Meet the Teaching Team
Justine Leonie, Principal and CONQUESTS Director:
Mrs. Leonie brings to Napa Christian 25 years of experience in education, specifically child development and curriculum from several countries. She has taught every grade, served as an administrator for three schools in California, and trained teachers and principals in Marketing the Modern Parochial School. Although her job requires her to wear several hats, it is the time spent with her students in the art classroom, on the stage, in her office, or on the road which she values most. It is her belief that children learn best, and are at their happiest, when the school's hidden curriculum is one of unconditional positive regard for all.
Mrs. Leonie authored the CONQUESTS program in response to our mandated responsibility to meet our students' evolving learning needs. "Our world is constantly and frenetically changing, and it is imperative that we ensure that our students are being prepared to meet these unpredictable challenges with confidence."
Dana VanHook, Teacher
Dana VanHook is excited to be returning to our school family after being away for the past few years. Mrs. VanHook has had more than 10 years of experience teaching in all grades Kindergarten through 8th grade. She has taught both in the public and private school systems. With a background in teaching in single grade classrooms as well as teaching in multi-grade classrooms she has had a wide range of teaching experiences. She also has several years of experience as a school administrator. In addition to this she has been instrumental in helping schools implement new programs to enhance their curriculum. Mrs. VanHook has training in differentiated instruction, advanced instructional strategies, various assessment tools, and kindergarten readiness assessments. One of her passions is creating a safe, enriching, and engaging environment that will provide students with experiences to encourage and enhance their learning and academic achievement. She believes that every child can reach their full potential. We are delighted to have Mrs. VanHook join the team here at Napa Christian.
Melissa Gibson, Teacher
Napa Christian has been blessed to have Mrs. Gibson as part of our amazing group of teachers. With more than 15 years of experience in education, from homeschooling her own children for a number of years, to teaching students across all levels of K-12, she brings a wealth of talent and expertise to our community.
Her passion for reading led her to earn her M.A. in Education with an emphasis in reading. Beyond her fervor for reading, Mrs. Gibson is an exceptional talent as an educator. Her kind and generous heart and unparalleled love of Jesus, make her an ideal fit for the Napa Christian community.
Heidi Craig, Teacher
Ms. Craig’s flair for creativity and thinking outside the box has made her an exceptional educator and we’re so blessed to have her teaching here at Napa Christian. Ms. Craig received her B.A. in Liberal Studies and earned her Professional Teaching Credential through Pacific Union College; having more than 10 years of experience in teaching across the spectrum, from Kindergarten all the way through 12th grade.
Some of her greatest qualities include her passion for writing and creating incredible imagery with her words, her energy and enthusiasm, and “big ideas” as a facilitator of creativity and exploration. She believes in giving power to her students by giving them the freedom to make choices within a stable structure. Her passion for Christ is evident in all that she does.
Yuliana Pandjaitan, Teacher
Yuliana Pandjaitan has spent seven years educating young minds in math and science. The thesis for her Master's in Education focused on "scaffolding in the classroom", giving every student the opportunity to master their task at hand without being retained by their previous educational shortcomings. Her classroom method revolves around creating an environment of choice-making and relationships to motivate students to a degree of self-efficacy in their own education. She believes students succeed when they take responsibility for their own learning.
"Ms. P" has introduced the “flipped classroom” model to several schools, including Napa Christian, allowing for a more streamlined learning process.
She is excited to initialize her K-12 math curriculum which helps facilitate individualized instruction for students and gives them the tools they need to succeed.
Martin Reid, Teacher
Martin Reid is a rather new face to this region, but he brings a wealth of music education experience. He has fulfilled nearly every musical role as a musical jack-of-all-trades. As a musician he has toured internationally not only as a clarinetist and French horn player, but also as a vocal soloist and choir member. He currently is the principal bassoonist in the Napa Valley Youth Symphony and a touring member of local act, Jealous Zelig.
At Napa Christian, Mr. Reid displays not only his depth of knowledge, but an amazing ability to present musical concepts in a fun and engaging way for all age groups, first hooking students with a love of music, and then developing their technical knowledge and skills. He excels at working with students of all skill levels, as can be seen at our amazing musical productions during Christmas and Springtime, where he personally chooses and arranges each song so that all of the students shine.
Olivia Cowell, Performing Arts
Olivia is a director and actor who focused her attention on teaching drama to children while obtaining her M.A. in Drama from San Francisco State University. Local directing credits include: Roald Dahl's Willy Wonka, Peter Pan, A Chorus Line, Private Eyes, Late: a Cowboy Song, Eternity, Lend Me a Tenor, The Wizard of Oz, and Alice in Wonderland. Olivia has taught drama to students throughout the Napa Valley at: Yountville Elementary School, Pueblo Vista Alternative Elementary School, Blue Oak Lower and Upper Schools, St. Helena Primary, Calistoga Elementary School, Silverado Middle School, Redwood Middle School, Cybermill Technology Inc., Hopper Creek Montessori, Vichy Elementary School and Napa Valley Performing Arts Center at Lincoln Theater. She is a Royal Academy of Dance trained dancer and has worked as a choreographer throughout her career. She is excited to be the Performing Arts teacher at Napa Christian Campus of Education.
Sue Alexander, Teachers’ Aide
Sue Alexander, better known as “Mrs. A.” has spent more than a third of her life on the campus of Napa Christian, first as a student for ten years and next as a teacher for 14 years. Mrs. A taught kindergarten for 2 years, first grade for several years and then a combo of first and second grades. Mrs. A is a teacher experienced in the creation and implementation of multi-grade, team teaching programs that allow each child’s needs to be met. Additionally, Mrs. A has served as a formal mentor to many other teachers. She has an incredible passion for Adventist Education, especially Napa Christian. Her warm personality and deep love for children is obvious to those around her. Mrs. A is gifted working with many learning styles, bringing out the best in each child. She also has a great desire to help the parents and school work together for the education of their children. Mrs. A has expansive experience in running large children’s programs in church and camp meeting settings. She also has had extensive training in Gesell, a testing program dedicated to a child’s developmental readiness for school. We feel honored to have Mrs. A. as part of our team for her guidance, counsel, and hands on teaching experience.
Leonardo Leonie, Teachers’ Aide
Because education has always been a family affair in the Leonie household, Lenny has been working for and around children all his life. Besides his love for teaching, his experience includes:
- 4 years as a teacher's aide at Foothill Elementary school with a focus on PE, coaching, public speaking, tutoring, and art.
- 6 years as an English tutor and PE instructor for Tian Tian Chinese school in San Jose.
- Current employment at the St. Helena Boy's and Girl's Club of America.