Our Staff

Tim Kienitz

HEAD OF SCHOOL  |  tkienitz@pinonhillsacademy.com

This is Mr. Kienitz’ first year at Piñon Hills Academy and he is very excited to be a part of what God is doing at our school!
He has been a teacher, principal, and administrator over the past 27 years. Most recently, he served nine years as the
Principal of Farmington High School.

Mr. Kienitz graduated from a Christian high school in southwest Colorado. He attended Calvary Bible College in Kansas City
before graduating from the University of Northern Colorado with a B.A. in English Education. He spent two years in the US Peace Corps in the Kingdom of Tonga, working in elementary schools. He received his M.A. in Educational Leadership from New Mexico State University in 1999.

In his free time, he loves to travel with his wife and two daughters.

“And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ.”
— Philippians 1:9-10

Ricki Colomb

ASSISTANT PRINCIPAL  |  rcolomb@pinonhillsacademy.com

Mrs. Colomb started her career teaching middle school science in Kirtland, NM. Following that position, she took eight years off to stay home with her children. She then began working as the Children's Ministry Director at Piñon Hills Community Church. In 2019, she started her master’s degree in Educational Administration with Grand Canyon University. As a part of her degree, she completed an administration internship at Piñon Hills Academy during the 2020-2021 school year.

She loves spending time with her husband and three beautiful children.

“For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God and we take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ.”
— 2 Corinthians 10:3-5

Ms. Parker has been our wonderful administrative assistant going on four years now. She serves families at Piñon Hills Academy, as well as Promiseland Child Development Center. She believes that life teaches us to make good use of time, while time teaches us the value of life!

“ Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”
— Proverbs 4:23


Tea Parker

ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT  |  tparker@pinonhillsacademy.com

Tami Stevenson

RECEPTIONIST  |  tstevenson@pinonhillsacademy.com

Ms. Stevenson has been part of the Piñon Hills Academy family since the very beginning. She is the first smiling face you'll see
as you enter our campus. She adores all of the students and families, and believes that with God, all things are possible!

She loves Jesus, her Lord and Savior, because 'greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.'
In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her grandkids, camping and riding her Razor!

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
— Isaiah 41:10

Danielle Rothrock

Teacher - PRE-K  |  drothrock@pinonhillsacademy.com

This is Mrs. Rothrock’s first year at Piñon Hills Academy. She has taught Pre-K for the last 10 years and loves this stage of development.  She feels blessed to be able to teach her students. She believes that children are eager to learn and it’s her responsibility as a teacher to give them a love for learning. She enjoys watching her students grow and blossom.

Mrs. Rothrock has been married for over 20 years. She and her husband have three daughters, and one grandson. She loves spending time with her family, hiking, and traveling.

“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God,
to those who are called according to His purpose.”
— Romans 8:28

Melissa Hobbs

Teacher - PRE-K  |  mhobbs@pinonhillsacademy.com

This is Ms. Hobbs’ second year at Piñon Hills Academy. She has eight years of teaching experience, specializing in early childhood development and elementary education. She believes in play-based learning. Children are naturally motivated to play, so this learning style builds on play as a context for learning. This gives children the opportunity to explore, experiment, discover and
solve problems in imaginative ways.

Ms. Hobbs had great teachers who inspired her and made a difference in her life, and she hopes to do the same for her students. She loves the excitement and joy in the "awe" moments! Peter is her favorite person in the Bible, because he was a man of words and action, and had a strong friendship with our Lord. She enjoys spending time with her family, and outdoor activities such as fishing, hiking, and camping. She also likes to paint and sew.

“Instruct the wise and they will be wiser still; teach the righteous and they will add to their learning.”
— Proverbs 9:9

Chrystal Brooks

Teacher - KINDERGARTEN  |  cbrooks@pinonhillsacademy.com

This is Mrs. Brooks’ first year at Piñon Hills Academy. She has taught preschool and kindergarten over the past 15 years.
She is very excited to be able to teach about God in the classroom! She enjoys teaching younger children with creativity,
hands-on activities, and exploration.

Her favorite person in the Bible is Job, because he went through so much, yet remained true to our Lord even when he did not understand. Her hobbies include photography, painting, reading, singing, camping, and family adventures!‬



“Those who are wise will shine as bright as the sky,
and those who lead many to righteousness will shine like the stars forever.”
—‭‭ Daniel 12:3

Ursula Shorty

Teacher - KINDERGARTEN  |  ushorty@pinonhillsacademy.com

This is Ms. Shorty’s fourth year at Piñon Hills Academy. She enjoys guiding her students in their studies, and seeing them conquer moments in learning, social, and emotional skills. She loves to see the look on their faces when they realize they have accomplished an obstacle, however small.

“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.”
— 1 Corinthians 16:13

Kari Foster

Teacher - FIRST GRADE  |  kfoster@pinonhillsacademy.com

This is Mrs. Foster’s first year with Piñon Hills Academy, after 27 years of teaching 1st grade in the public school system.
She strives to find creative ways to teach and fun ways to learn. She wants her students to want to be at school every day!

Her favorite biblical figure is Joseph because he continued to trust in God through all of his trials. When she’s not teaching,
she enjoys spending time with her children and grandchildren.‬



“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish
but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”
— John 3:16-17

DeeAnna Colburn

Teacher - FIRST GRADE  |  dcolburn@pinonhillsacademy.com

This is Ms. Colburn’s first year at Piñon Hills Academy, but she has been in education for 20 years. She really cares about her students and loves seeing their growth. Her favorite biblical figure is Paul because of the way God softened his heart and transformed him. Even after all the horrible things he had done, God still loved him. Paul went on to spread the gospel and is truly an inspiration.

In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family, and loves spending time outdoors, especially the lake.

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
— Hebrews 11:1

Nancy Peralta

Teacher - SECOND GRADE  |  nperalta@pinonhillsacademy.com

Ms. Peralta has been teaching for over 30 years!  She has spent the last seven years at Piñon Hills Academy. She specializes in math and reading and teaches about the five senses God gave us. In her free time, she enjoys being outdoors. She loves spending time outside, in God’s creation, and enjoys nature photography.

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”
— John 13:34

Jay Gardenhire

Teacher - THIRD GRADE  |  jgardenhire@pinonhillsacademy.com

This is Mr. Gardenhire’s first year at Piñon Hills Academy. He retired from the Farmington School District after 27 years. He has experience in the classroom as well serving as a building administrator. He is very excited about his next chapter and is looking forward to teaching 3rd grade!

When he is not in the classroom, he loves to travel and share new adventures with his family. He and his wife, Angela, have two adult sons and a daughter in high school. He also enjoys working out, bike riding, and hiking.

“We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in
accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach.”
— Romans 12:6-7

Wendy Foss

Teacher - THIRD GRADE  |  wfoss@pinonhillsacademy.com

Ms. Foss has been teaching at Piñon Hills Academy for five years. She tried to retire once but missed her students too much!
During her 30 year career, Ms. Foss has taught at Farmington Municipal Schools and the University of New Mexico, and
her area of specialty is reading.

Ms. Foss teaches with a positive, encouraging attitude, reinforcing correct behavior, and loving children unconditionally. She believes children are our future, and the jewels in our crowns. She also believes that Piñon Hills Academy is a blessing to the Four Corners community.

Her favorite person from the Bible is Jesus. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, reading, cooking, and spending time with her family.

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
— Philipians 4:13

Darlene Paul

Teacher - FOURTH GRADE  |  dpaul@pinonhillsacademy.com

Ms. Paul joined the Piñon Hills Academy team seven years ago but has been teaching for 20 years. She loves teaching students about science. She has a very hands-on teaching style and believes most of her students thrive using a textile type of learning,
where they can read, build, and use their senses to completely understand a concept.

Jacob is her favorite person from the Bible, after God changed his name to Israel. He is a great example of how people can change for the better when they let God in their lives.

In her free time, she enjoys reading at the river while her husband is fishing. She also enjoys nature and landscape photography.
It’s important to her to take quiet time for her soul in God’s presence.

“My heart is not proud, Lord, my eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me. But I have calmed and quieted myself, I am like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child I am content.”
— Psalms 131:1-2

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding."
— Proverbs 3:5

Laurie Howell

Teacher - FOURTH GRADE  |  lhowell@pinonhillsacademy.com

This is Ms. Howell’s first year teaching at Piñon Hills Academy. She previously taught Gifted Education, 1st grade, and 5th grade with Farmington Municipal Schools. She loves to teach reading and writing, and she enjoys learning with her students. While she teaches her students, they, in turn, teach her as well.

Her favorite person from the Bible is Job because he remained faithful, despite unimaginable suffering.
She enjoys spending time with her family, photography, and riding mountain bikes.

Micah Sanders

Teacher - FIFTH GRADE  |  msanders@pinonhillsacademy.com

This is Mrs. Sanders’ sixth year at Piñon Hills Academy. She specializes in early childhood education and has almost a decade of experience teaching. She believes learning is fun, and she teaches with love, but also with high expectations. She shows her students she cares, she believes in them, and cheers them on as they put in the work and effort. She loves opening student’s minds to new things and seeing them eager to serve God.

Moses is her favorite person in the Bible because he did not think he was good enough to be a leader, but God showed him he could do anything with God’s help. In her spare time, Ms. Sanders enjoys spending time with her family. They love to camp, hunt, and fish.

“[Love] bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
—1 Corinthians 13:7

This is Mr. Bonner’s second year at Piñon Hills Academy. He has thirteen years of teaching experience and specializes in mathematics. He has a coaching approach to teaching. He tries to lead his students to the answers and let them discover the solution themselves. He loves watching confusion turn to understanding.

David is his favorite Biblical figure because he tried to be faithful, courageous and obedient in all things, but wasn't perfect, and had human flaws. He asked for forgiveness often and kept going forward. He believes David’s life is a great example. In Mr. Bonner’s free time, he enjoys rock hunting, hiking, reading, and family game time.

“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”
— Matthew 7:12

Tory Bonner

Teacher - MIDDLE SCHOOL MATH  |  tbonner@pinonhillsacademy.com

Patti Shaffer

TEACHER - MIDDLE SCHOOL ENGLISH  |  pshaffer@pinonhillsacademy.com

Bio Coming Soon!

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him
shall not perish but have eternal life.”
— John 3:16

Keith Hamilton

Teacher - MIDDLE SCHOOL SCIENCE  |  khamilton@pinonhillsacademy.com

This is Mr. Hamilton’s first year at Piñon Hills Academy. He has been teaching in the public education system for the last 25 years in Shiprock, Kirtland, and Aztec. Most of his educational experience has been teaching middle school students. He loves to teach by using everyday life to teach science. He enjoys watching students that have difficulty learning a task, suddenly getting it, and watching their faces explode with pride.

He also loves to train horses and rodeoing with his family and friends.

Monte Maxwell

Teacher - MIDDLE SCHOOL HISTORY  |  mmaxwell@pinonhillsacademy.com

This is Mr. Maxwell’s first year at Piñon Hills Academy. He has 26 years of experience in public education.
He enjoys seeing the growth in his students throughout the years.

He enjoys spending time with his family. He and his wife have five children and two grandchildren.


“You can't always control circumstances.
However, you can always control your attitude, approach, and response.”
— Tony Dungy

Melissa Neil

MUSIC INSTRUCTOR  |  mneil@pinonhillsacademy.com

This is Mrs. Neil’s first year teaching at Piñon Hills Academy, although she has been an active volunteer for years. She approaches students with kindness and charisma. She loves encouraging her students and watching them learn to believe that they can do anything. Her favorite person from the Bible is Moses. He went forward doing God’s will. Even though he was an unlikely person and had a disability, he stepped out in faith.

Mrs. Neil enjoys music, reading, hiking, camping, and mission work. She loves her family more than anything.

“He existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together.”
— Colossians 1:17


Sarah Cruz

P.E. INSTRUCTOR  |  scruz@pinonhillsacademy.com

This is Mrs. Cruz’ second year at Piñon Hills Academy. Before joining our team, she was an educator for Aztec Municipal School District for over six years. She has worked in Special Education (K-3rd), Title One Reading Intervention (1st-3rd), as well as in the School Health Offices (K-12th). She also coaches Aztec Dance for middle school and high school.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged,
for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
— Joshua‬ ‭1:9‬ ‬‬‬‬‬‬

Piñon Hills Academy is a ministry of Hills Church.

5101 N. Dustin Avenue • Farmington, NM 87401 • 505.327.2395

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