Dick Buckingham has been in the Christian school arena for over 30 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 4o years. Together they attend Redemption Church Gilbert. The blessing of his life is being “papa” to grandchildren Lilly, Issac, Zeke, and Judith.
Proverbs 3:5 “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.”
Mr. Buckingham, one of the founders of Faith, has been part of the Faith Family since 1988.
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 nearly 20 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, Lyrick, Aryia, and Beaux.
Psalm 100:1-2, “Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth. Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.”
Mrs. Borta has been part of the Faith Family since 2003.
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, Caleb, and Drew. Their family attends New Hope Community Church. 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.
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.”
Mrs. Smith joined the Faith Family faculty in 1996, but is an FCS alumni. (Class of ’92).
Secondary Assistant Principal, History, and Bible
Mr. Russo has been a valued member of our staff for over 10 years. His love for the Lord is seen in everything he does, and he has a gift for discipling his students. 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 nearly 3 decades. She and her husband of over 40 years, Richard, have been blessed with 3 children and 9 grandchildren (and counting!). 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 for her 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 a gift from God to our 1st and 2nd grade students. She is enthusiastic, energetic and experienced as a Christian school teacher. She is a loving mother to her 4 kids, all of whom attend FCS. She and her family are new to the Valley, having moved recently from Cedar Lake, Indiana.
Mrs. Reece joined the Faith Family in 2018.
1st & 2nd Grade
3rd and 4th Grade
Mrs. Jozwiak is an award-winning gem of a teacher with over 20 years of experience 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 Grade Teacher
Elementary STEP Coordinator
Mr. Fontes has enjoyed being both a Special Education Teacherand a 1st – 4th grade Sunday School teacher for the past several 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 passionate about developing strong, spiritually based educational relationships with the children attending our program. It is his goal that his students not only succeed in school, but also in life. Josh and his wife Denna have 2 daughters, Lilliana and Nayeli. 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 serves 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.
Mr. Fontes has been part of the Faith Family since 2017.
Elem. STEP Coordinator
6th Grade Teacher, Drama Director
Pam has served in many areas of ministry over the years, and we are thrilled to have her teach our 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.
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.”
Amy is an exceptional teacher and mentor, always quick to give of her time and efforts to reach and disciple her students. 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.
Mrs. Skalberg joined the Faith Family in 2010.
Secondary Math & Science
Mr. Tunnicliff is a passionate teacher and an excellent role model to his students. 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 over 5 years and they have a beautiful daughter, 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 degree in biochemistry from Northern Arizona University and a Masters in Divinity from Phoenix Seminary.
James 1:2-4 “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. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
Mr. Tunnicliff joined the Faith Family in 2016.
Secondary Math & Science
Art, Elementary Computers
Mrs. Balatgek joined the Faith Family in 2016.
Art, Elem. Computers
Art, Secondary Music
Mrs. Stern served our students for many years as a beloved art teacher, and we are so grateful to welcome her back to our staff in 2019. She has many years of experience as a Christian school teacher and we are blessed to have her on our staff. She is a talented artist and musician with a love for the Lord that shines through in all she does.
Mr. Dawkins has been working with developing athletes for over 20 years. His dedication and positive attitude drive our students to work hard on the court, at home, and in the classroom.
Mrs. Moore loves Jesus with her whole heart and is thrilled to teach our elementary students music. 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 over 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.
Mrs. Moore joined the Faith Family in 2018.
Math, Worship Team
Bethany is a graduate of Faith Christian School who joined the staff 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 concepts to her classes. She has taken advantage of many opportunities to participate in worship teams and to foster leadership in others. She attends The Rock Church.
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.
Miss James joined the Faith Family faculty in 2016, but she is an FCS alumni (Class of ’13).
Secondary STEP Coordinator
Ester is an energetic, gifted, experienced, and hard-working teacher, who has a deep love for the Lord and a desire to help all students. She comes to us from Namibia in Africa as part of a teacher-exchange program and will be bringing her husband and 1st grade daughter.
Mrs. Mutambay joined the Faith Family in 2019.
Sec. STEP Coordinator
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’s servant 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.
Matthew 5:4, “Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted.” Michelle and her family attend HiWay Baptist Church.
Mrs. Richards has been part of the Faith Family since 2012.
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. He received his M.A. from Bob Jones University. He and his wife attend Redemption Church, Gilbert.
Mr. Stover joined the Faith Family in 2014.
Carol Lerner has a passion for teaching. She homeschooled her five children for 16 years. Her youngest son, Uriah, is a student at FCS and will graduate in 2019. She and her husband Bill have been married for 30 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.
Mrs. Lerner joined the Faith Family faculty in 2017.
Treasa joined the Faith Family in 2016, and we are so glad to have her as part of our staff.
Janine joined the Faith Family in 2018, and we are so glad to have her as part of our staff.
Peggy served faithfully as our receptionist for many years and was loved by all for her listening ear and her tender heart. We are delighted to have her back on staff as a STEP aide. We are confident that our STEP students will be blessed by her help.
Mrs. Danielson joined the Faith Family in 2015.
Christine is the bright, friendly face that greets you whenever you step into the office at Faith Christian School. She 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.
Ms. Redding joined the Faith Family in 2017.
Brenda has been an important part of the FCS office staff for many years, and we are grateful for all of the professionalism and expertise she brings. She and her husband Jeff have been married over 30 years. 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. She and her husband attend Redemption Church in Gilbert.
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.”
Mrs. Specht joined the Faith Family in 2012.
Kimber has used her various God-given talents and servant’s heart to assist the school in many ways over the years. She assists the Administrator with his duties, coordinates the fundraising events, and facilitates our Homeschool (IN)richment Program (HIP). She loves being on campus with all of her coworkers and students who she considers to be “family”. Kimber has 2 children, David and Brooke, and together they attend Sun Valley Community Church.
Ms. Cartwright 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. She and her husband, Erik were married in 2013 and have two beautiful children, Cooper and Riley. She has spent the last few 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.
Mrs. Szymkowski joined the Faith Family faculty in 2008, but is an FCS alumni. (Class of ’08)
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 (FCS class of ’18) who all attend(ed) 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 several years in education.
Mrs. Bierlein joined the Faith Family 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 over 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
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