Christian Studies (11th & 12th Grade Boys), Entrepreneurship & Business Math
I have been involved with Excel Christian School for the past 6 years, in a variety of positions including bus driver, maintenance, teacher of communications, Christian Studies and Business Math. This involvement comes from having 13 children, 12 of which were adopted and needing a better environment for them to be successful in their education. It has been an amazing experience to watch not only my children grow because of their involvement at this school, but to watch the students and actual school grow over the years.
Christian Studies (9th & 10th Grade Boys) & Study Hall
I was born and raised in New Orleans, LA. I graduated from Sarah T. Reed High School. I enlisted into the U.S. Marine Corps in September of 1992, where I met my wife LTCMDR Banks R. who is in the Navy working at the NAS in Fallon. I served my country for 20 years and retired in 2012 after finding out we were expecting twin boys. I became a stay at home dad to raise my sons while my wife continued her Navy career. During this time I became the Youth Pastor at the Sanctuary of Jacksonville and Attended North Carolina College of Theology for my Associates and Bachelors in Biblical Studies. I’m currently working on my Masters and plan to follow that with a Bachelor in Logistics. My Marine Corps career has afforded me the opportunity to live and serve all over the nation. From the Young Marines Program in New Orleans to San Diego Christian Worship Center, to Abundant life Church in Chicago, to Western Branch Community Church, to the Sanctuary of Jacksonville to Excel Christian School.
My name is Linda Brannon. I am very blessed to be a part of this exciting school! I have been at Excel since 2011; I first taught music at the elementary level and then moved over to the middle school as the 7th & 8th grade Christian Studies teacher. Besides teaching, I am the Worship Adviser for Excel’s worship team and the bookkeeper.
I have served as a worship leader for over 12 years, served as a children’s choir director, taught Sunday school youth and adult classes, and served as women’s ministries director; ministering to women for over 20 years.
I have been happily married to Michael for 39 years, have 3 wonderful grown children and 4 awesome grandchildren, 1 of which I am blessed to see every day here at Excel.
American History, Christian Studies (11th & 12th Grade Girls), Leadership, On Course & Reading for Pleasure
My name is Shirley Carr. I have been here at Excel Christian School for three years now and am honored to teach here. I graduated from Concordia University, Irvine and am in my 16th year of teaching. I have taught Middle School and High School English and History in La Verne, CA, Salem, OR, Bothell, WA and Apex, NC. My husband Dave and I have been married for 26 years and have three wonderful kids. Chloe is 21 and a senior at East Carolina University. Katelyn graduated from Excel in 2017 and is a freshman at Concordia University, Irvine. Our son David is a sophomore in high school. I felt led by God to be here, and I love every day I get to teach the kids here at Excel!
Lisa Cross currently serves as the principal, having been one of the founding staff members of Excel Christian School in 2003. She is passionate about Christian education.
Bachelor of Science in Education – The University of Nevada, Reno
Masters of Science in Education (Professional Development) at Walden University
Association of Christian Schools International – Administrator Certification
24 years of classroom teaching experience
8 years of experience in administration
Accomplishments and Interests:
She has been happily married for 35 years to her husband, Jack. He is a chief engineer for Sierra Nevada Corporation and is an avid supporter of Excel.
She sees her greatest accomplishment as being the mother of four amazing children who are now successful adults who serve both God and the community. Lisa likes to joke that her family is their own “career day” because in addition to education and engineering, her children represent the fields of law, military service, physical therapy and accounting. Three of her children are alumni of Excel and they all continue to support the school in a variety of ways.
Over the years she has held numerous leadership positions at church, including prayer ministry and children’s ministries.
She served as an educational consultant to a state-level denomination for three years, during which time she traveled throughout Nevada teaching church personnel how to be better educators.
Traveling is one of her passions, and she has been blessed to visit more than 20 countries and 45 states. She grew up the daughter of a naval officer, which meant that she moved so often that that she hesitates to answer the question, “Where are you from originally?” God sent her to Nevada in 1980, and she is proud to call this beautiful state home.
Christian Studies (9th & 10th Grade Girls), College English, Psychology & Child Development
- Born and raised in the Midwest (Nebraska) Go Huskers!
- Have four grown children with families of their own
- Have 13 grandchildren
- I have been a Christian for over 38 years
I am extremely blessed to be teaching at Excel and love encouraging and motivating students to achieve all they can and to live their lives for the Lord.
- 9th & 10th Grade Christian Studies
- 8th Grade English
- 11-12th Grade Dual Credit Class (Multnomah University)
- Child Development/Psychology (Honors)
- Bachelor of Science in Human Services – University of Phoenix
- Masters in Marriage and Family Counseling – Liberty University
- Practicum and Internship at Children’s Cabinet
Achievements and Accomplishments:
- Ordained Pastor’s License through Foursquare International Church
- Adjunct Professor – Multnomah University
- Set the vision and Lead Women’s Ministry for over 20 years
- Developed and set the vision for Singles Ministry for over 10 years
- Helped to plant a church in Sparks, NV in 2010
- Have traveled on mission trips to India, Estonia, Norway, Amsterdam, and Mexico
Mrs. Denson is a Reno native who is married to our head football coach. Together they have 5 beautiful children, a daughter who has two boys of her own, and four boys who attend Excel. She loves Excel because she feels completely supported by those who walk in the same faith, and she is passionate about “being the change we want to see in the world.” As our school librarian, she excels at encouraging children to love books.
A graduate of TMCC (AA degree in both English and Criminal Justice), she is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Nevada, Reno in Criminal Justice and Creative Writing. She loves learning and enjoys being a role model to younger students. In 2012 she went on a mission trip to Uganda, Africa where she learned how to see and feel God’s love with people of other cultures.
Mrs. Denson looks forward to time with your children this year in the library and might even see you on the football field cheering on the Warriors!
Algebra I & Geometry
Hi! My name is Ellen Glavin. My admiration for Excel began with my husband. He is an Excel Alumni that graduated in 2006. Excel helped add to the foundation of my husband’s faith in the Lord. When our son reached the age of kindergarten, it was a unanimous decision to have him attend Excel. After just one year of our son attending this school, I realized all the amazing things God is doing here. I knew I wanted to be a part of it, too! After much prayer and seeking the Lord, He led me to go into education.
I graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno in 2013 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. Throughout my student career, I realized my love and excitement for numbers in math. By taking the classes required for my degree, I saw the many applications math has in the real world, specifically in business.
My education career began here in 2016. As a new teacher, I have much to learn! I consider myself someone who takes constructive criticism well and enjoys utilizing my problem-solving skills. I am blessed to have so many here that are willing to help this new teacher grow and learn!
I graduated from the University of Nevada Reno with my Bachelor’s degree in Animal Science with additional coursework in advanced math, nutrition, anatomy & physiology and immunology. Most of my experience in that field was gained prior to my graduation in 2003 as a clinical veterinary technician, herd health technician and laboratory animal research technician. I get to share all that I have learned in college and in life with my students. Most don’t believe me when I tell them about the different jobs I’ve had!
I got saved as a young adult, right out of high school. When life “got real”, I realized there was more to being a Christian than I thought. By God’s grace, He allowed some significant trials to impact my life. Through those I made the transition from salvation to surrender, the decision to surrender ALL of me to Him and His will for my life.
That journey is what lead me to teach at Excel. I’ve been here since 2005, and I believe in the mission, vision and core values we teach our kids. Our academic core classes can be found at other schools, but what sets Excel apart is our starting point: God’s Word. All of the life at Excel flows from that wellspring of living water.
I’m married to Kenny, who is an assistant coach for Excel’s football. We have three daughters: two of whom are alumni of Excel and one who is a member of the class of 2021! I enjoy horseback riding, 4-wheeling, and hanging out with my family. I’ve also served on the board of directors since 2010 and have watched God’s hand move mightily to bring us to the journey Excel is on today.
My passion is to witness a transformation of a student’s thought process–what I call “light-bulb” moments–especially when the subject is one with which they’ve struggled and are convinced they cannot do. I consider it a privilege to meet each student where they are academically and walk with them to bring them where they never thought they could go.
High School Art Teacher
David says working at Excel has been, “a wonderful experience developing student talents and skills. What I have realized over the last 8 years is that all students have potential, and with encouragement and commitment, anything is possible!”
A professional entertainer, David studied acting in college and has performed in theaters across the United States and around the world, recently returning from a 7-month engagement in the West End of London and then on tour in the UK. He is a variety musician who plays the alto saxophone, trumpet, clarinet, trombone, piano, drums, guitar, mandolin, and banjo.
His artistic skills include major exhibitions in Reno and art displays in Las Vegas. He teaches at a local Paint and Sip, sharing with adults and children his expertise in starting and producing artwork they can appreciate and be inspired to continue creating.
Biology, Environmental Science & Algebra I
Mrs. Kovach has worked in Christian education for 20 years as a teacher and administrator. She loves to teach science and math from a Biblical worldview standpoint to help students gain insight into how God designed the Creation to glorify Him. She believes in getting her students outside the classroom for experiential activities which enhance concepts they are learning in the classroom.
Mrs. Gail Kovach has lived in the Reno Sparks community for over thirty-five years with her husband Dan. They have one son, Timothy, born and raised here. He attended a Christian school through 10th grade which helped build a strong foundation in Biblical truths and contributed to his success in school and the business world. She loves getting outdoors with her husband and dogs, hiking, skiing, and kayaking. Gardening and reading also help her relax after a day of teaching. She earned her Bachelor Science Degree from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo and is an active member of the Cornerstone, Sparks Foursquare Church.
Government, Economics & World History
I am a Wisconsin native, and had the pleasure of growing up appreciating the outdoor life. Being one of eight kids, fishing, hunting, boating and camping were a daily adventure. My parents had spent a number of years as business owners, and that’s where I caught the entrepreneurial bug. We moved to the Northern California area in the early 70’s. After high school, I studied business management & architecture in college, which led to my wife and I starting a number of successful businesses that allowed us to travel throughout the United States.
We moved to Sparks in 2005 to help “plant” Horizon Christian Church. In 2011, I retired from the business world and began a career in Christian education at Excel!
I have a passion for preparing our students for life beyond high school and enjoy seeing them grow and flourish in our environment.
Toni and I have been married since 1979. In 1995 we were blessed with our son Nate, a graduate of Excel’s Class of 2014. He is majoring in Business Management at William Jessup University in Rocklin, CA and will graduate in 2019.
I enjoy my free time traveling, reading, photography, grilling, fishing, gardening and visiting any lake, river, ocean I am able to!
My name is Monica Orozco. I am the Spanish II teacher here at Excel. I graduated from Excel Christian School in 2014 and I am currently a student at the University of Nevada, Reno. I will be graduating this December with my bachelors in psychology, minoring in Chinese and Spanish. I am also and assistant instructor for the after school martial arts program for elementary students. I also enjoy learning about culture and languages, and I love to spread the knowledge that I have gained in the martial arts to those willing to learn.
I was born in Waterford, Michigan and grew up attending a Lutheran church. I dedicated my life to following Christ when I was twenty four years old. Now my family and I attend Summit Christian Church in Sparks.
My education includes Bachelor of Science in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Michigan State University as well as Master of Science in Mathematics Education from Oregon State University. Working at Excel and fulfilling different responsibilities gives me an opportunity to make a positive impact on the lives of students. Serving Excel families is a blessing.
I have been married for twenty three years and have three children with my lovely wife Fran. My free time is occupied with hiking, camping and traveling with my family.
I was born and raised in California. Joined the Army out of high school and spent seven years on active duty in North Carolina with the 82nd Airborne Division. I left the Army as a Staff Sergeant in charge of an Airborne Infantry Platoon.
After a bit of a vacation from the Army life I went to work for the Oakland California Police Department. I spent 21 years there. I worked a number of assignments to include Patrol, Detectives, SWAT and K-9. Of some significance, I spent some time as a “robbery decoy” wherein I played a “victim” in high crime areas allowing myself to be robbed by ne’re-do-wells. It was an entertaining time to say the least.
After I retired and took a job as a Police Officer with a small Federal agency here in Reno. I currently work for that agency as the Chief of Police.
I have been married for twenty-six years and have two children. I enjoy firearms training and powerlifting. I currently teach the Police Science class at Excel.
American Sign Language
I was born in Peoria, Illinois and spent my Pre-K year there. Later on, my family moved all over the US as my father was a church rebuilder. I have loved Jesus for as long as I can remember. My education includes Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Developmental Disabilities, Master of Arts in Educational Psychology, as well as a Nation Board Certified Counselor. God brought me to Excel and it has been such a blessing to be able to use my skill set. I am married and have one son, who attends Excel Christian. My hobbies include reading and organizing.
School Nurse, Health & Electives
I was raised in beautiful Jackson Hole, Wyoming and graduated from the Practical Nursing program at Sheridan College, Wyoming in 1981. Since that time, I have had numerous opportunities to build programs from the beginning to fruition. I’ve held nursing positions in home care, immunology, geriatrics and pediatrics. Though working a school setting was never on my radar, God had different plans. During the 2012-2013 School Year, I was the “Lunch Lady” at Legacy, and was fortunate that Excel had a vision for a school nurse. I started at Excel in 2013.
This will be my sixth year at Excel and my fifth teaching Health at the High School level. While this course is required for all Nevada high school graduates, and I do take it very seriously, I try to have fun with the class, to make sure each student feels care for, and I tailor the instruction somewhat to the needs and concerns of each class. Students know I’m not afraid to answer any question!
I married my husband, Ted, in 1997 and relocated to Reno. I brought two sons to our marriage, and they are both grown and married themselves. Together, Ted and I have two children, both of whom are in high school at Excel (class of 2020 and 2022!).
I have been a church-goer all my life and accepted the Lord at the age of 10, and I’ve had many opportunities to renew my commitment to Him during my life. My family worships at Summit Christian Church.
I was born and raised in Gardnerville, NV and attended the University of Montana in Missoula. I graduated with a degree in Recreation Management. That is also where I met my wife of 11 years now. We have 2 boys and have lived in Sparks for 11 years.
I am also the founder and director of Northern Nevada Sports and Recreation which uses Excel for many of our youth and adult sports programs and childcare camps. I started NNSR 6 years ago when the YMCA (my previous employer) closed in the Northern Nevada area.
I am very blessed to have a great relationship with Excel. So much so they asked me to teach high school P.E. 3 years ago. I thoroughly enjoy teaching at Excel and being around campus more. It has been a great experience teaching, and I am constantly learning what it takes to be a good teacher.
My name is Alexis Turner and I am so pleased to be joining the Excel team this year as the photography teacher! I have been studying and practicing photography since the age of 13 and have had my own photography business since 2006. I used to shoot primarily weddings but have switched gears to mostly family, newborn, school, and event photography.
I have been married to my amazing husband Ricky for 16 years. We have 4 children, 3 of whom will be attending Excel again this year.
I believe in the arts as an important piece of giving kids a well-rounded education and as a tool to give them confidence and a healthy outlet for self-expression. I am so excited to see THEM get excited as they pursue the arts and learn a craft; to see their faces light up and their confidence grow as they learn and create.