Meet Our Staff


Laura Pitt - Interim Principal

Laura’s connection to HOPE Christian Academy goes back to its founding. Her two eldest daughters attended the school's inaugural class in 2000, when it opened as CrossRoads Community School. The tradition lives on through her third daughter, who is currently enrolled.  Laura is actively involved in a number of the school's parent-assisted programs. Most notably, as co-coach of the Eaglebots Robotics Team, which placed 1st at the Regional Lego League Tournament and then 2nd at the AZ State Lego League Championships in 2017. Over the years, she has stepped up as a substitute teacher and has contributed her talents to organizing school fundraising events. Laura was appointed to HOPE Christian Academy's Board of Directors in 2016. 

Prior to that, Laura taught chemistry for 10 years in the homeschool community, and was the Women's Ministry Director at her former church. These experiences allow her to contribute meaningfully to HOPE Christian Academy's unique parent/teacher led educational structure, and further the school's educational and spiritual mission. Laura is married to Sam, and their family has lived in the east valley since 1998. She enjoys spending time with friends, and has a passion for education, servant leadership, and the card game Canasta. 

Amanda Johnson - Office Manager

Amanda joined the HOPE family in 2000 when her daughters began attending the school in 3rd Grade and Kindergarten when the school opened as CrossRoads Community School.  She became an involved parent, assisting in classrooms and in the school office, and served as Parent Volunteer Coordinator for seven years.  Amanda feels blessed by the opportunity to use her skills in organization, creativity, and communication to provide the administrative support to this special school as the Office Manager since 2009.

Amanda and her husband, Kurt, both originally from the Seattle area, have lived in Chandler since 1990.  Amanda loves spending time with her family, cooking, reading, writing, walking, on-line scrapbooking, completing home decorating projects, and making herself available for support to her now adult daughters, Jasmine and Heidi. 

Marcia Shelberg - Kindergarten

Marcia holds our record for the most consecutive years taught at HCA!  She joined the HOPE Christian Academy staff in August of 2001 after 16 years of teaching in Arizona public schools.  She has a B.A. in Elementary Education from Arizona State University (ASU) and an Early Childhood Endorsement from the state of Arizona.    She loves teaching kindergarten!  She embraces the challenge of creating a strong educational foundation and uses hands on methods to introduce children to new concepts.  Most importantly she is passionate about instilling the love of learning in her young students.

Marcia and her husband, Scott, have two sons, Taylor and Wesley, and welcomed a daughter-in-law, Amber, in June of 2016.  She enjoys reading cooking, and camping.  Marcia attends Cornerstone Church.

Links: Kindergarten Curriculum, Sample HBL

          Frequently Asked Questions about Kindergarten at HOPE

Sherry Nelson - First Grade

Sherry feels blessed to have been led to HOPE Christian Academy in December 2012. She earned a BS in Psychology from Kansas State University and a BA in Elementary Education from Southwestern College and has taught for many years at both the Elementary and College level. 

Sherry's hobbies include cake/cupcake baking and decorating, crafting (especially Pinterest), estate auctions, and spending time with family. She and her husband, Mark, have three grown children, Chase, and twins, Kaitlyn & Cooper.  Originally from Kansas, the family moved here in 2003 and is fully immersed in Arizona activities; they even like the hot weather!   Mark is the Assistant Athletic Directory at Grand Canyon University, and all three children are either graduates of, or are currently attending there. Sherry attends Central Christian Church in Gilbert.

Links: 1st Grade Curriculum, Sample HBL

Kelly Allen - Second Grade

Kelly is thrilled to begin teaching at HCA in the fall of 2016!  This will be her 9th year teaching in a Christian school where her previous experience includes Kindergarten and 1st grade, and also middle school Bible, History, and English.  Kelly earned her BA in Elementary Education with  Middle School and Language Arts endorsement from Trinity International University in Deerfield, Illinois.  She also has 2 years experience serving on the staff at her church, which gave her the opportunity to write curriculum, plan chapels, teach up-front, lead Bible studies, and participate in local and international mission trips (she has been overseas 6 times and LOVES it!).Kelly and her husband Kevin live in South Chandler. They attend Redemption Church and love participating in Bible study and serving projects. In their spare time, Kelly and Kevin enjoy hiking, participating in Spartan runs and 5Ks, traveling and cheering on the Cardinals! 

Links: 2nd Grade Curriculum, Sample HBL , , , 

Lisa Wendt - Third Grade

Lisa began teaching at HOPE in the fall of 2016. She was born and raised in Southern CA and graduated from Cal State University Fullerton with a Bachelors’ Degree in American Studies and an emphasis in elementary education. Lisa earned her Master's in Educational Psychology and holds both her Pupil Personnel Services and Multiple Subject Teaching Credential.  Lisa worked in CA as a middle school counselor serving at risk students in her community and taught grades 1st, 2nd and 3rd for 11 years - before enjoying the privilege of being a stay-at-home mother to her three daughters and homeschooling her now teenage daughters K-8th grade.  Lisa delights in the challenge of assisting her students develop a strong educational foundation, both spiritually and academically, as she shares her love of Jesus and love of learning with them in her classroom. Every child is indeed God’s masterpiece! (Eph 2:10)

Lisa and her husband Steve have been married for twenty years and have been blessed with three daughters.  They attend Central Christian church where Lisa is active in her life group and teaches a teenage girls’ bible study. Their youngest daughter, Nessah Joy, attends HCA. Lisa’s hobbies include hiking, photography and cheering on our AZ Cardinals!

Links:  3rd Grade Curriculum, Sample HBL

Bri Barten - Fourth Grade

Bri began teaching at HOPE in July 2017.  She feels that God has truly blessed her with this opportunity.  Bri graduated with her BA degree in Early Childhood Education from Arizona State University.  She taught four years in the Chandler Unified School District and recently taught Pre-K at a Christian preschool for four years.  Bri is passionate about teaching and loves children. 

Bri has been married to her husband, Tony, for 12 years and they have two amazing children.  Drew is 9 and will be in 4th grade at Ryan Elementary along with his sister, Emily, who is 6 and will be in 1st grade.  Bri and her family love  vacations to the beach, movie nights and game nights.  They have recently started attending The Grove Church in Chandler and are loving it. In her free time she enjoys reading, working out, cheering on her kids in sports, spending time with friends and watching her favorite sports teams!!  Go Cardinals, Diamondbacks and ASU!!!   

Links:  4th Grade Curriculum, Sample HBL 

Megan Raber - Fifth Grade

Megan is excited to begin teaching at HOPE in the fall of 2017. She earned her undergraduate degree at Point Loma University then completed her teacher training through the Northern Arizona University distance program. She holds a BA in Elementary Education. Megan has spent the last six years on staff at CrossRoads Nazarene Church as pastor of the Early Childhood Department. She has a passion for hands on learning, connecting learning with life, and having an influence on children both educationally and spiritually.

Megan and her husband, Cameron, have been married for 12 years. Together they have three children – Marissa, Grant, and Elaina. In her free time, Megan loves to curl up with a cup of coffee and a good book. She also enjoys vacations with her family, crafting, and spending time with friendd.

Links:  5th Grade Curriculum, Sample HBL

Jenny Brecht - Sixth Grade

Jenny began teaching full time at HOPE Christian Academy in 2014 after being an HCA parent for 4 years.  She graduated from Biola University with a Bachelors in English and a minor in Bible.  Upon graduation, Jenny taught 9th grade English in California.  Since moving to Arizona 9 years ago, Jenny has been blessed to be a stay-at-home mother as well as working part-time as a Children’s ministry Elementary Coordinator and substituting for Mesa Public Schools.  Jenny is passionate about teaching the Bible in a way that brings it to life for children and seeing them grow in all areas of their life as a result. 

She is married to Matt, who has pastored at NorthPointe Church in Chandler since 2002.   They have two children, Kyla and Chase who both attend HCA. 

Links:   6th Grade Curriculum, Sample HBL

Rula Kassisieh - Seventh Grade

Rula is honored to be a part of the HOPE community as of July 2015. Rula holds a B.A. in English from the University of Jordan and recently a Masters in Education from NAU. She began her teaching career at a Catholic school in Amman, Jordan, and found her passion for teaching during her 6-year stint there. In 1995, Rula answered God’s call to become a missionary alongside her husband in Turkey, Israel, and Cyprus for four years. Later, Rula moved to the United States where she worked as a banker for 9 years. Hearing her calling again in 2010, Rula left her successful banking career to become an educator. She taught 6th grade at Gilbert Christian Schools and taught 3rd through 8th grade as a substitute teacher in Gilbert and Chandler districts. 

Rula, her husband, Sam, and their two daughters, Amani and Amber, attend Chandler Christian Church where she regularly serves in the Children’s ministry. Rula is passionate about teaching the Bible in an engaging style, inspiring kids to love and live for God.

Links: 7th Grade Curriculum, Sample HBL

Cheri Graham - Eighth Grade

Cheri began teaching at HOPE Christian Academy in the fall of 2010 after 4 previous years of experience in Christian education teaching math, science, language arts, history and Bible.  Cheri earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education and obtained certification for Middle School Mathematics.

Cheri and her family have lived in Arizona since 2007. She and her husband, Sean, and their two children attend Alma School Road Church of Christ where they are active in youth activities such as Bible Busters and Bible Hour. Cheri also teaches Bible classes for children ranging from ages 2 years to school age. In Cheri’s free time, she likes to exercise, watch her children’s sports activities, and root for the Diamondbacks and Suns.

Links:  8th Grade Curriculum, Sample HBL

Enrichment Teachers

Liz Griggs teaches age appropriate, "hands on" music to HOPE's Kindergarten through 8th grade students and also prepares student music for school events throughout the year. Liz's enthusiasm for the Lord and music is a powerful combination for inspiring HOPE students, and she artfully weaves biblical lessons into music instruction for her students. She, her husband, Brian, and their three girls attend Faith Church of the Valley, where she is actively involved in Children's Ministry.

P.E. teacher, Coach Jack Kenzler, coordinates educational outdoor games and exercise for all of HOPE’s students.  Jack is a former student of HOPE Christian and a current junior at Arizona State University. He is excited to be back at HOPE as a member of the staff, and he looks forward to the opportunity to mentor and coach the students in his classes.  Jack calls Desert Springs Church his church home.

Born and raised in Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico, Profesora Lirio Broessel is excited and honored to teach her native language to HOPE students.   Lirio brings high expectations and a passion for teaching kids and making Spanish accessible and enjoyable. She, her husband, and two children attend Grace Community Church.