Claire Fugit


Background: Mrs. Fugit has both a Bachelor of Science and a Master’s of Science in
Elementary Education. She has served in some capacity in the area of
education for over 30 years. She spent most of her career with the Mesa Public Schools, but has also taught in Maryland and Illinois. She has taught
kindergarten, first and second grades. As a district based employee for the Mesa district, Mrs. Fugit was assigned to the Career Ladder program where she coached teachers in the improvement of student achievement. Her other assignments included the coordination of the Mentor program, the Teachers New to Teaching program as well as the All Kids Are Gifted summer program for students who may be at risk. Mrs. Fugit also served as a coach to teams of teachers from around the state for the Arizona Department of Education.

My favorite subject in school was: Reading. I grew up in a small town and
devoured books during the summer from our small library.

My favorite Bible verse is: Psalm 46:10 “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

My family members are my husband Brian. Two sons – Ryan and Aaron,
Daughter-in- law – Calypso and grandson Tanner (and another grandchild on the
Something fun about me is that I collect stuffed bears!!

Troy Schmidt

Senior Pastor Gethsemane Lutheran Church and School

Background: Undergraduate work was done at Concordia University in Austin Texas. Graduate work was done at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis Missouri. I have been a pastor for over 10 years and at Gethsemane serving as Senior Pastor for the last 7.

My family includes: Wife - Cristy, two daughters - Haley and Avery, one dog - Ginger

My favorite subject in school was: During school, recess was the best, but my favorite subject was probably math because I enjoyed working through the problems.

A Bible verse I turn to time and time again is: Psalm 139

Something fun you don’t know about me is: I have mastered the art of the perfect grilled cheese sandwich - just ask my girls.

Kristina Arnold

Organizational Administrator

My job is to:
In my role I am responsible for any business related items, including all accounting, finance, and HR. I also oversee any maintenance and facilities operations.

I love my job because:
I love the people and the community at Gethsemane. We are a very diverse group of people, but come together in our mission.

I graduated from ASU with a Bachelors of Finance and worked in the Hospitality industry as an Assistant Director of Finance for 12 years. I started at GLC in May 2014.

A Bible verse I turn to time and time again is:
1 Corinthians 12:12 The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body.

Something fun you don’t know about me is:
I played trombone in the ASU Marching Band in college… Go Devils!

Cindy Arnold

Admissions Coordinator

After 20+ years in the education field, I'm happy to be a member of the Gethsemane Lutheran School family. I have a BA in Elementary Education, an MA in Curriculum Design and Instruction, and an SEI (Structured English Immersion) endorsement. I've taught at the elementary and high school level, in addition to working in adult education. I've traveled all over the world, and have lived in Japan and Sicily. Before moving to Chandler, I lived in Tucson and worked with a post-degree teacher certification program. My husband, Bob, and I have two sons (Tony and Eric), two special daughters-in-law (Kristina and Cellen), and four fantastically smart grandchildren! (Emie, Robert, Anthony, and Dominick) My favorites? Cruising, crafts, and family ... not in that order!

Caitlin Brooks

Administrative Assistant

Background: I graduated from Concordia University Nebraska in 2015 with a degree in Psychology and Christian Education.

My family includes: My husband Brandon and our dogs Lexi & Kimbo

My favorite subject in school was: Science. I loved learning about how things in the world work.

A Bible verse I turn to time and time again is: Micah 6:8 "He has shown you oh mortal what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

Something fun you don’t know about me is: I love the outdoors! Camping, hiking, and kayaking are a few of my favorite things to do!

Cristal Medina

Early Preschool Orange Teacher

I have been teaching at Gethsemane for thirteen years in the two year old room because I love little children. I am a Christian who loves sharing Jesus with my little students.

I am an Arizona native. I graduated from Marcos DeNiza that is just down the street. My family and I love hiking and going to the various festivals that are available during the year. My three boys enjoy being outside in the beautiful Arizona sunshine.

Cheryl Rogers

Preschool Red

Background: I was born and raised in beautiful Santa Barbara, CA. After graduating from high school in 1977, I attended Santa Barbara City College and began teaching at Community Christian Preschool at the same time. I then married the love of my life, Paul, in 1978. We moved to Tempe and joined GLC in 1982 and began working at the preschool. I went back to school and later earned an Associate of Early Childhood Education from Central Arizona College. I took a few years off to stay home with my children and returned later to work in Children's Ministries at Bethany Community Church and taught preschool at Epiphany Lutheran in Chandler for 3 years. I returned to Gethsemane in 1995 and have been teaching preschool 3's ever since.

I have three amazing grown children which all graduated from ASU and live nearby. Both my son Josh and daughter Katie are RN's for local hospitals and my son Andy is an engineer. I have four grandchildren with another on the way.

When I am not working, I enjoy caring for my barnyard friends. We have horses, a mule, goats, a donkey, ducks, chickens 2 dogs and a cat. I enjoy trail riding and driving our pony and cart. I also enjoy gardening and many other outdoor activities (hiking, bike riding, sailing, kayaking and swimming). My other interests include musical theater, playing piano, ukulele and singing. My husband I also enjoy traveling and we love going to Disneyland as often as possible.

I have been a Christian ever since I was a small child. My faith in God is strong and God has helped me through many difficult times. He has also blessed me beyond measure with a wonderful family and friends. I am also thankful to have a job where I can share my love for Jesus with my young students everyday! Every morning God puts a song of joy in my heart!

Scarlet Johnson

Preschool Yellow

I have been working in the classroom for 4 years now. I started teaching as an assistant in Pre-K at the East Valley JCC and was promoted to lead teacher after receiving their Teacher of the Year award. I have attended
multiple Conscious Discipline courses taught by Dianna Brown as well as Early Childhood Development
classes around the valley. I will be continuing my Early Childhood Education at MCC this fall.

Other Subjects or Extra Curriculars: Miss Scarlet is also the lead Children's Ministry teacher at Gethsemane Lutheran Church.

My family includes:
My Husband, Benjamin, and our two dogs; Schatze and Berkley

My favorite subject in school was: Science. I particularly enjoyed Astronomy and Earth Science because I love
to explore and discover new things that God created for us on and around our Earth.

A Bible verse I turn to time and time again is:
Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

Something fun you don’t know about me is:
I used to be a Ballerina. In my spare time I enjoy camping and adventuring around Arizona. I also enjoy going to the Ballet.

Bonnie Braselton

Pre-Kindergarten & Lead Preschool Teacher

Masters in Early Childhood Education
20 years preschool special education teacher Kyrene District
7 years preschool special education teacher in Illinois

My family includes: Husband- Terry, Son- Matthew (daughter-in-law Kristie), Daughter-Rebekah (son-in-law Chad)
Granddaughters: Bethany, Harper, Shiloh
Grandsons: Benjamin, Judah, Wesley

My favorite subject in school was:
Art. I loved being creative.

A Bible verse I turn to time and time again is:
Philippians 4:6-7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Something fun you don’t know about me is:
Gerald Ford shook my hand at my college graduation.

Laraine Lyons

Kindergarten/1st Grade

Background: I have been a first and second grade teacher for 25 years at Booker T Washington Elementary School in Mesa and love teaching young children. I have an exciting year planned for the young ones with a "Wild Animals" theme.

My family includes: I have been married to Tim for 40 years and we have two wonderful married children, Lesley and Tim. They and their spouses have each presented us with granddaughters...Cameron and Alexandra.

My favorite subject in school was:

A Bible verse I turn to time and time again is:

Something fun you don’t know about me is:

Jennifer Cornejo

2nd/3rd Grade

Background: I was born and raised in Chicago, IL and attended Christian schools from elementary through high school. I graduated from ASU with a degree in Elementary Education and within a month of graduation I accepted my first teaching position as a 3rd grade teacher for the Diocese of Dallas. I was blessed to have had the opportunities to teach grades 2-4 and serve as the Art Director (where I taught grades PS- 8th) for the Diocese of Phoenix. I have also taught for the Diocese of Tucson. After each of my children were born, I enjoyed being a stay home mommy, but continued to sub and attend workshops whenever possible. I have also began my coursework towards my Master's degree in Curriculum and Instruction.

We are blessed with two beautiful children, Marco and Cassie. I am also very close to my nieces Victoria and Emily and my nephew, Tommy. We also have a dog, named, Bear.

My favorite subject was Language Arts. I have always loved getting my thoughts on paper, whether it be through stories, essays or poetry.

A Bible verse I turn to time and time again is: "You saw me before I was born. Everyday of my life was recorded in your book, Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed." Psalm 139:16

Something fun you don’t know about me is I love to travel! My favorite destinations are Lima, Peru and London, England. When I am not working on material for school, I love to bake and plan parties for family and friends.

Karen Einspahr

4th/5th Grade

Background: I am a graduate of Concordia University in Seward, NE and Parkville College in Parkville, MO. I am elementary through high school trained. I have taught in schools in Oklahoma, Arkansas, Florida, Illinois, Texas, Missouri, and now for 10 years in Arizona. I have taught 3rd grade through high school.

My family includes my husband Kel, who is a Math teacher at Red Mountain High School in Mesa, AZ. Kel taught in Lutheran schools 25 years prior to us moving here. My other family member is my son Kory, who is a graduate of Concordia in Seward and is presently living in Lincoln, NE.

My favorite subject in school was literature because I love to read.

A Bible verse I turn to time and time again is Psalm 23 - The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.

Something fun you don’t know about me is that I am a dog trainer, love putting puzzles together and enjoy riding motorcycles.

Heather Loechelt

Middle School

Background: I have a Bachelors of Science in Mathematics and a Masters of Natural Science in Mathematics with an emphasis in Physics. I have my Masters of Education in Curriculum and Instruction. I have worked as a private tutor and was blessed to be able to stay at home with my children when they were little.

My family includes My husband Gary and our three kids, Karl, Rebekah and David

My favorite subject in school was Math because I always loved numbers and puzzles and being able to explain things in a concrete manner.

A Bible verse I turn to time and time again is Proverbs 3:5-6 "Trust in The Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your path.

Something fun you don’t know about me is I love to travel and have been able to travel to the Czech Republic with my husband.

To visit my classroom website copy and paste this URL into your browser:

Marisol Figueroa

Pre-K Assistant & Spanish

Pre-K Assistant and Spanish K-3
I have attended Mesa Community College but currently attending Phoenix College and pursing a certification in Spanish. I'm also pursuing a degree in Education. I have been here at Gethsemane for 11 years. I am very happy to be here and couldn't be more blessed.

My Family Includes:
I have a wonderful daughter that is 6 years old and attends Gethsemane. Last year Francisco and I welcomed our second child, a little boy named Cisco, who is now a bouncing one year old. Watching our children grow is the best experience ever!

My favorite subjects in school were Art and P.E. I just loved Art because making crafts was a lot of fun. I enjoyed P.E. because I loved running around and playing different sports.

A Bible verse I turn to time and time again is Psalm 23:1, The Lord is my Shepard, I shall not want.

Something fun you don't know about me i: I saw Pope John Paul II in Canada for World Youth Day. It was such a great experience.