- Heidi Ayers
- Matt Ayers
- Sean Bennett
- Ashley Bese
- Karin Deaver
- Marshall Dinkins
- Brittany Farinelli
- Leeann Friesen
- Frank Garcia
- Dan Goetz
- Hannah Goetz
- Karen Goetz
- Amber Gutierrez
- Drew Halstead
- Melissa Hillner
- Joseph Ibanez
- Pamela James
- Justina Johnson
- Don Knaak
- Janet Laemmlen
- Cyndi Light
- Jeff March
- Yvonne Martens
- Sarah Martinez
- Becky Neal
- Shane Pinkard
- Tristan Ringhofer
- Jerolyn Robbins
- Rick Robbins
- Emily Roberts
- Kenna Sandberg
- Allison Schellenberg
- Cole Sorensen
- Emily Sorensen
- Luke Thomas
- Deniele Vanleeuwen
- Chris Woods
Meet Mrs. Ayers
Being a part of the Immanuel community as a teacher and parent has brought me full circle. I am a proud Immanuel graduate and an alumni of Fresno Pacific University’s undergraduate and teacher credential programs. I taught 3rd grade before staying home with our four children. When a part time English position opened at Immanuel, it was clear that it was the right time to return to teaching. I had always wanted to teach English, and I have absolutely loved being a part of the Immanuel English department. Reading and writing are my academic passions, and I am excited to share that love with students. When Jesus shared the truths of the gospel, He did it through stories. I enjoy digging into texts with students, and holding them up against what the Bible calls us to as Christians.
Our calling to Immanuel didn’t end with me. My husband, Matt, is also a teacher here now and we have children who are a part of the Immanuel family. When we aren’t teaching or watching Eagles’ sporting events, we are working to fix up an old house nearby, and we enjoy going to the beach as a family.
Exodus 14:14 – “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”
Meet Mr. Ayers
My name is Matthew Ayers and I teach because God has called me to do so. I enjoy getting to know students, learning about their future goals and plans, and hopefully, teach them a little about the Bible or mathematics along the way. I have spent the majority of my teaching career in the public school setting. This is my 18th year teaching, but only my second at Immanuel. God called me to Immanuel last year after spending most of my career in Dinuba with short stops in Hanford and Visalia.
I have a wife (Heidi) who also teaches at Immanuel High school and 4 children. They are the people I enjoy spending the most time with. However, I have been known to frequent many athletic events, musical presentations, and drama productions to support my students.
I don't always know what God's plan is for my life, but I trust that God does. He says, "I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare, and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11 (ESV)
Meet Mr. Bennett
Hello, my name is Sean Bennett. This is my first year teaching and I couldn’t be more excited! I grew up on the East Coast and moved to the Central Coast of California my senior year of high school. It was there that I met and married my beautiful wife as well as graduated from Cuesta College. I then transferred and completed my studies at San Francisco State with the goal of becoming a physical education teacher. After obtaining my Bachelor’s I moved to Clovis and did my student teaching in Clovis while getting my teaching credential. My desire to become a P.E teacher flows from the love for sports and the valuable lessons about life that God can teach us through sports and fitness. I participated in football for two years in high school, as well as track and field in high school and college.
My passion and belief about physical education is that it is incredibly important in developing the skills and knowledge needed to build and maintain a healthy and active life at any age. I also believe physical education provides a wonderful opportunity to build respect, responsibility, and an excellent work ethic. I am so excited to be teaching at Immanuel Elementary School, and I feel so blessed that the Lord has given me the opportunity to be a light to so many children’s minds and hearts.
My wife, Savanah, and I currently live in Clovis but are hoping to relocate closer to Reedley. The Lord has gifted us with a wonderfully energetic and joyful boy named Parker. My favorite sports and activities are exercising and just about any sport or physical game. Our family enjoys spending time with family and friends whether that is out in nature or in the city.
28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
Meet Mrs. Bese
Hello! I’m Ashley Bese, and I'm thrilled to be teaching fifth grade at Immanuel Elementary School. My educational experiences have solidified my calling to become a teacher, and I thank you advance for letting me share the joy of learning with your students. When I'm not in the classroom, I am most often reading, sketching, exploring, or eating ice cream.
The Immanuel family is a community of believers who hold each other up through all circumstances, and in my classroom, we learn to emulate that sense of community as we grow to be a family. I firmly believe that every new day is a chance for a fresh start, and that some of the most important lessons your children will learn at school have nothing to do with textbooks and worksheets. I plan to provide a challenging, exciting, and achievable academic year for your kids, and I am excited to partner with you as we step out in faith and place the year in the Lord’s hands. Feel free to contact me as the need arises, and know that I will do my best to stay in frequent communication with you throughout the school year.
“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
Meet Mrs. Deaver
Hi my name is Karin Deaver. When my husband and I decided that Immanuel was a good fit for our family, God orchestrated the steps and I found myself teaching high school math while my children attended. I felt the call to teaching in 1985 when I was invited to a Christian Teacher’s Conference at Hartland. I never looked back. I graduated from Fresno Pacific in 1989 with a major in Mathematics and a minor in English. From there I entered the Fresno Pacific internship program and I began my teaching career at Dinuba High School where I taught Pre Algebra and Algebra. I also coached and was a class advisor. In 2000, I took a position at Kingsburg High where I taught for three year until we decided I should take time off from teaching to care for our growing family. After 8 years of homeschooling our five children, our family transitioned to public school and then to Immanuel. I enjoy teaching the students in my class and find that teaching here at Immanuel is very rewarding.
Meet Mr. Dinkins
Greetings students and parents! It is with great joy that I introduce myself as the Junior High Mathematics teacher. My journey with Mathematics and teaching began at Fresno Pacific University, where I received my Bachelor’s in Mathematics. It was there that I developed a deep appreciation for the beauty, simplicity, and captivating nature of math to the human mind. I soon discovered that I enjoyed explaining mathematical concepts to others just as much as I loved studying them for myself. Thus began my pursuit of teaching, which has brought me here to Immanuel. It is my goal to provide every student I teach with an unforgettable (in a good way) year of exploring, creating, and thinking as a Mathematician.
On a more personal level, here are a few fun facts about me. I am the youngest of four children and the third in my family to study mathematics. Every day before school I eat a bowl of Grape Nuts to fuel my teaching. I am passionate about global mission and learning from the Church in other cultures.
Students, I believe in you. Parents, I believe in your children. Each student is a capable mathematician and it is my job to bring that to the surface. May God bless us with an incredible year ahead as we journey in education!
Meet Mrs. Farinelli
Hi, my name is Brittany Farinelli and I am so excited to be a part of Immanuel Schools! I was born in Fresno and have lived in the Central Valley my entire life. As a student, I attended Clovis schools and was very involved in athletics. In 2004, I graduated high school and began my college journey as a Fresno Pacific Sunbird. I was blessed to attend Fresno Pacific on a Cross Country and Track Scholarship for all four years and enter into the Multiple Subjects Credential program in 2008. In 2009, I took my first teaching position in 8th grade in Selma Unified and then in 2012 was able to return back to my hometown of Clovis. I spent 6 years teaching 7th/8th Grade Academic Block at Granite Ridge Intermediate, which is located within the Clovis North Educational Center. During my time in Clovis, I decided to further my education and returned to Fresno Pacific as a student in the Master in Arts of Teaching program.
I met my wonderful husband, Dominic Farinelli, at Fresno Pacific and we have been married since 2009. We have two beautiful girls: Giuliana and Capri. We moved to the Sanger area in 2015, and love living out in the country. We had been praying for guidance as to where the Lord wanted us to send our girls to school, and the Lord put Immanuel on our hearts. Immanuel is such a special place and we knew that this is where we wanted to connect as a family. We are so excited to join the Immanuel Family and we feel so blessed to be a part of this community.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.“ Jeremiah 29:11
Meet Mrs. Friesen
Hi, my name is Leeann (Pauls) Friesen. I was born into a family of six with one younger sister and two older brothers. My father is a farmer and so naturally my family spent a lot of time working with him on the farm in the Reedley area. I grew up attending Reedley Mennonite Brethren Church and going to Reedley Schools (Washington & Riverview). For high school, I had the privilege of attending Immanuel. During this time, I decided that I wanted to be a teacher. After graduating high school, I continued my education at Reedley College and then Fresno Pacific University. I received my B.A. in liberal studies from FPU. I completed one more year of graduate studies and received my credentialing through FPU. Following my completion of the credential program, I was hired at Lincoln Elementary School in Reedley. I taught there for 11 years. Most of my experience is in Kindergarten and I love it! God opened a door for me to teach kindergarten at Immanuel Elementary. Step by step I followed his lead and I was hired to teach here in the fall of 2016. I feel so blessed to be a part of the IES staff. Immanuel is truly a special place. It is not just a school. It is a family, a strong community bound together by our faith in Jesus Christ.
My husband, Scott, and I reside in Reedley. We have been blessed with two spirited boys, Peyton and Carson. I enjoy physical actives such as biking, swimming, and running. I also like drinking coffee and reading a good book. My family enjoys taking trips to Shaver Lake and camping in our travel trailer.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13
Meet Mr. Goetz
Howdy... I am Daniel Goetz and I teach Interior Design as well as Drafting and Architecture. I teach just these two courses this year and am not really new to Immanuel. From 2002-03 to 2010-11 both Interior Design and Drafting / Architecture as well as Bible and eventually the Campus Pastor. I love everything about this school and am humbled to be able to be a teacher and invest in these extraordinary young people's lives. Design to me is everywhere and I find it is art and craftsmanship all in one... these classes are therapy to me.
I am number 5 of 6 children and we moved from the Bay Area to Dinuba when I was 7 years old. This was our families first experience with the Mennonite Community and so appreciated the Lord's leading us to this area. I attended Immanuel half way through my Sophomore year and then we moved to South Central Los Angeles where I attended Belmont High School and then finished up my High School years in the San Fernando Valley at James Monroe High School. I received my Architecture Environmental Design degree from Texas A&M University and am very proud to be a "Fightin Texas Aggie Class of 1984."
My wife Karen teaches at Immanuel Elementary and my daughter Hannah teaches at Immanuel Jr. High. My son Stephen and his wife Melanie are in Southern California where he is working on his Master Degree in Organizational Management and she is a Marriage and Family therapist. My son Jon works as a Medical Scribe for Saint Agnes Hospital and is working toward a future in the medical profession. Our family passionately loves Jesus... personally I love the Bible and find it is a continual discovery of our Lord. The rest of my working time is spent at Teen Challenge where I am helping with the transition of the men into their future employment and lives both practically and spiritually.
Meet Ms. Goetz
Hi, my name is Hannah Goetz and I currently teach 7th grade English. I grew up in the Immanuel community and am so thankful to be able to teach and invest in the place that played a major role in shaping who I am today. After watching the impact Immanuel had on myself and so many of my friends, I knew I wanted to become a teacher myself.
I received my degree in English and History from Texas A&M University. I taught High School English and worked in children's safe homes in Texas before returning to the Reedley area. Since moving back, I have had the opportunity to teach upper Elementary, High School, and Jr. High at Immanuel while being involved in similar ministries to the one I worked at in Texas. I am so passionate about the age group of kids that I get to work with everyday. I love watching students learn, grow, and think for themselves. I love that I get to be a part of helping them learn to analyze literature, think for themselves, and develop their ability to communicate their thoughts and opinions. It is a privilege to partner with their families in helping them grow academically, as individuals, and believers.
Meet Mrs. Goetz
The best part about my classroom is whom I share it with!
Greetings! I’m Karen Goetz and am so blessed to be a part of the wonderful Immanuel Schools family.
I am married to Daniel Goetz and we have 3 grown children: Stephen (with his dear wife, Melanie), Jonathan and Hannah. All three of our children attended Immanuel Schools.
I have taught First Grade for 19 years, 15 with Kings Canyon here in Reedley and the other four years in Texas. This is my second year teaching at Immanuel Schools and I absolutely LOVE it! The students, the supportive and caring families, our phenomenal staff AND being able to share and apply our Lord’s life and person into academics is so rewarding and refreshing. Together, and with the Lord’s shepherding, I pray this will be an eternally rewarding year for all of us. Thank you for entrusting your child to my care.
My classroom is a caring-laughing, exploring-discovering, brain-stretching, independence-building, Jesus honoring and loving kind of place where everyone matters!
“But Jesus said, allow the little children and do not prevent them from coming to Me, for of such is the kingdom of the heavens.” Matthew 19:14
Meet Mrs. Gutierrez
Hello! My name is Amber Gutierrez and I am so grateful to be joining the Immanuel family! I grew up in Fowler and taught 1st grade there for ten years. After that, I decided to stay home with my own children.
My husband Adam and I now live in Kingsburg with our three children, Gavin, Olivia, and Colette. I spent the last three years as a substitute teacher for the Kingsburg Charter School District. I was also an AWANA leader and I teach Sunday School at our church, First Baptist, in Kingsburg.
It is a huge blessing not only for our kids to attend school at Immanuel, but for me to be able to teach here as well.
“He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge” Psalm 91:4
Meet Mr. Halstead
Hello, My name is Drew Halstead. I am the eldest of two children. I was raised in Kerman, California. I attended Kerman High School and graduated in 2005. I received my BA in History from California State University, Fresno. I attended National University, where I received my Single Subject Teaching credential. I spent two years teaching Special Education at Madera South before coming to Immanuel Schools. I currently teach Junior High History and Driver’s Education at the High School.
Immanuel is a special place where everyone feels like family. I enjoy coming to work everyday where God guides me in having a positive impact on young people.
I am currently living in Fresno. I enjoy coaching football and spending time traveling with my family.
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.” Ephesians 6:10
Meet Mrs. Hillner
As a literature enthusiast and writer, it is my joy to bring hidden writing abilities to the surface, to welcome children into the depths reading, and engage with their minds in the freshly abstract ways that sixth graders are capable of for the first time in their development. Students quickly realize that my favorite question is why, and we bring this level of intellectual tenacity to our exciting look at ancient cultures, to our fascination with the ways in which God has made our planet, to the elegant patterns in number systems, and even to our relationship with the Lord. It is a privilege, an honor, and a blessing for me to share my Jesus with students in Bible class; not only is devotions my favorite part of the day, but it is usually the most meaningful for students and myself. Our God calls us into depth and into a thousand whys; it is my prayer that, by the end of the year, every student finds Jehovah, the I AM, as the unique answer to every question and the source of his/her identity.
I grew up and studied in Boston, where my husband and I got married after meeting in Bible school in Southern California in 2014; God called us to Reedley and Immanuel in the summer of 2017. I taught at Christian schools in the Greater Boston Area for three years before moving to Immanuel, and I enjoy integrating my Expeditionary Learning training into my work here, as well as continuing to learn more about EL Education. In our spare time my husband and I enjoy reading a wide range of literature, working on various writing projects, and exploring the mountains.
John 21:17: “He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep".
Meet Mr. Ibanez
Mr. Joseph Ibanez is a lifelong resident of Reedley. He was educated at St. La Salle School and Reedley High School. Upon graduation from Reedley High, Mr. Ibanez was honored as a Pirate Pillar. He attended Reedley College and Fresno State University with a focus on Mechanical Engineering and a minor in Art. He, also, has a degree in Culinary Arts and is an accomplished Chef.
Mr. Ibanez has been in the fabrication trade for over 45 years and continues to own his own fabrication company. Hobbies include athletic officiating and ride his Harley Davidson.
From a young age, he has followed Jesus and as an adult, he proclaims that Jesus is his Lord and Savior.
Meet Mrs. James
My name is Pamela James. I am thrilled to be at Immanuel Schools as a teacher and as a parent. I was born and raised in New Jersey. I attended Nyack College in New York where I received my Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education.
For the first 11 years of my teaching career, I taught in public schools in New Jersey and New York. In 2001, God called my family into full-time ministry in Buffalo, New York. Following this move, I home schooled my children for 11 years. God then opened the door for me to teach in a private Christian school for 2 years.
In August of 2014, my husband had a job opportunity in Fresno, and we made the big move to California! I have been teaching at Immanuel since 2015, and I am so thankful for this school and its warm community. I love educating young minds and sharing the love of Jesus with them! My husband, Joel, and I have three awesome children: Eden, Hannah, and Josiah.
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” Deuteronomy 6:5
Meet Mrs. Johnson
Hi, my name is Justina Johnson. I am excited to be a part the Immanuel community as a High School science teacher. I was raised in Dinuba, but moved away after graduating from high school. I attended California Baptist University where I received my BS in Biology and a minor in Chemistry. My husband and I moved to Arizona where I obtained a BS in Nursing from Grand Canyon University. I worked as a cardiac progressive care nurse in Phoenix before feeling called to stay home with our children. We recently moved back to the valley after 10 years in Mesa, AZ. My husband, Matthew and I have five amazing children; our oldest three are currently attending Immanuel Elementary.
My path to becoming an educator has been unconventional, but I have confidence that I am exactly where God wants me to be- to teach, serve, and grow here at Immanuel. I am a 3rd generation educator and passionate about impacting the lives of young people in our community. I feel privileged to teach at a school where science and God are not in opposition to one another. I want students to see the majesty of God’s creation and be drawn into closer relationship with Him. Besides pointing students to Christ through our studies of life science, my goal is to make science fun, engaging and applicable to student’s lives.
Meet Mr Knaak
Immanuel schools has a long standing tradition in my family. First, both my parents went to Immanuel Bible School after they had finished high school. Then, all three of their children, my two sisters and myself attended Immanuel Academy. All seven of my parent's grandchildren went to Immanuel High School. Next year, six of my parent's great-grandchildren will be attending Immanuel Schools. My dad was on the board, my sister taught here for a short time and now I am in my 46th year of teaching here. So what am I trying to say? Immanuel is deeply woven into the fabric of my life. (You should see my closet! There are many blue and white shirts and jackets)
My very biased opinion is that Immanuel is a very special place. I'm not talking about the buildings, though they are top notch. Many things have changed over the years, but the most important things have not. First and foremost this place was and still is founded upon the rock-Jesus Christ. God's Word is taught and studied. And we have a wonderful staff who love God and our students.
I have the wonderful privilege of teaching the Bible. God has graced me with a love for His Word. My greatest goal is to instill into my students a love for His Word also. God said "Study to show yourself approved under God. A workman that need not be ashamed. Rightly a dividing the word of truth." This command of God that must be taken seriously. This years school theme is "be transformed". Being transformed into the image of God will not happen unless we spend serious time "rightly dividing the Word of truth."
My wife Nancy and I have been married for almost 48 years. We have three children and 10 grandchildren. I tell people I have "the greatest job in the world" because #1, I teach Bible and #2, now that I'm "older", I teach half time.
I run into former students and their families practically everywhere I go. For me part of the "abundant life" is to be a part of the Immanuel family.
Meet Mrs. Light
I have been blessed to be part of the Immanuel community for over five years serving our students and staff as a substitute teacher, both on a day to day basis and long term. I enjoy the chance to get to know a wide range of students and watch them mature from year to year. I am excited for the opportunity to teach my “own” group of 8th graders this year in English. I love exploring literature and how it can connect us to the larger world and to God’s truth found in Scripture. I hope students will connect with my excitement for the subject and pick up a good book!
I have been married to my husband, Malcolm, for over 20 years. After we finished school in Southern California we lived in eastern New York for 11 years. We moved to the Central Valley for a ministry position at RMBC and my family currently resides in Reedley. Our oldest, Ben, is an Immanuel graduate and currently a student at GCU. Our other two, Josiah and Simone, are both Immanuel students. Outside of school I enjoy cheering for Immanuel Eagles football (I bring a megaphone and a cowbell), working with the Sparks at AWANA, and I am almost always in the middle of a book.
“I have set the LORD always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.” Psalm 16:8
Meet Mr. March
I live in Reedley with my wife, Eleni. We have four children: Dimitri, Alexis, Zoe, and Sophia, all alumni of Immanuel. I am a native of the Central Valley, born and raised in Kingsburg, graduating from Kingsburg High School and went off to graduate from Trinity Western University in Langley, B.C., Canada with a B.A. degree in Biblical Studies. I will complete a Masters Degree in Christian Ministries from Grand Canyon Theological Seminary in the spring of 2019. I came to Immanuel after spending some time in the military and serving as an Area Director of Young Life in Selma. I have taught at both the High School and the Junior High, currently the 7th and 8th Grade Bible teacher.
Meet Mrs. Martens
Hello, I am Yvonne Martens, and I am so happy to be here at Immanuel. There is definitely something special about this campus and community! As an Immanuel Alumni, I am excited to teach here and also to have my child attending the school. Go Eagles!!
I was born and raised in Reedley. My husband and I have been married twelve years, and we have been blessed with two little ones. They are precious and keep us on our toes. Grace is in first grade this year, and our son Carter, is a spirited two year old! I think it is safe to say, we have a lot of Immanuel "sports" years ahead.
I have had the opportunity of teaching many different grade levels throughout my career in education. Each grade and age has its special characteristics; they are all unique and exciting in their own way. As a young student, I struggled with reading. It did not become something I loved until college. Because of my own experience, I have developed a passion for teaching young students to read and decode, so that they can become confident readers, as well as cultivate a love and desire for knowledge through the power of reading. I am excited to be a part of the first grade team, and look forward to getting to know these little first grade sweeties!
1 Peter 3:8, "Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble." This year our theme is "For His Glory." My prayer for myself and my students, is to be vessels that reflect the Glory of Our God, that we might overflow with sympathy, compassion, humility, and love. It is a beautiful thing to watch this unfold in the lives of six and seven year olds. I know it will be an absolute blessing for me to experience!
Meet Mrs. Neal
Welcome to kindergarten at Immanuel Elementary! My name is Becky Neal and I have been teaching kindergarten for many years. My husband and I live in Visalia where we raised our three children. We love to spend time together as a family. We love sports, musicals, traveling, and spending time at the beach.
I feel truly blessed to be a part of the Immanuel family. Your children are a precious gift and it brings me great joy to be their teacher!
In Matthew 19:14 Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
Meet Mrs. Ringhofer
My name is Tristan Ringhofer, and I absolutely love teaching 5th graders. I was born and raised in Fresno, and went to Fresno Pacific University, which is where I received my BA. I met my husband, Jordan, at FPU in choir. After we got married, we moved to Salem, Oregon, for 6 years for ministry. I got my MAT in Oregon, at Willamette University, and taught first grade for a few years before we felt the Lord call us back to California. I’ve been at Immanuel since the 2011-2012 school year, and have fallen in love with the family-like community here. We have 2 sons named Ezra and Ezekiel. As you can imagine, I love spending my free time with my family. Outside of that, some of my favorite things are: reading, drinking tea, going on long walks, spending time at the beach, and kayaking.
A favorite verse for fifth graders to live by is: 1 Timothy 4:12 “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity.”
Meet Mrs. Robbins
Hello, my name is Jerolyn Robbins. I am a local girl, originally from Kingsburg, and I graduated from Immanuel High School. After graduating from Immanuel, I continued my education at Fresno Pacific College where I received my degree in English Single Subject Teaching. Several years later, I continued my education at Fresno Pacific and earned a Master’s Degree in Reading and Language Arts.
I was blessed to have the opportunity to take a long-term sub position at Immanuel in the spring of 2007, and over the summer of that same year, I was then offered a job teaching English at Immanuel Jr. High. I have taught English in grades 7-12 over the course of the last 10 years here at Immanuel. I am currently teaching Sophomore English, American Literature, Senior English, and AP Language and Composition.
Author and educator Nancie Atwell said, “…freedom to choose and time to read in school are not luxuries. They are the wellspring of student literacy and literary appreciation.” I began teaching because I wanted to share my love of reading with students. Not only am I able to share my love of reading with my students, but I also get to share my love of Jesus. It is a wonderful experience to teach while having the freedom to incorporate God’s word into the lesson at any time. It is truly a blessing to be a part of the Immanuel teaching staff.
Meet Mr. Robbins
Greetings! My name is Rick Robbins and I am the Director of Performing Arts at Immanuel. I graduated from Fresno Pacific College in 1991 with a B.A. in Music Education and completed additional coursework at CSU Fresno for a supplemental authorization in Drama/Theatre. I went on to complete graduate studies at Westminster Choir College in Princeton. After teaching in Fresno for two years, I moved to Selma High School for nine years before joining the staff at Immanuel in 2002.
I have been involved in music and theatre for 43+ years, having directed more than 120productions and served as Technical Director on many more. At Immanuel, the Performing Arts department has staged 60+ shows since 2002. The Immanuel choirs have had amazing opportunities to perform and minister at countless churches, cathedrals and schools. Our ministry tours have taken us throughout California, New York, Vancouver B.C., England, France, Ireland, Scotland and Italy.
I have served as Worship Leader at three churches since 1992 and have brought those experiences to start and teach the Worship Fundamentals program at Immanuel. Being able to interact with students and guide them through the process of developing their own relationship with Christ, while leading their peers in worship twice weekly during chapel, has been a meaningful experience. It has been a thrill to stay connected with graduates over the years, as many have since become music teachers, worship leaders, singers and technicians.
“Sing joyfully to the Lord, you righteous; it is fitting for the upright to praise Him. Praise the Lord with the harp; make music to him on the ten-stringed lyre. Sing to Him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy!” Psalm 33:1-3
Meet Mrs. Roberts
My name is Emily Roberts. I grew up in Reedley and attended local schools. It was when I was in 1st grade that I knew I wanted to become a teacher. After high school I went to Fresno State and earned my BA in Liberal Studies and my Multiple Subjects teaching credential. After a few years of teaching I continued my education and received an MA in Curriculum and Instruction. Currently, I am pursuing my Administrative Services credential.
I am teaching 4th grade again this year and loving it. The Immanuel community is such a special place to be a part of as a teacher and as a parent. It has been a wonderful experience the last few years and I am so thankful the Lord has brought me here.
The Lord has really been working in me these last few years more than ever and has provided more than I could have imagined by opening and closing opportunities for me to be here. It was the Lord who made this happen and not me and He deserves all the Glory for it. I am so thankful for the Lord's sweet, sweet love He has for me to give me this opportunity to teach and to teach about Him at Immanuel.
When I am not in school my family and I love traveling to new places seeing God’s wonderful creations.
Cast all of your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5: 7
The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still. Exodus 14:14
Meet Ms. Sandberg
My name is Kenna Sandberg and I have a passion for furthering students' knowledge and skills in the agriculture industry through hands-on learning. I was born and raised in Sanger, CA where I attended Sanger High School. There, I was actively involved in the FFA Chapter and developed a passion for teaching others about the agriculture industry. Upon graduating high school, I attended Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo where I received my Bachelors and Masters Degree in Agriculture Education.
I have been at Immanuel since the 2020-2021 school year. From the moment I started here at Immanuel, it has felt like home. I love the family atmosphere and working with individuals who are also passionate about educating young minds. When I am not teaching or advising students in the FFA program, I enjoy hiking, riding horses, visiting coffee shops, and spending time with family.
A favorite verse for students to live by is: Colossians 3:17 "And whatever you do, whether in wood or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."
Meet Mrs. Schellenberg
I am excited to be a part of what God is doing within the Immanuel community! The Lord has been faithful in leading me on this exciting adventure to Immanuel. I am originally from Hutchinson, Kansas, where my parents and younger sister still live. I attended Tabor College in Hillsboro, Kansas, where I earned my bachelor’s degree in elementary education. After three years of teaching in Kansas, God began to open up doors for me to teach at Immanuel. I felt Him calling me to serve in a place where the gospel is the core of education. I am currently living in Reedley with my husband Kelyn. I enjoy leading Immanuel’s elementary student council, in addition to staying active, spending time with friends, and traveling when I get the chance!
Through teaching fourth grade, my goal is to prepare students for success in their future academic careers. I desire for them to be caring, contributing members of God’s Kingdom. We will use the Common Core Standards as a guideline for our learning and employ technology, collaboration, lecture, discussion and exploration to achieve our goals in all subject areas. There will be opportunities to explore outside the classroom through field trips to the Sierra Endangered Cat Haven, Columbia Gold Rush town, and Moaning Caverns.
I am looking forward to a wonderful year in 4th grade and am continually reminded of 1 Timothy 4:12. It says, “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity.”
Meet Mr. Sorensen
Hello, my name is Cole Sorensen, and I am excited to begin my teaching career at Immanuel! I come from a family who loves Immanuel, and have been blessed with growing up in the Immanuel community. I’m an Immanuel graduate myself, from the class of 2013. I obtained my Bachelor’s Degree at Fresno Pacific University in Social Science Secondary Teaching, with a Political Science minor in 2017.
Last year I student taught at Sanger High School, and completed the Teacher Credential Program through Fresno Pacific. I love what Immanuel represents, and am so grateful that God has called me to serve His kingdom through serving students and families at Immanuel.
Galatians 2:20 has been a verse that I have held closely to remind me of our ultimate purpose and identity in all that we do: “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
Meet Mrs Sorensen
My name is Emily Sorensen and I am thrilled to be teaching 5th grade at Immanuel. I grew up in Kingsburg California and got my B.A. in Liberal Studies at Fresno Pacific University. I am married to my husband Cole who teaches at Immanuel High School. A few of my favorite things include chocolate, coffee, fall weather, and camping.
One of my all time favorite Bible verses is Joshua 1:9: "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.”
Meet Mr Thomas
Hi my name is Luke Thomas. My personal goal is to teach adolescent students about the bible. Immanuel has been unique opportunity to do that while teaching social science classes from a Christian perspective. I also get to teach two advanced placement classes—Economics and World History. I love to learn and often tell my students that I wish I could go back to school.
I have of a family that gets to benefit from the Immanuel Schools system. I have two daughters Ellyann and Abigail who are currently in the elementary school and a son who is coming soon. We have many relatives that get to be a part of this school system and benefit from the Christian education provided.
As any of my students will tell you, I love board games and sports. I could probably teach you a board game if you came by.
Meet Mrs. VanLeeuwen
Hello! My name is Deniele (Croissant) Vanleeuwen. I grew up in the Dinuba countryside where my father was an auctioneer and farmer while my mother worked alongside him. I spent many weekends working at our family auctions with my younger brother. I grew up attending Kingsburg Mennonite Brethren Church. I was enrolled at Grand View Elementary and Washington Junior High. Both of my parents attended Immanuel High School, so I was excited to also attend Immanuel for high school. After high school I attended Fresno State University, and majored in Fine Arts. Several months later I purchased a retail store (Coffee & Candy) which I owned for ten years in Reedley, until I got married to my husband Todd Vanleeuwen. I am a mom blessed with three amazing children and honored to be raising two of them. My husband Todd and I reside in Kingsburg along with John (11) and Rebecca (8), they both love going to IES and are always keeping us on our toes. I love crafting, painting and being creative, which is why I was thrilled when God opened a door for me to teach Art and Yearbook at Immanuel High School. I am blessed to be a part of the supportive and caring Immanuel family. Working at Immanuel brings me much joy, comfort and above all the ability to talk about my love for our Lord and Savior!
“Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, … The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.”
Meet Mr. Woods
Hi my name is Chris Woods I was born and raised in Kingsburg. I graduated from Kingsburg High and then went on to graduate from Reedley College and Fresno State University. I earned my Master of Arts degree from Fresno Pacific University. I am the boys basketball coach and feel very blessed to be a part of the Immanuel Basketball tradition and family.My wife Carly and I live in Kingsburg and are very thankful to be a part of the Immanuel family. We are expecting our first child this summer and are very excited to meet our little girl. Outside of teaching and coaching I am a big sports fan. My wife and I enjoy traveling and going to baseball and basketball games.