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 in 4th 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! Ms. Freeman 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.
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 26 years and has three wonderful kids (ages 23, 20, & 16). 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 working part-time in 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.
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 Monkey Class (4-year-olds). 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 Faculty
Abbie Niehausen and Mary Gunnells are new teachers to MCA. They will be teaching Kindergarten.
Abbie Niehausen graduated from Dominican University of California with a degree in Liberal Studies and a California teaching credential. She has taught at North Bay Christian Academy for the past seven years and is certified as a tutor in the Barton Reading and Spelling System. Abbie was recognized as teacher of the year by the Novato Rotary Club in 2012. Abbie is passionate about imparting a love of learning to her students through “hands on” experiences. Her hobbies include blogging, leading worship, Pinterest-ing and traveling. She is excited to join the MCA team this year!
Ellie Borrman is currently teaching 4th Grade. After graduation from Bridgewater State College in Massachusetts, she taught 7th 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.
Renee Watson is the 6th Grade Homeroom teacher, as well as the 7th Grade Language Arts and Math teacher. Renee earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington with a major in Latin American Studies. She highly recommends studying abroad and is thankful for having the opportunities to do so in both Ecuador and Mexico. She later earned her Master’s degree in Education from Pacific Lutheran University. Her six years of experience as an educator largely includes teaching sixth grade in public schools, both in Washington and California. This is her third year at Marin Christian and she strives to keep the students on their toes technologically and academically. She has been married for 17 years and is blessed with two wonderful children, ages 10 and 11. Renee’s hobbies include teaching spin class at the gym, running, and reading.
Cheryl Geyer is the 7th and 8th Grade 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.