Elizabeth Philo – Kindergarten Mrs. Philo has been teaching children for over 15 years. She is a Sunday School teacher, Choir Director, and devoted Mother of four children. Previously, she taught in a classical school setting in Walla Walla, WA. She believes strongly in Classical Christian Education and sees it as unparalleled by anything else out there! She strives to incorporate her love and joy for music into her classroom This is an easy fit at Coram Deo, where the halls are truly alive with the sounds of beautiful music and praise! She is in awe of this school and all it strives to be. She prays she can be a bridge for our youngest students at Coram Deo, as they adjust to being away from home, and at school. She wants to encourage a lifelong love of learning, exploration, and compassion for all of God’s creatures.
Alexandria Wright – First GradeAlexandria was born in Wasilla, Alaska, and lived there until she moved at age 11 to Snoqualmie, Washington. She graduated high school and pursued one year of community college in Washington before attending Northwest Nazarene University in Nampa, Idaho. She graduated with a B.A. in Elementary Education in May of 2015. During her time at NNU, she met and married her husband Kyle (Mr. “Wright”). Alexandria has three older brothers named Jordan, Hayden, and Jake. Most of her family now resides back in Alaska while her in-laws live in Lynden, Washington. She has always loved working with children and is excited to teach and share God’s love to her students at Coram Deo.
Crystal Eberle – Second & Third Grade
Mrs. Crystal Eberle is a Tri-City native with a deep love for classical and Christian education. After homeschooling her four children for eleven years, she entered college to earn her formal teaching credentials from WSU Tri-Cities in 2008. She spent the years 2011-2015 teaching at Trinity Christian School in Kailua, Hawaii in a classical third grade classroom before moving back to the area. Bible and history are her favorite subjects to teach, and her educational goal is to build a classroom culture where students love to work hard, humbly learn from their mistakes, show mercy and humor in the face of daily challenges, and give all the glory to God. Mrs. Eberle’s free time is spent writing fiction, sewing, singing in choirs, and spoiling her granddaughters.
Michael Bell – Fourth through Sixth Grade
Michael Bell grew up in Walla Walla Washington, where he was classically educated at home by his father, and later served as a volunteer firefighter for two years. After graduating high school Michael spent a year studying Russian at Moscow State University in Russia. After completing studies in Elementary Education at WSU Tri-cities, he spent a year abroad in Greece where he studied New Testament Greek at the historical Athonite Academy, living on the renowned World Heritage site, Mt. Athos. He serves in the choir at the local Orthodox church of St. John the Wonderworker, and hopes to pursue a theological education in the future. Having been known as “Uncle Michael” since the age of thirteen, and having nine rambunctious nieces and nephews, he is dedicated to the principle of ensuring children have access to a classical, Christian, education.
Leatha Hall – Fourth through Sixth Grade & Art
“Mrs. Hall has an immense appreciation and love for art and serving in the classroom. Although her formal education has been in communications, business, and marketing (Bachelor of Science), she has always enjoyed creative expression and design. She spent nearly a decade working with adult students at the University Level as a Senior Enrollment Advisor, and following then decided to pursue her dream of incorporating artistic design with starting a business. As of late, she has spent the last 2 years running an artistic business that has provided an outlet to create, design, and grow, while giving an opportunity to be home with her now-5-year-old. With her daughter beginning Kindergarten at Coram Deo this year, she is thrilled to be on-staff aiding and teaching art for the school. Her spouse is a professional artist, and holds a Bachelor of Fine Art from Pacific Northwest College of Art. With him as an additional resource (and having access to their in-home studio), this gives beneficial areas to pull inspiration and ideas from for teaching art to children. She hopes to give the children some foundational tools to use for their own creative endeavors and overlapping subjects. Also, her aim is to help students appreciate art and creativity in their surroundings, while pointing them to the ultimate and original Artist, their Creator.”
Rachel Loer – Latin Rachel moved to the Tri-Cities in the summer of 2016, after having lived in Oklahoma, Texas, New Jersey, and most recently the Chicago, Illinois area. She has a B.A. in Classics, summa cum laude, from Baylor University and an M.A. from Rutgers University, where she is also completing work on her Ph.D. She has taught elementary Latin at Classical Christian schools in both Texas and New Jersey, and has been teaching at the university level since 2008. She enjoys reading and doing puzzles in her spare time, as well as hiking and experiencing the outdoors with her husband and daughter, Anna. She is excited to be in Washington and to continue pursuing her love of teaching and Latin.
Rene Whitehurst – Administrator
Although new this year to Coram Deo Academy as office assistant, René has been helping when and where she can for the last 3 years on a voluntary basis. Her love of classical Christian education has grown while watching her Grandson, Micah, progress
through those 3 years from kindergarten until now entering the third grade at Coram Deo Academy. Her greatest hope is to see him graduate from CDA. René retired from working as a retail grocery integrity manager after 31 years. She went back to college studying medical billing and coding but decided her Grandson was more important than a career. Meanwhile, she became the treasurer for King of Kings Evangelical Lutheran Church where she was baptized as an adult in 1992 with her whole family, and also nearly two years
as treasurer for the Mid-Columbia Market at the Hub, a local food hub created with local farmers to sell local stuff. She is now happy to see and hear the children learning, singing, and excelling under the wonderful teachers of Coram Deo Academy and you will most likely find her sitting at the front desk waiting to help you when needed. Already she feels this may be the most rewarding employment she has ever had. René has two adult children of whom she is very proud and currently spends most of the spring, summer and fall working in her garden growing wholesome, chemical-free foods. She also loves walking, bike riding, swimming, reading, and camping with her husband Richard and their two Manchester terriers.
Rev. Donald Van Dyken – Headmaster
Rev. Van Dyken has been with Coram Deo for nine years. He has been a minister for 30 years, and with his wife Ria has home schooled their ten children. He is the author of a number of books on catechizing children. During his spare time he gardens and makes wine and cider.