Family Care KIDS Staff

OUR STAFF

For more than 40 years, Christian Family Care (CFC) has partnered with parents, children, staff, and the communities we serve to make a difference in the lives of children. Our mission is to strengthen families and serve children in the name of Jesus Christ.

The staff of Family Care KIDS is committed to these same goals and values. Our team is comprised of loving, nurturing teachers who have the desire to see your child grow and thrive.


Leadership and Experience

Mark Upton

CFC President

Experience

Mark is a leading advocate in Arizona for children and families. He joined Christian Family Care in 2007 as the President and Chief Executive Officer. Through God’s guidance and his leadership, Mark has grown CFC to be a $10 million organization serving families and children.   
  
As a lifelong learner, Mark graduated from San Diego State University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business and has completed courses in business, theology, and biblical leadership at Phoenix Seminary, Fuller Seminary, and Harvard Business School.   
  
Prior to joining CFC, Mark served as the Executive Vice President and Provost of Phoenix Seminary. Today, he serves on the Governor’s Council on Child Safety and Family Empowerment, the Prevention Workgroup of the Council on Child Safety & Family Empowerment, and the Department of Child Safety Community Advisory Committee.  
  
Mark is a true family man. With his wife of close to 50 years, he enjoys spending time with their three children and 12 grandchildren, four of which were adopted.

Amanda Bragole

Director

Family Care KIDS Director

Experience

Lexie Bryk

Assistant Director

Family Care KIDS Assistant Director

Experience

Hi! My name is Lexie Bryk and I just got married to my Godly husband at the beginning of 2023. God has always been the center of my life, and now it gets to be the center of my marriage as well! 

Being able to spread the word of God to children as young as six months old is such a blessing to me, especially if school is the only place they hear the gospel. I am currently teaching in the infant room and love every second spent with the children. 

Having many years of childcare experience, I also have a bachelor’s degree in Social Work with two minors: disability studies and sociology. I have worked within the child welfare system for many years as well. 

Jeremiah 29:11

Catherine Phillips

Enrollment Specialist

Family Care KIDS Administrator

Experience

I’m a follower of Jesus, wife to an amazing man, and a mother of four great kids.

I have always had a love for children and teaching them about Jesus and His love for them. As a young person, I babysat and worked at a daycare center. I grew up in Scottsdale and graduated from ASU with a Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education.

Early in my career, I taught 1st grade and 4th grade public school. Throughout the years, I’ve found great joy in teaching and serving at my church with all ages ranging from the nursery to high school girls, and also teaching women’s Bible studies. Most recently, I’ve been an assistant director at a preschool and now I have the privilege of working at Family Care KIDS in the office. I look forward to how God might continue to use me here with the families that come to our school!

Connie Bruhn

Teacher

Family Care KIDS Teacher Connie

Experience

I am a happy wife, mom, and Mama Connie to 18-year-old Sara, who we were blessed with when she was 10. My passion is and always has been with children. I love seeing a child’s eyes light up when they catch onto learning and knowing they can do something new.

My background is in education. I waited five years in between graduating high school and college. I was so ready to go on with life that I completed my college education in three years. Several times I took 24 credits a quarter because my goal was to get back in and go to Brussels, Belgium. When I moved to a small town in Colorado, it meant I opened my own preschool and I homeschooled too.

After moving to Arizona, I helped to develop rules and regulations, and curriculum fairs for homeschooling. I am grateful for the opportunity to help children know how precious they are to Jesus.

Sarah Grinnell

Teacher

Family Care KIDS Teacher Sarah

Experience

Hi there! My name is Sarah Grinnell and I graduated from the University of Montana in 2021. Throughout my undergraduate years, I gained experience in childcare while also playing college volleyball! I also have experience with newborns.

I love taking care of God’s children and being around the young lights of the world!

Being a part of their growth and able to experience their milestones is such a sweet blessing. As I work with the children here at Family Care KIDS, I’ll also be pursuing my master’s degree in Christian Leadership at Grand Canyon University.

Eileen Wixon

Teacher

Family Care KIDS Teacher Eileen

Experience

I am a mom to two kids who are now grown and a grandma to four wonderful grandkids. I love to find joy and laughter through life. 

I have been doing childcare for over 30 years; 23 of those years were spent providing childcare out of my own home. I have a joy for helping others always have since I was a young girl, which led me to childcare. I am nurturing and love to help children accomplish milestones. 

Lindsay German

Teacher

Family Care KIDS Teacher Lindsay

Experience

My name is Lindsay German and I am extremely excited to be a member of the Family Care KIDS community! My heart for Early Childhood Education developed as I grew up participating in my mother’s Southern California ECE classroom. When I sought higher education at Sonoma State University in Northern California, I found my “home away from home” at The Children’s School located on campus. The Children’s School team fostered my professional ECE career for nine years, teaching me to support and appreciate the growth of the whole child (social, emotional, physical, cognition, etc.). I earned a degree in Human Development and Early Childhood Education. I then transitioned into a role as an Early Intervention Specialist, partnering with families of children who were striving to achieve targeted developmental skills. I married my husband Joe in 2016. I became a Quality First ECE Coach with Southwest Human Development, supporting schools around the valley to reach their program improvement goals. God placed conviction on the hearts of me and Joe to pour out our love and support to families in need by becoming foster parents. We obtained our foster care license in the summer of 2022. The missional work and connection Family Care KIDS has with Christian Family Care is what motivated me to join the team as a Teacher in March 2023. I look forward to witnessing how God will move and be glorified through the relationships built at Family Care KIDS. 

Vicki Fellars

Teacher

Family Care KIDS Teacher Vicki

Experience

Hi, my name is Vicki Fellars. I began working with infants on June 5, 2023. I’ve worked in the childcare field for 42 years. I knew at the age of 12 that my calling from God was to work in infant care. I’m currently married to my husband Michael for over 42 years. We have two children and two grandchildren. I’m honored to be chosen to be an infant room teacher here at Family Care KIDS.

Samantha Kunst

Teacher

Family Care KIDS Teacher Samantha

Experience

Hi! My name is Samantha Kunst. I graduated from Arizona Christian University in 2023 with a degree in child development and a minor in biblical studies. For the longest time, I volunteered in children’s ministry and then I interned and worked for a church in college. During that period, I was blessed with the opportunity of helping them start their special education services. I also have the amazing blessing of being able to get married in

December of 2023. God has truly placed a calling on my life to help children and families who are struggling and show them that healing is available. In the fall of 2024, I hope to start my master’s in marriage and family therapy where I can continue to do God’s work with families.

Julia Alvarez

Teacher

Family Care KIDS Teacher Julia

Experience

Lexi Liles

Teacher

Experience

My name is Lexi and I’ve been working with kids since I was in middle school! I’ve enjoyed working childcare at my church, I am substitute teacher certified, and I’ve worked at many summer day camps and nannied/babysat for many families over the years. I currently teach the four-year-old Sunday school class at my church as well. 

I graduated from Grand Canyon University in 2021 with a bachelor’s Degree in Social Work and a minor in Christian Studies, and I currently work as a Supervisor at Feed My Starving Children in Mesa, in addition to Family Care KIDS.

I attend Phoenix Bible Church and have loved to collaborate with Family Care KIDS and Christian Family Care over the years of serving at my church!

Sharing God’s love and the gospel to kids beginning at a young age is a passion of mine and so important! I strive to teach them that they are made in His image and greatly valued, known, and loved! I’m thankful to be a part of this team!

Abby Victor

Teacher

Experience

Colleen Hubbard

Teacher

Experience

Hello! I am thrilled to be part of the team here at Family Care KIDS. I am happily married with two children and have nearly always lived in Phoenix. I graduated from Arizona Agribusiness and Equine Center High School, with some college credits. Several of which are in the field of Early Childhood Education. I took the time away from school to travel to Belize on a mission trip. Then a year before getting married, I lived in Texas serving alongside and being discipled by the leaders of Gospel For Asia. God nurtured the missional mindset in me and equipped me with a deeper understanding of His Word. All through my teenage years and early marriage, I worked in varying classrooms, mostly with infants and toddlers, at daycare centers. I expanded my professional skills through housekeeping and being the receptionist at an elementary school. It is such a blessing to be back working directly with children and understand that they learn the most through imitation, so I am focused on showing all children the love of God. ~1 Timothy 4:12~

Sharon King

Teacher

Experience

Eva Avila

Teacher

Experience

Kasia Krone

Teacher

Experience


MEET THE CHRISTIAN FAMILY CARE
BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Christian Family Care’s 40 years of experience as an organization is behind Family Care KIDS.

Michael Hunter – Board Chair
Sheila Mengarelli – Vice Chair
Pastor Burke Montoya – Secretary
Bob Stave – Treasurer
Doug Napier – Member at Large
Linda Bowers
Huron Claus
Brad Edson
Bruce Everette
Steve Whiteman
Margie Youngblood

“Teaching is a work of the heart.”

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