Academic Lead / Teacher

Amorah Nelson

Amorah Nelson earned a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Biology and minor in chemistry at Seattle Pacific University. During her years at SPU, she spent two summers conducting marine biology research. Later, she obtained her Master of Science in Biology at Western Washington University. While at SPU and Western, she instructed upper level biology lab classes. The results of her research work at SPU and WWU have been published in scientific journals. She was an adjunct professor for SPU in 2006. Amorah is a certified teacher through ACSI (Association of Christian Schools International).

Amorah has been teaching at Hill Creek for 17 years and has been in a leadership role for 13 years. Through this time, she has been richly blessed by all of her students and her interactions with the parents. This school is truly a ministry for her. Amorah’s teaching style is concrete sequential and she uses a direct instruction approach. Her classes incorporate labs to add the hands-on, creative experience. She has high standards for students and is very willing to spend extra time with students who ask for assistance.

Amorah is blessed to be a wife and a mother of two girls and a boy. When time allows, she can be found outside trying to create a beautiful garden. Above all, she is grateful to the Lord, who has blessed her beyond measure and has led her to this career and to this school.

Teachers

Stacy Thompsen received her Bachelor of Science in Veterinary Science and Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Washington State University in 1997. Stacy has been a practicing small animal veterinarian in Western Washington for the past 22 years. She has been homeschooling her four children for the past 10 years, with her oldest daughter now finishing her first year of college.

Over the years, Stacy has taught elementary and middle school science to several groups of students, created and led a week-long veterinary science day camp, and led a 4-H club.

Stacy has a passion for teaching science in the context of a biblical worldview, which reveals the majesty, intelligence, and love of our Creator. She believes fun and hands-on experiences are integral to the learning process and is very excited to teach Hill Creek students and get to know them and their families.

Sarah Slyman received her Bachelor of Arts degree in religion with a minor in Art from Palm Beach Atlantic University. After graduation, she was a full-time tutor in a public high school and later worked in a Christian Montessori School assisting in math and art for grades 4-6. She has always enjoyed her time in the classroom and also worked one-on-one with students. Providing a quality education for her students and her own children has always been a priority for her.

Sarah and her husband, Patrick, have been married for 19 years. They are both from the east coast, moving here from the Boston area five years ago. In addition to homeschooling her two teenage daughters, Sarah is a pastor’s wife and enjoys a very active role in church life. She also runs a home business making designer eye patches for children and adults. Working with children and teens has been a big part of Sarah’s life. She spent many summers on staff at Christian camps, teaching Sunday school, directing children’s church, volunteering on youth staff, training groups for mission trips, etc. She has a passion for people and a love for the gospel. When it is not raining, she loves to garden and travel with her family.

Dana Bitto graduated from Seattle Pacific University in 1997 with a
bachelor of arts in elementary education with a major in English. She taught 4th grade at Twin City Elementary for seven years while earning her master of education with an emphasis on literacy development from Western Washington University in 2001. In 2003, she and her husband welcomed twin boys, and thus began her homeschooling journey.

She has gained many insights while homeschooling her four children over the last 15 years. Dana has developed a new perspective on learning differences such as dyslexia while focusing on sharing her love of high-quality literature and history. Ten years ago she and her children began attending Friday School and love the connections they have made. Dana has been the Class Coordinator for six years, has taught numerous classes, and sits on the board.

Dana is excited to begin a new chapter in her teaching career at Hill Creek. She finds pleasure in researching, developing and implementing classes that help students grow in understanding their place in God’s World. She views learning as a lifelong endeavor. Dana looks forward to teaching classes that are both engaging and challenging, preparing students for learning beyond the classroom setting.

Amy Tucker graduated from Providence Baptist College with a bachelor’s
degree in elementary education.  She has been in education for over 20 years and has taught all ages from kindergarten to high school. Amy homeschooled her two children for seven years and has taught many years in Christian schools. She has experience working with special education students and struggling learners  as a certified NILD Therapist. Her passion is to help each student thrive in the classroom so each can reach his or her education goals. Amy is able to assist each learner in finding a personal learning style; she adapts her teaching style to reach every student.

In her free time, she enjoys taking day trips around Washington with her two teenage children, as well as crafting and reading.

Brandy

Brandy Vizmanos-Garcia received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Secondary Education with a major in history and minor in political science from the University of Arizona in 1998. She also earned a middle school endorsement at that time. Brandy later earned her Master’s Degree in Special Education with an emphasis in emotional behavior from the University of Arizona in 2002. She worked in the public school system for 9 years and has been running Calvary Heritage Learning Center an affiliate of Academy Northwest for the last 12 years.

Brandy has consistently taught history and English over the last 21 years. Most of her experience has been at the middle school level, but she has had the pleasure of working with high school students for the last 8 years.

Brandy and her husband, Ed, have been married for 18 years. They moved to Washington State from Tucson, Arizona, 17 years ago. They homeschool their 13-year-old son and 12-year-old daughter. When Brandy is not taxiing her children around to their various activities, she loves just being home. She looks forward to working in the yard, watching a good movie, or reading a book.

Tim Drumm is the Pastor of Student Ministries at Emmanuel Baptist Church. He graduated from The College of Biblical Studies with a Bachelor of Science in Christian Leadership and a minor in Bible. More recently, he graduated from The Master’s Seminary with a Master of Divinity degree. Tim has worked with teenagers for more than a decade and is passionate about teaching them the truth of the Bible and encouraging their growth in Christ.

Christina

Christina South has a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics and Secondary Education from Southern Oregon State College and Washington State teacher certification for secondary mathematics. Christina has been involved in the education of students for more than 26 years–homeschooling, teaching classes, tutoring, classroom teaching, and coaching speech and debate students. She taught in Christian schools for eight years before becoming a home schooling parent. Classroom instruction included English, math (primarily Algebra and above), Bible, study skills, drama, personal finance, life skills, and Spanish. Whether in the classroom or at home, Christina enjoys the challenge of making instruction meet the individual needs of her students

Christina and her husband have six children–two biological and four adopted. She also has three grandchildren. When there is a quiet moment, Christina enjoys reading, scrapbooking, and spending time outdoors.

Dennis Powell received his B.A. in history with minors in math and
education at Seattle Pacific College where he met his wife Deborah (a teacher also) and married in 1974. Dennis received his master’s degree in education at the University of LaVerne in California. Recent members of Emmanuel Baptist Church, the Powells are thrilled to see its varied ministries, including Hill Creek Christian. Dennis was inspired to Christian education through teaching 8th grade math, science, and Bible at Bellevue Christian School.

He and Deborah moved to Northern California to co-found Kingswood Christian School in Placerville and served as math/science teacher and administrator of the junior high/high school program. Finally, they served in public school in the Coachella Valley. They enjoyed the primarily Hispanic students there, including many farm workers’ children of very humble means.

Dennis has experience in home construction and real estate development. He loves the Northwest and enjoys building squirrel and bird feeders, going fishing, and hopes to include duck and goose hunting this fall. He looks forward to getting to know the wonderful students in Hill Creek and working with their parents to see these children grow and thrive in whatever callings the Lord has for them.

Barb

Barb Peterson is a graduate of Biola University with a bachelor’s degree in Social Science and a minor in Biblical Studies. She taught in a Christian school in Southern California for five years before moving with her husband to the Skagit Valley.

When the first of their children approached school age, they were instrumental in founding the Skagit Valley Homeschool Association, the first organized homeschool group in the county. For 20 years, she homeschooled her own children, then began working in a parent partnership program associated with the Arlington Public Schools. During her 18 years at this program, the district awarded her to be Highly Qualified in most subjects in grades K-8th.

Many homeschooling parents in our area know Barb as the administrator of the Iowa Tests that she has given to generations of students each spring. She is a firm believer that learning should be engaging and fun. The children under her tutelage thrive in an environment of encouragement and personal challenge.

Barb finds delight in gardening, canning fruits and vegetables, and exploring the back roads of America. When the weather forces her indoors, sewing and quilting fill her time.

Karen

Karen Schmidt earned a B.A. in communication from Trinity International University (Illinois) while she and her husband served in Ecuador as missionaries. She has taught three levels of Spanish for 12 years and translates at a local Christian medical outreach. She has taught ESL classes and used Spanish as a nurse and youth group short term missions leader.

As a freelance writer and editor for more than 28 years, Karen has been published in print magazines and journals, written and edited online sites, produced curriculum for four publishers, and is a contributing editor for a professional journal.

Karen is also a registered nurse and volunteers at a local free medical clinic, integrating patient teaching with the practice of nursing.

She loves that teaching at Hill Creek provides opportunities to pass on skills with plenty of encouragement so young people can effectively use their abilities to live out the purposes God has for them.

Karen homeschooled their son through high school. She and her husband live on Camano Island.

Ilsa Higgins earned a piano scholarship at Southwestern College in Arizona
where she obtained a bachelor of science degree with a major in elementary education and a minor in Social Studies. During her time at SWC, Ilsa’s responsibilities included accompanying the concert choir and performing as a vocalist for the choir and vocal ensemble. She toured the country for two summers with the ensemble.

Ilsa has performed extensively in her lifetime and was the accompanist for the voice department at Yavapai College in Arizona. While there, she sang and played in Les Miserables and The Phantom of the Opera dinner theaters in addition to accompanying the master chorale.

Ilsa has taught second, fourth, and sixth grade in both public and private schools, as well as substitute taught K-12. She is a wife and mother of five children ages 5-16. In her spare time, she enjoys a good work of nonfiction, playing around in her flower garden, and being outdoors in general.  Her interests also include nutrition and exercise.