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STAFF DIRECTORY

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Amy Crislip

Administration & Finance

Amy has a BA in Accounting as well as over 30 years of business operations, management, finance, and administration in various industries.

She is married to Richard, and they have three wonderful children; Emma, Aidan, and Elias. She was also blessed with their first granddaughter who brings an abundance of joy to the whole family.

She and her family attend Redemption Gateway Church in Queen Creek.

She enjoys spending time with family and friends, playing with her granddaughter, reading, and serving the women and children of Guatemala through mission trips.

She is a strong supporter of individualized learning and has seen her children thrive under this method of teaching.

She loves being a part of ACA, serving families alongside an amazing staff, and watching God’s hand in every aspect of the school.

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Jen Rathmann

Athletic Director/Maintenance

I’m a mother of 5 amazing children, wife of 15 years, and an Arizona Native.

Before coming to ACA, I worked for Freedom Christian Academy as a substitute preschool teacher and aftercare supervisor. Prior to that, I was an administrative assistant for Jack in the Box at their regional office.

I love spending time with family and friends, making memories.

I enjoy working with children and watching them grow academically and spiritually.

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Amanda Petty

Administration

Amanda has been a member of the ACA family for 6 years. She was previously the office manager and taught Graphic Arts and Yearbook for our high school students. Amanda worked for Freedom Christian Academy as an Administrative Assistant before joining ACA in 2017. 

 

​Amanda’s background was in sales and finance within the banking industry for 15 years as a business development officer. During that time, she was also on the Board of Directors for Gabriel’s Angels, a local Non-Profit helping abused and neglected children in Arizona.

Amanda and her husband Steve have been married since 2005.  They are proud parents to 3 amazing kids (Jon, Allison, & Emily). As a family, they understand the importance of raising children in a Christ-centered environment among people who share the same values. They also appreciate the academic excellence and individualized instruction that is provided by ACA. 

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Lucy White

Lunchroom/Playground supervisor

My name is Lucy White and I'm from Southern California. My Husband Jason and I moved to Arizona in 2004 when he decided to pursue a career in law enforcement. While living in California I worked in the dental field for approximately twelve years.


This is my fifth year at Ambassador Christian Academy and I am excited to be here. I have four children two of whom attend Ambassador. I love working at Ambassador because it instills Christian values and morals in the children.

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Lamar Ryberg

Hall Monitor/Maintenace

Bio coming soon!

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Natalie Gutierrez

Aftercare Supervisor

Bio coming soon!

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Anthony Pina

Principal

Most of Anthony’s career was spent working as a Defense Contractor for the state of Arizona teaching the Arizona National Guard. Anthony served 3 tours in Iraq as well as 8 years in the United States Army.  Anthony currently owns and manages a Flag Football league in Queen Creek where he works with 900+ athletes and their families. 

Anthony and his wife Jenna have been married for 22 years and have 5 beautiful children.  They have been a part of the ACA family for 3 years. With his love of sports, Anthony has also coached some of ACA’s sports teams. As a family, they serve at Berean Baptist Church where Anthony leads singing and is the Chairman of the Deacons.

Anthony is a people person.  He enjoys working with families and children to help them grow in their walk with Christ.  In his spare time, Anthony loves to hang out with family, roast coffee, and talk anything about the Bible.  He is also a huge Michigan University fan…GO BLUE!!!

Adrienne has her Bachelor’s degree in nursing. She started working in healthcare in 2000, through which she met her husband Curtis of 17 years. They have two boys attending ACA and are very thankful they have the opportunity to receive a biblical education. Miles will be entering 6th grade and Dash 3rd grade. 

 

She and her family attend Calvary Chapel of Queen Creek. They enjoy hiking, exploring new places, and attending baseball games. 

 

A relationship with Jesus has been the most life-altering experience for her. She prays God works in her and through her to share this hope with those around her. 

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Adrienne Gorshe

Receptionist

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Donna Booth

Lunchroom Assistant

From a young age, I knew I wanted to be a nurse. After high school, I received my license and worked in a hospital for a few years as a phlebotomist. After I married Glen in 1980, I was a homemaker and occasionally worked at my children's school doing lunch supervision and as a room mother making copies and planning class parties.

When my children started middle school, I worked in the nurse's office and did lunch supervision. After my youngest started college, I worked almost full-time as a Clerk Typist at La Jolla Elementary School for several years.

​I have been a Christian for 40+ years and have taught Bible classes for the past 30+ years.  My husband Glen and I moved to Arizona in 2011, and 6 years later, he went to be with the Lord. I now live with my daughter and her family.

​I LOVE children and enjoy being around them and learning from them. I currently help with lunch supervision at ACA.

Bio coming soon!

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Nancy Erikson

Lunchroom Assistant

FACULTY

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Rachel Dorsey

Kindergarten Teacher

I was born and raised in Washington state. After meeting my husband Brian, getting married and having our first child, we decided to make the move to Arizona. We have lived here for 12 years and have two kids, Landon and Juliana who both attend ACA. I love being able to be at the same school as them and know they are getting an amazing Christ-centered education.

Nothing has given me more joy than teaching kindergarten here at ACA. Witnessing the excitement as they learn something new is unmatched and being able to teach and instill the love of God into my students is the most rewarding part of my day.

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Jessica Ibbotson

Primary Homeschool Teacher

My name is Jessica Ibbotson and I have an Associate Degree in Nursing from Bellevue College in Washington. I was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest and moved to Queen Creek in August of 2021 with my husband of 20 years and our six children.

 

Before moving to Arizona, I was a stay-at-home mom and homeschooled my kids for ten years. During this time, I realized my passion for education and dedicated myself to leading my children toward their God-given potential.

 

I am now excited to partner with other homeschool families through ACA’s homeschool program, where I have been teaching since 2022. I strive to motivate my students to always do their best and aim to encourage parents in the home education of their children.

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Kristin Kobza

Primary Teacher

Kristin has a Bachelor of Science in Communication from ASU with an emphasis in organizational communication.  Kristin spent her post-graduate years working in the non-profit community, training, and equipping volunteers to work with vulnerable children.  This career was dear to her heart and led her down the path of working more directly with children in an educational setting. 

 

She loves her role as a teacher and is blessed by every student she gets to work with! Teaching is a joy, and to be able to teach at a school that is Christ-centered has been a privilege. She can feel the Lord's presence in our school every day.

Kristin has been married to her husband Brian for 27 years and is blessed to be the mom of 3 children- Zachary (married to Elizabeth), Lauren, and Emma.  Her biggest joy is being with her family just relaxing, laughing, and creating memories! 

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Rachel Elefson

Elementary Teacher

I Live in Gilbert with my husband, Aaron, and our 2 children. Aaron and I met in Durango, CO at Calvary Chapel and have been married for 18 years. Our daughter, Amariah, is 17, and our son, Easten is 15. They are both a daily source of joy to each of us. 

​I attended the University of Arizona where I studied Molecular and Cellular Biology and Deaf Studies. I taught 4th grade and Pre-K before choosing to become a homeschool mother. I homeschooled through high school each of our children, who are now both concurrently enrolled in college.

 I am excited about joining the ACA team of teachers and hope to support and encourage each student I am chosen to teach. 

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Terri Pearson

Primary Teacher

Bio coming soon!

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Megan Holt

Elementary Teacher

Megan Holt was born and raised in Arizona and is the youngest of 5 siblings. She graduated from Benjamin Franklin High School and is currently pursuing a degree in Elementary Education from Chandler-Gilbert Community College.

 

Her desire to work with children and help them to succeed is strong. Megan has been a Teacher’s Assistant at ACA for the past two years and is excited to see how God continues to use her in this new journey in the classroom.

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Donna Turner

Primary Teacher

Bio coming soon!

Krystal Royce is a dedicated educator with a strong commitment to homeschooling, theater production, and martial arts. With over 15 years of experience in these fields, she has made a profound impact on countless students.

​Born and raised in Arizona, Krystal's love for teaching and her faith journey began at an early age. She holds a degree in theology and seeks daily inspiration from God's word. Jesus is the center of her life, and she approaches each day with a prayerful mindset.

 

​Krystal's purpose is clear: to love, nurture, educate, and guide children in the ways of the Lord. Her passion for this calling is unwavering, and she considers it a great joy to be part of Ambassador Christian Academy. With her diverse skills and heartfelt dedication, Krystal continues to inspire and empower students to reach their full potential.

​As a mother of four beautiful children, Krystal understands the importance of raising the next generation. She sees each child as a precious gift and strives to provide them with a faith-based.

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Krystal Royce

Elementary Teacher

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Rachel Garcia

Elementary Homeschool Teacher

Rachel Garcia is originally from Kent, Washington. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Human Nutrition and Foods in 1997 from Washington State University. In 1999, Rachel graduated with a Master of Science in Institutional Management from Kansas State University and passed the national exam to become a Registered Dietitian. Over the past 20 years, she has worked as a Consultant Dietitian, Educator for US Service members and spouses, Food Service Manager at Point Loma Nazarene University, Admissions Coordinator for Salve Regina University, and assists her husband, Juan in his career as a Financial Advisor.

She has been married to Juan for 23 years, a Navy veteran, and has two boys, Ian (14) and Graham (11). As a family, they have lived all over the USA and overseas in Japan and South Korea. They currently live in Gilbert and enjoy hiking, traveling, karate, reading, and the wonderful laughs their beloved cat, Suki provides. 

Rachel truly looks forward to being the 4-6 grade homeschool teacher. Her favorite subjects are Bible, Geography, and Science. She is excited to be blessed with the opportunity to work with each student in her class and to encourage them in their education at Ambassador Christian Academy.

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Molly Cox

Classroom Aide/Lunchroom Assistant

Bio coming soon!

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Grace Ryberg

Classroom Aide/Lunchroom Assistant

Bio coming soon!

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Lisa Moore

Classroom Aide/Lunchroom Assistant

Bio coming soon!

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Fredee Aguirre

K-6th Spanish Teacher

Growing up Puerto Rican, I was always embarrassed that I didn’t speak Spanish. In High School, I took Spanish and for three years I was the Spanish Club President. Then in college, at the University of California, Santa Barbara, I continued studying the language, history, and culture of the Spanish speaking world.

Though I grew up in a Christian home, my world slowly fell apart after my father passed away. Three years into my college experience, the Lord called me, and I stepped away from my education to relearn the Word of God. I was baptized and seeking the Lord with all my heart, in every aspect of my life. Soon after, The Lord then opened the door for me to attend Calvary Chapel Bible College! It was the best time of my life. I spent a year in California, and the next year and a half studying abroad – the Middle East, Japan, Korea, Peru, and the United Kingdom. I graduated with an Associate’s Degree in Theology. A few years later, I finished my last year of college and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Child Growth at California Baptist University.

In 2014 I met my husband. We were married a couple of years later, I moved to Arizona, and soon after, I had my first daughter! I started going to a women’s bible study at Calvary Chapel Queen Creek and met my dear friend, Alex Rizzo. A few years later, she asked if she could train me to substitute for her Spanish class while she went on a very special trip. My husband and I prayed about it and decided to take her up on her offer! I loved it! I loved the school - Ambassador Christian Academy, the students, and of course, the subject: Español! I started subbing, and before the year was up, I was offered to teach Spanish for kindergarten-third grade! After one amazing year, I am now taking on Spanish for fourth-sixth graders as well! All glory to God!

“And the Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.”

What a blessing, to teach and pour into the precious future soldiers of heaven’s kingdom!

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April Pagnotta

K-6th Choir/Handbells

 & Jr/Sr Academy Guitar

April was a stay-at-home mom to her three children for many years. During that time, she spent nine years as a part-time Worship Director at Epic Christian Church. 

 

She's been playing guitar since 2009, piano since her early 20's, and singing since she was 12 years old.

She is excited to share her talents and serve the students and families of ACA. Being able to pour into her students and highlight the importance of a relationship with Jesus, brings her much joy!

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Myra Skutnik

K-12 Physical Education

Bio coming soon!

Michelle was born and raised in the Southwest. She taught 11 years at a Christian School before homeschooling for 8 years. Michelle also has experience in teaching and developing Biblical curriculum/ discipleship programs for 1-6 graders, Jr/High school students, young adults, and women.

​She has been married to Eric for 34 years and has 5 children. They attend Calvary Chapel Queen Creek. Spending time in God’s word and spending time with family is what Michelle enjoys most.

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Michelle Holt

Jr/Sr Academy Electives

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Jaedon Dennis

Jr/Sr Academy Electives

Hey there, my name is Jaedon. I am 22 years old and just wrapped up my journey at Arizona State University, earning a bachelor’s degree in graphic design.

 

When I'm not lost in the world of design, you'll often find me with my nose buried in a book or sketching away in my notepad.

 

Life took an exciting turn recently as I celebrated my first year of marriage and welcomed our little bundle of joy, Asher, into our lives.

 

I'm beyond thrilled to embark on the next chapter, joining the vibrant community at ACA, where I hope to ignite young minds with the same passion for creativity that drives me every day. Let's create something amazing together!

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Alejandra Rizzo

Jr/Sr Academy Spanish

My name is Alejandra Rizzo. I was born in Tegucigalpa Honduras. At the age of five, I adopted English as my second language. I moved to the United States twenty years ago and I have been blessed by the Lord with a wonderful husband and two children.

I currently serve in the translation ministry where I translate weekly in the Sunday Service at Calvary Chapel Queen Creek. I have a degree in business administration and I have worked in the banking industry for the last fifteen years. I also have many years of teaching experience in Honduras and most recently volunteering experience in the classroom at EduPrize.

My passions are serving the Lord, raising and guiding my children in the Lord's word as well as motivating and embracing other children showing the love of the Lord as he commands us.

​I am blessed to be part of Ambassador Christian Academy and teach the kids the Spanish Language while helping them with the tools for success for them to become Ambassadors of Christ.

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Alicia Gavlik

Jr/Sr Academy Math

Alicia Gavlik is a native of Arizona. She is married with four adult children, two boys and two girls.


She has an associate degree in electronics and a bachelor’s degree in business. She has helped at several local schools in their math departments. Alicia was a substitute teacher for several years and has worked in the math department at Grand Canyon University. She has been teaching math for over 10 years.

​In her spare time, she likes to do all kinds of crafts including sewing and projects on her Cricut. Now and then she gets to read for enjoyment.

I am originally from Colorado, but made Arizona my home in 2014. I grew up in a strong Christian home and feel I have always known the Lord. In 2018, I really took those seeds that were sown throughout my life and made my faith my own. I’ve spent the following years pursuing God as He faithfully pursues after me in return.

 

I am actively involved in multiple ministries through LifePoint Church. I find the Lord allowing me to be a servant to the Kingdom in the Men’s Ministry, Prayer Team, and Worship Team, and helping to run the behind-the-scenes tech that pulls a Sunday service together. 

 

I am blessed that God entrusted me with 4 phenomenal children. One sweet girl and three rambunctious little boys. Being a father has taught me so much about who our Heavenly Father is and given me a heart to teach all children how beloved they are by the Creator of the Universe.  

Last year God brought me to Ambassador Christian Academy to teach choir as well as a teacher’s assistant in the math and science classrooms. After a year of being with these students I am excited to be a fulltime math teacher and share my knowledge of math with them. 

 

I cannot wait to get to know the young men and women that the Lord will bring to my classroom and help each of them grow in their understanding of math.

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Joseph Nelson

Jr/Sr Academy Math

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Catrina Tichenor

Jr Academy Social Studies

Catrina Tichenor has dedicated nearly two decades to teaching at Christian schools, a journey she considers a blessing.

 

She has a bachelor’s degree and is thankful for the opportunity to serve/teach at ACA as the junior high history teacher. Catrina is enthusiastic about teaching and brings a wealth of experience, fun, and knowledge to the classroom.

Catrina and her husband have been married since 1996, have two daughters, actively serve in various ministries, and have an aquatic turtle that used to be a classroom pet.

During her free time, Catrina finds joy in traveling, boating, dining out, and taking leisurely walks with her family.

 

Catrina expresses her gratitude and heartfelt appreciation to parents for choosing a Christian education for their child.

“You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!” Isaiah 26:3

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Joseph Strahlend

Sr Academy Social Studies

I am originally from Southern California, but I have lived in Arizona for most of my life. I graduated from Grand Canyon University with a BA in History for Secondary Education. My beautiful wife, Angel, and I have been married since 2022, and we have a 1 year old boy!

I have served in youth ministry for 9 years and continue to do so at Calvary Chapel Queen Creek. Working with the youth has been God’s calling on my life for some time, and it is my desire that the students I interact with come to know their Creator personally and then, grow and mature in their walk with Him.

History is a huge passion of mine. There is so much to learn from real-life people, who lived real lives in color and experienced similar challenges we face today. It’s important to see how God’s hand has been involved in the affairs of mankind. I hope I can help bring the past to life for students, so they not only know what happened, but they also apply the important lessons of history to their lives.

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Rachel Greenwall

Jr/Sr Academy English

Rachel has been married to her husband Chris since 1999 and they have five children. She has been homeschooling her children since 2008 and has successfully graduated and sent off to college the eldest two, Connor and Colby. Her youngest two, Ryleigh and Reaghan, attend ACA. Her middle child, Cade, will complete his final year of high school with an internship at a steel company.


Rachel loves to read and write as she has written and directed many skits and plays for her church, Calvary Chapel of Queen Creek. She is excited about getting to know the students at ACA and helping them grow academically.

Kyle has over 20 years of experience as a science teacher, with a bachelor's in science education, a master's in applied science/science education, and a Ph.D. in applied sciences. His love for the subject comes from seeing God's hand in the subject, as well as the evidence found in His word.

 

Kyle is a family man who has been married for 30 years with three children, two of which are married. He is very excited about the recent addition of his first grandchild. In his spare time, he dives into service at his church, Fireside Church Mesa, serving on the worship team, playing guitar and bass as well as occasionally speaking.

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Kyle Babitt

Jr/Sr High Science

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Josh Winters

Jr/Sr Academy Bible

Joshua grew up in Michigan where he went to school and New Tribes Bible Institute, a two year college going through scripture exegetically. It was at college that Joshua met his wife. 

Joshua has been married to Lauren since 2015. They have been blessed with two kids, a 2 year old and a 4 year old. 

Joshua and Lauren have since partnered with 3 churches that were lacking a youth program, being able to create a youth program in these places. One in Jackson, Michigan, another in Mesa, Arizona and the last in Pahrump, Nevada. 

Joshua has currently Joined Lifepoint Christian fellowship as there Jr. High Director. 

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Lori Ryberg

Special Education Teacher

Lori Ryberg received her BSW from Azusa Pacific University.

She has worked in special needs foster care and adoption for more than 30 years.

​Lori has worked at ACA since its inception in 2014.  She has taught in a variety of capacities at ACA, plus homeschooled her eldest 10 children for more than 30 years.  Her younger 3 are all students at ACA. 

 

Her family attends San Tan Bible Church.

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Nate McAvoy

Substitute Teacher

Nate McAvoy has been married to Robin for 21 years. They are the incredibly blessed parents of 7 boys who range in age from 5 to 20.

​Nate received a Liberal Arts degree from Concordia University in St Paul, MN, and his teaching licensure from Augsburg College. He taught at two Christian schools in Florida for 4 years before becoming a full-time youth and worship Pastor.

​Besides teaching, Nate and Robin co-lead two ministries. Groundwork Ministries is a discipleship ministry that primarily leads short-term mission trips. McAvoy Family Ministries is a resource for churches.

Nate and Robin lead vacation bible school each summer for several different churches, as well as lead worship, youth, and family events.

​Most importantly, Nate is an eternal optimist believing the Vikings will win the Super Bowl each year... at least until late September.

Carol Thompson graduated from Southern Methodist University with a degree in psychology.

​She has been teaching grades 4-6 since the fall of 2000. Prior to that she spent 14 years homeschooling her children.

She has 3 children and 5 grandchildren.

​She attends Church of the Redeemer.

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Carol Thompson

Substitute Teacher

SCHOOL BOARD

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Kevin Bruney

President

Bio coming soon!

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Alicia Gavlik

Vice President

Alicia Gavlik is a native of Arizona. She is married with four adult children, two boys and two girls.


She has an associate degree in electronics and a bachelor’s degree in business. She has helped at several local schools in their math departments. Alicia was a substitute teacher for several years and has worked in the math department at Grand Canyon University. She has been teaching math for over 10 years.

​In her spare time, she likes to do all kinds of crafts including sewing and projects on her Cricut. Now and then she gets to read for enjoyment.

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Amanda Petty

Treasurer

Amanda has been a member of the ACA family for 6 years. She was previously the office manager and taught Graphic Arts and Yearbook for our high school students. Amanda worked for Freedom Christian Academy as an Administrative Assistant before joining ACA in 2017. 

 

​Amanda’s background was in sales and finance within the banking industry for 15 years as a business development officer. During that time, she was also on the Board of Directors for Gabriel’s Angels, a local Non-Profit helping abused and neglected children in Arizona.

Amanda and her husband Steve have been married since 2005.  They are proud parents to 3 amazing kids (Jon, Allison, & Emily). As a family, they understand the importance of raising children in a Christ-centered environment among people who share the same values. They also appreciate the academic excellence and individualized instruction that is provided by ACA. 

I was born and raised in Northern Virginia and graduated from George Mason University with a degree in Communication. My husband Marko and I relocated with our children, Brooklyn and Jaxon, to the Phoenix area in 2016.

 

Prior to staying home with kids, I was a Media Relations Coordinator for the American Society for Microbiology in Washington, D.C.  My main responsibilities there included writing/communications, managing a nationwide Handwashing campaign, and supporting members of the press at yearly conferences.  In the last few years at our children’s previous school, I was on the annual daddy/daughter dance committee, helped coordinate the yearly Adopt-A-Cop ice cream social, and was a parent liaison for new families. A lifelong equestrian, I have had the opportunity to volunteer at various horse-facilitated therapeutic programs in Virginia and Arizona. Most recently I was the executive assistant to the president of Angel Acres, a horse-facilitated program offering emotional support to children who have experienced trauma or difficult home life. I helped with organization, event planning and program execution. 

 

​When we made the decision to move back to AZ to raise our family, I knew I wanted a Christian education for our children. I have felt God’s hand in our journey every step of the way and I’m so thankful to Him for leading us to ACA.  My kids are thriving in so many ways and I truly believe now more than ever we need to be teaching and leading our children in their walk with Christ.

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Carrie Slijepcevic

Secretary

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Amy Crislip

Member

Amy has a BA in accounting as well as over 25 years of business operations, finance and administration in various industries.

She is married to Richard and they have three wonderful children; Emma, who graduated from NAU and continues to live in Flagstaff, Aidan who graduated from ACA and is pursuing a Pre-Med degree at GCU, and Elias who is a junior at ACA.

She and her family attend Redemption Gateway Church in Queen Creek.

She enjoys spending time with family and friends, reading, and serving the women and children of Guatemala through annual mission trips.

She is a strong supporter of individualized learning and has seen her children thrive under this method of teaching.

She loves being a part of ACA, serving families alongside an amazing staff, and watching God’s hand in every aspect of the school.

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Kristin Kobza

Member

Kristin has a Bachelor of Science in Communication from ASU with an emphasis in organizational communication.  Kristin spent her post-graduate years working in the non-profit community, training, and equipping volunteers to work with vulnerable children.  This career was dear to her heart and led her down the path of working more directly with children in an educational setting. 

 

She loves her role as a teacher and is blessed by every student she gets to work with! Teaching is a joy, and to be able to teach at a school that is Christ-centered has been a privilege. She can feel the Lord's presence in our school every day.

Kristin has been married to her husband Brian for 27 years and is blessed to be the mom of 3 children- Zachary (married to Elizabeth), Lauren, and Emma.  Her biggest joy is being with her family just relaxing, laughing, and creating memories! 

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Austin Greene

Member

Austin Greene is a product and proponent of individualized instruction and attended schools specializing in this method for eight years. He graduated from ASU with a degree in Applied Biological Sciences.

Austin has tutored students in math, English, and social studies. He has also taught in a classroom setting, instructing students in math, science, and other subjects here at Ambassador for eight years, and at a school with a comparable learning environment before that.

He hopes to bring his significant experience with individual-focused education as both a student and teacher to the table while serving on the board.

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