Faculty/Staff Directory

Faculty/Staff Directory

Department:

Administration

Tim Hillen

Head of School (Executive Team)

I have a B.S. in Social Sciences from Taylor University, an M.A. in Educational Administration from Eastern Michigan University, and an Ed Specialist Degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. I have over 34 years of experience leading Christian schools.

What is your favorite scripture?
“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only son, so that whoever believes in Him will have eternal life.” John 3:16

Who has had the greatest influence on your life and why?
My father, mother, mother-in-law, father-in-law, wife, and my children have had the greatest influence on my life. They were/are strong Christians and were/are great people. Additionally, my former pastor, Adrian Rogers was a great person of influence on my life.

What is one of your significant accomplishments?
The fact that 10 of my former principals now serve as the heads of Christian schools.

What are your hobbies?
I enjoy spending time with my family, reading, golf, and travel.

Dr. Jeffrey Marx

Upper School Principal (Executive Team)

I have a Bachelor of Science, Master of Science, and Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Texas A&M University, as well as a Master of Arts in Christian Education from Dallas Theological Seminary. I moved to Austin and began teaching at Hill Country in 2006. I have a Hill Country student, Class of 2021.

What is your work history before Hill Country?
I was cofounder of Qtera, an optical networking startup.

What do you love about teaching at Hill Country?
I love the people at Hill Country. My best friends are co-workers, and I love spending time with the students.

What is your teaching philosophy?
Do life with your students. I coach so that I can know students on a deeper level.

Fun Fact
I swim competitively, and I won the 2011 National Championship in the 200 yd Breaststroke (Masters 45-49 age group).

Jessica Tracy

Lower School Principal (Executive Team)

Carmen Hamilton

Director of Advancement (Executive Team)

I have a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of Houston. I have lived in Austin since 2006, and I began working at Hill Country in 2007. I have two Hill Country students, Classes of 2019 and 2021.

What is your favorite scripture?
“[For my determined purpose is] that I may know Him [that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly], and that I may in that same way come to know the power outflowing from His resurrection [[a] which it exerts over believers], and that I may so share His sufferings as to be continually transformed [in spirit into His likeness even] to His death.” Philippians 3:10 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC)

Tell us about one of your significant accomplishments.
I led a prayer journey to the Holy Land that included participating in the Global March for Jesus, which covered every time zone and involved over ten million Christians from over 170 nations.

What are your hobbies?
I am an avid reader and love to go to movies!

Craig Bland

Director of Christian Life (Executive Team)

Pete Craycroft

Director of Athletics (Executive Team)

I have a Bachelor of Journalism from The University of Texas at Austin. I have been in Austin since 1975, and I began teaching at Hill Country in 2000.

What do you believe makes Hill Country distinct?
The authenticity with which the faculty and staff follow Christ makes Hill Country distinct. It all comes back to the love that permeates the school community. The presence and reality of Jesus makes this a very unique place.

What is your favorite scripture?
“I run in the path of your commands for you have set my heart free.” Psalm 119:32

What is your teaching philosophy?
It starts with respect. If you want high school kids to respond positively to you as a teacher, it is wise to start off by making it clear that you respect them, and because you respect them, you are going to hold them to a high standard.

What is one of your significant accomplishments?
The biggest accomplishment of my life’s work has been the relational investment in all the kids that I have taught and coached, and how that is going to bridge into eternity in the case of those who know Jesus. Probably right above that would be the three incredible kids that Karen and I had the privilege of raising. We’re really just getting started in the grandparenting business, with two grandkids and counting.

What are your hobbies?
I’m a life-long, hard-core, come-what-may, Longhorn football fan, and I am also an avid dove hunter and fisherman. There’s not much on this Earth better than standing knee-deep in a cool, clear stream, surrounded by mountains, casting a dry fly to rising trout. But as much as I love all of the above-mentioned things, I love coaching high school baseball more.

Susan Dehnel

Director of Business Services (Executive Team)

I have a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting from Baylor University. I have lived in Austin since 1999, and I have worked at Hill Country since 2012.

What do you love about working at Hill Country?
I love the fact that our parents make a financial sacrifice for their children because they believe Hill Country Christian School is the best educational option for them.

What is your favorite scripture?
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

What are your hobbies?
I love to read, go to the symphony and other concerts, take walks, and travel.

Scott Horne

Dean of Students

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 three Hill Country students, Classes of 2019, 2021, and 2026. 

What do you love about working at Hill Country?
One of the biggest things I love about teaching at 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.

What is your favorite scripture?
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6

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.

What are your hobbies?
I love the weight room and boxing. I also love to hike and walk trails with my family.

Fun Facts
I have lived in Iceland. I was the class artist my senior year in high school.

 

Philip Hudgens

Director of Operations

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 four Hill Country students, Classes of 2020, 2022, 2023, and 2025. 

What do you love about working at Hill Country?
I don’t know if another school exists where students are genuinely cared about or loved more. I know this school cares for and loves students in a way that I believe God intends for believers to, and that’s one of the reasons my family is here.

What is your favorite scripture?
“Let this same attitude and purpose and [humble] mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus: [Let Him be your example in humility:] who, although being essentially one with God and in the form of God [[b]possessing the fullness of the attributes which make God God], did not [c]think this equality with God was a thing to be eagerly grasped [d]or retained, but stripped Himself [of all privileges and [e]rightful dignity], so as to assume the guise of a servant (slave), in that He became like men and was born a human being. And after He had appeared in human form, He abased and humbled Himself [still further] and carried His obedience to the extreme of death, even the death of the cross! Therefore [because He stooped so low] God has highly exalted Him and has [f]freely bestowed on Him the name that is above every name, that in (at) the name of Jesus every knee [g]should (must) bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue [[h]frankly and openly] confess and acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:5-11

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

Fun Fact
I have a minor in art and have taught both Lower and Upper School art.

Sherry Pendleton

Director of Marketing and Communications

I have a Bachelor of Business Administration, double major in Marketing and Management, from The University of Texas at Austin. I moved to Austin in 1989 and began working at Hill Country in 2011. I have a Hill Country alum, Class of 2015, and a student, Class of 2018.

What do you believe makes Hill Country distinct?
The community at Hill Country is truly unique. When the faculty says, “We will know your child. We will love your child. We will prepare your child,” they mean it. Every Hill Country student is known by name, and they are never a faceless number in the crowd.

What is your favorite scripture?
‘”For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”‘ Jeremiah 29:11-13

What are your hobbies?
I love to travel, read, bake, watch movies, and try new restaurants.

Glenna Sager

Director of Admissions

I have a Bachelor of English from Southwest Texas State University. I have lived in Austin since 2003, and I began working at Hill Country in 2015.

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 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. 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.

Fun Fact
I grew up drag racing and consistently won races from 15-18 years old. I worked on the pit crew of John Force and Dan Pastorini. But honestly, my little sister was way better at it than I was. Don’t tell her I said that!

Preschool

Elaine Burleson

Preschool Coordinator and 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 an alum, Class of 2015, and three students, Classes of 2019, 2020, and 2023. 

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.

Brookes Dungan

Preschool Aide

Ilan Huang

Preschool Aide

Brandi Huneycutt

Preschool Teacher

Lindsey Natho

Preschool Teacher

Joyce Prado

Preschool Aide

Kristina Simmons

Preschool Aide

Janet Snapp

Preschool Teacher

I studied at Schreiner University. I was born and raised in Austin. I have three Hill Country students, Classes of 2019, 2023, and 2030.

What do you believe makes Hill Country distinct?
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 is your favorite quote?
“Being happy doesn’t mean that everything is perfect. It means that you’ve decided to look beyond the imperfections.”

What are your hobbies or favorite things?
I like hugs, smiles, period dramas with English accents, and I like that every day is a new day.

Elementary School

April Atkinson

Fifth Grade Teacher

I have a Bachelor of Science in Education from Fort Hays State University. I moved to Austin in 2014 and began teaching at Hill Country the same year.

What do you love about teaching at Hill Country?
I absolutely love that we are able to pray about everything! It is amazing to hear my students pray for each other and about life’s journey.

What is your favorite scripture?
“Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

What are your hobbies?
I love to scrapbook. I love to organize!

Ashley Cavanagh

Spanish Teacher

Alicia Cole

First Grade Teacher

I have a Bachelor in Education from Stephen F. Austin State University. I have lived in Austin since 1997 and began teaching at Hill Country in 2013. I have a student in the Class of 2019.

How long have you been a teacher?
I have been teaching for over 20 years.

What do you love about teaching at Hill Country?
I love the commitment to teaching and sharing a biblical worldview with our students. We are able to openly share our faith and challenge them not only academically but also spiritually. This has created deeper relationships with students, and these relationships last through the years even after they leave my classroom.

What is your favorite scripture?
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6

Who has had the greatest influence on your life and why?
My mother. She was always joyful even during difficult times in her life. After her divorce from my dad, she worked two jobs to help make ends meet, but she made sure to spend time on our relationship. She loved the Lord and loved others.

Amanda Curry

P.E. Teacher

Debbie Dalke

Second Grade Teacher

I have a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from The University of Texas at Austin. I was born and raised in Austin, and I began teaching at Hill Country in 2012.

What do you believe makes Hill Country distinct?
We live out our mission statement here at Hill Country. We are Christ-centered, teach with a biblical worldview, and partner with families as we educate their children. Our families come alongside us with full support.

What are your hobbies?
I love going to the gym and running. My favorite place to be is Cozumel, where I enjoy scuba diving with my family.

Sharee DeFriese

Fifth Grade Teacher

I have a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Development from Texas A&M University. I moved to Austin in 2005 and began teaching at Hill Country in 2016. I have a student in the Class of 2027.

What do you love about teaching at Hill Country?
I love the passion that the students have for the Lord. You can hear it in their prayers and in their day to day conversations with each other, and you can see it in their actions.

What is your favorite scripture?
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5

What is your teaching philosophy?
I am committed to Jesus Christ and I will integrate Biblical truths into each subject that I teach. I believe that a proper relationship between family, church, and school is essential to Christian education. It is the responsibility of the parents to teach and train a child, and I will serve as an extension of the educational process of the home. I am committed to leading children to a relationship with God and developing students who want to change the world for the glory of God.

What are your hobbies?
I love being outdoors with my family canoeing, hiking, or running. I enjoy being active by running, strength training, or just chasing my children around.

Brandi Evans

Kindergarten Teacher

Mike Giles

Fourth Grade Teacher

I have a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from Baylor University. I have lived in Austin since 1999, and I began teaching at Hill Country in 2016. 

What do you love about teaching at Hill Country?
I love being able to speak openly with students about our faith in Christ and how we can apply that faith to all aspects of our learning.

What is your favorite scripture?
“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 your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

What are your hobbies?
I love spending time with my family. I’m an avid contemporary Christian music fan, and I love Baylor sports.

Fun Fact
I write children’s books. Nothing published yet, but that’s still a goal.

Kristie Graf

Intervention Specialist and Classroom Technology

I graduated from Texas A&M University with a Bachelor in Early Education and Texas State University with a Master in Reading Education. I moved to Austin in 2006 and came to Hill Country in 2015.

What do you love about working at Hill Country?
It’s an honor to be part of the community at Hill Country! I enjoy the time I get to spend with students and see their hearts for Jesus.

What is your favorite scripture?
“But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31

What are your hobbies?
One of my favorite hobbies is reading, as there are so many great stories to learn from and to enjoy. I also enjoy sewing, gardening, and baking.

Kristin Harrison

Third Grade Teacher

I have a Bachelor of Arts in English from Texas Tech University. I was born in Austin and returned several years ago. I began teaching at Hill Country in 2016. 

What is your favorite scripture?
“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands.” Psalm 19:1

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

Fun Fact
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.

Amy Ingram

Kindergarten Teacher

I have a Bachelor of Arts in Physical Education from the University of Northern Iowa. I have lived in Austin since 2009 and began teaching at Hill Country in 2013. I have two Hill Country students, Classes of 2025 and 2027. 

What do you believe makes Hill Country distinct?
Hill Country is more than a school; it is a family. The amount of love the students, faculty, staff, and parents have for one another is amazing!

What do you love about teaching at Hill Country?
I love teaching the students to look at life through a biblical lens. Being able to help them make the connection to the Bible and to everyday life is so much fun.

What is your favorite scripture?
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3: 5-6

What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe that learning is a life-long process; therefore, teaching must be as well. No one ever “arrives”, and there is always more to learn and more to teach. We need to celebrate each victory big and small for each student along the way as we are all on our own journey, at our own pace, and learning in our own way. 

Fun Fact
I worked for ESPN and ABC sports in college.

Karen Jasek

Second Grade Teacher

I have a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education and Mental Handicaps from Northern Michigan University. I have done post-graduate study at Sam Houston State University and The University of Texas. I have lived in Austin since 1984 and began teaching at Hill Country in 2002. I have three alums, Classes of 2011, 2013, and 2015.

What do you love about teaching at Hill Country?
I enjoy teaching at Hill Country because of the relationships with students and their families. The students, parents, and I are able to pray together and praise God for the blessings in our lives. We are also able to ask Him for wisdom and intervention in life’s circumstances.

What is your favorite scripture?
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23

Fun Fact
I have been birdwatching all over the state of Texas and am a member of the Texas Ornithological Society.

Ginger Kral

Art Teacher

Kathleen Melancon

First Grade Teacher

Rickie Paules

Kindergarten Teacher

I have a Bachelor of Science in Education from Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania. I have lived in Austin since 2010 and began teaching at Hill Country in 2012.

What do you believe makes Hill Country distinct?
Hill Country is a safe and loving community. From the janitorial staff to the head master, you are greeted and made to feel loved. There is genuine care throughout our community for each other, staff, parents, and students.

What do you love about teaching at Hill Country?
One of the many reasons I love working at Hill Country is that I develop relationships with all preschool families, not just my class. As a team we love, care for, and pray for each child in our program. We become one big family. I also love that I can teach God’s truth when our culture teaches otherwise. My students learn to pray for each other, love like Jesus wants us to, and have joy in our hearts that can only come from above.

What is your favorite scripture?
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13

What is your teaching philosophy?
I want to see each child through the eyes of Jesus. They are fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of Christ. Each child is unique and created for a purpose. Getting to know and love each child helps me reach their minds and hearts so I can help them become who God created them to be.

Suzanne Pokorney

GATE Assistant

I have a Bachelor of Early Childhood Education from The University of Texas at Austin. I have lived in Austin since 1994. I worked at Hill Country in 2005 and returned in 2011. I have previously taught at the American School in Monterrey, Mexico.

What do you love about teaching at Hill Country?
I love the relationships that are formed among students, parents, and faculty members. That is truly the strength of our Hill Country community. We are a relational school, both with one another and with our God.

What is your favorite scripture?
“My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will never be shaken.” Psalm 62:1-2

Fun Fact
Before my kids were born, I had a private pilot’s license.

Sherrie Reichenau

First Grade Teacher

Marcelle Simms

Head Librarian

I have a Behavioral Science degree from Howard Payne University. I moved to Austin over 30 years ago, and I have worked at Hill Country since 1997. I have also lived in Zimbabwe!

What is your favorite scripture?
‘”He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will remain secure and rest in the shadow of the Almighty whose power no enemy can withstand. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, My God, in whom I trust with great confidence, and on whom I rely.”‘ Psalm 91:1-2

What is your teaching philosophy?
Seek first the Kingdom of God, and He will give wisdom, insight, creativity, and understanding of how to connect with others created in His image. Relationship speaks louder than activities. Life and death are in the power of the tongue. Uncovering the wonder of God’s view, His Story, in every subject is the core of teaching redemptively.

Who has had the greatest influence on your life and why?
A friend from Africa asked God to give her someone to talk to each day about God’s grace and the gift of His Son’s life so we may be part of bringing His kingdom and His will on earth. She lived this out and led hundreds to a personal relationship with God all over the world. God loves people and wants them to deeply know Him. Barbara inspires me to follow in her steps. She is a living testimony of Christ in us, showing hope and life to all we come in contact with.

Fun Fact
I love hot air ballooning!

Kerry Smelser

GATE Teacher

Lori Steward

Music Teacher

I graduated from Lee University. I was born and raised in Austin, and I began teaching at Hill Country in 2016. I have four Hill Country students, Classes of 2024, 2026, 2028, and 2030. 

What do you believe makes Hill Country distinct?
Hill Country is distinct because of the desire to provide students with the best possible learning experience through a biblical worldview. As parents, this is one of the most important convictions my husband and I have.

What do you love about teaching at Hill Country?
I am so thankful for our school leadership that has given me the liberty to implement my own creativity in the Lower School music curriculum. The students are a huge joy to me! I truly believe in and have great hope in this next generation. I am a strong believer in generational transfer and feel the need to pass on any gifts the Lord has given me to the next generation of worshippers. We all worship something. I pray that my children and students taste and see that our God is the only one worthy of worship.

What is your favorite scripture?
‘”For this reason, I tell you, “Her sins, which were many, are forgiven. For she loved much.”‘ Luke 7:47

What is your teaching philosophy?
“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” Benjamin Franklin

Tell us about one of your significant accomplishments.
I’ve been given many opportunities to lead many different group sizes and denominations in worship throughout my 30 years of experience. My greatest accomplishment is when I see my children and students give their gifts in worship to God.

Cheri Todd

Kindergarten Aide

I have a Bachelor of Science in Interior Design from The University of Texas at Austin. I have lived in Austin since 1977 and began working at Hill Country in 2008. I have three Hill Country students, Classes of 2017, 2018, and 2020.

What do you believe makes Hill Country distinct?
God wants us to look at everything in life through the filter of His Word, and that’s what Hill Country does in educating students. They teach the curriculum through a biblical lens and then “stretch” the students by helping guide them in applying it to their individual lives and situations.

What do you love about teaching at Hill Country?
I love the “small town” feel and the safe environment for our students to try things they wouldn’t normally try in a larger school atmosphere. And as they try, we, as staff and faculty, can freely give them godly encouragement and biblical direction to help lead them to personal development and success.

What is your favorite scripture?
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you, and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

What are your hobbies?
I enjoy drawing, doodling, painting and coloring…pretty much any kind of craft.

Dawn Umiker

Fourth Grade Teacher

I attended Texas State University and studied English and Communication Studies. I was born in Austin and started teaching at Hill Country in 2013. I have a Hill Country student, Class of 2025.

What do you believe makes Hill Country distinct?
The curriculum is very rich and Christ-centered.

What do you love about teaching at Hill Country?
I truly love my connections with my students and their parents.

What is your favorite scripture?
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13

What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe a teacher should meet the children where they are academically, spiritually, emotionally, and psychologically.

Tell us about one of your significant accomplishments.
One of the most significant events in my life was my baptism. I wasn’t raised in a Christian home, so when I felt the Holy Spirit move my soul, I committed my life to Him and was forever changed.

What are your hobbies?
My hobbies are working out and fitness. I love movies and anything outdoors, like hiking.

Kim Von Lehmden

Third Grade Teacher

I have a Bachelor of Arts specializing in Interdisciplinary Studies and a Master of Arts in Education from The University of Texas at San Antonio. I moved to Austin in 2005 and began teaching at Hill Country in 2006.

What do you love about teaching at Hill Country?
I love that I have freedom to be creative in the classroom as well as the support and wisdom of our administration.

What is your favorite scripture?
“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

What is your teaching philosophy?
I know that my purpose is not only to give information as knowledge, but also to impact a child’s life with our Creator as the focus. What greater calling can a teacher have than to point the way to the One that created the world out of nothing, who created me and all humans, who loves me and all others, who chose me and my neighbors.

What are your hobbies?
I enjoy cooking, gardening, and shopping.

Fun Fact
I have not seen any of the original “Star Wars” movies or “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

Natalie Wedgeworth

Third Grade Teacher

I have a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies and a Master of Education from Texas A&M University. I have lived in Austin since 2006 and began teaching at Hill Country in 2012. I have two alums, Classes of 2015 and 2016. 

What do you believe makes Hill Country distinct?
I believe Hill Country’s commitment to excellence and its unwavering love for the children that come through the doors every day in truly distinct. Both of my daughters came to Hill Country in the ninth grade, and it has proven to be a life-changing experience for my entire family. The teachers and faculty hold every child to a high standard, while loving and mentoring them just as Jesus would, with truth and grace. It is an honor to be a part of the Hill Country family.

What do you love about teaching at Hill Country?
I love having the unashamed freedom to turn my students toward the truth of God’s Word, no matter what I’m teaching. The Lord is very present in our school, and I love being a part of His purpose for His children!

What is your favorite scripture?
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” James 1: 2-3

Fun Fact
People might be surprised to learn that I was raised in a Jewish family. I became a Christian when I was 34 years old, after both of my daughters had been saved. My background is diverse and has had its challenges, but the Lord has always sought after me in a very loving and determined way!

Middle School

Edward Baptiste

Bible and P.E. Teacher

I have a degree in English Literature from Grambling State University. I have lived in Austin since 1996 and began teaching at Hill Country in 1998.

What is your favorite scripture?
“In view of God’s mercy, offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy pleasing and acceptable to God.” Romans 12:1

Who has had the greatest influence on your life and why?
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. has greatly influenced me because throughout his life he demonstrated the courage to love all people.

What are your hobbies?
I enjoy singing, creative writing, and comic books.

Jill Bayer

English and Foreign Language Department Chair

I have a bachelor’s degree from Auburn University. I have lived in Austin since 2010. I have taught every grade from 4th to 11th in my 18 years. I began teaching at Hill Country in 2011.

What do you believe makes Hill Country distinct?
Hill Country students are taught to think for themselves. It’s an environment where they are safe to be smart, creative, innovative, and boldly live their lives as believers.

What is your favorite scripture?
“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 3:13

What is your teaching philosophy?
I strive to instill a passion for learning both inside and outside the classroom. I seek to make each day’s lesson meaningful, fun, and full of opportunities for success. I choose to see each student as an individual, yet work to include all students in a positive learning environment on a daily basis. I attempt to create relationships within my classroom in hopes that not only will my students learn, but also that I may learn from them.

Tell us about one of your significant accomplishments or achievements.
I have triplet daughters who are 17 and a younger daughter who is 16!

What are your hobbies?
I enjoy studying maps and reading.

Amanda Curry

P.E. Teacher

Dave Fionda

Math and Science Department Chair

I have a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Kansas State University and a Master of Business Administration from The University of South Carolina. I have lived in Austin since 1999 and began teaching at Hill Country in 2001. I have a alum, Class of 2007. 

What do you love about teaching at Hill Country?
The students at Hill Country are genuinely a joy to be around.

What is your teaching philosophy?
I try to make difficult concepts understandable by using various teaching methods. I also try to ensure that students leave with an appreciation of how God used math in creation.

What are your hobbies?
I love to play volleyball, drums, and piano.

Katie Fredrickson '04

Humanities Teacher

I have a Bachelor of Arts in Classical Civilizations and Religious Studies. I studied at Trinity University and The University of Texas at Austin. I was born and raised in Austin. I am a 2004 Hill Country graduate, and I began teaching at Hill Country in 2012. 

What do you love about teaching at Hill Country?
I love teaching at Hill Country because of my awesome middle school students. I learn from them as much as they learn from me! I love their cheerfulness, quirkiness, and playfulness, all of which make work feel a lot less like “work.” I’ve definitely found my niche teaching these students, and I love being able to share stories with them, encourage them as they find their way, and simply enjoy being around them.

What is your favorite scripture?
Psalm 13 is my favorite scripture because it is an honest expression of struggles and hardships, but the psalmist remains faithful when he says in verses 5 and 6: “But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing the Lord’s praise, for He has been good to me.”

Who has had the greatest influence on your life and why?
My mom…hand’s down. She is a strong, passionate, and godly woman, and I am grateful to have her as a constant in my life. I can always count on her to give me comfort, wisdom, or just good conversation (and wow, we could talk for hours!). She is selfless and compassionate, and I respect her deeply for her steadfast character!

What are your hobbies?
Dance! I’ve been a dancer since I was little…tap, ballet, pointe, hip hop, jazz…and now I am so excited to be able to share this passion of mine with my students in our dance elective!

Kimberly Hannusch

Math Teacher

Angel Hernandez

Spanish Teacher

I have a degree in Spanish, Language Teaching, from The University of Texas at Austin. I have lived in Austin since 2006 and began teaching at Hill Country in 2015.

What do you believe makes Hill Country distinct?
I truly believe that students here will go on to make a difference not only for the community but also the world.

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

Who has had the greatest influence on your life and why?
My parents have had the greatest influence on my life because they constantly push me to know and love Jesus. Through good times and bad times they have taught me that Jesus truly is worth following!

What are your hobbies?
I enjoy playing basketball, volleyball, tennis, and have recently started distance running!

Carolyn Horvath

Humanities Teacher

I have a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with a minor in History from Bryn Mawr College, as well as a Master of Education in Elementary Education from Boston College. I moved to Austin in 1997 and began teaching at Hill Country in 1999. I have two students, Classes of 2021 and 2023.

Where were you born and where else have you lived?
I was born in Hiroshima, Japan and grew up in Honolulu, Hawaii.

What do you love about teaching at Hill Country?
I love teaching at Hill Country because I am free to share my love for Christ in the classroom and explain how being a Christ-follower has, is, and will impact my own life and decisions, as well as make the connections to my teaching content, without the restrictions present in public schools. When I interact with parents, I have the freedom to address biblical standards and the student’s heart, not just discipline or academics. 

What is your favorite scripture?
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6

What are your hobbies?
I love to travel, especially to locations with historical significance. I also love to dance and performed and choreographed a range of styles up through college, including ballet, jazz, tap, and both modern and ancient hula.

John Horvath

Social Studies, Bible, and Fine Arts Department Chair

I have a Bachelor of Science in Bible from Cairn University. I moved to Austin in 1997 and began teaching at Hill Country in 2000. I have two students, Classes of 2021 and 2023.

What do you love about teaching at Hill Country?
I love helping students achieve the high goals they set for themselves.

What are your hobbies?
I like playing board games, listening to music, and cooking.

Fun Fact
I have lived in Jerusalem.

Annika Jackson

Humanities Teacher

I have a Bachelor of Science in Behavior Science from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor. I have lived in Austin since 1998 and began teaching at Hill Country in 2010. I have two graduates, Classes of 2013 and 2016, and three students, Classes of 2018, 2020, and 2022. 

What do you believe makes Hill Country distinct?
The personal connections between the students and the teachers make Hill Country distinct. Additionally, the way the classical education is infused into the curriculum. It is a conscious effort to push students to think, write, and persuade at their developmental level.

What do you love about teaching at Hill Country?
I love teaching Logic and pushing the students to think about ideas and arguments rather than just being persuaded by emotional rhetoric.

What is your favorite quote?
“A lie doesn’t become truth, wrong doesn’t become right, and evil doesn’t become good, just because it’s accepted by the majority.” Rick Warren

Who has had the greatest influence on your life and why?
My mom and dad have had the greatest influence on my life. My dad takes difficult challenges head on, yet does so with respect for other people, and he consistently lived out what he preached from the pulpit. My mom taught me to never give up if things get difficult. Although school was always difficult for her, she finally earned her teaching degree and graduated from college with me. She is one of the best teachers I know, and later pursued her licensing as a dyslexia therapist while in her fifties.

Marie Layne

Art Teacher

Holley Loveday

Technology Specialist

I have a Bachelor of Science in Education from Stephen F. Austin State University. I have lived in Austin since 1999 and began working at Hill Country in 2004. I have an alum, Class of 2015, and two students, Classes of 2017 and 2021.

What do you love about working at Hill Country?
Being in a PK-12th grade school, I have the opportunity to watch as our students grow up through the years. It is such a blessing to connect with them as they move through elementary school, into middle and high school, then on to college.

What is your favorite scripture?
‘“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”’ Jeremiah 29:11-13

What are your hobbies?
I love to read, cook and bake, and do crafts, especially sewing and small painting projects.

Patty MacMullen

Theatre Teacher

I have a Bachelor of Applied Technology from Sam Houston State University. I taught in public school for 29 years, and I began teaching at Hill Country in 2012.

What is your favorite scripture?
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3: 5-6

Tell us about one of your significant accomplishments or achievements.
My students have performed at six state championships in one act play, placing 3rd in the state on two occasions and 2nd in the state on one occasion. They’ve also performed multiple times at the Texas Thespian Festival, the International Thespian Festival, and the Edinburgh, Scotland Festival Fringe. Along with three of my theatre colleagues, I am the author of a theatre resource book for teachers. We are currently writing the student resource companion book. I was inducted into the Texas Thespians Hall of Fame in 2011.

What are your hobbies?
I love to quilt and design costumes. I enjoy RV trips with my husband. My favorite things include my rescue dogs (Lola, Mystic, Wolfgang, and Foxy), my rescue cat (Shakespeare); and playing with my granddaughter.

Amanda Mathis

Latin Teacher

I have a Bachelor of the Arts with honors, double major in Latin and Greek, from Baylor University. I also have a Master of the Arts in Classical Greek from the University of Georgia, and a status of “ABD” (all but dissertation) from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I have lived in Austin since 2010 and began teaching at Hill Country in 2012. I have two Hill Country students, Classes of 2027 and 2030.

What is your favorite scripture?
I have two favorite scriptures, actually. When I was really young, John 3:16 was very special to me, and it is the earliest verse that I can remember learning. (“For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”) As a teenager I came across Matthew 19:26 at a time when I was going through some personal struggles and it really spoke to me: “For with God all things are possible.”

Tell us about one of your significant accomplishments.
I was an editorial assistant for a literary journal when I was in graduate school. I worked as a freelance editor for several years before coming to Hill Country. I still take on the occasional project during the summer. My background in Classics actually really helps me when it comes to editing.

Fun Fact
I used to love drawing, and I have illustrated two books.

Angelo Milicia

Science Teacher

I have a Bachelor of Liberal Arts from Concordia University at Austin. I was born and raised in Austin and have taught and Hill Country since 2005.

What do you love about teaching at Hill Country?
Working and coaching at Hill Country gives me an opportunity to work with students on a personal level. Coaching allows me to see what makes them tick and what motivates them, and I can then translate that into teaching in the classroom.

What is your favorite scripture?
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

Fun Fact
As a 7th grader, if I wanted to make it to school on time, I would have to drive myself. It was a bit awkward parking next to my teachers, but I enjoyed school and wanted to be there.

Kathryn Rightmyer

Intervention Specialist

Laura Schulenburg

Humanities Teacher

I have a Bachelor of Arts in Teacher of History with a minor in English from the University of Illinois at Chicago. I have lived in Austin since 2015 and began teaching at Hill Country in 2016.

What is your favorite scripture?
My favorite verse is Psalm 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God.” It has been in both the discipline of stillness and the deafening stillness of trials that God has revealed His love, power, and majesty to me.

What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe that every student matters and deserves to be treated with respect. I also believe that it is the student’s responsibility to do the work of learning and the teacher’s responsibility to try every means available in order to inspire a love of learning in the student. There is a vital partnership between the teacher and the students that must happen for the classroom experience to be successful.

Tell us about one of your significant accomplishments.
I have two sons who are remarkable young men. I know their parents well and cannot explain how they turned out as well as they have, except by the grace of God. Because I have had the privilege of feeding them and driving them to school and practices, I consider this to be one of my significant achievements in life. (Seriously, if I had it my way we would have just stayed home and played.)

What are your hobbies?
I love to read, craft, walk, hike, and play ultimate frisbee and tennis.

Will Scott

Director of Fine Arts

I graduated from Texas State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication with a Business minor. I moved to Austin in 2008 and began teaching at Hill Country in 2014.

What do you love about teaching at Hill Country?
I believe Hill Country has several unique characteristics that have drawn me to love it more and more. I appreciate the opportunity to integrate Biblical truths, doctrine, and history into my lesson plans. I think we, as Christians, often unintentionally compartmentalize academics apart from faith. In this environment, I’m given the opportunity to bring these two systems together and show our students how they coincide and function with each other. The other characteristic that stands out is simply the talent potential of the student body. I’m constantly amazed by the broad stretch of talent represented by this tight-knit group. Already I’ve seen incredible displays of musicianship, artistry, filmmaking, athleticism, and scholarship. The more I get to see their talents displayed, the more I wish I had been as talented as they are when I was their age.

What is your favorite scripture?
“We love because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:19

What are your hobbies?
I enjoy playing sports (particularly basketball and soccer), creating and playing music, and producing short films. If eating tex-mex and bar-b-q count as a hobby, I’m in!

Fun Fact
My great, great, great, great, granddad was one of George Washington’s private guards.

Jacob Strubhar

Math Teacher

I have a Bachelor of Science in Public Relations with a minor in Business Management from Bradley University. I moved to Austin and began teaching at Hill Country in 2011.

What do you believe makes Hill Country distinct?
Our small student-to-teacher ratio means that no student goes unnoticed. They are all known for both their strengths and weak areas. This is crucial for teachers who want to teach students effectively.

What is your teaching philosophy?
Students need teachers who will hold them accountable for their end of the bargain, putting in hard work and taking their studies seriously. Paired with a teacher’s ability to recognize issues and spend one-on-one time with each student, all students will have the opportunity to succeed.

What are your hobbies?
I enjoy woodworking, playing guitar, and leading the school’s drumline.

Fun Fact
I was born in Vienna, Austria and I am the oldest of nine children. 

 

High School

Jill Bayer

English and Foreign Language Department Chair

I have a bachelor’s degree from Auburn University. I have lived in Austin since 2010. I have taught every grade from 4th to 11th in my 18 years. I began teaching at Hill Country in 2011.

What do you believe makes Hill Country distinct?
Hill Country students are taught to think for themselves. It’s an environment where they are safe to be smart, creative, innovative, and boldly live their lives as believers.

What is your favorite scripture?
“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 3:13

What is your teaching philosophy?
I strive to instill a passion for learning both inside and outside the classroom. I seek to make each day’s lesson meaningful, fun, and full of opportunities for success. I choose to see each student as an individual, yet work to include all students in a positive learning environment on a daily basis. I attempt to create relationships within my classroom in hopes that not only will my students learn, but also that I may learn from them.

Tell us about one of your significant accomplishments or achievements.
I have triplet daughters who are 17 and a younger daughter who is 16!

What are your hobbies?
I enjoy studying maps and reading.

Dr. Art Cheng

Science Teacher

I have a Bachelor of Science in Cell Biology and Anatomy from the University of Illinois, and a Doctor of Medicine from Chicago Medical School. I have lived in Austin since 2008, and I began teaching at Hill Country in 2015. I am also a practicing pediatrician. I have three Hill Country students, Classes of 2024, 2026, and 2029.

What do you love about teaching at Hill Country?
I love interacting with, and hopefully influencing, tomorrow’s movers and shakers. My students are the same age I was when I made some important decisions that make me who I am today.

What is your favorite scripture?
“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

What is your teaching philosophy?
I teach anatomy and am convinced there is a lot to learn about God in how he designed us. Order, purpose, and beauty are prevalent from the molecular level to the complete body.

What are your hobbies?
Teaching myself guitar. (I secretly want to be a rock star when I grow up!)

Robert Cole

Math Teacher

Matt Donnowitz

Humanities Teacher

I have a Bachelor of Arts from Purdue University, and a Master of Arts in Biblical Studies from Trinity School for Ministry. I moved to Austin and began teaching at Hill Country in 2016. I have a future Hill Country student, Class of 2034!

What do you believe makes Hill Country distinct?
I believe Hill Country’s classical approach to education, coupled with a biblical worldview, builds intellectual and moral strength of the highest degree. Students learn how to live well for the glory of God.

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.”

What is your teaching philosophy?
My goal is to teach my students to think like professionals in the fields I teach, and to do so from a biblical frame of reference.

Dave Fionda

Math and Science Department Chair

I have a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Kansas State University and a Master of Business Administration from The University of South Carolina. I have lived in Austin since 1999 and began teaching at Hill Country in 2001. I have a alum, Class of 2007. 

What do you love about teaching at Hill Country?
The students at Hill Country are genuinely a joy to be around.

What is your teaching philosophy?
I try to make difficult concepts understandable by using various teaching methods. I also try to ensure that students leave with an appreciation of how God used math in creation.

What are your hobbies?
I love to play volleyball, drums, and piano.

Kimberly Hannusch

Math Teacher

Angel Hernandez

Spanish Teacher

I have a degree in Spanish, Language Teaching, from The University of Texas at Austin. I have lived in Austin since 2006 and began teaching at Hill Country in 2015.

What do you believe makes Hill Country distinct?
I truly believe that students here will go on to make a difference not only for the community but also the world.

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

Who has had the greatest influence on your life and why?
My parents have had the greatest influence on my life because they constantly push me to know and love Jesus. Through good times and bad times they have taught me that Jesus truly is worth following!

What are your hobbies?
I enjoy playing basketball, volleyball, tennis, and have recently started distance running!

Mary Lou Herring

Humanities Teacher

I have a Bachelor of Arts double major in Communications and Literature from Grove City College. I have lived in Austin since 1993 and began teaching at Hill Country in 2003. 

What do you love about teaching at Hill Country?
The best thing about our curricula is that we weave the life-saving story of Jesus into all we do. It’s less about spouting Bible quotes and more about living with integrity before the Lord. We share that joy, the eternal kind not based on temporary happiness, with our students. And when they know it’s real, they ask questions, they share their stories, and they come to us for prayer and support long after they leave our classrooms. What a continuous blessing!

What is your teaching philosophy?
Learning is best when it is actively pursued, so I love project-based learning. Some of our overarching projects take a whole semester or more to complete. This gives students time to digest, participate, incorporate, question, and own the information, as well as to see ways that make it relevant to their lives.

Who has had the greatest influence on your life and why?
Besides Jesus, my mother is my greatest influence. She raised seven children on her own in a day when it wasn’t done. She worked for the public school system as the superintendent’s secretary, often long hours and evenings. We were poor but I didn’t know it then. Education for her children was extremely important. She worked to put us in a private Christian school and told us we could be anything as long as we were willing to work for it. All seven of us have college educations, some through scholarships or grants, all working through college, and some through the military. We grew up in a perpetually learning community. God made an awesome world and set us loose in it to find his surprises. How blessed we are to have the capacity to learn.

John Horvath

Social Studies, Bible, and Fine Arts Department Chair

I have a Bachelor of Science in Bible from Cairn University. I moved to Austin in 1997 and began teaching at Hill Country in 2000. I have two students, Classes of 2021 and 2023.

What do you love about teaching at Hill Country?
I love helping students achieve the high goals they set for themselves.

What are your hobbies?
I like playing board games, listening to music, and cooking.

Fun Fact
I have lived in Jerusalem.

Annika Jackson

Humanities Teacher

I have a Bachelor of Science in Behavior Science from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor. I have lived in Austin since 1998 and began teaching at Hill Country in 2010. I have two graduates, Classes of 2013 and 2016, and three students, Classes of 2018, 2020, and 2022. 

What do you believe makes Hill Country distinct?
The personal connections between the students and the teachers make Hill Country distinct. Additionally, the way the classical education is infused into the curriculum. It is a conscious effort to push students to think, write, and persuade at their developmental level.

What do you love about teaching at Hill Country?
I love teaching Logic and pushing the students to think about ideas and arguments rather than just being persuaded by emotional rhetoric.

What is your favorite quote?
“A lie doesn’t become truth, wrong doesn’t become right, and evil doesn’t become good, just because it’s accepted by the majority.” Rick Warren

Who has had the greatest influence on your life and why?
My mom and dad have had the greatest influence on my life. My dad takes difficult challenges head on, yet does so with respect for other people, and he consistently lived out what he preached from the pulpit. My mom taught me to never give up if things get difficult. Although school was always difficult for her, she finally earned her teaching degree and graduated from college with me. She is one of the best teachers I know, and later pursued her licensing as a dyslexia therapist while in her fifties.

Tammy Johannessen

Humanities Teacher

I have a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from The University of Texas at Austin and a Master of Arts in Political Science from Texas State University. I have lived in Austin since 1990. I taught at Hill Country from 1998-2004 and returned in 2015. I have a Hill Country alum, Class of 2004.

What is your favorite scripture?
“Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching, show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.” Titus 2:7-8

What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe in training students to think for themselves, work diligently, and be prepared to see what God is doing both historically and currently in this world. I view my students as gifts from God with whom to develop relationships for the Kingdom.

What are your hobbies?
Spending time with my three grandsons is my favorite past time.

Marie Layne

Art Teacher

Holley Loveday

Technology Specialist

I have a Bachelor of Science in Education from Stephen F. Austin State University. I have lived in Austin since 1999 and began working at Hill Country in 2004. I have an alum, Class of 2015, and two students, Classes of 2017 and 2021.

What do you love about working at Hill Country?
Being in a PK-12th grade school, I have the opportunity to watch as our students grow up through the years. It is such a blessing to connect with them as they move through elementary school, into middle and high school, then on to college.

What is your favorite scripture?
‘“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”’ Jeremiah 29:11-13

What are your hobbies?
I love to read, cook and bake, and do crafts, especially sewing and small painting projects.

Patty MacMullen

Theatre Teacher

I have a Bachelor of Applied Technology from Sam Houston State University. I taught in public school for 29 years, and I began teaching at Hill Country in 2012.

What is your favorite scripture?
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3: 5-6

Tell us about one of your significant accomplishments or achievements.
My students have performed at six state championships in one act play, placing 3rd in the state on two occasions and 2nd in the state on one occasion. They’ve also performed multiple times at the Texas Thespian Festival, the International Thespian Festival, and the Edinburgh, Scotland Festival Fringe. Along with three of my theatre colleagues, I am the author of a theatre resource book for teachers. We are currently writing the student resource companion book. I was inducted into the Texas Thespians Hall of Fame in 2011.

What are your hobbies?
I love to quilt and design costumes. I enjoy RV trips with my husband. My favorite things include my rescue dogs (Lola, Mystic, Wolfgang, and Foxy), my rescue cat (Shakespeare); and playing with my granddaughter.

Jyoti Milner

Science Teacher

Karen Nazarenus

Humanities and Spanish Teacher

Sarah Novlan

Humanities Teacher

Jessica Pyo

Academic and College Advisor

Kathryn Rightmyer

Intervention Specialist

Will Scott

Director of Fine Arts

I graduated from Texas State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication with a Business minor. I moved to Austin in 2008 and began teaching at Hill Country in 2014.

What do you love about teaching at Hill Country?
I believe Hill Country has several unique characteristics that have drawn me to love it more and more. I appreciate the opportunity to integrate Biblical truths, doctrine, and history into my lesson plans. I think we, as Christians, often unintentionally compartmentalize academics apart from faith. In this environment, I’m given the opportunity to bring these two systems together and show our students how they coincide and function with each other. The other characteristic that stands out is simply the talent potential of the student body. I’m constantly amazed by the broad stretch of talent represented by this tight-knit group. Already I’ve seen incredible displays of musicianship, artistry, filmmaking, athleticism, and scholarship. The more I get to see their talents displayed, the more I wish I had been as talented as they are when I was their age.

What is your favorite scripture?
“We love because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:19

What are your hobbies?
I enjoy playing sports (particularly basketball and soccer), creating and playing music, and producing short films. If eating tex-mex and bar-b-q count as a hobby, I’m in!

Fun Fact
My great, great, great, great, granddad was one of George Washington’s private guards.

Hannah Sorley

Math Teacher

I have a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Texas. I have lived in Austin since 2010, and I began teaching at Hill Country in 2016. 

What is your favorite scripture?
“I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing” John 15:5

Who has had the greatest influence on your life and why?
My parents have had the greatest influence on my life. They have been married for over 25 years, and they continue to show each other and my siblings and me what it means to love each other as well as others as Jesus calls us to love one another.

Tell us about one of your significant accomplishments.
One of my most significant accomplishments was when I finished a full marathon. Running 26.2 miles wasn’t easy, but with dedication, hard work, and preparation that lasted multiple months, it was a great achievement that I am very proud of!

Fun Fact
I have a twin sister, who is very similar, but also very different from me. We were in the same major and same sorority at rival universities. I am a Longhorn and she is an Aggie. She works as an engineer in Houston, TX and I am a teacher in Austin, TX. While different, we are still best friends!

Tina Tsuei

Humanities Teacher

I have a Bachelor of Economics from the University of Pennsylvania and a Masters in Public Affairs from the University of Minnesota. I have lived in Austin since 1998 and began teaching at Hill Country in 2012.

Do you have any children who are students or alums?
I have a student in the Class of 2022.

What do you believe makes Hill Country distinct?
The staff of Hill Country strives for excellence in all things. Everyone models Colossians 3:23: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord.”

What do you love about teaching at Hill Country?
C.S. Lewis wrote, “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see all things.” At Hill Country, Biblical integration means that we view every lesson through the lens of scripture. I love the conversations we have in class about the relevance of Jesus to what we are learning.

What is your favorite scripture?
One of my favorite verses is Romans 8:32: “He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him graciously give us all things?”

What is your teaching philosophy?
As a teacher, I strive to prepare my lessons with diligence, to present them with enthusiasm, and most important, to love my students, while relying on the power of the Spirit to make my work count for eternity.

Evan Wiatrek

Science Teacher

I have degrees in Biology and Chemistry from Liberty University. I moved to Austin in 1986 and began teaching at Hill Country in 2016.

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 love the opportunity to build close relationships with students and the opportunity to show Christ’s love through those relationships.

What is your favorite scripture?
“Praise be to the Lord my Rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle.” Psalm 144:1

What is your teaching philosophy?
“Whatever you do, work at it with all of your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.” (Colossians 3:23) I want to be the very best teacher, mentor and coach that I can be.

Fun Fact
I am an accomplished swimmer.

Support Staff

Christine Aguayo

Admissions Assistant

I studied Business Management at Mesa College in San Diego. I moved to Austin and began working at Hill Country in 2016.

What is your favorite scripture?
“Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.” Psalm 118:1

Who has had the greatest influence on your life and why?
My youth pastors. They loved me unconditionally, and it was their faithful and unfailing love that pointed me to Jesus!

What are your hobbies?
I enjoy spending time with my family. My favorite activities include swimming, hiking and reading.

Fun Fact
My favorite vacation of all time was visiting and exploring Israel with our church leadership team!

Mike Alexander

Network Administrator

Ola Mae Bulkley

Database Coordinator and Registrar

I have lived in Austin since 1995 and began working at Hill Country in 2013.

What do you love about working at Hill Country?
I love that the parents of Hill Country students are friendly and appreciative of our care for their children. I love that parents and co-workers take such good care of our staff, especially when we have a need in our lives.

What is your favorite scripture?
“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for. By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.” Hebrews 11:1-3

Who has had the greatest influence on your life and why?
My parents. They have persevered through many trials and trust God’s plan for their lives.

What are your hobbies?
I love coffee, board games, and leisurely walks.

Fun Fact
I have four sisters and 27 first cousins!

Feliza Conway

Library Assistant

I studied at Hagerstown Community College and am a Registered Nurse. I have lived in Austin since 1993 and began working at Hill Country in 2013. I have two students, Classes of 2018 and 2019.

What do you believe makes Hill Country distinct?
The focused learning makes Hill Country distinct. Hill Country prioritizes studies that truly prepare students for college and life beyond rather than giving busy work for the sake of having work.

What do you love about working at Hill Country?
I love the partnership between parents and staff as we work toward the best education possible for the students. I love watching the children reach their reading goals.

What is your favorite scripture?
‘Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”’ Exodus 14: 13-14

What are your hobbies or your favorite things?
I enjoy reading, music, spending time with family, and being outdoors.

Stancey Curry

Lunch Coordinator

Chris Ebner

Computer Technician

Kelly Flores

Receptionist

Leslie Glace

Substitute Coordinator

I have lived in Austin since 1980, and I began working at Hill Country in 2016. I have three Hill Country students, Classes of 2018, 2021, and 2023.

What do you love about working at Hill Country?
The thing I love most about working at Hill Country is seeing firsthand the emphasis our staff puts on spiritual growth within our community of students. By graduation, Hill Country students are not only prepared for college, but also have a firm spiritual foundation.

What is your favorite scripture?
“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 41:10

What are your hobbies?
I enjoy watching sports, specifically football, basketball, and volleyball (it’s an added bonus if my kids are the athletes). I also enjoy decorating and creating personalized items using machine embroidery.

Rebecca Glace

Upper School Assistant

I attended The University of Texas at Austin. I have lived in Austin since 1988, and I have worked at Hill Country since 2008. I have a Hill Country alum, Class of 2014, and two students, Classes of 2017 and 2019.

What do you believe makes Hill Country distinct?
The longevity of so many employees and students makes us distinct. There is such richness in long-standing relationships, which is a rarity in our culture these days.

What do you love about working at Hill Country?
I love how our students, including my own children, learn that God is an intimate part of every aspect of their lives and the world around them. They hear how God designed everything from the most intricate workings of the human body to the precision of mathematical equations and everything in between.

What is your favorite scripture?
“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 41:10

What are your hobbies?
I enjoy being outdoors when the sun is shining, hiking, running, walking, and biking. I also enjoy playing games and doing puzzles.

Alice Goulet

Bookkeeper

I graduated from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing. I came to Austin in 2000 and started working at Hill Country in 2008. 

What do you believe makes Hill Country distinct?
Our staff is deeply caring, practices servanthood daily, and models biblical principles.

What is your favorite scripture?
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6

Tell us about one of your significant accomplishments.
I won Chairman and President’s awards at the advertising company I worked for in Chicago. I got to see Bermuda and Santa Fe for free!

Fun Fact
I was raised on a chicken farm. We grew all our own vegetables and canned them.

Janet Holder

Nurse

I have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Texas at Austin. I have lived in Austin for over 40 years. I have served in the medical field for more than 25 years, and I have worked at Hill Country since 2006.

What do you love about working at Hill Country?
I love the amazing parent support and the privilege to love on the children when they come into the nurse’s clinic.

What is your favorite scripture or quote?
“For I know the plans I have for you says the Lord. Plans for a future with hope not calamity.” Jeremiah 29:11

Who has had the greatest influence on your life and why?
My paternal grandmother’s unconditional love, prayers, and encouragement while I was growing up had the greatest influence on my life. She led by example and was a Christian light to me.

What are your hobbies?
I love to walk, hike, ride bikes, and play tennis.

Jane Infanti

Athletics Assistant

I have a degree in Business Administration from Technical College in England. I have lived in Austin since 2012 and began working at Hill Country in 2016. I have two Hill Country students, Classes of 2024 and 2027. 

What do you believe makes Hill Country distinct?
The Lower School Speech Meet stands out. It is truly amazing to see all of the children take part in an event that is designed to help them later in life, in whatever career they pursue, and will also equip them to stand before others and be a witness for Jesus and the Kingdom.

What do you love about working at Hill Country?
I love interacting with the high school students, as well as the kids in my own children’s grades. To see the time investment that the staff pours in to each child coming to fruition in the older students is amazing.

What is your favorite scripture?
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3: 5-6

What are your hobbies?
I enjoy reading and creating fun things on my silhouette machine to give to others.

Ann LaLanne

Receptionist

I have a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance from Southwest Texas State University. I have lived in Austin since 1993 and began working at Hill Country in 2012.

What do you believe makes Hill Country distinct?
The Christian worldview lived out in the staff, families and students makes us distinct.

What do you love about working at Hill Country?
The parents are awesome! I love how they love on the staff with so much passion, grace, and mercy. Their prayers and support are an encouragement to me.

What are your hobbies?
I love water sports – swimming, kayaking, jet skiing…well until I fractured my ankle in five places!

Fun Fact
We have a Texas shaped pool in our backyard with a star right where Austin is!

Amie McLachlan

Project Manager and Administrative Assistant

Sharon Mitchell

Upper School Assistant

I have a degree in Electrical Engineering Technology from Collin County Community College. I have lived in Austin since 1992 and began working at Hill Country in 2015. I have an alum, Class of 2013.

What do you love about working at Hill Country?
I love the praying teachers and staff and the real concern for students’ hearts as well as for their academics.

Who has had the greatest influence on your life and why?
My former coworker Lois Young had a great influence on my life. She witnessed to me on my first engineering job, all the time, even when I told her I was not interested, and continually lifted me up in prayer.

Fun Fact
I was born in Venezuela.

Angela Muller

Nurse

I have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Texas Science Center at San Antonio and  a certification in Reproductive Endocrinology. I was born in Austin, and I began working at Hill Country in 2011. I have two Hill Country students, Classes of 2018 and 2020.

What do you love about working at Hill Country?
The ministry is what I love the most. Not only does the staff care about educating the students in preparation for college, but also they prepare the students spiritually.

What is your teaching philosophy?
As a coach, it’s important to teach the athletes fundamentals and progress from there. But even more important is teaching them spiritual fundamentals, life application of scripture, and what a true relationship with Christ looks like.

What are your hobbies?
I love fitness and creating healthy recipes. I love collecting shoes that are also art. I love to follow fashion trends. Working in the garden and touching God’s creation (dirt, plants, etc.) has always been gratifying.

Fun Fact
I love MMA (mixed martial arts)! I used to box.

Lisa Pantoja

Human Resources Administrator

I have a background in Communication Security with the U.S. Army. I have lived in Austin since 2007 and began working at Hill Country in 2012. I have an alum, Class of 2013.

What do you love about working at Hill Country?
I love Hill Country. I have said before that my blood runs navy blue. I love to see that same passion in our students, parents, and faculty.

What is your favorite scripture?
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, 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 your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

What are your hobbies?
I enjoy cooking. The fellowship that comes from sharing a meal or a cooking experience is priceless. I also enjoy playing golf.

Fun Facts
I worked at the Pentagon during my Army service and have lived in South Korea.

Janet Snapp

Preschool Teacher

I studied at Schreiner University. I was born and raised in Austin. I have three Hill Country students, Classes of 2019, 2023, and 2030.

What do you believe makes Hill Country distinct?
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 is your favorite quote?
“Being happy doesn’t mean that everything is perfect. It means that you’ve decided to look beyond the imperfections.”

What are your hobbies or favorite things?
I like hugs, smiles, period dramas with English accents, and I like that every day is a new day.

Annette Vickers

Knights Care Coordinator

I have live in Austin since 1986 and began working at Hill Country in 2002. I have two Hill Country alums, Classes of 2005 and 2009, and a current student, Class of 2018.

What is your favorite scripture?
“For God so loved the world he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

Who has had the greatest influence on your life and why?
My mother has had the greatest influence on me. She loved God and lived each day showing that love through her actions, not just her words. Even though she has passed away, her influence is still with me.

What are your hobbies?
My favorite things are reading and spending time with my precious granddaughter. I am blessed to be able to tell her how much God loves her.

Fun Fact
I am the youngest of nine children (6 brothers and 2 sisters).

Ambur Willis

Graphic Design & Marketing Assistant

I studied at Virginia Commonwealth University. I moved to Austin in 2015 and began working at Hill Country in 2016.

What do you believe makes Hill Country distinct?
I am continually amazed by the brilliance of every member of the Hill Country team.

What do you love about working at Hill Country?
I love beginning meetings with prayer and seeing how every aspect of the school is run with the Bible as its standard of excellence.

What is your favorite scripture?
“We need have no fear of someone who loves us perfectly; his perfect love for us eliminates all dread of what he might do to us. If we are afraid, it is for fear of what he might do to us and shows that we are not fully convinced that he really loves us.” 1 John 4:18

Who has had the greatest influence on your life and why?
My mother has had the greatest influence on my life and has shown me the meaning of unconditional love and kindness.

What are your hobbies?
I enjoy geeking out over design and fonts. I also enjoy reading and binge watching Netflix shows with my husband.

Fun Fact
I met my husband on eHarmony.

Back to top