Meet Our Staff

The heart of North Heights Christian Academy is our teaching staff. The excellence of the academic process is tied inextricably to the quality of the teacher. As important as curriculum, method, and philosophy are, the teacher is far more important. Besides being a born-again Christian, the key ingredient for our teachers is a heart for the Christian school ministry and a genuine love and concern for reaching children for the Lord.


Jeff Taylor - Principal

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I have been blessed to be the principal of North Heights Christian Academy since 1997. I have been a Christian school educator since 1977.&

My personal education includes an undergraduate degree in art education, a California early childhood administrative credential, and a master degree in school administration.

While teaching English as a second language in Hong Kong my Form One (7th grade) boys took first place for the entire colony in their speech competition.  I served as the principal of Trinity Christian School in Norwalk, California from 1981 to 1997.  I have a passion for Christ-centered learning and consider it my greatest privilege to lead my godly staff in pursuit of academic excellence and spiritual maturity.  I am honored to serve the students and their families in what I know to be God's calling on their lives.


Sheila Johnson - Assistant Principal and

      2nd Grade Teacher

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I have been involved in education since graduating from Augustana College in Sioux Falls, SD. My degrees are in elementary and deaf education. I began my career teaching in the public schools in Minnesota and Washington. In 1994, I was blessed to join the staff of North Heights Christian Academy as a 2nd grade teacher. 

The best part of each day is being with the students and teaching each subject with a clear perspective on God's involvement in their lives. It is exciting to watch students grow intellectually and spiritually. I have the opportunity to pray with them and see their character develop. I have a part to play in helping 2nd graders discover their gifts and talents.

I am married and have 3 grown girls, 2 sons-in-law, and 2  wonderful granddaughters. We live in Cottage Grove.

 


Michelle Rollerson - Kindergarten Teacher

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I have been teaching Kindergarten at NHCA for 8 years. Before that, I taught at Minnehaha Academy in Minneapolis making this my 21st year teaching Kindergarten! It's also been an honor to serve Christ for the past 10 years in children's ministry through the church!

Teaching Kindergarten at NHCA allows me the opportunity to be apart of my students' academic and spiritual growth and development. It's been very rewarding to work with such amazing children and families, alongside a godly staff. What a thrill to see the students thrive as they experience what God is going here at NHCA!

My husband and I are church planters and we make our home in Little Canada with our 2 children. My hobbies include reading, camping, scrapbooking, creating jewelry and driving my children to all of their hobbies!



Corinne Castano - 1st/2nd Grade Teacher

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I have been privileged to be a first grade teacher at North Heights Christian Academy for 11 years.  I enjoy teaching and learning with these young students!   I especially appreciate their interest in observing and experimenting with objects in their world and the excitement they have when they are able to read on their own.

I am married and have four children all who have been or still are students at NHCA.  My older children have graduated and I have two younger children still here receiving a great academic, social and spiritual education.  It is such a blessing to be a part of this place!


Ginger Montezon - Junior High Teacher

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My name is Ginger Montezon. I graduated from North Central University with a degree in education.  

I have been a part of the NHCA staff since the year 2000.  I have taught many grades including first, second, fifth, and currently Junior High. It is my goal to challenge each student to do his or her best in all content areas.  As a Christian schoolteacher, I also pray that they would grasp God's word as truth that speaks to them in any and every situation.

I am blessed to have a supportive husband and wonderful daughter and son, who both attend NHCA!

I love to read and enjoy getting others hooked on books too.  A few other things I enjoy doing are running, sewing, and enjoying a good cup of coffee.


Krista Deurloo - 3rd/4th Grade Teacher

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I have had the opportunity to teach 3rd grade at North Heights Christian Academy for the past eight years and have a passion for creating a welcoming, organized, and safe classroom environment with high expectations for my students' success. 

I received a BA in elementary education, as well as a minor in Biblical studies, from North Central University.  I then gained some valuable teaching experience as a long-term substitute in the Minneapolis Public Schools before joining the staff at NHCA.  My desire to grow professionally as an educator, and to meet the diverse needs of my students, led me to complete a graduate program at St. Mary's University in order to acquire my K-12 reading specialist license.

I'm thankful for the opportunity to partner with parents in helping children grow academically, socially, and spiritually.  Personally, I have been so blessed by the sense of community among parents and students here at NHCA!


 

Corrie Stanway -3rd/4th Grade / P.E. Teacher

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With a heart of gratitude, I happily join the North Heights Christian Academy staff this year as the physical education teacher and 3rd grade teacher. What a blessing to find a position that blends my two “loves”.

I received my bachelor’s degree in elementary education with a minor in early childhood education. I spent 11 wonderful years in a public school classroom. During that time I completed a master’s degree in education with an emphasis on character development.

I have gained extensive knowledge in health, wellness, and corrective exercise as a nationally certified personal trainer for children and adults, group fitness instructor, and nutrition coach.

 I am delighted to have this opportunity to partner with the parents and staff of NHCA. I look forward to helping our children discover their unique gifts with which God has blessed them, ultimately impacting our world for Jesus Christ.

Jane Tramm - 4th Grade / Visual Arts Teacher

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I am thrilled to be on the teaching staff of North Heights Christian Academy, working alongside Christian educators whom I regard so highly.

I came to teaching here in a roundabout way.  My husband and I were committed to obtaining a Christian education for our five kids, and we chose NHCA.   I have been an NHCA parent since 1992.  For most of those years, I worked in public education and substitute taught here occasionally.  Three years ago, I was blessed to put my faith and profession together, and join the staff full-time as a classroom teacher.

I especially enjoy working with the young children of the school.  I get to see the students grow and make amazing learning gains in the course of a single school year.

I have a BA degree in elementary education from Bethel University and a MS degree in management (with an emphasis on organization development in schools) from Cardinal Stritch University.


Brenda Gilje - 4th Grade Teacher

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Teaching at North Heights Christian Academy since 1998 I count it a great privilege to teach in this wonderful environment of seeking the Lord and learning how to be a student.  Yearly, I am amazed at how the Lord blesses us in learning to be more and more like Christ. Young student's faith is incredible as they learn more of the Word of God but also the world He's created even in history, literature and math!

Blessed by God, He has given me teaching experiences with children from all around the world. The teaching adventure has been developed on Indian reservations, in public schools, home schooling a missionary family and at a Tanzanian International Mission School then here at NHCA.  All the diversity has taught me that God has a plan, He loves his children dearly and loves to lead them on the adventure He has for each one preparing them for their Heavenly call.


Diane Drake - 5th Grade Teacher

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I have been part of the wonderful staff at North Heights Christian Academy since I began as a substitute teacher in 2001.  In 2003, I began to job-share as a fifth grade teacher and so enjoy working as a team to make fifth grade a great experience for the students.  I have taught fifth and sixth grades in Christian schools in Illinois and Minnesota since 1988.

My husband has been the lead pastor at Real Life Church in Roseville where I directed Women's Ministries and played flute on the church worship team. My son and daughter are both married and were privileged to have attended NHCA. The excellence in academics and grounding in spiritual truths gave them a solid foundation that has served them well as they furthered their educations. I am honored to be part of this team.


Kari Johnson - 5th Grade Teacher

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It is a joy for me to be back at North Heights Christian Academy! I taught at NHCA for 6 years before I had children. Two of those years were job-sharing 5th grade with Mrs. Drake! I accepted Christ at a young age. I was blessed to grow up in a Christian home and attend a Christian school which gave me a solid foundation.

I am a 1998 graduate of Bethel University earning a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary and Middle School Education. I love teaching in a Christian school where God’s Word is alive and active in all subjects and parts of our school day. I live in White Bear Lake with my husband and our 3 children. I enjoy cabin time with family, playing games and cheering my kids on in their sports and activities.


Jenny Johnson - 6th Grade Teacher

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It is a privilege to love what you do and to love the people that you work with, and that has definitely been my experience here at NHCA since 1998. One of my passions is to help students grow in their personal faith and to learn how to hear His still, small voice in their daily lives. Maybe that's why I enjoy teaching middle school students so much: they are ready to "own" their faith and to take personal responsibility for their lives. 

I particularly enjoy teaching studying creation and evolution with my sixth graders. Their ability to think through issues and to understand the complexities is so inspiring. I love it when students can analyze evidence and discover for themselves that God's ways and God's truth makes logical sense.

Although I never want to stop learning, my formal education includes a B.A. in Elementary Education from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota, and a Master of Arts in Education from Hamline University.

 


Kristin Fink - Junior High Teacher & Chapel Director

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 I love being a part of the North Heights Christian Academy community.  I began as a substitute teacher in 2003 and the next year started teaching full time. I teach 6th, 7th and 8th grade Language Arts, and 7th and 8th grade Science. I love watching our students grow both in knowledge and in their faith. Our middle school students grow to become strong readers, deep thinkers, and caring people.

A beautiful part of my job at NHCA is directing our chapel program on Friday afternoons. Each week our whole school gathers together in awesome, student-led worship, prayer and powerful teaching. My own spiritual growth has been impacted by our chapel services. God's presence is here and we learn to listen to His voice and respond to what He is already doing.

I graduated from Oral Roberts University with an Elementary Education degree with an endorsement in middle school math and science. I then went on to pursue a Master's Degree in educational leadership and graduated in March of 2011.  My husband Chris and I, and daughter Georgia, live in an old rickety house with lots of character near the Como Zoo. Believe it or not, we can actually hear the lion roar if the wind is just right! I love to grow tomatoes (I have 26 plants!) and then cook great meals with lots of garlic. 




Elaine Hanson - Music Teacher

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Since 1997, I have been coming to North Heights Christian Academy to teach music to all the students kindergarten through 8th grade.  I love teaching all the grade levels.  The students progress from kindergarten, learning to match a pitch, to 8th graders, singing in 4 part harmony!  Being in a Christian school really gives us an opportunity to not only educate the child, but to develop their Christian character as well.

I've done all kinds of programs, concerts and musicals during my time here, and I think these extra things really help to develop the child on so many different levels.  During the last days of preparation for the musical this spring, a 2nd grader asked if she could pray before we went in.  We had gathered for warm-ups and I called her up to the front.  "Oh God," she prayed, "We just want to worship YOU tonight..."  It really set the tone for the evening, and when the students lined up on the risers, you could sense the Holy Spirit resting on them.  This is the joy of teaching at North Heights Christian Academy.


Jessica Duescher - Kindergarten Teacher     

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It is quite a blessing to be back at North Heights Christian Academy. As a child, I attended North Heights from preschool – 8th grade. I had a wonderful experience at this school; I desired to come back and be a part of the team that played a significant role in molding me into the person I am today.

In May of 2014, I graduated with a BA in Elementary Education and a minor in Health Education from Bethel University in St. Paul, Minnesota. Having been at a school with a Christ-centered focus was beneficial to my growth as a Christian educator.

When I am not teaching, I enjoy playing and watching sports, traveling, and spending time with my family and friends.