Dick Buckingham has been in the Christian school arena for 34 years as both a teacher and administrator. He has a love for the Lord and the Truth and a passion for sharing both with the next generation. He is a graduate of Reformed Episcopal Seminary and has served on staff in several churches both in the Valley and the greater Philadelphia area. He is the father of three godly men, all who are graduates of Faith Christian School. Dick has been married to his best friend, Gwen, for 38 years and counting. The blessing of his life is being “papa” to grandchildren Lilly (9), Issac (7), Zeke (4) and Judith (1). “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5
One of the founders of Faith in 1988.
Attends Redemption Church Gilbert.
Elementary Principal, Math, and Elementary Recorders
As a product of Christian schools, Meridith understands first-hand the value and importance of “training up a child in the way he should go” and has been honored to serve as a teacher and principal at Faith Christian School for the past 16 years. Music and education are her passions in life, and she has been blessed to pursue careers in both. She received her Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance from Grand Canyon University and loves to use her gifts to serve the Lord in leading worship or sharing her faith in the professional and community theater world. The Lord led Meridith to FCS while she was completing her M.Ed. in Elementary Ed through GCU and she has since also completed her M.A.Ed in Administration and Supervision through University of Phoenix. She has 4 amazing daughters who daily put a song in her heart: Cadynce (13), Lyrick (10), Aryia (7), and Beaux (5). Psalm 100:1-2, “Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth. Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.”
Joined the Faith Family in 2003.
Attends Mission Community Church
Secondary Principal, Guidance, Math, English
Mrs. Smith loves Christian education, not just because her kids go to a Christian school, but because she experienced it herself. She is a graduate of FCS and loves every minute of being a teacher here. Her life is enriched by her husband, Brent, and her three sons: Levi (17), Caleb (14), and Drew (10). Jennie received her Bachelor’s degree at Grand Canyon University and has also completed her Master of Arts in Teaching with an emphasis in Teacher Leadership. Her life verse is from 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18: “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
Joined the Faith Family faculty in 1996, but is an FCS alumni. (Class of ’92).
Attends New Hope Community Church.
Secondary Assistant Principal, History, and Bible
Mr. Russo has been a valued member of our staff for 10 years. He and his wife Judi serve the school and their community in a variety of ways. Their daughter, Marissa, is a graduate of FCS. Mr. Russo received a BS in Finance from Northern Arizona University and Master of Divinity from Phoenix Seminary.
Sec. Assistant Principal*
Mrs. Copps has been teaching in grades K, 1, and 2 for 26 years. She and her husband of 45 years, Richard, have been blessed with 3 children and 9 grandchildren. They attend Living Word Church. Nancy received a BA in Education from University of Pacific. Her favorite part of being a teacher is teaching Bible and Reading. It is a joy to see the children’s faith in Christ grow through the Bible teaching, praise and prayer. She enjoys playing games and involving the children in learning through hands on experiences. Mrs. Copps has been part of the Faith Family since 2006.
1st and 2nd Grade
Mrs. Reece is joining the Faith Family this year, and we are so grateful that God has provided her for our 1st and 2nd grade students. She and her husband David have 4 kids, all of whom will be joining FCS as well this year. She is new to the Valley, moving recently from Cedar Lake, Indiana. She is enthusiastic, energetic and experienced as a Christian school teacher.
1st & 2nd Grade
3rd and 4th Grade
Mrs. Jozwiak is in her 7th year at Faith Christian School, having spent nearly 20 years in Christian education. She loves working with children and fosters a love of learning in her students; especially in the area of science. She and her late husband, Bennie, have 4 daughters and 9 grandchildren. Shirley received BA and M.Ed from Arizona State University. She attends Skyline Fellowship church.
Isaiah 40: 31 “But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
3rd & 4th Grade
5th and 6th Grade Teacher
Pam has served in many areas of ministry over the years, and we are thrilled to have her teach our 5th and 6th grade students. She has directed our drama program as well as our Student Leadership Council for many years, so we were so blessed to have join the teaching staff in 2016. She and her husband are the parents of Bethany James, an FCS alum who is now part of the staff as well. They attend the Rock Assembly of God church. Her favorite part of teaching is recognizing the moment a student understands a new concept she has taught. Her life verse is Jeremiah 29:11, “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.”
5th & 6th Grade
Amy has been an integral part of our staff since 2010. Serving in Christian education for almost 20 years, she provides years of knowledge and expertise to her various social studies and band classes. She and her husband Dean are parents to 3 children, all of whom are graduates from Christian schools. Amy and Dean attend Cornerstone Church. She earned her BA in Educational Studies from Ottawa University.
Mr. Tunnicliff has been a great addition to our staff since 2016. He loves science and math, but his favorite part of teaching these subjects is that he gets to show students the incredible beauty and design that is shown in God’s creation. He has been married to his wife Lauren for 5 years and they have just recently (July 13, 2017) had their first baby girl Julia. His favorite verse is James 1:2 which shows that God uses trials in our lives to help build us into the people that He wants us to be. He has a bachelors in biochemistry from Northern Arizona University and a Masters in Divinity from Phoenix Seminary.
Art, Elementary Computers
Art, Elem. Computers
Mrs. Moore is joining the Faith Family this year, and we are so grateful that God has provided her for our elementary students. Amanda Moore is a graduate of Rhode Island College with a Bachelor’s in Music Education and also a holds a Master’s of Art in Education from Cornerstone University. She has 5 years teaching experience in a general music and choral classroom. She is married to her best friend, Jared Moore, who is the Lead Pastor of Trinity Church. She is the mother to three wonderful kids. Amanda is a fitness enthusiast and marathoner. She loves Jesus with her whole heart and is thrilled to teach your children music.
Bethany is a graduate of Faith Christian School who joined the staff in 2016 to direct the Worship Team. She has earned a Bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University. She loves being able to pass on the knowledge of what she learned as a student at FCS and to teach new songs and concepts to her class. She has taken advantage of many opportunities to participate in worship teams and to foster leadership in others. She attends The Rock Church. She is encouraged by Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 because it serves as a constant reminder that everything happens for a reason and that there is no need to worry about what will happen because we are all right where God wants us to be right now.
Mr. Fontes has enjoyed being both a Special Education Teacher for the past 5 years and a 1st – 4th grade Sunday School teacher for the past 8 years, so he jumped at the opportunity to blend his love of teaching academics and teaching the Word of God by joining the Faith Christian family and leading the STEP team. He is looking forward to developing strong, spiritually based educational relationships with the children attending our program so they not only succeed in school but in life! Josh is a huge New England Patriots fan and, ironically, his wife Denna is a huge fan of the Denver Broncos; his 2 daughters, Lilliana and Nayeli, claim to be fans of the Denver Patriots. He loves running and participates in at least two full marathons per year. Josh and his family attend Central Christian Church in Gilbert where he plans to continue working in the Kid’s Ministry program.
Psalms 32:8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.
Joined the Faith Family in 2017
Michelle and her husband Glenn have been part of the Faith family for many years. Each of their 4 children have attended FCS and 2 are now alumni. Michelle joined the staff in 2012 and her servant’s heart has been a blessing to our staff and students alike. She loves seeing the smile on a student’s face when they finally understand a concept with which they have been struggling. Her education from Christian schools and her years spent homeschooling her children have uniquely prepared her for current role. The verse God has placed on her heart recently comes from the Beatitudes in Matthew 5:4, “Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted.” Michelle and her family attend HiWay Baptist Church.
Mr. Stover’s background includes roles as a Christian Education Director/Associate Pastor, Headmaster—campus and home school, Language Arts Department Head, and Para-professional Special Education. His experience in special education working with struggling learners enabled him to develop a keen understanding of both the physical and social challenges these students face. His life has been dedicated to providing the best possible opportunity to youth for them to prosper in their lives, both during their high school years and their post high school years. An exceptional and compassionate leader; he is known for his unique ability to connect with his students.
This is Franklin’s fourth rewarding year with Faith Christian. He received his M.A. from Bob Jones University. He and his wife attend Redemption Church, Gilbert.
Carol Lerner has a passion for teaching. She homeschooled her five children for 16 years. 2017-2018 is her first year teaching at FCS. Her youngest son Uriah has been attending FCS for 3 years, and will graduate in 2019. She and her husband Bill have been married for 27 years. She loves music and plays the violin from time to time at her church, Hi-Way Baptist in Mesa, where she also teaches the ladies Bible study. Her favorite subjects to teach are Bible, science and reading.
Treasa joined the Faith Family in 2016, and we are so glad to have her as part of our staff.
Christine has a professional background in banking, office management, and real estate. She was also blessed to be a stay-at-home mom for many years, and homeshooled her daughter for four years. She has three children including two adult sons and a teen-aged daughter. Christine attends San Tan Bible Church. She joined the Faith Family in 2017.
Brenda has been an important part of the FCS office staff since 2012. She and her husband Jeff celebrated 30 years of marriage this year. They have 2 children and 7 grandchildren. Her favorite part of her job is being part of a “family” that truly cares about each student’s education and worldview. She has over 30 years of experience in business operation management with a focus on account management, compliance, business development, and project management. Her favorite verse is 2 Chronicles 16:9a, “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him.” She and her husband attend Redemption Church in Gilbert.
Kimber assists the Administrator with his duties and coordinates the fundraising events. She loves being on campus with all of her coworkers and students who she considers to be “family”. Kimber has 2 children, David (15) and Brooke (9), and together they attend Sun Valley Community Church. She joined the Faith Family in 2012.
Michelle, along with each of her 3 siblings, is a graduate of Faith Christian School. Upon graduating, she began pursuing her college degree while serving as a TA for the Worship Team. She was thrilled to later become the 5th and 6th grade teacher and Lead Elementary Teacher. Michelle is currently in her 10th year on staff at FCS. She and her husband, Erik have been married for 5 years and have two beautiful children, Cooper (2) and Riley (born Oct. 2018). She has spent the last 2 years working as an administrative assistant managing the school’s website, social media, weekly publications, marketing materials, and more. She received a BS in Family and Human Development from Arizona State University.
Lisa works as the assistant to the secondary principal at Faith and is responsible for various administrative tasks that allow Mrs. Smith to continue doing what she loves: teach! Lisa is a devoted wife to Drew and loving mother to 3 children Ella, Micah, and Justin who all attend Faith. She loves the opportunity she has to work alongside such wonderful teachers and staff. Lisa studied Finance and Accounting at Northern Arizona University and Western International University and has over 20 years of experience in administration and customer service, the last 12 of which have been in education. She joined the staff in 2016.
School Board President
School Board Vice President
Board Vice President
School Board Secretary
Drew Bierlein is a project management and technology professional from Northern Indiana. He first came to Arizona in 2003 on a temporary consulting assignment with the Arizona Department of Revenue. After meeting his wife Lisa in 2004 he immediately knew she was worth trading lake effect snow for the Phoenix summers and chose to make the temporary relocation permanent.
Drew is currently a Senior Project Manager with the Salt River Project (SRP), managing technology projects ranging from building water management applications to purchasing power plants. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Systems and is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) and member of the Phoenix chapter of the Project Management Institute (PMI).
A second generation Eagle Scout, Drew has been active with the Boy Scouts of America for 15 years, currently serving as the Cubmaster of Pack 923 and Assistant Scoutmaster of Troop 923. He and Lisa have 3 children and are active members of Redemption Church Gateway in Mesa.
School Board Treasurer
“I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.” Phil 4:13
School Board Member
School Board Member
Isaac believes strongly in the need for Christian education. In addition to equipping children to be productive adults, it provides the foundation for inoculating them against the world’s destructive message. While a Christian education will not save children, it gives them the tools and information to understand our Lord and the opportunity to know Jesus as their personal Savior and live for Him.
*School Board Member