Faculty / Creative Teams


Explorers Preschool

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Luz Gutierrez
Director

Before joining the North Tampa team as the Early Childhood Program Coordinator, Mrs. Luz Gutierrez started her career at Meadows Academy at Spring Meadows Church as a teacher and quickly advanced to assistant director. After a year of service, she relocated and worked as an assistant director and then Interim director at Kid’s Safari Preschool at New Port Richey SDA Church.


Mrs. Luz Gutierrez received her undergraduate degree from the University of South Florida in the field of Sociology with a concentration in Early Childhood education. She has been working with young children all of her life and believes that God has called her to minister children and families in the early childhood setting.


Among Mrs. Luz Gutierrez favorite things are exercise and spending time in the great outdoors. She is proud to say that her family is her greatest accomplishment. She has a wonderful husband of four years, two wonderful boys ages three and 18 months and a rambunctious puppy named Chipper.

 

Lower School Creative team (K-3)

Heidi Gomez
Kindergarten, Project-Based Learning Specialist (Social Studies)

Heidi Gomez graduated from Southern Adventist University with a B.A. in Liberal Arts Education and a minor in English. Teaching is Gomez’s passion, and she uses her skills as a bilingual speaker to facilitate communication and enrich her lessons. She applies her cultural background to teach children about the beauty and diversity of God’s world.

Gomez loves to make learning fun, personal, and interactive, and enjoys teaching through centers, small group instruction, and engaging activities. She takes the time to sit with each of her students individually to help each one learn how to make learning personally meaningful. Through this one-on-one time, she helps her students develop the skills they need to think critically and creatively. Gomez believes strongly in teaching her students to respect and love each other just as God loves them.

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Danielle Cameron, MS.ED.
First Grade Teacher

Danielle Cameron was born in Chicago and has lived in many different places across the midwest and the northeast. She’s been married to Richie for 12 years, who is also an educator and a coach. They have three children— Khali (8), Alaya (6), and Ellis (3)—who are also here at North Tampa. She graduated from Oakwood University in Alabama with a B.A. in English and an A.S. in Accounting. After teaching for a couple years, she went to graduate school at University of Pennsylvania for an M.S. Ed in Elementary Education. She’s taught for 13 years in various roles, but for the past two years, she was homeschooling her children. She enjoys teaching every subject, but her favorites are reading, writing, and facilitating project work with students.

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Helen Mateo, MA
First Grade Teacher, Math Specialist K - 3 Creative Team

After receiving her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Fitchburg State College, Helen Mateo earned a Master’s degree in Bilingual Bicultural Education from the University of Connecticut. Her passion for teaching led her to 23 years in both public and private schools. During her time at Tampa Adventist Academy, Mateo established the Title 1 Program and spent five years serving as a Special Needs Coordinator. Not only did she tutor 11th and 12th grade English, but thanks to her fluency in Spanish, she taught 7th and 8th grade Spanish and translated letters and meetings. She now serves at North Tampa as a first grade teacher as well as the Math Specialist for the K-3 Creative Team.

When Mateo isn’t in the classroom, she loves to read, take walks, and spend time with family. Her son currently attends Adventist University of Health Sciences in Orlando and her daughter is a North Tampa 8th grader.

Mateo is devoted to helping students enjoy learning, and she is committed to providing developmentally-appropriate experiences in the classroom. She is intentional in creating relationships with her students and their families and helps her students see Jesus in all aspects of their lives.

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April Nowotny, MS
Second Grade Teacher, K-2 Project-Based Learning Specialist (Science)

As a young girl, April Nowotny knew that she wanted to become a teacher. She grew to attend Andrews University in Michigan, where she obtained her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education with an emphasis in Language Arts. She then went on to receive a Master of Science with an emphasis in outdoor education from Southern Adventist Academy in Tennessee.

She has instructed students ranging from kindergarten to fourth grade, and finished her most recent position at Tampa Adventist Academy, where she served for eight years, teaching second grade.

Outside of the classroom she enjoys reading, photography, scrapbooking, and traveling, and she and her husband have two children who will be attending North Tampa. Nowotny is passionate about teaching and showing her children the love of Christ. She strives to instill a love of learning in all of her students while helping them walk closer with Jesus.

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Manouchka Louine
Third Grade Teacher, 3-6 Literacy Specialist

Manouchka Louine has been teaching elementary students for eight years.  Born and raised in Ft. Lauderdale, she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Business Health Administration. While working on her degree, she had the opportunity to work with children at a local elementary school, and there developed a passion for teaching. She then went on to receive her elementary certification.

She is married to Chris, I.T. Director, and they have three beautiful boys, Ethan-Louis, Allan, and Matthew.

She loves watching children grow and flourish and become passionate about their learning. She also enjoys challenging and encouraging them to be the best they can be. Her desire is to use every opportunity to find ways of making the classroom environment and lessons stimulating and exciting.


Middle School Creative Team (4-6)

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Rachel Frescino
Fourth Grade Teacher, 3-6 Project Based Learning Specialist (Social Studies)

Mrs. Rachel Frescino began her career here in Florida teaching first grade at Forest City Adventist School in Altamonte Springs. She then traveled abroad with her husband, Joseph Frescino, to teach in the warm Pacific waters of Micronesia, in the Republic of Palau.  There she taught 4th grade and learned to love the rich culture and beauty of island life. After two years in Micronesia, they settled back home in Central Florida. She has taught third grade at Walker Memorial Academy in Avon Park for the last two years.

Mrs. Rachel Frescino loves adventure, innovation, and most of all children, and is thrilled to be joining the North Tampa team. She received her degree in Elementary Education from Southern Adventist University in Collegedale, Tennessee. She is passionate about student engagement and creating rich, hands-on experiences that make learning come to life.

Besides teaching her students, she enjoys sunshine, Disney World, spending time with her family, and expressing her creativity through hand-lettering, design, taking pictures, and crafting.

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Sonia Hernandez, MA
Sixth Grade Teacher, 3-6 Project Based Learning Specialist (Science)

Before joining the North Tampa team, Sonia Hernandez was a teacher at Walker Memorial Academy in Avon Park, Florida.  During her time at Walker, she taught fourth grade and 7-11th grade science. There, she received the Rising Star Award for excellence in teaching. She also taught 5th grade in Fort Meade, Florida, where she was voted Teacher of the Year, and served as chairperson for the 5th grade teachers.

Mrs. Hernandez has a Bachelors in Business Administration, but when she realized her calling was to teach, she obtained her Masters in Elementary Education. She is married to Pastor Orlando Hernandez, and they have three children: Orlando III, a sophomore at Adventist University of Health Sciences in Orlando; Isaac, a senior, and Isabel, a seventh grader. Mrs. Hernandez and her family love Jesus and spending time together. Her hobbies include fishing, camping, hiking, sports, and theatre. Mrs. Hernandez has a passion for making education fun for students, allowing them to take control of their education, and encouraging students to think outside the box, which is an integral part of her motivation in teaching!

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Ruth Cress
Fifth Grader Teacher, 3-6 Math Specialist

Prior to joining North Tampa Christian Academy, Ruth Cress, taught 5th and 6th grades at Tampa Adventist Academy for 8 years.  She has also taught Algebra, Geometry, Physical Science and Biology.

Ms. Cress started her teaching career 23 years ago after graduating from Union College inn Lincoln Nebraska with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education.

In 2003 Ms. Cress, was nominated for the NASA Teacher in Space program.   She has held membership in several professional organizations, such as the Association for Curriculum and Development and the National Science Teachers Association.

Ms. Cress enjoys the outdoors, spending time with family, reading, crocheting and knitting.  She loves to travel to visit her children and grandchildren all around the country.

It is her desire to help point her students to the Kingdom of God and develop their character for this life and for eternity.

 

Upper School Creative Team (7-12)

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Kevin Cameron, MEd
7-12 Integrated Media/Video Production Specialist

Kevin Cameron, a Canadian, started his career as a high school English teacher at Crawford Adventist Academy, in Toronto, where he spent 10 successful years.  The highlight of his time at Crawford was developing a media department, writing and producing sold out stage plays, such as the locally celebrated feature film entitled “Hush”.  With a B.A. in English Language Arts Education and a Master’s in Education with an emphasis in Leadership, Mr. Cameron was called to serve as principal at Ramah Junior Academy, a Pre-K-8 school in Cleveland, Ohio from 2011-2016.

As an entrepreneur with his own film and video marketing business, Kevin Cameron has made over 200 videos in the form of commercials, documentaries, promotional, and music videos through his media company. Kevin loves positively impacting young people and has a passion for storytelling. He loves sports, traveling and scintillating conversation; but most of all, you will probably find him spending quality time with his wife and two daughters.

Kevin Cameron is passionate about life and is honored to be a part of the team at North Tampa!

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Rebecca Davis
7-12 Humanities Specialist (Social Studies)

Before joining the North Tampa team as the 7-12 Humanities Social Studies Specialist, Ms. Rebecca Davis completed her undergraduate degrees in history and music at Southern Adventist University in Collegedale, TN. She is eager to help students gain an empathetic and Christ-like perspective of the world and of history. To Ms. Davis, the humanities is much more than rote memorization of facts, but is the integration of all that we experience as humans, including philosophy, literature, religion, art, music, and history. Some of her hobbies include reading, cooking, and making music.

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Rowelyn Dela Cruz
7-12 Life Sciences Specialist

Rowelyn Dela Cruz has spent the last 13 years working in education. For 8 of those years, her teaching experience has been in middle school math and science, but throughout her career, she’s taught 1st grade through high school.

During the summer of 2015, Dela Cruz was fortunate to take part in the Trustey Family STEM Fellowship at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana. There, she partnered with teachers from all over the country. They focused on encouraging students to think about the world around them, creating more equitable STEM learning environments, and helping students define their futures, which are the Center for STEM Education’s core beliefs.

Dela Cruz has a bachelor’s degree in Education from the University of Central Florida. She also has an ESOL endorsement and California state certification.

Dela Cruz is a Florida girl at heart but considers California her second home. This is where she met her husband and had her son; however, she and her daughter were both born at Florida Hospital Avon Park/Sebring. They are truly a bicoastal family! Her favorite activities include playing with her two young children, watching musicals, and eating — her husband is a great cook! She looks forward to this humbling opportunity to be a part of North Tampa’s amazing endeavor.

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Stan Miller
7-12 Math Specialist

Stan Miller graduated from Union College in Lincoln, NE where he received BA degrees in Biology, Education, and Religion. However, he has actually taken more courses in mathematics than biology, and math is his favorite course to teach.

Miller’s teaching career began in 1985 at Olympia Junior Academy in Olympia, WA, and now 33 years later, he has come to North Tampa. Miller’s true passion is to help his students achieve success in not only math and science, but in any endeavor they undertake. He encourages them to put forth their best effort no matter what. Miller believes that studying to get a grade is shortsighted, while studying to learn as much as possible is essential for academic success. He is excited to join the North Tampa teaching team, where the competency-based learning environment promotes more in-depth study and topical understanding than would be achieved by traditional methods.

Outside of school, his hobbies include any athletic endeavor from basketball to softball, as well as downhill skiing, bowling, golf, and tennis. He enjoys playing board games that require strategy, spending time with friends and family, and traveling with his wife.

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Ronnie Pittman
7-12 Physical Sciences Specialist, Physics, Chemistry

Ronnie Pittman graduated from Southern College with a BA in Biology and a minor in Chemistry and Education. After graduating, he began his teaching career at East Pasco Adventist Educational Center in Dade City, FL, where he taught math and science for 6 years. Afterward, Pittman moved to Bass Memorial Academy in Purvis, MS, where he taught for 4 years as a physics teacher, IT director, and was an assistant coach for the acro gymnastics team. Most recently, Pittman spent 13 years at Collegedale Academy in Collegedale, TN. He instructed students in physics, math, video editing, the Adobe suite of products, and gymnastics.

Pittman enjoys a variety of hobbies including machining, fabricating, off-roading, and coaching gymnastics. He is Cuban-American and was born and raised in Miami, Florida. He has a lovely wife, Marggie, and two beautiful daughters. What he enjoys most about teaching is forming relationships with his students and helping them expand their horizons and their God-given talents.

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Monique Rothe
7-12 Humanities Specialist, Writing

Monique Rothe graduated from Southern Adventist University in Tennessee with degrees in Secondary Education and English. Since then, she has accumulated over twenty years of teaching experience in literature, writing, and Language Arts. She has also served as a yearbook sponsor for more years than she can remember!

Rothe shares parenting with her husband as they finish raising their two sons, one of whom graduates in 2019. She is also the mother to two cats, who assure her they are more important than everyone else in the house. When she has free time, Rothe enjoys cooking, painting, drawing, reading, snorkeling, and scuba diving (when it’s possible). However, spending as much time as possible with God and her family is always a priority.

Her favorite thing to do is show students that being an author is an artful skill which they can all develop. She has a passion for helping students exercise their creative talents and finding the humor in all things human.

 

K-12 Creative Team

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Felix Alicea
K-12 Health and Fitness Director

Before joining the North Tampa team as the Health and Fitness Specialist, Mr. Alicea started his career at Tulsa Adventist Academy in Tulsa, OK, as their K-10 P.E., 9-10th Science, and 7-8th Math Teacher. After three years, he and his wife relocated to Lincoln, NE, where Mr. Alicea was a K-12 P.E. teacher, 9-12th Athletics/Activities Director, and girls basketball coach.

Mr. Alicea received his Bachelor degree from Union College in Lincoln, NE, in K-12 Physical Education.  Since graduating from college, he has been heavily involved in athletics from coaching, developing and running athletic programs,, as well as expanding different P.E. classes.

Mr. Alicea and his wife have a boy and girl, and live in the Saint Petersburg area.  Some of his favorite hobbies and things to do include exercising, playing a wide variety of sports, and being from Colorado,  exploring in the mountains.

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Lani Hosei
K-12 Music Specialist

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Michael Dela Cruz
Innovation Specialist (2D/3D Visual Arts)

Michael Dela Cruz has a background in design and fabrication and has been creating in 2D/3D for over 25 years.  He has been making Live Sound for over 15 years and he has taught audio, visual & practical arts at the secondary level for over five years.  However, his most important job of bringing up his two children kept him home the last six years.

Mr. Dela Cruz has a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Design, with an emphasis in Product Design, from the ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, California.   He also studied at California State University-Long Beach. His diverse professional career has allowed him to work with brilliant designers and consult with internationally known companies. He brings his portfolio to teach the next generation of makers and doers. His analytical mind and his creative spirit have shaped his unique outlook on life. His desire to share that knowledge with the youth of today is stemmed from his understanding of who God designed him to be.

Mr. Dela Cruz was born and raised on the island of Oahu, Hawai’i where his simple upbringing cultivated his industrious spirit.  Moving to Southern California as a young boy gave him the opportunity to see new things and build on his creative foundation. His love of photography gives him the understanding that life is a collection of memorable moments that we create.

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Libna Arroyo, MA
Guidance Counselor/Spanish Language Specialist

Libna Arroyo has served as a school counselor throughout the country for 10 years. Her experience includes working in Pasco County Schools here in Florida, in Niles Community Schools in Michigan.  She also worked as a Girls Dean for Bass Memorial Academy in Mississippi, a counselor for a public high school in Tuscaloosa, AL, and as an adjunct professor at Aurora Community College in Colorado. Arroyo holds a Master’s degree in Counseling and a BA in Psychology, with a minor in Spanish from Southern Adventist University in Tennessee.

Outside of work, Arroyo enjoys cooking, reading, traveling, and the beach. She also loves to spend time with her husband of 12 years, Jonathan, and their two beautiful children, Katherine and Nolan, ages 5 and 7 respectively. Her family is completed by two Shih Tzu puppies, Sam and Daisy.

Arroyo’s passion is helping teenagers finding their purpose in life through career counseling. She shows them the value of service in our local community and the importance of international mission trips.

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Daveen Williams, MA
Special Needs Director/Reading Specialist

 

Staff

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Joseph Frescino
Ambassador/Music and Spiritual Outreach

Mr. Frescino graduated in 2013 from Southern Adventist University in Tennessee where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Music. Since then, he married his wife, Rachel, and they spent three years as missionaries on the island of Palau, located in the Micronesian region of the Pacific Ocean. During his time there, he taught many different subjects at Palau Mission Academy, in addition to a variety of extracurricular commitments. His last year on the island he worked as a Youth Pastor discovered his love for youth and passion for ministry.  After leaving Palau in 2016, Mr. Frescino and his wife moved to Walker Memorial Academy in Avon Park, Florida, where he worked as teacher and chaplain.

He loves playing guitar, leading worship, preaching, and spending time with his students. He also loves watching sports, live performances, and being outdoors. “I can’t wait to see what God has in store,” says Mr. Frescino. “I’m excited to spend time with our students and work with the team. God has big plans for this school and I’m glad to be a part of that!”

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Elisa Galdamez
Explorers Administrative Assistant

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Janette Miller
Registrar

Prior to joining the staff at North Tampa, Mrs. Miller was an Administrative Assistant at Tampa Adventist Academy from 2016-2018.  Before that, she served as a teacher’s aide at Paradise Adventist Academy in Paradise, CA from 2007-2015, with her experience focusing on 1st/2nd grade students.

Mrs. Miller is thrilled to be part of the North Tampa. She has a passion for children and believes God has brought her into their lives for a reason. She is married to science teacher Stan Miller, has two children and six grandchildren. She loves reading her Bible and Christian novels, doing interlocking puzzles, and going to the beach.

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Marggie Pittman
Administrative Assistant

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Chris Sauder
Afterschool Enrichment Coordinator