Faculty and Staff

  • Sam Koenen
Petra Academy's Interim Headmaster

    Sam Koenen

    Interim Headmaster, Academic Dean; Humanities (Grade 7), Humanities (Grade 11)

    This year Mr. Koenen is our Interim Headmaster. Sam also continues to serve as our academic dean reviewing our school’s curriculum and working closely with teachers to develop Petra’s curriculum, as well as conducting weekly teacher training. A veteran teacher at Petra, Sam began teaching here in 2000. Sam earned a Bachelor of Arts in English literature at Montana State University, Bozeman. Sam and his wife Catherine have a son and daughter at Petra and another daughter still at home. Besides teaching at Petra Academy, Sam serves as an elder at a local church and teaches online literature courses. Sam lectured at the 2012 ACCS Conference in Dallas, speaking about how fairy tales awaken children’s moral imaginations . Sam writes and speaks about classical education and literature on his website. He recently interviewed fellow Petra teacher Gregg Valeriano.

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    Mark Christofferson

    Grammar Principal

    Mr. Christofferson joined the teaching staff at Petra Academy in 2008. Mark’s teaching career began in 1992 and includes twelve years at Heritage Christian School in Bozeman, two years at a Christian school in Taiwan, and another two years at a public high school. Mark holds a Bachelor of Science degree in English Teaching with a minor in History from Montana State University where he graduated with honors. This year, ‘Mr. C’ has hung up his ‘teaching hat’ to join the administrative team as the elementary Grammar Principal. This year Mark is also in charge of admissions and enrollment. Mark and his wife Tammy have two children, Eli and Emily. His other interests include music (singing, guitar, and trumpet), hunting, bird-dog training, cycling, the informal study of the Chinese language, and story-telling.

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    Beth Stohlmann

    Pre-school for four-year-olds, MW&F, College Advisor, Yearbook, Fundraising Coordinator

    Mrs. Stohlmann began teaching at Petra Academy in 2011. Beth holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Foreign Area Studies from the United States Air Force Academy and a Master of Science degree in International Relations from Troy State University. She served as an Air Force Intelligence officer for five years and spent three of those years living and working in Germany. Beth wears many hats at Petra from K4 teacher, College Advisor, Yearbook Advisor, and fundraising coordinator for our annual elementary Spell-a-thon and secondary drama presentation. Beth and her husband, Andy, have three children attending Petra. She enjoys camping, kayaking and skiing with her family.

  • Kempf, Joan

    Joan Kempf

    Pre-school for 4 year olds, Tu&Th

    Mrs. Kempf  joined Petra’s staff this fall. Joan’s “work experience” began from ages 14-21 when she worked for her dad at a full-service gasoline station in the small Minnesota town where she grew up. Joan’s thirst for this training extended both to undergraduate and graduate programs; she earned both bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the U. of North Dakota. Joan would go on to be licensed in both North Dakota and Minnesota where she both taught and consulted in early childhood education classes, including teaching children with learning disabilities, for twelve years. Joan and her husband, Mark, have three children, with their youngest enrolled at Petra in secondary classes.

  • Hale, Sarah

    Sarah Hale

    K4 Aide MW&F, Afternoon Enrichment

    Sarah Hale joins Petra’s staff this year and will take over the teaching of all five days of afternoon enrichment and will also be an aide to Beth Stohlmann in the morning K4 MWF class. Sarah’s background, education, and teaching experience make her uniquely qualified for these positions. Sarah’s love for God, for sacred music, and her eventual teaching vocation began in her upbringing in a close family and church community in the Lolo Valley. After attending Valley Christian School, Missoula, she studied education and music at Moody Bible Institute, Chicago, Illinois, where she would meet and marry her husband, Kevin. Since graduating from Moody, Sarah has been immersed in serving God in children’s ministries, especially through music: for two years at a “Shabbat School”, Chicago; “God’s Children Sing” for five years at College Church, Wheaton, Illinois; teaching beginning & intermediate flute for six years in Bedford, New Hampshire where she also taught “The Lamb’s Workshop” (identical age group and mission of enrichment as her new position at Petra!). Sarah and Kevin have three children.

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    Bobbi Miller

    Kindergarten, morning & afternoon

    Mrs. Miller began teaching at Petra Academy in 2010. Bobbi had been a substitute teacher at Petra since 2005. She and her husband Craig have two children attending Petra. Her formal education and work experience are in the fields of early education and children’s ministry. Since 1998, Bobbi has gained experience with working in early childhood education, including a position developing curriculum at a private preschool program. Bobbi enjoys spending time with family, reading, camping, and cooking.

  • Lewton, Brittany

    Brittany Lewton

    Morning Kindergarten Aide, Afternoon 2nd grade

    Mrs. Lewton joins Petra Academy this year as our morning kindergarten aide and afternoon 2nd grade teacher. After graduating from Point Loma Nazarene University, Brittany has been working with pre-grammar children for the last four years in very diverse models: Maranatha Christian, San Diego; Middle Creek Montessori; and most recently, Bozeman Head Start. We are eager to see Brittany lend this rich background of experience to the classical and Christian model. Brittany is married to Austin Lewton.

     

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    Jean Snyder

    First Grade

    Mrs. Snyder began teaching at Petra in 2006. Jean holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing. Jean and her husband Bob have three children, including a math teacher in Virginia, a mom of Jean and Bob’s first grandchild, and a graduate of Montana State University. Jean is an experienced homeschool mom having taught her own children through grade 8. She has also been teaching a mid-week Creation Class to third and fourth graders at her church since 1998. Jean enjoys horseback riding, camping, gardening, hiking, and reading.

  • Schaner, Rachel

    Rachel Schaner

    First Grade

    Miss Schaner was Petra’s first-ever student-teacher in 2012. In 2013-14 year she joined us part-time in both elementary and secondary positions. This year Rachel is teaching one of our two first grade classes. Rachel attended MSU and MSU-Billings and graduated in May 2013 with a double major in Elementary Education and Teaching Reading K-12. She also graduated with over 20 Fine Arts credits from MSU-B. As a high school student, Rachel received some classical education both from her mother who homeschooled her K-12, and from co-op classes. Teaching is her dream job and Rachel is delighted to be part of the Petra community. In her free time, Rachel enjoys reading, swing dancing, hiking and rock climbing.

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    Katie Elder

    Second Grade mornings

    Mrs. Elder began teaching at Petra Academy in 2012. Katie holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Southern Oregon University in Ashland, Oregon, and specializations in Elementary Mathematics and Elementary Education. She is currently seeking a Master of Arts in Teaching at Liberty University. Her experiences include teaching elementary enrichment, summer school and student teaching at Grace Christian School in Medford, Oregon. She spent the last three years as a math specialist and substitute teacher in the Bozeman Public Schools. Katie is married to Justin Elder and they have a baby girl. In their spare time, they enjoy camping, cross-country skiing and spending time with their nieces and nephews.

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    Sabrina Moody

    Third Grade

    Ms. Moody began teaching at Petra in 2012. Sabrina began her teaching career in 1990, serving a combined seven years at private schools and four years at public schools. Her experience spans preschool to high school, and includes homeschooling through the 4th grade. Sabrina holds two Bachelor of Arts degrees, in Biology and in English/American Literature from the University of California at San Diego, where she graduated Magna Cum Laude in 1990. She is the proud parent of three Petra students, and enjoys camping, hiking, running, and cooking.

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    Melissa Denison

    Fourth Grade

    Mrs. Denison began teaching at Petra in 2012. Melissa graduated from Houghton College in 2008 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Inclusive Childhood Education. She worked from 2008-2011 as a 3rd and 4th grade teacher at a small missionary school in a closed Central Asian country. In 2011 she substituted at various grade levels within the Brunswick School System in Brunswick, Maine. Melissa is married to Eli. Melissa enjoys spending time with friends and family, reading, theater, singing and playing card games.

  • Kueneke, Libby

    Libby Kueneke

    Fifth Grade, Jr. High Volleyball Coach

    Mrs. Kueneke began teaching at Petra in 2013. Libby earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Georgia Honors Program with a major in English and a minor in religious studies. She earned her masters degree in Education at Colorado State University and taught secondary English for two years at a classical, core-knowledge charter school in Fort Collins. She loves classical literature, bluegrass music, gardening, yoga, and walks downtown for coffee with her husband, Greg, on the weekends.

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    Sarah McClaflin

    Sixth Grade


    Mrs. McClaflin joined our teaching staff in 2008. She holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Baldwin-Wallace College where she graduated Magna Cum Laude. Sarah also has teaching experience both in homeschool and teaching music in private, public, and homeschool-cooperative settings. Sarah and her husband Shane have four children: Ellie, Nathaniel and Abigail and Samuel who are at Petra. She has also been a member of her church’s “Praise Team” for the past 11 years and enjoys serving in a variety of ways in her church body. Sarah and Shane own an outfitting business, Sunrise Pack Station, that specializes in educational and fly fishing and multi-day-horseback trips into the backcountry of Yellowstone National Park.

  • Jones, Jessica

    Jessica Benson

    Art-4th,5th&6th, Fine Arts 7th&8th

    Mrs. Benson joined Petra this fall. Jessica has a depth of experience and expertise in a wide variety of media, represented well in her portfolio. She has a unique background in that not only was she born in Quebec, Canada, but she grew up in Cameroon, Africa, where her parents served as missionaries. After Jessica’s father was able to complete a translation of the New Testament into the Kom language, the family moved back to Montana and Jessica completed her education at Manhattan Christian and MSU where Jessica took double majors in studio art and art education. Jessica has three years’ experience teaching art at various grade levels which she demonstrated to very good effect to a 7th-grade art class at Petra during the application process. Jessica was recently married in December. Congratulations!

  • Wickland, Elizabeth

    Elizabeth Wickland

    Elementary Latin, Latin (7th grade)

    Mrs. Wickland first taught Latin at Petra from 2003-2006. Elizabeth returns to us in 2013 after a 7 year hiatus, most of which was spent as a stay at home mom to their daughter. Mrs. Wickland earned her degree in English from LeTourneau University in Texas and has minors in Bible and Cross-Cultural Studies. She has lived in the Gallatin Valley for 11 years with her husband, Leif, who works at Oracle, and their daughter, Eliana.

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    Tyler Ashley

    Athletic Director, Elementary and Secondary P.E., Coach

    Mr. Ashley began at Petra in 2010 as a substitute P.E. teacher and joined the Petra staff in 2011 as a part-time elementary P.E. teacher. Tyler joined Petra full-time in 2013.  Tyler holds a bachelor’s degree in Physical Education and Health Enhancement, with a minor in Coaching, from Montana State University. Mr. Ashley has coached football and club soccer for a number of years. Tyler is married to Kari Ashley, a Bozeman native, and they have been blessed with two young boys, Everett and Isaac and a daughter, Erin. In his spare time, Tyler enjoys playing with his children, snowboarding, playing soccer and basketball, and playing music as a drummer for Evangelical Free Church.

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    Jeff Knapp

    Pre-Algebra (7th grade), Earth Science (7th grade), Physical Science (9th grade), Geometry (9th grade), Biology (10th grade)

    Mr. Knapp has been at Petra Academy since 2008. Jeff attended and graduated from Concordia College, Seward, Nebraska. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Education with majors in Biology and Health. Jeff and his wife Anneli have two sons, Kris and Isaac. Isaac is an elementary student at Petra. Jeff began his teaching career in 1995 and has taught at Lutheran schools in Denver, Colorado, and Salt Lake City, Utah.

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    Gregg Valeriano

    Material Logic (9th grade), Humanities (9th grade), Humanities (12th grade)

    Mr. Valeriano began teaching at Petra Academy in 2003. Gregg earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Northeastern Bible College, a Master of Arts from Wheaton College Graduate School, and a Master of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary. From 1998 to 2000, Gregg taught at L’Abri Fellowship in Huémoz, Switzerland. Gregg splits his days between Petra and Montana State University where he teaches philosophy classes as an adjunct instructor. Gregg’s extra-curricular interests include reading, fly fishing, snowboarding, and mountain biking. Gregg and his wife Anya have two young daughters and baby boy born in February.

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    Thomas Banks

    Latin (8th grade), Formal Logic (8th grade), Latin (9th grade), Humanities (10th grade)

    Mr. Banks began teaching Latin during our last semester in April 2010. Thomas is a native of Idaho, where he attended Logos School, one of Petra’s sister institutions in the ACCS. Thomas enjoys languages, preferably dead, and he collects books, preferably rare. Thomas holds degrees in English literature and classical studies from the University of Idaho.

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    Kyle DeVerna

    Algebra I (8th grade), Algebra 2 (10th grade), Trigonometry (11th grade), Chemistry (11th grade), Calculus (12th grade)

    Mr. DeVerna began teaching at Petra in 2011. He came to Montana in the summer of 2010 to work as a counselor at Clydehurst Christian Ranch. Besides acquiring a love for Montana while working at Clydehurst, Mr. DeVerna also acquired a love for Miss Alyssa Jackson and they were married December, 2011. Kyle enjoys hiking, “pretty much anything outdoors in the mountains”, exercising, running, swimming, reading, and watching movies with friends. Mr. DeVerna holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Virginia Military Institute, Lynchburg, Virginia.

  • Owens, Ginny

    Ginny Owens

    Violin (1st, 2nd & 3rd), Humanities (8th), Rhetoric I (11th), Rhetoric II (12)

    Miss Owens began teaching at Petra in 2013. Ginny has her undergraduate degree (B.A.) in Violin Performance from Bob Jones University, and a graduate degree (M.A.) in English Literature from Wayne State University. Upon graduating from Wayne State, Ginny was employed as an adjunct professor in the English Department of University of Detroit Mercy where she taught rhetoric and composition. Ginny has played violin and piano since she was a young girl, and even played the oboe at one point! She has taught violin, piano, and viola since 2004. Ginny loves to read, especially anything by C.S. Lewis and British literature in general, and apologetics. She comes to us from the Metro Detroit area. She likes art museums, symphonies, opera, photography, hiking, theater, cats, cooking, and drinking tea and coffee.

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    Becky McCotter

    7th & 8th Grade Music, Ensemble

    Mrs. McCotter joins the staff of Petra Academy this year. She attended Bethel College (St. Paul, MN) and MSU-Billings (Eastern Montana College) where she obtained a Bachelor of Science in Education. Becky has taught, and led choirs, in Montana, Texas, and Missouri, as well as in both Thailand and Germany where her husband Fred was serving in the military. She and Fred have homeschooled their six grown children. Mrs. McCotter presently serves as a musician at the Tinsley House (Museum of the Rockies), and at Grace Bible Church and Gallatin Gateway Community Church. She has also recently led a band at Gallatin Gateway School. She teaches many private students locally in a variety of disciplines including piano, voice, harp, guitar and violin. She and Fred also operate a family business – Hyland Skye Fibers, featuring handcrafted leather and fiber items.

  • Schreibeis, Ashley

    Ashley Schreibeis

    Spanish 1 & 2

    Mrs. Schreibeis joined our Petra staff this fall. Ashley actually learned Spanish using the same text we are using at Petra. She holds a bachelor’s in Communication Studies from U. of Texas at Austin and is studying presently for her master’s in Social Work from Boston University, via online studies. She has also taught for two years, in Spanish, in the Dominican Republic. Ashley and her husband, Joe, welcomed a baby boy in January.

     

  • Denison, Eli

    Elias Denison

    Theater Director, Fine Arts-Drama

    Mr. Denison began directing the theater program at Petra in 2012. His passion for theater began in high school as an actor on stage in several main stage productions and various children’s programs until graduation. He attended Montana Wilderness School of the Bible, graduating from their one year program in 2008 and served on staff with the school for the following three years directing the traveling drama program and expanding their summer camp program. After moving to Bozeman in 2011, he enrolled as a part-time student at Montana Bible College to continue his studies. Mr. Denison also works full-time at City Brew Coffee as the assistant manager for the store by Kohls.

    His other passions and interests include traveling, mission work, rock climbing, biking, hiking, and falling asleep in the sun underneath a tree while reading a good book.

  • sukut-hope

    Hope Sukut

    Operations Manager

    Mrs. Sukut has worn about every hat there is to wear at Petra Academy. She has served in several staff and volunteer positions since joining the school as a teacher in 1999. Presently, Hope serves as our Operations Manager, overseeing the business affairs of Petra Academy. She and her husband Brian have seen two of their four children graduate from Petra as well as one foreign exchange student. The youngest Sukut daughter, Shadiah, will graduate in 2018! Hope expresses her gratitude for the Christ-shaping influence in her life and family that they have known at Petra.

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    Karen DeGroot

    Administrative Assistant


    Mrs. DeGroot has been helping Petra Academy keep its office in order since 2007. Karen and her husband Tad have three daughters. The eldest is a Petra alumna who graduated from York College in 2012, the middle is a 2012 Petra graduate currently attending Warner Pacific, and the youngest is a senior at Petra! Karen’s other work experiences include work as a travel agent, an office assistant in the Human Resource Development Council (HRDC), and church office secretary from 1990-2011. She began working full-time at Petra in 2011. Karen was a homeschool mom for 12 years, and a “sports mom”, who was very involved in the local Christian homeschool sports program. She is involved with church activities including leadership with the GEMS Girls’ program. Karen was born and raised right here in the Gallatin Valley. She enjoys doing various handcrafts, gardening and camping. Spending time with her family is treasured.

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    Tosha Bos

    Bookkeeper

    Mrs. Bos joined our staff this year as a part-time bookkeeper. She has also been working to help get our library in smooth working order. Tosha grew up just down the road in Manhattan and attended college both at Montana State University and Capernwray Bible School. Since marrying Kent in 1997, Tosha has been keeping books for the family’s dairy business and trucking company. She and her husband also own an office fragrancing company. Kent and Tosha have been blessed with three children, all of whom attend the grammar school at Petra. Tosha is thrilled to live “in the country” where she has room to let her garden sprawl and she can practice trial-and-error landscaping. She also loves finding the next great camping spot and reading brilliant literature.