It has been Mr. Plotnik's pleasure to serve as the High School Principal since the 2006-2007 school year when the school moved from the Black Mountain campus and started 9th and 10th grade at the present location. His undergraduate work was completed in 1980 at Cal State University Long Beach, where he earned a B.A. in the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences. He also possesses an M.A. in Educational Leadership: Educational Technology and Learning from Azusa Pacific University. He relocated his family from Los Angeles to San Diego in 1991, when the youngest of his three children was born (she was one of six in MCS' first graduating class of 2009). A few years after moving, Mr. Plotnik entered the teaching profession after earning a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential. He taught multiple subjects at the junior and senior high school level, coached cross-country and track and field, and served as Athletic Director for another Christian school where he also took his Boys’ Cross Country team to the CIF State Championship race. Science, especially Chemistry, is his great passion as a teacher! Jeremiah 29:11 is his constant reminder of God's grace. "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
- Elizabeth Apodaca
- Jason Barela
- Natalie Breeden
- Krystle Brown
- David Cabral
- Virginia Chasey
- Joshua Escalante
- Jennifer Fournier
- David Graham
- Maribel Hillmer
- Mike Holguin
- Nikki Houseman
- Lauren Lara
- Eric Martin
- Edward Miller
- Joshua Nichols
- David Navarette
- Stephen Regner
- Britnie Reid
- Leiana Rodiles
- Sarah Shanmugam
- Miryam Sullivan
Ms. Elizabeth “Liz” Apodaca joined the MCS staff in the 2015-2016 academic school year. Liz is a native of Fresno and has a B.S. in Biology from the University Of Pacific as well as a Masters in Biology from Point Loma Nazarene University. Prior to teaching at MCS, Ms. Apodaca spent over 20 years in Biotech as a manager in operations. She worked with teams who manipulated viruses such as HIV, HCV, West Nile Virus and other pathogenic strains of micro-organisms to create test kits to screen the blood supply and support diagnostic testing. Liz has worked previously with the Salk Mobile Lab and San Diego City College and now feels blessed, excited and honored to teach biology and share work experiences with the students at MCS.
Mr. Barela came to Maranatha Christian Schools in the Spring of 2020 as a substitute teacher. He has a B.S. in History, secondary education emphasis, from Eastern New Mexico University. A varsity-letterman in golf. Competitive golf was so much a part of his life that it moved the family from New Mexico to San Diego where he worked at Taylor Made Golf. It was during this time that confirmation of answering a call to serve in the ministry came, and he was ordained and served at Calvary Chapel Carlsbad for 15 years as Assistant Pastor. The love for God’s Word and teaching it to others became a passion. From AWANA to Men’s ministries, the teaching included every age in between. He has coached at the High School level in Golf. Coaching stints from Club Soccer, Distance Running, Football, Waterpolo, Swim, and Tennis. Recently at MCS, Mr. Barela has coached the Jr. High Golf Team and the Jr. Girls Soccer Team. He Loves his wife of 30+ years and has three adult sons, a teenage daughter who attends MCS now, a daughter-in-love, and now a grand-daughter. He loves the beach and surfing. Everything about aviation, sports, and travel are his things. One day he hopes to compete on Food Network Chopped and to travel to the Holy Land.
Miss Breeden joined Maranatha’s faculty as an English Literature and Language teacher in 2022. After graduating with bachelor’s degrees in Liberal Studies and English from Vanguard University and attaining a Master’s degree in English from Chapman University, she spent 12 years as a high school English and Rhetoric teacher before coming to MCS. Miss Breeden has taught in various Christian schools in California, Illinois, Iowa, and Michigan, as well as a year in Saint Petersburg, Russia where she was a missionary at a K-12 Christian school. She loves to present literature to her students as an invitation to discover the beauty of story and its reflection of Christ and His truth. Since Christ came as the Word, she believes that there is wonderful opportunity in the words we read and write which echo this Source. Our words are always potential acts of worship and reflections of grace. She looks forward to imparting this perspective to her students and considers it a blessing to be a part of MCS. When not in the classroom, Miss Breeden loves spending time in her garden and kitchen as well as engaging in meaningful discussions with family and friends. And she often finds herself lost in the drama of a baseball game.
Mr. Cabral has been serving the students and families of MCS since the beginning of the high school in 2006-2007. He has a B.A. in Economics from Wheaton College, a J.D. from the University of Notre Dame, and a California Single Subject Credential in social studies from the University of San Diego. Mr. Cabral has taught at one time or another all the social studies classes offered at the high school. Outside of the classroom, Mr. Cabral has served as the head coach for the boys’ varsity soccer team since its’ inception in the 2007-2008 season. In his free time, Mr. Cabral enjoys spending time with his family, fishing, and playing European board games.
Ms. Chasey joined the MCS staff in 2016 and serves as an English Literature teacher for 10th and 12th grade. She is originally from upstate New York, but moved with her husband to California in 1983. She has been involved in education for over thirty years as a secondary history and English teacher, high school librarian, high school vice principal and Washington lobbyist on behalf of educational issues. Her last position was teaching high school world history and literature for fourteen years, at the U.S. State Department, American School of Warsaw in Poland. She holds a B.A. degree in Secondary Education/World History and English, an MLS degree in Library and Information Science and Secondary Administration Certification, from the State University of New York at Albany and the University of Washington. Although she had planned to retire, the Holy Spirit kept telling her to wait and led her to MCS where she hopes to use her God-given talents and experiences to inspire her students. She is the proud grandmother of her sweet granddaughter and loves to travel and play golf!
Joshua Escalante joined our Bible department during the 2022-2023 School year. He has a degree from San Diego State University in Communications with an emphasis in public relations. Before coming to MCS, Joshua and his wife Rachel, along with their four children, lived in Bethlehem, Israel, where they both served as missionary teachers at an American Christian School for four school years. Joshua has been passionate about the Bible, Apologetics, and Worldview training since his mid-20s when his faith was first significantly challenged at his university. He was grateful to discover that the truth of the Bible and Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection from the dead were not only supported by the weight of his own personal experience with God, but in every detail of God’s creation and in an abundance of historical and archeological human records. Since that time, Joshua has made it his life goal to live an undivided life for Jesus Christ. He believes that the Bible and God’s Holy Spirit are God’s primary tools for achieving his purposes in every human heart (Hebrews 4:12). And that faith comes through the understanding and applying of God’s Word so that we experience the reality of God’s active presence in our lives (Romans 10:17).
“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” -Hebrew 4:12
“So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. “ -Romans 10:17
Mr. Graham is a born and raised San Diego Native from East County. He received his B.A. in Physics with a minor in Music from Point Loma Nazarene University in 2017 and became a credentialed science teacher in 2021. Mr. Graham is a fan of Star Wars, a student of pop culture, a wanna-be gamer, and a lover of classical music. He married his wife in 2018 and they welcomed their first child in 2021, a beautiful baby girl!
Mrs. Hillmer was born in La Paz, Bolivia and at an early age, fell in love with languages. She went on to study language and linguistic in Bolivia. In 1991, she married Doug Hillmer and moved to Canada where she earned her Master’s degree in Divinity. She invested in her family and became a full-time mother to her three children. As her kids grew up the Lord opened doors for Maribel to teach in a variety of settings, both at church as well as in the secular realm. Maribel marvels at how God knits each individual’s story with love and much care, she trusts that God brought her to MCS to use all she has been given by Him to bless others. Her favorite verse is, “Lean not on your own understanding but in all things acknowledge Him and He will straighten your path” (Proverbs 3:5-6).
Nikki Houseman started working at MCS in the summer of 2023. She has been a certified
athletic trainer for 12 years, graduating from Point Loma Nazarene University. She worked in
various athletic settings such as UCSD and SoCal Youth Rugby, per diem, work for many different
sports organizations, and worked in physical therapy clinics for eight years. Nikki is also a published
author, certified life coach, and podcast host. She has a passion for Jesus and sharing his light
and joy with others. Nikki enjoys playing beach volleyball, reading books by the pool, going on
hikes, and traveling with her husband.
Mrs. Lara joined the MCS staff in 2022 coming from UC San Diego and serves as the Digital Arts teacher for the High School division. She has a B.A. in Visual Communications from UC Davis where she was a Division 1 athlete, has a certification in Digital Marketing from UCSD and over 10 years of senior level industry experience in Visual Communications & Marketing. She has a passion for teaching and helping students develop their creative skills. In her free time, Mrs. Lara enjoys spending time outdoors, adventuring with her husband and three wonderful children.
Mr. Martin joined the MCS staff in 2017 after teaching for 11 years in private and public schools throughout San Diego County. He started his teaching career as an elementary school teacher but found his true calling as a high school math and science teacher. He has a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California, Davis and a Master’s degree in Education from San Diego State University. Mr. Martin is an avid sports fan, a capable home cook, a mediocre video gamer, and a pop culture geek. He has been married to his wife since 2009, and they have two young children who are excited to be a part of the MCS family as they grow!
Mr. Miller joined MCS in 2018 after twenty years as a public and Christian school teacher. He holds a Masters of Education degree from National University and Bachelor of Science degree in Business/Accounting (Summa Cum Laude) from San Diego State University. Mr. Miller is a former Marine, husband to a wonderful wife who allowed him to become a teacher, father of six (including quadruplet sons who graduated from Maranatha in 2019), grandfather of one, and most important, a follower of Christ. In addition to teaching, he also enjoys being one of the announcers for high school sports events held at MCS. Mr. Miller has an incredible passion for Maranatha and loves working with the amazing students in his high school history and statistics classes!
Mr. Nichols is a first-year teacher at Maranatha this 2023 - 2024 school year. He is achieving his B.S. in math for secondary education. He attended GCU on campus and online, giving him a unique and diverse experience of college and life after high school. While taking classes online, he had a chance to travel the world on surf trips. He has been coaching and teaching all ages for the last four years in high schools and local sports programs. Working at Mt. Carmel High School as a special education and ELL aide, and also coaching high school Water Polo and youth baseball. Outside of school, Mr. Nichols loves to surf, skate, ride motorcycles, and lift weights.
Mr. Navarette joined the MCS staff in 2003, as a retired Navy chief, with 23 years of active duty. Mr. Navarette has seen the growth of MCS from the beginning, as a parent of two children who attended the school in the mid-1990s to his role as a teacher since joining the staff in the fall of 2003. A graduate of Azusa Pacific University with a Biblical Studies and Psychology degree, he has served in all three MCS departments. Mr. Navarette has taught Elementary (4th and 5th grade), Middle School (Math Course 1 and Algebra I), and High School (P.E., Government, and Economics). When he is not teaching, Mr. Navarette loves being “Papa” to his two wonderful grandchildren and singing in an amazing 120 voice choir/orchestra with his wife of 34 years.
This 2020 - 2021 school year is Mr. Regner’s first year at MCS. He holds a BA in General Studies with an emphasis in Mathematics Education from National University. Before Mr. Regner chose to serve MCS students, he spent nearly eight years active duty Army. When he is not spending his time in the classroom or on the baseball field, Mr. Regner is out with his dog Nikko at their favorite beach or park. He enthusiastically loves his students and daily lives out his favorite verse; John 15:13 “Greater love has no man than this, than to lay down his life for a friend”.
Miss Reid joined MCS in 2017 after working with the International Program at Horizon Christian Academy for several years. At MCS, she has developed the Sheltered Bible and ESL curriculum and served as academic support to our International students. Originally from South Carolina, she received her M.A. in Christian Studies from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, her TESOL Certification from UCSD, and her B.S. in Psychology from North Greenville University. Since 2005, she has led Christian youth camps all around the US as well as in India, Alaska, Kenya, and Zambia. Prior to her time in San Diego, she served for 2.5 years as a teacher and missionary in South Africa’s township schools. More than anything, she has a love for God's Word and her heart is to reach the unreached. She is constantly amazed at the “hidden” mission field here at MCS, "God is truly flooding our hallways with students from around the world who’ve never before heard the gospel." In her spare time, she loves adventuring outdoors - playing tennis, hiking, kayaking, & relaxing on the beach!
Leiana’s postsecondary journey began as a deaf studies major, where she was able to strengthen her fluency in ASL while being immersed in courses strictly taught by Deaf professors. She was also intrigued to learn about hearing impairments and how to support individuals with hearing loss, which led her to change her path and graduate from San Diego State University with a B.A. in Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences. Her studies enabled her to acquire a comprehensive understanding of aural rehabilitation, communication development, linguistics, and language acquisition. However, her passion for ASL and Deaf Culture remained and that has inspired her to pursue a Masters degree where she is focusing on systemic barriers and advocacy for the Deaf and hard of hearing community. Leiana strongly feels called to be a bridge that connects the hearing and Deaf communities and is excited to foster a love for ASL and Deaf Culture in her students. As an alumnus of MCS, she is thrilled to give back and contribute to the school’s vibrant community. When she’s not in the classroom or serving in youth ministry, you will find her paddle boarding or hitting the trails as an avid runner. Her favorite Bible verse is Philippians 4:13.
Ms. Shanmugam came to MCS in 2012 after graduating from Graceland University, a private Christian liberal arts school in Iowa. Miss Shanmugam graduated Summa Cum Laude with degrees in Graphic Design and K-12 Art Education and a minor in Publication Writing and Design. She recently lead the High School yearbook team to receive a national award from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association. In her spare time, Miss Shanmugam enjoys running, the beach, visiting art galleries, teaching private lessons, and creating her own artwork.
Mrs. Sullivan began teaching at MCS in 2002 after more than 5 years of experience teaching High School Spanish in Orange County. Subsequently, she joined Maranatha Christian Schools as a part-time teacher while also teaching at a different Christian school in Rancho Santa Fe. It didn’t take her long to realize that MCS was where God was calling her to be and decided to make it her full-time home, teaching High School Spanish and Spanish AP. Although she was born in the USA, she was raised in Guatemala where she grew up and went on to receive her B.A. in Spanish and her teaching credentials. Mrs. Sullivan enjoys traveling abroad, cooking, reading and spending her time with her family and friends. Her two children have been blessed with the opportunity of attending MCS since the first grade and her oldest has since gone on to graduate. Mrs. Sullivan considers herself blessed and honored to be a part of the wonderful ministry of MCS.