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Berean Faculty and Staff

Bethany Elston


Mrs. Elston graduated Summa Cum Laude from Texas A&M in 2006. She earned her Masters in Academic Administration in 2011 and has worked in education for the last 12 years. She was employed by Belton ISD and Katy ISD before becoming a homeschool mom. She spent 3 years teaching Algebra in Katy ISD and has spent the last 6 years studying Classical Education and Curriculum as a member of the local classical community.


Bethany lives in Katy and has been married to her husband, Todd Elston, for 11 years and together they are raising their 3 children - Gavin (8), Wesley (5) and Selah (3).  She is interested in swimming, reading, playing in the dirt, and camping - among other things! Most of all she is a strong believer in Jesus Christ and simply cannot get enough of His Holy Word. BCA is blessed by the experience and passion Bethany brings to our wonderful school!

Jessica Birkmire

Business Administrator 

Mrs. Birkmire graduated with a degree in Communications from Texas A&M University (2000), received her Master’s in Education Administration (2010) and is currently certified by the State of Texas as a Principal Grades EC-12.  She has 15+ years of teaching experience and holds a teaching certificate in Language Arts/Reading & Social Studies 4-8 and Speech grades 8-12.  She and her husband Joe have five sons who range from two to twelve years old.  Jessica believes her passion for education comes from the Lord who continues to give her opportunities to serve Him.  She and her family have been involved with BCA for many years.  BCA has been a blessing to Jessica’s family!

Christina Neumann

Office Administrator

Christina Neumann graduated from the University of Houston, Summa Cum Laude in 2004.  She began her teaching career soon after.  She has 15+ years of teaching experience in an array of schools: public, inner city, private, and classical.  After the birth of her second child she had the privilege of becoming a stay at home mom for 5 years.  God provided the wonderful opportunity to teach at a classical Christian school in the area last year where her children attended.  Although she enjoyed being back in the classroom she felt that she was called to serve in other ways within a school.  An encourager and task oriented person at heart, she is so excited to have the opportunity to come on board at Berean working as an Office Assistant!  


Christina and her husband Ken, along with their 3 children, live in the Cypress area where her husband is the pastor of their church.  They are looking forward to becoming a part of the BCA family!

Sarah Head

Website and Marketing Coordinator 

Sarah Head grew up just north of Houston in Spring, Texas and graduated from Texas A&M in 2000 with a degree in Mathematics and a minor in Sociology. She worked for an HR Outsourcing company for several years before deciding to stay at home with her 3 boys. Sarah and her husband, Vim have live in Katy since 2011 with their three sons.  The Heads are members of Church of the King where they both serve faithfully. Two of her boys attend Berean Christian Academy and she is honored to serve the school that has been such a blessing to her family!  

Caitlin Maxey

Junior Kindergarten

Originally from East Tennessee, Caitlin has always had a passion for teaching and investing in the next generation, and even had the opportunity to co-teach with a Montessori trained teacher with 4 and 5 year olds throughout her college years. Caitlin later became the Preschool Programs for Children with Disabilities teacher in La Grange, TX, before moving to Katy, where she was a Special Education Resource Teacher with Katy ISD for three years. Caitlin has happily spent the last four years as a stay at home mommy to her precious children. 


The Lord moved in mighty ways this past year to bring BCA into the life of Caitlin’s family and she is thrilled to have the opportunity to use her passions for learning through play and for sharing the gospel with our children to teach Junior Kindergarten! She is equally as thrilled that her two oldest will be at BCA, as well! 

Caitlin has been married to her husband, Mark, for ten years, and together they are raising their three beautiful children: Eleanor, Huck, and Lucy. Caitlin loves to knit, curl up with a soft blanket and a good book, and spend copious amounts of time outside watching her kids play. 

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Nicole Black


Mrs. Black knew at a young age she wanted to have a career in education. She attended Texas State University and after graduating in 2005 she began working in Hays CISD where she taught 2nd grade, 3rd grade, and dyslexia intervention. In 2013 the Lord blessed Mrs. Black and her husband with their first son. After much prayer, she left teaching to be a stay at home mom and her family moved to Katy. During her time at home, Mrs. Black served as a children’s leader at Bible Study Fellowship and in various roles within her church.


Mrs. Black has been married to her husband for 9 years and they have two boys. She is passionate about God, His Word, and carrying out the Great Commission. Mrs. Black considers it a privilege and an honor to pour God’s Word into children raising them up as disciples who follow Jesus!

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Debbie Shoquist grew up attending the Catholic Church in Wisconsin and recently moved to Katy from East Texas. The Lord found Mrs. Shoquist "floundering" as a freshman in College which began a wonderful journey!  Mrs. Shoquist loves children and has raised five of her own, one son and four daughters, all happily married and blessing her with 14 grandchildren!


Mrs. Shoquist has spent most of her years teaching Sunday School, children's Church, Choir, VBS, Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts and serving as a Pre-school director at her Church. Additionally, Mrs. Shoquist has 12 years teaching experience in 3rd, 2nd, and Kindergarten in public school. Mrs. Shoquist recently joined the church and choir at Second Baptist Church in Katy and looks forward to teaching in a Christian School where God can be freely honored and glorified!

Cara Kneisly

First Grade

Cara Kneisly was born in Houston, Texas and raised in Porter.  She's as Texas as they come!  After high school, she attended Stephen F. Austin State University graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Education.  She met her wonderful husband, Craig, while teaching at Houston ISD.  He began to get a little worried, because he didn't understand why she devoted so much time and energy to "a bunch of kids who were not even her own." He soon began to realize that if he wanted her in his life that 22 children were part of the deal too.  So he embraced the challenge.  They have been married for 20 years now and they have two wonderful children, (their own) and only 10 extra school children each year now.


Cara loves children of all ages.  If you ask her which grade she enjoys the most, she can't give you an answer.  She would teach the whole school if she could squeeze it into her schedule. 

Christi Elkins

2nd Grade

Mrs. Elkins completed her Program at Delta State with High Honors and with commendations in Reading, Social Studies and Music among others. Her college Philosophy of Education Program is one of the best in the country in the Kagan model of cooperative learning having its roots in the Liberal Arts/Classical Tradition.


She has over a decade of teaching experience 2nd-8th grade in both Public and Private Schools. She has attained special endorsements (K-12) in Classroom instruction (all subjects), Reading and Literature, and History. She has advanced training/certifications in Writing and Composition as an integrative approach, differentiated instruction, and teaching students with diverse educational needs. She regularly teaches Sunday School classes for Children at her Church where her family attends.

Amy Peeples

3rd Grade

"It is an honor to teach at a school where we can proclaim the name of Jesus!  It is my prayer and hope that we honor Him in all that we do this year!  Our classroom verse this year will be Colossians 3:23 “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, and not for human masters”.  This verse will be the backbone of all we do.  May we dedicate each day to Him and glorify Him in our learning, discussions, and in our work ethic!!"


Mrs. Peeples is originally from Katy and a graduate of Baylor University with a Bachelor of Science in Education.  She taught both 2nd and 3rd grades in Fort Bend ISD and Katy ISD for several years before staying home.  She is an active volunteer at her church, Second Baptist Church.  She has taught 4 year old Sunday School for the past 4 years and also lead 2 and 3 year old praise and worship.  She truly believes that the Lord led her family to Berean the last few years and is thrilled that He has called her back to the classroom. 


"It is my desire that the Lord will use me to motivate, encourage, challenge, and love each of your students this year!  I am thrilled that you have given me the opportunity to teach your precious kiddos."

4th Grade

Christina Saenz graduated from Texas Tech University with a Bachelor of Arts in Advertising (1992) and a Master of Education (1997).  She taught third grade in Katy ISD for several years before deciding to stay home to raise a family.

While serving the Lord in the Children’s program of Bible Study Fellowship for the last 6 years, Mrs. Saenz realized that God was slowly preparing her heart to go back into teaching.  After prayerfully searching for just the right place for herself, God led her to Berean Christian Academy.  Mrs. Saenz looks forward to not only educating the next generation, but most importantly, sharing the love of Christ with her students.

Mrs. Saenz lives in Katy with her wonderful husband, David.  They have been married for 20 years, and have three children, Ethan, Isabella, and Jonathan.  They are members of Grace Fellowship UMC.

Monica Kilgore

5th Grade

Mrs. Kilgore was born and raised in Yorktown, Texas, a very small town in south central Texas.  She was raised by parents with strong Christian values and they did all they could to instill those values in their children. Monica graduated from high school in 1976 and attended Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas majoring in elementary education with a minor in reading. After graduation in 1980, she began working in Fort Bend I.S.D. and remained with the district for thirty-three years.  In 2013, she retired from public education, but after so many years in the suburbs she felt called to teach in an inner city Catholic school. 


The only drawback was an hour (and often an hour and a half) commute every day at which time she decided she needed to be closer to her home in Richmond. God does what God does best; He led her to just where she needed to be and brought her to BCA.  “Communication with parents and helping each child to grow academically, emotionally, and knowing that the love of Christ will take us everywhere we need to be is the heart of what I do."  

Chelsea Denzler

Math and Language Specialist

Chelsea Denzler is an educator of the humanities. She holds an A.A in Liberal Arts for Lonestar College, B.A. from Houston Baptist University in Great Texts, which is Ancient to Medieval History and Literature studies, and an M.A. from Villanova University in Classical Studies with a focus in Latin. She has taught a variety of subjects at the secondary and college level including: Ancient and Medieval History, Religion, Logic, English, Latin, Spanish, and Music. Mrs. Denzler is currently enrolled in an online seminary program to study Apologetics with Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

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Chris Naumann

Art Instruction and 6th Grade Integrative Literature

Mr. Naumann has 15+ years experience teaching, leading and working in art. He has worked as a graphic designer and illustrator. He also has lead workshops in literature, art and humanities. He has degrees in Applied Art, Graphic Illustration and Christian Discipleship.

Jeff Wyers

Logic School

Father of four grown children. Graduate of Houston Baptist University with B/S in Psychology and Christianity. M-Div from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Pastor of "The Church at Tree Lake in Waco, Texas. Saved by the Grace of God and always in awe of the fact.

Director of Physical Education and Ready Body Learning Minds

Laura Thompson (aka Coach T) is the Physical Education coach at Berean Christian Academy. Mrs. Thompson graduated from Texas A&M University. She received her teaching certification in 2007, but decided to focus on raising her two children Ben and June. In 2015 she had the opportunity to develop a P.E. program and Running Club at her son's school. 


She loves integrating biblical character study into her curriculum to teach the kids how to build confidence both spiritually and physically. The Thompson family lives in Richmond and are very involved at Waypoint Church where Laura leads the Women's Discipleship ministry. She is currently pursuing an MA Degree at Dallas Theology Seminary in Biblical Counseling & Theology.  She is excited to run this race in obedience for the Lord with eyes fixed on Jesus. She loves to spend family time at their ranch in Navasota where their family raises pastured lamb and beef. They enjoy gardening, spending time with family who all live nearby, going on bike rides, and having random dance parties in the kitchen. 

She is thrilled to be a part of the BCA family!

Music Instructor

Jackie Risinger grew up in Houston and attended the same small Christian school from Kindergarten through 12th Grade.  She and her husband, Mark first met each other in that school when she was in the 9th Grade and he was in the 11th Grade.  They now live in Katy with their three children, all of whom proudly attend Berean Christian Academy.  Jackie received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology from Baylor University and a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Texas A&M University.  After only a very brief time spent practicing, she and Mark decided to restructure their lives so that she could be a stay-at-home mom instead, a decision which they have all found to be incredibly rewarding.  The Risingers are members of West Houston Bible Church where they have attended for the past seven years.  Both Mark and Jackie serve regularly in their church in different capacities.  Jackie is grateful for the privilege of serving the wonderful students of Berean Christian Academy every week!  She hopes and prays her class will be enjoyable for the students, and that she can point them back to God as they learn about His gift of music.

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*Thank you, Lifetime of Clicks Photographyfor providing our faculty photos.  
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