Teachers

Each and every one of the faculty and staff on the NCS team are committed to excellence in education and partnering with families to provide a Christ-centered education. Find out more about us, and why we do what we do!


Mrs. Laura Connolly • Kindergarten

lconnolly@nittanychristian.com

Laura Connolly returns to Nittany Christian this year for her third year teaching Kindergarten. She has a passion for teaching and is very excited to return! Laura grew up in Baltimore, Maryland. She graduated from Toccoa Falls College in Georgia with a Bachelor’s of Science in Elementary Education. She had the unique opportunity to complete her student teaching experience in Quito, Ecuador.

Laura moved to Lewistown, PA several years ago when her husband accepted a pastoral position. This year, Laura and her husband, James, welcomed their first child, Selah Grace. When Laura is not teaching or planning for school, you will most likely find her at church serving in youth or children’s ministry, and if not there, she will probably have her nose in a book.


Mrs. Abby LeClair • 1st Grade

aleclair@nittanychristian.com

This is Abby’s third year teaching at Nittany Christian School. She is excited to get to know her students this year! Abby grew up in the small town of Newton Ransom located in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

Abby discovered her passion for teaching while on a mission trip to Fiji right before she started college. She had the opportunity to lead a group of children of various ages in a Vacation Bible School when a mentor told her she should pursue teaching. From that moment on, she knew teaching is what she was meant to do.

Abby comes from a family of Penn State graduates. She graduated from The Pennsylvania State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education. While attending Penn State, she met her husband. They got married in June of 2014. She and her husband enjoy spending time outdoors and staying active. Some of their favorite past times are: hiking, camping, and fishing. Her family and friends are very important to her and she enjoys visiting her hometown every chance she gets.


Miss Marilyn Jones • 2nd Grade

mjones@nittanychristian.com

Miss Jones will be starting her 24th year at Nittany Christian School all in the 2nd grade.  She is in a unique position of seeing the future of NCS, as well as the past.  “Teaching a new group of students, as well as learning about what former NCS students are doing throughout their communities and churches is so exciting and humbling.”

Marilyn grew up in Erie, PA with three brothers and a ton of cousins.  She attended St. Paul Bible College (now known as Crown College) in the Minneapolis, Minnesota area and graduated in 1988 with a degree in Elementary Education. She taught five years at a christian school outside of Cleveland, OH before settling at NCS in State College.

Marilyn enjoys music and historical fiction novels.  Her favorite composer is John Phillip Sousa and her favorite time period in history is the Great Depression/World War II era focusing on stories of what life was like on the Homefront.


Mrs. Andi Welker – 3rd Grade

awelker@nittanychristian.com

Mrs. Andi Welker is excited to be teaching at NCS for her fourth year!

Andi grew up in York, Pennsylvania on a dairy farm and graduated from Christian School of York in 2010. During her time as a Penn State student, she was involved in Campus Crusade as a Bible study leader and discipler.

When not studying, Sign Language Club and attending Penn State athletic games also kept her busy. Andi graduated in 2013 with a degree in Elementary Education and a minor in Special Education.

Currently, Andi and her husband live in State College and enjoy hiking, Penn State football and hockey. At school, Mrs. Welker really enjoys teaching Social Studies and singing during Circle Time.


Mrs. Melissa Quinones • 4th Grade

mquinones@nittanychristian.com

Mrs. Quinones, otherwise known as “Mrs. Q.” joins Nittany Christian School for her second year teaching fourth grade. She is so excited to be back teaching in a Christian school and to be a part of this wonderful community.

Mrs. Quinones graduated from Rhode Island College with a Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education and special education. She then taught in Newark Christian School in NJ through the mission agency World Impact for three years. She was then a second grade teacher at Brookdale Christian School in Bloomfield, NJ for seven years until she became a mom. She could not stay away from teaching altogether and enjoyed tutoring students from various grades and nationalities.

Melissa and her family moved to State College in 2007. She was a Guest Teacher in SCASD for five years and gained much experience in all elementary grades. She is married to Ron and has three daughters who keep her busy, but she loves being with her family!


Miss Jessica Sechler • 5th Grade

jsechler@nittanychristian.com

Miss Sechler graduated from Penn State in 1998 with an elementary education degree after which she spent one year substitute teaching in several different school districts near her hometown, Addison, PA. She returned to State College and worked at a daycare for a few years before moving to the Eastern Shore of Maryland where she taught 6th grade at Chesapeake Christian School for 9 years.

God put a desire in her heart to move back to State College, and He also provided the opportunity to teach at Calvary Kid Care. She taught preschool there while also working on reinstating her Pennsylvania teaching certificate. She is excited to start her third year at Nittany Christian School.

In her free time, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, taking random road trips, and doing anything outside in nature.


Mr. Alan Kohr • Chaplin • Middle School – Bible, Latin, Logic

akohr@nittanychristian.com

Mr. Alan Kohr has been with Nittany Christian School for 12 years, and he rejoices at how magnificently the Heavenly Father is providing for the school. As chaplain, he enjoys meeting with the elementary children for weekly chapel lessons that encourage relationship with Father through Jesus by way of His Spirit. He also delivers instruction in the areas of Biblical studies, Latin, and Logic among the Middle School students. He embraces the unique challenges and blessings of teaching children of all ages.

Alan and his wife Wendy have been married 34 years. They have three adult children and one grandchild. In their leisure time, they enjoy wandering through Penn State’s Arboretum, biking, and watching old movies. He is endlessly thankful that Jesus found him in 1977 and brought him into the Father’s family. He hopes to see even more of Father God’s love flowing into the hearts of all who are part of Nittany Christian School.


Mr. Ryan Shreckengast • Middle School – Science • Technology

rshreckengast@nittanychristian.com

Mr. Ryan Shreckengast is honored to serve Nittany Christian School as the both the 2nd – 8th Grade Technology teacher and the middle school Science teacher.

Ryan graduated from Arizona State University with a degree in Biology focusing on communicating research science to policy makers. Ryan is a self-proclaimed “Excel nerd” and enjoys curling up on a winter weekend evening with a good spreadsheet. Ryan has traveled extensively to many countries around the world for both missions and business developing diagnostic tests for Malaria and Tuberculosis and training users on their use. Ryan has seen first hand the impact that a Godly understanding and application of science can have on a community.

Ryan loves seeing students begin to think about problems scientifically and develop skills that they will use for the rest of their lives no matter where God takes them. Some of his favorite life moments are when students have said to him, “Look Mr. Shreck! I found SCIENCE!”

Ryan enjoys reading, PC gaming, woodworking, spelunking, and spending time with his son, Aidan, and wife, Stephanie.


Mrs. Sarah Stevens • Middle School – Math • Math Support

sstevens@nittanychristian.com

 

Stevens, Sarah Mrs. Sarah Stevens is in her seventh year of teaching and has loved being a part of NCS for the last few years where she teaches middle school math and is support for the elementary math classes.

Sarah was born and raised in State College. While in junior high and high school, she was a short-term missionary, working different parts of the year in the Dominican Republic.

After high school, she joined the United States military and got to travel the world which included tours of Germany, Kuwait and Iraq. After serving her term, God led Sarah to go into the education field. Sarah graduated from the University of Texas at El Paso with a Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies with a major in middle school (grades 4-8) general education. Sarah recently earned her Master’s degree in Mathematics Curriculum and is excited to integrate her knowledge and ambitions into the classrooms at NCS.

Sarah is a member of Calvary Baptist Church and has been attending at the Tyrone site since they opened their doors in November of 2015. Sarah is married to Brock, and together they raise two beautiful children. She also continues to follow her passion of dance by being a dance teacher in Bellefonte.


Mr. Dylan Lucas • Middle School – English, History, Social Studies

dlucas@nittanychristian.com

Lucas, DylanMr. Dylan Lucas teaches English and History in the middle school at Nittany Christian School. Dylan has had a passion for contributing to educational initiatives in central Pennsylvania from his time in high school at Moshannon Valley Jr. Sr. High School in Houtzdale, PA.

A graduate of Cairn University (formerly Philadelphia Biblical University),he earned his B.S. and M.S. in Education as well as a B.S. in Bible. His focus for study was on curriculum design, social studies, and English as a second language. He achieved the Alphia Chi Epsilon Merit Teacher award for pre-professional excellence in teaching.

Along with his passion for teaching, Dylan serves as the youth director at First Baptist Church in Philipsburg, PA. Before coming to Nittany Christian School Dylan worked with the NHS Human Services school of State College. There he taught students whose individual needs included autism spectrum disorder support and emotional support.

When not teaching or ministering, Dylan enjoys reading, hiking, disc golf, and pool. However, he is fully convinced that he was created to be a teacher and will not stop learning ways to reach the students of central Pennsylvania.


Ms. Lani Daubenspeck • Art

ldaubenspeck@nittanychristian.com

Mrs. Lani Daubenspeck first joined the Nittany Christian community in 2009. She and husband, Thierry, have two sons. Will is a freshman at Penn State, and Cole is a senior, who is part-time homeschooled, and part-time student at State College High School. While she and Thierry try to drag them both out to go geocaching with them, usually only the dog, Shy, agrees to go.

Lani stays active by walking, biking or hiking, but unlike her son, Will, isn’t the slightest bit interested in running. Gardening and working on their little fixer upper take over most of her summers, while her evenings are filled with all kinds of creative endeavors, from painting to embroidery. She is never bored teaching her favorite people, who are in Kindergarten through eighth grade, and loves the variety of projects and interests that come with teaching this range of ages.

God, The Great Artist, revealed himself to us in every vast landscape and tiny molecule and we delight to discover Him more and more together through art at Nittany Christian


Mrs. Laura Leslie • Music

lleslie@nittanychristian.com

Mrs. Laura Leslie, a native of Warren, NJ, began studying organ at age 7. She earned her Bachelor of Sacred Music Degree from Nyack College where she studied organ, piano, voice and harpsichord. While at Nyack, Laura was awarded opportunities to play the organs at Saint Ignatius Loyola, Saint Thomas Aquinas and Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City. She has traveled extensively, performing in 18 states with the Nyack Chorale, Ladies Glee Club, Bell Choir and two performing ensembles, New Creations and Commission.

For the past 35 years, Laura has served as Music Director and Organist for various churches in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. Her desire is to give Glory to God through music and to help lead others to a deeper level of worship. She especially enjoys working with children and youth and loves the opportunity to work with them each week here at Nittany Christian. You never know what might take place in class – from a conga line to playing musical twister, sign language or singing in a foreign language, she delights in getting her students excited about music!

When not doing her music thing, she enjoys scrap booking, stamping, cooking, traveling and spending time with her family. Married since 1997, Laura and her husband Phil are raising two boys – Cameron and Daniel, both students at Grace Prep.


Mrs. Miriam Schneider • Spanish

mschneider@nittanychristian.com

Mrs. Miriam Schneider is joining the Nittany Christian School team this year as the Spanish teacher.  Mrs. Schneider was born in New York City to Spanish speaking immigrant parents and, while she can’t remember a time when she did not speak English, she is told that Spanish was her first language.

Mrs. Schneider graduated in 1986 from Queens College, part of the City University of New York (C.U.N.Y) system, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting and a minor in Economics. She went on to graduate from the University of Michigan Law School in 1989.  Upon graduation, she clerked for the Honorable Cornelius Blackshear, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge for the Southern District of New York.  Afterwards she became an associate at a major New York City law firm.

Since 1996, when she was expecting her first child, Mrs. Schneider has been a stay at home wife and mother. She and her husband, Dr. Donald Schneider have 4 children.  She homeschooled all of her children through 2014, when her two youngest started at NCS.

As a homeschool mother, Mrs. Schneider taught several cooperative Spanish classes for high school, middle school, and upper elementary grades.  She enjoys teaching and interacting with students.  Mrs. Schneider is thankful for the opportunity to get to know and work with the students at NCS this year!


Mrs. Crystal Brennan • Health / PE • Learning Support

cbrennan@nittanychristian.com

Crystal Brennan2Mrs. Crystal Brennan will be joining our staff this year teaching Physical Education, Health and Learning Support. She is very excited to be part of the Nittany Christian family. Mrs. Brennan grew up in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania. After her graduation from high school, Mrs. Brennan attended The Pennsylvania State University where she received a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Elementary Education. She also holds a current Pennsylvania Teaching Certificate in kindergarten through sixth grade

Presently, Mrs. Brennan is married to her husband and they are raising their five children here in State College. In the warm summer months her family enjoys spending time together swimming at the local pools, hiking Mt. Nittany, camping at Greenwood Furnace, and traveling to their favorite beach in Bethany, Delaware. On cold wintery evenings it is not uncommon to find Mrs. Brennan’s family huddled up together for an animated game of Penn State Monopoly. In her free time she enjoys a good book while snuggling with her Pomeranian named Zoey and her Cavasuz puppy names Charlie.

Mrs. Brennan is so excited to have the unique opportunity to get to know every student here at Nittany Christian School personally and academically. She is also very enthusiastic to work as a learning support teacher that will allow her to work one on one with student learners to maximize academic achievement. Mrs. Brennan is delighted to be part of this strong academic and spiritual community. She is prepared to have a great year!


Mrs. Sahmra Plank • Librarian • Computer • After Care

splank@nittanychristian.com

Plank, SahmraOriginally from New England, Sahmra made her way to central Pennsylvania with her husband Stefan just a few years ago. This is the start of Sahmra’s fourth year at Nittany Christian School. She is an aide in second grade, oversees our library, school yearbook, after care program and Kindergarten and first grade computer classes. She can also be found stepping in wherever needed. She graduated from Northpoint with a B.A. in Biblical Theology, minoring in Christian Education. Outside of school, Sahmra is a photographer, a creative at heart, loves to cook, and loves spending time with family and friends.


Mrs. Dana Reed • Kindergarten Aide

danareed1@comcast.net

 


Mrs. Suzanne Heckathorne • 1st Grade Aide

sheckathorne@nittanychristian.com

Love to Learn, Learn to Love