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Northwest Christian School
Dear NCS family,
It may very well be my very favorite Crusader tradition.  Each summer, we charge our student leaders to come together, work through the summer reading effort we call "Crusaders Charge into Summer Reading", and prayerfully choose the annual Spiritual Emphasis theme.  (It truly is the students.  They have learned to not even let me in the room!)

The stakes are high.  The theme is more than t-shirts on Friday or colorful banners displayed around campus.  The spiritual emphasis theme is part of each chapel throughout the year, incorporated into high school camp, explored in Bible classes, and more.
This year, after spending the summer reading through the Old Testament book of Job as well as other select New Testament passages, the theme chosen by our students was "Alacrity" as well as its accompanying definition:  "cheerful readiness, zeal, willingness".  The theme was pulled from what will become our verse for the year, Romans 12:12, which reads, "Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer."

If you missed any of the videos that helped to set the stage for the new year, take a moment to click on the links below.  All summer we have been following four amazing Crusader families who have encountered incredible heartbreak but saw God redeem their circumstances, turning hardship to hope.  Have you ever wondered why we have emblazoned Ephesians 2:8 across the north end zone of the football field?  Do you know the story behind the white bench on what the high schoolers call the "bricky knoll"?  We encounter these stories and more as we walk through the summer videos...

W eek 1 (How did you get the bad news?):

Week 2 (What was the most painful part?):

Week 3 (Who helped carry your burden?):

Week 4 (What redemption have you experienced?):

Week 5 (What got you through your trial?):

Week 6 (What is life like now?):
Week 7 (What would you write):

Speaking of the coming year, on the last day of this past school year, as I wandered about the campus, wishing all a good summer, I teased a few students:  "Hey, if this summer thing doesn't work out, we'll all be here Monday!  You can come back."  Of course, the kids looked at me like I must be crazy.  Truth is, I was only half kidding.  We are ready for you all to come back!

Grateful for the opportunity to serve this school and your family,
Geoff Brown
Northwest Christian School
(623)225-5573 (cell)
Northwest Christian Principal's List and Honor Roll Recognize Students for Hard Work and Diligence
Solid aptitude plus great attitude equal strong results 

"I always tell students," explains superintendent Geoff Brown, "you don't come to school for grades.  You come to school to learn.  And, it's true:  you can have either one without necessarily having the other.  So, why do we keep grades?  I like what Eleanor Roosevelt is credited with saying:  'Do one thing every day that scares you.'  In that light, grades aren't about keeping score.  Rather, it's about pushing beyond what is comfortable and growing the required discipline, even if it scares us sometimes, to keep pressing towards that next mark of excellence within the learning journey.  That's why the names on these lists mean so much to me.  Northwest Christian's academic program is not easy.  It requires a significant level of commitment from our students.  The students on these lists know what it means to push beyond the comfortable and to work diligently.  I offer my sincerest congratulations to their families and my admiration to these students."

Within the secondary, annually, Northwest Christian recognizes students for inclusion within the Principal's List and the Honor Roll.  Students achieve Honor Roll by earning all A's and B's within a semester.  Principal's List is reserved for students who achieve all A's.  The recognition for students from the 2018/2019 school year follows.

Northwest Christian is Excited to Welcome New Faculty and Staff to the School
Learn about the newest additions the Crusader community 

Kelly Blackford is very excited to be joining the NCS family as a member of the fifth grade team.  Having worked with kids of all ages for over eighteen years, she and her husband, Josh, have been in full-time ministry most of their adult lives. Josh is the Young Adults Director at Dream City Church.  They have been married for over seventeen years and have a fourteen year-old son (Phoenix) and a thirteen year-old daughter (Ava). She holds a Bachelor's degree from the University of Phoenix and a Master's degree from Indiana Wesleyan University. After working as the Youth Director at Dream City Church, she decided to enter the teaching field and this will be her fourth year of teaching. Being able to combine her love for kids, education, and learning, with her love for Jesus is her life's passion. In her rare free time, she loves reading, knitting, hiking, and road trips. She looks forward to meeting her students and building relationships with all of the families here at NCS.
Stefan Engle will be joining the middle school faculty as a physical education teacher and coach.  He grew up in Kimberly, Idaho with his two older sisters and parents. After graduation, he married his high school sweetheart, Christina, moved to Montana to attend the University of Montana Western where he played football and participated in Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship. Stefan graduated with a BA in Social Science and then proceeded to obtain his Masters in Elementary Education from the University of Phoenix. He taught and coached for three years at Dillon Middle school in Dillon, Montana before moving to Phoenix in 2012. He then taught, coached and was the athletic director at Shepherd of the Desert Lutheran Elementary and Middle School in Scottsdale. Last year, Stefan taught and coached at Southwest Leadership Academy in south Phoenix. Stefan is grateful for all of the wisdom he has gained from each place to which God has directed him. In addition to his beautiful wife, they have six fantastic children: Christina, Isaiah, Jaalah, Leah, Micah, Adah, and Sarah Beth. He and his family attend Palmcroft Church. Stefan enjoys spending time with his family, the outdoors, sports, and in God's word.
Margaret  Petry will be teaching middle school English.  She has been an English and social studies educator for seventeen years, fifteen of those years have been in Phoenix.  Margar et moved here from California to marry her husband Brad, and God has blessed them with three amazing kids (Madeleine, 10; Corbin, 7; Evan, 4).  She was homeschooled growing up, before attending The Master's University for a history and education degree. Margaret loves traveling, supporting and visiting missionaries, and hearing about how God is working in His church around the world. The Petry family attends Redemption Church in Peoria. The entire family loves to read, read, read: everything from fantasy and Marvel comics to missionary biographies and historical works. The Petrys also have a family Lego obsession and love building together on weekends. Margaret feels blessed by the Christian education she received and she is very excited to pass that legacy on to my own children and to the students at Northwest Christian.
Sherry Muscari is perfectly poised to be a strong member of the second grade team.  She graduated in 2000 from Southwestern Assemblies of God University in Waxahachie, Texas with a Bachelors of Science in Elementary Education with an English Specialization and an Associate of Arts in Psychology. While in college, she met her husband Rob on a trip to Israel and they were married after graduation. They just celebrated their nineteenth wedding anniversary in May.   After graduation Sherry taught first grade in the Kyrene School District from 2000 to 2006. During that time she participated in a Master's Level ASU program called the Collaborative Literacy Intervention Project. As part of this program, she tutored at-risk first graders and helped accelerate them up to grade level.   For eleven years Sherry was blessed to be a full-time mom to their three boys: Cole, Cade and Josiah. The past two years she has been a part of the NCS Dibels testing team while also subbing for K-6th grade classes as needed.   The Muscari family is thankful to call Dream City Church home. Their entire family is involved and Sherry coordinates the Junior Bible Quiz ministry for 1st through 6th graders on the Phoenix campus, along with being the AZ Junior Bible Quiz Coordinator for the Arizona Ministry Network of Churches. One of their family's passions is sports, with all three boys playing multiple sports and Rob coaching a men's softball team for Dream City. If you don't find Sherry on the sidelines cheering on one of her boys, then you will find her curled up reading a book! 
Bree Tarbutton will be joining the Early Education program teaching the younger 3's.  She has been married to her husband, Nate, for seven years. They have two children, Calvin and Adley. Bree has worked as a paraprofessional with special needs children for five years and at Palmcroft Church as the Nursery and Preschool Coordinator for four years. The Tarbutton family currently attends Palmcroft. Bree is currently in graduate school at ASU obtaining her masters in Early Childhood Education. She is an avid coffee lover and enjoys spending time with her family. On the weekends, you can find the Tarbuttons at their favorite local coffee shop!
Melissa Burkett is thrilled to join fifth grade team in the fall of 2019. She holds her Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education and a minor in Early Childhood. In 2013, she graduated with her Master's degree in Educational Leadership from the University of Phoenix .  This 2019/2020 school year will be her eighteenth year in education. Melissa has taught Kindergarten, 1st, 2nd, and 4th Grade. In addition to her teaching experience, she had the privilege to be a coordinator for a federal grant program in Flagstaff, an Instructional Coach/Mentor with K-8th grade teachers and a Reading Specialist for students in K-3rd. Melissa finds it rewarding to work with teachers, students, and the surrounding community to help a child succeed at his or her best ability.  She and her husband have been married for 17 years this past May and attend Vineyard North Phoenix. God blessed them with their first child in December 2017 and he is currently in the Mini Crusaders program at NCS. In their free time, the Burketts love to camp, travel out of state, watch movies, and cook together. Melissa also enjoys making crafts and quilting.
The Northwest Christian third grade team is looking forward to welcoming  Ashlee Davis .  This will be her third year as a teacher. Ashlee is a native Arizonan and graduated from Grand Canyon University. She has been married for four years to a Northwest Christian alumni, Jesse Davis. They have attended Valley Life Church for four years. At home, they have two 'fur babies' - a kitten named Winston and an Aussie pup named Remmy. Ashlee loves to spend time with her friends and (large) family. Ashlee and Jesse love to explore and travel; most of the time it is very spontaneous. She is looking forward to meeting her new students, their families, and partnering together for a great year.
Kristy Coughlin will be joining Northwest Christian as the sixth grade English teacher. Kristy graduated with a Bachelor's degree in English from Westmont College. She has served in children's and student ministries alongside her husband for the last twenty years. She is excited to share her love of reading and writing with the students. Kristy and her husband, Jon, have three kids: Roc (just graduated from NCS), Shekinah (eighth grade), and Mateo (second grade). Their family attends Desert Breeze Community Church and loves serving in ministry together. They can also be found skateboarding the canals of Phoenix.
Sara Williams will be the Northwest Christian Junior English teacher this fall. She grew up on a farm in Northern Ohio and married her high school sweetheart, Robb. Sara attended Liberty University for her undergraduate degree in Education and Northern Arizona University for her Masters in Education. Sara is also a Reading Specialist. While she has taught English at a number of schools in Arizona, she and Robb have also been in full-time ministry for nearly twenty-nine years. They currently serve at Palmcroft Church where Robb is the lead pastor. They have three amazing children. Two are in college and their youngest son, Ross, is a student at Northwest Christian. Sara enjoys reading, running, hiking, and riding horses. 
For new middle school teacher Mary Powell, teaching is in her blood.  Both of her parents taught in a Christian school, and there are several other members in her family in the teaching profession. Much of her playtime during the toddler years consisted of teaching her dolls and teddy bears their letters and numbers.   Mary earned her BA in English and teaching credential from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo (Cal Poly SLO). After teaching in California for seven years, she has been teaching high school English in the valley for the last eight years. The Powell family attends CCV and her daughter starts in the Northwest Christian Early Education program this fall.   All of Mary's schooling was in a K-12 Christian School and she is overjoyed to be returning to Christian education.  She considers attending a Christian school was undoubtedly a major factor in shaping the person she is today. Although Mary did not realize it when she was young, the Lord was showing her what it is like to not only learn in a Christian school, but how to teach to transform lives for the Lord. More than anything, she hopes that His light that shines through her will inspire her students to grow closer to the Lord.
Lisa Stone is excited to be a first grade teacher at Northwest Christian. She has taught third grade, kindergarten, and most recently has served as a reading intervention teacher in the Deer Valley Unified School District. With over five years of teaching experience, her passion involves helping students learn how to read. She is excited to integrate the principles of Christianity into the curriculum. She lives in Anthem and attends CCV with her husband and two children - Kaitlyn who will be a freshman in high school and Ryland who will be an 8th grader. Both kids are excited to attend NCS in the fall! As a Southern California native Lisa enjoys Disneyland, going to the beach, and spending time with her family.
Spotlight readers will remember an article that was run in May which first introduced the new band director, Debbie Hutson.  Debbie began teaching music over thirty years ago after graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Instrumental Music Education from Arizona State University, where she also later received her Master of Fine Arts in Instrumental Music. In that time she has worked with musicians at all age levels, from elementary school through college and beyond. Outside of education, Debbie is a professional flutist and also enjoys playing pennywhistle and other woodwind instruments. She was a flutist for the Tempe Symphony for ten years, has been Principal Flute for the Scottsdale Philharmonic Symphony since 2013, performs professionally in local musicals, plays pennywhistle occasionally with Trotter's Wake Irish Band, has taught flute privately throughout her professional career, and taken Musical Missions trips to the Philippines, Rio de Janeiro, New Mexico, and Scotland. Though it might seem that music dominates her life, she actively enjoys baking, hiking, and traveling.   During her last year of undergrad studies, Debbie met Kris Hutson while playing in the Lyric Opera Theatre Orchestra and they got married in 1984. Kris spent most of his professional career teaching High School Band, but recently made the switch to Administration and currently works as the Assistant Principal of Attendance and Discipline at Moon Valley High School. He plays the trombone and the two of them often play their instruments together in orchestras around the Valley and abroad. Debbie and Kris were members of Dream City Church for 28 years and recently transitioned to Reset Church. The way to Debbie's heart is through Dutch Bros coffee and a bouquet of autumn-colored flowers!
Carrie Holbert is very excited to be joining the Northwest Christian School family as a teacher with the Third Grade team working alongside Mrs. Burleson.  Carrie was a third grade teacher with both Las Brisas Elementary and Diamond Canyon Elementary and she holds a Bachelor's in Education. The Holbert family currently attends Palmcroft Church and three of the four Holbert children are current NCS students - Ryan (6th), Brayden (4th), Raegan (1st). When she finds extra time, Carrie enjoys traveling, reading and spending time watching her children play baseball, golf and gymnastics. Carrie looks forward to an amazing year working with Mrs. Burleson and with her students.
Though he is no stranger to the community, Mick Manne is pleased to be joining the Northwest Christian team as a full-time campus substitute teacher, alumni coordinator, and grant coach.  As though that weren't enough, he will also be responsible for the ASAP after school program  He and his wife, Barb (NCS Elementary Art Teacher), have been a part of the NCS community for one year.  Mick and Barb moved to the Phoenix area two years ago, following their son, Tony and his wife, Stephanie, here to the Valley. Their other son, Drew, is a senior education major at the University of Wisconsin - Whitewater. Mick and Barb currently attend Christ Lutheran in Goodyear.   Teaching is a second career for Mick. He enjoyed a thirty year career as a fund raising and public relations professional, serving faith-based non-profits and other social service and educational organizations. But teaching was something he always wanted to do and it has become his passion! Mick is delighted to have the opportunity to positively impact the lives of young people. He has been a substitute teacher for sux years, including last school year at NCS where he subbed at all grade levels.  When he's not at NCS, he enjoys spending time with his family and grand-dogs, walking, playing golf, watching sports, and reading. Mick is also an amateur astronomer and space geek.
Another "new" teacher who is not a stranger to the Crusader community is Jessica Gake.  Jessica is returning to teach middle school choir and media technology. She has a Bachelors degree in music and a Master's degree in educational technology. She has ten years of experience in education which includes teaching music and technology as well as instructional design.  Most recently, she has done instructional design work within the online education division of Grand Canyon University.  In addition to her teaching responsibilities, she is looking forward to assisting with Northwest Christian's first foray into online ed.  She and her husband attend Northwest Community Church. Jessica enjoys spending time with family, including her newborn son.
Spotlight on Faculty

In June, members of the Northwest Christian administrative team headed over to try their hand at escaping the challenging puzzles at the North Valley Escape Room.  The group divided into two groups:  one group attempted to escape from Alcatraz and the other group's challenge was called 'The Great Outdoors".  While the group that is responsible for the education of your children actually failed to escape either room, they had a ton of fun.

Northwest Christian Middle School Program Expands Athletics to include Sixth Grade Students
Learn more about this long-awaited development on registration day 
NCS Athletics
At Northwest Christian, there are a wide variety of strategies to connect students with one another and with mentors for the purpose of growing academically, physically, and spiritually.  Over the years, athletics has proven to be an incredibly effective platform for this concept. There are so many disciplines in athletics where you can draw the correlation to relationships with others and with spiritual growth. To name a few: dedication, resilience, integrity, character, and faithfulness. In addition, you have to learn to work together as a team which is essential in the body of Christ. For this reason, the school thrilled to announce that the Cactus Christian Schools League is adding sixth grade teams to our competitive sports program. This year, we are adding sixth grade teams for volleyball, soccer, baseball, softball, basketball, and cheer. We are so excited to add this layer to our Crusader Nation! Look for further information and sign-ups at registration day.
Northwest Christian "Growing and Going" Campaign Continues to Move the Campus Forward
There are many, many moving pieces in the summer of 2019 

Three years ago, Northwest Christian began the journey of campus improvement under the banner of "Growing and Going".  In that the school is responsibly paying for the enhancements with cash and avoiding debt, the pace has been determined by fundraising.  More information on this effort can be found at this link.

The summer of 2019 is seeing several steps within this plan realized.  The most significant change has been to the library.  The space which the library occupies was adjusted to include the addition of a new elementary technology room as well as a space for elementary art.  (Before and after pictures are above and below.)  As part of the developing plan, however, these spaces are not the ultimate destination for elementary art and technology.  The near horizon holds plans for the construction of a new kindergarten classroom building and expansion of the Early Education building.  When that change happens, rooms will shift once more and art and tech will migrate towards a 'specials classroom plaza' on the south end of the campus.  At that point, the rededicated library space will become what is being termed as the Crusader Creation Commons.  The Crusader Creation Commons will follow a "Maker's Space" concept in a form:  a space reserved for technologically-inclined students to experiment with 3-D printers, die-cutters, cameras and video editing equipment, graphic design tools, a music recording studio, and much more.

The other significant change on campus was moving the Mini-Crusader program (infants through early walkers) into the Early Education building.  This move will allow for improved classroom space, a new outside play space, and increased security.

The Northwest Christian team was courageous in the adjustments required to facilitate these and other improvements that families will see upon return in the fall.  All said, twenty-one classroom moves took place.

To hear about the next phase of the Growing and Going campaign, please make plans to attend the annual fundraising dinner at auction taking place at the Phoenix Art Museum on September 28th.  The theme for this year's event is "Shaping the Future" as that attendees will be the first on campus to learn about forthcoming projects that will increase the quality of programs for all ages on campus--technology, early education, and fine arts.

Generous Sponsors of Northwest Christian Athletes
Spotlight on Worldview

It was a packed house every week of the summer as Garry Kaiser's Christian Worldview/Creation and Evolution seminar at the school.  Last night was no exception as that the event has consistently drawn over forty attendees.

By popular demand, Northwest Christian is pleased to bring back Garry Kaiser's Christian Worldview Seminar this summer!  The classes are free and pizza will be provided.  For more information, click HERE.


July 16, 2019
Vol. 9, Issue 9 
Romans 12:12

"Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer."
Parent University--be ready for Fall 2019!
Partnership with Ottawa University
means huge college savings!
Saturn Pools  is a generous sponsor
of NCS Athletics
Bumble Bee Plumbing  is a generous sponsor
of NCS Missions Learning

Generous Supporters of Northwest Christian


Northwest Christian's Prayer Group for Men 
Generous Sponsors of Northwest Christian Athletes

Grand Canyon University

Box Tops for Education
NCS Purple Pages
Moms in Prayer
Generous Sponsors of Northwest Christian Athletes

Generous Sponsors of Northwest Christian Athletes

State Tuition Tax Credit Opportunity
Generous Sponsors of Northwest Christian Athletes

Generous Sponsors of Northwest Christian Athletes


a NCS Mssions Learning partner

Free NCS Bumper Sticker!

Show your school spirit!
Please present this coupon in the school office to receive a complimentary NCS bumper sticker. 
Limit one per family.
Offer Expires: Offer available while current supplies last.