FACULTY & STAFF
At Heritage, we are very proud of the faculty and staff that influence your students on a daily basis. With enthusiasm for the curriculum and a heart for the kids, every person employed by HCA adds to the unique environment we offer. Our combined faculty and staff have an impressive 515 years of experience and have collectively earned 51 degrees. We are blessed to work with every person in the Heritage family!
-Head Administrator Mike Cuckler
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 eighteen 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. Send mail
-Elementary Principal Brian Ness
Brian Ness is HCA’s elementary principal. Mr. Ness holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Exercise and Sport Science from Colorado State University, and a Masters of Educational Leadership from the University of Phoenix. Mr. Ness has spent twenty-four years in education, including ten years in the elementary classroom, two years teaching junior high, and most recently, twelve years as the elementary principal. Mr. Ness also owns and directs a summer day camp in Fort Collins, which has been in operation for twenty years. Mr. Ness is involved with his church leadership team and teaching Sunday school, and he also has served as a campus ministry board member. Mr. Ness’ hobbies include running, basketball, camping, skiing and fishing. Send mail
-Athletic Director Kevin McGinley
Kevin McGinley is HCA’s Athletic Director. Mr. McGinley holds an Associate of Arts degree from Arapahoe Community College, and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Northern Colorado. On top of being coach and director at Heritage for twelve years, Mr. McGinley has been the senior pastor at SouthGate Church for twenty years. Kevin and Cindy’s (his wife) heart for orphan care and adoption is reflected in the fact that five of their eight children are adopted. He is involved in various church ministries in his role as senior pastor, and also enjoys helping to develop student-athletes at HCA. Send mail
-Finance Director Jeannie Koehler
Jeannie Koehler is Heritage’s Finance Director. Before coming to work at Heritage, Mrs. Koehler spent ten years at home with her family. Prior to that, Mrs. Koehler graduated from the United States Military Academy, and served in the U.S. Army for five years as an Adjutant General officer. For the past several years, Mrs. Koehler has spent countless hours volunteering and substituting at HCA. She likes to spend her free time reading. Send mail
-Communications Manager Heather Smith
Heather Smith is HCA’s Communications Manager. Mrs. Smith has a Bachelor of Arts in Business Management from George Fox University, and a Master of Education from Montana State University – Billings. Prior to becoming the Communications Manager, Mrs. Smith spent six years teaching at HCA. She taught first grade for one year, sixth grade for three years and high school English for two years. She is currently in her thirteenth year at Heritage. Outside of HCA, Mrs. Smith spends her free time chasing after her kindergartener, reading, writing, and hiking. Send mail
-Administrative Assistant Stephanie Belmarez
Stephanie Belmarez is the first face you see when you walk in the door and the cheerful voice who answers the phone. She is HCA’s Administrative Assistant & Registrar. Mrs. Belmarez has spent a total of eleven years working at Heritage, as a substitute for two years and as the Administrative Assistant for nine. Mrs. Belmarez loves to knit, crochet, craft, read, and spend time with her family. Send mail
-Athletic Secretary Nicole Bargren
Nicole Bargren is in her fifth year as HCA’s Athletic Secretary. Mrs. Bargren attended the University of Northern Colorado and earned her degree in Recreation Administration. Following college, she moved to Steamboat Springs and worked for the Steamboat Ski & Resort Corporation for thirteen years in a variety of positions, the last seven worked as the Administration Supervisor for the Vice President of Skier Services. After meeting her husband and having two children, Mrs. Bargren quit her job to be a stay at home mom. Her family relocated to Fort Collins in 2008. Her hobbies and outside activities revolve around her two sons and husband. Send mail
-Pre-Kindergarten Sarah Case
Sarah Case has worked for Heritage Christian Academy for the past 3 years and is now stepping into the director role of our pre-kindergarten program. She earned a Bachelors of Arts degree from the University of Wyoming in Marketing. She has taken additional classes to attain her Early Childhood Teaching certificate and director qualifications. Prior to working at Heritage, Sarahworked for The Gathering Church in Windsor, CO for six years as Director of Family Ministries. She also worked as the director of a reading camp for children ages kindergarten through 5th grade. Sarah enjoys spending time with her family, running and re-designing real estate investments. Send mail
-Kindergarten Rachael Auch
Rachael Auch has taught at HCA for six years. Mrs. Auch earned a Bachelor of Arts in Biblical Studies with a youth ministry minor from Frontier School of the Bible, holds a second bachelor’s degree in Christian ministry with an education emphasis, and is Colorado Early Childhood Teacher Qualified. Mrs. Auch has years of experience working with children, having spent four years working in a preschool/childcare setting, two years assisting her husband in his youth pastor position, and many more years working at camps and with children’s programs at church. Mrs. Auch loves spending time with her family hiking, fishing, and enjoying the beautiful Colorado outdoors. Send mail
-First Grade Alicia Lans
Alicia Lans is HCA’s first grade teacher. Ms. Lans earned her Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Elementary Education from the University of Northern Colorado, and has previously assisted with HCA’s first grade class as a student teacher and as the Pre-K assistant. Send mail
-Second Grade Doyleen Miller
Doyleen Miller has taught second grade at Heritage for sixteen years. Mrs. Miller holds a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from Mid-America Nazarene University. Prior to teaching at Heritage, Mrs. Miller taught for six years in the Leoti, Kansas public schools, and for ten years at Choice City Christian School. Outside of school, Mrs. Miller enjoys family activities, gardening and hiking. Send mail
-Third Grade Valerie Brown
Valerie Brown teaches third grade at HCA. She has been affiliated with Heritage for thirteen years, both by as a parent and a volunteer. She has been a substitute teacher in all levels. Mrs. Brown received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education with Fields of Specialization in Reading and Art from Dordt College. She taught both fourth and fifth grades at a Christian school in Tempe, Arizona for six years. She has been the Sunday School Superintendent at her church for the last ten years. Mrs. Brown is also ACSI certified.
-Fourth Grade Denise Pogue
Denise Pogue is in her nineteenth year of teaching at HCA. She taught sixth grade for two years and has taught fourth grade for thirteen at Heritage. Mrs. Pogue earned a Bachelor of Science in Human Development at Colorado State University, and her Teaching Certification from the University of Northern Colorado. Prior to teaching at Heritage, Mrs. Pogue also spent three years teaching third grade and substitute teaching in the Poudre School District, and also worked as the assistant director of a Montessori preschool. Mrs. Pogue is involved in Bible Study Fellowship and Run for the Wall (Veteran Support Group). Her hobbies include reading history, biography, and classics; and motorcycling cross-country. Send mail
-Fifth Grade Nancy Chambers
Nancy Chambers is in her eighteenth year of teaching fifth grade at HCA. Mrs. Chambers holds a Bachelor of Science in Education and a Master Education from the University of Illinois. Before teaching at Heritage, Mrs. Chambers spent nine years teaching grades five and six in Illinois, and five years teaching fifth grade at Skyview Elementary in Windsor. Mrs. Chambers feels she has always been teaching, whether in Sunday School, tutoring, Bible Study Fellowship, swimming lessons or teaching workshops. Mrs. Chambers’ outside hobbies include hiking, reading, and scrapbooking. Send mail
-Sixth Grade Russ Bruxvoort
Russ Bruxvoort is Heritage’s sixth grade teacher. 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. Mr. Bruxvoort has spent twelve years teaching in the Fort Collins area. He 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. Send mail
-Art Christine Hansen
Christine Hansen is currently in her sixteenth year as HCA’s pre-K through senior high art teacher. 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. Send mail
-Music Myra Emslie
Myra Emslie is returning to HCA to teach music to our elementary students. She has over two decades of experience with Heritage students, and has previously taught music to our elementary students. Send mail
-Library Monica Sheppard
Monica Sheppard serves as HCA’s librarian, oversees our lunch program, and manages before and after care. She attended Colorado State University and trained under a pastry chef. Before becoming part of the Heritage staff, Mrs. Sheppard spent over thirty years in food service, with jobs ranging from prep cook to European cake baker. Her experience with children is equally extensive, having taught Sunday school since she was fifteen and serving as a lead teacher in a preschool daycare. Mrs. Sheppard is involved in her church’s small group leadership and children’s department. She loves to read and camp, and you might see her at the concessions stand at a CSU sports event. Send mail
-Mathematics Dawn Cuckler
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. Send mail
-Bible Michael Cuckler
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. Send mail
-Spanish Jacki Ellerbe
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. Send mail
-History,Logic & Rhetoric Patricia Hahn
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. Send mail
-Art,Geography Christine Hansen
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. Send mail
-History Brittany Hoblit
Brittany Hoblit teaches history at HCA. 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 through her work with Partners Mentoring Youth. Send mail
-Biology,Chemistry Christine Humphrey
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. Send mail
-Bible Curt Martin
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. Send mail
-Science, Speech Lori Merkley
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. Send mail
-Bible Noah Myers
Noah Myers joins HCA’s Bible department to teach grades 7, 8, & 9. Mr. Myers holds a Philosophy with Religion Emphasis degree from Colorado State University, and is currently working on his MA in Apologetics at Southern Evangelical Seminary. Along with teaching at HCA, Mr. Myers is the chapter director of Ratio Christi at Colorado State University. Send mail
-Science Dr. Darcie Palmer
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. Send mail
-Literature,Director of International Students Valorie Towne
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. Send mail
-Drama Stephanie Wickham
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. Send mail
-History & Drama Candace Whitner
Candace Whitner is joining HCA’s staff this year to teach 10th grade history and assist with drama. Ms. Whitner holds a BA in Music and a BA in History from King University. She has spent three years tutoring students in writing, and has spent a summer teaching English in Mongolia and leading a team of teachers in China. Send mail
-Academic Support Amber Ortner
Amber Ortner is in her second year as the Academic Support specialist at HCA. Mrs. Ortner holds a BA in Liberal Studies along with a Masters in Classroom Instruction from Biola University. Along with teaching and tutoring, Mrs. Ortner has coached volleyball for the past 20 years. Send mail
David Lacey has been a board member since 2011 and is currently serving as Board President. He and his wife, Deborah, have been active in the life of HCA, volunteering in a variety of areas, including technology, basketball, and just about any small need that arises. David likes to spend as much time as possible being involved in the activities of their two children, Elizabeth and Catherine.
-Vice PresidentJay Erikson
Jay has served on the Heritage Christian Academy school board since 2008. He currently serves in the role as the Vice President. Jay is also a President of the Heritage Christian Foundation Board (FOCEF). He is passionate about Christian education and is committed to helping the school fulfill its vision and mission.
Jay graduated with a double major in History and Political Science from UCLA in 1995. After graduation, Jay worked for United States Senator Hank Brown in Washington, DC. He has spent the last twenty years working in learning and development/corporate training. He currently works for Hitachi Data Systems as a manager in corporate training.
Jay and his wife Ria have two children who attend(ed) Heritage Christian Academy, Alex (HCA 2017) and Grace (current student). Both started at Heritage as kindergartners.
Ted and his wife, Jamie, have been actively involved with Heritage since 2000. They have three sons, Caleb (HCA 2012), Stephen (HCA 2015), and Daniel (current student). Along with being on the HCA board since 2007, he has served on the Heritage Christian Foundation board from the beginning. He believes strongly that the distinctive Christian worldview of HCA is the critical foundation upon which all true education rests. He loves this school and is committed to striving to help make the experience here one that will last a lifetime and impact our world for Christ.
Jason Siemers has been serving on the HCA Board since 2011. He has been married to his wife Jacky for over 15 years, and he has two children at HCA, Kahlina and Harper. Jason graduated from Heritage Christian School in 1998, before earning a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Colorado State University in 2003. Jason and his family attend Faith Evangelical Free Church, where they all volunteer together in numerous ways. He has also enjoyed the opportunity to vol- unteer in various ways at HCA. He has previously served as an Assistant Coach and as a Head Coach for the Junior High Boys soccer team. Currently, Jason is the Head Coach for the High School Boys Soccer team, and an Assistant Coach for the Junior High Track team.
Robert Weant graduated from the University of Wyoming with a BS in Business Administration. He has 25 years experience as a business owner/manager, Systems Engineer and QA Test Engineer. He enjoys spending time as an amateur extra radio operator and hobby electronics builder. Robert married Gaylyn Riley in 1984 and they have three children, Katie, Michael, and Emily.
Jill was born and raised in Estes Park, then earned her Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Colorado. She and her husband Jeff have three girls at Heritage, Kelsey (kindergarten), Kylar (2nd) and Keira (4th). She keeps busy with her girls, is active in her church and works part time for a local architecture firm. Jill is looking forward to her second year on the school board.
Arlene and her husband Dr. Scott Samuelson have four children; Jay and Josh (now alumni) Jeremy, and Natalie, all whom have attended Heritage since kindergarten. Her days are kept full with her interior design consulting business, volunteer work, and of course managing a home of 6… all in The Lord’s strength. Heritage is more than a school to Arlene; it is family. She enjoys serving the school in a board capacity and is grateful to The Lord for bringing her family to this amazing school and community over a decade ago.