Mrs. Jozwiak is excited to be teaching Kindergarten and to partner with parents as their students begin school. She has been part of Charis since its beginning days and has 3 children, who all attend Charis: Maddie, Avery, and Elijah. She is married to Aaron, who is one of the pastors at Red Village Church. She received her undergraduate degree in Human Biology at UW-Green Bay. She enjoys family walks, reading (while usually sipping tea), running, being outside during the warmer months, and camping.
Dayla Stapleton is excited to be starting her 7th year of teaching kindergarten at Charis! She received her undergraduate degree in Elementary Education from UW-Madison and went on to substitute teach in the Madison area before starting as a kindergarten teacher in the Middleton-Cross Plains Area School district for three years. Her family consists of husband, Michael, and third grade son, Ciaran. They live on the far west side with their Siamese cat, Teagan. As a family, they worship at Blackhawk Church and enjoy many things like road trips to National Parks, hiking, camping, reading, and watching movies!
Mrs. Hunt home schooled for 18+ years teaching from a Charlotte Mason and classical perspective. She has a masters in pediatric occupational therapy and has worked in a number of settings addressing the underpinnings of learning such as sensory processing, reflex integration and motor skills. She utilizes some of her OT tools to enhance 1st graders’ learning at Charis. She currently has a few clients she sees privately. Cheryl and her husband, John, have been married for 30 years. They have 5 to 7 kids depending on who you count! They had a household of nine at one point, then were empty nesters until this summer. Now, once again, the house is full of activity! Currently, an adult daughter and son-in-law live in the basement “apartment,” a special needs young adult daughter is in and out, working part time, and a college-student-daughter is studying from home. The Hunts also have 2 dogs, 2 cats (outside only to “take care of” critters,) 1 duck, 9 hens & 2 roosters. Mrs. Hunt loves the outdoors and enjoys hiking, canoeing, and working in the garden. She enjoys reading, learning some traditional cooking methods as well as spending time with her family and church and playing her flute with the worship team.
1st Grade Assistant, Joyful Discovery, French
Valerie Gorski obtained her master’s degree in Psychology from the Université Paul Valéry in Montpellier, France. Valérie strives to enjoy every gift God has poured in her life—fellowship with Jesus Christ, her loving husband Mike, and their two children Noah and Hannah. She enjoys meeting people from all over the world here in Madison, learning to see and appreciate the worth and beauty that can be found in their diverse experiences and cultural backgrounds. In her free time, she enjoys listening to music, eating good food, reading depressing French novels, watching detective shows, and talking about the beauty of Jesus with others. She is praying for a fruitful year in the first grade class! Valerie also teachers French in the high school.
Mrs. Moore is thankful to return to 2nd grade this fall. Abbey graduated with a degree in Early Childhood Education, and taught in elementary classrooms until God blessed them with 4 babies in 5 years! She has been married for 19 years to her husband, Chris, who is a Lieutenant for the Dane Co. Sheriff’s Office. They live in DeForest with their 4 children: Cael, Tessa, Dane, and Livia. The Moores attend Christ Fellowship Church in Sun Prairie, and enjoy leading worship with their church family. Abbey enjoys family time, volunteering, and a strong cup of coffee! The Moores were excited to learn about Charis in its earliest days – its mission as a school matched their goals as a family: to be gospel-driven and committed to quality education. Their family has thoroughly enjoyed having their children learn & grow at CCA.
2nd Grade Assistant
Mrs. Jennings is excited to be the 2nd grade assistant this year at CCA. A Texas native, Mrs. Jennings moved to Madison in 2017 to help her husband, Sid, pursue a PhD from UW in Math Education. She received her undergraduate degree in Elementary Education from The University of Texas at Austin in 2008. Mrs. Jennings taught for 4 years before staying at home with her four children: Lily, Eli, Lottie, and Ollie. She attends Red Village Church. Rochelle loves spending time with her family, running, living in community and Walt Disney World. She is looking forward to getting back into the classroom and all that God is going to do.
Katherine Borkovec will be teaching 3rd grade this year. She has taught at Charis in various capacities including 2/3rd Grammar School teacher, Joyful Discovery, P.E. and substituting. Mrs. Borkovec graduated from UW Madison in 2005 with a degree in Landscape Architecture. Unsure of what was next after graduation, she worked in California at an outdoor science school teaching Outdoor Ed. Realizing that teaching was a passion, Katherine then returned to Wisconsin to earn her teaching certification through Concordia University. Mrs. Borkovec is also a mom to three daughters: Mari, Olivia, and Jo Jo and wife to Brian. When she isn’t co-teaching or teaching, she loves to check out children’s books at the library, camping with family and friends, and cooking.
3rd Grade Assistant
Ariel Mayes is so excited to be joining Charis as the third grade teacher’s assistant this year! Ariel graduated in 2016 with a degree in Biblical Counseling from Maranatha Baptist University. She has been married for five years to her husband, Kevin, who is an anesthetist for UW. The Mayes moved to Madison in 2020 for Kevin’s job. They attend The Vine Church and have enjoyed developing a community with believers in the Madison area since moving here a year ago. Ariel enjoys reading, cooking and baking, and spending time with her family. She is new to classical education and is looking forward to witnessing firsthand how Charis lives out its mission of providing Gospel-centered, quality education to its students.
Mrs. Pohl is thankful to be leading the 4th grade classroom this fall! She lives in a small community north of Madison with her husband, Travis, and their two children: Mac and Maisey. Mrs. Pohl received her undergraduate degree in Archaeology (it hasn’t yet come in super handy!). She began her teaching career as a Teach For America corps member teaching in Charlotte, NC and has been engaged in the field of education for nearly twenty years. She is eager to join the vibrant Charis community and to partner with parents to build each student’s capacity to know God and his supreme creation by exploring, wondering, and pursuing all that is good and true. The Pohl’s are members of Grace Presbyterian Church, and Mrs. Pohl enjoys reading (and collecting!) great and living books, nature jaunting, bird watching, camping and playing any and all games!
Mrs. Zempel is excited to return as the 5th grade teacher! She is married to Dan and mom to Elijah and Allison. She earned her degree in secondary speech education and was privileged to homeschool both of her children through 8th grade. She founded and directed a Classical Conversations homeschool community in Lake Mills for 6 years, which is where her passion for classical education was born. She attends First Baptist Church in Watertown where she serves in Sunday school, youth group, and worship team. In her free time, she enjoys drinking tea, savoring dark chocolate, reading, hosting friends and family, and taking part in various seasonal activities that Wisconsin offers.
Emily Cox is in her 5th year of teaching at Charis. She especially enjoys teaching middle grades math and Latin, as well as mentoring seniors during their thesis process. Her three children all attend Charis, and are in 4th, 6th and 8th grade this year. She and her husband are both transplanted Illini (University of Illinois), where she received both bachelor and master’s degrees in math education. She has taught in a variety of settings (and countries) including community-based, private, public, homeschool, and university classes in America, Japan and China. Her home is full of lots of dancing, football and soccer, as well as a fair amount of light sabers. In her free time she enjoys reading, spoiling her dog, and traveling. Her favorite quote is, “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” Can you find its author? Come tell me if you know it!!
Logic/Rhetoric Math & Science, PE
Mr. Decker will be teaching science, mathematics, and gym during the ’21-’22 school year. He holds degrees in Software Engineering and Mathematics from UW-Platteville and worked as a Product Lead at Epic for five years before starting his own software company, Strong Anchor Tech. He serves as a deacon at Red Village Church.
Logic/Rhetoric School Teacher, Marketing Director
Mr. Pointner fell in love with teaching while serving as a substitute teacher at Charis three years ago. Max grew up in a classical homeschooling community in the Chicago suburbs and graduated with a degree in Art History (elective studies in Geology) and a minor in Theater from Wheaton College, and has always loved the student life. As a core teacher at Charis for the past few years, he loves sharing that enthusiasm for learning and pairing it with Christian discipleship in the classroom. In addition to joining the Charis Admin team this year, he works as the Image Researcher for Christian History Magazine. Max is excited that his fiancée, Madeleine Ruch, will also be teaching at Charis this year (she’ll be Mrs. Pointner as of October, 2021). Together they attend Christ Church Madison and love to read, write, picnic, and host.
Logic/Rhetoric Language Arts
Amanda Hobert will be teaching Grammar and Writing for the logic years and Writing for 9th grade this year. Amanda and her husband, Nate, moved to Madison with the Vine Church and have also planted Redeemer City Church. They have three children: Grace, Sam and Elise. Amanda received her undergraduate degree in Communications from the University of Northern Iowa. She received her Master of Arts in Biblical Studies from Reformed Theological Seminary. She has also worked with Navigators in college ministry. She has been a co-teacher with her own children through Charis, has taught Joyful Discovery classes, has taught Math and Language Arts for second grade, has taught 3rd grade, has served in administration roles, and now is teaching Grammar and Writing. She enjoys reading, going on walks, and having coffee with friends. She loves being involved with Charis because the school points to the Gospel and partners with parents in providing a classical approach to education.
Logic/Rhetoric Math and Science
This will be Mrs. Paplow’s fifth year with Charis and she is so excited to be teaching Science 6, Earth Science, Algebra I, and Algebra II for the upcoming school year. She received her undergraduate degree in math education at the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire and taught in the public school system for four years before coming to Charis. When not teaching, Mrs. Paplow is spending time with her family which includes her husband, Casey, and kids Oliver (5), Miles (2), and Elsie Jo (6 months). Another thing she is looking forward to this fall is Olly joining the Charis community as a Kindergartner!
7th Grade Humanities
After thirteen years of teaching at a Christian classical school in Wheaton, Illinois, Margaret is thrilled to bring her love for Christ and his children to Charis Academy in Madison. She and her husband Charlie moved to Madison in 2019 to serve U.W. students from their “Lighthouse on Langdon” and help birth a new church plant, Christ Church Madison. Margaret spends most of her time writing and is the author of a variety of published works including essays, articles, children books, novels, and poetry. She also curates a religion blog on the Patheos website and her own blog found on her website www.margaretphilbrick.com. She is the mother of three overly dramatic, artistic children and one adorable dog named Snuggles who loves picking up pieces of leftover pizza on Langdon during their morning walks.
Miss Ruch’s life has always revolved around books and story. Madeleine loves communicating ideas and is eager to bring this love into the classroom at Charis. Homeschooled with Charlotte Mason influence, she is adamant about creative and immersive forms of education. Madeleine graduated with a double Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Music (piano) from Wheaton College. Madeleine is always on the lookout for a new novel or poem to live in for a good while. Don’t get her talking about the sacramental worldview and the presence of Jesus with us in the mundane, or she might never stop. She is thrilled to be joining her fiancé Mr. Pointner at Charis, and is anticipating the need to transition her students from calling her Miss Ruch to Mrs. Pointner after October 16th. Yes, the future Pointners do practice Latin vocabulary together, but they also talk about ideas, eat good food, read aloud, and love having people over to eat and play games.
Senior Class Mentor
Mr. Leeson studied Community and Environmental Sociology at the University of Wisconsin. Over the past twenty years, he has taught and worked in 18 nations. He serves as an elder at Damascus Road Church, and loves building up the body of Christ and teaching young people to follow the ways of Jesus. He is married to Emelina and has five children. Mr. Leeson and his family enjoy exploring the wilderness and are always scouting their next adventure.
Fridays and Fine Arts
Mrs. Johnson is the art director and grammar teacher at CCA. She has her interior design degree from Seminole State College in Florida. In 2013, she and her husband, Casey, moved with their three children from Daytona Beach, FL to Madison to plant Redeemer City Church in the Fitchburg/Southwest Madison area. A few things she enjoys are hiking and exploring new areas and state parks, crafting, and antiquing. She always has a project of some sort going on. It could be anything from a simple sketch to painting, redesigning a room or refinishing furniture.
K-4 Music & Cultural Geography
Ms. Baskinger has been the Grammar music instructor for two years and is eager to continue sharing her love of music with the Charis community. She holds a master’s degree in piano performance and piano pedagogy and has been actively teaching individual and group music classes for the last twenty years. Her career has included opportunities to edit printed music materials, give lectures to music groups on both a local and national scale, and serve as a mentor instructor for up-and-coming music teachers at Prairie Music & Arts in Sun Prairie, WI. Ms. Baskinger is the owner and founder of Andante Studio LLC, a music studio in Deerfield, WI, that provides group and individual music lessons. She travels the state throughout the year, adjudicating music performances for students of all ages in piano and clarinet. Ms. Baskinger will also be teaching Cultural Geography as part of the Joyful Discovery curriculum on Fridays!
Logic/Rhetoric Art & Music
Amelia Nowak was born and raised in the beautiful state of Maine. In 2005 she graduated from Pensacola Christian College with a Bachelors of Science degree in Commercial Art. Amelia currently lives in the small town of Waterloo with her loving husband Travis and their three kids Violet, Grant, and Willow. They are members of First Baptist Church in Watertown where she is blessed to serve in children’s ministries. In her free time, she enjoys going for walks, working on remodeling and building projects, painting, drawing, and spending time with her family.
Literature / Drama
Laura Berner is excited to join the CCA staff this year as the Lit/Drama teacher. This is her sixth year as a co-teacher at Charis and all four of her children are Charis students, ranging in grade levels from seventh on down to kindergarten. She has lived in and around Dane County her whole life and grew up attending Monona Oaks Community Church, where she and her husband, Scot, are still active members. Laura’s interests and hobbies include reading, horses, painting, and most recently – scootering! She enjoys reading aloud to her kids and is excited to share great stories in the Charis classroom this year.
Jeremy grew up in a Christian home and desired to be a pastor at an early age. With this resolve, Jeremy entered Bible college after high school and earned a B.A. in Biblical Studies. His postgraduate work has led to two Master’s degrees (M.A. & M.Div., both in Theological Studies) and a Doctoral degree (D.Ed.Min – Leadership). Jeremy is not originally from Wisconsin but moved here in 2013 to become the Lead Pastor of Memorial Baptist Church in Verona, where he currently serves. Growing up in the Detroit area of Michigan caused him to be an avid fan of the University of Michigan. Most Badger fans are patient with this shortcoming of Jeremy’s.
K-4 Applied Math
Mrs. Ratajczyk is a military wife and mother of four children. She loves the outdoors and animals. She just returned from Nevada for the summer where she rodeoed with her family. She is currently attending college online to get her bachelor’s degree to teach mathematics in secondary education. Being active is very important to Mrs. Ratajczyk and she spends a lot of time exercising, whether at the gym or going for runs with her family and dog. She is very excited for the opportunity to teach at Charis, where Christianity is integrated into every aspect of the school.