My name is Laura Brautigam and I thank the Lord each day for the opportunity I have to be on campus at Immanuel. I was raised in Fresno/Clovis where I attended Clovis West High School then Fresno State where I received my B.A. in Communication. I started my journey in Education in 2004 when I became a substitute teacher in Fresno & Kings counties. I worked in Fowler, Hanford, & Lemoore during the past 15 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, and I began subbing at Immanuel in August. I gladly accepted the position to help teach 2nd semester in Junior High. I have refound my love for Mathematics (crazy, I know!) but more importantly my passion for youth ministry. I also am enjoying the new Junior High Entrepreneurship elective and excited to see how this course develops for the future. There is so much talent on campus, it is so inspiring and I can't wait for the Spring Artisan Market!
I've been married to Guy for over 17 years and we have two daughters, Mackenzie & Aspen, who both attend Immanuel. We currently live in Hanford with our Boston Terrier, Toby. Our family calendar typically runs around our girls activities, including FFA, sports, 4-H and dance. We also enjoy traveling, spending time with family & volunteering with various charities/organizations. My cup is full and I feel so blessed to be part of the Immanuel family.
"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. Dillon:
Hi, my name is Ben Dillon. I was born in Exeter California and attended Exeter Union High School. I've always been really close to my family and have tried to model myself after them in a lot of ways. Both of my parents were teachers for 20 plus years in the elementary classroom and my father was head baseball coach at Exeter High School for a short time. I also have a sister who is married and who just had my first nephew which is really exciting. He's about the cutest kid I've ever seen. My family has always been a strong family of faith which has benefited me greatly throughout my lifetime. We grew up going to First Missionary Baptist Church in Exeter California. I was saved around the age of ten and was baptized soon after as a public profession of my faith in Christ Jesus.
After graduating high school I attended CSU Fresno where I majored in English. I then studied English at the University of London thinking I wanted to be a writer, but God called me to other things. I started coaching high school football for my former Head Coach Robert Dougherty which made me realize I wanted to give back to kids for a living in the realm of teaching and coaching. I then transferred my units to Brandman University where I graduated with my bachelor's degree in Liberal Studies and then passed my Single Subject CSET's for Physical Education to be able to teach PE at any grade level. I taught PE for 2 years at Valley Life Charter school as the lone PE teacher for 1st-8th grade students. I truly believe God has opened the door for me to have the blessing of teaching at Immanuel Schools. It is a family atmosphere with the most supportive staff, administration and community that I've ever been a part of. All these things are only possible because Christ is at the head of this school.
I currently reside in Exeter with my brother/sister English Black Labs Homer and Mia. I enjoy biking in the foothills, golfing, weight lifting, and coaching a number of sports. I love spending time at the Coast and at the golf course with family and friends. God Bless.
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." - Philippians 4:6
"Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his steadfast love endures forever" - Psalm 118:1
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. 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. 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. 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 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 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 Mrs. Rogers:
My name is Kimberly Rogers and I’m ecstatic to be teaching 7th and 8th grade History this year. I’ve been in education since 2002 after I got my Teaching Credential in Social Studies at Vanguard University in Costa Mesa, CA. My Bachelor's Degree is in History and Political Science and I also have a Master’s Degree in Education. Mostly I’ve taught 11th grade U.S. History and AP U.S. History, however, I started my career teaching Junior High and that has always remained my favorite age group to teach. It’s going to be a fun year getting back to 7th grade World History and 8th grade U.S. History!
I grew up in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and I love its rich Spanish and Native American culture and great food. When I left for college, I had every intention of returning to Santa Fe, but God had other plans. While at Vanguard, I met my husband John (IHS Alumni) and after living in Orange County for many years we decided to move to the Central Valley to be near his family. It’s been interesting living in a rural agricultural area and I’ve learned a lot about small town living that I’ve really grown to cherish. I’m continually thankful the Lord brought us here to raise our family and for planting us in an awesome church. We love traveling around the U.S. and the world with our three children and showing them all the different people God has made and teaching them about the similarities and differences among His people. In the end, however, I love that we always get to come back to our little small town of Kingsburg.
"Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says." - James 1:22
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.
"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." - Colossians 3:17
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.”