Napa Christian

Standing Firm in the Armor of God

Our Staff

Justine Leonie

Justine Leonie

Position: Principal
Email: jleonie@napachristian.com

Biography

Mrs. Leonie brings to Napa Christian 25 years of experience in education, specifically child development and curriculum from several countries. She has taught every grade, served as an administrator for three schools in California, and trained teachers and principals in Marketing the Modern Parochial School. Although her job requires her to wear several hats, it is the time spent with her students in the art classroom, on the stage, in her office, or on the road which she values most. It is her belief that children learn best, and are at their happiest, when the school's hidden curriculum is one of unconditional positive regard for all.

Mrs. Leonie authored the CONQUESTS program in response to our mandated responsibility to meet our students' evolving learning needs. "Our world is constantly and frenetically changing, and it is imperative that we ensure that our students are being prepared to meet these unpredictable challenges with confidence."

When she's not molding young minds, Mrs. Leonie enjoys reading - finishing about a book a week, watching British comedy, and spending time with her family.



Darren Smith

Darren Smith

Position: Vice-Principal; High School History and English Teacher; Athletic Director; Safety Coordinator
Email: dsmith@napachristian.com

Biography

Mr. Smith, or "Smith " as his students affectionately call him, has been at Napa Christian for 24 years; joining the Napa Christian staff directly after graduating from Pacific Union College, where he received a B.S. in Social Studies with a minor in Political Science, English, as well as his Secondary Teaching Credentials, both CA State and SDA Endorsed. Mr. Smith has coached the girls basketball and boys soccer teams for longer than anyone can remember; he coaches with love, kindness, and compassion that inspires all his students to grow.

In his free time, Mr. Smith enjoys baseball, and any board sport on water or snow. Mr. Smith brings a passion and dedication to his students inside the classroom and out.



Dana VanHook

Dana VanHook

Position: CONQUESTS K-8 Lead Teacher
Email: dvanhook@napachristian.com

Biography

Mrs. VanHook has more than 10 years of experience teaching in all grades Kindergarten through 8th grade with experience teaching in both the public and private school systems. With a background in teaching in single grade classrooms as well as multi-grade classrooms she has had a wide range of teaching experiences. She also spent several years as a school administrator. In addition, Mrs. VanHook has been instrumental in helping schools implement new programs to enhance their curriculum. She has training in differentiated instruction, advanced instructional strategies, various assessment tools, and kindergarten readiness assessments.

One of her greatest passions is creating a safe, enriching, and engaging environment that will provide students with experiences to encourage and enhance their learning and academic achievement. She believes that every child can reach their full potential.



Susan "Susie" Kuhn

Susan "Susie" Kuhn

Position: Business Manager; Human Resources
Email: skuhn@napachristian.com

Biography

Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, Susie moved to the Napa Valley in 2002 to attend Pacific Union College where she completed a Bachelor of Social Work in 2006. She earned a Master of Science in Taxation in 2012 and a CPA license in 2013. Prior to joining the team at Napa Christian in 2019, Susie worked in the non-profit sector for 12 years, including 8 years in financial administration.

When she's not working, Susie enjoys spending time with her husband and playing with her two daughters.



Martin Reid

Martin Reid

Position: Music Director; Registrar; Technology Admin; International Student Coordinator; CONQUESTS Portable Curriculum
Email: mreid@napachristian.com

Biography

Mr. Reid brings a wealth of music education experience to Napa Christian displaying not only his depth of knowledge, but an amazing ability to present musical concepts in a fun and engaging way for all age group; first hooking students with a love of music, and then developing their technical knowledge and skills. He excels at working with students of all skill levels, as can be seen at our amazing musical productions during Christmas and Springtime, where he personally chooses and arranges each song so that all of the students shine.

Mr. Reid has fulfilled nearly every musical role as a musical jack-of-all-trades. As a musician he has toured internationally not only as a clarinetist and French horn player, but also as a vocal soloist and choir member. He currently plays in the North Bay Wind Ensemble and the Napa Valley College Orchestra, as well as coaches for and plays in the Napa Valley Youth Symphony.



Madeleine "Maddie" Carr Leonie

Madeleine "Maddie" Carr Leonie

Position: Office Manager
Email: mcarr@napachristian.com

Biography

Born and raised in Napa, California, Maddie is an alumnus of Napa Christian. After graduating in 2017, she went on to study Set Design in Theater Arts and Early Childhood Education at San Francisco State University. After working many of her breaks in the office, she officially joined our CONQUESTS Teaching Team in January 2021. Last year Maddie worked as Mr. Blue's Teachers Aide in 3/4 while also teaching 5/6 art. This year, Maddie has taken on the office manager position and will continue to jump into the classroom to teach an elective and help out as needed. Her penchant for organization and creativity along with her innate ability to connect with her students has made Maddie an excellent addition to our team.

When she's not working in the office or with the kids, Maddie enjoys spending time with her family, painting and hanging out with her "personal shadow" Leela (her dog).



Jamie Herman

Jamie Herman

Position: CONQUESTS K-1 Teacher
Email: jherman@napachristian.com

Biography

Mrs. Herman’s life as a teacher and love for little people began when she was a teenager and did a lot of babysitting and teaching in Sabbath School.

She started down the college education path to becoming a nurse, but realized that was not a good fit. She is a third-generation teacher and realized Elementary Education was a better choice.

Mrs. Herman started her career at Foothills Elementary in Deer Park, CA as a 5th grade teacher. Her oldest daughter was born 2 1/2 years later, so she became a full-time stay-at-home mom.

Over the course of the next 15 years, the Hermans added 4 daughters total to their family, moved from Angwin to Washington to Montana to Molokai, HI and back to Angwin.

For the past 29 years Mrs. Herman has helped teach in her husband’s classroom, taught Sabbath School, taught in Vacation Bible School, been a Teacher’s Aide, taught a year of Kindergarten, been a hot lunch lady, and worked at Pacific Union College.

Now she is thrilled that God has led her back to have the opportunity to teach little people in her own classroom again here at Napa Christian!



Ryan Wilkinson

Ryan Wilkinson

Position: CONQUESTS 3-4 Teacher
Email: rwilkinson@napachristian.com

Biography

Mr. Wilkinson, affectionately known around here as "New Guy" or "Gary", was born and raised in Eastern Washington. His passion for teaching took him to Guangzhou, China where he spent 6 years teaching at an International School. After moving back to the states, Mr. Wilkinson married his beautiful wife, Elise, with whom he spent two years in Southern California, teaching at Mesa Grande Academy as their international teacher. In 2018, he went on to earn his Masters of Arts of Teaching from the University of Cumberlands in Kentucky. Mr. Wilkinson is excited about living in the Napa Valley; he is very energetic and takes a genuine interest in his students.

Mr. Wilkinson enjoys all avenues of fitness and is an advocate for healthy living. He loves Face timing with his family and taking Elise out on dates.



Hope Heaton

Hope Heaton

Position: CONQUESTS 5-6 Teacher; 5-12 Physical Education Teacher
Email: hheaton@napachristian.com

Biography

Hope Heaton is a recent graduate from Walla Walla University, but comes with a wide variety of work experience. One of her unique jobs included teaching in Malawi, Africa for a year with international students coming from Brazil, Ethiopia, India, and the Philippines. She also spent her summers by Mt. Rainier teaching Rock Climbing and High Ropes to youth or in the Walla Walla Valley working on an Organic Heirloom Farm. With a passion for creating opportunities for engaged hands-on learning and her experience educating in the outdoors, it only seemed natural for Hope to want to join the Napa Christian Family.

Hope is a fan of the works of Richard Louv and Peter Wohlleben in which they discuss the relationship between humans and nature, specifically children, and the importance it has in their development. She loves to spend her time rock climbing, playing volleyball, mountaineering, swing dancing, creating art, and gardening.



Jonathen Blue

Jonathen Blue

Position: CONQUESTS 7-8 Teacher; Drama Teacher; Choir Director
Email: jblue@napachristian.com

Biography

Jonathen Blue is a masterful teacher who brings the best out of his students. With over a decade of teaching under his belt, there is no instructional detail that he overlooks. As well as being a fantastic classroom teacher, he holds a professional conservatory certificate from the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York. Our choir and drama classes have never been so well-led. Each year they perform in up to three major programs with choreography and dance.

When he's not in the classroom, Mr. Blue enjoys working on theatrical/musical productions with the Napa Valley College, participating in productions such as Charlie Brown, The Adams Family and A Chorus Line.



Yuliana Pandjaitan

Yuliana Pandjaitan

Position: K-12 Math Coordinator; High School Math Teacher
Email: ypandjaitan@napachristian.com

Biography

Yuliana Pandjaitan has spent seven years educating young minds in math and science. The thesis for her Master's in Education focused on "scaffolding in the classroom", giving every student the opportunity to master their task at hand without being retained by their previous educational shortcomings. Her classroom method revolves around creating an environment of choice-making and relationships to motivate students to a degree of self-efficacy in their own education. She believes students succeed when they take responsibility for their own learning.

"Ms. P" has introduced the “flipped classroom” model to several schools, including Napa Christian, allowing for a more streamlined learning process.

She is excited to initialize her K-12 math curriculum which helps facilitate individualized instruction for students and gives them the tools they need to succeed.

Miss P loves spending time with "her kids" (all the NCCE kids), she enjoys good movies and good food, but she is particularly passionate for music and sings with the music groups and for school as often as she can.



Dan Muhic

Dan Muhic

Position: High School Science Teacher
Email: dmuhic@napachristian.com

Biography

Dan Muhic has been teaching at Napa Christian for 11 years. He is a 1999 graduate of Pacific Union College with a BS in Biology and a secondary school teaching credential. Prior to teaching in Napa, Dan worked at Hawaiian Mission Academy from 2000 to 2004.

His joy in life includes spending time with his wife, Kristi and two boys, Noah and Benjamin. His go-to hobbies always bring him outdoors; running, cycling, surfing, snowboarding and traveling.



Lyle Bennett

Lyle Bennett

Position: High School Religion Teacher
Email: lybennett@napachristian.com

Biography

Our wonderful Mr. Bennett is no stranger to education. He has been teaching seemingly all his life; holding teaching and pastoring roles in places like Hawaii, Liberia, and Southern California, finally retiring from Rio Lindo Adventist Academy after more than 22 cumulative years. Refusing to stop teaching, he took on a part time teaching role here at Napa Christian. Mr. Bennett's sense of humor and helpful nature are well loved among students and faculty.

In his free time, Mr. Bennett enjoys spending as much time as he can out of doors, especially enjoying hikes he can take with his lovely wife, Joanna.



Larry Bennett

Larry Bennett

Position: Permanent Sub: High School Math
Email: labennett@napachristian.com

Biography

Mr. Larry Bennett joined our team in January 2021, with a background in Mathematics and Computer Technologies, Mr. Bennet 2.0 is an excellent addition to our team. Mr. Bennett has stepped in to cover our High School Mathematics while Miss P is undergoing treatment.

Mr. Bennett splits his time between teaching our High School Math and Assisting in the Kitchen/Maintenance/ and Computer Networking for Napa Valley Adventist Retirement Estates; and has volunteered for us in the past teaching our 7th and 8th graders Python Programming.

In his free time, Mr. Bennett enjoys gardening, fixing fixable computers, spending time with his grandkids and going on dates with his wife Diane.



Allie Magnawa

Allie Magnawa

Position: CONQUESTS Teacher's Aide
Email: amagnawa@napachristian.com

Biography

Miss Allie is a recent graduate of Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, where she studied Child Development and Psychology, and is a Napa Christian alumna. For the year and a half prior to joining the Napa Christian team, Miss Allie worked one-on-one with children who struggle with a disability or developmental delay. She has experience working with children of all ages, from preschoolers to high schoolers, and she is especially passionate about working with younger children. Miss Allie loves being able to help build a solid foundation in each student’s life so that they can go on to be successful in everything they do. Eventually, she hopes to pursue a master’s degree in Occupational Therapy, focusing on early development and working in a school setting.



Daniela Recalde

Daniela Recalde

Position: CONQUESTS Teacher's Aide
Email: drecalde@napachristian.com

Biography

Having recently served as an English teacher at the Ekamai International School in Bangkok Thailand, Daniela provides a diverse and enriched experience in the classroom. She has worked with children of many ages as Pathfinder director, youth leader, teacher, tutor, and mentor. Her Bachelor’s degree in English with a minor in Biblical Languages coupled with her gift of gab allow her to communicate with students on a personal level as well as convey scholastic concepts and themes beautifully. Daniela loves music, writing, reading, and the outdoors which makes Napa Christian a great place of exploration for this educator and the students she instructs.



Johnny Leonie

Johnny Leonie

Position: Plant Services Manager; Construction; Farm Manager
Email: johnleonie@napachristian.com

Biography

A true "Jack of all Trades", if it needs fixing or building, Mr. Johnny is our go to guy. You'll find him around campus taking great care of our buildings, garden, and the animals of our farm. From building outdoor stages, and Christmas program sets to Bee Keeping and CONQUESTS personal contractor, Johnny, a licensed contractor by trade, keeps us up and running no matter what.

Mr. Johnny enjoys cooking for his family - and is well known at NCCE for his culinary skills, woodworking, gardening, and raising his menagerie of pets.



Allen Marlow

Allen Marlow

Position: Volunteer - Grounds

Biography

Mr. Allen has been graciously donating his time over the last few years to help us keep our grounds crisp and green. He can be frequently seen riding the big lawn mower, turning on sprinklers, trimming weeds and general grounds beautifying!