Faculty

Office Staff

George Gay
Principal
ggay@heritagechristianschool.com

Our founding principal, Mr. George Gay, has been in Christian Education for over 35 years. Mr. Gay has founded two other successful Christian schools and has consulted with many other schools in several states. Mr. Gay has implemented and directed excellent curriculum and instructional Christian School programs, which have received accreditation from ACSI and WASC. Mr. Gay’s passion is to daily nurture, train, encourage, challenge, and love kids, all for the glory of God. Mr. Gay received his B.A. from California State University, Fullerton. His teaching credential is from Southern California Christian College and his Masters in Educational Administration from Concordia University. Mr. Gay has been married to his wife Edie for over 40 years. He and Edie have 4 daughters & 11 grandchildren.

Maria Kloessner
Business Manager
mkloessner@heritagechristianschool.com

Maria has a B.A. in Interpersonal and Organizational Communication from California State University, Long Beach. She is also certified as a trainer for “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”. Maria worked as a Subcontract and Training Manager for ResCare Workforce Services for over fourteen years and was committed to helping individuals and families become self-sufficient in a supportive atmosphere. Maria has brought her experience and understanding of business management and process improvements to her role as Business Manger for Heritage Christian School. Maria and her family attend Reverence Bible Church. Maria and her husband, Robert, have two beautiful daughters. Grace and Faith at Heritage Christian. Maria loves camping and traveling with her family and enjoys anything Disney. HCS was an answer to prayer for Maria and her family. She and Robert searched everywhere for a school where their daughters would be fed the Word of God daily, grow academically, and be supported by kind, loving, and caring staff, teachers, and administrators. Her goal is to contribute to the success of our school by supporting and collaborating with parents, teachers, staff, and administrators.

Shannon Brack
Financial Administrator
sbrack@heritagechristianschool.com

Shannon has an Accounting Degree from Loyola Marymount University and is a Certified Public Accountant. She has worked the last 10 years as a Finance Administrator in the Christian School System and has several years of experience in Construction Development and Property Management Accounting. Shannon attends Crossline Community Church and enjoys the women’s bible studies. She also loves to read, watch her son Lance (19) play lacrosse at Chapman, and visit her daughter Rachel (20) who attends Seattle Pacific. Her life verse is Jeramiah 29:11. God has a plan for her future and helps this woman of ‘structure’ keep focused when life doesn’t go according to her plan.

Mary Nelson
Director International Program, DSO & Dean of Guidance, Junior High and High School
mnelson@heritagechristianschool.com

Mary’s education is in Marriage, Family, and Child Counseling, and she has a double Major from the University of La Verne, with a Masters in Science in both Psychology and Sociology. She has worked in Counseling and Christian Education for more than 25 years, and in College and Academic Counseling for more than 15 years. Mary’s passion is getting students into College so she works with them to set up a curriculum that helps them achieve their first choice for College. She has also worked in some capacity for the Private Christian schools her daughter attended in the Orange County area. She recently moved back to the Orange County beach area after working in Fallbrook, California, for the last 5 years. While there, she raised Avocados as a California Avocado grower and also worked for Zion Christian Schools, a small private Christian School serving Preschool to 8th Grade. She commuted for the past year from Orange County to Fallbrook when she was asked to be the Principal at Zion, but felt that God had called her to stay in the beach area, so she left that position to take on her new role at Heritage Christian School. Mary has been married for over 40 years and has one daughter. Her husband is an Immigration Attorney (limited to Immigration only) in Irvine, and her daughter, who only attended Christian schools from Preschool through High School graduation, works for San Juan Capistrano Calvary Chapel. “Our family loves the Lord Jesus Christ and I look forward to working at Heritage Christian School. I feel that I have a Calling to be here and help each one of your children achieve their educational goals.”

Edie Gay
School Secretary
egay@heritagechristianschool.com

Edie Gay has her A.A. degree in Early Childhood Education. She has served in ministry along side her husband for over 35 years. She has been married to George for 40 plus wonderful years. They have four beautiful daughters and four amazing son-in-laws. She enjoys spending time with her 9 adoring grand children and cooking for her entire family and friends. She counts it a joy and privilege to be working at Heritage Christian School.

Lynette Johnson
Elementary Office Administrator
ljohnson@heritagechristianschool.com

Lynette has her B.A. in Christian Education and supplementary education in Computer Technology and Media Arts and is thrilled to be able to put all of these things to work for HCS. She has been married to husband, Don, for over 50 years and they have 3 wonderful children and 4 beautiful grandchildren. Although Lynette worked many years with her husband in pastoral ministry, she also spent several years supporting Executives of pharmaceutical, medical device, and medical consulting companies in the local area, where she provided administrative support to HR, Legal, Finance, and Corporate Culture departments as well as to the CEO and CFO. She loves being a grandmother and enjoys passing along her love of reading to her grandchildren. In addition to working and being ‘grandma’, she does a little writing and community theater.

Preschool Staff

Sharon Benedetto
Preschool Director
sbenedetto@heritagechristianschool.com

Mrs. B came to Heritage Christian School with 30 years of teaching experience. She has taught various grades but Early Childhood is her favorite. She has a M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education from Pepperdine University. Mrs. B believes that a solid foundation for learning begins in the preschool environment. She enjoys working with children through the discovery process and watching them develop their skills on a daily basis. Most important to her is to be able to share her love of Jesus with her students through her teaching.

Lorena Casillas
Preschool Transistional Kindergarten Teacher, Assistant Director

Ms. Casillas attended Cerritos College where she received her certificate in Early Childhood Education. She has more than twenty years of teaching experience. She is married with two adult children and three dogs. Ms. Casillas feels that her calling is to serve The Lord through teaching and is very blessed to have been part of the HCS family since 2007.

I-Fen Wu
Preschool S.T.E.A.M. Coordinator

Ms. I-Fen was born in Taiwan. At age fifteen she and her family moved to California where she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Architectural Interior Design and worked as an interior designer in San Francisco prior to coming to the field of Early Childhood education. I-Fen loves anything to do with art. She also loves working with children. Her passion for Early Childhood Education began when she joined a mission trip to Taiwan for teaching English in 2007. She found that she has a great love for children, and decided to pursue her new career in this direction. I-Fen has graduated from Saddleback College with an Associate Degree in Child Development. She believes teaching is an incredibly important profession. She wants to inspire children to keep learning. I-Fen attends Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, where she is involved in Bible studies and Children’s ministries. In her free time, I-Fen enjoys reading, listening to music, spending time with friends and family, and watching her son play tennis.

Melissa Beoletto
Preschool Teacher

Ms. Melissa is married and has one daughter. She enjoys going to amusement parks, going on adventures, doing outdoor activities, and playing games. She has her Early Child Development certificate from Irvine Valley College. In her free time she loves going out with her Mom and daughter. She enjoys playing video games, going to concerts, watching Broadway shows and trying new restaurants with her husband. Melissa truly feels blessed that every day she gets to work with children and has been doing so for over 15 years. It is a true passion that she expresses by helping them learn and play, and in teaching them about God!!

Wendy Braun
Preschool Teacher

Ms. Wendy was born in Huntington Beach CA and has three amazing children, and three fun loving dogs. Ms. Wendy has her certificate in Early Childhood Education and has been a teacher for 12 years. She feels so blessed to be a part of Heritage Christian Preschool. Ms. Wendy loves to watch football and coaches the HCS Cheer Team! She also enjoys the beach, a great movie, and backyard BBQs.

Delmy Rios
Preschool Teacher

 

Elementary Staff

Susan Reed
Kindergarten Teacher
sreed@heritagechristianschool.com

Susan graduated from San Diego State University in 1993 with a Bachelor of Arts in Applied Arts and Sciences, Liberal Studies. She then earned a Multiple-Subject teaching credential from National University. In 1998, while teaching at Foothill Ranch Elementary School, she earned a Master of Science in Administration from Pepperdine University. There she also assisted the principal with administrative responsibilities as “Teacher on Special Assignment”. Susan has taught Kindergarten, First and Second grades in public and private institutions. Susan’s classroom environment is one that her students feel safe, loved, and encouraged to achieve their best. Susan focuses her teaching on developing each student’s spiritual, academic, social and physical well being. She incorporates God’s word in her teaching by including the Holy Bible in all areas of the Kindergarten day. She believes that encouraging a student’s relationship with God at an early age allows Godly principles to become the foundation for growth in character and academic achievement. Susan is honored to serve at Heritage Christian School as she teaches and empowers her students to achieve God’s plan for their life.

Hadee Espinoza
1st Grade Teacher
hespinoza@heritagechristianschool.com

Hadee received her Masters in Education from the University of Phoenix and is also an accredited ACSI teacher. She has taught several grades in both public and private schools. Hadee’s teaching passions are in the areas of Reading, English as a Second Language, and Special Education. As the spouse of a United States Marine, Hadee has traveled and seen the country from coast to coast and loves having the opportunity to be able to teach the Gospel and reach many families from a diverse range of cultures. Hadee believes her latest calling by God is definitely to serve here at Heritage Christian School. By her example, Hadee teaches her students the many ways God will move us from place to place to make disciples everywhere we go. Hadee was born in Mexico but calls Texas her home.

Danielle Contreras
2nd Grade Teacher
dcontreras@heritagechristianschool.com

After being called to be a missionary at the age of ten, Danielle pursued her education and missions degree at Pensacola Christian College where she met her husband and went off to Spain for 14 years. She has taught a wide range of ages and grades throughout her career, teaching English as a second language in Spain, homeschooling her three boys and then later teaching high school Spanish and middle school English. Her dream class is of course, second grade, the perfect age! She is originally from upstate New York and enjoys the change of seasons especially the fall. Sports and adventure are a big part of her life! She is thankful to live in Surf City to be able to swim, run, hike and bike often with her husband and young adult sons. Traveling around the world to tell people of Jesus will be her theme this year. She is eager to instill in children an early love for Jesus and a desire to tell others of His love along with a love for reading, writing and arithmetic.

Rebecca Hayes
3rd Grade Teacher, Elementary Department Head
bhayes@heritagechristianschool.com

Rebecca Hayes graduated from Southeast Missouri State University with a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education and a minor in Psychology and History. Becki completed her Master’s Degree in Theology and Christian Education in 2007. She holds a Lifetime Kindergarten-Eighth Grade Teaching Credential and also an ACSI Teaching Credential. Becki has taught in grades first through fourth for over 34 years in both public and Christian schools throughout the United States, with the last 23 years in California. She attends Lutheran Church of the Cross, where she serves in the Stephen’s Ministry program. She enjoys playing with her grandchildren, Hayden, Ethan, Marcy, and Elizabeth, walking her corgis and reading. Becki is called to the teaching ministry and to Heritage Christian School. She feels that every child is a gift from God and loves involving children in ministry work. Her desire is to help each child reach the potential that God has placed within them.

Bryan Roney
4th Grade Teacher
broney@heritagechristianschool.com

Bryan graduated from Cal State Fullerton with a Bachelors in Liberal studies. Before graduating from Fullerton Bryan attended Fresno State where he played soccer on scholarship. He attended National University for his teaching credential. Bryan has worked for several years in the public-school system as a substitute and a high school soccer coach. He has been married to his wife Melissa for over 10 years and has three wonderful children Sadie, Maverick and Braylon. He attends Reverence Bible Church, Heritage Christian’s home base. In his free time Bryan loves to watch soccer, movies, and spend time with his family. Bryan feels extremely blessed to be joining the Heritage Christian family. It has always been his dream to be a teacher and to work in ministry, Now he gets to do both.

Kathy McDaniel
5th Grade Teacher
kmcdaniel@heritagechristianschool.com

Kathy McDaniel grew up in a wonderful Christian home in Fresno, CA, where she accepted Christ at the age of 4. She moved away from the heat to South Orange County for college and never left. She graduated with a B.A. in Sociology from UC Irvine, received her teaching credential from Concordia University, and has been pursuing her Master’s degree in Christian Ministry from Southern California Seminary. She has a passion for apologetics and finding ways to teach both the “what” and the “why” of Christianity to all ages so that their faith is built on a solid foundation of truth. She holds a California Clear Multi-Subject Credential, as well as a Single Subject Credential in English. She taught 8th Grade Language Arts and Drama for many years in the public-school system prior to having her two children. Since her return to teaching, Kathy has taught 7th and 8th Grade History, as well as 5th Grade. She loves 5th Grade as they are on the cusp of making the big decisions in their life but still have a child’s innocence. The ability to impact their lives for Christ is huge. Kathy lives in San Clemente with her family and attends Pacific Coast Church where she has served in women’s ministry and youth ministry. She is highly involved in her church now as a curriculum contributor, event photographer, and VBS coordinator. Kathy is an avid Los Angeles Kings fan, loves sports (Hockey and Football), theater, amateur photography, politics, music, travel, adventure, and doing things with her family. She is thrilled to be teaching 5th Grade at Heritage.

Wendy Luttinen
6th Grade Teacher
wluttinen@heritagechristianschool.com

Wendy Luttinen has had 25 years teaching experience in both public and private education. She earned her B.A. in English from Whitworth College in Spokane, Washington. She graduated from the University of Washington with her M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis on Writer’s Workshop. She is ACSI certified with a lifetime membership. Wendy has taught under Mr. Gay’s leadership since moving from Washington State to California in 2001. She has wanted to teach since she was a first grader and is living her dream. Her passion for writing is contagious as she is able to inspire all students, from the most reluctant to those who are gifted in writing.

Becky Trojan
Physical Education
btrojan@heritagechristianschool.com

Becky has had 30 years of teaching experience in both public and private education. She grew up in the Philippines; attending a Christian school for missionary kids. Becky earned her Bachelor of Science in Physical Education and teaching credential K-12 at Biola University. She was an Elementary P.E. Specialist 10 years in the Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District, where she also coached both Jr. High and High School sports (basketball, soccer, softball and volleyball). Becky was also a Swim/ Water Safety Instructor and Jr. Life Guard trainer for many years. Other related hobbies include VBS, camps, coaching and officiating Little League baseball, girls softball, AYSO and club volleyball. She and her husband, Dave, have been married for over 30 years and have a son, Steven, 1st Lt. Air Force fighter pilot, and a daughter, Traci, attending Cal State Fullerton. Becky loves the Lord and serves Him as the Awana Ministry Director at Mission Hills Church. Her desire is to teach and encourage kids to give their best and to make physical activity fun so it becomes a life-long goal.

Rachel Miles
Athletic Director
rmiles@heritagechristianschool.com

Rachel Miles earned her Bachelor of Science in Human Development from Hope International University. She has been certified through the American Sport Education Program and the California Interscholastic Federation – CIF Coaching Education Program. Rachel has been a PE teacher for 16 years and an athletic director for 8 years in Christian education. She has coached softball for 16 years and has brought home the championship 6 times. Rachel grew up in a Christian home and feels very blessed everyday of her life for the parents God gave her. She has two wonderful young adult sons whom she adores, Sean and Ryan. In her free time, she likes taking walks on the beach, reading, and watching a good softball game!!! She also spends time with the Special Olympics, where she helps coach their co-ed softball team and special events. Jesus is her Lord and Savior and without Him she is nothing. Rachel always tries to live her life in a manner that would honor God. She feels God has led her to Heritage Christian School and is very excited to see how God is going to use her here at HCS. It is an honor and a privilege to be on staff at HCS!

Jr High Staff

Emily Updegraff, JH/HS Administrator
History & Spanish
eupdegraff@heritagechristianschool.com

Emily has been a teacher at the jr. high level for the last thirteen years. She has taught World History, United States History, Spanish, and has coached three Tri-Way League Championship Volleyball Teams. She has always dedicated herself to education. Emily received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Education at Hope International University and is credentialed by ACSI. Emily attends Compass Bible Church with her husband and family. In her free time she enjoys coaching volleyball and spending time with her family. Emily has been with Heritage Christian School since its inception. She believes in the work God is doing here. Her goal for all of her students is to learn how to love God wholeheartedly and love others unconditionally.

Scott Bruce
English, History, Science
sbruce@heritagechristianschool.com

Scott Bruce is excited to be a part of the Heritage Christian School family. This is Scott’s 18th year teaching, and his third at HCS. He was born and raised in Southern California and after graduating from Irvine High School, he attended Orange Coast Community College and San Diego State University where he earned his B.S. Degree in Psychology. Scott continued his education at National University. Along with teaching at HCS, Scott is a coach at Saddleback Valley Volleyball Club. He has been married to Kristan for over fifteen years and has been blessed with two sets of twins, Lexie and Matthew, and Ryan and Jack. In his free time Scott enjoys volleyball, skiing, camping, and going to the beach with family and friends.

Melanie Arambula
English, Algebra, Speech
marambula@heritagechristianschool.com

Melanie graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Political Science and a minor in Psychology from the University of Nevada Las Vegas. She later completed a Masters Degree in Elementary Education grades K-8 from Western Governors University. After completing her Masters Degree, Melanie became licensed to teach in the state of California by obtaining her Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. She has taught all grade levels from kindergarten to high school as both a substitute and full time teacher in Clark County School District, Westminster School District, and Garden Grove Unified. Melanie is a devoted wife to her husband of over 5 years, a loving mother to her young son and daughter, and a passionate teacher committed to using the most effective teaching strategies to reach all of her students. She believes in placing all of her trust and hope in the Lord while always seeking Him to guide her steps. She is honored to teach Jr. High/High School and be a part of the Heritage Christian School staff. She is most excited to place the Lord first each school day. She enjoys traveling, reading, spending time with her family and church community group.

Caylee Jackson
Math, Science
cjackson@heritagechristianschool.com

 

Rick Niswonger
Bible
rniswonger@heritagechristianschool.com

Rick Niswonger is a graduate of John Brown University, a small Christian college in Arkansas. He majored in Social Studies and Secondary Education. He then began his teaching career at the Southern California Military Academy in Signal hill. It was a Christian school with K-9th grade where he served as teacher, chaplain and coach. It was here that he met Janet another teacher and now his wife of 41 years. She and Rick had two children, Jeremy and Emily. After ten years at that school the Lord miraculously provided a job in the computer software industry for 15 years. Rick eventually jumped back into Christian education as the head-of-school at Brethren Christian Junior and Senior High School from 2002 to 2017. He and Janet have been in Christian education for a combined 65 years. Raised in a Christian home, Rick began to have doubts about his Christian faith in College. He started to think you could never be certain of the truth. But at JBU, he was confronted with the evidence for the resurrection, the fulfilled prophecies of Jesus, and other historical evidence. It was with great surprise and joy that he realized the Christian faith was actually, verifiably TRUE! Forty years later Rick is still and increasingly, in awe of who God is and how He loves us! Heritage Christian School is a priceless jewel in God’s kingdom. Its Godly leaders navigate against the flow of our decaying culture honoring our treasured nation and lovingly training up our precious children in the nurture and instruction of the Lord. Rick is grateful to God every day for the opportunity to serve the fabulous students of HCS helping them understand the truth of God’s Word in Apologetics class and the blessing our nation has been to the world in “Government” and “Current Events” classes. Rick says, “The best part of each day is walking out of the classroom at the end of the day and saying “Man that was fun and then realizing, Whoa! This is my JOB!” Rick says: “Here the students relate to one another in a family way, and yes, that means even the Junior High boys.” (BTW Rick admits that he, himself, is a recovering Junior High boy.) “The students seem to like, appreciate and encourage each other. I have not heard a mean word spoken yet by anyone!” Final Note: Rick Niswonger graduated from John Brown University with a Bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education, Emphasis: Social Science. Additional course work: California State University, Biola University, California Baptist University, Talbot Seminary and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He possesses a Single Subject California Credential (Social Science), and an Association of Christian Schools International Certificate (Secondary Principal). Rick spent 15 years in software education and has been a Christian School educator for 25 years.

Deborah Comstock
Art
dcomstock@heritagechristianschool.com

Deborah graduated from Cal State Fullerton with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. She taught Art to grades K-High School at Spirit Christian Academy in Tustin for 14 years and will begin her eighth year as the K-High School Art instructor at Heritage Christian School. Deborah lives in Mission Viejo with Robert, her husband of over 25 years. Her daughter is a recent graduate of Point Loma Nazarene University and works in San Diego at Sharp Memorial Hospital as a Registered Nurse. Her son is an engineering major at Cal Maritime University in Vallejo. She and her family have attended Mission Hills Church in Mission Viejo since 2005. Deborah believes that God has blessed every child with the ability to learn art. It is her passion to bring out this ability and create a love for God and all the art He has created for us to enjoy.

Becky Trojan
Physical Education
btrojan@heritagechristianschool.com

Becky has had 30 years of teaching experience in both public and private education. She grew up in the Philippines; attending a Christian school for missionary kids. Becky earned her Bachelor of Science in Physical Education and teaching credential K-12 at Biola University. She was an Elementary P.E. Specialist 10 years in the Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District, where she also coached both Jr. High and High School sports (basketball, soccer, softball and volleyball). Becky was also a Swim/ Water Safety Instructor and Jr. Life Guard trainer for many years. Other related hobbies include VBS, camps, coaching and officiating Little League baseball, girls softball, AYSO and club volleyball. She and her husband, Dave, married over 25 years, have a son, Steven, 1st Lt. Air Force fighter pilot; and a daughter, Traci, attending Cal State Fullerton. Becky loves the Lord and serves Him as the Awana Ministry Director at Mission Hills Church. Her desire is to teach and encourage kids to give their best and to make physical activity fun so it becomes a life-long goal.

Rachel Miles
Athletic Director
rmiles@heritagechristianschool.com

Rachel Miles earned her Bachelor of Science in Human Development from Hope International University. She has been certified through the American Sport Education Program and the California Interscholastic Federation – CIF Coaching Education Program. Rachel has been a PE teacher for 16 years and an athletic director for 8 years in Christian education. She has coached softball for 16 years and has brought home the championship 6 times. Rachel grew up in a Christian home and feels very blessed everyday of her life for the parents God gave her. She has two wonderful young adult sons whom she adores, Sean and Ryan. In her free time, she likes taking walks on the beach, reading, and watching a good softball game!!! She also spends time with the Special Olympics, where she helps coach their co-ed softball team and special events. Jesus is her Lord and Savior and without Him she is nothing. Rachel always tries to live her life in a manner that would honor God. She feels God has led her to Heritage Christian School and is very excited to see how God is going to use her here at HCS. It is an honor and a privilege to be on staff at HCS!

High School Staff

Emily Updegraff, JH/HS Administrator
History, Spanish
eupdegraff@heritagechristianschool.com

Emily has been a teacher at the jr. high level for the last thirteen years. She has taught World History, United States History, Spanish, and has coached three Tri-Way League Championship Volleyball Teams. She has always dedicated herself to education. Emily received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Education at Hope International University and is credentialed by ACSI. Emily attends Compass Bible Church with her husband and family. In her free time she enjoys coaching volleyball and spending time with her family. Emily has been with Heritage Christian School since its inception. She believes in the work God is doing here. Her goal for all of her students is to learn how to love God wholeheartedly and love others unconditionally.

Scott Bruce
English, History
sbruce@heritagechristianschool.com

Scott Bruce is excited to be a part of the Heritage Christian School family. This is Scott’s 18th year teaching, his third at HCS. He was born and raised in Southern California and after graduating from Irvine High School, he attended Orange Coast Community College and San Diego State University where he earned his B.S. Degree in Psychology. Scott continued his education at National University. Along with teaching at HCS, Scott is a coach at Saddleback Valley Volleyball Club. He has been married to Kristan for over 15 years and has been blessed with two sets of twins, Lexie and Matthew, and Ryan and Jack. In his free time Scott enjoys volleyball, skiing, camping, and going to the beach with family and friends.

Rick Niswonger
Psychology, Bible, Economics, Government
rniswonger@heritagechristianschool.com

Rick Niswonger is a graduate of John Brown University, a small Christian college in Arkansas. He majored in Social Studies and Secondary Education. He then began his teaching career at the Southern California Military Academy in Signal hill. It was a Christian school with K-9th grade where he served as teacher, chaplain and coach. It was here that he met Janet another teacher and now his wife of 41 years. She and Rick had two children, Jeremy and Emily. After ten years at that school the Lord miraculously provided a job in the computer software industry for 15 years. Rick eventually jumped back into Christian education as the head-of-school at Brethren Christian Junior and Senior High School from 2002 to 2017. He and Janet have been in Christian education for a combined 65 years. Raised in a Christian home, Rick began to have doubts about his Christian faith in College. He started to think you could never be certain of the truth. But at JBU, he was confronted with the evidence for the resurrection, the fulfilled prophecies of Jesus, and other historical evidence. It was with great surprise and joy that he realized the Christian faith was actually, verifiably TRUE! Forty years later Rick is still and increasingly, in awe of who God is and how He loves us! Heritage Christian School is a priceless jewel in God’s kingdom. Its Godly leaders navigate against the flow of our decaying culture honoring our treasured nation and lovingly training up our precious children in the nurture and instruction of the Lord. Rick is grateful to God every day for the opportunity to serve the fabulous students of HCS helping them understand the truth of God’s Word in Apologetics class and the blessing our nation has been to the world in “Government” and “Current Events” classes. Rick says, “The best part of each day is walking out of the classroom at the end of the day and saying “Man that was fun and then realizing, Whoa! This is my JOB!” Rick says: “Here the students relate to one another in a family way, and yes, that means even the Junior High boys.” (BTW Rick admits that he, himself, is a recovering Junior High boy.) “The students seem to like, appreciate and encourage each other. I have not heard a mean word spoken yet by anyone!” Final Note: Rick Niswonger graduated from John Brown University with a Bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education, Emphasis: Social Science. Additional course work: California State University, Biola University, California Baptist University, Talbot Seminary and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He possesses a Single Subject California Credential (Social Science), and an Association of Christian Schools International Certificate (Secondary Principal). Rick spent 15 years in software education and has been a Christian School educator for 25 years.

Chris Bitun
Bible
cbitun@heritagechristianschool.com

Chris Bitun graduated from Masters University with a B.A. in Christian Ministry. He and his wife, Ria have been married for over 5 years and in May 2018, God blessed them with a wonderful daughter, Aria. Chris attends El Toro Baptist Church in Lake Forest where he also leads the Youth Ministry. In his free time, he enjoys playing basketball, Jiu Jitsu, and spending time with his family.

Erin Wojtkiewicz
English, Science, Math, Yearbook
ewojtkiewicz@heritagechristianschool.com

 

Melanie Arambula
English, Drama
marambula@heritagechristianschool.com

Mrs. Melanie Arambula graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and a minor in Psychology from the University of Nevada Las Vegas. She later completed a Masters Degree in Elementary Education grades K-8 from Western Governors University. After completing her Master’s Degree, Melanie became licensed to teach in the state of California by obtaining her K-8 Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. She has taught all grade levels from kindergarten to high school as both a substitute and full time teacher in Clark County School District, Westminster School District and Garden Grove Unified. Mrs. Arambula is a devoted wife to her husband of over 5 years, a loving mother to her young son and daughter, and a passionate teacher committed to using the most effective teaching strategies to reach all of her students. She believes in placing all of her trust and hope in the Lord while always seeking Him to guide her steps. She is honored to teach sixth grade and be a part of the Heritage Christian School staff. She is most excited to place the Lord first each school day. She enjoys traveling, reading, spending time with her family and church community group. She currently attends Mariners Church in Mission Viejo.

Caylee Jackson
Math
cjackson@heritagechristianschool.com

 

Deborah Comstock
Art
dcomstock@heritagechristianschool.com

Deborah graduated from Cal State Fullerton with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. She taught Art to grades K-High School at Spirit Christian Academy in Tustin for 14 years and will begin her eighth year as the K-High School Art instructor at Heritage Christian School. Deborah lives in Mission Viejo with Robert, her husband of over 25 years. Her daughter is a recent graduate of Point Loma Nazarene University and works in San Diego at Sharp Memorial Hospital as a Registered Nurse. Her son is an engineering major at Cal Maritime University in Vallejo. She and her family have attended Mission Hills Church in Mission Viejo since 2005. Deborah believes that God has blessed every child with the ability to learn art. It is her passion to bring out this ability and create a love for God and all the art He has created for us to enjoy.

Becky Trojan
Physical Education
btrojan@heritagechristianschool.com

Becky has had 30 years of teaching experience in both public and private education. She grew up in the Philippines; attending a Christian school for missionary kids. Becky earned her Bachelor of Science in Physical Education and teaching credential K-12 at Biola University. She was an Elementary P.E. Specialist 10 years in the Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District, where she also coached both Jr. High and High School sports (basketball, soccer, softball and volleyball). Becky was also a Swim/ Water Safety Instructor and Jr. Life Guard trainer for many years. Other related hobbies include VBS, camps, coaching and officiating Little League baseball, girls softball, AYSO and club volleyball. She and her husband, Dave, have been married over 25 years, and have a son, Steven, 1st Lt. Air Force fighter pilot, and a daughter, Traci, attending Cal State Fullerton. Becky loves the Lord and serves Him as the Awana Ministry Director at Mission Hills Church. Her desire is to teach and encourage kids to give their best and to make physical activity fun so it becomes a life-long goal.

Rachel Miles
Athletic Director
rmiles@heritagechristianschool.com

Rachel Miles earned her Bachelor of Science in Human Development from Hope International University. She has been certified through the American Sport Education Program and the California Interscholastic Federation – CIF Coaching Education Program. Rachel has been a PE teacher for 16 years and an athletic director for 8 years in Christian education. She has coached softball for 16 years and has brought home the championship 6 times. Rachel grew up in a Christian home and feels very blessed everyday of her life for the parents God gave her. She has two wonderful young adult sons whom she adores, Sean and Ryan. In her free time, she likes taking walks on the beach, reading, and watching a good softball game!!! She also spends time with the Special Olympics, where she helps coach their co-ed softball team and special events. Jesus is her Lord and Savior and without Him she is nothing. Rachel always tries to live her life in a manner that would honor God. She feels God has led her to Heritage Christian School and is very excited to see how God is going to use her here at HCS. It is an honor and a privilege to be on staff at HCS!

Auxiliary Staff

Chris Bitun
Heritage Harbor Daycare Director
cbitun@heritagechristianschool.com

Chris Bitun graduated from Masters University with a B.A. in Christian Ministry. He and his wife, Ria have been married for over 5 years and in May 2018, God blessed them with a wonderful daughter, Aria. Chris attends El Toro Baptist Church in Lake Forest where he also leads the Youth Ministry. In his free time, he enjoys playing basketball, Jiu Jitsu, and spending time with his family.

Ireny Naguib
Heritage Harbor Daycare Program 

Ireny earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Agriculture from Egypt’s Cairo University. She was born and raised in a Christian family and loves working with children of all ages. She has been working at HCS since 2018 and loves the Christian environment and the love of Jesus in the school. 

Betsy Holritz
Librarian
bholritz@heritagechristianschool.com

Betsy received her B.A. in Christian Education from Biola University. She loves people of all ages and has devoted a great part of her life to raising five children as a stay at home mom. One of her greatest loves is reading and books. She has a passion for helping children develop a love of reading and to find books that fuel their desire to read. She finds great joy in bringing books to life by reading aloud to children of all ages. Her life verse is John 17:3, which speaks of having a personal experiential relationship with God through His Son, Jesus Christ.

Deborah Comstock
Art
dcomstock@heritagechristianschool.com

Deborah graduated from Cal State Fullerton with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. She taught Art to grades K-High School at Spirit ChristianAcademy in Tustin for 14 years and has currently been the K-High School Art instructor at Heritage for five years. Deborah lives in Mission Viejo with her husband of over 25 years, Robert. Her daughter is a recent graduate of Point Loma Nazarene University and works in San Diego at Sharp Memorial Hospital as a Registered Nurse. Her son is an engineering major at Cal Maritime University in Vallejo. She and her family have attended Mission Hills Church in Mission Viejo since 2005. Deborah believes that God has blessed every child with the ability to learn art. It is her passion to bring out this ability and create a love for God and all the art He has created for us to enjoy.

Krystal Calabrese
Elementary Music

Krystal Calabrese graduated from Saddleback College with an A.A. in Journalism and Music. She went on to Cal State Long Beach and received a B.A. degree in Speech Communication with an emphasis on public speaking. She has been in music ministry since she was a child, singing worship at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa for many years. Krystal has been professionally trained in musical theater, vocal exercise and instruction. She has many years of experience as a singer, dancer and actor, and brings that training to the stage directing the HCS school musicals. Krystal lives in Portola Hills and is a devoted wife to husband, Sammy, and loves nothing more than being a mom to her two amazing kids. She attends Calvary Chapel Pacific Hills and has served as a lead vocalist on their worship team for 10 years. Krystal enjoys traveling, good food, and spending time with her family. She absolutely loves teaching music at Heritage and her goal every year is to teach her students to love and appreciate music while growing in their relationship with the Lord through worshiping our King.

Wendy Braun
DSL Cheerleading Coach

Ms. Wendy was born in Huntington Beach CA and has three amazing children, and three fun loving dogs. Ms. Wendy has her certificate in Early Childhood Education and has been a teacher for 12 years. She feels so blessed to be a part of Heritage Christian Preschool. Ms. Wendy loves to watch football! She has taken the knowledge gained from her daughters being on a competitive World Cheerleading Team,  to coach the HCS DSL Cheerleading Team. She also enjoys the beach, a great movie, and backyard BBQs.

Lori Clark
Elementary Aide

 

Tricia Fitzgerald
Elementary Aide

 

Holly Lee
Elementary Aide

 

Ask the Principal

HCS Elementary & Preschool Campus

22081 Hidalgo Mission Viejo, CA 92691

(949) 598-9166

(949) 598-9166 ext. 115 (Preschool)

HCS Jr. & High School Campus

23302 El Toro Road Lake Forest, CA 92630

(949) 446-8133