- Heidi Ayers
- Edgar Baltazar
- Laura Brautigam
- Todd Brown
- Cristi Chang
- Alyssa DenHartog
- Karin Deaver
- Bekah Faust
- Coleen Friesen
- Jason Gossenberger
- Jacob Henderson
- Annie Hungerford
- Joseph Ibanez
- Justina Johnson
- Kaila Kodman
- Don Knaak
- Janet Laemmlen
- Loren LeBeau
- Josh Merritt
- Connor Nolen
- Erin Ramming
- Linda Reimer
- Jennifer Ross
- Elisa Sonksen
- Cole Sorensen
- Luke Thomas
- Deniele Van Leeuwen
- Brooklynn Young
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.
Exodus 14:14 – “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”
Meet Mr. Baltazar:
¡Hola! My name is Edgar Baltazar and I’m so excited to be teaching Spanish here at Immanuel. My journey with Christ and the Spanish language coincide together. I grew up in a family that worshipped God in its native tongue. My hope and prayer is that through this culture, students will be able to see the beautiful love of Jesus at work in “every nation, tribe, and tongue.” (Rev. 7:9-10)
I am the middle sibling of 3 brothers in a family of 5. I was born in Reedley, but grew up in Parlier. I attended Riverview Elementary when I was in middle school, and graduated from Reedley High School in 2015. I attended Fresno State and received my B.S. in Kinesiology, Sports Administration in 2020. During college, I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, and have never looked back since! I have worked at Community Youth Ministries here in town as both an after school program paraeducator and site director. Most recently, I served as the NextGen Pastor at Redeemer’s Church, where I had the blessing and honor to guide middle & high school students, as well as young adults, in their walk with the Lord.
In 2022, God called me to Immanuel to help start the boys volleyball program. Since then, I have seen the fruit of His Spirit at work in the players, coaches, staff, and community. For this reason, the Lord presented an opportunity for me to join the Immanuel family as a teacher. I am so grateful for God’s grace and mercy, and look forward to serving His kingdom in this way. ¡Bendito sea Dios!
“We love because He first loved us.” — 1 John 4:19
Hello, I'm Laura Brautigam and I thank the Lord each day for the opportunity I have to be on campus at Immanuel. I grew up in the Fresno/Clovis area and now live in Hanford. I attended Clovis West High School then Fresno State where I received my B.A. in Communication. I've worked in Fresno & Kings Counties during the past 19 years subbing & working in Preschool through High School levels and various subjects.
I felt that God was calling me here more than just as an active parent, so I began subbing at Immanuel on all 3 campuses in 2021. I am excited to be teaching ASL again this year. I love educating about Deaf culture/history & advocating for the Deaf communities. I studied CSD & ASL in college, in addition to growing up signing the basics. My husband and I have two daughters, Mackenzie & Aspen. My cup is full and I feel so blessed to be part of the Immanuel family. Go Eagles!
"For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." - Ephesians 2:10
Meet Mr. Brown:
I was born and raised in Modesto, CA as the youngest in a family of four. My dad was a junior high math/PE teacher and was a big reason why I went into teaching. In high school I attended Modesto Christian High School and played basketball there. I was able to continue my basketball career at Fresno Pacific University from 2006-2010. It was there that I earned my B.A. in Kinesiology and met my wife!
I married my wife, Tarin Brown (Tartaglia- IHS c.o. 2005), in 2010 and the Lord blessed us with the opportunity to travel around the country as I played more basketball with Athletes and Action, and overseas to play professionally in Australia. In 2012 we moved here to Kingsburg and I began to teach and we both began to coach at Kingsburg High School, where I’ve been the past 10 years. My wife has operated a Christian apparel company, River Raised, while staying at home and raising our four children: Ford, Poppy, Boone and Honor.
It is very clear to see how the Lord has taken care of us and has led us throughout our life and we know, without a doubt, that He prepared and brought us here to Immanuel in His perfect timing.
“Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.” - Titus 2:6-8
Meet Mrs. Chang:
Hi, my name is Cristi Chang, and I’m so excited to teach at Immanuel! I grew up in Clovis with my parents and older sister. We were and still are a very close-knit family. I attended Clovis schools and graduated from Buchanan High School. I had a couple amazing English teachers during that time who inspired me to become an English teacher myself. After receiving my BA in English and Teaching Credential through Fresno State, I taught English at Sanger High School for three years. During that time, I met my wonderful husband who also happens to be a high school English teacher. We got married and moved to his hometown of Visalia, and I taught at Exeter High School for three years. During that time we had our sweet daughter, Maya. We decided to move back to Clovis where I became a stay-at-home mom, and 2 years ago Maya was blessed with the baby sister she had been praying for, little Gweny.
Now here I am, ready to jump back into teaching! We are newcomers to Immanuel, but we already feel like we are part of the Immanuel family. Maya began attending Immanuel last year as a 4th grader, and she absolutely loves it! I’ve always had a heart for high schoolers and feel strongly about the importance of mentorship during those critical years of spiritual growth as they are trying to figure out who they are. I am so humbled and honored to be able to play a role in the lives of the kids here at Immanuel. I have been trusting God's lead and feel very blessed that He has opened the doors for me to be part of such a God-centered community.
We still live in Clovis where we attend Loma Vista Community Church. My husband teaches English at Clovis East High School. We love going to the beach, watching SF Giants games, going on bike rides, and just spending time together as a family. The Lord has blessed us abundantly and I am excited for this new chapter in our lives.
“I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” Psalm 139:14
Meet Ms. DenHartog:
My name is Alyssa DenHartog, but just about everybody calls me Bissie (a nickname that my mom made up). I am teaching high school math, specifically Algebra 1, Advanced Math and Calculus. I am also the Director of Sport for Girls Indoor Volleyball.
I grew up and live in Clovis, and I taught in Clovis for the last 5 years after graduating from Fresno Pacific University. Last year, the Lord led me to Immanuel. I just finished my MA in Math Education, along with two of my sisters and my mother, who are also math teachers. I have 3 sisters in total, a legendary brother-in-law (Mr. Certain), and the cutest nephew in the world. My dad is the only immediate family member who is not in education, but we still love him anyway. We all live in Clovis and regularly take family walks together. I attend Peoples Church in Fresno where I love volunteering with the youth group. I like Dutch better than Starbucks, tv shows better than movies, and Cheez-It's better than goldfish.
Verse: Philippians 4:6-7 "do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
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 Mrs. Faust:
Hello! My name is Rebekah (Bekah) Faust and I am so excited to start a new adventure along with my kiddos here at Immanuel! My husband Darren and I have been married for over 15 years and have 3 kids. Oldest son, Noah, 13 yr old 8th grader, middle son, Greyson, 11yr old 6th grader, and daughter, Olivia, 9 yr old 4th grader, will all be joining me at Immanuel and are super excited as well. We love to travel and raise orphaned and injured wildlife with Fresno Wildlife Rehabilitation Service.
I have a BS Degree in Wildlife, Fish and Conservation Biology from the University of California at Davis and a Biology Teaching Credential from CSU Fresno. Before going into teaching I was a land animal trainer for Six Flags Marine World (now Discovery Kingdom) in Vallejo. But my passion for teaching kids about animals, along with the cost of living in the bay area, led me back home to Clovis to pursue a career in teaching science.
I taught science for 13 years at Abraham Lincoln Middle School in Selma, then for the past 5 years I have taught science online for California Connections Academy. I love the fact that I get to finally teach science with an emphasis on God, our amazing creator and using this to point students back to Him.
Favorite verse: “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:
My name is Coleen Friesen, and I grew up in Fresno, California. I earned my Bachelor’s Degree and teaching credential from Fresno Pacific University. At FPU, I met my husband David, an Immanuel alumnus, and after college we married and settled in Reedley. We have been blessed with seven children who have graduated from or are currently attending Immanuel Schools. Some of my hobbies are camping at the beach or in the mountains, watching our kids play sports, and singing.
I began my career as a kindergarten teacher and then taught K-8th grade students at a charter school. I also spent many years --14!-- homeschooling my own children. All of these experiences, as well as my time as a real estate agent and property manager, prepared me in amazing ways for the job I hold today. I was thrilled when the Lord opened the door for me to work at Immanuel.
One of my favorite hymns says “Oh love of God, how rich and pure, how measureless and strong...” What a privilege it is to share the immeasurable love of God with students every day!
Meet Mr. Gossenberger:
Hello everyone! My name is Jason Gossenberger and although I was born in Vallejo, California I grew up in Clovis. My father was (and is still) a pastor and my mom was a stay-at-home mother. Yes, it is true what they say about Pastor's kids, but I can safely say I was not one of them. It would be an understatement to say I grew up in the church, and that it was basically a second home for me.
I graduated from Buchanan High School in 2007 with a class of 1,000+ students, so it is safe to say there will be a little bit of an adjustment for me at Immanuel. I knew God was calling me to serve Him after high school by being someone who could offer guidance, support, and Biblical understanding to the youth of the next generation.
I married my incredible wife, Maribeth, and graduated from Fresno Pacific University. I have spent the last 9 years of my professional career as a Youth and Associate Pastor, but there was always a tug on my heart to enter into education. So, less than a year ago, God opened a door that I had to step through and here I am today getting ready to guide, support, and provide Biblical understanding for each student that walks through my classroom doors. I am thankful, blessed, and pumped to be a teacher at Immanuel Schools and I look forward to all that God will do.
Favorite Verse: For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
Meet Mr. Henderson:
Hello, my name is Jake Henderson. I was raised in Fontana, California where my Father is the pastor of Storm Shelter Church. I am the youngest of five children. I grew up mainly spending time at church activities with the family or playing and watching sports. I attended Aquinas High School in San Bernardino where my brother Josh was the head football coach. I graduated in 2010 and was able to earn a scholarship to play football at Azusa Pacific University. While playing at APU, I studied physical education and further developed an interest in strength & conditioning.
After graduation I began working as a PE teacher and Football & Strength Coach at Grace Brethren in Simi Valley, CA. In 2017 I returned to my Alma Mater in San Bernardino to coach football and teach Anatomy, PE and Strength & Conditioning. I finished my master’s degree in Secondary Education from GCU in 2018. After moving on from Aquinas, I spent a year at Yucaipa High School and felt called to move up to the Central Valley to be a part of what God is doing at Immanuel. In 2023 I earned my certificate from the National Strength & Conditioning Association as a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS).
My wife Megan and I were married in 2015. We have three sons, Wyatt, Jack and Clay. In my free time I love lifting weights and camping with Megan and the boys.
“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” - Matthew 6:33
“Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.” - Psalm 139:23-24
Meet Mrs. Hungerford:
Hello, my name is Annie Hungerford. I was born and raised in Kingsburg, CA and graduated from Immanuel in 2008. After spending my life in private schools, I continued at Point Loma Nazarene University before transferring to Fresno State where I received a Bachelor of Arts in Interior Design. As a student, I studied abroad in Italy and developed a strong passion for art, architecture and Italian cuisine. After graduation, I worked for a local commercial design firm where I learned how to design spaces ranging from state-of-the-art offices to high-end country clubs.
In 2017, I decided to branch out of my comfort zone, take my dog and move to Seattle, WA. While living in the heart of downtown, I worked for an architectural firm designing luxury high-rises for three years until Covid hit. As the world was shutting down, I moved back home and decided to open my own business designing homes around the central valley. It was during this time I received my National Certification in Interior Design and met my husband who was stationed in Lemoore with the US Navy.
This year has brought on many changes - from getting married to accepting this teaching position. I fell in love with interior design by taking Mr. Goetz's elective class my senior year at Immanuel. This single class altered my collegiate path which ultimately brought me back here as a staff member. I am still in disbelief that I get the opportunity to teach the very class that has had such an impact on my life. I am eager to begin this experience and cannot wait to meet the students and families of this amazing school.
"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. Who for the joy set before him, endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." - Hebrews 12:2-3
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. 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 four 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 Mrs. Kodman:
Hello Eagles and Families! My name is Kaila Kodman and I teach 8th grade English, Junior High Leadership/Activities, and High School Journalism. I received my Bachelor of Arts Degree in English with a minor in communications from the University of Phoenix. I am so looking forward to my second year teaching at Immanuel. Prior to teaching at Immanuel, I had the wonderful opportunity to get to know many of our students while being on staff as the Student Ministries Support at Reedley Mennonite Brethren Church! I also worked for many years as the Center Director of a child care center and preschool in Fresno prior to teaching.
In my spare time, I enjoy spending time with my husband, Kyle, and our four children (our oldest two attend Immanuel), reading and journaling, and baking sourdough bread. My goals this school year are to facilitate strong relationships with students and their families, create opportunities for students to grow in their relationship with Christ, and to create a comfortable, yet constructive and effective learning environment where students will feel supported, motivated, and connected. I have been in prayer over this year and I am excited for all the Lord has planned for all of us here at Immanuel this year!
“Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.” Ephesians 6:18
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 51st 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.
My wife Nancy and I have been married for almost 52 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. Laemmlen:
I am excited to be at Immanuel and it is a joy to share my passion for Christ as well as baking, cooking, and sewing, with students.
I started sewing when I was 4 or 5, following the patterns by the pictures before I could read, and have enjoyed baking, sewing, embroidery and quilting all my life. I attended Immanuel after we moved to Reedley from Kansas, and then went to Fresno State. Early in college Mark and I got married, and I started working with the family fruit corporations as a bookkeeper. After our boys, Dustin, Nate and Jordan were born I was able to stay home with them, until I started teaching Home Ec and Foods here in 2002. In 2013 I felt the Lord leading me to work at MCC, first in the cafe, then in the quilt shop. During those years we welcomed 3 precious daughter-in-laws, Michelle, Tayler, and Amy. Then God, with His amazing guidance, brought me back to Immanuel a few years ago, and in 2021 we welcomed our little granddaughter, Lexi. God has been so good!
My life verse would be Colossians 3:15 “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts...and be thankful.”
Meet Loren LeBeau:
I grew up in Fresno, and played college basketball at Fresno City College and Fresno Pacific University. I received my Bachelors from Fresno Pacific, my teaching credential from National University, and my Master's degree from Fresno State University. Upon graduation I began my coaching career, including time coaching high school level basketball at Edison, Clovis West, and Central High Schools. I also coached at the college level at Fresno State, Fresno City, and Pepperdine University. As a Head Coach, I led Central High with 3 T.R.A.C. Championships, two Valley Championship runner-ups, and three coach of the Year awards.
My resume and my references will tell you of my passionate work ethic, my ability to reach and inspire all types of people with diverse backgrounds, and my ability “win.” What neither one will tell you is that my life, in many ways, has been shaped through tragedy. My father committed suicide when I was twelve. At the age of 44, I was involved in a vehicular accident that took a life. As a result, I spent 79 months is state prison. And just recently, my brother’s oldest son took his own life. Ultimately however, it's not what I have been through that defines who I am, it's how I got through it that defines who I am today.
The “how” was a Father's love. I learned, in prison, that our Heavenly Father's love is the only love that can't change or be lost (Rm. 8:35). His love is the only thing like that. It was this revelation, this "good news" that has molded me into the man I am today. A man who was gracefully broken but rebuilt by the truth of the gospel. I never sought suffering. But it taught me to completely trust in God (Pr.3:5), and because I did that, I discovered a priceless joy, strength of character, and a power that can come in no other way. This kind of fight has led to a deeper desire to share the good news!
Sometimes when you're in a dark place and you think you've been buried, you've actually been planted. To be a leader and proclaimer of the gospel is my God-given duty. This is the responsibility God has laid at the doorstep of everyone who carries the title Christian. One day Paul was killing Christians, the next day he was a Christian. One day Peter was a fisherman, the next day he was a fisher of men. We shouldn't judge someone based on the "one day." If God can create the world in 6 days, He can surely create a new heart in one.
Life verse: Jeremiah 29:11
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not evil, to give you an expected end."
Meet Mr. Merritt:
Hello my name is Josh Merritt, and I am the Choral and Performing Arts Director. I teach all High School Choirs, Drama, and Worship Funds. I also teach Jr. High Choir and Drama. I am an Alumni of Immanuel, and have my BA in Vocal Performance with an emphasis in Education from Fresno Pacific University. The Lord has blessed me by allowing my passion for serving Him and my love of music to flow together in everything I have done.
Along with my teaching experience, I have had the privilege of starting my own non-profit organization called Kingsburg Vocal Academy. I have also been blessed by becoming the Worship Pastor for Kingsburg First Baptist Church. Through everything the Lord has brought me through, His promises remain true, and it is evident to me that music can be such a powerful tool to bring glory to God. This is something I hope every student that I come into contact with will learn and understand before their time ends here at IHS.
My wife Chelsea (also an Immanuel Alumni), and I have 2 boys, Hudson and Dawson, and our baby girl will be here in October 2021. I love to sing and play guitar and piano in my spare time. I also have a deep love and passion for sports. Basketball and Football are sports I will play and/or watch anytime!
“Before his downfall a man’s heart is proud, but humility comes before honor.” - Proverbs 18:12
“Come, let’s shout joyfully to the Lord, shout triumphantly to the rock of our salvation! Let’s enter his presence with thanksgiving; let’s shout triumphantly to him in song.” - Psalm 95:1-2
Meet Mr. Nolen:
Hi, my name is Connor Nolen. I come from a family of four with three younger brothers. I grew up in a family of educators and coaches so I spent a lot of time on a school campus and attending sporting events when I was young. I grew up in Clovis, CA and attended Clovis North area schools. I played sports for most of my life. Cross country and track and field were my focus when I started high school. After high school, I was blessed with an opportunity to continue my education and run at the collegiate level at Fresno Pacific University on scholarship. In four years, I received my B.A. in Kinesiology from FPU. I completed one more year of graduate studies and received my teaching credential through FPU.
Following my completion of the credential program, I was hired in Madera Unified. I taught in Madera for three years as a physical education teacher and was a head coach for cross country. God opened a door for me to teach at Immanuel and I am beyond stoked to be a part of the Immanuel community, build a successful cross country program, and show my students the love that God has for them.
I am a proud member of VIA church in Fresno. I enjoy physical activities such as running and hiking. I like a good cup of coffee and listening to podcasts. I also like playing spikeball and taking trips to the beach, mountains and anywhere I can enjoy God’s creation.
Favorite verse: “We love because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:19
Meet Mrs. Ramming:
Hi, my name is Erin (Jost) Ramming. I grew up with my family in Dinuba and attended Kingsburg Mennonite Brethren Church. I attended Grand View Elementary in Dinuba and then went on to graduate from Immanuel Junior High and Immanuel High School. I then earned a BA in Mathematics, a single subject teaching credential and a master’s degree in education from Fresno Pacific University.
My husband, Glenn were married in 2008 and we have four kids: Emery, Kinsley, Adelynn, and Landon, all of whom attend Immanuel. I love to read a good book and be in the kitchen with my kids. As a family, we like to play games and take road trips. I love teaching math, but more importantly creating a warm environment and building relationships with my students.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16: 33
Meet Mrs. Reimer:
My husband, Jay, and I live in the Dinuba countryside with our three dogs. I began working at Immanuel over twenty-five years ago, primarily as an English teacher. Currently, I am blessed to have the opportunity to interact with students as both a school counselor and as a teacher of AP Psychology.
Meet Mrs. Sonksen:
Hi my name is Elisa Sonksen. I am blessed to be one of the new Agriculture teachers here at Immanuel. I come from a large family where I am one of five children. I grew up attending Kingsburg Evangelical Free church until high school when my family made the switch to Kingsburg Community church. That has been my church home ever since. I married my husband Trevor in 2009. The Lord has blessed us with three amazing kids. This is their third year here at Immanuel schools, Cameron is in 7th, Brooklyn 6th and Kennady is in 2nd grade.
I grew up in Kingsburg where I attended all Kingsburg schools K-12. During my years at Kingsburg High School I was an active member of the Future Farmers of America. I participated in many events at the local, regional and state level. The positive impact that FFA had on my life led me to pursuing a Bachelors of Science in Agricultural Education-teacher preparation with a concentration in animal science. I enjoyed helping students find their love and passion for all things agriculture. In 2010 I felt the Lord calling me away from agriculture education in order to raise my family. It was such a blessing to have that opportunity and I enjoyed that precious time. This school year I decided to get back in the classroom by substitute teaching at Immanuel. Which helped lead me to this position. I am so excited to be back in the classroom and to be able to share my love of Jesus and agriculture education with the students.
Special Verse: Joshua 1:9
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
Meet Mr. Sorensen:
Hello, my name is Cole Sorensen, and I am excited to be teaching 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.
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 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 a family that gets to benefit from the Immanuel Schools system. I have three children who are currently in the elementary school. 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 and Rebecca, they both love going to Immanuel 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!
Exodus 14:13-14 - “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 Ms. Young:
Hi, my name is Brooklynn Young. I was raised in Kingsburg with my twin brother. I graduated high school from Kingsburg High in 2019 and spent my high school career in the Blue and Gold. I received my American Degree and placed as a National Finalist for my proficiency area of Ag Sales Placement in Floral. I then graduated in 2023 from Oklahoma State University with a B.S. in Agricultural Leadership, with an emphasis in Agriculture Education. Since middle school, I knew I wanted to be an ag teacher, and after a stint of nursing classes in college, I was certain AgEd was the path for me.
I am so thrilled to be joining the Immanuel staff as one of the Ag Teachers. I cannot even begin to explain how good God is to have lead me to a position where my passion for Agriculture and the Word can be used together in the classroom.
“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved.” - Ephesians 2:4-5