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FACULTY PROFILES

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Aaron Jacob

Music Teacher

  • Pursuing B.A. Music, Music Teacher Education, Houghton University

Aaron Jacob is a pianist, conductor, and music educator. Born and raised in India. He lived in the midst of a lot of cultures and religious communities. His parents were missionaries and teachers in Northern India, and he was exposed to a wide and colorful array of music learning. After growing up and learning both Indian and Western Music. Aaron moved to Massachusetts to pursue his studies in music and is now continuing his studies at Houghton under the guidance of Dr. Sara Massey and Dr. William J. Newbrough. 

“I want to educate more than just the classroom.” Music has always driven Aaron to strive to grow and live as a better individual daily. He says that music has always taught him a way to learn how to live as children of God and live a life that is good and pleasing to God. “We are called to offer our lives as worship, and I believe that music in that life is significant to glorify God in our voices and in our daily lives”. Music is a means for people to learn how to express themselves in a healthy atmosphere that is free of judgment, and further, also a space where students may learn to excel in their instrument more than they were able to before. 

Aaron is a photographer, pickup soccer player, and badminton player in his free time and loves to make music with friends and other musicians.

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Ashley Schultz

Middle School Language Arts, Science, Math, and Drama Teacher 

  • B.S. St. Bonaventure University

Mrs. Ashley Schultz is a knowledgeable educator with many years of experience providing educational guidance and mentorship to all types of students. She began her journey at St. Bonaventure University in New York State. Ashley shifts teaching methods and instructional materials to meet the needs of all students, providing a nurturing and positive learning environment. She is caring, enthusiastic, and eager to bring her teaching expertise to a new level.

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Charlotte Meilaender

Dance Teacher 

  • BFA Dance, Mercyhurst University

As a dance educator, Charlotte leads students to accomplish their own goals, guided by the
belief that every student has a personal experience and story to tell. Academic excellence, mutual 
respect, and independent expression are cornerstones of her teaching process; through which she fosters creative growth in every aspect of students’ work. In addition to teaching at Houghton Academy, Charlotte currently serves as a ballet instructor at Genesee Dance Theatre School.

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David Pritchard

ELL Program Coordinator, ESL and Bible Teacher 

  • B.A. English, State Univerisity of New York, Geneseo

  • M.Div. and M.A. Biblical Studies, Asbury Theological Seminary

“Stay away from those people who try to disparage your ambitions. Small minds will always do that, but great minds will give you a feeling that you can become great too.” — Mark Twain

I look at the classroom as a way to not only learn about the material but to learn and talk about life, goals, values, and overcoming obstacles. Reading is the gateway to applying knowledge that can lead to wisdom, and my hope is that as we learn together, we can grow together. Having been a pastor for over a decade and having been able to be in the classroom for the last five years, I am looking forward to including Biblical truths and principles in our discussions to foster spiritual learning and discussions. I try to make the classroom experience reflect a 'real life' experience, where the classroom is not so different from everyday life. I believe that in doing so, students will transition from the Academy into any area of life and be able to continue to read, learn, have healthy conversations, collaborate creatively, and contribute to whatever community they find themselves in. 

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Doug Flitcroft

Social Studies Teacher

  • M.A. Grand Canyon University

  • B.S. SUNY Brockport

"The best means of forming a happy people will be found in the right education of youth. Without this foundation, every other means, in my opinion, must fail." - George Washington

 

"Without God, there is no virtue because there is no prompting of the conscience ... without God, there is a coarsening of the society; without God, democracy will not and cannot long endure ... America needs God more than God needs America. If we ever forget that we are One Nation Under God, then we will be a Nation gone under." - Ronald Reagan

 

I have more than a decade of experience in teaching Social Studies.  This experience has been in public and private schools for all types of students.  This experience has allowed me to create a positive learning environment and teaching methods to meet the needs of all my students.  Working at Houghton Academy allows me to use these skills as well as my passion for my faith and history.  The greatest way to understand history is through the context of the creation of humanity by a loving God.  Through this lens, I can present the facts of historical events while also pointing students back to God.  I also believe in the importance of creating positive relationships with all my students.  The family-like environment of Houghton Academy fosters many opportunities to create positive, long-lasting bonds with everyone on the campus.

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Fionah Nanungi Mulema

Science and Math Teacher 

  • B.S. Makerere University 

Fionah has over a decade of experience teaching. In 2017, she was part of the International Leaders in Education Program at James Madison University in Virginia. In 2012, she coordinated the Germany-Uganda Chemo science project in Germany in Fries Christliches Gymnasium Düsseldorf and in Seroma Christian High School. 

Her teaching career has flourished in both international schools and Christian schools. 

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Jeff Prentice

Athletic Director, Physical Education

  • B.S. Houghton University

In my role as the Athletics Director and Physical Education/Health teacher, I have the unique opportunity to encourage and facilitate growth in my students' and athletes' physical, mental, social, and emotional development. Success means creating an environment in my classes where each child feels safe, engaged, and challenged to learn how to become healthy, fit, and active in lifetime sports. In the area of interscholastic athletics, I expect us to do the best we can with the ability God has given us. We will encourage our athletes to improve their fundamental skills and their ability to work as a team. Lastly, our coaches, myself, and our athletes will develop and model the fruits of the Spirit as we interact with each other, the referees, and our opponents and do our best to be salt and light in our sphere of influence.

 

I'm excited to be returning to Houghton after graduating in 1992. I have spent the last 26 years at a Christian school in NJ, and I look forward to continuing the tradition of a unique Christian school that Houghton Academy was, is, and will continue to be.

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Kathie Hilsher

English Teacher & Volleyball Coach

  • M.A. SUNY Brockport

  • B.A. Houghton University

“I pray because I can't help myself. I pray because I'm helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time, waking and sleeping. It doesn't change God. It changes me.”~C.S. Lewis

“We read to know we are not alone.” ~William Nicholson (often misattributed to C.S. Lewis)

“A word after a word after a word is power.” ~Margaret Atwood

Working at Houghton Academy, I can combine my faith with my passions for reading and writing; then, I am invited to share all three with my students. The fact that God spoke the world into creation illustrates the awesome power words have, both the words that we read and the words that we write. Additionally, our Creator God, whose creativity is all around us in this world, made us in His image; therefore, we have the capacity to be creative. Because of these truths, I am convinced that our words can create change in ourselves and others. What an awesome opportunity I have to weave together reading, writing, and faith as I teach at this school.

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Kelly Holden

Technology and Bible Teacher 

  • B.A. Liberty University

 

The experience I had growing up attending Christian schools and camps has made a profound
impact on me and is consequently why I am passionate about continuing to serve the LORD in
ministry at Houghton Academy and desire to be a life-long learner so others might benefit from my service.

I have learned that my brain handles learning situations much like a puzzle, like Sherlock Holmes if you will. It thrives on the opportunity to observe, process, develop questions, and then observe for the answers to those questions.  I want to find the answers through observation. I want to understand something fully and not just be able to recite back something. I want to understand it. I want to know the inner workings of the object/situation/subject.

I think a highly diverse community such as Houghton Academy is an excellent environment for learning and understanding and a great opportunity to better ourselves and get better at being comfortable asking questions.

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Michael Burgett

Math and Science Teacher 

  • B.S. Houghton University

  • M.Ed. Clarks Summit University

"“All truth is God’s truth” is probably the most familiar and famous quote from St. Augustine (A.D. 354-430). Those five words express confidence in God, truth, the Bible, science, and the ultimate alignment of all inquiry and discovery. Those five words assume that the science from the laboratory and the exegesis from the Scriptures will not contradict one another once we’ve rightly figured them out. "  - Leith Anderson (2015), NAE

My goal here at Houghton Academy is to help students think deeply about their subject material and help guide them as they "rightly figure out" eternal truths expressed through our content areas. Having taught at Houghton Academy from 2017-2019, I was asked to rejoin in January of 2023 and look forward to working with students both in and out of the classroom this coming year. 

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Nancy Gates

Middle School History Teacher 

  • B.A. Houghton University

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” Benjamin Franklin

 

I believe the hallmark of an effective classroom is forward momentum—students who are engaged and busy are ready to be inspired. A classroom where they have a clear understanding of what’s expected of them, what they can count on from others, and what the objectives of the group are as a whole, positions them to excel both academically and socially. Asking questions and hunting down the answers is how I approach the middle school years, essentially lighting a wick that will show each student how to learn: how to be optimistic but wise, confident yet humble, sustained in their labor, and, ultimately, strengthened to rise each day and, whatever they do, do with all their heart as unto the Lord.

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Rachel Blew

Art Teacher 

  • B.A. Art, Houghton University

  • M.S. Athletic Administration and Coaching, Concordia University, Irvine

Rachel is a dynamic middle and high school art teacher with a strong foundation in photography and graphic design. Her diverse artistic background enriches her teaching, allowing her to instill a deep appreciation for creativity in her students. With a keen eye for detail and a passion for visual storytelling, Rachel encourages her students to explore various mediums and techniques. Her guidance and expertise inspire young artists to discover their unique artistic voices while fostering a love for the world of art. 

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Renita Buss

Spanish, Bible, and Yearbook Teacher 

  • B.A. Houghton University

During my days at Houghton University, my favorite learning opportunities were the Intercultural Experience and Mission classes. In these classes, my admiration of how unique God made each culture and language blossomed into a time of learning and growing in His mission field. Fast forward to my time and experience in ministry, I see just how vital multicultural missions work is. I have learned the value and beauty of cultures and languages, as God made them all. Seeing God’s creativity in cultures is such a blessing.

We are to make disciples of all nations, including languages and all cultures. Discipleship can be a multicultural experience. All those at Houghton Academy are children of God and unique in that God created each language and culture. As part of spreading God's love, I am honored to take the time to learn and get to know students, faculty, and staff from different cultures that are not my own.

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Robin Pawling

Science and Math Teacher 

  • M.S. Ed. SUNY Geneseo

  • B.A. Houghton University

“Science without Religion is blind; Religion without Science is lame.” - Albert Einstein

“A fundamental experience in science is the experience of wonder - the respect and awe that we feel at the beautiful structure of the world that is revealed to our inquiry. In fundamental physics, which is most powerfully expressed through the equations that are specified, fundamental physical theories which are always found to be characterized by the unmistakable character of mathematical beauty.

 

Unmistakable to those who happen to speak that sort of language; it’s a rather austere form of aesthetic pleasure, but it is a very real one…. I have been describing a physical world which, in its rational transparency and rational beauty, is a world shot through with signs of mind. And it is a proposition worth giving serious consideration to. And that is because there is indeed a Mind, of God the Creator, that lies behind the rationally beautiful order of the world…. Scientists are very happy that the world is like that, and very happy to exploit the intellectual opportunities that it provides. But the science of itself does not explain why it is so.” - Rev. Dr. Sir John Polkinghorne (Mathematical Physicist and Anglican Priest)

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