Administrator / Teacher
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 Masters 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 14 years and has been in a leadership role for 10 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 to her. Amorah’s teaching style is concrete sequential and she teaches using a direct instruction approach. All of her classes incorporate labs to add the hands-on, creative experience. She has high standards for her 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, Amorah 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.
Cathryn McGrew received her Bachelor of Science degree in Zoology from Washington State University in 2005. She began tutoring in math and science during the summers of her WSU school years and continued that work after graduating. She tutored in all levels of math, from addition to calculus, for all ages from kindergarten to college. She also tutored in science courses, including Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Earth Science, and Anatomy and Physiology. Additionally, Cathryn has previous classroom teaching experience in Biology, Pre-algebra, Algebra, Geometry, Earth Science, and Physical Science.
Cathryn then went on to Whittier Law School where she earned a Juris Doctorate in 2012. Cathryn is in the process of acquiring her Masters in Teaching (Biology) and Teacher certification and presently holds certification from ACSI. Additionally, Cathryn will be completing training in NILD this summer to help students reach their full potential.
Patty Huey received her Bachelor of Science degree in Education from the University of Alabama. She later received an English endorsement from the Washington Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction and a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Lesley University (Massachusetts). She holds a Washington State teaching certificate and certification as an educa-tional therapist through the National Institute for Learning Development (NILD).
Patty’s 35+ years of teaching experience includes elementary, secondary, post-secondary and English as a Second Language. She has taught in special education and gifted and talented programs. Patty was lead instructor, teaching English at Central Texas College and at the University of Hawaii extension program at Pearl Harbor. Upon moving to Washington, she taught English at Lake Washington Technical College in Kirkland.
In her spare time, Patty pursues gardening and spends time reading, writing and bird watching. She also enjoys any time spent with her family and friends, and her two retrievers Braveheart and Scout.
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 nine 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. Karen is a certified teacher through ACSI.
As a freelance writer and editor for more than 26 years, Karen has been published in magazines and journals, written curriculum for four publishers, and been a contributing editor for trade publications and online sites.
She loves that teaching 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 her son through high school. She and her husband live on Camano Island.
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 10 years.
Brandy has taught history and English consistently over the last 19 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 6 years. Brandy’s desire is to work side by side with parents to educate their children in a God-centered learning environment that will provide the foundation in which students will accomplish their academic goals.
Kassie Means is studying counseling psychology at Northwest University, pursuing her Master’s and Doctorate degrees with a focus on adolescent and family therapy. Kassie received her Bachelor of Science degree in psychology with a minor in youth ministry from Regent University in 2017.
Kassie is homeschooling her niece and has been with Hill Creek since 2015. She has a passion for integrating psychology and Christianity, and is excited to share this with students while making psychology fun and engaging.
In her leisure time, Kassie spends time with her family and five dogs. They enjoy outdoor activities together, as well as competing in agility with their dogs. She became a foster mom to welcome babies into her home.
Stephanie has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a minor in Psychology from California State University, Sacramento. After being in the work force for a few years, she earned her Teaching Credential from San Francisco State University through a unique, high quality, fast-track, intensive program that was purposely created by the district she wished to teach in. She currently has her California State Teaching Credential with a Crosscultural Language and Academic Development Certificate.
Stephanie started substitute teaching in the public school in 1996 and has enjoyed teaching Pre-Kindergarten through 6th grade students including a few years as a Computer Resource teacher. She currently is blessed to be homeschooling and learning along with her 14 year old daughter.
Stephanie and her family moved here from Sacramento, California four years ago. They all love the area and enjoy the wonderful, friendly people. She enjoys reading, baking, cooking, gardening, being outside, and watching her daughter play basketball. Stephanie is so thankful to the Lord who has allowed her to use her passion of homeschooling and teaching to help others and encourage them in their homeschooling journey.
Barb Peterson, in her third year at Hill Creek, 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 our 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.
Patrick Slyman has been the teaching pastor at Emmanuel Baptist Church since 2014. Patrick graduated from The Master’s Seminary, completing a Master’s of Divinity and a Doctor of Ministry degree. He and his wife, Sarah, grew up together in New England and are now thankful to call the Pacific Northwest their home. They have two daughters, Alexandra and Maddox.
Outside of church ministry, spending time with his family is the very top of Patrick’s favorites list. He and his family love to play games, travel, ride bikes, and explore nature.
Christina South has a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics and Secondary Education from Southern Oregon State College and a Washington State teaching license. Christina taught in Christian schools for eight years before becoming a homeschooling parent and has been homeschooling for the past 12 years. Although junior high and high school mathematics is Christina’s primary classroom teaching experience, she also has taught English, Bible, study skills, drama, Spanish, and personal finance in the classroom.
Christina has completed two out of three levels of training for educational therapy through the National Institute of Learning Development. This therapy helps struggling students improve their cognitive processing skills. Christina provides therapy and some tutoring to individual students at Hill Creek and at her home. Whether in the classroom or during a therapy or tutoring session, Christina enjoys the challenge of making instruction meet the individual needs of her students.
Christina and her husband, Robert, have six children; four adopted from foster care and two biological. Most of these children are now living out of the home, but the South family home is still a busy place with a 12-year-old and 16-year-old still at home and grandchildren visiting frequently. When there is a quiet moment, Christina enjoys reading, gardening, and visiting interesting places.