has eight years of experience in the classroom and has been at Maranatha for four years. She holds a B.S. in Psychology from California State University, Fullerton. Mrs. Johansen loves opening up new worlds through literature and believes that, “teaching literature opens up many opportunities to discuss who God created each one of us to be, and how to navigate this life understanding what the world asks of us without sacrificing God's calling for our lives. It is a blessing to be used to speak into the lives of young people, and God has given me so many amazing students that show me His love every day.”

    KETTERLING, MATT • Science

AP Chemistry, Honors Chemistry, Chemistry

Mr. Ketterling has returned to Maranatha High School - this time to teach all levels of Chemistry. Mr. Ketterling studied Chemistry for his undergraduate degree at UC Irvine. In the time between teaching at MHS the first time around and now, he has been working in youth ministry and on his degrees in Theology and New Testament. He is currently a Ph.D. candidate at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland where he is finishing his thesis on the book of Romans. “I am very excited to be back at Maranatha High School! I love that this is a place that views the study of creation as one part of worshiping the Creator, and I am thrilled to be doing that through teaching Chemistry.”

    KOZAK, STEVEN • Theology/ ASB Advisor

Apologetics, New Testament Theology, Student Leadership, Theology Practices

Mr. Kozak holds a BA in Social Science from Michigan State University, a MA in apologetics from Biola University, and a Master of Theological Studies from Moody Theological Seminary. He has six years of experience in a private Christian high school as a Theology teacher, Department Chair, and Director of Spiritual Life.  He is also a published author and part-time college professor. “There is nothing that captivates, motivates, or drives me and my family more than the mission of God, the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As a result, “in the classroom,” he notes, “I am incredibly passionate about teaching students not just about God, but allowing them the opportunity to experience Him in a very real and tangible way. I want them to be prepared when they walk out the door to be solid Christians ready to take on the world for Jesus.”

    KUKU, TAMMY '00 • Dean of Students/ Physical Education

Physical Education, Swimming for Conditioning

Maranatha alumna and recent newlywed, Tamara Kuku ‘00, is absolutely no stranger to the MHS community. “Coach T” previously served at Maranatha for three years as the Director of Security and assistant basketball coach. She returns to our campus to fulfill the role as one of the Deans of Students, as well as teaching Physical Education. Originally from Pasadena, Tammy attended Maranatha High School, and went on to obtain her Bachelors degree in Kinesiology from California State University Northridge. “I am so excited to be at Maranatha. My plan is to not only mold and shape our students in a Christ-centered manner through their four years here, but beyond their time at MHS. I love maintaining relationships for the long term and get excited to see how students flourish outside their high school education.”

    LAYTON, JAMES • Theology Chair/ Theology

Jesus and the Gospels

Mr. Layton has a Master of Divinity from Fuller Theological Seminary and a B.A. in English from the University of Delaware. He has eight years teaching experience in private schools. Mr. Layton enjoys being involved in both local and international student outreaches and student clubs. “When I was in high school I found purpose and identity in Christ because teachers and youth workers had the courage share their faith and their lives with me. I teach because I want to be the same beacon of hope for my students that my teachers were for me.” 

    MANCINI, MICHAEL • Dean of Students/ Social Science

U.S. History/ Geography

Michael Mancini has joined the Maranatha faculty and staff as one of the Deans of Students, as well as an American History teacher. Michael is a Los Angeles native, born and raised in Glendale, where he has spent his entire life. Mike graduated from California State University Northridge with his Bachelor degree in History, and he obtained his Master of Divinity from Fuller Theological Seminary.  Mr. Mancini is so excited to be at Maranatha because he senses God’s guidance and providence in this new position. He looks forward to loving and investing in God’s next generation of leaders. His past experiences in Christian Education and Ministry have prepared him for this exciting journey at MHS. “It is incredible to be part of God’s plan for Maranatha, to get a sense of his great blessing and presence here on this campus. I have been so encouraged already with the feeling of caring and welcome within our community.”

    MARTINEZ, DAVID '05 • English

English Literature, Honors Composition

Mr. Martinez is an alumnus of Maranatha High School. He holds a B.A. in English and Comparative Literary Studies from Occidental College. He has been teaching at Maranatha for three years and has been an active cross country and track coach for four years. “Working at a Christ-centered high school like Maranatha has allowed me to help my students tackle the hard questions presented in literature by honestly exploring how we as people respond to these issues. By integrating faith into the discussion, we can incorporate such a fundamental part of our worldview and life into our education.”

    MARTINEZ, TIFFANY • Social Science

A.P. Psychology, Psychology

Mrs. Martinez loves to help people learn and has gifts for teaching. She loves being able to understand a concept and explain it in multiple ways. She holds a B.A. in Russian from USC, a M.A. in Psychology and a M.A. in Theology and Ministry both from Fuller Seminary. There are so many explicit and implicit ways to integrate faith in the classroom, explains Mrs. Martinez. “Explicitly the subjects I teach lend so many ways to talk specifically about faith in class, and implicitly, I strive to be a blessing to these students and help them make their faith their own.”

    MC ALEESE, NATHAN • Theology

Missiology, Old Testament Theology

Mr. McAleese is pleased to be able to prepare students for the way they will have to think about faith in college. He has experience teaching Old Testament, Life Science, and PE as well as serving as the Director of Student Life and Ministry. He holds a B.A. in Biblical Studies with a Minor in Biology and a M.A. in Theology with a Biblical Studies Emphasis from Azusa Pacific University. He particularly loves narrative theology – the “story”. He enjoys looking at characters and their flaws as well as teaching the historical background and what things mean.

    MEHRABIAN, DANIEL • Guidance Department/ Social Science

Sociology

In addition to being a Guidance Counselor at MHS, Daniel is also part of the Social Science Department and teaches Sociology. He holds a B.A. in Sociology and a Masters in Higher Educational Counseling, both from UCLA.  He also holds a Pupil Personnel Service Credential from Point Loma Nazarene University. He is currently in his second Ph.D. program in Sociology with Yerevan State University in Armenia. He enjoys theology, philosophy, and the integration of Christianity within academic disciplines. Mr. Mehrabian feels blessed to be at MHS. He values high academics and a love for God and is excited to be able to integrate my faith with learning. “Faith is the #1 thing for me. My relationship with God informs my understanding of life. I also know each student is uniquely created and we are here to help them uncover and discover their talents.” 

    MESISCA, PAT '92 • Theology/ English/ Speech & Debate Coach

Speech & Debate, Advanced Speech & Debate, World Religions, Philosophy

Mr. Mesisca graduated from Maranatha and has been teaching here for over fifteen years. He holds a B.A. in Biblical Studies from Biola University, a Master of Divinity and a Master of Theology from Talbot School of Theology. Mr. Mesisca established Maranatha’s award-winning Speech & Debate team and also oversees the school’s Chess Club. In his spare time, he is the head preaching and worship pastor of Christ's Church in Baldwin Park. He has authored a Christian apologetics textbook entitled, "Constructing A Christian Worldview". He states, "I have a passion for finding answers to life's toughest questions and providing young people with the resources to build a solid Christian worldview that will stand for eternity.  I seek to model and encourage others to be obedient to the mandate in 1 Peter 3:15 - "to always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have, but do so with gentleness and respect." 

    MILLER, DIANNE • Instructional Technology Specialist/ Dean of Assessment/ AP Coordinator

App Development with Swift

As the Instructional Technology Specialist, Mrs. Miller assists teachers with integrating technology effectively into their classrooms. As the Dean of Assessment, she analyzes test scores and other data in order to inform teachers where to augment curriculum to improve upon inconsistent test areas. Before coming to Maranatha, Mrs. Miller served as an Instructional Technology Specialist in another private school and also taught 2-8 grades. She holds a B.A. in Child Development from Humboldt State University and a M.A. in Educational Technology from Ashford University in Iowa. Mrs. Miller’s role is to help teachers “see the importance of teaching students to use technology responsibly and see it as a tool, not just a game.” By observing in classrooms, she can assess which tools and applications to offer teachers that will “cause students to think outside box and think more creatively,” she says. Mrs. Miller has been a Christian since she was seven years old. She is particularly excited to be at her first Christian school because she can talk freely about her love for God in everything she does. 

    MOSCOSO, MARIA • Languages

Spanish 1

Spanish is Ms. Moscoso’s first language. She feels it is important to know a second language, stating it brings “more opportunities to get to know others, build relationships, and reach them for Christ.” Ms. Moscoso has eight years of experience in the school setting in both after school care and in teaching Spanish and Special Education. She not only loves to teach her subject, but loves being a role model for the students and making an impact on them. Ms. Moscoso holds a B.A. in Business from the University of Phoenix and is in process of achieving her M.A. in Psychology.

    NAHIGIAN, KIMBERLY '08 • Math

Honors Math, Honors Math Analysis, Calculus, Financial Algebra

Mrs. Nahigian holds a B.A. in Mathematics and a B.A. in Biblical Studies from Azusa Pacific University as well as a Single Subject Teaching Credential in Mathematics. As a graduate of Maranatha, she returned last year to join our faculty. Mrs. Nahigian summarizes her role in the Math Department by saying, “Galileo once said that ‘Mathematics is the language with which God has written the universe.’ Working at Maranatha provides me with the perfect opportunity to share not only my love for the Lord but also the passion I have for math. Finding ways to integrate the two is a fascinating journey and Maranatha provides an atmosphere for students to explore their faith through the eyes of math.”

    NEWKIRK, DANIEL '97 • Science

AP Biology, AP Physics 2, Biology

Daniel Newkirk is a Maranatha High School graduate from the Class of 1997. He has spent the last 13 summers teaching Biology in our summer school program here on campus. Mr. Newkirk graduated from Biola University where he double majored in Biochemistry and Biblical Studies. He then moved on to obtain his master’s degree in Theology from Boston College. During his time at Boston College, he discovered a Ph.D. program that peaked his interest. As a result, he is currently in the process of finishing his dissertation to obtain his Ph.D. in Science, Philosophy, and Religion. Mr. Newkirk has spent many years in the classroom teaching at various colleges, but he is thrilled to be back at Maranatha where his high school journey began. “I love the community here on campus. I also love being in a place where we are transforming lives during such a developmental period in a young adult's life, especially through subjects that allow us to discuss the makeup and design of the God-given bodies we live in.”

    NEWKIRK, ED • Physical Education Department Chair/ Science/ Theology

Anatomy and Physiology, New Testament Theology, World Religions

Mr. Newkirk has taught, coached, mentored at, and seen his four children graduate Maranatha over the last thirty years. “Maranatha is a unique place where we have great families with great kids coming together and where teachers and coaches have the opportunity to be the "living curriculum". God has called me to Maranatha and I love teaching here!” He has a B.A. in Physical Education from Biola University with a Minor in Bible, a M.S. in Exercise Physiology from California State University Fullerton, and a California State Teaching Credential in Physical Education with a Supplemental Certificate in Biology and Life Sciences. Mr. Newkirk has also coached and taught for a number of years at the university level.

    NUNEZ, ADAM • English

English 9, English 10

Mr. Nuñez is a graduate of Azusa Pacific University with a degree in Literature. He continued his education at Biola University where he earned his Master’s degree in Applied Linguistics. He has taught English for the past three years and just returned from Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, where he and his wife have been teaching at an American school. Mr. Nuñez brings lots of energy and creativity to the classroom, and it is his desire and goal to challenge and support his students so they can achieve their highest potential. “Even though I only started at Maranatha a few weeks ago it already feels like another home. The staff and faculty are encouraging and supportive, and their Christian faith shines through their daily lives. I want to teach with the power and love of Christ to see how He can use me to open the hearts and minds of my students.”

    OCON, JENESSA • Science

Honors Biology, Chemistry

Ms. Ocon holds a B.S. in Biology from Azusa Pacific University. She has a passion for conservation ecology, specifically studying endangered species and field biology. Ms. Ocon feels that God has given her a calling for science. She loves learning about nature and how things work and feels the study shows us how amazing God is.

 

    PARKER, GREG • Theology/ Chapel Advisor

New Testament Theology, Jesus and the Gospels, Theology Practicum

As a pastor, professor, and chaplain, Mr. Parker is thrilled to use his gifts at MHS. Mr. Parker has a B.A. in Religious Studies from Cal State University Northridge and a Master of Divinity from Fuller Seminary. He is also an ordained Minister of Word and Sacrament in the Presbyterian Church USA. He has lived in the Middle East and while in Lebanon he taught Old and New Testament survey classes at the university level. He shares, “I have to say that I love the historical context of the Bible. Having lived in the Middle East I love looking at the way the world was (and in some ways still is) and bringing that context into the study of Scripture. I love opening up Scripture with students and walking with them as we struggle through various passages and then watching them 'get it' as we go.” In addition, Mr. Parker enjoys swimming and swims competitively for the Masters Team at the Rose Bowl.

    PELLETIER, SANDY • Math Chair/ Math

A.P. Calculus AB, A.P. Calculus BC, Math Analysis

Mrs. Pelletier has over thirty-five years teaching experience at the high school and university level and has been at Maranatha for over twenty years. She serves as our Math Department Chair and sponsors the American Math Contest and the Math Club at Maranatha each year. She holds a B.A. in Physical Science with a Concentration in Mathematics from Vanguard University as well as a California Single Subject Teaching Credential in Mathematics. “I have thoroughly enjoyed teaching Math at a variety of institutions and at all levels. As a teacher, we disseminate more than just information. I am thrilled to have the opportunity at Maranatha to point the way to the truth, pray with the class, apply and read Scripture in class, and celebrate the glories of knowing and loving the Lord.”

    PETERSON, ANTOINE • Physical Education

Beginning Weight Training, Advanced Weight Training, and Physical Education

Mr. Peterson has sixteen years of teaching experience at the high school, middle school, and elementary levels as well as twenty-two years of coaching experience in multiple sports. He holds a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree in Physical Education, both from Azusa Pacific University. As a college football player, he chose to pursue degrees in Physical Education to be “in the position of being a mentor to other student athletes.” Mr. Peterson is grateful to be at Maranatha saying, “To be in a Christian environment feels like I am home.”

 

    ROCHE, KERRY • English Chair/ English

English 11: American Literature, A.P. English Language and Composition

Ms. Roche has a B.A. in Creative Studies with an Emphasis in Literature from the University of California, Santa Barbara; a M.A. in Literature from Cal State University, Los Angeles; and a M.A. in American Studies from Pepperdine University. Ms. Roche has over ten years teaching experience and says, “Working at a Christian school allows instructors to not only develop the mind, but the spirit of the individual. A Christian school educator cares about students holistically and ensures they are living through Christ in all daily activities.”

 

    ROUSE, KAY • Visual Arts

Art Introduction

Mrs. Rouse has served at Maranatha for over thirty years. She has a B.A. in Art from California State University, Long Beach. She has her own studio and pursues art on her own time, particularly enjoying mixed media and traditional water color. “I love being able to teach students from my Christian perspective leading them towards an understanding and appreciation of the importance of art. I also teach them the value of aesthetics and artists as shown through Scripture. I challenge my students to take an intentional place in the arts world as highly skilled and uniquely Christian artists.” Mrs. Rouse has seen her three sons graduate from Maranatha.

    RUPP, ADAM • Performing Arts

Concert Choir, Introduction to Music Theory, Mixed Ensemble

Mr. Rupp holds a B.A. in Music Theory from Azusa Pacific University and has worked for many years in the field teaching private vocal, piano, and music theory; subbing in various college music courses and choirs, and leading his own church's praise band and choir. He enjoys sharing his passion and experience performing with his choir classes and studying in depth the content and history of sacred literature throughout the ages. Mr. Rupp feels a strong connection between faith and arts and enjoys “examining and discussing music's effects on our faith, bodies, emotions, and social relationships, and how that can contribute to all-encompassing worship of God, and love of our neighbor.”

    SCHLENKER, BRENDA • Visual Arts

AP Studio Art

Mrs. Schlenker has 14 years experience as a full time graphic designer. She is currently teaching AP Studio Art and has been a faculty member at Maranatha for over 13 years while continuing to work part time as a freelance graphic designer/photographer. She holds a B.S. in Applied Art and Design with a Graphic Design emphasis from California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo. She shares, “We were created in the image of the One who creates. I love having the opportunity to encourage a visual means of expression to the next generation, providing tools and a place to discover an artistic voice that is inspired by the Author of Creativity.”

    TURNQUIST, ERIKA • English

English 10, Honors English 9

Ms. Turnquist has seven years of teaching experience in faith-based, charter, and public schools. She holds a Teaching Credential in English, a BA in English from Cal State University, Los Angeles; and is currently completing her Master’s in English, with a focus on British Literature. “It is not difficult,” she says, “to think of ways in which the ideals of Christianity can be incorporated into an English Literature class.” Some favorite aspects of teaching literature for her include: “exploring the history behind literature - to adequately describe the time period and set the tone for the story.” She also loves teaching anything on Edgar Alan Poe.

    VELTKAMP, TIMOTHY • English

English 11: American Literature, Honors English 10

Mr. Veltkamp graduated from Providence Christian College with a Bachelor's degree in Liberal Arts with concentrations in secondary education and English. Most recently, he taught Algebra in our Summer Academy this past summer, making him a familiar face to some of our students. He is very excited to be at Maranatha after interning on our campus for two semesters, completing his 600 hours of student teaching.“I believe it is the responsibility of the Church, the family, and the school to raise its congregants, children, and students with proper understanding of how to critically interpret Scripture and sermons in order to better understand God and His influence on the world. I hope to be a part of that process in my English classes at Maranatha.”

    WELLS, JOHN • Performing Arts Chair, Performing Arts, Theology

Old Testament Theology, Orchestra, Honors Orchestra, Theology and the Arts

Mr. Wells serves as a faculty member in the Theology Department and as the Director of the school’s orchestra. He has extensive experience writing his own musical productions and working as musical director at numerous churches. Mr. Wells has a B.A. in History from California State University, Northridge and a Master in Divinity from Biola University. Mr. Wells “loves to teach students and I believe God called me from full-time church work to specifically invest in young lives”.

 

    WIEREMA, KELLY • Physical Education

Kinesiology

Kelly Wierema, M.A., A.T.C., is not only the school’s Athletic Trainer but also teaches Kinesiology. She holds a B.A. in Athletic Training from Chapman University, and a M.S. in Kinesiology from California State University, Chico. She also holds certifications from the National Athletics Trainers’ Association and the American Red Cross and serves as a clinical instructor for the Athletic Training Education Program at Azusa Pacific University. She loves combining the academic study with the hands-on athletic training that she loves, all in the context of faith. She notes, “I love learning about the body and how it works. Our bodies are truly perfect, so perfect that they could have only been put together by the hands of God.” In addition to her professional responsibilities, Ms. Wierema is an active volunteer in the community and has led Maranatha students on a mission’s trip to New Orleans.

    ZIEGLER, JANNA • Science

Biology

Janna Ziegler is joining the MHS community to teach Biology. Mrs. Ziegler holds a B.S. in Biology, an M.S. in Cell and Molecular Biology from the University of Louisiana, and an M.A. in Theology from Fuller Theological Seminary. She has taught both at the university and high school levels. She is also an ordained priest with the Anglican Church of North America and pastors the Gold Line Church in Northeast Los Angeles. “I seek to help students be formed into people who think well about the world in which we live and our place in it.”

 

 

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