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

Administration

 

Headmaster, Humanities, Senior Thesis

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.

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.

 

Faculty

 

4th Grade

Degree: B.S. in Human Development, Warner Pacific University

Year Joined Staff: 2004

Professional Background: Prior to her employment at St. Stephen’s Mrs. Barnes homeschooled her son 1st grade through 5th grade. Before that she was the logistics/traffic manager for an exporting company.

Philosophy of Education: A fine educator should aspire to educate students to intelligently process all kinds of information and make prudent, godly choices so as to grow into wise, upright, and content individuals who can contribute to and make society a better place.

Latin

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.

PreK, Art, and PE

Year Joined Staff: 2019

Professional Background: Miss Blackshear 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. Miss Blackshear’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: Miss Blackshear 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.

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.

Humanities, Logic, Oratory

Degree: B.A. in English, Portland State University

Year Joined Staff: 2014

Professional Background: Before joining the faculty at St. Stephen’s, Mr. Boden worked as a teacher’s assistant, substitute teacher, and tutor at all grade levels, including university.

Philosophy of Education: Mr. Boden hopes to reflect in some small way the myriad of excellent teachers he has had in his life – individuals who point to God’s faithfulness in everything, individuals whose peace and confidence rest solely on His grace and His promises.

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 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

Degrees: 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

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.

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.

Kindergarten

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.

PreKindergarten

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.

4th Grade

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.

Latin

Degrees: B.A. in Latin, Hillsdale College

Year Joined Staff: 2017

Professional Background: Taught Latin in the Upper School at Rockbridge Academy, Millersville, MD.

Philosophy of Education: History is full of great men and women who understood that educating the next generation was the only way to build the kingdom they sought, from the polis to the reich. The modern state increasingly seizes control over education in an attempt to build its version of the City of Man, the only state they acknowledge to exist. As a teacher at St. Stephen’s, I profess the school’s motto: Christus in Litteris (“Christ in words”) to my students. His word reveals that as Christians our citizenship is in Heaven and from it we await a Savior, Jesus Christ. (Phil 3:20) When he comes, every tongue will confess that his name is greater than any other name in the history of the City of Man. (Phil 2:10-11)

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.

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.

 

Staff

 

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. When she and her family moved to Oregon, she started volunteering at St. Stephen’s until she was hired in 2017.

Administrative Assistant, Yearbook

Degree: Associate of Applied Science in Digital Imaging & Prepress Technology, Linn-Benton Community College

Year Joined Staff: 2011

Professional Background: After completing her degree, Mrs. Hamilton worked in the printing environment until her first child was born. While her children were small, Mrs. Hamilton volunteered her skills in desktop publishing at various churches. When her children started at St. Stephen’s she volunteered at the school until was she was hired in 2011.

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!

Custodian
Administrative Assistant

Degree: B.A. in Business Administration, Seattle Pacific University

Year Joined Staff: 2015

Professional Background: Amie has administration experience in the corporate and nonprofit world prior to coming to St. Stephen’s.

School Nurse

Degree: B.S. in Nursing, Oregon Health & Science University

Year Joined Staff: 2015

Professional Background: Mrs. Storm has worked as a registered nurse since 2003. She has worked in the fields of oncology, chemical dependency, mental health, case management, diabetes education, school nursing, and maternal fetal medicine.

Librarian

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.