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 and Physical Education teacher. Mr. Ness holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Exercise and Sport Science from Colorado State University, and a Master of Educational Leadership from the University of Phoenix. He has been in education since 1992, and he also owns and directs a summer day camp in Fort Collins, which has been operating for over twenty years. Mr. Ness’s favorite part about teaching is interacting with the students because he feels that watching each student’s special story unfold throughout the years is a huge blessing. Send mail
- -Academic Dean Dr. Liz Pike
-Receptionist Cindy Ridge
Cindy Ridge works as the receptionist for HCA. She has been working in education since 2015. Her favorite part of the job is meeting and interacting with our students and parents. Send mail
-Athletic Director Kevin McGinley
Kevin McGinley is HCA’s Athletic Director. Mr. McGinley received an bachelor’s degree from the University of Northern Colorado, and he has been the senior pastor at SouthGate Church for over two decades. He has been serving in education since 2005. Mr. McGinley’s favorite part of working with Heritage is seeing our student athletes catch the vision of being a positive witness for Jesus Christ both on and off the court. Personally, he is passionate about learning more and more of God’s Word, practicing how to walk in the Spirit each day. Send mail
-Finance Director Jeannie Koehler
Jeannie Koehler is HCA’s Finance Director, joining the team in 2014. Mrs. Koehler graduated from the United States Military Academy, and she then served in the U.S. Army for five years as an Adjutant General Officer. She feels blessed to be able to serve HCA families and staff in various ways. Mrs. Koehler is passionate about finding ways to streamline financial processes to make things easier for both families and teachers. Her favorite parts of her position are providing tours to prospective families, the relationships she has made within the Heritage community, and finding strategic ways to crunch those numbers. Send mail
-Communications Manager Heather Smith-Bowman
Heather Smith-Bowman is HCA’s Communications Manager. Mrs. Smith-Bowman 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-Bowman 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, and has been the Communications Manager for over a decade. 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 Amelia Bruck
Amelia Bruck is HCA’s new Athletic Secretary. A recent graduate of Heritage, she joined the staff in the fall of 2021. Send mail
- -Pre-K Alison Garison
-Kindergarten Rachael Auch
Rachael Auch is HCA’s kindergarten teacher, joining the team in 2010. Mrs. Auch holds a Bachelor of Arts in Biblical Studies with a youth ministry minor from Frontier School of the Bible. She has also received a second bachelor’s degree in Christian ministry with an education emphasis, and she is Colorado Early Childhood teacher Qualified. Mrs. Auch’s favorite part teaching is giving students the opportunity to experience new ways to learn. Send mail
-First Grade Alicia Gibson
Alicia Gibson is our first grade teacher. Mrs. Gibson earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education from the University of Northern Colorado, and she has been teaching since 2016. She is passionate about learning how to effectively integrate art and music into the classroom. Mrs. Gibson loves watching her students get excited about learning, and she works to connect students’ passions to what they do in class. Send mail
- -Second Grade Heidi Anderson
-Third Grade Valerie Brown
Valerie Brown joined the team as HCA’s third grade teacher, but she has been affiliated with Heritage as both a parent and a volunteer for over a decade. Mrs. Brown received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education with a Fields of Specialization in both Reading and Art from Dordt College, and she is certified through the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI). Mrs. Brown’s favorite part of teaching is discovering each child’s unique potential and fostering both personal and academic growth. Send mail
- -Fourth Grade Kelly Curnutt
- -Fifth Grade Michal Packard
-Sixth Grade Russ Bruxvoort
Russ Bruxvoort is HCA’s sixth grade teacher. He received a bachelor’s degree in Youth Ministry from Colorado Christian University, a Master’s in Biblical Studies from Denver Seminary, and a Master’s in Educational Leadership from Colorado State University. Mr. B loves that he gets to play with the students. Hearing them recite memorized Scripture is a close second. Praying with them after studying who God is in the Psalms is third. Talking about heaven and getting excited about what it will be like is up towards the top, too. Mr. B has always loved school, and he still enjoys learning a wide variety of new things. He takes pleasure in seeing students grow in their knowledge and application of whatever he teaches. Send mail
- -Art Wendy Nettleton
-Music Myra Emslie
Myra Emslie is HCA’s elementary school music teacher. She has over two decades of teaching experience and bringing worship to life through music and song. Myra is passionate about leading students to Jesus by uncovering traditions that lead believers away from the truth of God’s Word. Her favorite part of teaching is watching students come alive in their relationships with Jesus. Send mail
-Library Monica Sheppard
Monica Sheppard is HCA’s librarian, as well as the kitchen and aftercare program coordinator. She attended Colorado State University and trained under a pastry chef. Mrs. Sheppard has worked in the food service industry for over 35 years, and she has been with Heritage for over a decade. In her free time, she is passionate about participating in Bible studies. Her favorite part of working with HCA is getting to know the students better. Send mail
-Literature Isaac Bowen
Isaac Bowen is HCA’s secondary Literature teacher and co-advises the middle school Student Council. He is an HCA alumnus and holds a teaching degree from Colorado State University. He joined our team in 2019. Isaac has a passion for revealing God’s plan through historical and literary analysis, and he loves to help students come to a deeper understanding of Biblical truth within worldly topics. Isaac’s favorite part about teaching is seeing students have that “lightbulb” moment that ignites their individual passion for inquiry. Send mail
-Mathematics Dawn Cuckler
Dawn Cuckler teaches Pre-Algebra. Mrs. Cuckler has been teaching since 2002. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Pensacola Christian College, with a minor in math. She loves watching a student who has struggled with a concept have their own “aha” moment, where everything comes together, and they see the concept in a new light. In her personal time, she loves discovering something new about God or the universe that He created or the history that He scripted. She compares this joy of seeing who He is in a whole new way to the students’ “aha” moments. 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
-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 Wendy Nettleton
-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 teaches secondary science, including AP Biology, AP Environmental Science, Biology, Chemistry, 8th grade Life Science and Personal Finance. Mrs. Humphrey holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Messiah University, and a Master of Education from Arcadia University. She has been teaching since 1998. Her favorite part of teaching is seeing students make connections between science and their own lives. Mrs. Humphrey is passionate about genetics, and she enjoys learning about the philosophy of science and quirky science stories. She loves helping students use science to build an appreciation for the Creator God. Send mail
-Science, Speech Lori Merkley
Lori Merkley wears many hats, teaching secondary science, Health, Speech, and Student Council. Mrs. Merkley earned a bachelor’s degree in Elementary and Middle School Education (double major) from the University of Northern Colorado. She has been in education since 1998, and she loves watching the students develop a Biblical world view as they study the subjects. Mrs. Merkley feels that teaching is powerful when students realize that God is in everything, has a purpose for everything, and those ideas apply directly to their own lives. If she could, she would take as many Bible classes as possible, especially Hebrew. Send mail
-Mathematics Joshua Morse
Joshua Morse teaches secondary mathematics, including Algebra, Calculus, and Physics. He has been teaching since 2014. Mr. Morse loves seeing kids talking about math, working hard to solve problems or puzzles before them. To him, the best part is talking about the One that created both us and math. He also enjoys finding better ways for students to frame mathematics, encouraging them to look at math problems as puzzles to solve. Send mail
-Academic Support Amber Ortner
Amber Ortner has been working in education since 2004. She currently serves as the Academic Support Specialist providing additional resources and tutoring for HCA students. Mrs. Ortner holds a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies with a Masters in Classroom Instruction from Biola University. Mrs. Ortner is passionate about reaching those who might seem unreachable and finding what works for them. Her favorite part of teaching is helping all students realize that they can be successful. Send mail
- -Bible, Spanish Joe Packard
-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 the Director of International students, and she teaches ESL Bible, seventh grade English, and 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. She loves learning to pursue more intimacy with God. She also loves learning about effective teaching strategies, stopping epilepsy, and how to be a better Lolli (grandma). Mrs. Towne’s favorite part of the job is the interaction, energy, and growth she gets to see through all the students. Send mail
-History & Drama Candace Whitner
Candace Whitner teaches World History and Choir, and she helps with Drama. Ms. Whitner holds a BA in Music and a BA in History from King University. She has been teaching since 2018, and she is passionate about studying the cultures of the world in relation to their histories and the way God’s glory can be seen throughout the entire world. Miss Whitner loves getting the opportunity to witness God working in the students’ lives. She feels blessed to know that she is a part of knowing the amazing things He does in and through each one. Send mail
-Drama Stephanie Wickham
Stephanie Wickham has been teaching since 2014, and she serves Heritage as the secondary Drama director. She is a graduate of HCA and holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Northern Colorado in Speech Pathology & Audiology, with a minor in Theatre. She loves watching students learn and grow both academically and personally as they discover the world of storytelling and creativity. Personally, she enjoys learning about God’s never-ending love and finding opportunities to stretch and refine her own practice while teaching students the same skills. Mrs. Wickham loves exploring new worlds of storytelling that challenge the students to think differently than they have before. 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.
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.
-Vice PresidentRobert Weant
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 (both 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.
Jason and his wife, Cheri, along with their four children, have been involved with Heritage since their oldest daughter started kindergarten in 2008. Additionally, Jason has previously served on the Heritage Christian Foundation board.
He is a fourth generation native of Fort Collins, CO. He attended Colorado State University where he acquired a BA in Animal Science with an emphasis in Agriculture Economics. Jason owns and operates Compass Ag Solutions, an Agricultural Risk Management Consulting firm, in old town Fort Collins where they provide commercial futures and options brokerage and software for agriculture producers in North America. Jason and his wife, Cheri and their four kids, Kyli, Tyler, Mataya and Clay, live on a farm north of Fort Collins, Colorado where they raise hay and cattle.
Cathy and her husband Brent Holcombe have two children of their own who attend Heritage, (Lizzie, 2nd grade, Claire 7th grade) as well as hosting International student Yilin Liu, 11th grade. Cathy and Brent are owners of a volumetric concrete mixer manufacturing business based out of Ault, CO called Holcombe Mixers, as well as owners of Colorado Leather Balm, a manufacturer and wholesaler of natural leather conditioner and skin care products. Cathy is passionate about Christian education and loves serving Heritage in whatever way she can, including as a school board member.
Zach Pool, his wife Nichole, and their two children, Bailey (4th) and Chloe (K), have been part of the Heritage Family since 2018. They enjoy volunteering in a variety of areas at HCA and are also involved in Ministry leadership at Dayspring Christian Church. Zach looks forward to this opportunity to serve and is excited about the future of Heritage Christian Academy.