Meet Our Faculty & Staff
Joshua Snyder | Principal
- Bachelor of Arts in Social Science, with an Education emphasis, Ashford University
- Master of Arts in Philosophy of Religion, Denver Seminary
- Master of Education in School Administration, Northern Arizona University, In progress
I have spent 16 years of my life in non-profit student ministries, seven of those spent in Christian Education. I have had the pleasure of serving at VCS since 2015. The students and teachers make this a place that I want to be every day. When I am not at school, I am usually with my wonderful wife of ten years, two boys, ages 6 and 4, and one-year-old daughter.
Ariane Brother | Administrative Assistant to the Principal
I have been blessed to work at VCS since 2011. I have really enjoyed working with the students and staff, and I’m looking forward to another great year.
I grew up in a Christian home and accepted Christ at an early age. I also attended VCS from pre-K to 1st grade. My family and I live in Bonney Lake and attend Calvary Community Church in Sumner. We have three daughters, two of whom attend Valley Christian. I love spending time with family and friends in the great outdoors – hiking, biking, and camping.
Denyse Touma | Administrative Assistant to Business Services/Athletic Director
- Associate of Arts Degree, Green River Community College
- Accounting and Continuing Education Classes, Seattle Pacific University
I have been at Valley Christian since 1998 and consider it a privilege to work here. My husband Dan and I have seen firsthand the benefits of the education from this school. We had three children attend VCS from preschool through eighth grade and now Kirsten has graduated from college, Lindsey is currently attending college, and Tyson is in high school.
I enjoy sports – whether it is watching my son's high school soccer team, participating, or cheering on student athletes as they achieve personal records. Managing the school soccer teams and helping coach the kids on the track team is rewarding, as it allows me to get to know the kids and families.
The kids, parents, and staff are why I love this school and working here.
Sandee Almaas | Accounting Consultant
- Bachelor of Science in Accounting, Seattle Pacific University
- Master of Business Administration, City University
I have been with Valley Christian School since…. well, since its founding, being a lifelong member of New Day Christian Fellowship (formerly Auburn Free Methodist Church), which established the school in 1977 with two teachers, one of whom also acted as principal. My father was the first VCS Chairman of the Board, who passed the baton to my husband for several years.
Following college, I became a certified public accountant and have 36 years of experience working in public accounting, as well as in industry and non-profits. A few years ago, I felt a clear call from the Lord to use my education, training, and experience to benefit His Kingdom through working part-time for both NDCF and VCS. I provide oversight for financial operations and prepare the monthly financial reports for the Board.
Larry and I sent all three of our children to Valley Christian School. The kids have gone on to become a master teacher, Marine and businessman, and administrative professional. All five of us give credit to VCS for helping establish a strong faith foundation, a high standard of performance, and a host of other "soft skills" that have become crucial life skills.
In my "spare" time, I am daily grandma to our two granddaughters, ages 6 and 4, who attend Valley Christian. I love traveling often with my husband, reading, gardening, singing, and working in children’s ministries. I am honored and privileged to work with the office staff and Board of Valley Christian School. They are people of integrity who are dedicated to our Lord and the children of VCS.
Becky Clowers | Director of School Advancement
I came to VCS in 2001 as a parent and joined the child care staff in 2004. I have enjoyed watching my children grow up, from pre-K through 8th grade in this loving community, and watched as they moved on to high school and college last year. I currently serve as the Director of Advancement, and lead the robotics club.
In my spare time I enjoy reading, crafting, knitting, coffee, and being a mentor on the Auburn Mountainview High School Robotics Club for six years.
Steve Hackett | Technology Support Specialist & Computer Teacher
- Bachelor of Arts in Business and Human Resources Management, Simpson University, CA
I began working at Valley Christian School in the spring of 2016, as a playground supervisor and math teacher. Beginning with the 2016-2017 school year, I am providing playground supervision and teaching two computer skills classes for our middle school. I am also the technology person on campus. As a bonus, from time to time I assist with the music program at the school. It's very rewarding working with the kids—to witness their enthusiasm for life and to be a part of the VCS team helping them to grow and learn.
Prior to working at VCS, I spent several years working in the administrative office for a rural county in California as a staff analyst and as the on-site computer tech. Before that, I worked for years in manufacturing, primarily in production and inventory management. My wife, Peggy, and I moved to Washington in 2016, to be nearer our adult children. We also have two younger boys at home. We are blessed living in the northwest; there is so much to do here and it is so beautiful!
John Curry | Track & Soccer Coach
- Bachelor of Arts English, Washington State University
- Bachelor of Arts Political Science, Washington State University
- Juris Doctorate, McGeorge School of Law
We brought our daughter Emily to Valley Christian in 2001. I started as an assistant coach for the Valley Christian track team in 2005 and became head coach in 2007. I helped start up and coach the middle school girls soccer team in 2007 and the middle school boys in 2010 and continue to coach both teams currently. I believe that sports is more than teaching athletic skills. I believe it is a means of teaching children leadership, responsibility, sportsmanship, how to be healthy, and how to be a team member.
Brian Berend | Kitchen Coordinator
- Education: Green River College: Liberal Arts degree New Orleans school of cooking
My passion is cooking and baking. I have been cooking for my family and friends for over 30 years and love to make people happy with delicious meals. My family and I live in Auburn. My son Brandon attended VCS for 12 years and graduated in 2015.
When I am not cooking, I help coach the VCS track team and enjoy golfing, hiking, sports, and being outdoors with my family.
Through my cooking, I hope to bring joy and satisfaction to the students and staff at VCS.
Shelly Pierce | Preschool Teacher
- Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential
- Early Childhood Education degree, Green River Community College, in progress
I have worked at Valley Christian School since January 2016. I started working with the 2-year-olds and am now teaching preschool as well as working for the Early Learning Center.
My husband and I have three sons (29, 28, and 6). Our oldest son and his wife welcomed a baby girl on September 13. I am also a step-mom to one daughter and a step-grandma to three adorable little girls. Our youngest son has been attending Valley Christian School since 2014.
I am so thankful that God has given me the gift to work with young children and has brought me to VCS. My goal as a teacher is to encourage children to be active learners in the classroom and in an environment that enables them to leave preschool with confidence, self-worthiness, and a love for God’s word and truth.
Jena Baldridge | Preschool & Pre-Kindergarten Teacher
- Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential
I moved from Shelbyville, KY, to Auburn, WA, in 2011 with my husband and our two boys. In Kentucky, I taught preschool and prekindergarten for more than eight years. I love helping young kids learn while they play! I also love being able to share the true words of the Bible with them. In the spring of 2012, God placed me at Valley Christian. I feel very blessed to be able to teach in a Christian school.
Veronika Harmon | Preschool & Pre-Kindergarten Teacher
- Bachelor of Arts in Education, University of Washington-Tacoma
God led me to Valley Christian in 2010. I have loved the small community feel of VCS and the closeness of the families that attend our school. I very much enjoy teaching preschool and pre-kindergarten children. They are so fun to watch and listen to as they discover God's truths and the wonders of learning. This is my 7th year of teaching this age group. Before Valley, I worked at the Federal Way School District.
My two younger children attend Valley Christian and I feel blessed that we all get to enjoy VCS together. I am a wife and mom of four. I was born in Prague, Czech Republic. My family and I escaped the communist regime in 1985. It was then that I secretly formed my relationship with the Lord.
You can read more about Mrs. Harmon's escape in this article that was published in the Auburn Reporter in 2011. http://www.auburn-reporter.com/news/auburn-teacher-looks-back-on-familys-escape-to-a-better-life-25-years-ago/
Joan Havrilla | Junior Kindergarten Teacher
- Bachelor Degree in Elementary Education, with a minor in Early Childhood, Bowling Green State University, Ohio
- Certification in Special Needs with Kaplan University Masters, Seattle Pacific University
Following my husband’s military career, I taught in Georgia and Germany. He owns and runs Joyful Noise Music Store in Yelm. Our daughter is a NAC and studying to become a phlebotomist. We have one grandson in Ohio turning 16 and a granddaughter near us about to turn one.
I am not new to Christian education, having had 23 years at Cascade Christian Schools in pre-K, kindergarten, and 1st grade. I am very blessed to be new here this year at Valley Christian, starting the Junior Kindergarten program. I also help with reading and math for an hour in the afternoons in kindergarten through 4th. I have had a desire to help struggling students when possible. One year returning to public education in intervention confirmed my personal joy, though, is in teaching Bible and about Jesus.
Junior Kindergarten Supply List
Amy McClain | Kindergarten Teacher
- Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education and minor in Bible, Corban University
- Master of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction
- State Reading Specialist Endorsement
My name is Amy McClain. I have been married for 12 years to my best friend, Roary. We have been blessed with three amazing children, Tristen (8), Juliana (7), and Emerson (4). When I am not teaching, I love to spend time with my family and working on a vintage trailer we decided to restore!
I accepted Jesus as my savior the at summer camp before fifth grade. I was raised in a Christ-centered home and received a strong foundation. The Lord is the center of my life and I trust Him daily as I follow His plan and leading. Psalm 62:7 is one of my favorite verses: "My salvation and my honor depend on God; He is my mighty rock, my refuge."
I received my BA degree from Corban University. From there, I followed the Lord’s leading to Texas. I taught second grade for seven years in Killeen ISD and earned my MA degree in 2005.
My husband was active duty Army and we had the privilege of living in Texas and Kentucky. While we were in Kentucky, I taught kindergarten for a year in a small Christian school. I completed my second MA degree in Instructional Design and Technology while I chased two active toddlers.
We had one more duty station before my husband decided to go Army Reserve, Washington State. We have been here five years. I am beginning my 11th year of teaching, and I love teaching kindergarten. Nothing can compare to the joy and excitement that I see when a child learns something new. Those “ah-ha” moments are truly a gift from God.
Gayle Gee | 1st Grade Teacher
- Bachelor of Arts in Art and Liberal Arts, California Baptist College
- State Endorsements in Art, Elementary Education, History, and English
My name is Gayle Gee and I am married to Mike Gee. We have three children (two are married) and five grandchildren. We live in Kent and attend High Pointe Community Church in South Hill (Puyallup area). We are involved in our church in a variety of ways. We help with the 5th-6th grade Sunday School class and I am a small group teacher. We also help with the hospitality ministry and the special needs ministry.
I am an Auburn High School graduate who worked in the private sector for a few years and then went back to school and earned my teaching credentials from the University of Washington. I have taught in private Christian schools for 22 years (11 years of third grade, 10 years of kindergarten, and 1 year of second grade). I am enjoying my first year with first graders.
I feel very blessed to be able to interweave my faith in Jesus Christ with my school lessons. I believe that I am fulfilling my God-given life purpose to share my life as a teacher of primary age children.
Tracy Howard | 2nd Grade Teacher
- Bachelor in Elementary Education, Northwest University
- Master of Education, Northwest University
I feel very blessed that Lord brought me to teach here at Valley Christian School. Before having my two children, I taught 1st grade for almost 10 years in the Issaquah School District. I have a son, Cayden, who is 5, and a daughter, Kinsey, who is 4. I am really excited to be back doing what I love and what God has called me to do—even more so now that I can freely talk about God with my students.
I became a Christian at a young age and have been living for God ever since. I enjoy spending time with friends and family, especially when we can do outdoor activities like hiking and riding bikes.
Ann Marie Milhorn | 3rd/4th Grade Teacher
- Bachelor of Science in Accounting
- Master In Teaching, City University, in progress
It is written that Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). God, in His faithfulness and wonderful design, has guided me into education; I am thankful I am listening. I hold a BS degree in Accounting. I worked in NYC in both not-for-profit and private accounting. The Lord nudged me into education and I am currently in the Masters In Teaching Program at City University and hold an educators certificate from ACSI.
My daughters, grandson, and I moved back to Washington in 2013 and we have never looked back. I have three wonderful grandchildren: two grandsons and a granddaughter. I have been with VCS as a grandparent since 2014. In Revelation 3:7, John writes that God closes doors that no man can open, and opens doors that no man can close. He has opened a door for me to teach at VCS and I am so blessed. I love my learners and the new friends I have made.
I would love to tell you about all the wonderful things I love to do, but outside of Bible study, church, teaching, and full-time school, I have very little spare time. I am greatly blessed and know that this is just a season and I want to run the race and fight the good fight in this time.
Peggy Hackett | 5th-6th Grade Homeroom Teacher | 7th-8th Grade Homeroom Teacher
- Bachelor of Education, Simpson University, Redding, CA
Having grown up in the church, I prayed with my Sunday school teacher and asked Jesus to be my Savior when I was twelve years old. My own children have also been raised in the church. My husband and I have served in a variety of capacities in churches we have attended, and are now privileged to serve here at Valley Christian School. This is my third year at Valley Christian.
I received a California teaching credential from Simpson University in Redding, California, in 1996, and have been teaching since then. My family and I moved to Auburn, and I completed the requirements to receive a Washington teaching certificate.
My husband and I are the parents of four children. Two are grown and married, and two still live at home. Our youngest, Brady, attends VCS. My family and I enjoy hiking, swimming, camping, board games, and playing outdoors together.
Roary McClain | 5th-8th Grade Bible Teacher, Physical Education Teacher, and Director of Spiritual Formation
- Bachelor of Arts in History, with a minor in Criminal Justice, University of Maryland University College
- Master of Divinity at Faith Evangelical Seminary, in progress
Howdy! My name is Roary McClain. I am a farm-boy from Texas. I have been married for 12 years to my best friend, Amy. We have been blessed with three amazing children, Tristen (8), Juliana (7), and Emerson (4). When I am not teaching, I love to spend time with my family, camping, hunting, fishing, watching a good movie, or reading a book.
I accepted Jesus as my savior at summer camp when I was 8. I was not raised in a Godly home and therefore my walk with Christ was up and down until 10th grade. I joined a youth group and this is the time where God really made His relationship with me personal. This is also when God first called me to the ministry. Afraid, I ran and joined the army.
As an enlisted soldier in the US Army, I served for over 14 years on active duty. Throughout that time, I have been to two different combat zones on three separate occasions, seen 11 countries, and lived in three states and nine houses. I am currently serving in the US Army Reserves.
I received my BA degree while still on active duty and mostly deployed. Shortly after graduating, the Lord began to move in my life. He began to present the ministry to me once more. This time He also laid it upon my wife’s heart and so she prayed. After much prayer and convincing, I answered the call and began my Master of Divinity at Faith Evangelical Seminary. I am currently finishing my second year in a four-year program.
This is my first year teaching. I never would have considered myself a teacher. However, I truly enjoy teaching. As a Bible teacher, I love that I can share God’s Word with these kids and help bring it to life for them. It is especially fun when I am able to share things with them that I learned in my master’s courses. As a PE teacher, I make it a point to teach them about physical health and strive to do so in a way that is fun for them.
Crystal Lowy | K-8 Art Teacher, Librarian
I was born and raised in Texas. In 2013, my small family of three relocated to Washington and immediately fell in love with the weather! I began teaching general art for kindergarten through eighth grade in 2015. I absolutely believe that God has led me half-way across the country to be exactly where I am. It has been such a blessing to be a part of the VCS family. Along with teaching art, I'm also the school librarian. Prior to teaching at Valley Christian, I worked for Auburn School District as a para educator.
Art appreciation is a passion of mine. It truly is a joy to teach students of all ages the beauty of art and how we can praise Jesus through our creativity and imagination. I believe that every child is an artist. I am so happy to guide our students in discovering their artistic talents that our Lord has given each and every one of them.
EARLY LEARNING CENTER STAFF
Jennifer Lewis | Child Care Director
- Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential
- Early Childhood Education degree (ECE), Green River Community College, in progress
I have been blessed to serve at Valley Christian School since 2014. My husband and I have been together for sixteen years and we have two amazing children that both attend VCS. Our son enjoys playing sports and our daughter enjoys cheer and gymnastics. Being able to work where my children attend school is a blessing. It is so wonderful to be a part of their school lives and watching their relationship with Jesus grow.
I love being part of the school and especially the children and families we minister to every day. The child care has grown from a before and after school program to now caring for and teaching 2-year-olds, preschool, and pre-k children. My goal is to show our children that they are all special and God has a plan for each one of them. I love and care for each child as if they were my own, and provide a safe and loving Christian environment while they are away from their families. The best part of working at Valley Christian is watching the children build an everlasting love for Jesus.
My two favorite verses:
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. Jeremiah 29:11
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6
Agnes Williams | Child Care Staff & Kitchen Coordinator
I started working at VCS 15 years ago, when my daughter was in kindergarten. Valley Christian gave her a great foundation and excellent springboard to her success, as she is now a junior at UW. My son is also an honors student in high school, thanks largely to VCS.
Although I have a degree in business administration, working at VCS is a source of love and devotion for me as I prepare hot lunches for the students and also work in the child care. My goal is to love each child and help develop his or her own unique qualities in a safe Christian environment. It is such a blessing to be part of a team that plays such an important role in the development of young minds.
Emelyn Ellison | Early Learning Center Teacher
- Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education, Central Washington University
My name is Emelyn Ellison, also known as Ms. Amy. I was born and raised in the country of the Philippines. I moved to Washington State with my husband and children in 1983. I attend River of Life Fellowship Church in Kent, WA, where I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior 34 years ago. My husband and I have been married for 35 years and are the proud parents of three amazing children who all grew up in the Auburn area and have all graduated from Pacific Lutheran University with varying degrees in physics, political science and economics, and communications.
I have 13 years of experience working as a para-educator and teacher for the Auburn School District. I love working with children and training them up to be smart, respectful, independent, critical thinkers, and Christ-loving children. I've also taught and choreographed interpretive dancing for 10 years to children in grades 3-6 for community outreach, fundraisers, holiday events, and Sunday worship service.
I love going to church to hear the Word of God, spending time with my family and friends, going on nature walks, playing Pet Saga, and watching the Seahawks games every Sunday... Go Hawks!
Finally, I am so excited to have joined Valley Christian School as a pre-kindergarten teacher in the Early Learning Center. This is my third year here.
Penny VanVleet | Early Learning Center Teacher
- Multnomah School of the Bible
I have lived in Auburn with my husband for the past twenty years. We have three teenage daughters who attended Valley Christian School.
I feel very privileged to be able to teach these little children about God and guide them as they develop their views of God. Watching the children grow and develop is very exciting and rewarding.
This is my third year teaching the two-year-olds at VCS. Before I came here, I provided childcare in my home for ten years. I graduated from Multnomah School of the Bible, but my best preparation for teaching this class has been teaching Sunday School for over 25 years.