FACULTY PROFILES

 
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Jonathan Retz

Head of School

  • C.A.S. SUNY Cortland

  • M.S. SUNY Cortland

  • B.S. Houghton College

From a very early age I knew I wanted to be an educator.  School was always a wonderful and comfortable place for me.  My passion for working and coaching young people together with my love of history made a career in education a natural choice.

For twenty plus years in I served in public education both as a teacher and school administrator.  Often, throughout my career, I felt drawn back to Houghton.  In 2016 the Lord orchestrated events and convicted me that I was suppose to be at Houghton Academy.  I was able to return to the classroom to share my passion for history but also had a wonderful new opportunity to serve our international students as the Community Life Coordinator.

 

As an educator I have always sought to live out my faith. At Houghton I have a wonderful opportunity to actively engage students in conversations and exploration of the Christian faith while I seek to develop each child intellectually.  My family and I have made Houghton and Houghton Academy our home and the students part of our family.  Through our service here at Houghton we have a wonderful opportunity to live out our responsibility as expressed in John 13:34-35  “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

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Jonathan Keith

CFO/COO, Boarding Life Director, Fancher Dorm Head Resident

  • C.A.S. National Louis University 

  • MBA Northern Illinois University

  • B.S. Houghton College

Mr. Jon Keith is an international educator with 40 years’ experience leading Houghton Academy's (HA) boarding program. In addition to creating educational programs emulated by schools all over the USA, Mr. Keith has led elite Summer English Camps both in the USA and
China and recruited and placed students from 15 countries into a network of 50+ USA
schools. Before coming to HA, he divided his time between multiple Chinese cities and
Chicago for four years while working for numerous international schools and agencies.
He offered USA Prep Programs, taught Communication and English classes and held
Vice President, CEO, American Principal and Marketing Director roles. He continues
to maintain close relationships with students, alumni, parents, schools and agents
throughout the world.

 
 
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Katherine Stevick

Social Studies, Foreign Language

  • B.A. Houghton College

I have worked overseas in various countries for the past 4 years and I am on home assignment this year. I have taught 2nd graders in Morocco, college students in Vietnam, and Syrian refugees in Lebanon. I found that if I can’t go to the nations, I should find the nations here in the States. I have enjoyed my time here at Houghton Academy this year. It is challenging me to think critically about the world around me and how I can help my students be successful in and out of the classroom. 

One of my favorite verses in the Bible is Ecclesiastes 9:10 “Whatever your hands find to do, do it with all your might as for working for the Lord, and not for man.”

 
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Kathie Hilsher

English

  • M.A. SUNY Brockport

  • B.A. Houghton College

“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 in others. What an awesome opportunity I have to weave together reading, writing, and faith as I teach at this school.

 
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David Huizenga

Chaplain, Biblical Studies

  • M.T.S. Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary

  • B.A. Calvin College

Houghton Academy is the endpoint of a long journey for me: college studies, seven years of teaching math and physics at Phil-Mont Christian Academy (Erdenheim, PA), seminary studies, twelve years pastoring Resurrection Community Church (Wyncote, PA) and three years teaching Bible, physics, and coaching soccer at Rain Forest International School (Yaoundé, Cameroon). Returning now to my hometown and high school alma mater (’90) allows me to “keep my hand in” both realms that I love—teaching and pastoral roles—through the tasks of Bible instruction and discipleship development.

C.S. Lewis is said to have arrived late to a gathering of scholars who, at that point, were involved in vigorous debate. When he asked what they were discussing, Lewis was told the argument pertained to what made Christianity unique among world religions. “Oh, that’s easy,” he declared. “It’s grace.” Indeed, my prayer is that everything about my own classes and labors, as well as the Academy culture and students’ experience as a whole, would demonstrate and celebrate this centerpiece of the Gospel, the grace of Jesus Christ.

 
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Elsa Kettinger

Fine Arts - Art

  • B.A. Asbury University

I feel extremely thankful and blessed to be able to work as an educator at Houghton Academy. It is amazing to look back at how God provided many experiences and opportunities in the art field to help prepare me for this role. I recall being a young mother wondering how I would ever be able to work as an artist because I believed it was my calling. Yet, God. God takes a willingness to bloom where you’re planted and molds it into something meaningful for His kingdom. As I was raising my children at home I was able to give art lessons to people of all ages and I worked as a commissioned artist to make paintings, illustrations for books and a variety of graphic design projects. In more recent years I have added an online shop from which to sell artwork and it has been a blessing to use my love for clay in that way. Now, I have college-age children who are also artists in heart and hand, following their own dreams and walking down paths that will prepare them for serving God wherever He leads.

It is my great hope and prayer that as I work and serve alongside others at the academy, that I will share with the students a desire to bring glory to God through the work of our hands and the testimony of our hearts above all else; that whatever chapter we find ourselves in, we will dedicate our time and effort to doing our best and to living/creating with hearts full of thanks. Colossians 3:17 

 

“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.” Thomas Merton 

 

“O magnify the Lord with me and let us exalt His name together.” Psalm 34:3

 
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Stephanie Paschalis

Social Studies

  • M.S.Ed. Literacy Education/ESL, University of Southern Maine;

  • BA EnglishHoughton College

 

Experience: 5 years teaching ESL in Incheon & Seoul, South Korea;  27 years living and working overseas in South Korea, South Africa, Germany, and Switzerland; taught SAT prep, Bern, Switzerland

Why do we study history?  This is one of the first questions that I pose to my students.  We study history because it warns us, it encourages us; it reveals the hearts of men and women, and it reveals the heart of God.  

 

In these uncertain times, we can take heart that God has everything in hand.  He is the author of history and the One who guides us along the way.  We study history to understand God’s purposes in this world, and we study history to know Him better.  And while the study of history can sometimes feel confused or uncertain, it is God’s working in history that anchors us.  It all comes down to the cross.  Everything in history that came before the cross leads us to it; everything that came after is forever changed and informed by it.  This is our hope, and this is our anchor.  

 

Remember your history,

    your long and rich history.

I am God, the only God you’ve had or ever will have—

    incomparable, irreplaceable—

From the very beginning

    telling you what the ending will be,

All along letting you in

    on what is going to happen,

Assuring you, ‘I’m in this for the long haul,

    I’ll do exactly what I set out to do,’ 

                                           (Isaiah 46: 9-10, The Message) 

 
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Robin Pawling

Science

  • M.S. Ed. SUNY Geneseo

  • B.A. Houghton College

Quote from Albert Einstein: “Science without Religion is blind; Religion without Science is lame.”

Quote from Rev. Dr. Sir John Polkinghorne (Mathematical Physicist and Anglican Priest):

“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, that 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, very happy to exploit the intellectual opportunities that provides. But science of itself does not explain why it is so.”

 
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Anthony Petrillo

IT Manager

  • Ph.D. University at Buffalo, The State University of New York

  • M.B.A. University at Buffalo, The State University of New York

  • B.A. University at Buffalo, The State University of New York

Imagine teaching a Roberts Wesleyan College computer science course to high school students from China, Iran, Nigeria, and the USA using materials developed for Africa. It is a pretty amazing opportunity. Imagine those same students developing material that can be used by others. For me as a teacher, the word that wraps this up is JOY.

My life has been full of computers, teaching and management, and the longer I journey with the Lord the more amazed I am at the awesome ways He interacts in our lives pulling things together in ways we'd not have imagined including this wonderful privilege to serve at Houghton Academy.

Highlights of my life include:

  • Becoming a disciple of Jesus Christ in college.

  • Marrying Nancy, the wisest and kindest person I know. And no, we are not newlyweds, we were married in 1982.

  • Being the proud father/grandfather of Jean Denis, Elizabeth, Sophia, Madelyn & Caleb Marcellin; Shane, Angeline, Silas, Levi & Joselyn Snell; and Anthony III.

  • Teaching in multiple colleges.

  • Founding a college in Africa that has had over 10,000 graduates.

  • Founding TEN3.org, a mission that helps African believers establish their educational system.

  • Establishing a technology company, Stare of Owls Technology, with eight others.

  • Having my brother Mike's blood in my veins and marrow in my bones after having aggressive leukemia. The Lord taught me so much through this blessing.

Like many missionaries, in 2013 our support level was low. It was then that the Lord opened the door for me to serve part-time at Houghton Academy knowing full well that He was going to bring great synergy between my full time job as TEN3 CEO and my part-time job as Houghton Academy Technology Manager and faculty. My heart continually comes back to the word joy with great thanksgiving as I serve the students and staff here at Houghton Academy.

 
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Jeff Prentice

Athletic Director, Physical Education

  • B.S. Houghton College

In my role as the Athletics Director and Physical Education/Health teacher, I have the unique opportunity to encourage and facilitate growth in the physical, mental, social and emotional development of my students and athletes. Success for me means creating an environment in my classes where each child feels safe, engaged and challenged to learn how to become healthy, fit and an active participant in life time 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 in 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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Angela Schenck

Middle School

  • B.S. Elementary Education:  TESOL Certificate: AMSR Trainer

Experience: 5th grade Math & Alternative Education @ Justice Intermediate School in Marion, IN & online TESL with VIPKids, ESL with Korean and Russian students, currently teaching English (online) to Chinese students,  Suicide prevention training through Sprc.org : 15 years in social services public education MCS