PreK - 5th Grade

Heartland Christian is an innovative school, incorporating the best from both traditional school and home study. It is an affordable, school alternative combining two or three days of actual school attendance with home schooling. Heartland's mission is to offer quality education-including individual instruction, spiritual guidance, and parent training- to families, in order to assist in raising up well-equipped citizens of character.

Amy Ramirez - Pre-Kindergarten

Experience:  Amy Ramirez has been a teacher for 3 years. She was also a teachers aid for 5 years prior. Amy received her child development certification from Grossmont College.

Interests: Amy has been married to her amazing husband for 10 years, and has 2 beautiful children. They also have a fur baby names Darby. They spend most of their free time camping in their awesome camper. Her children are active and play many sports, so most weekends you can find them on a ball field.

Personal comment:  “I feel blessed to be able to help mold the minds of our youth and to help them in their journey in their walk with the Lord.”

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Noreen Ottalagano - Pre-Kindergarten - Kindergarten

Experience:  Noreen Ottalagano has been working with preschoolers for the past 30+ years. Having earned her Associate’s Degree from Grossmont College, she has blessed the community at Faith Chapel Preschool, churches. Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten have been her love at Heartland Christian Homeschool Center. Noreen has focused on Child Development enjoying the total growth of each child. All of Noreen’s talents are evident in her classroom – music, art, reading, writing, phonics, and the reality of God’s Word. She is a gem!
Interests:  Noreen married her 2nd grade sweetheart and now have 3 daughters. She enjoys being with her family, especially her grandchildren! Quiet time and Beth Moore's Bible studies are important to her. Being the wife of a pastor, she enjoys writing curriculum both for school and church. overseeing the children's ministry.

Personal comments:  I'm blessed that God has allowed me to work with children and families. I can't imagine doing anything else!

Jennifer Wortman - 1st and 2nd Grades

Experience:  Jennifer attended Heartland from 8th - 12th grade and knows our system inside and out.  She has had the advantage of training under master teachers. Working as a monitor at Heartland she has trained under the very best to teach our young students. Jennifer loves to teach History, Science and Vocabulary to our 1st and 2nd graders.    Her love for these subject has fascinates her students; they even know about our Presidents. She passes on her love for the classics and their vocabulary to her eager learners.

Interests: Jennifer is a fabulous writer, is kind and honest, and cares so much about the children. She also loves gardening and Jewish traditions.

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Laurie Wortman - 1st and 2nd Grades

Experience: Laurie has been involved in education for 40+ years. She has worked at Heartland for the last 22 years. Her experience includes teaching primary grades K-4, being a teacher's aide, teaching high school Sign Language, interpreting for the deaf for 16 years, camp counselor, pre-school teacher/director, Sunday School coordinator, educational trainer, and workshop speaker. She also home-schooled her own children for six years.

Interests: Writing, camping and gardening.

​Personal comment: "What better way to remember to stop and take in all that God has done and is doing, than to experience the journey with children? It is an honor to work with my little friends who approach life with hope, wonder, and awe. Children are our greatest blessing and I can't think of anything more worthy of our investment than them. Making learning fun, applicable, and exciting makes me love being involved in education."

Melanie Deyling - 3rd and 4th Grades

Experience: Teacher's aide for five years; teacher for 15 years; as a pastor's wife she has worked with youth ministries; home schooled her 4 children from Kindergarten through 12th grade.

Interests: Traveling, fine arts, family, teaching Bible and creation.

Personal comment: "Watching the strugglers' faces when they finally 'get it' makes all the work worthwhile. I enjoy the daily writing assignments and Bible time, provoking thinking and discussion. Most of all, I love creating a homey atmosphere; my students are like a family."

Principal's comment: "Did someone say, "Children learn when there is no stress?" Melanie's room is the epitome of learning in the comfort of your own living room. Her natural, creative design talents enhance the pleasantry of learning; she makes the process so normal that students are unaware of how consistently on track they are with their academic goals."

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Bethany Gaut - 4th and 5th Grades

Experience: Bethany is a busy mom of 5 as well as a club and high school volleyball coach. She grew up here in San Diego, even spent her 8th grade year at the original Heartland Christian School. In ’99, Bethany moved to Kansas City with her husband Rob where they started their family. As well as being homeschooled herself off and on throughout her school aged years, Bethany and Rob schooled their children at home in Kansas until 2014 when they moved back to California.
Bethany has served in multiple rolls here at HCHC, she was the PE for several years and even spent time at the front office and as along term sub in the 7th and 8th grade class. Bethany loves the vision from FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) "to engage, equip and empower" young people as they seek after Jesus. She is a confident lover of Jesus who has a passion for helping children and young adults better themselves through sports and in the classroom. She is looking forward to her new class this year!

Karen Epperson - 5th and 6th Grade

Experience: Karen has received her bachelor's of science in Education fro Liberty University. She was head teacher at Kindercare in the pre-kindergarten classroom until having children of her own. Once her children became of age, she dedcicated all her efforts, time, and talents to homeschooling them. She home schooled for six years before finding Heartland Christian Homeschool where she thoroughly enjoyed having the best of both private Christian education and the flexibility and atmosphere of being schooled at home. Four of her six children currently attend Heartland. After volunteering as a yard duty and monitor, it became very clear that Karen's training and love for God, His children, and education could be put to use as such a time as this at Heartland. She is so excited to be teaching fifth and sixth grade.

Interests: Baking, party planning and decorating, working out (REFIT), big family dinners, reading and have deep theological discussions about the Lord and His word.

Personal comment: "Each school year, I go to the Lord and ask what it is He wants to do for my kids. In the beginning, that was to homeschool my children solely on my own, no charter school or co-op. As you can imagine, resources became lower while expenses grew higher. That, coupled with the growing number of children in our family left me depleted and in need for a change. While my heart was still very much for homeschooling, I needed an option that could provide for my kids what I was physically incapable of doing. My husband and I prayed and prayed. Heartland was the answer. We've been at Heartland for going on four years and couldn't fathom sending our kids anywhere else. I am beyond blessed to have the opportunity to be apart of school that puts the Lord first; that sees each child individually and as a unique creation of God, and that trains them up in the way they should go."

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Jamie Martin - PE

Experience:  Jamie Martin joins Heartland with a missionary upbringing and a renaissance education. Jamie graduated from Calvary Chapel Bible College with a Theology degree in '99 and a B.A. in art from SDSU in '04. She has homeschooled her own children for 9 years, which has given her insight into teaching children  with processing issues and dyslexia. Jamie will be teaching PE K-8th this year along with 8th grade Social Studies. She uses her love of travel and her enthusiasm for music to make a lasting impact on her students as they broaden their view of a world in need of a savior.
Interests: Piano/song writing, photography, diy projects.

Personal comment: "I feel completely humbled and blessed to have the opportunity to be around and teach these awesome kids about God and the world around them. I know that God has called me to this mission and I do not take it lightly! I am so excited to see what God does this year!"