- Heidi Ayers
- Matt Ayers
- Karin Deaver
- Josh Franco
- Coleen Friesen
- Dan Goetz
- Drew Halstead
- Joseph Ibanez
- Justina Johnson
- Don Knaak
- Janet Laemmlen
- Cyndi Light
- Jeff March
- Sarah Martinez
- Shane Pinkard
- Linda Reimer
- Jerolyn Robbins
- Rick Robbins
- Kenna Sandberg
- Ericka Solorio
- Cole 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, 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. God called me to Immanuel 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 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. Franco:
I am currently in my 12th year with Immanuel Schools. I was born and raised in Selma, after graduating from high school I went on to receive my AA from Fresno City College, a B.S. and an M.A. from Fresno State University. During my time at Immanuel, I have filled many roles including teaching Pre-Algebra, Algebra 1 & 2, Geometry, Earth Science, and P.E. I also assisted in designing and integrating the Next Generation Science standards for the Junior High and High Schools levels.
Most recently my titles at Immanuel include being the Director of Athletics, High School Sports Marketing Teacher, and this is my 11th year as head varsity baseball coach.
I am passionate about assisting in the development of young men and women, and aim to instill the importance of academic responsibility in them as they go through these crucial years. I have been married to my wife Alison since 2013, and we currently live in Fowler with our 2 children, Hudson and Addison.
I really enjoy being a part of the Immanuel community, the support for our students is second to none.
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. 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 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 and High School history classes..
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 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 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 48th 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. Laemmlen:
I am excited to be back teaching at Immanuel after a few years away! It is a joy to share my passion for Christ as well as baking, cooking, and sewing with students again.
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. 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 Mrs. Light:
I have been blessed to be part of the Immanuel community serving our students and staff as a teacher. I enjoy the chance to get to know a wide range of students and watch them mature from year to year.
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 completed my Masters Degree in Christian Ministries from Grand Canyon Theological Seminary. 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 Ms. Martinez:
My name is Sarah Martinez and I have a passion for furthering students' knowledge and skills in the science and sports medicine industry through hands-on learning and experiences. I was born and raised in Fresno, CA where I attended Clovis North High School. While there, I was actively involved in water polo, swimming and sports medicine. I developed a passion for teaching and educating others about athletic training. Upon graduating from high school, I attended Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Arizona where I received my Bachelors of Science Degree in Athletic Training.
I have been at Immanuel since the 2019-2020 school year. From the time I started at Immanuel, I knew this was right where God intended for me to be. I enjoy the family atmosphere and working with others who are also passionate about educating young minds. When I am not teaching or doing athletic training, I enjoy drinking coffee, crafting, working out, and spending time with my family.
Meet Mr. Pinkard:
My name is Shane Pinkard. I was born in Santa Cruz County, California. I attended public schools in Scotts Valley from Kinder - 8th grade. From there, I transferred to Baymonte Christian High School in Scotts Valley, California. After completing my sophomore year, I transferred to Ethel High School in Ethel, Mississippi where my parents retired. I completed High School my Junior year and began attending Holmes Junior College. I completed my A.A. degree and transferred to Mississippi State University. I then completed my B.S. in Zoology with emphasis in Chemistry and Physiology. During this time I took Spanish as a foreign language. During my fourth semester course with the Department Chair of Foreign Languages, I was offered a full assistantship to continue studying Spanish and earn my M.A. Dr. Chatham, the Department Chair, helped me to go to Spain where I studied at the Universidad de Salamanca. I returned and began to teach at the college while completing my M.A. in Spanish. I am also married with two children. My wife is from Venezuela and my two children are involved with agriculture in the Central Valley.
After completing my education, I taught for two years in Philadelphia, Mississippi prior to returning to California. Upon returning to California, I taught Bilingual Education in Madera Unified School District. From there I worked in Fresno Unified School District, Golden Valley Unified School District, and Selma Unified School District. I taught Spanish and Science for about fourteen years in grades 7-12 and King’s River Community College and California State University-Fresno. I then went into administration in the public school system. I worked as a guidance counselor, Vice Principal at Middle School, and Principal at Middle and Elementary schools. I recently retired from the public school system and returned to teach Spanish at Immanuel. I am enjoying teaching at Immanuel and I continue to learn many new programs, procedures, and methods as I get to know my students and community. I am a Christian and I enjoy the climate that Immanuel offers to me and to students, and community. ¡Viva el español!
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. 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 my time 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 120 productions 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 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. Solorio:
I have been working at Immanuel since the 2017-18 school year. I am the JH and HS principals assistant and the Head Cheer Coach (when we have a season), and this year the ASL Teacher.
Before this year started I was heartbroken when I found out that there was no ASL teacher. It was a hidden secret that I knew sign language. I started learning ASL in 6th grade at a private/christian school called Cathedral Christan School . When I got into Junior Highat Immanuel, our bible teacher had us learn a few songs in ASL for different events. So when I got into college I continued to learn ASL. It was pretty amazing because my teacher was actually deaf. Such a great opportunity. I would interpret for church and talk to the deaf community that was involved there. It was so great to be able to be the ”Bridge” between the deaf and hearing world.
I wanted the students here at Immanuel who had already started learning ASL to continue on this path. So I talked with Mr. Goertzen to see if there was a possibility that I could help in this area where there was a need; and because of the position that I already had as his assistant. At first I was a little nervous, hesitant and honestly not 100% sure that I could handle it all. But my GOD never gives me more than I can handle.
I am so honored and blessed that I have been able to teach this year. Praying for each of my students in my classes that the Lord will use them in a mighty way and allow them to become the “BRIDGE” between the deaf and hearing world.
I love the Immanuel community, and enjoy having all 3 of my kids on campus: Jordan (9th grade), Cameron (7th grade) and Aubrey (4th grade).
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 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 blessed with 2 amazing children - a daughter and a son. Outside of teaching and coaching I am a big sports fan. My wife and I enjoy traveling and going to baseball and basketball games.