Tim Gast

            I’m pretty new at this grandparenting thing. He’ll be three in two weeks, so I have a lot to learn. Mind you I’ve already learned to keep my mouth shut when I see his parents doing/allowing/forbidding things we would never consider. That was lesson #1 – the eye roll or silence when I’m butting in is self-explanatory. Now, if they ask, that’s different. I actually have an opinion!

            Another thing I’ve learned early is how crazy smart are 2-year olds these days. On FaceTime – he lives in another state – he held up a picture of sea creatures, fifteen or so denizens of the deep. Pointing to one, he said,

            “Opop (some of us can say Opa, some cannot), Opop have you ever seen a sting ray?”

            “Sure have. Got stung once. Stepped on one in Florida, got stung on the heel. Hurt a real lot, for a long time!”

            “Oh, Opop, he was just trying to protect himself.”

            What! How does an almost three-year old know that? I had been to the beach at 3, we lived in California, but I’m pretty sure I did not know how a sting ray behaves, or even what they look like. And when that conversation was over he reached over and touched the red button, ending the call. How does he know to do that? This next generation is rapidly moving past mine. Pretty soon he’s gonna conclude I’m old and square and my ears are too big. How to keep some credibility?

            I see in him an early empathy I surely did not have. It was reported that, in regard to the Christmas story, he’s convinced another baby got the crib inside the Inn. He said it would have been “most fair if they both had to sleep in the manger.” All part of learning that life’s not always fair, not even for the Christ Child.

            The Christmas story, of course, is the start of learning what must be the glue that, if nothing else, binds together the generations even as the world around us separates them in technology, in interests, in skills, in expectations. For many in my generation church was a fact of life, faith in the risen Christ a given. No so these days. If you’re reading this your kids have likely enrolled their kids in a Christian school, an environment in which the old, old story will be taught and celebrated. Those youngsters will be taught that there are indeed absolutes, there is right and wrong already written upon their hearts, that the incredible moments of God breaking into human history – see the Bible – are true events.

            Why is that important? Because most people are centered upon themselves and the present. Caught up as we are in the flow of events swirling around our lives, we need reminded that there is something outside of us, greater than we are, with a plan to prosper us in love and not to forsake us. Your grandchildren, at NVCA, will learn those things alongside the 3 Rs. And we grandparents have a role in that too.

            The way we speak and act to and around those kids has influence on them. They see our values, they hear our words, they feel our love. I suppose I have a bias in these things – pastor, you know – but I know it is important we grandparents support and not undermine the burgeoning faith our youngsters are growing in to. Alongside the Christmas Erector set (do they even make those still?) ought we not gift a book or a symbol of the faith to which they’re exposed at NVCA? Couldn’t hurt, Oma and Opa. If there is a gift our generation can give I suggest it is a confidence that Jesus is in heaven and God does indeed have a plan. As random as does life seem through the eyes of those kids, there is a purpose for them. We can help them find it.

            You and I look forward to watching those kids grow and learn and change, for as many years as God gives us. Let’s, together, use those years wisely. May God bless us richly as we love those kids!

Pastor Phill Robbins
Crown of Life Lutheran Church
Sun City West, AZ


Tim Gast

North Valley Christian AcademyTM is a warm and welcoming Christ-centered community. For most, the warmth and Christian love is the first of many things that sets the NVCATM experience apart from other fine educational opportunities.  The welcoming culture does not end the moment one walks in the door. Rather the community works to cultivate an experience that helps to define and reinforce a deep sense of God-given value, purpose, and meaning.  We believe so firmly in it that it is our promise to each of our families. 

In effort to continue the warm and welcoming culture, while fulfilling our promise, we also believe education is a partnership.  Open lines of communication directly support the partnership and execution of the NVCA promise. 

In a world filled with technology facilitating communication, we want to help save you time as well as support our partnership with your family.  Below you will find an infographic to help point you to individuals that are readily available to serve you.  If you cannot find who you need on the document, check the website directory or, better yet, call our front office.  We continue to strive to earn and maintain your trust as we serve your family and deliver on our promise to you!

NVCA Communication Infographic
Tim Gast

The North Valley Christian Academy™ community is back together on campus as we have started off the 2020-21 school year under the theme, “Love One Another,” from John 13:34. As we honor our commitment to developing Christ-centered students who aspire to excellence, some new faces are joining our all-star lineup. Learn more about each new staff member below and be sure to welcome them to the NVCA™ family when you see them.


Alysha Clark is a graduate of Grand Canyon University and has spent time in various roles in the non-profit world. Ms. Clark crossed paths with NVCA working for Boosterthon as a program leader. While on campus, she was humbled by the Christ-centered joy, gratitude, and encouragement that the staff exemplified daily. She jumped at the opportunity to join the NVCA family and show that same love to the community! While on campus, Ms. Clark will serve as our K–5 Support Coordinator and Digital Citizenship teacher.

Ms. Clark loves hiking and being outdoors. Born and raised in Arizona, she is constantly searching for new hiking trails, running paths, quirky coffee shops, and the best view of Phoenix sunsets. She is the oldest of six siblings with a few recently adopted house-plant children of her own. In her remaining free time she passionately serves as a volunteer in the high school ministry of her church.

As Ms. Clark looks ahead to the school year, she is excited to use the Digital Citizenship class to guide students in their understanding of pursuing a healthy balance between technology and in-person experiences.


Emily Claus has been serving as a paraprofessional and a special education teacher for grades K–12 in both Illinois and Arizona since 2013. She joins the NVCA staff as a B.E.S.T. coach.

Mrs. Claus just recently celebrated her fifth wedding anniversary to her husband, Pete, who works for the University of Phoenix as a Roster Operations Analyst. Together they love to go hiking, especially up in Sedona. When they are not hiking, they most likely will be traveling. Fortunately, they both have family scattered around the country, so they usually have a place to stay. They are members of CCV, and Mrs. Claus’ favorite scripture is found in Psalm 91:1, "Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty."

Mrs. Claus is excited to work with students and help them grow in their walk with Christ as well as in their academic journey. She has felt so welcomed by staff at NVCA, which makes coming to work a real pleasure.



Whitney Ebert graduated from Arizona State University with her bachelor's in Elementary Education. After years of staying at home raising her children, she is back in the classroom as the 4th grade teacher at NVCA.


Mrs. Ebert is married to her husband, Adam, of whom they have four children and a dog, Sassy.  The Ebert children (Odin, Allison, Jude, and Eli) all are in their first year at NVCA and they have loved the transition. Mrs. Ebert loves to travel with her family, read, and watch movies.  They attend Apostolic Christian Church in Phoenix.  Mrs. Ebert’s favorite Bible verse is John 16:33, “In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world.”


Mrs. Ebert is excited to learn and grow spiritually alongside her students.  She is excited to be a part of the wonderful NVCA community while growing and collaborating with the talented staff.    

Tess Eblin recently graduated from Kansas State University and Manhattan Christian College. Ms. Eblin will serve as a B.E.S.T. coach at NVCA and will join the volleyball coaching staff. She is a new cat mom to her sweet Bengal, Mochi. In her free time, she loves to sew, craft, and spend time with her friends. Ms. Eblin attends Life Church in the northwest valley.

Ms. Eblin is excited to be a part of a community that loves the Lord first and chooses to serve our students with that same love.






Tim Gast spent the last 14 years in Wisconsin at Living Word Lutheran High School as a teacher, coach, and administrator. He will serve as NVCA’s Community Director.

Mr. Gast and his wife, Holly, have two children attending NVCA. Emma (7) is in second grade, and Lucas (4) is in pre-kindergarten. For fun they enjoy hiking, swimming, and traveling when time and money allow. They currently are bouncing around different churches while worship communities still work on reopening.

Mr. Gast is excited to be a part of a growing school community where Jesus’ love permeates through all interactions both inside and outside the classroom. He is looking forward to serving alongside the NVCA staff and families to share with the community the unique opportunity NVCA affords students and their families.




Holly Hartley is a new teacher who believes God has gifted her with the passion for leading youth towards the Kingdom of God. Ms. Hartley has been active in connecting with middle school students across the country through youth groups, Young Life WyldLife church internships, foster care ministry, and now at NVCA. She will serve as the Middle School Bible teacher for girls.             

Ms. Hartley grew up in a small town 45 minutes north of Seattle. In her spare time, she enjoys spending quality time with her friends, family, and Young Life girls.

Ms. Hartley is excited to be a part of the NVCA community because she feels that God has called, equipped, and blessed her through opening the door to teach at NVCA.




Andy Huggins joins the NVCA community after more than 20 years in retail management. He serves the NVCA community as a B.E.S.T. coach. In just two short weeks, he has felt more at home at NVCA than at any other job he previously held. The entire NVCA community feels more like a family to him.            

Mr. Huggins and his wife have three beautiful children, two of whom attend NVCA. Izzy is in second grade and Aubrie is in Kindergarten. This past January they welcomed their third, Alex, to the family. In their free time they love having movie nights as a family and enjoying time up in Flagstaff.

Mr. Huggins and his family attend CCV, where this year he started coaching flag football. He is a huge Denver Broncos fan and really hopes for a full NFL season this year! His favorite Bible verse is Romans 12:12, "Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer."

Mr. Huggins is excited to fulfill his passion as an educator. He is very excited to join the NVCA family as both a staff member and a parent.


Sheila Kimbrell joins NVCA with more than 30 years in the accounting industry. She serves the NVCA community as the Business Manager.

Mrs. Kimbrell and her husband, JD, just celebrated their 35th wedding anniversary. Together they have two sons, James and Jeremy. Jeremy is married to his wife Nessa. They have Mrs. Kimbrell’s first grandson, Noah. In addition to serving at NVCA, Mrs. Kimbrell operates her own small accounting practice preparing personal and business income taxes.

Over the years driving by NVCA, Mrs. Kimbrell dreamed of someday serving at NVCA. She is excited to continue to get to know everyone and values the prayerful, family community.


Stephen Levesque has taught band for seven years. He has played in multiple ensembles that have toured the country, even competing on an international level and winning first place in brass performance. Mr. Levesque is looking forward to developing and growing our music program at NVCA.

Mr. Levesque is passionate about music because music is how he came to be a believer. In his free time he loves to exercise and stay in shape. He has an amazing wife, Ellie, and the sweetest dog. They currently attend North Valley Community Church right up the road. His favorite Bible verse is 2 Corinthians 5:17—"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come."

Mr. Levesque is excited to be a part of the amazing atmosphere at NVCA. He has experienced the very welcoming and supportive nature of the NVCA community and looks forward to serving alongside everyone.  


Kristin Lyngaas has served in education for sixteen years, the majority within special education.  She has enjoyed a wide variety of educational experience ranging from kindergarten through high school age students. Mrs. Lyngaas holds a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction and enjoys going to school as much as she does teaching! She will serve as a special education teacher and B.E.S.T. coach at NVCA.


Mrs. Lyngaas and her husband, Kris, have been married for twenty-one years and have two fantastic boys, Owen (18) and Julian (17). She enjoys scrapbooking, Stampin Up cards, Netflix, and watching her Julian play baseball and Owen perform in the marching band.  As a family, they enjoy traveling to Glacier Park in Montana.  Anytime relaxing with family is a great time for Mrs. Lyngaas.  The Lyngaas family attends Cross of Christ in Anthem. 

Mrs. Lyngaas is excited to join the unique, faith-based school environment and be a part of the B.E.S.T. program.  She is thankful for the God-given opportunity to be a part of the NVCA family!


Isaac Murton has served as a Pastor since 2008. In addition, he has opened a non-profit counseling ministry and teaches at Grand Canyon University. Mr. Murton will be serving as NVCA’s middle and high school Bible teacher.

Mr. Murton is married with three children (22, 18, and 15). He and his family love the outdoors, hunting, fishing, playing in their off-road vehicles, and making memories. They also love serving their church and small groups that they lead. His passion is God, his family, and his friends. Mr. Murton’s favorite verse is 1 John 5: 11–12, “And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.”

Mr. Murton is excited to teach and minister to the students at NVCA, as he hopes to offer them a relevant and real perspective on faith. He is humbled to help facilitate their faith walk with their real and present God.



Sara Sauceda recently graduated from Concordia University, Nebraska, with degrees in business communications and marketing as well as a minor in Spanish. Ms. Sauceda believes she has an opportunity to love and serve others while delighting in Christ. She will serve NVCA as the Marketing and Campaign Coordinator.         

Ms. Sauceda grew up in Colorado. She is the youngest of four children to her parents Jim and Nancy. In her free time, she enjoys sports, reading, and spending time with her friends and family. Her favorite Bible verses are Ephesians 3:20 and Acts 20:24.

Ms. Sauceda is excited to be a part of the NVCA community because of the family feel and the awesome people in the building. She enjoys serving alongside and building relationships with everyone in the NVCA community.





Lisa Walker joins the NVCA staff with more than 20 years of teaching middle and high school math. In addition to teaching, she has served as a spirit line coach, student government advisor, Key Club advisor, and a department chair while guiding curriculum mapping within the school.  She will serve at NVCA as a middle and high school math instructor.

Mrs. Walker enjoys every second she spends with her blended family of four children (Colby (23), Tyler (21), Josh (17), and Dallas (12)).  Together, the family enjoys playing games, watching movies and watching Coach Walker and the NVCA boys basketball team. Mrs. Walker's favorite Bible verse is found in Romans 8:31, "What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?" The Walker family attends Pure Heart Church in Glendale.

Mrs. Walker is excited to at North Valley Christian Academy and returning to teaching and building relationships with students.




We are looking forward to a great 2020-2021 school year at North Valley Christian Academy. To meet the rest of our staff, visit our Directory page on our website found at



Are you interested in learning more about how a Christ-centered education can impact your child? Contact Admissions Director, Tanya Baker, at 623-551-3454 or

The NVCATM Promise

Steadfast in faith, NVCA is committed to a Christ-centered education that can transform lives and touch communities. Our role is to help define and reinforce a deep sense of God-given value, purpose and meaning in the pursuit of knowledge and growth in Christ for a transforming influence on the world. An NVCA education forms the foundation upon which all academic pursuits are built thereby enabling students to reach their full educational potential.