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Fine Arts Department

Christi Ebenhoch, Educator and Fine Arts Chair

Christi Ebenhoch has been an educator at Grace Brethren for 17 years and is currently the vocal teacher and Department Chair of the Fine Arts Department at the Jr/Sr High School. Besides teaching, Christi is also a professional singer, Vocal Contractor, and Voiceover Artist. Christi has performed all over the world and currently tours with the big band Wartime Radio Revue. You can also hear her voice on many television commercials, radio acts, films, and television shows. Christi has been married for 23 years to her husband Kevin and has two kids who also attend Grace Brethren. Christi holds her Masters in Teacher Education; Bachelors Degree in Vocal Performance and Music Education from Azuza Pacific University. SAG/ AFTRA

Jr/Sr High

Anneke Bernardo
(Fine Arts Assistant)
Anneke is in her 7th year at Grace Brethren. Mrs. Bernardo taught elementary school music and art in the 1990s and was an intellectual property paralegal for many years before joining the Grace Brethren High school staff. Her mix of copyright and trademark law as it pertains to entertainment and arts mixed with her creative talents has made her a wonderful fit for the Fine Arts department. Mrs. Bernardo has been married to her husband Joey for 30 years and has three children and one granddaughter. The Bernardo family has lived in Simi Valley for 25 years. Mrs. Bernardo leads worship at her church and plays with various Christian musicians on a regular basis. Her joy in life is to share the love of Christ with students through music and art.

David Carter
(Drama)

David Carter has been directing the Theatre Program at Grace since 2012, and in the time has produced 13 shows ranging from a cast of 6 students to ensemble driven productions with more than 80 students on stage. Some of his favorite productions have been "Little Shop of Horrors", "Les Miserables", "The Crucible", "Godspell", "Almost, Maine", and most recently, "Beauty and the Beast". Under his direction, the Grace Brethren Theatre Program has received nominations from the Jerry Herman Awards for "Godspell" and "Guys and Dolls". Recently, the Theatre Program was able to add a third production to their yearly schedule, focused solely on graduating seniors who have spent a number of years in the program. This "Senior Showcase" show is quickly becoming a highlight of the year, and a wonderful way to celebrate the hard work of these senior students one last time. David has been married to his wife Jennifer for 5 years, who teaches 4th grade at the elementary school. BS Biblical Studies from The Master’s College; BS English from William Jessup University; 5 years at Grace Brethren

Tiana Fries
(Advanced Placement Art and Graphic Arts)
Tiana Fries has been an educator at Grace Brethren High School for 5 years and currently teaches AP Art, High school and Junior High Art, and Photography. She was a commercial artist for Trader Joe's for 8 years, and has owned and operated a photography company for the past 9 years. She studied painting in Florence, Italy for a year and has Master's Degree in Biblical Counseling. She is currently a professor at Eternity Bible College, and is passionate about the truth of God's Word setting people free in Biblical Discipleship. Tiana has a huge heart for bringing authenticity into the church and parachurch organizations, as well as for broadening students' view of what God is doing in the world outside of Simi Valley.

Paul Pate

(Instrumental Music)
Paul Pate has been an instrumental music educator for almost two decades. From private lessons to full orchestral ensembles, he has poured his passion for instrumental music into educating countless
young musicians. Paul received his Bachelors of Music in Jazz Performance from California State University, Northridge. While studying there he had the opportunity to work with some of the top performers and educators in the music industry and was selected to represent the United States and perform abroad in jazz festivals from China to Slovakia. His love for Christ and music has led him to Grace Brethren Schools where he is teaching the beginning band (offered at the elementary school and junior high school levels) advanced band, jazz band, and worship band. Paul can currently be heard performing in a number of venues from pit orchestras for musicals to band stands for swing dancers, and he is the resident saxophonist for the Yacht Rock sensation known as “Yachtley Crew.” Paul has been married to his wife Lisa for almost 10 years, who is also a saxophonist and the Band Director at Royal High School. They have two beautiful children; Maceo, age 3 ½, and Lavinia, age 16 months.BA Jazz Studies form Cal State Northridge

Rebecca Ryan
(JR High Theater)

Becky Ryan has been teaching at Grace Brethren for seven years. She earned her BA in English Literature, MA in Education, and holds a California clear teaching credential for English/ Language Arts. Becky teaches English literature courses and began directing junior high theater in 2016. She has directed “Pride and Prejudice: The Movie,” “Cove of Acropolis,” “The Academy School for Gifted, Malevolently Impressive, Nefariously Awesome… Girls” and is currently directing “Not so Grimm Tales.” She loves helping young students become more comfortable in expressing themselves through performing arts.

Ryan Sevy
(Film)

Ryan Sevy is a current Film Industry, Film Studies, and Ed Support teacher at Grace Brethren High. Ryan has been coaching Track and bow Cross Country at Grace since 2017. Ryan has a Master's in Education and a CA Teaching Credential from National University, a Bachelor's degree in Social Studies from UC Davis, and a AA's in Liberal Arts and Social Science from Sierra Community College. Ryan has been a substitute teacher at grace Brethren High since 2011. Ryan co-produced, co-created and starred in a Short Film in 2016. The film, The Dunnigan Journals, competed in several film festivals in 2017 and won best short Narrative, and Best Overall at the Redding Film Festival. Ryan also works as part-time 911 responder in Ventura County, and is a AHA CPR instructor. Ryan is married to his wife Taylor and they are expecting their first child at the end of March.

Austin Smith
(Ceramics, Graphic Arts, Tech Theatre)

Austin Smith currently teaches Ceramics, Computer Graphics, Yearbook, and Technical Theater, and has been teaching at Grace since 2015. Austin also holds the title of a Grace "Lifer" having attended Grace as a student since preschool. Austin contributes to the school as club leader for the National Art Honor Society and the Video Games Club as well as a guest choreographer for the school's musical productions. Austin graduated from California State University Northridge with a bachelors of Fine Arts. Aside from teaching Austin has worked on commercials, television shows, and movies as a concept artist, storyboarder, graphic designer, and sculptor.

Leah Sumner
(Dance Instructor, GBS and Grace in Motion)

Leah Sumner started choreographing the musicals at Grace Brethren High School last year, and is thrilled to begin the new dance program, Grace in Motion, on all campuses this year. Leah has been dancing since age four, and has extensive training in modern, jazz, ballet, tap, swing, choreography and improvisation.  During her studies at Moorpark College and UC Santa Barbara she earned many awards and scholarships.  After graduating she danced professionally with Megill and Company, and in Mickey’s Soundsational Parade at Disneyland.  Leah has been teaching dance at local studios since 2006 and is delighted to share her passion for dance with the students at Grace.   She has a BA in Dance from UC Santa Barbara.   Leah has a heart for God and regularly attends church and works in the mission field.

 

Elementary

 
Amy Preston

For close to 10 years, Amy Preston has been studying music and education. She received AA's in Music and Humanities at Moorpark College and then went on to Pepperdine University to complete her BA in Music Education in 2016. She received her Preliminary California Teaching Credential this last Spring and is thrilled to be joining the faculty at Grace Brethren. Since Spring of 2017, Amy worked as a Substitute Teacher in the Simi Unified School District and then completed her student teaching at Hillside Middle School with the instrumental music program, followed by full time student-teaching at Santa Susana High School with the choral music program. She has been blessed to be able to serve at Centerpoint Church in Simi Valley for many years on the Praise Team as well as leading the music for the yearly Vacation Bible School. Currently, Amy is working on receiving her Certificate of Ministry in the 2-year church leader training program.  

Amy and her husband Ty will be celebrating their 25th anniversary in February 2019. They have four sons, Dominic and Daniel (twins), Connor, and Jarod. Daniel has been married to Mikayla for 4 years and they have two sons, Judah (2), Elias (born June 18, 2018). 

 

Paul Pate

Paul Pate has been an instrumental music educator for almost two decades. From private lessons to full orchestral ensembles, he has poured his passion for instrumental music into educating countless young musicians. Paul received his Bachelors of Music in Jazz Performance from California State University, Northridge. While studying there he had the opportunity to work with some of the top performers and educators in the music industry and was selected to represent the United States and perform abroad in jazz festivals from China to Slovakia. His love for Christ and music has led him to Grace Brethren Schools where he is teaching the beginning band (offered at the elementary school and junior high school levels) advanced band, jazz band, and worship band. Paul can currently be heard performing in a number of venues from pit orchestras for musicals to band stands for swing dancers, and he is the resident saxophonist for the Yacht Rock sensation known as “Yachtley Crew.” Paul has been married to his wife Lisa for almost 10 years, who is also a saxophonist and the Band Director at Royal High School. They have two beautiful children; Maceo, age 3 ½, and Lavinia, age 16 months.  Paul earned his BA Jazz Studies from Cal State Northridge.

 

 


Rachel (Balich) Polycn

Rachel is one of our Grace alumni who graduated from the American Music and Dramatic Academy with a bachelors degree in fine arts. You can see Rachel's work in the Camarillo , Glendale, as well as the Thousand Oaks Theatre. Rachel has been trained for television and live theatre specializing in dance, acting and singing and we can't wait for you to meet her!


Leah Sumner
(Dance Instructor, GBS and Grace in Motion)

Leah Sumner started choreographing the musicals at Grace Brethren High School last year, and is thrilled to begin the new dance program, Grace in Motion, on all campuses this year. Leah has been dancing since age four, and has extensive training in modern, jazz, ballet, tap, swing, choreography and improvisation.  During her studies at Moorpark College and UC Santa Barbara she earned many awards and scholarships.  After graduating she danced professionally with Megill and Company, and in Mickey’s Soundsational Parade at Disneyland.  Leah has been teaching dance at local studios since 2006 and is delighted to share her passion for dance with the students at Grace.   She has a BA in Dance from UC Santa Barbara.   Leah has a heart for God and regularly attends church and works in the mission field.

 

Fine Arts Calendar

Awards & Memberships

  • Jerry Herman Awards Participants
  • International Thespian Society
  • National Youth Arts Association (Theater)

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