Faculty & Staff Directory

Administration

Matt Donnowitz

Head of School (Executive Team)

Matt Donnowitz

Head of School (Executive Team)

I graduated with my BA from Purdue University, MA from Trinity School for Ministry, and am currently completing my EdD in Educational Leadership at Concordia University Texas. In 2016, I moved to Austin to begin teaching at Hill Country Christian School, and have served as the Upper School Principal since 2018. I have two future Hill Country students, class of 2034 and class of 2037!

What do you believe makes Hill Country distinct?
The faculty and staff at Hill Country Christian School make all the difference. As committed professionals, mentors, and role models, the faculty and staff facilitate academic inquiry, build confidence, and encourage Christ-likeness in all students through authentic relationships. We know every student individually and are able to guide each of them in their curricular and extracurricular pursuits that uniquely prepare them to fulfill God’s calling on their lives. 

What is your favorite Scripture?
Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12

What is your teaching philosophy?
Education is, at its core, the cultivation of wisdom and virtue. When students are trained to synthesize the logic, order, and beauty inherent in every discipline – seeing each, individually, as interconnected with all others – they are able to engage in analytical reasoning and creative problem-solving in every field of study. At the core of our educational philosophy is our Lord, God, and Savior – Jesus Christ – Who is the eternal Word and Wisdom of the Father, and Who has revealed the ultimate purpose of our education, namely, to use our learning to more fully love God and love others. 

Jacob Lindsey

High School Principal (Executive Team)

Jacob Lindsey

High School Principal (Executive Team)

Jill Bayer

Middle School Principal (Executive Team)

Jill Bayer

Middle School Principal (Executive Team)

Before moving to Austin in 2010, my family and I lived in Alabama and Colorado. I earned my Bachelor of Science in English Language Arts Education from Auburn University. I’m also currently pursuing my Master of Education Administration. Before starting at Hill Country in 2011, I taught in Alabama and Colorado every grade from 4th to 11th. My daughter Molly is also a high school English teacher here at Hill Country. It’s great to see her love it as much as I do.

What is your favorite sport?
College football, mainly because I like hanging out with others who actually care about football (haha).

What is your favorite hobby or one of your favorite things?
My favorite hobby is camping with my family.

What is your favorite food?
Anything Mexican, especially tacos.

Growing up, you hoped to become a…
Teacher!

Other than the Bible, what’s your all-time favorite book?
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

What is an interesting fact about you not many people know?
My greatest accomplishment is raising triplets plus one!

If you could meet one historical figure or famous person, who would it be and why?
Other than the obvious answer, Jesus, it would be southern author Harper Lee. She was elusive, brilliant, sassy, head-strong, spoke her mind through her works, and had a pulse on the deep south like no other.

What song would be the soundtrack to your life?
Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing

What is your favorite Scripture or quote?
Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9

Who has had the greatest influence on your life and why?
My parents. They are the most beautiful example of what it means to live your life for the Lord. Without their example, I wouldn’t be who I am today.

What do you believe makes Hill Country distinct?
Hill Country holds true to our mission of getting to know our students. We truly make it our mission to build relationships with each of our students.

What do you love about teaching at Hill Country?
I love that we have the freedom within our curriculum to teach with a biblical worldview. The love of Jesus runs through my English and World Cultures classes each and every day. There’s not a moment that goes by without making relevant the fact that we see the world through Jesus. He’s in our characters in our novels, and He’s in every culture we study.

Jessica Tracy

Preschool and Elementary School Principal (Executive Team)

Jessica Tracy

Preschool and Elementary School Principal (Executive Team)

I have a Bachelor of Music from West Texas A&M University and a Bachelor and Master of Music from the Juilliard School of Music. I have 35 years of experience as a teacher and principal.

What do you love about working at Hill Country?
We have been blessed with amazing parents who are very involved in the education of their children and desire for them to hear God’s Word every day. Our teachers do an amazing job of relating to their students and delivering effective and interesting lessons each and every day.

What is your favorite scripture or quote?
Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not be afraid for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10 

What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe children should be taught skills and concepts that are developmentally appropriate. I believe that the relationship a teacher has with a child is one of the most important components of a child’s success in school. Teachers must know their content well and should model correct learning and thinking habits as well as differentiate instruction to meet the needs of students. Student learning should not solely focus on grades but also on how well students attend to and take responsibility for learning. I do not believe in accepting substandard work from a student and know how valuable it is to provide opportunities for corrections, editing, revision, rereading, and rewriting for the sake of learning and achieving excellence. I believe a child’s personality and motivation impact their learning and recognize the importance of identifying personality types as well as ways in which they learn best.

What are your hobbies or favorite things?
I love cooking, hiking, landscaping, and going to National Parks.

Fun Fact
I am fluent in Spanish and have had my own oboe reed making business.

Craig Bland

Director of Student Life (Executive Team)

Craig Bland

Director of Student Life (Executive Team)

Rob Gary

Director of Business Services (Executive Team)

Rob Gary

Director of Business Services (Executive Team)

Before coming to Hill Country in 2021, I worked for seven years in financial services and then served for 20 years in various corporate finance roles at Advanced Micro Devices (ADM). I have a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance from The University of Texas at Austin and an MBA from The University of Texas at Arlington.

What is your favorite sport?
Football

What is your favorite hobby or one of your favorite things?
Traveling, live music, live sports

What is your favorite food?
Tex-Mex

Growing up, you hoped to become a…
Lawyer, because my Dad was one.

Other than the Bible, what’s your all-time favorite book?
How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie

What is an interesting fact about you?
I completed a marathon with an injured knee.

If you could meet one historical figure or famous person, who would it be and why?
Abraham Lincoln – he was a great leader who guided our country through very difficult times. I could learn a lot about leadership from him.

What is your favorite Scripture or quote?
I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:12-13

Who has had the greatest influence on your life and why?
My grandfather. His goal in life was to be:
1. The friendliest person he knew,
2. The most positive person he knew, and
3. The most spiritually potent person he could be. I keep trying to follow his lead but often fall short.

Where else have you lived other than Austin?
Dallas, TX and Toronto, ON

What do you believe makes Hill Country distinct, other than the tight-knit community?
A strong community of believers.

What do you love about working at Hill Country?
I love that everyone is aligned to the common goal of furthering the work of God’s Kingdom. This did not exist in any of my prior work environments.

Scott Horne

Director of Athletics (Executive Team)

Scott Horne

Director of Athletics (Executive Team)

I have a degree in Exercise and Sports Science with a minor in History from Southwest Texas State University. I moved to Austin and began working at Hill Country in 1998. I have two Hill Country alumni, Classes of 2019 and 2021, and two current Hill Country students, Classes of 2026 and 2032.

What is your favorite sport?
Boxing

What is your favorite hobby or one of your favorite things?
Hiking

What is your favorite food?
Hot Dog Casserole

Growing up, you hoped to become a…
Firefighter

Other than the Bible, what’s your all-time favorite book?
The Life and Writings of Abraham Lincoln

What is an interesting fact about you?
I was voted class artist my senior year in high school, and I’ve lived in Iceland.

Tell us about one of your significant accomplishments.
Marrying the love of my life. Jennifer has been the steadfast rock of our family through deployments and surgeries, keeping it all together and being an incredible wife and mother. She is by far the greatest thing that has ever happened to me.

If you could meet one historical figure or famous person, who would it be and why?
Abraham Lincoln: the complexities of his life and how through that he would be the perfect leader needed for the Civil War.

What is your favorite Scripture or quote?
Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 1 Timothy 6:12

Who has had the greatest influence on your life and why?
My Padre, he is an amazing man who has had to overcome much in his life to be where he is today. A great father, role model, and friend.

What do you love about working at Hill Country?
One of the biggest things I love about Hill Country is my ability to come alongside a student during their times of success and failure. I can see a student walking down the hall during a hard day and pull them aside and pray with and for them without worrying about my job or them being chastised for it by their peers. I pray every day that my investment is eternal, and by investing in them as individuals and not just students, this prayer is attainable.

Philip Hudgens

Director of Operations (Executive Team)

Philip Hudgens

Director of Operations (Executive Team)

I have a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology and a minor in Art from the University of Mary-Hardin Baylor. I moved to Austin in 1999 and began teaching at Hill Country in 2000. I have one Hill Country alumna, Class of 2020, and three Hill Country students, Classes of 2022, 2023, and 2025.

What is your favorite sport?
Football

What are your hobbies?
Hunting and spending time playing and relaxing with my wife and four daughters.

What is your favorite food?
Just about anything cooked on a smoker.

Other than the Bible, what’s your all-time favorite book?
I don’t know that I have an all-time favorite. But I liked Max Lucado’s little trilogy collection of The Applause of Heaven, When God Whispers Your Name, and In the Grip of Grace.

What is an interesting fact about you?
My minor in college was art. My first role at Hill Country was teaching art.

If you could meet one historical figure or famous person, who would it be and why?
Abraham Lincoln – he was an excellent writer, very wise, and from what I’ve read, a very good leader.

What is your favorite verse or passage of Scripture?
Philippians 2:1-11 “Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. 5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature[a] God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; 7 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature[b] of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross! 9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

What do you believe makes Hill Country distinct, other than the tight-knit community?
I can’t say this only happens at Hill Country, but I find it very encouraging that we’ve had a number of alumni come back over the last several years to teach and coach here – out of a desire to attempt to pour into other student’s lives the way they were poured into. I believe they all get a taste of what that’s like with our junior class-led 8th grade retreat.

What do you love about working at Hill Country?
I love the students and parents. The relationships that are formed really do last a lifetime. I thoroughly enjoy seeing alumni and their parents come back for events and to visit. My daughters currently babysit for some of our alumni who now have families of their own, and I think that’s pretty awesome.

Mike Maul

Director of Advancement (Executive Team)

Mike Maul

Director of Advancement (Executive Team)

I started working at Hill Country part-time in 2015 as a coach and came on staff full-time as the Director of Operations in 2021. Before that, I was the Director of Operations with the Hyatt Corporation. I’m currently transitioning to the Director of Advancement role here at Hill Country. My degree is in finance from Miami University.

What is your favorite sport?
Basketball

What is your favorite hobby or one of your favorite things?
Watching football

What is your favorite food?
Wings

Growing up, you hoped to become…
The mayor of a small town.

Other than the Bible, what’s your all-time favorite book?
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey

What is an interesting fact about you?
I served in the military as a Naval Submariner.

If you could meet one historical figure or famous person, who would it be and why?
Besides Jesus, I’d like to meet Plato. I’d like to learn what gave him so much insight into human behavior and the reality of God.

What is your favorite quote?
How do you eat an elephant? One piece at a time.

Who has had the greatest influence on your life and why?
My grandmother, Mrs. Annie Godfrey. She was just the strongest person ever, who endured a lot in life but loved Jesus and her family harder than anyone I ever knew.

What do you believe makes Hill Country distinct, other than the tight-knit community?
The MAC – We have the most modern athletic facility of any private school in the Austin area.

What do you love about working at Hill Country?
I love that there is a real sense that the parents and staff buy in to the school’s mission.

Sarah Novlan

Director of Academics (Executive Team)

Sarah Novlan

Director of Academics (Executive Team)

I grew up in Arlington, lived in Austin for four years, and then I moved to South America by myself after graduating college. I studied English and education at The University of Texas. I also received my Master of Education in Gifted and Talented Education from Southern Methodist University in Dallas and am currently working on my doctorate at Abilene Christian University.

After college, I taught for eight years at other private schools. I also worked for a short time as an editor and writer for two educational publishing companies. I joined the Hill Country faculty in 2016.

What is your favorite sport?
I love running and I used to run track and cross country in high school.

What is your favorite hobby or one of your favorite things?
I love reading, baking, running, and traveling.

What is your favorite food?
Ok. This is going to sound weird, but I just don’t love food. If I had to pick, I’d say peppermint ice cream or gluten free brownies. But there’s no food I could categorize as my favorite or something I love to eat. I know that’s weird.

What is your favorite Scripture or quote?
My favorite scripture is Romans 5:3-5: Not only so but we rejoice in our sufferings because suffering produces perseverance, perseverance, character, and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us for God has poured out His love into our hearts through the Holy Spirit whom He has given us.

What do you believe makes Hill Country distinct?
We have such an incredible culture of respect, excellence, and intentionality among the faculty, students, and families. We really do know and love every student. I think our students know that even once they leave our classrooms, the teachers and faculty are still there to support them in life.

What do you love about teaching at Hill Country?
I love that it truly feels like a family. It is not just a Christ-centered school, but a community that cares for families through so many stages of life.

Glenna Sager

Director of Admissions

Glenna Sager

Director of Admissions

I studied English and French at Southwest Texas State University. I have lived in Austin since 2003 and began working at Hill Country in 2015.

What is your favorite sport?
Anything involving water or fast cars!

What is your favorite food?
Tex Mex – specifically homemade tamales

Growing up, you hoped to become a…
A teacher or a gardener.

If you could meet one historical figure or famous person, who would it be and why?
Jesus, of course (or Esther, cousin of Mordecai – who was prepared for such a time as this.)

What song would be the soundtrack to your life?
Another in the Fire

Who has had the greatest influence on your life and why?
My daughters, as being their mom has given me a desire to make them proud.

What do you believe makes Hill Country distinct?
We are united by our love for Jesus and our desire to serve God well. It is a place where everyone serves with joy.

What do you love about working at Hill Country?
I love the biblical worldview that our teachers share with our students. Teachings about God are woven throughout the lessons on music, art, literature, science, and even math! The teachers genuinely inspire their students in unique ways. The Holy Spirit is present here.

What is your favorite scripture?
On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” John 7:37-38

Tell us about one of your significant accomplishments.
The two swim schools I started in Austin in 2004 and 2009 have provided lifelong, lifesaving swim skills to tens of thousands of children. I am proud of that legacy of safety and lifelong enjoyment of water. Moving from swim lessons to Christian education seemed like a natural transition, given my favorite scripture!

Fun Fact
In 2011, I swam four miles and in 2012, I paddled 10 miles to raise funds and support drowning prevention efforts on behalf of the charity Colin’s Hope. I served on their board of directors and helped develop their first-ever budget and long-term strategic plan. Each year, I serve as the Assistant Race Director for the annual Colin’s Hope Kids Triathlon. 

Rebekah Sanford

Director of Development

Rebekah Sanford

Director of Development

I was born in Chicago, Illinois, but my family moved to Austin when I was three. I earned my Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing, with a focus on sales. Before joining the Hill Country staff in May of 2022, I worked for a marketing agency, conducting projects for ExxonMobil and Dell.

What is your sport?
Tennis and skateboarding

What is your favorite hobby or one of your favorite things?
Skateboarding and laughing with my hubbie.

What is your favorite food?
Thai food

Growing up, you hoped to become a…
Mom

Other than the Bible, what’s your all-time favorite book?
How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

What is an interesting fact about you?
I was a competitive gymnast.

What is your favorite Scripture or quote?
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39 (NIV)

Who has had the greatest influence on your life and why?
My husband, Dirk, has given me the most tangible understanding of Christ’s love for me. My mom, Alice, taught me how to use my gifts to honor the Lord and to trust Him. My dad, Kimo, taught me how to read the Word and share the gospel. My sister, Gabrielle, walks with me step by step in my faith, and my mentor, Brittany, shared wisdom with me during pivotal moments in my life.

What do you believe makes Hill Country distinct?
It has a very grassroots feel. The culture is preserved as the school grows, and if it shifts, it is in a way that honors God. There are so many genuine Christ-followers here.

What do you love about working at Hill Country?
The curriculum and expected behavior are Christ-centered. Families are involved in the school just as much as the students. There is a large emphasis on personal development, whether you are faculty, staff, or a student.

Ambur Willis

Director of Marketing & Communications

Ambur Willis

Director of Marketing & Communications

I studied at Virginia Commonwealth University and then worked at an award-winning architecture and interior design firm in Richmond, Virginia, for 13 years, eight of which I served as Marketing Coordinator. I began working at Hill Country in 2016 and have two Hill Country students, Classes of 2028 and 2031.

What is your favorite hobby or one of your favorite things?
I love all things shiny! I enjoy working with iridescent and dichroic materials of all types.

What is your favorite food?
Nutella

Growing up, you hoped to become a…
Zookeeper, archeologist, physical therapist, social worker, graphic designer, artist, business owner, a wife, a mother…

Other than the Bible, what’s your all-time favorite book?
The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom

What is an interesting fact about you?
I met my husband on Eharmony

If you could meet one historical figure or famous person, who would it be and why?
Robin Williams – I wish I could hug him back into existence.

What is your favorite Scripture or quote?
There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.” 1 John 4:18

Who has had the greatest influence on your life and why?
My mother. She has shown me what unconditional love looks like and how to persevere while clinging to the Lord.

What do you believe makes Hill Country distinct?
Hill Country feels like home – our students are truly known and loved.

What do you love about working at Hill Country?
I absolutely love supporting this school in its mission to impact the world with the love of Christ. I get to work every day where my own children attend and are being loved and prepared for their lives, all with God at the center of their studies and mentored by godly teachers. I am grateful!

Preschool

Elaine Burleson

Preschool Kinder Bridge Teacher

Elaine Burleson

Preschool Kinder Bridge Teacher

I have a Bachelor of Science in Applied Learning and Development 1st-6th, and specializations in Early Childhood, ESL, and Drama, from the University of Texas at Austin. I have lived in Austin since 1990 and have worked at Hill Country since 2011. I have three alumni, Classes of 2015, 2019, 2020, and one student, Class of 2023.

What is your favorite sport?
To play: volleyball
To watch: college basketball or baseball

What is your favorite hobby or one of your favorite things?
Spending time with my family, baking, just learning to use my Cricut machine.

What is your favorite food?
Mexican Food! I try to order something different every time I go out to eat.

Growing up you hoped to become a…
Mom!

What is an interesting fact about you?
I love to work on puzzles! We have a different 1000 piece puzzle on the dining room table most of the year.

Other than the Bible, what’s your all-time favorite book?
My favorite author is Lynn Austin. She is a historical fiction writer.

If you could meet one historical figure or famous person, who would it be and why?
My Great Grandfather, Peter Koch. My dad loved and admired him. Dad told us stories of miracles that Grandpa Koch prayed for. He walked with God and was led by the Spirit.

What song would be the soundtrack to your life?
“Lord I Need You”

What do you love about teaching at Hill Country?
My favorite thing about teaching at Hill Country is that it is Christ centered. I am able to share the good news of Jesus Christ with my students throughout the day. I love to read and tell my students Bible stories and hear them say, “Do we have time for anther one?” I enjoy pointing out His miracles and being in awe of His power with them. Helping my students understand God’s great love for us and learn to apply grace and forgiveness in their relationships brings me great joy.

What is your favorite scripture?
This verse resonates within my heart when parents share how God is moving in their child’s life, especially when I’m invited to current and former students’ baptisms: “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in truth.” 3 John 1:4

What is your teaching philosophy?
Every child has unique gifts given to them by God. It is my job to help my students discover, develop, and nurture those gifts. I enjoy teaching them to recognize each other’s gifts and to give the glory and praise to God.

Christy Cates

Preschool Teacher

Christy Cates

Preschool Teacher

I earned my degree in elementary education from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. Before moving to Austin in 2008, I taught PreK at Fort Benning, GA., 1st, 5th, and 6th grades at Fort Bragg, NC., and 1st and 2nd grade in Savannah, GA. I was also a special education teaching assistant for Round Rock ISD before coming on staff at Hill Country in 2021. I have one alumna, Class of 2020, and two students, Classes of 2022 and 2028.

What is your favorite sport?
Swimming

What is your favorite hobby or one of your favorite things?
Hiking in the mountains.

What is your favorite food?
Anything you find at brunch.

Growing up, you hoped to become an…
Astronaut, paleontologist, archeologist, fighter pilot, and teacher.

Other than the Bible, what’s your all-time favorite book?
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

What is an interesting fact about you?
I earned a four-year swimming scholarship to the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. I won the CAC Conference title in 200 Fly while on the team.

If you could meet one historical figure or famous person, who would it be and why?
I want to meet Harriet Tubman and hear her detailed life story. I want to hear how she weaves her heroic stories of bravery and danger and rescue with her Faith and Trust in God. She truly loved others above herself and trusted in the Lord so completely. I want to know if she had a favorite bible verse or song or prayer that emboldened her and brought her comfort.

What song would be the soundtrack to your life?
“I Will Trust” by Red Rocks Worship

What is your favorite Scripture or quote?
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Who has had the greatest influence on your life and why?
My mom and dad had a huge influence on me because they taught me to love Jesus and trust in Him and His plans for my life. I also had great influence from my coaches because they helped me develop my work ethic, positive outlook, tenacity and grit.

What do you believe makes Hill Country distinct?
Hill country teachers are intentional about having relationships with their students; they truly know their students. Hill Country teachers pray together and pray with students and pray with families – this fact is what makes us distinct.

What do you love about teaching at Hill Country?
I love to help little kids make connections with their world and the stories in the Bible. It’s pretty amazing that I get to help preschoolers learn that Jesus’ story is a perfect example of showing us how to love, trust, work hard, and persevere.

Shawna Grimm

Preschool Teacher

Shawna Grimm

Preschool Teacher

Nicole Hoffman

Preschool Kinder Bridge Teacher

Nicole Hoffman

Preschool Kinder Bridge Teacher

I have lived in the Austin area all of my life. I earned my degree in elementary education from Texas State University. I taught in Leander ISD for 15 years and Sterling Classical for one year prior to beginning at Hill Country in 2021. I have two daughters here at Hill Country, Classes of 2026 and 2028.

What is your favorite sport?
Basketball

What is your favorite hobby or one of your favorite things?
Running

What is your favorite food?
Pizza

Growing up, you hoped to become a…
Teacher

What is an interesting fact about you?
I had a childhood virus that led to a speech and hearing delay. My first name is Jennifer but I have always gone by my middle name, Nicole, because as a child I couldn’t hear or say the sounds in Jennifer.

What is your favorite Scripture or quote?
I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13

What do you believe makes Hill Country distinct, other than the tight-knit community?
Hill Country Christian School is a Christ-centered school that teaches biblical principles while preparing students for higher education.

What do you love about teaching at Hill Country?
I love being able to share my faith with my students and providing them with lessons and activities that develop them academically and spiritually.

Jennifer Horne

Preschool Aide

Jennifer Horne

Preschool Aide

Arleen Kirklin

Preschool Aide

Arleen Kirklin

Preschool Aide

Dahlia Lobera

Preschool Aide

Dahlia Lobera

Preschool Aide

Nichole Lucero

Preschool Teacher

Nichole Lucero

Preschool Teacher

Leasa Rector

Preschool Aide

Leasa Rector

Preschool Aide

Janet Snapp

Preschool Teacher

Janet Snapp

Preschool Teacher

I graduated from Schreiner University with a degree in English. I was born and raised in Austin. Before I came on staff in 2015, I worked for Hill Country Bible Church as a team lead in childcare. I have one Hill Country alumna, Class of 2019, and two current Hill Country students, Classes of 2023 and 2030.

What is your favorite sport?
Baseball

What is your favorite food?
Lasagna

Growing up, you hoped to become a…
Psychologist, mom, or teacher

Other than the Bible, what’s your all-time favorite book?
The Notebook

If you could meet one historical figure or famous person, who would it be and why?
Jane Austen: the first woman to write these romantic, strong women characters and to see how she thought about them.

What is your favorite quote?
“Happiness is an inside job. Don’t allow anyone else that much power over your life.” – Mandy Hale

What do you believe makes Hill Country distinct?
We provide a solid Christian foundation and strong academics. I love that Hill Country offers preschool through 12th grade in one school. The littles can look up to the big kids every day!

What do you love about teaching at Hill Country?
The close relationships with parents and students that span throughout the school – we don’t forget a student when they leave our class. We have the ability to stop and pray and praise any time of the day, and it’s encouraged

Maggie Stoddard

Preschool Aide

Maggie Stoddard

Preschool Aide

Elementary

Carolyn Alford

P.E. Teacher

Carolyn Alford

P.E. Teacher

I received my Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology from Houston Baptist University. I taught P.E. at Annapolis Christian Academy in Corpus Christi, Texas, for the 2015-2016 school year, and after moving to Austin in 2017, I was a P.E. assistant for Leander ISD for the 2017-2018 school year. I joined the Hill Country staff in 2018.

What is your favorite sport?
I love to run and play soccer, but my favorite sport to watch is basketball.

What is your favorite hobby or one of your favorite things?
I love to be outside and hike and play board games with my large family.

What is your favorite food?
Anything that my mom or grandma makes and caramel pecan turtle ice cream.

Growing up, you hoped to become a…
Dental hygienist and a mom.

What is an interesting fact about you?
I ran track (1500m, 3k Steeplechase) and cross country at Houston Baptist University, competing against top-ranked teams across the nation.

If you could meet one historical figure or famous person, who would it be and why?
Corrie ten Boom. Her faith and courage are incredible.

What is your favorite Scripture or quote?
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6

What do you believe makes Hill Country distinct?
Each teacher has a genuine love for Christ and others. They desire to train and encourage others to excel at what God has called them to and live for Christ.

What do you love about teaching at Hill Country?
I love teaching at Hill Country because I get to incorporate the Gospel into my lessons on a daily basis, and I love working with students of all ages. The Hill Country families are incredible and very encouraging!

April Atkinson

Fifth Grade Teacher

April Atkinson

Fifth Grade Teacher

I earned my degree from Fort Hays State University in Hays, Kansas. I moved to Austin and began working at Hill Country in 2014. I’ve taught 3rd, 4th, 5th, and K-5 science lab.

What is your favorite sport?
Football

What is your favorite hobby?
Crafting

What is your favorite food?
Chips & salsa

What is your favorite Scripture or quote?
Always be joyful. – 1 Thessalonians 5:16

What do you believe makes Hill Country distinct?
The relationships.

Sandra Burnaman

Preschool and Elementary Music Teacher

Sandra Burnaman

Preschool and Elementary Music Teacher

Jessica Carson

Second Grade Teacher

Jessica Carson

Second Grade Teacher

Ashley Cavanagh

Spanish Teacher

Ashley Cavanagh

Spanish Teacher

I was born and raised in Houston and went to college at Texas A&M in Bryan-College Station, receiving my Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and English. After graduation, I moved to Sichuan province in China to teach at a university. I returned to the US a year later so that I could marry my husband. We moved back to Texas in 2005, and I began working at Hill Country in 2017. I have a daughter and son who currently attend Hill Country, Classes of 2024 and 2026. I have another son who has attended Hill Country in the past.

What is your favorite sport?
To do: swimming, hiking, bike riding
To watch: basketball!

What is your favorite hobby or one of your favorite things?
Making friends with people from other countries and learning about different cultures.

What is your favorite food?
I love to try all kinds of international foods.

Growing up, you hoped to become a…
Missionary or college professor

Other than the Bible, what’s your all-time favorite book?
Anything by C.S. Lewis.

What is an interesting fact about you?
While I did not complete my master’s degree, I had the honor of taking several seminary classes at Columbia Biblical Seminary before I had kids. Someday, I hope to be able to earn an MA in Biblical Studies.

If you could meet one historical figure or famous person, who would it be and why?
That’s a hard one! On the one hand, I would love to meet writers I admire, most of all C.S. Lewis. On the other hand, it would be a gift to meet some of the pioneers of the modern missions movement like Hudson Taylor, Eric Liddell, Jim and Elizabeth Elliot, and Nate Saint. I am also intrigued by Eliza Hamilton, the wife of Alexander Hamilton, who founded the first private orphanage in New York City.

What song would be the soundtrack to your life?
“Goodness of God” by Bethel Music

What is your favorite Scripture or quote?
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

Who has had the greatest influence on your life and why?
My mom was the first person to tell me about Jesus and demonstrate His faithfulness and unconditional love to me. She continues to do this and reminds me of the woman of valor in Proverbs 31:25 who “is clothed in strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.”

What do you believe makes Hill Country distinct?
Within the Hill Country community, families truly partner with teachers and other families to raise up their children to follow Jesus and grow to be all He created them to be.

What do you love about teaching at Hill Country?
I love that I can teach students the incredibly useful language of Spanish and its related cultures. Even better, I get to help students understand that we have the privilege of taking the gospel to all nations. Language and cultural proficiency are some of the tools to help us accomplish the Great Commission!

Catherine Cheng

STEM Teacher

Catherine Cheng

STEM Teacher

Before joining Hill Country in 2018, I worked at Tyndale House Publishing (the Christian book and Bible publisher) for seven years. I earned my Bachelor of Arts as a University Scholar at Baylor University and my Master of Arts in Intercultural Studies from Wheaton College. My husband is also on staff here at Hill Country, and we have three current students, Classes of 2024, 2026, and 2029.

What is your favorite hobby or one of your favorite things?
Spending time with my family, reading, biking.

What is your favorite food?
Tacos

Growing up, you hoped to become a…
Missionary

What is an interesting fact about you?
I am a second degree black belt in Taekwondo

What is your favorite Scripture or quote?
I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:16-19

Who has had the greatest influence on your life and why?
My husband, Art, who shows me grace and is truly my number one fan.

What do you believe makes Hill Country distinct?
Our tight-knit community and commitment to Christian education.

What do you love about teaching at Hill Country?
I love the students! I love getting to know them, hearing their great ideas, and being a part of their love for learning.

Lanette DeGroot

Lower School ARCC Specialist and Academic Language Therapist (in training), Speech-Language Pathologist

Lanette DeGroot

Lower School ARCC Specialist and Academic Language Therapist (in training), Speech-Language Pathologist

I received my Bachelor of General Studies in Communication Sciences and Disorders and my Master of Arts in Communication Sciences and Disorders from the University of Kansas. Before joining the staff at Hill Country in 2021, I worked as a speech-language pathologist in home health and clinical settings, specializing in autism, childhood apraxia of speech, specific language impairments, and phonological disorders. I have one current Hill Country student, Class of 2029.

What is your favorite sport?
Gymnastics, basketball, football, track and field, volleyball… all of them!

What is your favorite hobby or one of your favorite things?
Spending time with my husband and four kids, reading, working out, cooking, and watching movies

What is your favorite food?
I’m a foodie, but if I had to choose… pizza, all Mexican food, desserts (especially chocolate)

Growing up, you hoped to become a…
Teacher

Other than the Bible, what’s your all-time favorite book?
Tricky, but I think I’d say Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

What is an interesting fact about you?
I competed in track and field in college, including pole vault, hurdles, and sprints.

If you could meet one historical figure or famous person, who would it be and why?
Corrie ten Boom because of her courage and ability to forgive by the grace of God.

What is your favorite Scripture or quote?
The Lord your God is in your midst, A victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy. Zephaniah 3:17

What do you believe makes Hill Country distinct, other than the tight-knit community?
The love of Jesus that is communicated through word, deed, and song to the students each week.

What do you love about teaching at Hill Country?
I love that I can openly pray with students and discuss biblical truths when God presents an opportunity.

Theresa Galella

Librarian

Theresa Galella

Librarian

I moved to Austin in 1988 to study at The University of Texas at Austin. I have a Bachelor of Science in Applied Learning and Development (Education), a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, and a Master of Arts in Library and Information Sciences. I taught 2nd and 3rd grade in Austin ISD for 15 years and then was an elementary school librarian in the same district for five years. I joined the Hill Country staff in January of 2020. My daughter is a current student, Class of 2026.

What is your favorite sport?
Football

What is your favorite hobby or one of your favorite things?
I like to sew and make crafty things.

What is your favorite food?
Mexican food, steak, lobster and crab

Growing up, you hoped to become a…
A truck driver who traveled with a pet monkey named Bear. Entering college, I wanted to be a child psychologist.

Other than the Bible, what’s your all-time favorite book?
This changes often. Right now, it is The Lost and Found Book Shop by Susan Wiggs.

What is an interesting fact about you?
I’ve completed a marathon, three half marathons, and a triathlon. I’m also an avid University of Texas football fan, and I have had season tickets for almost three decades.

If you could meet one historical figure or famous person, who would it be and why?
Jackie Kennedy: her work to preserve the history of the White House and New York City has always fascinated me.

What song would be the soundtrack to your life?
“I Can See Clearly Now” by Johnny Nash

What is your favorite Scripture or quote?
Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 1 John 4:8

What do you believe makes Hill Country distinct?
Hill Country partners with parents in the education of students. Each student is an integration of both settings, not just what the school or the parents teach. Honoring parents’ Christian Faith is integral to Hill Country’s foundation. This creates a long-lasting partnership of faith and education.

What do you love about teaching at Hill Country?
I love that teachers are encouraged to use traditional and non-traditional methods to help students learn. Fundamental skills like memorization, logical thinking, and public speaking are not only taught, but taught with intention and purpose.

Mike Giles

Fourth Grade Teacher

Mike Giles

Fourth Grade Teacher

I received my Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from Baylor University. I moved to Austin in 1999 and began working at Hill Country in 2016. I taught at a charter school in Cedar Park for two years before that.

What is your favorite sport?
Basketball

What is your favorite hobby or one of your favorite things?
Collecting and ranking Christian music.

What is your favorite food?
Mexican

Growing up, you hoped to become a…
Meteorologist

Other than the Bible, what’s your all-time favorite book?
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

What is an interesting fact about you not many people know, or tell us about one of your significant accomplishments.
I have a collection of presidential Pez dispensers.

If you could meet one historical figure or famous person, who would it be and why?
I would want to meet Daniel (from the OT) to seek his wisdom on how he stayed laser-focused in his dedication to God.

What is your favorite Scripture or quote?
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to You, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. Psalm 19:14

Who has had the greatest influence on your life and why?
My high school journalism teacher, Mrs. Arterbury. She taught me a passion for writing and how to be a great teacher.

What do you believe makes Hill Country distinct, other than the tight-knit community?
God created us to be curious, so we can ask tough questions about life and this world we live in. We have the blessed freedom to dig into God’s word looking for the answers, and we can tie that effort into all subjects.

What do you love about teaching at Hill Country?
I love the relationships that I’ve built with families over the years. Siblings can be so different, but the love and support showered down on us by these families make this a very special place.

Kristin Harrison

Third Grade Teacher

Kristin Harrison

Third Grade Teacher

I was born in Austin and returned here years ago after living in West Texas and Florida. I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Texas Tech University and earned a teaching certification through LeTourneau University. Before joining Hill Country in 2016, I worked in other Austin-area private schools.

What are your hobbies or your favorite things?
I love spending time with family and friends. I also enjoy travel, reading, and going on walks with my silly golden retriever.

What is your favorite food?
Mexican and Italian

Growing up, you hoped to become a…
Veterinarian, writer, or horse wrangler and camp counselor in the mountains.

Other than the Bible, what’s your all-time favorite book?
This changes all the time, but I love how these authors write: Laura Hillenbrand, John Eldridge, and Rick Bragg.

What is an interesting fact about you?
After many years in journalism, where I got to write, edit and design, God has taken me from newsrooms to classrooms. I am very blessed to have a second career that I love.

What is your favorite Scripture or quote?
The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. Psalm 19:1

Who has had the greatest influence on your life and why?
I am thankful for many wonderful influencers including: my mother, who loves and gives unconditionally; my father who instilled in me a love for reading and words; Young Life and youth group leaders who helped me grow in my faith; and a riding teacher who modeled the discipline required in caring for showing horses.

What do you love about teaching at Hill Country?
I love the biblical integration and incorporation of faith in our lessons. I love third graders and the curriculum we have the privilege of teaching them.

Leticia Lair

Second Grade Teacher

Leticia Lair

Second Grade Teacher

I have a bachelor’s degree in psychology from UNLV and a master’s degree in education from National University. Before moving to Austin in 2020, I lived in multiple places, including Honolulu, Las Vegas, San Diego, D.C., and even England. I started teaching at Hill Country in 2020; prior to that, I worked in child development and education.

What is your favorite hobby or one of your favorite things?
Camping

What is your favorite food?
Sweets

Growing up, you hoped to become a…
Mom and a teacher

Other than the Bible, what’s your all-time favorite book?
A Voice In The Wind (the first book in the Mark of the Lion series) by Francine Rivers

What is an interesting fact about you?
I have driven to all four corners of the country.

If you could meet one historical figure or famous person, who would it be and why?
George Washington because I admire his courage, love of freedom, perseverance, and humility.

What is your favorite Scripture or quote?
But you, Israel, my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, you descendants of Abraham my friend, 9 I took you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you. I said, ‘You are my servant’; I have chosen you and have not rejected you. 10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:8-10 (NIV)

What do you love about teaching at Hill Country?
I love Hill Country’s commitment to fostering a love for Christ in our students.

Susan Marcy

Elementary Art Teacher

Susan Marcy

Elementary Art Teacher

Azalia Maul

Fifth Grade Teacher

Azalia Maul

Fifth Grade Teacher

I have lived in Hawaii, Rhode Island, Ohio, North Carolina, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. I went to Duke University and earned my Bachelor of Science in Biology. I taught 5th and 6th grade for one year at a public charter school in Maryland before coming to Hill Country in 2021.

What is your favorite sport?
My favorite sport is track and field.

What is your favorite hobby or one of your favorite things?
My favorite hobby is running. I try to train for at least one half marathon a year. I’m hoping to do a full marathon by 2025.

What is your favorite food?
My favorite food is called arroz con pollo y gandules. It is a Puerto Rican rice, beans, and chicken dish.

Growing up, you hoped to become a…
Doctor, which I am on track to still do!

Other than the Bible, what’s your all-time favorite book?
Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

What is an interesting fact about you?
One interesting fact about me is that I spent two months in Australia, backpacking across the country.

If you could meet one historical figure or famous person, who would it be and why?
If I was able to meet a historical figure, it would be one of the Little Rock Nine. They had to overcome challenges and obstacles that I could never imagine and that I thankfully do not have to because of their sacrifice. I would love to talk to them about what kept them going through the most difficult time in their lives.

What is your favorite Scripture or quote?
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. James 1:2-3

Who has had the greatest influence on your life and why?
My parents have had the greatest influence on my life. They have sacrificed and taught me so much. All of which have helped me be successful.

What do you believe makes Hill Country distinct?
I believe Hill Country is distinct because it places just as much importance on teaching and supporting good and godly character as it does in placing importance on great academics.

What do you love about teaching at Hill Country?
What I love most about teaching at Hill Country is the eagerness that I see the students have to not only learn their core subjects but also to seek a relationship with and learn about Christ.

Kathleen Melancon

First Grade Teacher

Kathleen Melancon

First Grade Teacher

I received my degree in business administration and primary education from Lamar University. I also studied education (early childhood through 6th grade) and ESL at Texas State University. I moved to Austin in 2000 and began working at Hill Country in 2015. I’ve also taught at Regents School of Austin and Strickland Christian School. My son is a Hill Country alumni, Class of 2021, and my daughter is a current Hill Country students, Class of 2024.

What is your favorite sport?
Baseball and softball

What is your favorite hobby or one of your favorite things?
Party planning and making cards and invitations.

What is your favorite food?
Tex-Mex and asian cuisine

Growing up, you hoped to become a…
Marine biologist, a teacher, and a mother.

Other than the Bible, what’s your all-time favorite book?
The Tale of the Three Trees by Angela E. Hunt and The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

What is an interesting fact about you?
I had a successful career in the accounting world for many years and then decided at the young age of 35 to pursue my lifelong dream of being an educator. After having two children and spending some time as a stay-at-home mother, I went back to school to finish my education degree.

If you could meet one historical figure or famous person, who would it be and why?
Any artist from the Renaissance era to discuss their inspiration and techniques. Especially Leonardo Da Vinci with his wide array of interests and gifts – or any of the Avengers!

What song would be the soundtrack to your life?
“Jesus Take the Wheel”

What is your favorite Scripture or quote?
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13

What do you believe makes Hill Country distinct?
Hill Country teachers provide the resources to learn and comprehend truth and how to persevere and grow throughout life. We teach students how to have faith and correlate the gospel in their lives. Our teachers truly do love their students and make sure that their students know that they are a treasure.

What do you love about teaching at Hill Country?
I love the special bonds and friendships I have made with my students and their families. It’s a blessing to pray with them and for them each day, even after they have been promoted out of my classroom. It is a blessing like no other!

Amber O’Rand

Library Assistant

Amber O’Rand

Library Assistant

I was born and raised in Texas and moved to Austin in 2008. I received my Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theater and Master of Arts in Journalism from Baylor University. Before I came on staff at Hill Country in 2021, I worked in various jobs at Dallas Children’s Theater, Dallas Theater Center, and the Office of the Governor of Texas. Most of the job descriptions included a lot of writing and editing. I have two current Hill Country students, Classes of 2029 and 2032.

What is your favorite hobby or one of your favorite things?
Sewing and gardening

What is your favorite food?
Tex-Mex

Other than the Bible, what’s your all-time favorite book?
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

What is an interesting fact about you?
I’m an 8th-generation Texan. Santa Anna’s dueling pistols, captured by Sam Houston after San Jacinto, were awarded to my ancestor Henry Millard and passed down through my family until my great-grandfather donated them to the Daughters of the Republic of Texas Museum in the 1980s. They’re currently on loan to the Bullock Museum.

If you could meet one historical figure or famous person, who would it be and why?
I want to say someone really lofty, but let’s not kid ourselves: Dolly Parton, hands down.

What is your favorite Scripture or quote?
Because of the Lord’s faithful love we do not perish, for His mercies never end. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness! Lamentations 3:22-23

Who has had the greatest influence on your life and why?
I’ve been blessed by so many family and friends with incredible character and life experience. I hope I have learned a little bit from each of them, and that I will continue to.

What do you believe makes Hill Country distinct?
The biblical worldview that’s woven into everything so well! I’m so impressed by how well the students here know and understand the Bible and can apply it to their lives.

What do you love about teaching at Hill Country?
It has been a joy this year to get to know many of the Lower School students a little bit, and especially to see how excited they are about reading! We have some really amazing readers in this school and a deep culture of literacy that does my heart good.

Karen Papa

Fourth Grade Teacher

Karen Papa

Fourth Grade Teacher

Rickie Paules

Kindergarten Teacher

Rickie Paules

Kindergarten Teacher

Brittany Puthukeril

Third Grade Teacher

Brittany Puthukeril

Third Grade Teacher

Suzanne Pokorney

GATE Assistant

Suzanne Pokorney

GATE Assistant

I came to Austin for college in the mid-’80s and then moved back in 1994. I earned my elementary education degree from The University of Texas. I taught here at Hill Country for one year in 2004, then again starting in 2011. I’ve also taught first grade at the American School in Monterrey, Mexico. My two children attended Hill Country from kindergarten through 8th grade.

What is your favorite sport?
Football

What is your favorite hobby or one of your favorite things?
Road trips to national parks.

What is your favorite food?
Tex-Mex

Growing up, you hoped to become a…
Doctor

Other than the Bible, what’s your all-time favorite book?
Les Miserables by Victor Hugo

What is an interesting fact about you?
Before I had kids, I had my private pilot’s license.

If you could meet one historical figure or famous person, who would it be and why?
Other than Jesus, it would be the apostle John. I would love to hear all about the time he spent with Jesus, his life sharing the gospel, and the revelation he received while in exile.

What song would be the soundtrack to your life?
“The Story I’ll Tell” by Maverick City Music

What is your favorite Scripture or quote?
The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in His love He will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing. Zephaniah 3:17

Who has had the greatest influence on your life and why?
My parents – they have been amazing examples of love, faithfulness, generosity, and sacrifice.

What do you believe makes Hill Country distinct?
The strength of our many offerings here at Hill Country makes our school distinct. Our Upper and Lower School students have the opportunity to participate and excel in a variety of pursuits, which makes their school experience so much richer and more well-rounded.

What do you love about teaching at Hill Country?
I love teaching my students from the Bible. I have the honor to present Scripture to them and lead them in discussion; I am constantly amazed at their insights and deep questions. Learning about God’s Word together with my students and praying with them is such a blessing.

Sherrie Reichenau

First Grade Teacher

Sherrie Reichenau

First Grade Teacher

I’m originally from Kerrville, Texas, and received my Bachelor of Arts in Behavioral Science and my Master of Education in Advanced Literacy Instruction from Concordia University Texas. I moved to Austin in 2006 and taught at Challenger School (Avery Ranch), Pflugerville ISD, and Gateway College Prep (Georgetown) before joining the Hill Country staff in 2017.

What is your favorite sport?
Baseball

What is your favorite hobby or one of your favorite things?
Cooking and photography

What is your favorite food?
Coffee (coffee beans are a food, right?)

Growing up, you hoped to become a…
Veterinarian

What is an interesting fact about you?
In 1st grade I won a Christmas stamp design contest with Wheat Ridge seals.

If you could meet one historical figure or famous person, who would it be and why?
Jackie Kennedy. She lived a very complex, interesting life. She did everything with intelligence and grace and had a strong appreciation for American heritage.

What is your favorite Scripture or quote?
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

What do you believe makes Hill Country distinct, other than the tight-knit community?
We are a PreK through 12th grade school that pairs academic instruction with the goal of honoring and bringing glory to God in everything we do. In addition to rigorous academics, our students learn good communication techniques through a variety of special events and develop a solid sense of moral character through consistent behavior expectations. Our school-to-home connection is strong, and we recognize the importance of that partnership.

What do you love about teaching at Hill Country?
At Hill Country, we have the chance to reach out to families with the Gospel through the quality academic and spiritual education of their children. I love being able to tie everything we are learning back to a biblical truth. It is such a blessing to watch students make their own faith connections as we go about our day. In a world where there seems to be so much noise, it is a privilege to help children fix their eyes on their Savior, no matter how much the world shouts to get their attention. It is my prayer that I can give them tools that will guide them as they wisely navigate their way and hopefully grow to become thoughtful servant-leaders in their communities one day.

Jennifer Reisch

Elementary School ARCC Specialist; Academic Language Therapist and Licensed Dyslexia Therapist

Jennifer Reisch

Elementary School ARCC Specialist; Academic Language Therapist and Licensed Dyslexia Therapist

Other than Austin, I’ve lived in Hawaii, Japan, New York, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina. I earned my degree in Spanish from The University of Texas at Austin and my Master of Arts in Elementary Education from Texas State University. I taught here at Hill Country from 1996 to 1999, then came back on staff in 2021. I taught for 12 years as an intervention specialist in Austin ISD and Buffalo, New York. My son is a current Hill Country student, Class of 2027.

What is your favorite sport?
Gymnastics

What is your favorite hobby or one of your favorite things?
Cooking

What is your favorite food?
Pizza

Growing up, you hoped to become a…
Teacher

Other than the Bible, what’s your all-time favorite book?
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

What is an interesting fact about you?
I taught at Hill Country the first three years it was open, 1996-1999

If you could meet one historical figure or famous person, who would it be and why?
Harriet Tubman: she had a warrior’s heart and such a love for people she was willing to lay down her life.

What is your favorite Scripture or quote?
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:2-3

What do you believe makes Hill Country distinct, other than the tight-knit community?
The teachers have a dedication toward students’ learning that feels more like a passion than a job.

What do you love about teaching at Hill Country?
The flexibility here encourages professional growth and development to meet the needs of our current children where they are

Kerry Smelser

GATE Teacher

Kerry Smelser

GATE Teacher

I’ve lived in various places across the United States, including New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Florida. I received my degree in social work from Geneva College. I worked at Hill Country in 2008 and have taught in Florida and New Hampshire. I wrote, edited, and planned logistics for Mission of Hope before coming back on staff here in 2017.

What is your favorite sport?
NFL Football

What is your favorite hobby or one of your favorite things?
Reading and traveling

What is your favorite food?
Chocolate

Growing up, you hoped to become a…
Teacher

Other than the Bible, what’s your all-time favorite book?
Anything by Charles Martin

What is an interesting fact about you?
My grandfather was the doctor on one of Admiral Byrd’s expeditions to Antarctica.

If you could meet one historical figure or famous person, who would it be and why?
Other than Jesus, Rosa Parks. She had such courage, and I would love to hear her story.

What song would be the soundtrack to your life?
“It is well with my soul.”

What is your favorite Scripture or quote?
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me, put it into practice. Philippians 4:8

Who has had the greatest influence on your life and why?
My husband. He loves Jesus and daily points me toward Him and challenges me in my walk with Him.

What do you believe makes Hill Country distinct, other than the tight-knit community?
At Hill Country, we teach children from a biblical worldview with a desire to instill a mission mindset in the students so they are ready to serve Jesus.

What do you love about teaching at Hill Country?
Teaching at Hill Country has been a great blessing as we can partner with parents to help students know how deeply Jesus loves them and help them find their place in His plan!

Tracy Smith

Kindergarten Teacher

Tracy Smith

Kindergarten Teacher

I earned a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science with an emphasis in Forest Education from San Francisco State University. I also received my Master of Science in Elementary Education with an emphasis in Math and Science from Stephen F. Austin State University. I worked in the forest service education division before becoming a teacher. I started teaching at Hill Country in 2019.

What is your favorite sport?
I love watching all sports, especially Texas A&M Aggie football with my husband.

What is your favorite hobby or one of your favorite things?
I love camping, hunting, fishing, reading, watching movies, and cooking.

What is your favorite food?
Mexican and home cooking.

Growing up, you hoped to become a…
Astronaut, I just love science. I was really looking forward to seeing teaching in space until the tragedy of the space shuttle. Teaching kids the love of learning and being curious is the next best thing.

Other than the Bible, what’s your all-time favorite book?
The Anne of Green Gables series

What is an interesting fact about you?
I lived in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in Africa, when I was a little girl. I have traveled through all of Europe on the way to Africa and all of the far East on the way back. I’ve also worked for the US Forest Service as a park ranger that took people on nature hikes and did educational programs with kids in the Junior Ranger program.

If you could meet one historical figure or famous person, who would it be and why?
I really would love to meet our founding fathers and hear their ideas on how they founded our great country.

What song would be the soundtrack to your life?
Any Christian song about growing would be the soundtrack of my life because I have so much growing to do.

What is your favorite Scripture or quote?
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. Psalm 139:14
and
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9

Who has had the greatest influence on your life and why?
God because He is my ultimate truth!

What do you love about teaching at Hill Country?
I love the Christ-centered environment and the privilege of being able to teach with a biblical perspective of the world.

Kim Von Lehmden

Third Grade Teacher

Kim Von Lehmden

Third Grade Teacher

Nancy Rot

Fifth Grade Teacher

Nancy Rot

Fifth Grade Teacher

I earned my degree in elementary education from National Lewis University. Before joining the Hill Country staff in 2020, I was a public school teacher, homeschool co-op teacher, and tutor. My husband and I moved to Austin in 2019 from the suburbs of Chicago.

What is your favorite sport?
Baseball

What is your favorite hobby or one of your favorite things?
I love to read and hike.

What is your favorite food?
Mexican

Growing up, you hoped to become a…
Teacher

What is an interesting fact about you?
I was a homeschool mom, and for several years I homeschooled three other students along with mine own.

If you could meet one historical figure or famous person, who would it be and why?
It would be fascinating to meet the Apostle Paul, to watch his face and hear his expression as he told of his conversion and the incredible journeys the Lord led him through.

What song would be the soundtrack to your life?
“Amazing Grace;” “I Am Redeemed” by Big Daddy Weave and “You Are More” by 10th Ave North

What is your favorite Scripture or quote?
I waited patiently for the Lord; and He reached down to me and heard my cry. He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the mud; He set my feet on a rock, making my footsteps firm. Psalm 40:1-3 (NASB)

What do you believe makes Hill Country distinct?
Being a private school, Hill Country is able to guide and direct the school through the Board and Exec team’s decision making instead of a politician who is not part of the culture of Hill Country.

What do you love about teaching at Hill Country?
The families at Hill Country desire more than just the status quo; they have pursued an alternative form of education for their children that requires their students to engage in learning. It is exciting to watch many of the students flourish in the classical education environment.

Middle School

Edward Baptiste

Bible & Apologetics Teacher

Edward Baptiste

Bible & Apologetics Teacher

I earned my degree in English liberal arts from Grambling State University. I moved to Austin in 1996 and began working at Hill Country in 1998. Before that, I was a middle school teacher at Temple ISD.

What is your favorite sport?
Basketball

What is your favorite hobby or one of your favorite things?
Writing poetry and reading comic books

What is your favorite food?
Gumbo

Growing up, you hoped to become a…
Truck driver

Other than the Bible, what’s your all-time favorite book?
The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning

What is an interesting fact about you?
I once sang jazz music downtown, I have two albums, and I’ve written two books of poetry.

If you could meet one historical figure or famous person, who would it be and why?
Malcolm X because his faith journey inspired my relationship with Jesus.

What is your favorite Scripture or quote?
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:1-2

Who has had the greatest influence on your life and why?
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. because his commitment to social justice and the love of Christ.

What do you believe makes Hill Country distinct?
We are committed to life-long learning.

What do you love about teaching at Hill Country?
I get to introduce my students to the Jesus who not only saved my life, but continues to give me life.

Tori Becker

Math Teacher

Tori Becker

Math Teacher

Kristi Billingsley

Theatre

Kristi Billingsley

Theatre

Brad Cauley

Logic, Ethics, Philosophy & Bible Teacher

Brad Cauley

Logic, Ethics, Philosophy & Bible Teacher

I am a Texas native and studied kinesiology and outdoor leadership at Texas A&M University. I invested 11 years in full-time ministry and taught for 10 years in classical education before joining Hill Country in the fall of 2020. My wife and I have four boys here at Hill Country, Classes of 2027, 2030, 2031, and 2032.

What is your favorite sport?
Basketball, baseball, and football

What is your favorite hobby or one of your favorite things?
Rock climbing, hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, and family time

What is your favorite food?
All of it, but especially barbecue and Asian foods.

Growing up, you hoped to become a…
Mountain guide

Other than the Bible, what’s your all-time favorite book?
Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, The Chronicles of Narnia, and Streams in the Desert

What is an interesting fact about you?
I worked in Yellowstone National Park as a 19-year-old.

If you could meet one historical figure or famous person, who would it be and why?
The Apostle Paul, Charles Spurgeon, James Chalmers, and Teddy Roosevelt

What song would be the soundtrack to your life?
“Great is Thy Faithfulness”

What is your favorite Scripture or quote?
If anyone loves Me, he will keep my commandments, and my Father will love him and we will come to him and make our home with him. John 14:23

Who has had the greatest influence on your life and why?
My parents, by their strong example of faith and character, along with their selfless investment.

What do you believe makes Hill Country distinct?
A strong commitment to excellence in an environment of grace. This speaks well to the call of Christ for us to walk worthy while being strong in grace.

What do you love about teaching at Hill Country?
The team of professionals who pour into our students makes it a joy to serve alongside them. Our students are the hope of our nation and show great joy in learning and a reverent appreciation for being called to live to a higher calling.

Jordan Cook

Science & Robotics Teacher

Jordan Cook

Science & Robotics Teacher

I received my Bachelor of Science in Biology from Colorado Christian University. I returned to Austin in 2020 and taught for one year at a charter school before starting at Hill Country in 2021. As a Hill Country alumna (2016), I’m so excited to be on staff now.

What is your favorite sport?
To watch, football. To play, basketball.

What is your favorite hobby or one of your favorite things?
As lame as it sounds, knitting.

What is your favorite food?
Sushi

Growing up, you hoped to become a…
Coroner

Other than the Bible, what’s your all-time favorite book?
A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks

What is an interesting fact about you?
I went to Hill Country K-12 and graduated in 2016.

If you could meet one historical figure or famous person, who would it be and why?
Paul from the Bible. To hear even more than what we read in his letters would be incredible. From his missionary journeys to a deeper testimony!

What is your favorite Scripture or quote?
Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us. Ephesians 3:20

What do you believe makes Hill Country distinct?
Hill Country is distinct in many ways. However, I can honestly say from first-hand experience that one of the greatest distinctions is its college preparation. You cannot tell just how well a school prepares you until you arrive at college. After arriving, I knew Hill Country prepared me well for college. Hill Country truly prepares you to learn how to learn, how to study, and how to work hard!

What do you love about teaching at Hill Country?
The biblical integration. Not being able to share Christ with my students in my last school was an obstacle. When they were discouraged or having difficulties at home, I would get in trouble for praying for my students or sharing the hope of Jesus. Now, working in a community that not only allows prayer but deeply encourages it along with teaching a biblical worldview inside every classroom is a blessing and answer to prayer.

Mandy Gregory

Art Teacher

Mandy Gregory

Art Teacher

Angel Hernandez

Spanish & PE Teacher

Angel Hernandez

Spanish & PE Teacher

I grew up in Big Lake, Texas, and moved to Austin in 2006. I earned my Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and Language Teaching from The University of Texas at Austin and my Master of Arts in Sports Administration and Coaching from Concordia University in Irvine. After college, I worked as a teacher’s assistant for emotionally disturbed students in Austin ISD, then started on staff at Hill Country in 2015.

What is your favorite sport?
I love to play volleyball, basketball, and tennis.

What is your favorite hobby or one of your favorite things?
I love to play pickleball.

What is your favorite food?
Cacio e Pepe

Growing up, you hoped to become a…
Coach

Other than the Bible, what’s your all-time favorite book?
My favorite book is Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas

What is an interesting fact about you?
I am in the Texas Sports Hall of Fame for playing in the first-ever Tennis Mixed Doubles State Championship. We placed second.

If you could meet one historical figure or famous person, who would it be and why?
Roger Federer because he is the best tennis player ever to play.

What song would be the soundtrack to your life?
“In Christ Alone”

What is your favorite Scripture or quote?
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23

Who has had the greatest influence on your life and why?
My grandpa because he taught me that no matter what has happened or what will happen, there is always one constant in life, Jesus.

What do you love about teaching at Hill Country?
I truly believe we are making disciples who know and love Jesus with their entire heart, mind, soul, and strength.

Carolyn Horvath

History Teacher

Carolyn Horvath

History Teacher

John Horvath

Yearbook, Photography, & Digital Design Teacher

John Horvath

Yearbook, Photography, & Digital Design Teacher

Jesse Loter

Science Teacher

Jesse Loter

Science Teacher

Holley Loveday

Technology, Coding, & Musical Theatre

Holley Loveday

Technology, Coding, & Musical Theatre

My family and I have lived in multiple places across the United States. I received my Bachelor of Science in Education from Stephen F. Austin State University. We moved to Austin in 1999, and I began working at Hill Country in 2003. Before that, I taught in other San Antonio and Austin-area schools. My husband and I have three Hill Country alumni, Classes of 2015, 2017, and 2021.

What is your favorite sport?
Baseball

What is your favorite hobby or one of your favorite things?
Cooking; I love to cook and feed people. I enjoy trying new recipes and putting new twists on familiar favorites.

What is your favorite food?
All things Italian, really, but TexMex is a close second.

Growing up, you hoped to become a…
Teacher. I played school with anyone I could find, and I was always the teacher.

Other than the Bible, what’s your all-time favorite book?
Emma by Jane Austin

What is an interesting fact about you?
I was in marching band all the way through High School and college. I am still in close contact with several of my friends from both of those groups.

If you could meet one historical figure or famous person, who would it be and why?
Abigail Adams: I would love to hear a woman’s perspective on the American Revolution, the Continental Congress, the writing of the Declaration of Independence, and all of the immediate impact these events had on her and her family’s daily reality.

What song would be the soundtrack to your life?
“Bag End” from The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

What is your favorite Scripture or quote?
But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:8-9

Casey McMickle

Latin Teacher

Casey McMickle

Latin Teacher

I was born and raised in Austin. I earned my Bachelor of Arts as a University Scholar (Classics Concentration) from Baylor University and my master’s degree in classics from the University of Kansas. After college, I taught at Founders Classical Academy of Schertz from 2017 to 2019 and started at Hill Country in 2020.

What is your favorite sport?
Volleyball

What is your favorite hobby or one of your favorite things?
Reading or playing with my dog

What is your favorite food?
Anything Mexican or Italian

Growing up, you hoped to become a…
Latin teacher

Other than the Bible, what’s your all-time favorite book?
Virgil’s Aeneid

What is an interesting fact about you?
I started learning Latin in 6th grade, but my first interaction with the language was when my sister read Virgil’s Aeneid for her AP class when I was in 1st grade.

If you could meet one historical figure or famous person, who would it be and why?
Though Virgil is very high on the list, I would want to meet “Homer,” whomever that individual or group was. The Iliad and the Odyssey have had such an impact upon not only my life but also on all of Western Culture. Plus, I’d really like to know if the blind bard theory is true!

What is your favorite Scripture or quote?
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by the faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20

What do you believe makes Hill Country distinct?
Hill Country’s dedication to both academics and faith makes it a truly wonderful place to be.

What do you love about teaching at Hill Country?
I love the students I work with here and that I am blessed to have a very small role in the lives of individuals who will do great things for the Lord.

Nicole Morris

English Teacher

Nicole Morris

English Teacher

Anastasia O’Bannan

Math Teacher

Anastasia O’Bannan

Math Teacher

Jennifer Seymour

English and Rhetoric Department Chair

Jennifer Seymour

English and Rhetoric Department Chair

Laura Schulenburg

History & English Teacher

Laura Schulenburg

History & English Teacher

I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and have also lived in California. I graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago and earned a Bachelor of Arts in the Teaching of History with a minor in English. I taught Bible and history at a Christian middle school in California and history at a public high school in Illinois before my husband and I moved to Austin in 2015. I began teaching at Hill Country in 2016.

What is your favorite sport?
To play: anything involving throwing, catching and hitting. To watch: American football.

What is your favorite hobby or one of your favorite things?
Playing games, reading, hiking, and crafting.

What is your favorite food?
Pizza, Mexican anything

Growing up, you hoped to become a…
Teacher

Other than the Bible, what’s your all-time favorite book?
Israel, My Beloved by Kay Arthur

What is an interesting fact about you?
I have written Bible study curriculum for neighborhood women’s study groups.

If you could meet one historical figure or famous person, who would it be and why?
I think it would have to be George Washington. I would love to hear how he managed the political differences and philosophical differences between Hamilton and Jefferson.

What song would be the soundtrack to your life?
Any Amy Grant or Steven Curtis Chapman album.

What is your favorite Scripture or quote?
Be still and know that I am God: Psalm 46:10

Who has had the greatest influence on your life and why?
Dan Webster. He taught me what it means to walk authentically with Christ in this world, and to serve, and to be faithful and steadfast, and what leadership should look and sound like. He was my high school youth pastor and has been a lifelong friend and mentor.

What do you believe makes Hill Country distinct?
Authenticity (faith in action) – that what we say we believe most is what we are most likely to be found doing.

What do you love about teaching at Hill Country?
The enthusiasm and energy of a middle school student have no comparison, yet it fades too quickly from our lives post-middle school age. Middle school students are one of my most treasured “charging stations,” but not just any middle school students. Ours are uniquely playful, clever, inquisitive, sweet, and salty.

Liz Thibodeau

English Teacher

Liz Thibodeau

English Teacher

Evan Wiatrek

Science Teacher & Department Chair

Evan Wiatrek

Science Teacher & Department Chair

I’ve lived in Austin since 1986. I earned my Bachelor of Science in Biology and Chemistry from Liberty University. I’m currently working toward my Master of Education at the University of North Texas. Before coming on staff at Hill Country in 2016, I taught at both public and private Christian schools, including Valor Christian High School, Westlake High School, Westwood High School, Cedar Park High School, and Vista Ridge High School.

What is your favorite sport?
Liberty Flames Football

What is your favorite hobby or one of your favorite things?
Road trips, camping

What is your favorite food?
Smoked brisket

Growing up, you hoped to become a…
NFL quarterback, orthopedic surgeon

Other than the Bible, what’s your all-time favorite book?
The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

What song would be the soundtrack to your life?
“Too Good To Not Believe” by Cody Carnes

What is your favorite Scripture or quote?
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2

Who has had the greatest influence on your life and why?
Jesus – I want to be just like Him.

What do you believe makes Hill Country distinct?
Hill Country Christian School has made a strong commitment to balancing a very high level of faith and academics.

What do you love about teaching at Hill Country?
I really enjoy getting to know the students and their families.

High School

Edward Baptiste

Bible & Apologetics Teacher

Edward Baptiste

Bible & Apologetics Teacher

I earned my degree in English liberal arts from Grambling State University. I moved to Austin in 1996 and began working at Hill Country in 1998. Before that, I was a middle school teacher at Temple ISD.

What is your favorite sport?
Basketball

What is your favorite hobby or one of your favorite things?
Writing poetry and reading comic books

What is your favorite food?
Gumbo

Growing up, you hoped to become a…
Truck driver

Other than the Bible, what’s your all-time favorite book?
The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning

What is an interesting fact about you?
I once sang jazz music downtown, I have two albums, and I’ve written two books of poetry.

If you could meet one historical figure or famous person, who would it be and why?
Malcolm X because his faith journey inspired my relationship with Jesus.

What is your favorite Scripture or quote?
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:1-2

Who has had the greatest influence on your life and why?
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. because his commitment to social justice and the love of Christ.

What do you believe makes Hill Country distinct?
We are committed to life-long learning.

What do you love about teaching at Hill Country?
I get to introduce my students to the Jesus who not only saved my life, but continues to give me life.

Tori Becker

Math Teacher

Tori Becker

Math Teacher

Kristi Billingsley

Theatre

Kristi Billingsley

Theatre

Brad Cauley

Logic, Ethics, Philosophy & Bible Teacher

Brad Cauley

Logic, Ethics, Philosophy & Bible Teacher

I am a Texas native and studied kinesiology and outdoor leadership at Texas A&M University. I invested 11 years in full-time ministry and taught for 10 years in classical education before joining Hill Country in the fall of 2020. My wife and I have four boys here at Hill Country, Classes of 2027, 2030, 2031, and 2032.

What is your favorite sport?
Basketball, baseball, and football

What is your favorite hobby or one of your favorite things?
Rock climbing, hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, and family time

What is your favorite food?
All of it, but especially barbecue and Asian foods.

Growing up, you hoped to become a…
Mountain guide

Other than the Bible, what’s your all-time favorite book?
Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, The Chronicles of Narnia, and Streams in the Desert

What is an interesting fact about you?
I worked in Yellowstone National Park as a 19-year-old.

If you could meet one historical figure or famous person, who would it be and why?
The Apostle Paul, Charles Spurgeon, James Chalmers, and Teddy Roosevelt

What song would be the soundtrack to your life?
“Great is Thy Faithfulness”

What is your favorite Scripture or quote?
If anyone loves Me, he will keep my commandments, and my Father will love him and we will come to him and make our home with him. John 14:23

Who has had the greatest influence on your life and why?
My parents, by their strong example of faith and character, along with their selfless investment.

What do you believe makes Hill Country distinct?
A strong commitment to excellence in an environment of grace. This speaks well to the call of Christ for us to walk worthy while being strong in grace.

What do you love about teaching at Hill Country?
The team of professionals who pour into our students makes it a joy to serve alongside them. Our students are the hope of our nation and show great joy in learning and a reverent appreciation for being called to live to a higher calling.

Dr. Art Cheng

Anatomy & Physiology Teacher

Dr. Art Cheng

Anatomy & Physiology Teacher

I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and still consider it home. I earned my Bachelor of Science in Cell Biology and Anatomy from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and my Doctor of Medicine from the Chicago Medical School. My wife and I moved to Austin in 2007, and I joined the Hill Country faculty in 2015. Before that, I taught Anatomy and Physiology at a community college in Chicago. I’m also a practicing pediatrician at Austin Regional Clinic, and my wife and I have three current Hill Country students, Classes of 2024, 2026, and 2029.

What is your favorite sport?
Sleep marathon

What is your favorite hobby or one of your favorite things?
I enjoy playing the guitar. I play through headphones late at night, which helps me process the day.

What is your favorite food?
Grilled cow

Growing up, you hoped to become a…
Writer

Other than the Bible, what’s your all-time favorite book?
My Lucky Day by Keiko Kasza. What an ending!

What is an interesting fact about you?
Things I hate: voicemail, tetherball, bean sprouts, the White Sox.

If you could meet one historical figure or famous person, who would it be and why?
Santa! So many questions…

What is your favorite Scripture or quote?
May the God of hope fill you with all peace and joy as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13

Who has had the greatest influence on your life and why?
My wife, Catherine. Without her, I wouldn’t have my kids, the scar on my arm, or be living in Texas.

What do you love about teaching at Hill Country?
The students! In my interactions with them, I get a glimpse of who they’ll be in the future, and it humbles me that I get to share my life and knowledge with them.

Bob Cole

Math Teacher & Department Chair

Bob Cole

Math Teacher & Department Chair

I’ve lived in Austin since 1971. Before that, I lived in Baltimore and Syracuse. I earned my Bachelor of Science in Education from the University of North Texas, and my master’s from Regent University. I taught at Round Rock High School before coming on staff at Hill Country in 2010.

What is your favorite sport?
Football

What is your favorite hobby or one of your favorite things?
Biking

What is your favorite food?
Mexican

Growing up, you hoped to become a…
Forest ranger

What is an interesting fact about you?
I went sky diving at the age of 20

If you could meet one historical figure or famous person, who would it be and why?
Thomas Edison

What is your favorite Scripture or quote?
But now says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. Isaiah 43:1

Who has had the greatest influence on your life and why?
My dad.

What do you believe makes Hill Country distinct?
We are a private Christian school with plenty of resources.

What do you love about teaching at Hill Country?
We have great students, and we can pray and talk about the Lord openly.

Jordan Cook

Science & Robotics Teacher

Jordan Cook

Science & Robotics Teacher

I received my Bachelor of Science in Biology from Colorado Christian University. I returned to Austin in 2020 and taught for one year at a charter school before starting at Hill Country in 2021. As a Hill Country alumna (2016), I’m so excited to be on staff now.

What is your favorite sport?
To watch, football. To play, basketball.

What is your favorite hobby or one of your favorite things?
As lame as it sounds, knitting.

What is your favorite food?
Sushi

Growing up, you hoped to become a…
Coroner

Other than the Bible, what’s your all-time favorite book?
A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks

What is an interesting fact about you?
I went to Hill Country K-12 and graduated in 2016.

If you could meet one historical figure or famous person, who would it be and why?
Paul from the Bible. To hear even more than what we read in his letters would be incredible. From his missionary journeys to a deeper testimony!

What is your favorite Scripture or quote?
Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us. Ephesians 3:20

What do you believe makes Hill Country distinct?
Hill Country is distinct in many ways. However, I can honestly say from first-hand experience that one of the greatest distinctions is its college preparation. You cannot tell just how well a school prepares you until you arrive at college. After arriving, I knew Hill Country prepared me well for college. Hill Country truly prepares you to learn how to learn, how to study, and how to work hard!

What do you love about teaching at Hill Country?
The biblical integration. Not being able to share Christ with my students in my last school was an obstacle. When they were discouraged or having difficulties at home, I would get in trouble for praying for my students or sharing the hope of Jesus. Now, working in a community that not only allows prayer but deeply encourages it along with teaching a biblical worldview inside every classroom is a blessing and answer to prayer.

Pete Craycroft

Bible Teacher

Pete Craycroft

Bible Teacher

I grew up in the Park Cities area of Dallas and earned my Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Texas at Austin. After attending college, I spent the first three years of my career in San Antonio, then moved back to Austin for good in 1984. I taught journalism and coached baseball for 19 years in the public schools (John Marshall High School in San Antonio, 1981-1984, and Lanier High School in Austin, 1984-2000). I started teaching at Hill Country in 2000.

What is your favorite sport?
To coach: high school Baseball
To watch: college Football
To play: volleyball

What is your favorite hobby or one of your favorite things?
Fishing, hunting, and golf

What is your favorite food?
Seafood

Growing up, you hoped to become a…
Major league pitcher

Other than the Bible, what’s your all-time favorite book?
Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas

What is an interesting fact about you?
The summer I turned 12, I nearly drowned in the undertow in Acapulco Bay, then nearly drowned in a swollen snowmelt river in Colorado the following summer.

If you could meet one historical figure or famous person, who would it be and why?
Well, we are going to meet Jesus, so I’m going to go with Greg Maddux, the Hall of Fame pitcher for the Atlanta Braves and Chicago Cubs. I would love to sit and talk pitching with him.

What song would be the soundtrack to your life?
“Miles and Miles of Texas” by Asleep at the Wheel.

What is your favorite Scripture or quote?
I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free! Psalm 119:32

Who has had the greatest influence on your life and why?
I’m going to go with my high school best friend, Eric Binion, who shared the Gospel with me, lived it out in front of me, and patiently prayed for me until I became a believer.

What do you believe makes Hill Country distinct?
The fact that we are, first and foremost, Christ-centered, and the incredible connection with Hill Country Bible Church.

What do you love about teaching at Hill Country?
I love the students, the opportunity to speak God’s truth into their lives, and the potential we have at this school to affect America and American culture for the kingdom of God.

Heather Etherton

Logic, Speech, Debate, & Thesis Teacher

Heather Etherton

Logic, Speech, Debate, & Thesis Teacher

I was originally born in Jacksonville, Florida, and moved to Austin in 2007. I majored in political science and minored in communication at Texas A&M University. After college, I worked for the state government as well as in the Texas Capitol during a legislative session. I joined the faculty at Hill Country in 2019.

What is your favorite sport?
Tennis and soccer

What is your favorite hobby or one of your favorite things?
Walks and bike rides

What is your favorite food?
Mexican

What is an interesting fact about you?
My sister and I, in middle school, started selling baked goods and cakes to teachers and eventually made a wedding cake for a complete stranger!

If you could meet one historical figure or famous person, who would it be and why?
William Wilberforce. He successfully changed the culture of an entire nation, as well as ended the slave trade in Britain.

What is your favorite Scripture or quote?
He says, Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. Psalm 46:10

Who has had the greatest influence on your life and why?
My mom; she’s the strongest, most faithful follower of Christ I know.

What do you believe makes Hill Country distinct, other than the tight-knit community?
The continuous focus on improving the education provided, tied with the relational aspect that is developed between faculty and students, furthering the educational goal of the school.

What do you love about teaching at Hill Country?
The curriculum we offer is unique in that its focus is beyond having students memorize facts but rather on learning how to learn. Through a biblical worldview, students are prepared to think analytically and critically about the world around them.

Christopher Felleisen

Computer Science, Geometry, & Robotics

Christopher Felleisen

Computer Science, Geometry, & Robotics

Mandy Gregory

Art Teacher

Mandy Gregory

Art Teacher

Angel Hernandez

Spanish & PE Teacher

Angel Hernandez

Spanish & PE Teacher

I grew up in Big Lake, Texas, and moved to Austin in 2006. I earned my Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and Language Teaching from The University of Texas at Austin and my Master of Arts in Sports Administration and Coaching from Concordia University in Irvine. After college, I worked as a teacher’s assistant for emotionally disturbed students in Austin ISD, then started on staff at Hill Country in 2015.

What is your favorite sport?
I love to play volleyball, basketball, and tennis.

What is your favorite hobby or one of your favorite things?
I love to play pickleball.

What is your favorite food?
Cacio e Pepe

Growing up, you hoped to become a…
Coach

Other than the Bible, what’s your all-time favorite book?
My favorite book is Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas

What is an interesting fact about you?
I am in the Texas Sports Hall of Fame for playing in the first-ever Tennis Mixed Doubles State Championship. We placed second.

If you could meet one historical figure or famous person, who would it be and why?
Roger Federer because he is the best tennis player ever to play.

What song would be the soundtrack to your life?
“In Christ Alone”

What is your favorite Scripture or quote?
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23

Who has had the greatest influence on your life and why?
My grandpa because he taught me that no matter what has happened or what will happen, there is always one constant in life, Jesus.

What do you love about teaching at Hill Country?
I truly believe we are making disciples who know and love Jesus with their entire heart, mind, soul, and strength.

Carolyn Horvath

History Teacher

Carolyn Horvath

History Teacher

John Horvath

Yearbook, Photography, & Digital Design Teacher

John Horvath

Yearbook, Photography, & Digital Design Teacher

Allison Jennings

Upper School ARCC Specialist

Allison Jennings

Upper School ARCC Specialist

I was raised in North Richland Hills, Texas, and moved to Austin in 2017. I received my bachelor’s degree in psychology and sociology from St. Edward’s University. I am working toward my master’s degree in marriage and family therapy through The King’s University. Before joining Hill Country as the Academic Resource Specialist in 2021, I was an assistant for therapists in Austin.

What is your favorite sport?
Basketball

What is your favorite hobby or one of your favorite things?
I love dancing and going on hikes.

What is your favorite food?
Mexican food

Growing up, you hoped to become a…
Teacher or nurse

Other than the Bible, what’s your all-time favorite book?
Letting Go by David R. Hawkins

What is an interesting fact about you?
I am going to school to get my masters in Marriage and Family Therapy.

If you could meet one historical figure or famous person, who would it be and why?
I would like to meet Jane Austen. I believe that the themes in her books are relevant even today, and I appreciate what she brought to the world through her writing.

What is your favorite Scripture or quote?
Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my savior, and my hope is in you all day long. Psalm 25:5

What do you believe makes Hill Country distinct?
Hill Country has a noticeably different atmosphere that feels encouraging and caring. It invites curiosity into the learning environment, and we are all very close and supportive of each other.

What do you love about working at Hill Country?
I love working at Hill Country because I get the opportunity to make a difference in students’ lives every day. Watching the students grow and learn daily is what inspires me the most.

Tammy Johannessen

History Teacher

Tammy Johannessen

History Teacher

Holley Loveday

Technology, Coding, & Musical Theatre

Holley Loveday

Technology, Coding, & Musical Theatre

My family and I have lived in multiple places across the United States. I received my Bachelor of Science in Education from Stephen F. Austin State University. We moved to Austin in 1999, and I began working at Hill Country in 2003. Before that, I taught in other San Antonio and Austin-area schools. My husband and I have three Hill Country alumni, Classes of 2015, 2017, and 2021.

What is your favorite sport?
Baseball

What is your favorite hobby or one of your favorite things?
Cooking; I love to cook and feed people. I enjoy trying new recipes and putting new twists on familiar favorites.

What is your favorite food?
All things Italian, really, but TexMex is a close second.

Growing up, you hoped to become a…
Teacher. I played school with anyone I could find, and I was always the teacher.

Other than the Bible, what’s your all-time favorite book?
Emma by Jane Austin

What is an interesting fact about you?
I was in marching band all the way through High School and college. I am still in close contact with several of my friends from both of those groups.

If you could meet one historical figure or famous person, who would it be and why?
Abigail Adams: I would love to hear a woman’s perspective on the American Revolution, the Continental Congress, the writing of the Declaration of Independence, and all of the immediate impact these events had on her and her family’s daily reality.

What song would be the soundtrack to your life?
“Bag End” from The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

What is your favorite Scripture or quote?
But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:8-9

Caitlin McColl

History & Government Teacher

Caitlin McColl

History & Government Teacher

I spent my early childhood here in Austin but moved to New Mexico when I was nine. My family returned to Austin when I was in my mid-teens. I studied at the University of Texas at Austin and earned my Bachelor of Arts in History with a minor in Psychology and my Master of Arts in History from Texas State University.

I started teaching at my old high school (McCallum in Austin) in 2006 at age 21, where I taught and coached for six years, leaving to pursue my master’s in history in 2012. I worked in education outreach for the Texas Archive of the Moving Image and the Texas State Historical Association for two years before going back to teaching full-time in private Christian schools for the last six years. I joined the Hill Country faculty in the fall of 2019. My oldest son is a current Hill Country student, Class of 2034, and my youngest will start preschool here next fall!

What is your favorite sport?
Volleyball, track, and basketball

What is your favorite hobby or one of your favorite things?
Being outside and playing, hiking, and riding bikes with my kids. And playing sand volleyball with my husband and our best friends.

What is your favorite food?
House Dry Wok Beef from Asia Café

Growing up, you hoped to become an…
Olympic runner or marine biologist

Other than the Bible, what’s your all-time favorite book?
Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community? by Martin Luther King, Jr.

What is an interesting fact about you?
I was ranked the 10th-fastest miler in the state in high school after I ran a 5:11 mile. I walked on to The University of Texas Cross Country team my freshman year in college.

If you could meet one historical figure or famous person, who would it be and why?
Apart from meeting Jesus of Nazareth our Savior, I’d say Abraham Lincoln, Ida B. Wells, or Alice Paul.

What is your favorite Scripture or quote?
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11, and He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8

Who has had the greatest influence on your life and why?
My mother and husband have had the most influence on my life. They are my best friends and have so much compassion and empathy for others. They are also both hilarious.

What do you believe makes Hill Country distinct, other than the tight-knit community?
Hill Country students are wholesome and great image bearers. I love teaching history to them and sharing my own testimony. I love the lightbulb moment when students build connections to learning new content and feel pride in their efforts. I love to learn about who they are and what matters most to them. It is my calling to teach, and I love teaching in a place bonded by our Savior’s love and grace.

What do you love about teaching at Hill Country?
I love the students and community here. I’ve had so much support from the administrative team and appreciate the stability and kindness of everyone working here.

Casey McMickle

Latin Teacher

Casey McMickle

Latin Teacher

I was born and raised in Austin. I earned my Bachelor of Arts as a University Scholar (Classics Concentration) from Baylor University and my master’s degree in classics from the University of Kansas. After college, I taught at Founders Classical Academy of Schertz from 2017 to 2019 and started at Hill Country in 2020.

What is your favorite sport?
Volleyball

What is your favorite hobby or one of your favorite things?
Reading or playing with my dog

What is your favorite food?
Anything Mexican or Italian

Growing up, you hoped to become a…
Latin teacher

Other than the Bible, what’s your all-time favorite book?
Virgil’s Aeneid

What is an interesting fact about you?
I started learning Latin in 6th grade, but my first interaction with the language was when my sister read Virgil’s Aeneid for her AP class when I was in 1st grade.

If you could meet one historical figure or famous person, who would it be and why?
Though Virgil is very high on the list, I would want to meet “Homer,” whomever that individual or group was. The Iliad and the Odyssey have had such an impact upon not only my life but also on all of Western Culture. Plus, I’d really like to know if the blind bard theory is true!

What is your favorite Scripture or quote?
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by the faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20

What do you believe makes Hill Country distinct?
Hill Country’s dedication to both academics and faith makes it a truly wonderful place to be.

What do you love about teaching at Hill Country?
I love the students I work with here and that I am blessed to have a very small role in the lives of individuals who will do great things for the Lord.

Karen Nazarenus

Spanish Teacher

Karen Nazarenus

Spanish Teacher

Abbie Payton

Math Teacher

Abbie Payton

Math Teacher

I lived in Houston and the Dallas area before moving to Austin in 2012. I received my Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from Dallas Baptist University. Prior to joining the faculty at Hill Country in the fall of 2021, I taught in public schools, was a private math tutor, worked as a Petroleum Engineer Technician, and volunteered in the Hill Country Bible Church Special Needs Ministry. We have one son who is a current Hill Country student, Class of 2032.

What is your favorite sport?
I enjoy playing volleyball, basketball, and ultimate frisbee.

What is your favorite hobby or one of your favorite things?
I enjoy traveling with my husband and family.

What is your favorite food?
I love Mexican food with queso.

Growing up, you hoped to become a…
Teacher!

What is an interesting fact about you?
In college, I attended two different mission trips to China and worked on conversational English with college students. It was an amazing experience serving God and learning about their culture.

What is your favorite Scripture or quote?
Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his[a]; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations. Psalm 100

Who has had the greatest influence on your life and why?
My dad was one of the greatest influences in my life. He taught me to see God’s beauty in nature. He always put God first in his life and honored God with his time and resources.

What do you love about teaching at Hill Country?
I love this is a place where I can teach math and be open about my faith.

Molly Simpson

English Teacher

Molly Simpson

English Teacher

Before moving to Austin in 2012, I lived in Alabama and Colorado. I earned my Bachelor of Arts in English Teaching from Abilene Christian University, and I worked for a youth ministry at a church here in Austin before joining the Hill Country staff in 2021.

What is your favorite sport?
Skiing

What is your favorite hobby or one of your favorite things?
Journaling

What is your favorite food?
My mom’s famous enchiladas

Growing up, you hoped to become an…
English teacher

Other than the Bible, what’s your all-time favorite book?
Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann

What is an interesting fact about you?
I’m a triplet.

If you could meet one historical figure or famous person, who would it be and why?
Julie Andrews because I’m the ultimate Sound of Music fan.

What is your favorite Scripture or quote?
Do not be anxious about anything but, in everything, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God and the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

What do you believe makes Hill Country distinct?
The faculty and staff members here at Hill Country make intentional efforts to help students sculpt not only their own knowledge of the subjects we teach, but also their personal outlooks on life, themselves, and faith. We look at the whole student and focus on walking alongside him or her.

What do you love about teaching at Hill Country?
Something I love about teaching at Hill Country is getting to voice my faith in the classroom. Our class discussions are often derailed by larger “life” questions, which I welcome as formative experiences for students.

Hannah Sorley

Engineering Design & Analysis, Pre-Calculus, & Physics Teacher

Hannah Sorley

Engineering Design & Analysis, Pre-Calculus, & Physics Teacher

Tina Tsuei

Economics Teacher

Tina Tsuei

Economics Teacher

I’ve lived in many places, including Philadelphia, Hong Kong, White Plains, New York, and Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota, but settled in Austin in 1998. I earned my Bachelor of Science in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania and my master’s from the University of Minnesota.

After college, I conducted research and analysis for an economic research consulting firm. When I finished my master’s degree, I did policy analysis and program evaluation for the Minnesota Office of the Legislative Auditor. I began teaching at Hill Country in 2012. My husband and I have one current Hill Country senior, Class of 2022.

What is your favorite sport?
Favorite sport to play is volleyball. Favorite sports to watch are the Winter Olympics.

What is your favorite hobby or one of your favorite things?
Taking walks, listening to music, reading, and doing puzzles of any kind.

What is your favorite food?
Cantonese cuisine

Growing up, you hoped to become a…
Librarian

Other than the Bible, what’s your all-time favorite book?
The Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien

What is an interesting fact about you?
Everyone in our immediate family is left-handed.

If you could meet one historical figure or famous person, who would it be and why?
Condoleezza Rice: The daughter of a preacher, she rose from humble beginnings in the segregated South to become an accomplished pianist, a Stanford University professor, a presidential advisor, and the Secretary of State. I would relish the opportunity to hear more about her experiences, her faith in Christ, and her thoughts on a myriad of topics.

What song would be the soundtrack to your life?
The hymn titled “All the Way My Savior Leads Me.”

What is your favorite Scripture or quote?
Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:14-16, NIV

Who has had the greatest influence on your life and why?
My older sister Belinda because she has consistently modeled for me what genuine faith in Christ and sacrificial love for others looks like.

What do you believe makes Hill Country distinct?
The quality of the leadership and faculty. Our leaders love God and are dedicated to excellence at Hill Country. The faculty love Christ, know their area of study, have a passion for education, and a willingness to invest in their students sacrificially.

What do you love about teaching/working at Hill Country?
Seeing the “ah-ha” moments when students grasp a concept or become excited about what they are learning; building deeper relationships with students.

Evan Wiatrek

Science Teacher & Department Chair

Evan Wiatrek

Science Teacher & Department Chair

I’ve lived in Austin since 1986. I earned my Bachelor of Science in Biology and Chemistry from Liberty University. I’m currently working toward my Master of Education at the University of North Texas. Before coming on staff at Hill Country in 2016, I taught at both public and private Christian schools, including Valor Christian High School, Westlake High School, Westwood High School, Cedar Park High School, and Vista Ridge High School.

What is your favorite sport?
Liberty Flames Football

What is your favorite hobby or one of your favorite things?
Road trips, camping

What is your favorite food?
Smoked brisket

Growing up, you hoped to become a…
NFL quarterback, orthopedic surgeon

Other than the Bible, what’s your all-time favorite book?
The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

What song would be the soundtrack to your life?
“Too Good To Not Believe” by Cody Carnes

What is your favorite Scripture or quote?
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2

Who has had the greatest influence on your life and why?
Jesus – I want to be just like Him.

What do you believe makes Hill Country distinct?
Hill Country Christian School has made a strong commitment to balancing a very high level of faith and academics.

What do you love about teaching at Hill Country?
I really enjoy getting to know the students and their families.

Support Staff

Christine Aguayo

Admissions Assistant

Christine Aguayo

Admissions Assistant

I’m originally from San Diego, California. My husband and I moved our family to Austin in 2016, and that’s when I began working at Hill Country. Before that, I studied business management at San Diego Mesa College and worked in bookkeeping, accounting, human resources, office management, and as an administrative assistant. We have two current Hill Country students, Classes of 2026, and 2029.

What is your favorite sport?
I’m a huge NFL football fan. Go, Chargers!

What is your favorite hobby or one of your favorite things?
Anything related to the water or beach. I just love being in the water!

What is your favorite food?
Salmon is my favorite food.

Growing up, you hoped to become…
an architect

Other than the Bible, what’s your all-time favorite book?
I can’t choose just one. I love to read!

What is an interesting fact about you?
I love adventure, hiking, and travel! On one of my favorite trips of all time, I hiked the Cinque Terre in Italy and then the Fira to Oia hike on Santorini in Greece. Being on trails with such beautiful views was a dream trip for me!

If you could meet one historical figure or famous person, who would it be and why?
C.S. Lewis. His books have always piqued my interest and inspired me in my walk with the Lord.

What song would be the soundtrack to your life?
“Awake and Alive” by Skillet.

What is your favorite Scripture or quote?
My favorite verse right now is Numbers 6:24-26, The Lord bless you and keep you; The Lord make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you; The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace.

Who has had the greatest influence on your life and why?
Too many people to list. I’m grateful to have had so many people invest in and disciple me through the years. All of them love the Lord and encouraged me in my walk.

What do you believe makes Hill Country distinct?
The faculty and staff genuinely love one another and desire to serve the community and the Lord with excellence.

What do you love about working at Hill Country?
I love working for and getting to know the new families at Hill Country. In my role, I’m blessed to get to serve them as they go through the admissions process!

Rose Ann Alwell

Development Database Specialist

Rose Ann Alwell

Development Database Specialist

Nathan Breinich

Communications Specialist

Nathan Breinich

Communications Specialist

I was born and raised in a small town in southwest Ohio. I received my Bachelor of Biblical Studies from Crown College in Powell, Tennessee, and started working on my Master of Biblical Studies at West Coast Baptist College in Lancaster, California. I worked as an assistant and youth pastor for 15 years in Ohio before moving to the Austin area at the end of 2018. I started working at Hill Country in 2019.

What is your favorite sport?
Basketball and football. Go, Bucks!

What is your favorite hobby or one of your favorite things?
I enjoy learning new tips and tricks in photography and videography. I also nerd out on languages and words.

What is your favorite food?
Baklava

Other than the Bible, what’s your all-time favorite book?
Elements of Political Economy by Francis Wayland

What is an interesting fact about you?
I had the opportunity to give my salvation testimony in German to a small group of new believers on a mission trip to Austria. It was ausgezeichnet!

What is your favorite Scripture or quote?
Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. Isaiah 41:10

What do you believe makes Hill Country distinct?
I believe we are unique in our approach to Classical education while also emphasizing STEM. Teachers are very knowledgeable of their subjects and apt to teach.

What do you love about working at Hill Country?
I love working with people who pray for you, care about you personally, and share Scripture with each other in conversation throughout the day. Very blessed to work here.

Kristy Brooks

Marketing Assistant & Graphic Designer

Kristy Brooks

Marketing Assistant & Graphic Designer

Kimberly Burke

Executive Assistant

Kimberly Burke

Executive Assistant

I was born and raised in McAllen, Texas. I received my Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Texas A&M University before moving to Austin in 2013. I worked for Seton Healthcare as a Senior Department Assistant, then as a Patient Relations Coordinator for Big Sky Pediatric Therapy for over four years. I joined the Hill Country staff in 2020 as the Executive Assistant. My husband and I look forward to our son being a future Hill Country Knight!

What is your favorite sport?
To watch: football
To do: dancing

What is your favorite hobby or one of your favorite things?
Live music

What is your favorite food?
Italian

Growing up, you hoped to become a…
Child life specialist

Other than the Bible, what’s your all-time favorite book?
Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers

What is an interesting fact about you?
As my family is in agriculture, I was the 2012 Texas Watermelon Queen and Public Relations Representative for the Texas Watermelon Association.

What song would be the soundtrack to your life?
“Not in a Hurry” by United Pursuit and Will Reagan

What is your favorite Scripture or quote?
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. John 16:33

Who has had the greatest influence on your life and why?
My family is my greatest influence because of how they raised me and have taught, encouraged, supported, and inspired me throughout my life.

What do you believe makes Hill Country distinct, other than the tight-knit community?
How the presence of the Lord is felt throughout this campus and its people.

What do you love about working at Hill Country?
I love being able to use my gifts and talents to further God’s kingdom through the purpose and mission of Hill Country.

Donna DeLaCruz

Receptionist

Donna DeLaCruz

Receptionist

Dave Effland

Database Coordinator

Dave Effland

Database Coordinator

Kelly Flores

Receptionist

Kelly Flores

Receptionist

Janean Greer

Athletics Administrative Assistant

Janean Greer

Athletics Administrative Assistant

Lisa Gutierrez

Accountant

Lisa Gutierrez

Accountant

Erica Holmberg

Registrar and Middle School Administrative Assistant

Erica Holmberg

Registrar and Middle School Administrative Assistant

Carmela Hubler

Nurse

Carmela Hubler

Nurse

Heather Jackson

Assistant Director of Admissions

Heather Jackson

Assistant Director of Admissions

Christine Jenkins

Substitute Coordinator and Elementary School Events Coordinator

Christine Jenkins

Substitute Coordinator and Elementary School Events Coordinator

Josh McKinney

Assistant Athletics Director

Josh McKinney

Assistant Athletics Director

Sharon Mitchell

High School Assistant

Sharon Mitchell

High School Assistant

Jessica Newsome

Teacher’s Aide

Jessica Newsome

Teacher’s Aide

Manuel Reyes

Human Resources Manager

Manuel Reyes

Human Resources Manager

Jessica Pyo

Academic and College Advisor

Jessica Pyo

Academic and College Advisor

Annette Vickers

Knights Care Coordinator

Annette Vickers

Knights Care Coordinator

Amanda Willis

Preschool and Elementary School Administrative Assistant

Amanda Willis

Preschool and Elementary School Administrative Assistant