Dedicated Faculty and Staff
Students at GCSO are taught by teachers of proven academic excellence and Christian character. Most of the GCSO teaching staff also teach at the parent school, Southfield Christian, and have decades of combined teaching experience. All staff hold degrees in their area of instruction and have received extensive training on best practices for online high school instruction.
To see the staff within a specific department, please click the name of the department below.
John Sowash: Director of Online Learning
John Sowash taught the life science courses at Southfield Christian for four years before launching the GCSO online high school. John obtained his B.A from Spring Arbor University where he majored in English and minored in Biology. John also studied as a guest student at the University of Oxford during his senior year of college. John holds a Masters of Education degree in Administration and Leadership from Liberty University and speaks around the country about technology in education.
Sherri Whiteford: Admissions Coordinator
Sherri Whiteford currently teaches physics and student government at Big Valley Christian School in Modesto, California. She has also served as guidance counselor and student activities director. Sherri received her B.S. in Mathematics Education from Ferris State University and her M.Ed. in Educational Studies from Oakland University. She is now a credentialed teacher in Michigan, California, and by the Association of Christian Schools International.
Jason Ragsdale: Director of Curriculum Development; Tech Support
Jason Ragsdale has been working in educational technology and online learning since 2002. Previous to coming to Global Christian School, he was the Director of Online Learning for Rochester College and has worked in online learning departments for other Detroit area institutions of higher education. Jason holds a B.S. in Human Services from Rochester College.
Tim Roberts: High School Registrar
Tim Roberts graduated from Southfield Christian School, earned a Bachelor's in Psychology from Calvin College, and his Master of Art in Religion with a Church Ministries emphasis through Liberty Theological Seminary's Distance Learning Program. Tim has worked in the Insurance Industry, a Mega Church and in Information Technology. He resides in Grand Rapids, Michigan with his family.
Peter Ward: Bible Department
Peter Ward is the Mathematics and Computer Studies Department head at Southfield Christian School where he has been teaching for 32 years. In addition to his math courses, Peter also teaches several Bible courses. Peter received a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics with a Secondary Education Teaching Certificate from The King’s College, where he also earned a Teacher Diploma from the Evangelical Training Association. Peter holds a Master of Arts in Teaching Mathematics from Oakland University where he also earned Graduate Certificates in Educational Administration. He has earned a Master of Arts in Ministry Leadership from Cornerstone University, having completed all coursework through the Grand Rapids Theological Seminary.
Andrea Grunden has taught English for five years to both middle school and high school students. Andrea is a graduate of Southfield Christian School and Cornerstone University where she obtained a Bachelors of Arts in Secondary Education, majoring in English and minoring in psychology.
Julie Silianoff has enjoyed teaching middle school and high school English for seven years. She has held a variety of teaching positions within private, public, and international schools, including a few years in Taiwan. Julie received a Bachelor of Science from Taylor University, with a major in English education and a minor in psychology. Currently she resides with her family in the sunny state of Florida.
Keith Eckert recently completed his 33rd year as a middle school and high school math teacher. For the last 22 years Keith has taught at Southfield Christian School. He has taught a wide range of math and science classes. Keith received his Bachelor of Science degree Bob Jones University, with a major in math education and a minor in composite science. He also has a Master of Arts in Education degree from the University of Michigan.
Rebecca Heldreth studied math at Taylor University and Oakland University for her undergraduate work. Before pursuing a degree in education she working in the outdoor industry as a field instructor for teen and young adults struggling with destructive behavior. While exploring the Rocky Mountains Rebecca worked as an online student with University of Phoenix to obtain a Master's of Secondary Education. Rebecca has experience working with special education and struggling students from preschool to high school.
Bobby Unis lives with his wife Lora in Livonia, MI. He has taught math in several settings including schools, online, and learning centers. He received a B.A. in Youth Ministry in 2008 from Cedarville University and is active in student ministries at his local church. Bobby also received Teaching Certification from Eastern Michigan University majoring in Mathematics and minoring in Economics.
Ernie Taber has been teaching health and physical education to high school and middle school students for 27 years. He received his BA degree from Evangel College in Missouri, his major was physical education and biblical studies.He received his MA from the University of Detroit with a major in learning disabilities. He has also coached basketball, volleyball and tennis for 22 years. Mr. Taber is excited to integrate his faith into the GCS classroom.
Elizabeth Foote has taught various high school and middle school science classes in addition to performing humanitarian work around the world. Elizabeth received her B.S. from Taylor University in Environmental Biology. She later received her teaching certification from Madonna University and is currently working on her Masters degree in Science Instruction through Wayne State University.
Elisabeth Winter has been teaching biology, chemistry and anatomy for twelve years on the west side of Michigan near Grand Rapids, MI. She graduated from Southfield Christian School and then earned her Bachelor's degree from Cornerstone University in Biology and Chemistry Secondary Education. She continued her education by earning a Master's Degree in Educational Leadership from Grand Valley State University.
Katie Reichard: Spanish
Katie Reichard teaches Spanish to both middle school and high school students at Southfield Christian School. She is an alumna of SCS and the University of Michigan where she received a Bachelors of Arts in Spanish in addition to her secondary teaching certificate. She has spent time in Mexico, the Dominican Republic, and Spain gaining a deeper understanding of the people who live there. Through teaching Spanish, she hopes to inspire her students to appreciate cultures different from their own and understand that the key to connecting with people is through communicating with them in their native language.
Renee Wood: French
Renee Wood has been teaching high school French at SCS for 15 years. She loves being a teacher and working with teenagers. Renee has a B.A. in French and English (double major) from Grace College in Winona Lake, Indiana, and also earned a degree in the French language (Certificat Pratique de la Langue Française, premier dégré) from the University of Grenoble in southeastern France after a year of study. This year in France was one of the most influential experiences in Renee's life. After returning to the U.S., she obtained her teacher certification post-bachelor's from the University of Detroit-Mercy.