Meet Our Staff

Dr. Chris E. Smith - Principal


I am and have always been very passionate about Christian education. For the past twenty plus years, I have been in the classroom, and administration within various Christian schools in California. Christian education provides wonderful opportunities for evangelism, nurtures personal relationships, connects Biblical and theological insights to life, and offers valuable training for discipleship. This opportunity affords our students a chance to grow and excel both academically and spiritually. Developing young Christian leaders provides our communities, and ultimately our country future leaders who are grounded morally, ethically, and spiritually.

For the past four years, I have dedicated my studies to understanding what leadership approaches are most effective in Christian schools through the doctoral program of Grand Canyon University. This program allowed me to really sharpen by servant leadership skills, develop an appreciation for curriculum development, and reignite my passion for the overall Christian movement in this country. I am so proud and honored to head BLS into the next chapter in their distinctive history. I look forward to bridging the gaps between our church and school, fostering a larger role in our surrounding communities, developing a more inclusive educational experience for the students which cultivates academics, athletics, and discipleship, and providing professional leadership which supports the wants and needs of our tremendous staff. I also look forward to getting to know our families and friends of BLS.


Go Eagles



Doctor of Education - Organizational Leadership, 2016

Masters of Education – Instructional Design, 2005

Bachelor of Arts in Sociology / Anthropology, 1994



Years teaching: 13

Years in Administration: 18

Years at Bethany: First

Mr. Dierking—Resource to Principal

through June 2017


Although I have been an educator for almost a decade, I haven’t always been in the teaching profession. I have worked in the retail industry and as a locksmith and I have also served in church ministry for over 10 years. My focus in ministry was primarily working with junior high, senior high and college age ministry, as well as teaching and occasionally preaching. This is where I discovered my passion for education. I went back to school to get my degree in order to teach in the classroom setting, and graduated from Sacramento State with a BA in History. I was hired by Bethany Lutheran School in 2007 and I have taught middle school History, PE and Bible for the last seven years, as well as some on-site administrative duties as needed. I hold a clear teaching credential and I am currently completing my Master of Arts, Educational Leadership & Administrative Services Credential program at Brandman University. Some of my hobbies include cross-training, music, camping, reading and cheering on my hometown teams, the Los Angeles Dodgers, Kings and Lakers!



BA in History, Minor in Religious Studies California State University, Sacramento

California Single Subject Teaching Credential — Social Science



Years teaching: 8

Years at Bethany: 8

Mrs. Begley—Administrative Assistant/Admissions


I have been serving as Administrative Assistant and Admissions Director at Bethany since December 2006. I have worked in Office Management for the last 30 years and I feel truly blessed to work in a Christ-centered environment and be of service to our families and staff here at Bethany. My husband Roger and I love to travel, especially to visit our daughter, son-in-law and three grandchildren. We are avid SF Giants fans and we love mountain biking, camping, and anything else that gets us outdoors.


Contact: Email Mrs. Begley!

Mrs. Fernandez—Kindergarten


I love working here at Bethany! I feel that God brought me here for a reason. I have always wanted to be a Kindergarten teacher, and the opportunity presented itself to me six years ago. Teaching Kindergarten is like going on a new adventure every day, and it is awesome! I could not ask for a better school or a better staff with whom I could work. When I am not teaching, I am the Varsity softball coach for Vacaville High School.



BA in Elementary Education from William Penn University, Oskaloosa, IA

California Teaching Credential



Years teaching: 12

Years at Bethany: 11


Contact: Email Mrs. Fernandez!

Mrs. Thomas — First Grade Teacher


I am so excited to be a part of the Bethany family! I have over 20 years of teaching experience at the pre-kindergarten through 6th grade levels. I find teaching the little ones to be such a fun and rewarding experience. They have such an enthusiasm for learning and I marvel as they grow in so many ways during the school year. When I am not teaching, I enjoy time with my family, traveling, reading and crafting.



BA, Child Development, California State University, Hayward



Years teaching: 24

Years at Bethany: 4


Contact:  Email Mrs. Thomas!

Mrs. Ruiz—Second Grade


After teaching for a number of years in the public schools, the Lord led me to Bethany. Teaching is not just a job, it is my calling, and I am blessed to serve here at Bethany Lutheran School.



Degree in Liberal Studies from Chico State University

California Teaching Credential with Dominican College of San Rafael




Years teaching: 21

Years at Bethany: 11


Contact:  Email Mrs. Ruiz!

Mrs. Ledford — Third Grade Teacher


After several years of teaching in public education, I am blessed to join the wonderful staff at Bethany Lutheran School. Teachers teach because they care about young people, and I’m delighted to teach at Bethany! I was raised in Vacaville and attended Bethany Lutheran Preschool as a child. I still live in Vacaville with my husband and two sons. My oldest son, Blake, is a fourth grader and Bryce is in Kindergarten at Bethany. My interests outside of teaching include spending time with my family and friends and watching the San Francisco Giants!



BA in Child Development from California State University, Sacramento

CA Teaching Credential



Years teaching: 9

Years at Bethany: 5


Contact: Email Mrs. Ledford!

Mrs. Escalante — Fourth Grade Teacher


I have always loved to teach. When I was in sixth grade, I got roped into tutoring a first grader, and from that day on I knew I wanted to be a teacher. I have taught kindergarten, first, and K-5 computers/resource. I move to Vacaville five years ago. Last year I received a call from a friend who works for Bethany School and she told me how much she loved the school and to come see for myself. The moment I walked on campus I felt I was home. I was impressed by the way the faculty works together and how the teachers and students feel like family. I love this school!



BA in Child Development from California State University, Las Angeles

CA Multipal Subject Teaching Credential



Years teaching: 20

Years at Bethany: 2


Contact:  Email Mrs. Escalante


Mr. Adam Kreamer — Middle School English Language Arts (ELA) and Physical Education


I have been excited about education for my entire life, as my mother was an educator and she instilled the passion and enthusiasm for academics in me at a young age. Not only has academics played an integral part in my life, but theater and sports as well. I grew up an athlete playing every sport I could and then entered the world of theater after watching my younger brother onstage. I studied theater at Solano Community College, Bradley University in Illinois, and California State University, Sacramento. I have worked at J&S Performing Arts Center in Vacaville over the past decade, where I have directed theatrical productions and taught acting classes and a drama summer camps.


My love of writing directed my pursuits in school, and I graduated from California State University, Sacramento with a BA in Journalism and a Minor in Communication Studies.  I have written for covering the Oakland Athletics, as well as providing opinion-based articles on various sports subjects. In addition to my writing background, I have also taught PE and Drama for the last 2 years to 1st through 8th graders, as well as leading school drama and musical programs.


I am truly blessed to join the teaching team at Bethany and look forward to a great year getting to know everyone! The chance to teach at a private, Christian school and be able to guide students towards a love and appreciation of reading and writing is truly exciting! See you all soon!



Contact: Email Mr. Kramer

Mrs. Bakken—Middle School Mathematics 

                       5th/6th Grade Bible


Bethany Lutheran School has been a blessing in my family’s life for the past 16 years. My two older sons attended Bethany K-8th Grade, and my youngest son is still a student at Bethany. My sons greatly appreciate and value the Christ-centered education they have received at BLS.  I have been an active member of the Lutheran church my whole life. My family and I have been members of Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church since 1981, where I have volunteered in different ways including Preschool Board, Church Council and Co-Director of Vacation Bible School.



BA in Business, Minor in Mathematics, California Lutheran University, Thousand Oaks



Years teaching and private tutoring: 21

Years at Bethany: 10


Contact: Email Mrs. Bakken!

Mrs. Schrader—Middle School History 

                       7th/8th Grade Bible


I am so excited to return to Bethany this year to teach my favorite subject, history. It is such a joy to share the love of Jesus with my students every day as we learn more about His world and His plans for their lives. Bethany Lutheran School has been a wonderful part of my life since 2000. I've had the privilege of teaching several grades and subject at Bethany as well as substitute teaching during the last sixteen years. When not working at Bethany I often find myself working with children through community and church programs. I spend as much time as possible enjoying my dogs, books, gardening, and traveling with my husband, Glenn.



BA in Liberal Studies from California State University, Hayward

California Teaching Credential



Years teaching: 22

Years at Bethany: 8


Contact: Email Mrs. Schrader!

Dr. Megumi Nomura - Band


I am excited to begin my third year of teaching band at this wonderful and supportive school! My love for music started at the age of three when I started playing the recorder and piano, and expanded to flute. Coming from a strong musical background in both middle and high schools (in Saratoga, California), I believe that music is an integral part of a student's education and growth. As a professional flutist, I enjoy performing and teaching private lessons. As a musician, my goal is to spread the love and joy of music to my students. 



Doctorate of Musical Arts, College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati, Ohio

Master of Music, College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati, Ohio

Bachelor of Music, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor



Years of Teaching privately and school: 12 years

Years at Bethany: 3

Contact:  Email Dr. Nomura!


Mrs. Donoghue - First Grade Aide

                            Morning Extended Care



Mrs. Van Buskirk - Kindergarten Aide



Weekly Worship


8:30am & 11:15am

at S. Orchard Campus


Sunday School- 10am

at S. Orchard Campus



Living God's Word through Caring, Sharing, and Teaching.

Church/Preschool Campus

621 S. Orchard Ave.

Vacaville, CA 95688

707-451-6675 (Church)

707-451-6678 (PS)




School Campus

1011 Ulatis Dr.

Vacaville, CA 95687


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