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faculty

Lauren Jones

Administrator

Mrs. Jones joined the BHCA family in 2022.  She brings extensive experience as a classroom teacher, a focus on excellence, and a heart for serving the Lord by educating His children.

ljones@blackhillschristianacademy.com

Jody Merchen

Jody Merchen

Office Manager

Mrs. Merchen joined the team at BHCA in 2011. She has a love for serving children and their families. Her previous fifteen year experience in children’s ministry as a volunteer and children’s director, along with her business background, serve beautifully in her role as office manager. She looks forward to the new opportunities God has for her as she comes alongside the dedicated staff, the wonderful families, and the amazing children. She counts it a privilege and joy to be part of the BHCA family!  Col. 3:23, “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men.”

jmerchen@blackhillschristianacademy.com

Heidi Carstensen

Office Assistant

Mrs. Carstensen began working at BHCA in 2021.  With a heart for serving the Lord and His people, she humbly and diligently organizes and coordinates, and demonstrates a willingness to help any way she can.

hcarstensen@blackhillschristianacademy.com

Darla Gates

Darla Gates

Building Supervisor + Lunch Coordinator

Mrs. Gates started at BHCA in 2018.  She’s a hard worker with a servant’s heart, eager to support staff and students with her skills.  Mrs. Gates’ willingness to help makes each day brighter for BHCA staff, students, and families.

dgates@blackhillschristianacademy.com

Brenda Karp

Brenda Karp

Preschool Teacher

Mrs. Karp joined the BHCA team in the fall of 2017. She has a degree in Christian Education from OK Wesleyan University. She has served with her husband in pastoral ministry for 20 years and has led children’s programs. “I am very excited to be at BHCA and to work in a place where I can help kids learn about Jesus and to grow into the people God wants them to be.” A favorite verse of hers is Philippians 4:6-7a, “Don’t worry about anything, instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand…”

bkarp@blackhillschristianacademy.com

Jamie Groneberg

Jamie Groneberg

Preschool Aide

Mrs. Groneberg joined BHCA in 2013. She attended Oklahoma Wesleyan University studying early childhood development. Mrs. Groneberg worked in a daycare for 3 1/2 years in Buffalo, WY, and later in a Christian Preschool until she had children of her own. She has two children that attend BHCA and enjoys the convenience of having the same schedule. Mrs. Groneberg enjoys working in a Christ centered school environment, and is excited about being an aide at BHCA.

jgroneberg@blackhillschristianacademy.com

Corin Humbracht

Corin Humbracht

Pre-Kindergarten Teacher

Mrs. Humbracht started teaching at BHCA in 2011. After years of teaching in daycare centers, children’s ministry at church, and currently raising her 3 boys and daughter; she enjoys being a part of the BHCA family. She loves teaching both academics and Biblical principles to the pre-kindergartners. A favorite Scripture is “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”  Mark 10:14b

chumbracht@blackhillschristianacademy.com

Lisa Blanchett

Lisa Blanchett

Pre-Kindergarten Teacher

Mrs. Blanchett joined BHCA in 2014. She has over 20 years of experience as a children’s church teacher and has served as Children’s Pastor at Dakota Life Center in Newell. Mrs. Blanchett is very happy to be part of BHCA and says, “It is awesome to be part of a school that is Christ centered and teaches the Word of God every day!” Surely, goodness and loving kindness will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”  Psalm 23:6

lblanchett@blackhillschristianacademy.com

Reyna Torberson

Reyna Torberson

Pre-Kindergarten Aide

Mrs. Torberson joined BHCA in 2021. 

rtorberson@blackhillschristianacademy.com

Tyffany Johnson

Tyffany Johnson

Kindergarten Teacher

Mrs. Johnson joined us in 2019. She had been blessed to stay mostly at home raising her two daughters. She has always had a heart for children’s ministry since middle school, and joining BHCA has been an amazing extension of her passion for filling children with God’s truth! A verse she has found constant comfort in is Lamentations 3:23 “They are new ever morning, Great is thy faithfulness.”

tjohnson@blackhillschristianacademy.com

Beth Kozel

Beth Kozel

Kindergarten Aide + Office Assistant

Mrs. Kozel came to BHCA in 2011. She studied Elementary Education at Boise State University. She feels that her job at BHCA is a direct answer to several years of prayer. “It has been a long wait, but in His timing God provided the perfect place for me to work. As a mom of two very active kids, I feel very blessed to have a part-time job that works with my family’s busy schedule, is in a healthy Christian environment, and also allows me to work with children and a team of quality individuals like the staff at BHCA.”

bkozel@blackhillschristianacademy.com

Julie Lamb

1st Grade Teacher

Mrs. Lamb joined the BHCA family in 2022.

jlamb@blackhillschristianacademy.com

Brittany Robinson

Brittany Robinson

2nd Grade Teacher

Mrs. Robinson joined BHCA in 2010. She graduated from Black Hills State University with a degree in Elementary Education and has her South Dakota certification. Mrs. Robinson also works with elementary children on Sunday mornings at her church. “I love working and teaching in a Christian school! This is a place where I can teach on my favorite subjects while keeping Christ at the center. I am looking forward to blessing each of these children and helping them grow closer to Christ.” One of her favorite verses is Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”

brobinson@blackhillschristianacademy.com

Alexia Schuldt

3rd Grade Teacher

Mrs. Schuldt joined the BHCA family in 2021.

lschuldt@blackhillschristianacademy.com

Amy Carlson

Amy Carlson

4th Grade Teacher

Ms. Carlson joined BHCA as a substitute teacher in 2019 and became our 4th grade teacher in 2020. She graduated from BHSU with an elementary degree, and has taught in grades pre-k through 7 over a 20-year period. She has four grown children and two grandchildren. Ms. Carlson says, “Children of any age have always been a joy to me. They are energizing and just enjoyable to be around all day. Education is an important aspect of life and I love being able to foster it!”

acarlson@blackhillschristianacademy.com

Amber Weeks

Amber Weeks

5th Grade Teacher

Mrs. Weeks joined the BHCA staff in 2020.  She graduated from BHSU with a degree in English, and has found that teaching is her passion! When she’s not browsing the web for fun activities to do in class, you can find her reading a book or writing. She is very involved in her church and loves teaching at BHCA.

aweeks@blackhillschristianacademy.com

Katie Utecht

6th Grade Teacher

Mrs. Utecht joined the BHCA family in 2022.

kutecht@blackhillschristianacademy.com

Paula Gruenwald

PE Teacher

Mrs. Gruenwald joined the BHCA family as a substitute teacher in 2020, and came on staff to teach PE in 2022.

pgruenwald@blackhillschristianacademy.com

Julie Esmay

Art Teacher

Mrs. Esmay began teaching art at BHCA in 2022.

jesmay@blackhillschristianacademy.com

Kari Harter

Elementary Tutor

Mrs. Harter joined the BHCA family in 2022.

kharter@blackhillschristianacademy.com

Megan Lovitt

Music Teacher + MS Agriculture Teacher

Mrs. Lovitt began teaching at BHCA in 2022.

mlovitt@blackhillschristianacademy.com

Mrs. Lovitt Planbook

Nate Torberson

Life Skills Teacher

Mr. Torberson began teaching life skills at BHCA in 2022.

ntorberson@blackhillschristianacademy.com

Alysia McCord

Alysia McCord

Secondary Bible + English Teacher

Melita Quinonez

Secondary Social Studies + Electives Teacher

Ms. Q joined the BHCA staff as a secondary teacher in 2022.

mquinonez@blackhillschristianacademy.com

Ms. Quinonez Planbook

Gregg Dennison

Gregg Dennison

MS/HS Math Teacher

Mr. Dennison joined BHCA in 2012. He has a Bachelor’s of Science degree from Colorado State University in mathematics. He has 20 years of experience teaching mathematics at the secondary level as well as 4 years experience teaching English as a second language to adults. He also holds a Master’s of Divinity degree from The Master’s Seminary in Los Angeles, California. “I am so thankful to have the opportunity and privilege of working with students, parents, and staff in a setting such as BHCA that seeks to honor Christ in the pursuit of instilling Christian principles with academic excellence. May He receive all the glory!”

gdennison@blackhillschristianacademy.com

Mr. Dennison Planbook

Jen Zoller

Jen Zoller

MS/HS Bible, Science Teacher

Prior to teaching at BHCA, Mrs. Zoller worked at Spearfish Middle School as an Education Support Person. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from BHSU in 2002 and then earned her teaching certificate from BHSU in 2012 specializing in Chemistry. She is also endorsed in middle school math and science. Zoller currently helps teach middle school-aged students at her church. For her to be able to talk openly about her Lord and Savior in school is such a wonderful thing.  Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”

jzoller@blackhillschristianacademy.com

Mrs. Zoller Planbook

Abby Carlson

Extended Care Supervisor

Ms. Abby Carlson joined the BHCA family in 2022.  Currently a student at Black Hills State University, she brings enthusiasm, energy, and creative ideas to BHCA’s extended care program.

abbycarlson@blackhillschristianacademy.com