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The Student News Site of Fresno Christian High School

The Feather

The Student News Site of Fresno Christian High School

The Feather

New staff welcomed to campus at start of school year


Staff expands and changes to meet demands of growing student body

As the 45th school year gets underway, the Fresno Christian student body boasts more students than ever before. A new role, along with three brand new teachers, are welcomed with open arms to the FCS community. As the first month of school comes to a close, students around campus settle in and meet peers. Students also get a chance to learn from new and existing teachers.

James Garcia

Most commonly known as a middle school teacher and track coach, James Garcia has a new role for the 2022-23 school year. He will now be involved with Fresno Christian students and parents as their Student Liaison. 

[/media-credit] James Garcia took on the new position of Student Liaison for the ’22-23 school year.

Fresno Christian’s Student Liaison is unlike any other in Central Valley schools. Instead of using his position to check up on students at home, Garcia exercises the power to see how they are doing on campus.

FCS saw an increase of 10% in their student body from the prior school year, as the Fresno Christian population increases in both primary and secondary. Principal Amy Deffenbacher recognizes new positions on campus are needed.

“Adding several hundred new families… we just needed more of an adult presence out and about,” Deffenbacher said. “Connecting with families, helping to communicate our school-wide expectations, and helping to really create a culture of ‘We’re All In This Together.’” 

While Garcia admits that he will miss the students from his classroom setting, he is excited to connect with students and staff to strengthen the community on a larger scale in a “culture of oneness, as brothers and sisters in Christ.”

Garcia will take on more responsibilities outside of the classroom in the elementary, middle and high school buildings as the staff learns the needs of FCS students and families. He can be spotted on walks around campus interacting with students from all grades. 

“I will be at recesses with the littles, I try to even get the kindergarten recesses,” Garcia said. “Then I’m in the hallway when you guys are switching classes, I’ll walk through classrooms and just check things out.”

If students or parents need to contact Garcia for any on-campus concerns, he can be reached at [email protected].

Lindsay Clarno

[/media-credit] Band teacher Lindsay Clarno taught for 18 years before coming to Fresno Christian.

First-year FCS teacher Lindsay Clarno fills the opening for the advisor of band, percussion and color guard, working alongside color guard coach Vanessa Hinojosa.

Clarno, a teacher for 18 years, discovered her passion for music at a young age and now plays a variety of instruments, including the piccolo, clarinet and several kinds of saxophones.

“I started playing flute when I was seven years old,” Clarno said. “I discovered I was too small to reach the keys, and promptly quit, I played again in fifth grade and I haven’t stopped since. In high school, I added the tenor saxophone so I could play in the jazz band which I continued to do into college.”

She has performed her musical gift in several different countries and settings, from singing in New York’s Carnegie Hall and the Vatican in Rome to playing at the Montreux International Jazz Festival in Switzerland. Clarno’s musical adventures placed her in Milan, The Netherlands, Germany, Whales and more.

In addition to being an international traveler, Clarno has taught all over California. From Los Angeles to Northern California, she’s taught subjects such as English, journalism and music since her career began in 2004.

After moving all around California, she and her family finally settled in Fresno. Although she was at first hesitant to seek a job opportunity in Fresno, Clarno felt God lead her to FCS.

“I am thrilled, honored, and humbled to be here, where I can be fully myself and not have to hide my faith like I did when teaching public school,” Clarno said. “FCS is truly a gift!”

Carrie Dixon

After longtime English teacher Andrea Donaghe stepped down, her class fell into the hands of Carrie Dixon. Married for 23 years and a mother of four, Dixon taught at Kastner Middle School before an opportunity to teach at FCS opened up. She hopes to build relationships with her students and ensure they remain engaged and challenged in class.

[/media-credit] Carrie Dixon moved to Fresno Christian from Kastner Middle School.

Dixon didn’t originally plan to be a teacher, but was on the path to becoming a missionary when she suddenly felt the urge to change majors.

“I thought I would be a missionary so I began on a nursing path because I knew that underdeveloped countries need help. However, I began to question my direction as I didn’t feel confident I would enjoy the hospital environment,” Dixon said. “God reminded me of teachers who had told me after presentations that I would make a great teacher.”

The first few days of school, Dixon told her students some of her backstory. Many students were surprised to learn where she spent one of her summers.

“I spent a summer in Morocco, living with a Muslim family. I wore a Berka and mostly stayed in the home, only socializing with other women,” Dixon said. “It made me very thankful to be an American woman.”

Carrie Dixon enjoys spending the most time possible with her family while adventuring and going on vacations.

“I love going on hikes with my family in search of a mountain view or exploring a national park we haven’t checked off the list or playing in the ocean waves,” Dixon said. “To put it simply; nature, a little adventure, and family.”

Stephanie Hoffman

Stephanie Hoffman has taught elementary for the past five years here on campus. This school year, she has taken on the task of high school, as the teacher of AP English Language and Composition, 11th grade English and technology teacher.

[/media-credit] Stephanie Hoffman moved into the role of high school teacher after previously teaching in the elementary building.

With an education from Point Loma Nazarene University, she moved into a student teaching position and as a librarian assistant. After college, she worked at Barnes and Noble, which led her to teach at Fresno Christian. 

She is looking forward to the adventure this new position will bring.

“I love taking on hard challenges and having to innovate, be creative, and come up with fun and interesting lessons that engage students,” Hoffman said.

Hoffman finds her purpose when she watches her students grow in their studies, and comprehend the given materials.

“The most fulfilling part is when you have a student that is just struggling and doesn’t understand the concept and then you see the light bulb go off and all of a sudden they understand the concepts,” Hoffman said.

She is most excited to teach and go through her favorite book The Great Gatsby this year with her students and grow connections with them.

Be sure to welcome these new teachers and say a quick “hi” if you see them walking down the halls!

To read more from The Feather, go to Fresno fall fun or Varsity football remains undefeated in 2022 season.

Lola Fuller, Diego Siqueiros and Natalie Garcia also contributed to this article.

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About the Contributors
Miracle Neal
Miracle Neal, Editor in Chief
Second year Feather Veteran, Miracle Neal is a Senior, lifer, and varsity girls soccer captain at Fresno Christian Schools. Neal fully devotes herself to her work, proving to be a hard-working person as she juggles an AP class, college classes at Clovis Community, and playing with the Albion Soccer Club. She continues her journey with The Feather to further develop confidence and people skills she hopes to apply in her future profession as a pediatrician. In her free time, she enjoys indulging in psychology books trying to grasp how her mind and others function.    
Lola Fuller
Lola Fuller, Journalist
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