Academic excellence. Nurturing environment. Authentic faith.

Secondary Faculty

Russ Bruxvoort – History

In addition to teaching sixth grade at HCA, Russ Bruxvoort will add a secondary history class to his schedule this year.  Mr. Bruxvoort has a bachelor’s degree in Youth Ministry from Colorado Christian University, a Masters in Biblical Studies from Denver Seminary, and a Masters in Educational Leadership from Colorado State University.  In the past, Mr. Bruxvoort has taught high school social studies and eighth grade Bible for three years at HCA, one year jr high/high school social studies and English at Loveland Christian High School, and has been the sixth grade teacher at HCA for eight years.  Prior to his teaching career, Mr. Bruxvoort spent four and a half years as a youth pastor in Chico, California.  He teaches preschool Sunday school at his church and frequently goes on mission trips.  Mr. Bruxvoort’s hobbies include reading, flag football, softball, weight lifting, running and family vacations.

Dawn Cuckler – Mathematics

Dawn Cuckler teaches Pre-Algebra (7th Grade), Algebra and Pre-Calculus at HCA.  She holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Pensacola Christian College, with a minor in math.  Mrs. Cuckler taught second grade at Choice City Christian School and secondary English at Fort Collins Christian Academy.  She has also been a math tutor for sixteen years, served as HCA’s math consultant for the 2011-2012 school year, and has taught math at HCA for five years.  Mrs. Cuckler is involved with women’s Bible study, and enjoys sewing, logic puzzles and Excel spreadsheets, and also enjoys working with student-athletes at HCA.

Michael Cuckler – Bible

Michael Cuckler is HCA’s Head Administrator. He also teaches two Bible classes, Senior’s Worldview & Philosophy and Christian Doctrines (year I). Mr. Cuckler holds a Bachelor of Arts in History and a Master of Arts in Bible Exposition from Pensacola Christian College. He has nineteen years of teaching experience at Heritage, and before that Choice City Christian School and Fort Collins Christian Academy. Mr. Cuckler has also work experience as an interim pastor, computer tech and real estate investments. Outside of Heritage, Mr. Cuckler enjoys being a dad, volunteering with the youth at church, and running.

Jacki Ellerbe – Spanish

Jacki Ellerbe is the secondary Spanish teacher at Heritage. She received her bachelors degree in Education from Toccoa Falls College. Mrs. Ellerbe has previous taught elementary Spanish and worked as a transitional tutor at Ridgeview Classical, and taught English at Frontier Alternative High School. Outside of HCA, Mrs. Ellerbe also works as a seamstress, creating specialty gowns, and writing.

Patricia Hahn – History, Logic & Rhetoric

Patricia Hahn has been teaching at Heritage for an impressive thirty-seven years. She currently teaches Rhetoric, Logic, and AP U.S. History. Mrs. Hahn holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Education from Chadron State College, double majoring in history and English. Prior to teaching at Heritage, Patricia taught high school English for two years in Manderson, Wyoming. During her time at Heritage, Mrs. Hahn has taught both junior high and high school level English and history. Mrs. Hahn is involved at her church, having served as a church council member and other service ministries. In her free time, she enjoys scrapbooking.

Christine Hansen – Art, Geography

Christine Hansen is currently in her sixteenth year teaching at HCA.  As well as teaching art, Ms. Hansen also teaches geography. Ms. Hansen has a Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education and Individual Development from Kansas State University, and a BFA in Fine Arts with an emphasis in Graphics from Colorado State University. Prior to teaching at Heritage, Ms. Hansen spent three years teaching at Spring Creek Country Day School and eight years teaching at Children’s Workshop. She has also been a Camp Director through the Boulder YMCA and a children’s church director. Ms. Hansen is connected to an orphanage in Uganda, Africa where she teaches at a vocational pottery school. In her free time, Ms. Hansen spends time training her therapy dog, Tavish; reading; Plaine Aire painting; and both teaching and taking summer art workshops.

Brittany Hoblit – History


Brittany Hoblit joins the HCA secondary faculty to teach history and personal finance. She is a Heritage alum, and holds a degree in English & Social Studies Education from Colorado State University. Mrs. Hoblit has been very involved in the community by doing previous work with Partners Mentoring Youth. 

Christine Humphrey – Biology, Chemistry

Christine Humphrey is currently in her fifth year of teaching at HCA.  She teaches 10th grade biology, 11th grade chemistry, AP Environment Science, and AP Biology.  Mrs. Humphrey holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Messiah University, and a Master of Education from Arcadia University.  Prior to teaching at HCA, she has eight years of teaching experience in both public and private schools in California.  Mrs. Humphrey also has experience working as a foster care social worker, and as an office manager for a political non-profit.  She volunteers as a Sunday School teacher at her church, and serves as a delegate for Weld County.  Outside of HCA, Mrs. Humphrey enjoys hiking, biking, and reading.

Jared Kress – Bible

Jared Kress teaches 7th, 8th, & 9th grade Bible,. & the Worship Band at Heritage. He received his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Florida Southern College, and his Master of Divinity from Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary. Mr. Kress has experience in teaching the Bible and leading worship in a variety of settings, and is also currently the church planting pastor of River City Church in Fort Collins. Outside of HCA, Mr. Kress enjoys playing the guitar, camping, hiking, and spending time with his wife, HCA’s 1st Grade teacher, Abigail Kress.

Dr. Stacy Loyd – Literature

Dr. Stacy Loyd teaches many of our secondary literature courses. Dr. Loyd’s academic accomplishments include a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Rocky Mountain Baptist College, a Master of Arts in Curriculum & Instruction from Colorado Christian University, and a Doctorate of Education in Educational Studies: Reading from the University of Northern Colorado. Dr. Loyd’s twenty-one years of teaching span all grade levels, and she has taught at HCA, Choice City Christian Academy, the University of Northern Colorado, and Colorado Christian University.  

Curt Martin – Bible

Curt Martin is an HCA institution in and of himself.  He currently teaches Bible to the juniors and seniors.  Mr. Martin holds a Bachelor of Arts in Bible from Biola University, a Master of Arts in Apologetics from Tyndale Seminary, and an education degree from San Diego University.  Mr. Martin has spent twenty-eight years teaching.  Prior to his teaching career, Mr. Martin worked as an Assistant Pastor for Westview Bible Church.  Curt’s hobbies include reading, biking, sleeping, and basketball.

Lori Merkley – Science, Speech

After many year’s as HCA’s third grade teacher, Lori Merkley is moving upstairs to teach secondary science.  Mrs. Merkley earned a bachelor’s degree in Elementary and Middle School Education (double major) from the University of Northern Colorado.  Before teaching at Heritage, Mrs. Merkley taught fifth grade for one year in Texas and worked as an aide at Moore Elementary in Fort Collins for four years.  Mrs. Merkley’s experience also includes serving as a missionary to Mongolia for one year and one summer, during which time she also taught grades one through four at a homeschool co-op.  Mrs. Merkley is involved in numerous activities outside of HCA,  including mission trips with the youth group she works with, as well as participating with BSF.

Joe Packard

Joe Packard works with our secondary students through chapel.  He has a degree in Literature from Western State College, and is currently pursuing a Master of Divinity from Golden Gate Seminary. Mr. Packard has been a part of Heritage for the past twelve years, as a coach for basketball, cross country, and track.  As well as teaching at HCA, Mr. Packard is also an associate pastor at Immanuel Community Church.  He is very passionate about serving and mission trips, leading projects locally, nationally, and internationally over the years.  He recently took a team to inner-city Chicago, which included eight HCA students.  In his free time, Mr. Packard loves spending time with his family, being outdoors, playing sports, reading and writing.

Dr. Darcie Palmer – Science

Dr. Darcie Palmer is in her ninth year of teaching 8th grade Anatomy & Physiology and her fifth year of teaching ARC Responding to Emergencies at Heritage.  Dr. Palmer holds three degrees from Texas A&M University: Bachelor of Science in Wildlife & Fisheries Science (with teaching option certified to teach secondary science), Bachelor of Science in Veterinary Science, and Doctor of Veterinary Medicine.  Before teaching at Heritage, Dr. Palmer spent 14 years practicing as a veterinarian.  For 12 years, her practice was limited to small animal surgery.  As well as being a classroom volunteer and substitute teacher, Dr. Palmer is also one of the junior high student council sponsors.  Outside of Heritage, she enjoys reading, snowboarding, hiking and traveling.

Heather Smith – Literature, Drama

Heather Smith teaches Intro to Literature and works with the drama students at HCA. Mrs. Smith has a Bachelor of Arts in Business Management from George Fox University, and a Master of Education from Montana State University – Billings. Mrs. Smith is returning to teaching at HCA after spending several years working primarily as the Communications Manager. She is currently in her fourteenth year at Heritage. Outside of HCA, Mrs. Smith spends her free time chasing after her 1st grader, reading, writing, and hiking.


Joleen Steffen – Mathematics

Joleen Steffen teaches Algebra 1 and 2 at HCA, and also serves as the math coach for the entire school.  Mrs. Steffen holds a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics, with minors in Secondary Education and Bible from Biola University.  Mrs. Steffen has spent a number of years teaching in both the public and private school sectors, and has previously taught at Heritage.  She has also spent eighteen years as an individual math instructor.  Outside of HCA, Mrs. Steffen coordinates a ministry called “Woman-to-Woman”, which ministers weekly to women in the Larimer County Community Corrections Halfway House.  In her free time, Mrs. Steffen enjoys sewing, gardening, reading, and even canning.

Valorie Towne – Director of International Students, Literature

Valorie Towne is currently in her seventh year of teaching at Heritage.  Mrs. Towne is the Director of International students, and teaches seventh grade English, as well as yearbook.  Mrs. Towne holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Education from the University of Northern Colorado, and a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction.  Prior to teaching at Heritage, she taught grades 5 and 6 in the Thompson R2-J schools, at the Center for Theraputic Learning K-8, and also designed and taught integrated history/literature/composition/geography curriculum for home school students grades 7-12.  Mrs. Towne’s involvement outside of HCA has included training Guide Dogs for the Blind – the puppy they raised is currently a search and rescue dog for a San Diego fire department.  She also assists with missions at the church she attends. Mrs. Towne’s hobbies include hiking, flower gardening, and reading.

Stephanie Wickham – Drama

Stephanie Wickham is the head of Secondary Drama at HCA. She is a graduate of HCA and holds a bachelors degree from the University of Northern Colorado in Speech Pathology & Audiology, with a minor in Theatre. She currently serves in the youth group at Discovery Fellowship, and enjoys playing board games and spending time with her husband and family.

Gary Wright – Mathematics

Gary Wright currently teaches Geometry, Personal Finance, and AP Calculus for Heritage high school students.  He holds a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of Kansas, as well as a Master of Arts in Counseling from Denver Seminary.  On top of teaching at Heritage for the past twelve years, Mr. Wright also taught for one year at Liberty Common and spent several years teaching computer programming and electrical engineering labs at KU.  Outside of his teaching experience, Mr. Wright has extensive experience with Campus Crusade for Christ (20 years), computer support, personal counseling, and research for electrical engineering at KU.  Mr. Wright teaches a Christian Marriage class at LifePointe Church, and enjoys reading, bicycling and maintaining old tractors in his free time.