New Faces at Mt. Ellis Academy
Five new employees have joined the staff at Mt. Ellis Academy this fall. “Even though we’re a small school, we always look for the best we can find. I think from top to bottom it’s the best team we’ve ever had,” said Darren Wilkins, school principal.
Monte Saxby, a Walla Walla College graduate with a B.S. in mathematics and M.A.T. from Central Washington University in Ellensburg, has returned to his alma mater to teach keyboarding, pre-calculus, algebra, geometry and physical science. Even after spending 21 years at Cascade Christian Academy, Saxby still considers Montana home. “It’s difficult to be the new person who doesn’t know anyone. I haven’t been that for years,” said Saxby. His goal is that every student learns to love math and is excited about taking a math class.
Luke Self, assistant chaplain, works closely with students to see them “actively engage in a personal relationship with God,” said Self. “So their spiritual life would become their own, not their parents or teachers.” Originally from Redlands, Calif., Self graduated with a B.A. in religious education from Southern Adventist University and spent the previous two years working as a Bible teacher and chaplain at Taipei Adventist Preparatory Academy in Taiwan.
“It’s about giving something back,” said Patrik Fallang, a Mt. Ellis Academy alumnus from the class of 2005, when asked why he chose to devote a year of his life as a maintenance taskforce worker. Originally from Miles City, Mont., Fallang spent his freshman year at Walla Walla College and plans to pursue radiology technology.
Kelsi Cadiente, another Redlands native and a junior from Pacific Union College (PUC), is serving as an assistant girls’ dean. “I want them to realize their strengths and use them to glorify God,” said Cadiente, “… to be a family and have fun in a safe home away from home.” She anticipates returning to PUC for a degree in elementary education.
Working as an assistant boys’ dean, Andrew Bigelow, from Yakima, Wash., is a graduate from Canadian University College with a B.A. in religious studies and adventure-based youth leadership. “A leadership position in the dorm can be very representative of Christ in our spiritual walk,” said Bigelow. “I want to show Christ to someone through the way I live my life and deal with things.”
Mt. Ellis Academy staff and students are expecting a monumental year with the blessing of these new individuals. “There is lots of experience and youthful energy in our staff. They teach well and play hard, all as an act of worship,” said Wilkins.