Our Staff

Tim Kienitz

HEAD OF SCHOOL  |  tkienitz@pinonhillsacademy.com

Mr. Kienitz’ second 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 28 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

Renee Davis

RECEPTIONIST  |  rdavis@pinonhillsacademy.com

Ms. Davis joined us over the summer and hit the ground running! Before joining Piñon Hills Academy, she was a teacher’s assistant for the special needs program at Tibbets Junior High for many years. She has also helped coach cheerleading at several schools including Tibbetts, Farmington High School, and Pagosa Springs High School.

“With God all things are possible…”
— Matthew 19:26

MaKayla Hamilton

Teacher - PRE-K  |  mhamilton@pinonhillsacademy.com

This is Ms. Hamilton’s first year teaching at Piñon Hills Academy. Before joining our team, she worked for our sister school, Promiseland Child Development Center, while pursuing her degree in Early Childhood Education.

MaKayla loves the story of Ruth and how it illustrates how God is always present, even in our regular, day-to-day activities. It’s so important to follow our hearts and do the right thing. In her leisure time, she enjoys training horses and rodeoing with her family. She loves being outdoors as a family or spending time on the family ranch in Wyoming.

“But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for you work will be rewarded.”
— 2 Chronicles 15:7

Jessica Fauteaux

Teacher - PRE-K  |  jfauteaux@pinonhillsacademy.com

Ms. Fauteaux is a first-year teacher with Piñon Hills Academy. Last year, she served a Pre-K educational assistant, and was able to work with children one-on-one. She also has experience in the public-school setting, helping with sight word testing and other classroom activities. Her teaching style is fun and structured. She enjoys working with this age group because they absorb so much and love learning about the Bible.

Jessica’s favorite person from the Bible is Sarah, Abraham’s wife. Her example has helped to teach patience and confidence
of Gods’s promises coming true. In her free time, she loves to garden, watch her son play baseball, and play with her
German Shepherds.

“Therefore, what God has joined together, let no one separate.”
— Mark 10:9

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

Mrs. Lovato has been teaching for 11 years. She taught at Piñon Hills Academy for 2 years prior and has returned to the classroom after taking time away to focus on her growing family. Her teaching style is work hard, play hard. She integrates a lot of hands-on, project-based learning. Because of her background in music, she also incorporates music and movement into her daily classroom routine.

Caitlin’s favorite Biblical figure is Joseph as he is a perfect example of having faith and trusting in God. Because of his faith, he showed love to Mary. In her free time, she enjoys singing, playing the piano, and reading. She loves spending time with her children, camping and riding their RZR in the mountains.

Caitlin Lovato

Teacher - KINDERGARTEN  |  clovato@pinonhillsacademy.com

“'My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.' I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me. Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and constraints, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong.”
— 2 Corinthians 9-10




Kari Foster

Teacher - FIRST GRADE  |  kfoster@pinonhillsacademy.com

This is Mrs. Foster’s second 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 second year at Piñon Hills Academy. She has been in education for 22 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

Samantha Martin

Teacher - SECOND GRADE  |  smartin@pinonhillsacademy.com

Mrs. Martin has been teaching for 25 years—24 of those years has been spent teaching second grade. After retiring from public education, this is her first year at Piñon Hills Academy. She has a very structured approach to teaching, but also makes learning fun. She loves to incorporate songs to help her students learn.

When she is not in the classroom, Samantha enjoys watching her son play baseball, and helping her husband run their hunting and fishing lodge.

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

Alenka Mills

Teacher - THIRD GRADE  |  amills@pinonhillsacademy.com

We are excited to have Ms. Mills join the Piñon Hills Academy team this year. She brings with her years of experience teaching in Europe! Alenka is a mother, so she finds a lot if inspiration in Mary— how she kept her dignity, purity, and majesty despite incredible pain, and she kept trusting God.

In her free time, Ms. Mills enjoys sewing, painting, and crafting with her daughters.

“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life.”
— John 6:47

Wendy Foss

Teacher - FOURTH 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

Alyssa Foster

Teacher - FIFTH GRADE  |  afoster@pinonhillsacademy.com

This is Mrs. Foster’s first year at Piñon Hills Academy (PHA). She has been in education for 4 years, starting as a 1st grade teacher, and moving to 5th grade. She loves this age group and is excited to be a part of the PHA family. Her teaching style is student-lead. She likes to get to know her students and bases the lessons on her student’s unique learning styles.

Alyssa loves to spend time with her family—she is married with 2 sons. They enjoy having movie nights with lots of snacks.

“Do everything in love.”
— Corinthians 16:14

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

Hiedi Karst

Teacher - SIXTH GRADE  |  hkarst@pinonhillsacademy.com

This is Mrs. Karst’s first year teaching. Before joining the Piñon Hills Academy team, she served as a social worker for nearly 20 years. Her teaching style is flexible and practical, and loves waking up each day with purpose, knowing she will have an impact on her students, and help them gain understanding of Biblical lessons

Leah is Mrs. Karst’s favorite person from the Bible. Although her story is full of grief, she is tenderhearted, and she is still able to see God’s love for her through her son. When she is not in the classroom, Heidi enjoys running, especially marathons, and reading. One of her favorite quotes is “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.” By Tim Notke. She has 2 children and has been married for over 20 years.

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works,
which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
— Ephesians 2:10

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 - JUNIOR HIGH MATH  |  tbonner@pinonhillsacademy.com

Mary Brokop

TEACHER - JUNIOR HIGH ENGLISH  |  mbrokop@pinonhillsacademy.com

Mrs. Bishop has been teaching since 1988. She started her career at New Covenant Christian School in Pennfield, New York, moving to Meadowood Christian School in Aurora, Colorado, and eventually moving to New Mexico, where she has spent the last 25 years. Through her many years of experience, she has taught nearly every grade from pre-school to high school! After retiring for one year, she was excited at the opportunity to teach at Piñon Hills Academy. She has a very relaxed teaching style, putting the person before the standards. She builds on strengths and encourages excellence.

Her favorite person from the Bible is John the Evangelist because he was the youngest of the twelve and lived the longest, he was given the task to share the ultimate revelation of our Lord. In her free time, MaryEllen enjoys road trips, long walks by the river, and tending to her critters. She has 9 chickens, 1 rooster, 2 horses, 2 dogs, and 3 cats. She a widow, cancer survivor, and practices her Messianic Jewish faith.

This is Mr. Hamilton’s second year at Piñon Hills Academy. He joined us after teaching in the public education system for 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.

“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

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.”
— Proverbs 3:5-6



Keith Hamilton

Teacher - JUNIOR HIGH SCIENCE  |  khamilton@pinonhillsacademy.com

Monte Maxwell

Teacher - JUNIOR HIGH HISTORY  |  mmaxwell@pinonhillsacademy.com

This is Mr. Maxwell’s second year at Piñon Hills Academy. He comes to us with 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

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 ‬‬‬‬‬‬

We are excited to have is Ms. Vasquez return to Piñon Hills Academy as our Spanish Instructor, after taking some time away to focus on her growing family. She is currently on maternity-leave and will be back soon!

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; and lean not on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”
— Proverbs 3:5-6



Jocelyn Vasquez

SPANISH INSTRUCTOR  |  jvasquez@pinonhillsacademy.com

Ms. McDaniel has been teaching for the past 21 years. She started her career teaching music, but has also taught 1st, 3rd, and 5th grades. She has taught music in Bloomfield, Rio Rancho, and Kansas. We are happy to have her join our team at Piñon Hills Academy. She enjoys building relationships with students, focusing on building their respect and trust. She takes teaching very seriously and has the goal of being the kind of teacher that she would want her own children to have.

Connie’s favorite person from the Bible is David. While he did not live a sinless life, God looked at his heart, and said he had a heart after God. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, riding bikes, and having fun! She loves the sunny skies of New Mexico, and all of the opportunities to be outside.

Connie McDaniel

MUSIC INSTRUCTOR  |  cmcdaniel@pinonhillsacademy.com

Sonya Herrera

PRE-K EDUCATIONAL ASSISTANT  |  sherrera@pinonhillsacademy.com

This is Ms. Herrera’s first year at Piñon Hills Academy, but she has several years of experience working with children through the Boys and Girls Clubs of Green Country, Christian Children’s Fund International, and substitute teaching. Her teaching style is simple: Love God, Love People.

Sonya’s favorite person from the Bible is Job because of his inspiring faith in God through hard times. She has 7 wonderful children of her own and is also a certified foster parent. In her spare time, she loves spending time with her large family, eating, watching movies, and enjoying God’s beautiful world. She is honored to be able to teach God’s love to all the children in her life.

“Love conquers all.”
— Corinthians 13:7-8

Chelsea Lenderman

PRE-K EDUCATIONAL ASSISTANT  |  clenderman@pinonhillsacademy.com

This is Ms. Lenderman’s first year as an Education Assistant, but she has been working in the education field for more than a year. She is currently in school studying for a degree in early childhood education.

When Chelsea is not in the classroom, she enjoys being with her family, and working her hobbies—photography, crocheting
and reading.

"So do not fear, for I am with you."
— Isaiah 41:10

Tabitha Brixner

KINDERGARTEN EDUCATIONAL ASSISTANT  |  tbrixner@pinonhillsacademy.com

We are pleased to have Ms. Brixner join our team of Educational Assistants this year. She is excited to work with some of our youngest learners and share the gospel with them. She loves the story of Esther because Esther was called specifically for that time and place. She also loves the Book of Psalms, especially chapter 150.

In her free time, she loves to bake, craft, and spend time with her family.

"God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called."

Jessica Stow

KINDERGARTEN EDUCATIONAL ASSISTANT  |  jstow@pinonhillsacademy.com

This is Mrs. Stow’s first year at Piñon Hills Academy but has spent the last 8 years working in the school setting, serving in several different roles. She loves working with kids and finds it very rewarding to help them along their learning journey. She believes it is an honor to make a difference in in a child’s life, no matter how small. She prides herself on being someone her students can count on.

Jessica’s favorite things to do, outside of the classroom, are spending time with her family outside—hiking, paddle boarding, or Jeeping in the mountains.

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you.
When you walk through fire, you will not be scorched, nor will the flame burn you.” ‭‭
— Isaiah‬ ‭43:2

Piñon Hills Academy is a ministry of Hills Church.

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

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