Faculty & Staff - ST. STEPHEN'S ACADEMY
As a classical Christian school in Beaverton, St. Stephen’s Academy aims to provide an academically excellent education in a grace-filled environment that develops Christian character and equips students with tools of learning that will last a lifetime. Serving the greater Portland area.
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Faculty & Staff



Headmaster, Senior Seminar

Degrees: B.A. in History with Distinction and Departmental Honors, Stanford University; M.A. in History, Yale University

Year Joined Staff: 2016

Professional Background: After 12 years working as a craftsman and builder, Mr. Koch’s love of learning led him back into the classroom to study American western, environmental, and religious history. While in graduate school he taught history at a classical Christian school in New Haven and decided to direct his academic efforts toward serving in the classical Christian education movement. Mr. Koch developed curriculum and taught history, literature, rhetoric, theology, and biology for several years at another ACCS member school before coming to St. Stephen’s Academy as the Dean of Academics. He began serving as Headmaster in 2018.

Philosophy of Education: The goal of education is to train up free, wise, and eloquent persons who love God and serve others in the home, church, workplace, and city using whatever gifts God gives them, wherever He calls them to serve. This goal is best accomplished through a liberal arts education that consistently emphasizes the relationships between our knowledge of God, His world, and His creative and redemptive purposes.

Dean of Students, Theology

Degrees: B.A. in Music, San Diego State University;  M.A. in Biblical Studies, Westminster Seminary California

Year Joined Staff: 2016

Professional Background: Mr. Feil has served in two different churches as an intern, The Resolved Church in San Diego (Acts 29) and Intown Presbyterian (PCA) in Portland. In addition, he has worked in the food and beverage industry for Marriott. He is currently working toward ordination in the PCA and hopes to pursue both Christian education and vocational ministry.

Philosophy of Education: Mr. Feil believes that students were created to enjoy and magnify all of God’s truth, goodness, and beauty. He wants the education at SSA to support the family in its effort to shape what students love with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength. Mr. Feil does this by teaching students how to understand and treasure God’s word as well as by leading the student life program at SSA.

Principal, Science

Degrees: B.S. in Physical Science, Biola University; Master of Education in Secondary Curriculum and Instruction, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Year Joined Staff: 2016

Professional Background: Mr. Gilmore taught high school in inner city Las Vegas for four years, with the first two years as part of Teach for America. He taught physics and geoscience and served in school leadership as the Instructional Leadership Team Chair.

Philosophy of Education: Mr. Gilmore believes that education is ultimately a training of the affections in which a love for the Good, the True, and the Beautiful of each unique discipline is fostered. In the classroom, Mr. Gilmore seeks to develop this love through highly engaging inquiry-based lessons that require students to think critically.

Admissions Coordinator

Degree: B.A. in Communications, Liberty University

Year Joined Staff: 2019

Professional Background: Mrs. Heidt’s education and creative interests led her to a six year career in marketing, contributing in both for-profit and non-profit organizations. For the next ten years, her calling shifted to the home, raising her four children. She is presently thrilled to support the mission of St. Stephen’s Academy by serving as its Admissions Coordinator.

Assistant Principal - Lower School

Degrees: B.A. in Elementary Education

Year Joined Staff: 2015

Professional Background: Mrs. Oeverman spent five years teaching 5th and 6th grades in Michigan and Minnesota before having the privilege of being full-time mother to her five children. She returned to the classroom in 2015 and is thankful to be a part of St. Stephen’s Academy’s pursuit of the truth, knowledge, and wisdom of our sovereign God.

Philosophy of Education: Mrs. Oeverman desires to educate students to see God at work in all that he has made, “…for from Him and through Him and to Him are all things.” This biblical foundation is the basis for the subjects she teaches, as she seeks to train up young men and women who will glorify God and enjoy Him in a lifetime of service to Christ.

Director of Operations

Degree: B.A. in Business Administration, Northwest Nazarene University

Year Joined Staff: 2009

Professional Background: Mrs. Six served as an executive assistant to an elected official prior to joining the staff at St. Stephen’s. She started out working on a website and branding for the school and has served the school in many ways, now serving as the school’s Director of Operations. She manages our office and operations teams.

Business Manager, Math

Degrees: B.S. in Business: Accounting, University of Idaho; B.A. in History and Social Science, San Diego Christian College

Year Joined Staff: 2018

Professional Background: Prior to joining St. Stephen’s Academy, Mr. Thompson worked in secondary education as a teacher and school administrator.





Degree: B.S. in Applied Art & Design, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo; M.S. in Safety & Systems Management, University of Southern California; Certificate in Classical Christian Studies, New Saint Andrews College

Year Joined Staff: 2013

Professional Background: After graduating from Cal Poly, Mrs. Bergeron worked for Computer Sciences Corporation as a graphic designer. Then, after spending five years at home with her four children, she joined the team at Classical Conversations as a classroom teacher and trainer. Later she joined the Classical Conversations administrative team as State Manager for Oregon and Idaho. The necessity of furthering her education in the humanities led her to take classes at New Saint Andrews College in Moscow, Idaho, where she discovered her love for history, languages, and writing. Mrs. Bergeron loves coaching students through the multi-faceted, integrated “subjects” of Mock Trial: writing, linguistics, logic, rhetoric, acting, and law. She is currently continuing her own theological Latin studies through the Davenant Institute.

Philosophy of Education: Preparation happens before a teacher enters the classroom. A teacher who expects active participation from her students must be active in her own education, active first in her own mind. Students become like their teachers–with their same weaknesses, their same strengths. My aim is to increase activity and confidence in each student’s mind and body, employing pedagogies of the medievals as well as current research about how we learn and remember best. I want to give quick feedback so that my students are aware that I applaud their hot pursuit of truth and virtue, or that they’re not there yet, and can exert further effort in order to reach the goal. In both discipline and encouragement, I am seeking what a wise teacher called “soul-to-soul interaction” with my students.

K-12 Mathematics Coordinator

Degrees: B.S. in Mathematics, Western Oregon University; M.A.T., Multnomah University

Year Joined Staff: 2012

Professional Background: Mrs. Boden starting her teaching career at St. Stephen’s Academy and has enjoyed teaching mathematics across the grades from as low as 5th grade all the way through high school calculus.

Philosophy of Education: When we talk about education we should focus not merely on facts or figures but instead on the lifelong process that is learning. It is critically important to teach how to learn as well as what is worth learning.

6th Grade, Literature, Writing

Degrees: B.A. in English, Biola University; Teaching Credential and M.A. in English, California State University, Long Beach

Year Joined Staff: 2016

Philosophy of Education: Love my students. Build relationships. Learn cool stuff. Write about it. It’s not very philosophical, but it is elementary, Dear Reader. The challenges and joys of the blessed role of “teacher’ are, from my perspective, founded on a desire to connect with my charges as we explore the world of story. And there is so much to discover! I am inspired and awed by the divine story, of course, the greatest of tales, told by a Master Author, in which we “live and move and have our being.” As my students and I delve into history and literature, joining the adventures of characters both real and fictional, we learn how our attitudes and actions impact others, how precious and fragile is the human heart, and how our need for redemption makes us yearn for Truth. Love my students. Build relationships. Learn cool stuff. Write about it. It’s a story I’m grateful to be living.

3rd Grade

Degrees: B.A. in Arts and Letters with minor in Linguistics, Portland State University; M.A.in Education with Reading Endorsement, George Fox University

Year Joined Staff: 2011

Professional Background: Ms. Conteh has done missions on and off with Mercy Ships. She taught at The Language and Culture Institute and The Riggs Institute. She taught 4th and 5th grade at MITCH Charter School, Kindergarten at Happy Hollow Children’s Center, was a reading specialist at Park Academy, and has always privately tutored. She taught for nine years before joining St. Stephen’s Academy.

Philosophy of Education: Ms. Conteh believes that her primary role as a teacher is to guide her students into knowing and loving Jesus Christ. With the aid of the Holy Spirit, she seeks to model character virtues such as kindness, faithfulness, and patience while genuinely loving and encouraging her students. She wants them to learn from her how to have their own trust in Jesus, how to obey Him, and how to love others. She strives to implement the Gospel into every subject.

5th Grade

Degree: B.A. in Liberal Studies: Teacher Education, The Master’s College

Year Joined Staff: 2015

Professional Background: Mrs. Cybulski first began teaching in 2005 at a Christian school in California. After an extended time off to raise her family she returned to teaching. She was very excited to join the team at St. Stephen’s.

Philosophy of Education: It is Mrs. Cybulski’s desire to educate students about who God is and what He has done in the world around them. She enjoys highlighting God’s hand in history, science, mathematics, and even language. She seeks to build a foundation of education that will prepare students to discern truth and think critically.

Fort, Gavin
College Advisor, Humane Letters, Rhetoric

Degrees: B.A. in English Literature (History minor), Biola University; M.A. in History, California State University, Fullerton; Ph.D. in Medieval European History, Northwestern University

Year Joined Staff: 2019

Professional Background: After a brief period working at a mutual fund company, Dr. Fort pursued his love of history and the Middle Ages in graduate school, where he studied the religious, cultural, and intellectual developments of this vibrant era. In Evanston, he taught courses, published articles, and undertook a fellowship for teaching history. Over the next two years, Dr. Fort lectured and taught in the Honors College — a Great Books program — at Azusa Pacific University.

Philosophy of Education: I work to train the minds and hearts of students to cultivate wonder, ask questions, humbly approach a text, and diligently pursue ideas, which are the enemies of test-like approaches to education that focus on simplistic answers. When students examine primary texts and wrestle with big ideas, they are not only sharpening their minds but also developing their love for all of God’s creation. I am excited to walk with students on this journey so that they will be prepared for whatever vocational callings they pursue.

K-12 Music Coordinator

B.A. Music Education & Liberal Studies, Simpson University; M.A. Cross Cultural Education, National University; E.S.O.L. Endorsement, Western Oregon University; Orff Schulwerk Certification – Level 2; Feierabend First Steps in Music and Conversational Solfege Certifications

Year Joined Staff: 2021

Professional Background: Mrs. Gaither began her music teaching career in 2002. She comes from a musical family, filled with memories of singing hymns in church and attending her grandmother’s choir concerts with the Los Angeles Master Chorale. It was a 1980’s McDonald’s commercial, where she first heard the song, “Fur Elise,” that inspired her to play the piano. She has sung in various choirs from middle school through college and into adulthood, including the Willamette Master Chorus in Salem. She regularly participates on the worship team at her church, and she participates often in music and choral conducting workshops, most recently with the Westminster College of Music.

Philosophy of Education: I believe that all people need to experience beauty. When they do, it changes them. When we experience beauty, we behold a glimpse of God’s glory (Psalm 19). The more we behold the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, the more we are transformed into His image (2 Corinthians 3:18). It is my desire that my students have a rich experience of God’s beauty found in music. It brings me joy as a music educator to be a part of their experience.

4th Grade

Degrees: B.A. in History, Metropolitan State University of Denver; M. Ed., University of Phoenix

Year Joined Staff: 2021

Professional Background: Mr. Gryniewicz spent 10 years teaching elementary students at an English immersion school in South Korea. Previous to that, he taught early childhood education and completed his student teaching at Oberon Middle School in Colorado.

Philosophy of Education: Mr. Gryniewicz is extremely passionate about education and believes that lessons should be practical, engaging, and stimulating for all students. He constantly challenges his students to go beyond what they think they are capable of and reach their true potential as learners. He believes that God’s image shines clearly through children, and it is his duty to educate students in a loving and Godly manner.

K-12 Science Coordinator

Degrees:  B.A. in Biology, Washington University, St. Louis, MO; M.A. in Education (Early Childhood), Hood College, Frederick, MD

Year Joined Staff: 2005

Professional Background: Mrs. Holt spent 17 years in biomedical research at several research facilities, including Washington University Medical School, Johns Hopkins Medical School, NIH in Bethesda, MD, and a small Biotech Company in MD. She also spent three years teaching various elementary school science classes and then spent seven years teaching 2nd-4th grades for the Montgomery County Public School in MD. After joining SSA in 2005, she taught 2nd and 3rd grades, and 5th and 6th grade math. She now teaches Upper School science classes and is the K-12 Science Coordinator.

Philosophy of Education: In the art and science of teaching there should be a continuous, interactive, entrusted partnership between teacher and student. Both should always be teaching and learning with and from each other. The process of imparting knowledge and skills from the teacher to the learner is designed to facilitate the student to become a lifelong learner and caretaker of God’s creation.

Math, Science

Degree: B.S. in Biology, University of California Irvine

Year Joined Staff: 2019

Professional Background: Miss Imboden has worked in the medical field as a Radiologic Technologist (X-ray Tech) and as a Physician’s Scribe. Prior to joining St. Stephen’s, she taught 3rd and 4th grade at a classical Christian school in California for five years and Upper School math and science at Veritas School in Newberg, Oregon.

Philosophy of Education: “Behind and beyond all the telling, explaining, and lesson-giving, there lies as the essential aim of it all, and of all that the teacher does, the awakening and setting in action the learner’s mind, the arousing of his self-activities, as they have been called – those faculties of cognition, imagination, and reasoning whose action must always be voluntary and self-impelled. As already shown, knowledge cannot be passed from mind to mind like apples from one basket to another, but must in every case be re-cognized, re-thought by the receiving mind.”
John Milton Gregory, The Seven Laws of Teaching

2nd Grade

Year Joined Staff: 2021

Education and Professional Background: Mrs. Jackson studied at Virginia Tech and at the University of Maryland. In 1996, she married a Marine officer, following him as he was sent and teaching children at home.

Philosophy of Education: I believe that a teacher must not merely be a master of her subject, but be an avid learner, constantly seeking to grow and gain. I follow hard after Christ and pray that, as I stand before them, my students might see less of me and more of Him. Respect, courtesy, and service of others is expected and encouraged, since we are a body working together toward a common goal. We will work hard, play hard, and strive to be skilled workmen, worthy of praise. I want my students to taste and see, hear, feel, and smell (yes, even smell) that the Lord is good! With joy and wonder we will observe, examine, measure, weigh, and learn new things. We will test the limits of our minds and bodies, seeking to do a little more and a little better with every attempt. At the end of the day, my desire is for students to be both satisfied and insatiable – that they would be stretched and filled, but hungry, hungry, hungry for more.


3rd Grade

Degrees: Bachelor of Science Double Major: English and Secondary Education Language Arts, The University of South Alabama

Year Joined Staff: 2020

Professional Background: Mrs. Jones completed her student teaching in 10th grade at Baker High School in Mobile, Alabama. She spent the first two years of her credentialed teaching at Denair Middle School in California, teaching 7th and 8th grade English Language Arts as well as Drama. Her first year teaching in Oregon was spent instructing 11th and 12 grade Literature and Composition at Faith Bible High School. 

Philosophy of Education: My goal in education is to introduce students to new areas of study in order to enhance their writing, reading, and thinking skills. Through this teaching, my desire is to show students God’s love and provision to us as we study about the world he has created for us. 


Degrees: B.S. in Psychology, Seattle Pacific University; M.A.T. (Master of Arts in Teaching) with a Reading Endorsement, Pacific University

Year Joined Staff: 2018

Professional Background: Karissa has interned and worked in various school districts and programs from Seattle to Palo Alto at all grade levels, including programs in special education.

During her Master’s Degree program, she interned at Emmaus Christian School where she got her first taste of classical Christian education. After graduation from Pacific University, she was hired at Agape Christian School (a former classical Christian school in Beaverton) as a 5th grade teacher, then later as a part-time middle school teacher.

She picked up the hobby of photography because she wanted high-quality pictures of her children’s activities. The owner of the performing arts studio where her children took classes liked her pictures and she was “hired” as the official photographer. She began taking official photos for dance shows, recitals, and musical theater.

Philosophy of Education: I believe that teachers are called to instruct students in new ideas and then to guide students in their own responsibility for both learning and behavior; the relationship is collaborative even at very young grade levels. Students are often capable of more than we give them credit for. I like to emphasize responsibility, communication, and respect in the classroom by listening to students. I want to hear what they have learned, their ideas and perspectives. A teacher’s primary goal is to help students learn and to train them to become independent learners. This skill will transfer to all areas of life as they grow in not only education, but also in their faith, family, and careers.

5th Grade

Degree: B.S. in Elementary Education, minor in English, Palm Beach Atlantic University

Year joined SSA: 2018

Professional Background: Miss Lau completed one semester of student teaching in a gifted Kindergarten classroom in West Palm Beach Florida, and her second semester in a 4th grade classroom in Kijabe, Kenya.  At St. Stephen’s she taught Kindergarten, 1st grade, and PE for K-2nd.

Philosophy of Education: My desire as an educator is to train up children in the way they should go, by nurturing a love for learning about God and the world in which He has placed us. I believe all students should be supported and challenged to grow not only in knowledge but also in character, understanding, love, and wisdom so they can better love God and serve those around them.

1st Grade

Professional Background: B.S. in Elementary Education, minor in Early Childhood Education, Palm Beach Atlantic University

Year Joined Staff: 2019

Professional Background: Miss LittleJohn completed her first semester of student teaching in a 2nd grade gifted class at Everglades Elementary in Wellington, Florida. For her second semester of student teaching, she taught in a 2nd grade classroom at Jupiter Christian School in Jupiter, Florida. She has experience teaching PreK at Beginnings Preschool and 1st grade at The Conservatory School, both located in Palm Beach County, Florida. Miss LittleJohn also has worked as a youth peer mentor for Work Opportunities Unlimited, helping support youth with disabilities, ages 14-26.

Philosophy of Education: I believe it’s my role as a teacher to instill in my students a love for lifelong learning. I believe in using students’ natural curiosity and wonder to examine a world that reflects our beautiful and good God. I believe that every day my students and I should seek the truth which we can find in God’s word. The goal is for my students to leave my class each day with a better understanding of who God is, how to have a relationship with Him, and how they can love others.

Kindergarten Assistant, PE

Year Joined Staff: 2019

Professional Background: Mrs. Marnul has traveled extensively since graduating high school as a classically trained, professional ballet dancer. Her pursuit of a career in professional ballet has taken her across the United States, Southern Africa, and London, England. She has performed various forms of dance throughout her career, from classical to contemporary and has the honor of experiencing the joy of choreographing for and educating dancers of all ages. Mrs. Marnul’s most recent positions were with the faculty of the academy at the Houston Ballet as classical ballet instructor and with the staff of Trinity Classical School as PE and art instructor.

Philosophy of Education: Mrs. Marnul believes that movement and expression are vital to a student’s journey in education. She approaches teaching with a desire to see her students flourish as they develop gross motor skills along with social abilities, problem solving, and team building. Creative expression is a unique way of reflecting our Creator, and she hopes her class is space where students will learn how to become grateful stewards of their gifts.


Degrees: B.A. in Liberal Studies, California State University, Fullerton; M.A. in Special Education: Orientation and Mobility, California State University, Los Angeles

Year Joined Staff: 2016

Professional Background: Prior to teaching Kindergarten at St. Stephen’s Academy, Mrs. Marshall worked as an educator for blind and visually impaired students in California for seven years. She has experience working with students ages birth through 12th grade and has worked for a variety of educational agencies in both the public and private sector. She also holds a Clinical Rehabilitation Credential and completed an internship at the Western Blind Rehabilitation Center at the V.A. Hospital in Palo Alto, CA.

Philosophy of Education: Mrs. Marshall strives to teach her students to view all areas of learning through the lens of a biblical worldview. She strongly desires for her students to be both challenged and encouraged by what they are learning, and she feels honored to be one of the instruments used to cultivate growth and instill grace in her students’ lives.

K-12 Art Coordinator

Degree: B.A. in Psychology and Art, Southern Oregon State University 

Year Joined Staff: 2002

Professional Background: A lifelong artist, Mrs. Mier has been showing and selling her artwork in shows, galleries, and privately for over 25 years. She owned a gallery in Portland, Oregon, before coming to St. Stephen’s Academy and has been teaching art for 19 years, 15 of those at St. Stephen’s. She recently illustrated a children’s chapter book written by a local author that is now available on Amazon. Her passion is watching students reach their potential in art and have that work be a joy to fellow men that honors God in Heaven.

Philosophy of Education: Education should be provided in a safe but disciplined environment that challenges all students to achieve academic and artistic excellence by honoring God and exciting the human need to create and question through a demanding and comprehensive curriculum. Students should be able to obtain and use tools of learning to create demonstrate and perform or present materials that represent the curriculum learned.


Degree: graduate of Moody Bible Institute with a major in Christian Education

Year Joined Staff: 2017

Professional Background: Mrs. Miller has over 25 years teaching experience with 3s, 4s, and Kindergarten. Prior to coming to St. Stephen’s Academy, from 2001-2017 she taught morning and afternoon 4s classes and was the music teacher for all 4 year old classes at Beaverton Christian Church Preschool and Kindergarten. During the time she raised her children, Mrs. Miller took time away from teaching and served in her church as the Children’s Choir Coordinator, supervising nine choir, directors, and staff. She was also the Concert Series Coordinator for the evangelistic outreach ministry. After several years in business management, God led her back to her passion for teaching Pre-Kindergarten children.

Philosophy of Education: Mrs. Miller believes preschool is a very important part of a child’s education where foundation stones for their future learning and their relationship with Christ can continue to be securely set. She hopes to instill in young children a love for God and to know that God loves them, to appreciate God’s creation, and that their life is a valuable part of His creation. She also hopes to develop within them a love for learning, to encourage academic development as well as social and emotional skills and small motor abilities. Mrs. Miller loves the freedom at a Christian school to bring Christ into all areas of teaching. She is excited to be part of the St. Stephen’s family.

Bible, Latin, Humanities

Degrees: B.Mus. (Theory/Composition), Ohio State University; M.Div., Westminster Theological Seminary

Year Joined Staff: 2021

Professional Background: The Rev. Mr. Nolder is an ordained minister. He recently was a teacher, music director, and international student program coordinator at Tri-City Christian Academy in Somersworth, New Hampshire. From 2008-16, he was the pastor of Christ the Redeemer Church (CREC) in Pella, Iowa. From 2000-07, he was the senior pastor of Pilgrim Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC) in Bangor, Maine.

Philosophy of Education: To teach young people, through various disciplines of education, to love God with all of their heart, mind, strength, and soul, and to love their neighbor as themselves. To show them that Jesus Christ is the Lord of every area of life, including and especially the liberal arts.


Degree: B.S. in Mathematics, Colorado State University

Year Joined Staff: 2021

Professional Background: Mr. Purdy has taught mathematics at the secondary level for over 30 years. He also helped organize and run the 2011, 2014, and 2017 Northwest Mathematics Conferences.

Philosophy of Education: I believe that to educate someone in math is to coach that person toward a deep level of mathematical knowledge and skill for the enjoyable purpose of solving problems in life. This purpose takes on the characteristic of joy when we have liberty and trust in Christ.


Degrees: B.A. in English Literature (Humanities Minor), M.A. in English Literature, Azusa Pacific University

Year Joined Staff: 2021

Professional Background: Aside from a brief stint in recruiting for IT companies, Mr. Reasoner has spent the majority of his professional life teaching English grammar, reading, and composition. While finishing higher education, Mr. Reasoner began his teaching career as an English tutor to Japanese business professionals in the Tokyo prefecture. After graduating from Azusa Pacific University, Mr. Reasoner spent the next two years teaching language arts to 2nd, 4th, and 6th grade students in Pasadena, CA.

Philosophy of Education: Education is the means by which curious learners gain an understanding of God, themselves, and the world. When done well, education can provide students with the tools to broaden their perspective, properly orient themselves in the world, and participate with God in His purposes. In this way, education is not only about the growth and liberation of the mind, but also the cultivation and even sanctification of the soul. Mr. Reasoner seeks to implement this philosophy in the classroom by engaging texts with an open posture, fostering critical thinking, contextualizing information within grand narratives, and nurturing an enjoyment of God.

1st Grade

Degrees: B.A. in Liberal Studies (Elementary Education) and Honors Humanities Minor, Azusa Pacific University

Year Joined Staff: 2021

Professional Background: While studying at Azusa Pacific University, Mrs. Reed student taught in a 2nd grade classroom in Glendora, California. Also during her undergraduate program, she gained experience working with K-8 special education students, teaching science at a local Christian school and instructing underprivileged 4th grade students in a college readiness program. Over the past year, Mrs. Reed provided private tutoring and instructional assistance to 1st grade students completing distance learning, as well as instructing private piano lessons.

Philosophy of Education: My desire as a teacher is not only to guide my students to mastery of subject matter, but instill in them a lifelong love and excitement for learning. Whether practicing math facts or reading stories about ancient times, I hope my own genuine enthusiasm for learning grows my students into life-long readers, scholars, and thinkers who are equipped to explore God’s world around them in wonder. As I teach, Jesus remains at the center of all that I do; I strive to demonstrate the love of Christ in my actions, inspire awe for God’s creation, and build up the next generation of disciples.

6th Grade, Spanish

Degrees: B.A. Education, The Master’s University

Year Joined Staff: 2017

Professional Background: Prior to coming to St. Stephen’s Mrs. Smith had 11 years of experience as an educator, serving as a special ed. teacher in Los Angeles, a homeschooling tutor out of her home, and a grammar school teacher at Beacon Hill Classical Academy, an ACCS school in California that she and her husband helped found.

Philosophy of Education: Because Jesus calls us to love God with all our minds, it glorifies Him when we train our minds well.  Loving God with all our minds includes exploring the beauty of His creation, telling and writing stories, rehearsing His providential rule through history, analyzing words in sentences and paragraphs, memorizing Scripture, creating art and music, and exercising our brains through logic and mathematics.  Since the whole earth is full of His glory, education is a devotional experience.

Anatomy & Physiology

Degrees: B.S. in Psychobiology, University of California, Riverside; M.D., Loma Linda University School of Medicine

Year Joined Staff: 2021

Professional Background: Dr. Suranyi spent 21 years in private practice as a board certified Anesthesiologist at St. John’s Regional Medical Center in Oxnard, California. Although clinical care and patient interactions have been vocationally and personally rewarding, his passion for other interests, including Christian ministry, teaching, and horticulture have led him to early retirement from medicine.

Philosophy of Education: Being made uniquely in God’s image, we have an innate curiosity about our world and an inner desire to know our Creator. The complexity, as well as manifold dimensions of God’s created order, require an honest, objective, and systematic, yet humble approach to learning. It necessitates the integration of the spiritual, mental, and physical realm of the natural world. Ultimately our goal in learning is not solely the pursuit of understanding, but rather, bringing glory to God in such pursuits.




Registrar, Administrative Assistant

Degree: B.A. in English Education, Eastern Washington University

Year Joined Staff: 2018

Professional Background: Before joining St. Stephen’s, Sheila held professional and administrative positions with the State of Washington Employment Security and Child Support programs; the Association of Classical & Christian Schools; and for her church. She moved to Oregon with her family the fall of 2017 and is thankful to be part of the SSA community!

Athletic Director, Executive Assistant

Degree: B.S. in Business and Equestrian Studies, Rocky Mountain College

Year Joined Staff: 2017

Professional Background: After completing her degree, Mrs. Emly started working in the banking field. She finished her banking career as a branch manager and loan officer after 10 years of experience. She is a trained Dave Ramsey Financial Coach and has taught many classes of Financial Peace University. Hayley serves the school as Executive Assistant and Athletic Director.

Teacher Support

Year Joined Staff: 2021

School Nurse

Degrees: B.S. in Nursing, Biola University

Year Joined Staff: 2021

Professional Background: The first three years of her nursing career Mrs. Gilmore worked in an Adult Day Care, Low Income Christian Health Care Clinic, and Long Term Acute Care hospital in Las Vegas, NV. She also has over four years of experience working as a care manager and triage nurse at OHSU Internal Medicine Clinic. This position has provided her the opportunity to sharpen her knowledge and skills in nursing, while also fulfilling her calling as a wife and mother.

Teacher Support

Year Joined Staff: 2021

Professional Background: Kara worked in accounts payable/receivable for seven years at a large company in the Portland area she and her husband decided to start a family and she stayed home with their daughter. In order to be a stay-at-home mom and contribute financially, she started her own cleaning business in 2012, which she carried on until she began working at St. Stephen’s. Prior to joining the St. Stephen’s staff, Kara was a regular volunteer in the Lower School for many years.

Philosophy of Education: I believe that teaching how to learn is equally important as what we learn. I also believe that by teaching a curriculum that is full of truth in a loving, supportive, and stimulating environment our children will have the tools necessary to navigate their way through life not only academically but spiritually as well! “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest” ~ Benjamin Franklin


Degree: B.S. in Finance and International Business, Oregon State University

Year Joined Staff: 2018

Professional Background: Before joining St. Stephen’s, Evelyn worked in a commercial insurance brokerage firm and did bookkeeping for a local accountant.