"Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it."
Our Wednesday and Friday School teachers are dedicated to teaching your kids every week.
Get to know them!
Get to know them!
Beverly Wolterbeek has been teaching instrumental music for 29 years. She graduated from CSU Northridge with a performance major on oboe. As a public school teacher, she has taken her middle school bands and orchestras across the country winning major festival competitions. Beverly was Music Program Coordinator for the San Gabriel Unified School District, has been a guest lecturer at CSULA, and has also coached with PYSO. Her current mission and passion is bringing instrumental music ensembles to the homeschool community. Her husband and daughters also enjoy playing music, and wild Irish fiddle music can sometimes be heard wafting from their house!
Lisa earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance, Real Estate & Law at Cal Poly Pomona and a Juris Doctorate from University of Denver College of Law.
Married to Anthony for 25 years, Lisa homeschools their sons Matthew and Eric. “As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15) Lisa is grateful for the Lord's calling to homeschool and to teach in the homeschooling community. She teaches government and economics, a natural application of her finance and law background.
The first thing you should know about Renee is that she loves Jesus with all her heart. She received her teaching credential from Cal State Sacramento after getting her B.S. in Plant Biology from UC Davis. Her plant biology degree focused on children's gardening and a year-long internship at the UC Davis Children's Garden. After teaching the children of missionaries for a year overseas, Renee taught in the California public school system for 12 years. At that point she decided to stay home with her two boys. She is so blessed by Jesus to be able to fulfill her dream of homeschooling them.
I am a mother of eight children (now adults) and have had the privilege of teaching them all. I have been totally blessed with 13 grandchildren, with another one on the way. The IEW writing program is a great, wonderful, and fun way to learn how to write with structure and style. I have been on the "homeschool mom" side of working with my kids taking this class for quite a few years. The tools given them have improved their writing skills and my writing skills, too. Students will be amazed at the final drafts of their assignments. They will ask, "Did I really write this?" I look forward to meeting you when and if you join my class.
Felisa Chan is a mother of four and she has been homeschooling for six years. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Human Development from Pacific Oaks University. Felisa was an early childhood and development teacher for more than 10 years and a college mentor for a Child Development Laboratory school for three years. She practiced art with young children in her curriculum, and now she practices art as a hobby. Today, Felisa homeschools three of her four children and operates an in-home family childcare with backyard art classes. She also enjoys baking, cooking, scrapbooking and currently gardening.
Hello! Blessings to you all! My name is Lara Stremel. I praise and give thanks to God for his marvelous works; which my soul knows very well! For I am fearfully and wonderfully made! I am God‘s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God has prepared ahead of time for me to walk in. In everything that God has done in my life there is value and purpose, a strengthening and an equipping, to draw nearer to God and attract others to the saving grace and love of Jesus. I have been so blessed to have opportunity to share Christ with others throughout many different areas and seasons of my life. But for now, I’ll share the most specific area, in particular to where God has called me to within FFCA, “Games & Movement”. For as long as I could walk, I’ve been involved in, and have loved and played sports. Btw soccer is my favorite :) I’ve coached and assistant coached, with my husband, around 17 sports teams and still counting, phew! My husband and I, were involved in Children’s Sports Ministry for 12+ years, where we were more recently led into overseeing leadership of the Sports Ministry, as the Sports Directors. As of now though, God has drawn us into a deep intimate time of family union and bonding relationships with our five children; nurturing, training, and teaching Gods foundational truths through the richness and joy of homeschooling. This will be our third-year homeschooling and we’re looking forward to every bit of it! I’m so excited to teach, share, connect, and be a part of the precious lives of your children :) I pray with a hope and an expectant anticipation, that we would all discover and treasure Jesus in new and defined ways, taking pleasure and joy in the small intricate details set before us throughout this season of our lives, and that we would be strengthened and grow in God's truths and in the love of Jesus!
Hello, my name is Julie Taflinger! My husband Joshua and I have 6 children who are a true blessing! Our first ministry is to our family, and we strive to be intentional as we raise up our 6 treasures for God’s glory. We have been homeschooling for 6 years, and have truly enjoyed teaching, learning, and growing with our kids along the way. Prior to homeschooling I taught kiddos with special needs in the public school setting. I also served in church youth ministry for 20 years. As a family we love to go on adventures. We enjoy hiking, camping, kayaking, surfing, and paddle boarding. We also really enjoy playing sports.
Cath Howarth - Being able to homeschool her three children was the fulfillment of a lifelong dream of being a teacher. As an elementary student, she would gather the younger students on the playground and read them stories during recess. Later after receiving her BA in Biblical Studies, she married and did not pursue her goal of becoming a teacher until she enrolled in the Sonrise Christian Homeschooling program through which she was able to teach her now-grown children from kindergarten through eighth grade. For the past 20 years, she has worked at Temple City Education Center as a tutor and writing instructor. It brings her great joy to assist with the homeschooling of her grandchildren and to continue her connection with Firm Foundation Christian Academy by teaching writing for the Friday School program.
My name is Irma Salcido. I am forever grateful to our Lord Jesus Christ, I am a wife, a mother and a grandmother. I was educated in Mexico and moved here several decades ago. I have been teaching children of all ages for many years. I specially love to teach Spanish. I enjoy quiet evenings with my husband.
Thank you for the privilege to teach your children!
Chris Saenz has a Master’s Degree in Theology and Biblical Studies from Azusa Pacific University. He has 15+ years of experience teaching students of all ages in subjects like Bible, Theology, Church History, Philosophy, and Apologetics. The Firm Foundation community is a major priority for him, and his desire is to bring Christian thinking and living to the community in any way that will bring benefit.
For more information on any current or future classes, or any other way he can benefit the community, you can contact him by email at email@example.com. His thoughtful perspective on Christianity and culture is currently on display at his blog: www.PostChristianEra.com
Christie Chong has been playing piano, competing, and performing since age 5. In college, she was a member of the award-winning a cappella group, The Harvard Opportunes, as well as the Kuumba Singers (gospel choir). She has been serving in music ministry ever since she was a teen, and later started and directed 2 adult gospel choir ministries at churches in Boston and Los Angeles. While in Boston, she attended the Berklee College of Music for two years, where she studied Voice as well as Contemporary Writing and Production. Moving to Los Angeles, she worked in film scoring, producing, and vocal recording for the film & music industry, eventually recording and producing her own album of original praise songs. Christie has been married for about 15 years now, and is the mother of 3 girls currently attending FFCA. She has been homeschooling for 7 years and is passionate about teaching kids and inspiring them to use their gifts of music to glorify God!
Hello, my name is Joshua Taflinger! My wife Julie and I have 6 children and have been homeschooling for 6 years. I have served in ministry for over 20 years, primarily as a youth pastor. I have a huge passion for teaching youth and helping them find a faith of their own. Part of that is helping them to discover, understand, and defend God's Word! I also have a huge passion for sports! Besides my kids' sports teams, my favorite team is the Dodgers! I currently work for Fellowship of Christian Athletes as the Area Representative for the East San Gabriel Valley (Foothills Area) where I get to serve coaches and athletes of all different levels!
I love our God with all my heart
Who loved me first, before my start
in life on earth to walk with Him.
He called my name, not on a whim,
but with a plan and purpose true
to follow Him in all I do:
as wife, to Zach, and mom to three,
and now as I teach poetry!
(I have a BA in English, you see)
I often get to serve my church,
find joy in baking bread, and search
for ways to love and serve the crew
my husband knows at APU.
And now I find I get to share
art, poems, and God’s love with care
with scholars at FFCA!
May God bless all we do each day.
The love of learning started at a young age for Andi and it has become a passion and addiction into adulthood. As a student for life, Andi is always exploring and pushing the boundaries academically and athletically and hopes to influence the same mentality in her students. Born and raised in Kansas, Andi moved to California to attend college on a violin scholarship and graduated with a music business degree at Azusa Pacific. She received her teaching credential from CalState TEACH after her children were born and knew she wanted to work with homeschool families. She believes the greatest advantage in learning from home is the unrestricted time one can focus on the important subjects, such as JESUS! She enjoys helping children discover their strengths and passions and learning to think outside the box when it comes to academics!
Andi resides against the foothills of the San Gabriel mountains where she lives with her husband, two great kids and her puppy, Penny. In her spare time she travels, hikes, practices Hapkido, attends sporting events, and loves to play card games.
Hi! I’m Lisa and I am so blessed to be back at Firm Foundations! I have a passion for all things music and theater. I have been homeschooling for almost 20 years with my youngest currently in high school. I have a Bachelor degree in Social Work from APU. I was a part of the choir and drama program in college and have been blessed with opportunities to teach drama, act, direct, costume, set design and produce many musicals at school, church and community theater. I am currently on the board for a local community theater group and I am also a “stage mom” assisting with dance team and the shows that my daughter is involved in. I had the privilege of teaching drama, science, art and geography at Firm Foundations for several years. I am looking forward to working with your students!
Leah Facio, first and foremost, has her life rooted in Christ Jesus. She has a genuine and sincere heart for learning and helping people and children. Leah is a loving wife and a mother of three. She is also the daughter of a Marine Corps Vietnam Veteran. Being a mother who homeschools her own children, Leah understands the importance of education that has a Biblical foundation. Her passion for serving is easily seen in her relationships and interactions with others. Leah is also a Leader in American Heritage Girls, a Christian faith-based group for young girls that helps to develop leadership and a Godly lifestyle. Leah holds a Bachelor's degree in Health and Human Development with an emphasis in Mental Health from California State University at Fullerton. She has experience working as a Crisis Counselor, a Life Guard, and a Red Cross Instructor. Leah also loves to design and create various arts and crafts projects.
Jennifer Villasenor earned her B.A. in English Literature and her teaching credential from Azusa Pacific University. She taught 7th and 8th grade ELA and Social Studies in Rialto for two years, and then began teaching high school English Literature at West Covina High School. She had the privilege of teaching all grade levels, including AP English Literature. By far, her favorite type of literature is British, and she is quite partial to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. She felt led to homeschool her children when her oldest was only two years old. As a result, she “retired” from the public school and really learned about education as a homeschooler. This journey brought her to Firm Foundation Christian Academy. Her family has been a part of FFCA since 2010.
Claire Rodriguez earned her M.A. in English Literature and Rhetoric & Composition and obtained her ESL certification from California Polytechnic University, Pomona. She found her passion for teaching while working with the Los Angeles Literacy Program after earning her B.A. She has taught for various Los Angeles Community Colleges and tutors students of all grade levels—from grade school to graduate school. She is always looking for ways to grow as a teacher and is currently working on a grant-funded research project for the state of California and LACCD to implement sustainable Communities of Practice for community colleges in the Los Angeles district and beyond. As a former homeschooling student, she hopes to give back to the program that shaped her into the woman she is today.
Celeste earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, majoring in Interior Architecture, from Woodbury University in 2006. For 12 years she worked with architect Richard F. McCann, growing a firm that specialized in performing arts theaters.
After marriage and the arrival of her children, Celeste's focus turned to service in both her church and community. Service in church includes the Children's Ministry with Vacation Bible School and participation in the music ministry's yearly Christmas choir program. Celeste currently sits on the Claremont AYSO Regional Board as the U6 Divisional Commissioner for the girls soccer program. She has also been a soccer coach going on 3 years, coaching her children's teams each season.
Celeste is excited for her third year of homeschooling with her children, and thrilled to be included in the talented Firm Foundation team of educators. Teaching is a door God opened unexpectedly, and because of her obedience to His will, she has been tremendously blessed by it.
If Celeste isn't singing with the children in class or at recess, she's teaching them how to hula-hoop or jump rope. Every day with children is a beautiful adventure.
Hi , I’m Young! I’ve always had a passion for art and have been drawing since I was young (no pun intended). It’s a gift the Lord has given me to glorify Him. If you are wondering what I have done, my seasoned creative experience includes being a background artist for Cartoon Network Studios, freelancing for other animation shows, working in post production for film at universal studios, as well as providing creative art direction for advertisement at Honda’s Corporate ad agency. I also enjoy teaching kids art and watching them refine their skill sets. The way I teach is directly related to how the studios would do their artwork and how I learned art at the Art Institute. Thus imparting the years of working knowledge to the students to refine their art skills and interest.
Hello, I am Samantha Valenzuela! I grew up to be a part of the homeschool community and am an FFCA alumnus. I am beyond blessed to have the opportunity to work alongside amazing teachers/staff in this thriving and grounded community. I have a great passion for my King Jesus and am honored to be a child of God. He has blessed me with the gift of serving Him in worship and music ministry which I have been serving in for 6 years now. I am a self-taught musician and am currently studying music professionally at Mt. San Antonio College. I am also currently majoring in Child Development. I pray the Lord continues to bless and enrich this academy and that His Spirit would fall upon those who are enrolled and involved at FFCA. Blessings to all!