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Northwest Christian School
Dear NCS family,
Though you won't read it for another week or so, as I write this Spotlight-opening tidbit, it's Friday afternoon, May 27th--the last day of school.  The campus has cleared.  Some of us are busy cleaning up after end-of-year celebrations, others are hard-at-work prepping for tonight's commencement ceremony at Christ's Church of the Valley, and others are readying for a productive summer as we start the annual run up to fall.

I have done more of these 'last-day-of-the-school-year' than I am willing to admit in print.  But this one is different.  Very, very different.  For many years, for me, this has been  largely an exercise that follows a loving routine.  But, tonight, my oldest child will graduate from high school.  In a few days, I'll put him on a plane and send him to work all summer at a Bible camp in Montana.  Then, he'll return and almost immediately move into a university dorm.  I know it's not, but it feels like "game over".

If I do the math, there were 6,570 days between that beautiful middle-of-the-night, just-at-the-wrong-time moment when my wonderful wife's water broke and tonight.  That sounds like so many days!  So many that we might never run out!  But we did.

Along this eighteen year journey, I will be honest:  there were days that were very, very long.  But, I realize now that the years were very, very short.  In his precious first few months on this planet, I don't think the kid slept a wink--my wife and I certainly didn't.  There have been countless Saturday morning games, play dates to organize, late night visits to the clinic on account of a fever, math problems to help with, classroom conferences to attend, spelling tests to study for, tuition dollars to save, and so much more.  But, here and now, it's clearer than it has ever been:  every single moment mattered.

Our families sacrifice much to make Christian education a reality for their kids.  Some of you work extra jobs or extra hours, you ask your friends for tax credit help, and you go without those things that our culture screams in your ears that you need so badly.   But here, for me personally, standing upon this 18-year precipice, looking back and knowing that every single moment has mattered so, so much, each of those sacrifices were so, so small.  Please, don't give up!  Someday, like me, you will also have the privilege to stand upon a similar summit of accomplishment and completion with your student--wishing those long days could have been a bit longer--and you'll have the same realization that I have.  It's been worth it.
Grateful for the opportunity to serve this school and your family,
Geoff Brown
Northwest Christian School
(623)225-5573 (cell)
Meet the new teachers and staff!       
In an article below, you will have the opportunity to learn about all of the incredible new teachers and staff members that are joining the Northwest Christian family this fall.  We also want you to meet them in person!  Please join us as our friends at Rita's Italian Ices and Shine Dentistry for Kids host a meet and greet.  Grab some cold Italian Ice and get acquainted!
Monday, June 13th
Rita's Italian Ice, next to Shine Dentistry
  6:00 to 7:30pm
5940 W Union Hills Dr.
(Proceeds from Rita's will go to support the NCS Band program.)  

Shine Dentistry       


Two Middle School Band Students Looking Forward to Perfromance at Carnegie Hall this Summer 

The two were part of a Northwest Christian septet competing at Fullerton College 

This spring, members of the Northwest Christian Middle School band ensemble performed as a septet at the Forum Music Festival at Fullerton College in California.  The group as a whole was recognized with a silver rating by festival judges.  Additionally, as a result of the competition, b oth eighth grader Hannah Sternberg (clarinet) and seventh grader Caden Medina (horn) earned a spot to perform with the Honors Performance Series Band at Carnegie Hall in New York City this summer.  Hannah and Caden will join an honor band made up of dozens of the finest student musicians from around the country to rehearse together for a few days and then perform an outstanding concert at the nation's top concert hall.  Hannah and Caden will be the first band students to perform at Carnegie hall from Northwest Christian.  Seventh grader Jonathan Qin was also recognized with a Forum Outstanding Musician Award for his performance on alto sax.
Generous Sponsors of Northwest Christian Athletes

Shine Dentistry        

Elementary Crusaders Participate in the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society "Pennies for Leukemia" Drive 

LLS recognizes students for being "Champions of Change" 

Under the direction of school nurse Mrs. Andrea Kortman, Northwest Christian's elementary classes participated in the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's "Pennies for Leukemia" small change drive this spring.  On the whole, Northwest Christian students raised just over $5,000 for the effort to fund research to combat these formidable diseases.  Crusader fourth grade classes really took the lead in the effort with Mrs. Huizinga's class bringing in $554.82, Mrs. Phillips' class bringing in $482.68, and Mrs. Freudenberger's class bringing in $477.85.  Because of the strong performance of the school in the region overall, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society awarded the elementary students with a "Champions of Change" banner (pictured) which is hanging up in the office.

More than 14.5 million students and 850,000 educators in 28,000 schools across the U.S. participate in the Pennies for Leukemia program annually. Since its beginning, students have raised more than $288 million to fund breakthrough therapies and patient services, and more than $27 million in 2014-2015 alone!
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Northwest Christian Excited to Welcome New Teachers and Staff to the Crusader Family for Fall 2016
Bill Harbeck is certainly no stranger to the Northwest Christian community as that many alumni and parents will recognize him for the decade-plus that he served the school in both the classroom and the administrative offices.  It is with great enthusiasm that the school welcomes him back to the Crusader community in the role of high school Bible teacher.  The coming school year will find Brandon Southall transitioning to teach senior Bible while Bill will move to take over the sophomore Bible classroom.  With a total of 36 years of teaching experience, split between Christian schools in both Illinois and Arizona, his most recent posts have included stints at Arizona Christian University and Joy Christian School, in addition to his many years of successful service as a Crusader Bible teacher and principal.  Bill's undergrad degree is from Wheaton and he holds a masters degree from National Lewis University.  Northwest Christian is also excited to report that Bill will be assuming the reins of the varsity girls basketball program beginning in 2016/2017 as that he has a strong history of basketball success with the school.
Northwest Christian is pleased to announce that Scott Williams will be taking hold of the conductor's baton within the school's far-reaching band program starting this fall.  Mr. Williams' busy band room will welcome fourth graders for recorders, fifth graders for beginning band, and both middle school and high school students for intermediate and advanced bands.  He will also take the lead of the high school's growing marching band program.  With twenty-four years of educational experience, he is well-prepared for his new position having previously served as band director at both the K-8 and high school levels.  Williams was the band director at Sweetwater Elementary for six years and has fifteen years of experience within thriving high school band programs at both Cortez High School in Phoenix and Pueblo High School in Tucson.  With proven experience in growing band programs, Williams reports that the key to success is building a strong team.  Describing the team he looks forward to building at NCS, Williams says, "I have found this element to be one of the most crucial in the sustainability and advancement of of not only the program itself, but also of the students' individual achievements.  Having a deep and rich relationship with the band parents, based on trust and shared common values and goals allows for the building of a team focused on the well-being of the student and the school."  Williams has been actively involved in the ministry of Paradise Valley Community Church for six years where he plays with the worship team and serves as part of the usher team. 
With a strong and diverse educational background, Kristi Kelly is poised to make a big impact in the Northwest Christian fifth grade classroom.  Kristi's most recent experience has been leading a fifth grade classroom at Trinity Christian School in Kailua, Hawaii.  Prior to that post, she accumulated six years working as a language arts and science teacher and project manager at the International English School in Jonkoping, Sweden.  Other international experience includes a post as sixth grade teacher at the Riverside International School in Prague, Czech Republic.  For all of her international experience, she is not unfamiliar with the Arizona brand of education in that she started her career as a fourth grade teacher at Country Meadows Elementary in Glendale after graduating from Arizona State University's West Campus.  Kristi brings a passion for ministry and missions to her Northwest Christian role as evidenced by her time working with both World Vision and WYAM in Thailand.
The Northwest Christian elementary program is looking forward to welcoming Janet Lusher to the fifth grade team.  With a degree in Elementary Education (with English minor) from Seattle Pacific University, Mrs. Lusher has a strong track record of being a student and parent favorite in kindergarten, first grade, and third grade classrooms at Paradise Valley Christian Prep in Phoenix.  Janet has attended Open Door Fellowship for eighteen years where she serves as a member of the worship team and teacher within the K-5 Sunday School program.  After spending even just a few minutes with Janet, it is clear to see that she is passionate about Christian education.  "Overall," she explains, "my greatest aim in teaching is to glorify the name of Jesus in all that I do, and to use the gifts that He has given me to benefit others, namely my students.  My job is to teach, but my deeper purpose is to draw them to the heart of God in that process and to model Christ to them."
Also joining Northwest Christian elementary's fifth grade teaching team is  Amy Veen.  After graduating from Grand Canyon University, the lion's share of Amy's educational experience has been in Colorado where she has served as both an elementary reading interventionalist and an elementary classroom teacher.  Most recently, she served as an elementary teacher at Paradise Valley Christian Prep.  Amy's family attends Valley View Bible Church where she serves both as part of the Children's ministry team and as part of the team teaching a women's Bible study.  As you talk to Amy, it is clear to see that her passion for Christ and that ministry will be the cornerstone of the culture created in her classroom.  "I want to be part of nurturing the faith of my students," she explains.  "I love Jesus and I want to share Him with my students.  I want to challenge my students and help support them in their faith walk."
Northwest Christian is thrilled to welcome alumnus Brenna Roth back to the high school halls that still reverberate with the boundless energy and enthusiasm for Christ that she brought as a Crusader.  After graduating from Northwest Christian, she went on to earn degrees in secondary education and English from Grand Canyon University.  Her student teaching and educational practicum experiences included time in classrooms at Moon Valley High School and Alhambra High School.  Most recently, she has spent time working with current Northwest Christian freshman English teacher, Mrs. Stasi Gibson.  Brenna will be moving to take the freshman English post as Stasi moves into sophomore English.  Brenna has attended New City Church for the past four years where she works as a Sunday School teacher.  Northwest Christian High School students will also enjoy Brenna as the lead varsity cheer coach, working alongside returning cheer assistant coaches Brittney Huizinga and Allison VanLiew.  Following a successful stint as cheer captain at Northwest Christian, she went on to become the Head Captain of the Grand Canyon University cheer team and a cheer instructor at the Arizona Cheer Factory,
"As a Christian," explains new first grade teacher Joanne Wohlgemuth, "I experience God's truth on a daily basis and use the Holy Spirit to empower me as I teach.  As a teacher, I seek to integrate Biblical truth into what is being taught and into discipline."  Joanne's established track record of success in early elementary classrooms includes time at Sunset Heights Elementary, Frontier Elementary, and Rancho Solano Private Schools in Scottsdale.  She earned her undergrad education degree from Ottawa University where she's presently working to earn a masters degree in curriculum and instruction.  "Even though others can see Christ through my actions and words in a public school setting, it will be a blessing to speak freely of God's love with others and to be able to work in a Christ-filled environment," she says.  "I am blessed with the gift to be able to teach children and will enjoy integrating God's truth in my daily lessons."
The Northwest Christian Middle School choir program has grown tremendously in the last few years and that momentum is poised to continue as Melissa Maguire takes the lead.  After graduating Summa Cum Laude from Arizona State University, Mrs. Maguire has assembled an impressive array of fine arts educational experiences.  She led the choir program at Central High School in Phoenix where she also served as the Performing Arts Department Chair.  She has also led middle school and high school choirs at Village Christian School in Sun Valley, California and Desert Mirage Elementary in Glendale.  Most recently, she served as the accompanist for the Northwest Christian High School choir program and an Area Administrator within Central Phoenix Young Life.  Melissa and her family attend Living Streams Christian Church where she is involved in a weekly women's BIble study and part of the worship team.
With Brittney Meyer vacating Northwest Christian High's academic counselor position as she starts a family with her husband, pastor Jayce Meyer, the school's aggressive and far-reaching guidance role is being handed to the very capable and experienced Christy Wells.  Titled "Pursuing His Purposes", the Northwest Christian guidance program is unique with a plan that is strategically paired with the teachers from the Bible department and impacts students beginning in sixth and seventh grades before culminating with seniors as they graduate.  In that Christy is an alumni of Northwest Christian, however, it's a role within a school culture that she knows and appreciates.  She has an undergrad degree in Elementary and Special Education from Evangel University and a Master in Educational Counseling from Ottawa University.  She's served time in the classroom, teaching for three years at Mountain View, before serving in academic counseling roles at Goldwater High School and the K-8 program at Highland Lakes.  But Christy is excited about her return to Northwest Christian, calling the school's academic counselor role as her "dream job".  Christy and her husband have attended New Life Community Church for eight years where they lead a small group Bible study for young families.
Jenna Young is excited to invest her Christian faith into her lessons within her second grade classroom at Northwest Christian School after a time within a public school setting where that couldn't be the case.  "I can finally put my Christian beliefs into teaching," she explains.  "It will be great to talk about God and the Bible without worrying whether the principal or a parent would walk in."  Hailing from New York, Jenna's undergrad education is from the State University of New York at Owego.  From the same university, she's also earned a Masters of Education in Literacy.  Locally, she has worked at Camelback Academy where she worked within a Title I setting in grades 3-5.   Jenna and her husband are active at Radiant Church where she serves as a leader within a women's Bible study.  They also enjoy serving at the Phoenix Dream Center. 
With two students at Northwest Christian, Amy McPeek has been an active parent within the Crusader community.  Though she's ably served as a sub when needed, most often she's volunteered her time to support teachers within the classroom, help organize school events, or serve within the office.  But, with a degree in elementary education from Arizona State University  and teaching experience at Foothills Elementary, she's now been tapped to work part-time to support the middle school's growing technology program, spearheading several classes of electives.  The McPeeks are active at Mountain Ridge Church where Amy teaches within the preschool program. 
No doubt the astute reader will notice from the hires listed above that we've done a bit of Rubik's-inspired shuffling this spring with teacher placements as we have moved existing teachers into new roles matching their strengths and areas of enthusiasm.  These changes include:
  • Karen Gill will be moving to 7th grade math.  Karen's clear success with math, her passion for the subject, and her educational background in secondary math made her an obvious choice.
  • Ben Sheets will be moving to middle school Social Studies Ben is highly qualified in secondary history and is passionate about the subject.
  • Emilie Johannes has a masters degree in secondary language, is a fluent speaker of Spanish, and is excited about transitioning into a role that will find her presenting intro level high school Spanish and some elementary Spanish specials.
  • Teri Beckner has a masters degree in educational technology and is excited to take the lead in the growing elementary technology program.
  • Candace Phillips is moving to 7th grade Language Arts.  With LA success in her elementary classroom this year, she will complete a strong team.
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Spotlight on Students:  Enjoy images from around the campus

Pictured above:  the official NCS vote for best-end-year gift to a teacher!  The family of a kindergartner presented Mrs. Getz with a priceless gift:  a jar full of all the playground sand that the student had tracked home throughout the year in his shoes.  In case you can't read the note, it reads, "Thank you...because for every gain of sand he tracked home there was an accompanying song or prayer or skill.  He has learned so much and we are so blessed by every tiny investment you made.  We love you!"

On the last two days of the school year, the Early Education students enjoyed a special annual tradition:  Mud Day!

Elementary students recently had the opportunity to participate in the Red Letter challenge--reading through the four gospels in three months, one chapter each day.  Over sixty students participated!  Participants were entered into a drawing for a free hoverboard!  The winner (pictured with her class above) was Jenise C.

Six Crusaders are preparing to travel to the City of Joy in Rwanda this summer.  The group includes (from the left):  Kalyn Howry, Donny Reddy, CJ Sorcinelli, Tannor Bach, Hayden Burks, and Kelsey Groff.  Leaving on June 26th and returning on July 8th, they will be taking much needed curriculum and medical supplies to the City of Joy which serves more than 160 kindergarten to 3rd grade children.  The students will be leading the children in VBS camps, soccer clinics and working on facility improvements, including the playground.

To donate towards the mission trip on behalf of our NCS students, go to:

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Barton Pure Pools

June 6, 2016
Vol. 6, Issue 8      
Colossians 1:15-17
"15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together."

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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.