Marin Christian Academy & Noah’s Ark Preschool
Christopher Mychajluk is the principal at Marin Christian Academy. He grew up in a military family and graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo with a degree in Business Finance. His desire to serve God began after high school and directed him to leave his profession as a controller in the aerospace industry and become a Christian school principal in 1999 for Salinas Christian School. Mr. Mychajluk began his tenure at Marin Christian Academy in 2004. He is blessed with a beautiful wife of 25 years and four children that have all attended his schools. Mr. Mychajluk is completing his Master’s degree in School Administration. He is an avid reader and loves to dance.
Deena Reyes is currently serving as the Vice-Principal of Curriculum & Staff Development. She has 20 years of classroom teaching experience in4th through 9th grades in Social Studies, Math, Bible, English and Reading. She has a BA in Social Studies and a BA in Ministerial Arts in Biblical Counseling. In the last six years, she completed training in new research based Reading Instruction Strategies that enables her to pass on the passion for teaching reading. She has dedicated her life to Christian Education knowing the powerful, positive influence of a love for learning and love for God on the development of children and teens. She loves food!! She enjoys cooking for large groups of people and seeing their smile when they enjoy good food!
Heather Freeman is the Office Manager, serving since 2008. Previously she taught at Noah’s Ark Preschool as a lead teacher for a year before moving into the office. Having over 10 years of corporate management experience is proving helpful in running a busy school! Mrs. Freeman has been married for 13 years and has two wonderful children, LeeAnne and Jacob. She enjoys being outside, having quality family time, and reading. She used to sing classical music in several different languages while in high school and in her early years of college.
Shari Thomas is the Director of Before/After School Daycare and Summer Day Camp, office assistant, and internet marketing. A Tennessee native, she has taught at MCA for 3 years. After getting her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science, she served as a missionary in Portugal for two years teaching English and building relationships for the Kingdom. In 2006 she moved to California to attend seminary and attained a Masters in Intercultural Studies degree in 2008. Outside of work, she worships at Marin Covenant Church where she leads Compass, the single’s ministry, and serves on the church leadership team. Her favorite day of the school year is crazy hair day.
Walter Isaac is the Facility and Maintenance Supervisor and maintains both Marin Christian Academy and New Life Christian Center. He has been an active member in several ministry organizations throughout his life. Currently he is involved in the Alpha ministry at New Life Christian Center. The safe and loving atmosphere at MCA/NLCC brought Mr. Isaac and his family to Marin. He enjoys classic cars and visiting auto shows.
Noah’s Ark Preschool Teachers
RuthAnn Newberry is the Director of Noah’s Ark Preschool. She has a B.S. degree in Biblical Studies and Early Childhood Education from Santa Rosa Junior College. She has been teaching for 21 years and directing for the last 10 years. She began teaching at Noah’s Ark right out of college and then moved to Chico, CA to begin directing. She took a break from teaching/directing after having her daughter, Tabitha. She then moved to Washington State and eventually back here to Novato. Mrs. Newberry took over Directing Noah’s Ark and teaching the Pre-K class 8 years ago. She takes great pride in her work and loves what she does. She has been married for 21 years and has three wonderful kids (ages 18, 15, & 11). As a teenager, she spent three months in Africa working for the Kingdom and preached before a crowd of three thousand people. Her newest hobby is tye-dying.
Faith Fung Chor is currently the office assistant for the Preschool after being the lead teacher of the Ladybug Classroom (2-year-olds) since 2009. Born and raised in Hong Kong, Faith holds a Bachelor of Arts in Neurobiology and Minor in Music from Mount Holyoke College. She also received a Masters in Theological Studies from the Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary. Before becoming a preschool teacher, Faith worked in management and administration for 12 years. She counts it a privilege to infuse children with a passion for God, and believes they will reap a lifetime of benefits from Christian education. “… For in all things God works for the good of those who love him…” (Romans 8:28). Her newly gained hobby is playing the ukulele with her husband and 3 children.
Amy Holst teaches preschool in the Monkey Classroom (4-year-olds). She attended Dominican University where she received her B.A. in Liberal Studies/Teacher Education. She is a credentialed elementary teacher and has worked with both preschoolers in church and elementary students since she was 11. God has given her a clear gift and passion for teaching His little ones. She is enthused to be teaching in such a wonderful Christian environment building a foundation in them of God’s everlasting love. Interestingly, Mrs. Holst has had a growing collection of monkeys since she was a kid – now she is teaching a bunch of monkeys!
Caitlyn Christie teaches preschool in the Monkey Classroom (4-year-olds) and recorder music classes for 2nd-5th grade students at MCA. She studied music and education at UC Irvine and received additional early childhood training through Vanguard University and Santa Rosa Junior College. She loves helping children discover and grow in their God-given personalities and gifts. She brightens daily lessons with silly and creative songs and has a passion to encourage children and adults to worship God with singing and instruments. Her latest endeavor is learning how to whistle classical opera music!
Lucia Mychajluk is currently teaching the Transitional Kindergarten class and has been at MCA since 2004. She is a graduate from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and started teaching first grade in 1990. As a licensed minister, she has earned the title of Reverend. She and her daughter had an entry in a national science magazine competition that won third place in the nation in 1995. She is dedicated to education and knows that God will use it to transform the children’s lives. She enjoys cross-stitching and is working to finish a project that she started twenty-two years ago.
Felicia Ajimatanrareje is the lead teacher of Bear Cubs Class (3-year-olds). She studied at Patten University and received her BA in Christian Education/Early Childhood Education. She has been a part of Victory Christian Fellowship since 1990 caring for the children at her church. When she was not at church she was previously at Jack in the Box Preschool until starting at Noah’s Ark Preschool in 2004. Her passion for children comes from the natural chemistry she shares with children of any age. Little children are close to her heart. She has spent a majority of her life teaching and raising them, having three of them herself, which are now grown. Felicia feels that the Lord has called her to teaching children in the ways of the Bible. Her heart is never happier than when she is enriching the lives of children. Though she is of Nigerian decent, she takes pride in her ability to cook virtually any dish from any culture.
Aleyda Panasik teaches in the Sea Turtle class (Transitional Kindergarten). Recently, she began teaching Spanish to the Sea Turtle class. She is in the process of completing her Early Childhood Education Units at College of Marin. Prior to working at Noah’s Ark Preschool, she worked with troubled teenagers in an after school program called Marin Education. She has a passion for teaching children about Jesus because she feels called to share His love, mercy, and compassion with them. God has blessed Aleyda with a big heart as she is always putting others first and going out of her way to help them in any way she can.
Sharika Grasso teaches in the Ladybug classroom (2-year-olds) at Noah’s Ark Preschool. She studied early childhood education at College of Marin. She previously worked for the City of Novato Parks & Recreation department and was the director of the Children’s Ministry at New Covenant Tabernacle Church for 3 years, and for two years before that at Elmhurst Church. Sharika comments that “teaching children has been very rewarding for me because I have the opportunity to foster a child’s confidence. It is amazing to see the excitement on a child’s face when they learn something new, and being an integral part of that process is a blessing. “ She came to Marin Christian Academy when she decided to enroll her children in Noah’s Ark Preschool. Although she and her family attend Sunday service regularly, she felt her children would benefit from a preschool that is grounded in Christian values. Sharika enjoys photography and making short films.
Marin Christian Academy Teachers
Cindy Isaac has been teaching Kindergarten at MCA since 2009. She earned her BA at Kent State University, attended CA State University Northridge and has been a Christian Educator since 1999. She believes the importance of a Christian Education that starts in the formative year of Kindergarten. Mrs. Isaac believes a child’s personality and reading skills are established in kindergarten and that there’s no warmer or richer place to prepare them for life than at Marin Christian Academy. In her spare time, she writes and directs Christian plays. She also loves roller coasters.
Kim Lewis is currently the first grade teacher. She received her BA in Liberal Arts at Fresno State University as well as her teaching credential. She also earned a Masters of Divinity at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary. Miss Lewis has a love of working with children of all ages. Prior to coming to MCA in 2005, she taught preschool for 5 years and substitute taught grades K-6. She loves watching students increase in knowledge and helping them learn new things. Teaching students about God and integrating faith throughout the learning process is truly a blessing. She enjoys collecting smiley faces and visiting Disneyland at least once a year.
Ellie Borrman is currently teaching third grade. After graduation from Bridgewater State College in Massachusetts, she taught seventh grade English in New Bedford, MA. After three years, she traveled to Hawaii to visit friends who had recently become Christians. The Holy Spirit soon revealed the reality of Jesus, the living God, and Mrs. Borrman became a new creature in Christ. Since then, God has opened many different opportunities to teach children and adults both inside and outside of the traditional classroom. She has been teaching at Marin Christian Academy since 2004. All of her children are graduates of MCA and are now students at UC Berkeley, SF State and UC Santa Cruz. Her favorite pastimes include cooking, hiking and time well spent with family and friends.
Brianna Kearsley is the 4th & 5thgrade teacher. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from San Diego State University where she completed her degree in Liberal Studies with an emphasis in Mathematics. She also received a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from SDSU. She taught in the San Diego Unified School District for two years before moving to Marin County this last spring with her husband. Being able to watch the students expand their knowledge and develop a passion for God and learning really drives her love of teaching. She believes that a Christ-centered learning environment not only develops a child’s mind but their spirit as well. In her free time, she enjoys making her own holiday decorations and scrapbooking.
Ruth Cooney is the sixth grade homeroom teacher and middle school history teacher. She has been a licensed teacher since 2004. Prior to Marin Christian Academy, she taught in Santa Rosa Christian School as well as Vintage High School in Napa. Ms. Cooney graduated from Pacific Union College with a B.A. in Spanish and an emphasis in English. She has also attained a Master’s Degree in Education. Ms. Cooney has a passion for travelling; she has travelled all over Europe as well as to Taiwan. She also enjoys hiking, running and spending time with her three young nephews.
Cheryl Geyer is the 7th & 8th Homeroom teacher and the middle school science teacher. She earned her BA in Education from Wyoming State University and has been teaching for 30 years. She felt called to be a teacher at a very young age and loves watching students grow as the development of academic skills opens new worlds for them. Miss Geyer began her teaching career in an old-fashioned one-room schoolhouse in the mountains of Wyoming! Her favorite pastimes include reading and playing the banjo.
Diane Searle received her Bachelors of Science Degree from Cal Berkeley, a Master’s in Education and California Multi-Subject Teacher’s Credential (Life) from Dominican University in San Rafael, CA, and a Graduate Certificate in Educational Therapy from SF State University. For 27 years she has taught all grade levels from kindergarten through high school and at the college level in private, public, charter, home schools, and at San Quentin State Prison. She has been part of the Administrative Faculty at the School of Urban Missions Bible College in Oakland. Diane has also been the director of two learning centers in Novato. She and her husband, Dr. Kenneth P. Searle, have been in ministry together for 33 years. Their three adult children attended Marin Christian Academy and are now college graduates and in the workforce. Mrs. Searle first started teaching for MCA with Deena Reyes and Cheryl Geyer in 1990! Interestingly, she had the same 5th grade teacher as President Obama at Punahou School in Hawaii.