Private School | Christian Values

90980 River Road
Junction City, OR  97448
(North Eugene area)

School Days
8:00 am – 5:30 pm

Private School | Christian Values

Meet Our Team

Meet the experienced teachers and staff at Nature Discovery Christian School that provide excellent Christ-centered academic education.

Matt Hennon - Director/Administrator & Preschool Teacher

Matt has lived many places including Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, and Georgia, but he was raised and spent most of his childhood in Florida.  In addition to playing soccer competitively for 14 years, he coached girls’ soccer for kids under ten.  He was also involved with YMCA youth programs.  Matt attended the University of West Florida in Pensacola and majored in Environmental Science.  He has taken numerous environmental education classes as part of his major.  In 1998, Matt moved to Oregon with his wife, Heather, and worked at the Wood Gallery on Newport’s bayfront.  While on the coast, Matt also taught Sunday School for first through third graders at the Siletz First Baptist Church.

In 2000, Matt and his wife started Nature Discovery Christian School out of their dedication and desire for children to creatively channel their natural curiosity for science and have the opportunity to attend a unique Christian school that not only teaches the basics, but also fosters a love for God and the natural environment.  The school was moved to Eugene, OR in 2006 after out-growing the Toledo, OR site, which had classrooms for pre-kindergarten through second grade.  Upon relocating, the school has grown in size each year.  Nature Discovery Christian School is now educating children from pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade.

Brandon McPherson - Preschool Assistant

Brandon McPherson was born in Pennsylvania and moved to the Willamette Valley, where his father was raised, when he was 2 years old. He was homeschooled by his parents and participated in Bethel school district Home Source through 8th grade. In 9th grade he started classes at LCC and recieved his GED later that year. He was also teaching swimming lessons and doing physical therapy for children with disabilities at this time. In 2011 he recieved his Nursing certification from Salem ITT after spending several years traveling and volunteering abroad. He did some work in Hospice and later as a charge nurse in a facility specializing in adults with traumatic brain injury. Brandon is multilingual and passionate about teaching and language aquisition. He has spent part of his career teaching English as a second language. He is interested in botany and loves animals of all kinds and he likes to share his knowledge and interest with young learners. At NCDS he teaches pre-k and and afterschool care and tries to include nature themes in his classes. He believes in giving children the freedom to be creative and encourages thinking outside the box.

Heather Hennon - Kindergarten Teacher

Heather was raised and spent her entire childhood in a small town in Missouri.  Like Matt, she had a strong love for animals and the outdoors and knew she wanted a career that would develop those interests.  During high school, she worked as a vet tech and spent her summers teaching swimming lessons to preschool and elementary age children.  She attended the University of West Florida as a marine biology major and graduated with both a B.S. in Marine Biology and a B.A. in Psychology.  In college, she worked as a lab teaching assistant for several zoology classes, as an intern at the Gulf Breeze Zoo, and as a vet tech.  After college, she was employed by the Verona School District in Missouri as a Special Education Teacher.  Heather also spent time substitute teaching at many schools in the southwest Missouri area. 

Upon moving to Oregon, she worked at Hillside Day School as a preschool teacher and also coordinated and taught the kindergarten enrichment program. She taught Sunday School for first through third graders at Siletz First Baptist Church.  In the summer, she taught Vacation Bible School for the same age group.  She was also employed at the Oregon Coast Aquarium where she worked as part of the education staff.  She wrote the curriculum and taught science camps for children from the preschool to high school age.  It was during this job that she decided that she wanted to combine her love of teaching with her love of science and decided to work with her husband on a business venture that would allow them to share their love of science with children.  Heather enjoys teaching the children at Nature Discovery Christian School about God and nature, and feels blessed that her own four boys attend, too.

Murphy Gumaer - Kindergarten Teacher's Aide

Mrs. Gumaer was born in California, and moved around many times in her early childhood. By the age of nine she and her family planted some roots in the state of Arkansas, and this is where she stayed through a couple of years of community college. She then moved to Washington to follow where she felt led by the Lord for spiritual growth. She lived in a home with other young believers of Christ while they ran a home fellowship/ bible study group weekly, and she balanced young adulthood responsibilities. In Washington she met her now husband of over eleven years. They have three school age children that she has been a stay at home mom to for more than seven years. She is passionate about helping others. Her hobbies include camping, hiking & exploring the outdoors, working out, spending time family, and watching & playing sports.

Cianna Kim - 1st Grade Teacher

Cianna grew up in Lakewood, California. While pursuing her Bachelor’s Degree in Peace Studies, she was given the opportunity to study in Israel. It was there, while working as a teacher at Deheishe Refugee Camp, that Cianna decided to seek a career in Education. After graduating from Chapman University, she began her Postgraduate Studies in the Credentials Program at CSU Dominguez Hills. During her studies, she started working as a First Grade teacher at St. Timothy Lutheran School. After four years, Cianna felt called to the public school system in Los Angeles. She began a new journey as a First and Second Grade teacher at Winter Gardens Elementary School.

In August, 2000, Cianna moved to Eugene, Oregon with her family. During this transition Cianna chose to stay at home with her two small children until they were comfortable with their new environment. In 2007 Cianna decided to go back in to teaching and helped pilot a new First Grade program at Good Samaritan School in Corvallis. In the summer of 2014, Good Samaritan Elementary School closed, bringing Cianna to NDCS. She is passionate about science and has extensive training in Engineering, Elementary and Lego Robotics. As an elementary school teacher, Cianna strives to assist students in forming a strong framework to be effective citizens. She encourages collaboration, inquiry, and a desire for lifelong learning in her students. Her goal is to design a classroom setting that encourages investigation and the practices of asking strong and purposeful questions.

Michelle Latourrette - 1st Grade Assistant Teacher

Mrs. Latourrette grew up in Southern Oregon on a goat farm with over 250 dairy goats. She was raised with strong work ethics and a great love for agriculture, farming and animals. She is the mother of four adult boys and four amazing grandchildren; her family is everything to her. She loves helping animals and rehabilitating injured animals when the need arises. She is also a crafter, jewelry maker, painter, plant hobbyist, candle maker, hiker, rock hound and creates essential oils. She has a very close relationship with the Lord. He is her foundation and guidance in life.

She has been working with youth since 1996 where she started her journey as a Youth Counselor at the Inn-Between Shelter in Josephine County. She has been a Casa Advocate, Social Service Worker, Resident Counselor, Drug / Alcohol Counselor, Transport Officer and Teacher. She is well-versed in trauma support care and understands that every youth comes from their own unique background. Six years ago, she started working with younger children as a Preschool Teacher through Head Start.

She feels very blessed to help set a strong foundation through Christ and educational values for the youth she serves. She believes God has brought her to her current role at Nature Discovery Christian School. We couldn’t agree more!

Audrey Smith - 2nd Grade Teacher

Audrey’s love for teaching sprouted from her parent’s love for teaching. Her dad, a 5th grade teacher for 23 years, and her mom, an Educational Assistant and Behavior Support assistant for 22 years, always encouraged her to get into education and here she is! In addition to the influence of her parents, being involved in sports and coaching gave her a love for helping kids grow. A team environment, working together and learning through practice and competition led her to coaching at Thurston High school, the UO club volleyball program and finally at New Hope Christian College as the assistant volleyball coach and recruiting coordinator for athletics. After this, she transitioned to being an Educational Assistant and a Behavior Support Specialist in the 4j public school district. 

In her free time, she lifts weights, plays with her nieces, and is a taco and coffee connoisseur. She also creates floral arrangements for weddings with her sister. So, she would love to talk flowers and gardens with you! Finally, she loves to get together for weekly Sunday dinners with all of her family.

She is thrilled to be here at NDCS and to have this awesome responsibility.

Amie McAllister - 3rd Grade Teacher

Amie was born in New Jersey and has also lived in Florida. She moved to Oregon in 2015. Amie has been teaching since 2007 in many different positions, including substitute, paraprofessional, camp counselor and in-home teaching. She also spent four years as a Boys and Girls Club site coordinator in Florida. She loves singing, sewing, making jewelry and paper crafts. Her fiancé, Josh is becoming an airline pilot.

Amie was raised in the church, her grandmother served as minister at Mountain Lakes Community Church in New Jersey since Amie was a small child. Amie got her start in the career of teaching from leading Sunday school at a Presbyterian church as a teenager. In the classroom Amie is fun, flexible and hands on! She believes each child is unique and deserves love and respect. She believes a well-planned classroom and parent-teacher communication is crucial. Amie takes advantage of every “teachable moment”! Amie is very excited and honored to teacher here at Nature Discovery Christian School.

Kim Grossnicklaus - 4th/5th Grade Teacher

Information about Mrs. Grossnicklaus is coming…

Janice Burton - 6th/7th Grade Teacher

Mrs. Burton was born in Northern California but moved to Oregon at the age of four. She grew up in North Bend and then moved to Eugene to attend the University of Oregon where she earned her Bachelor of Science degree in education with minors in history, French, and special education. She then earned her Master’s degree in curriculum and instruction with concentrations in reading and Bible literacy from Concordia University. She has taught in private Christian schools and at a charter school. She has also done independent tutoring and home-schooled her three sons for a while. She was involved in the Boy Scouts for about 20 years. She likes cooking, sewing, and reading, and camping. She is involved in her church’s missions group, and she has been an American Civil War re-enactor since 1995. Her philosophy of education is that “All children can learn. As teachers, it is our responsibility to find out how each child learns and to adapt our teaching to meet each child’s needs.”

Kevin Burton - 8th through 12th Grade Co-Teacher

Information about Mr. Burton is coming…

Margaret Wofford - 8th through 12th Grade Co-Teacher

Information about Mrs. Wofford is coming…

Dana Gunderson - 8th through 12th Grade Co-Teacher

Information about Mrs. Gunderson is coming…

Brendan & Wambui Young - Office Team

Brendan and Wambui grew up in different parts of our world. Brendan was born and raised in the Willamette Valley. Wambui was born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya. Brendan has worked in many different professions, but is now working on completing a Master’s Degree in Christian Counseling through Gateway Seminary. Wambui went to school at Kenyatta University, and earned a PhD in Plant Genetics from Oregon State University. It was while she was at OSU that the two met. They now have two girls who attend NDCS.

The couple were both raised in Christian homes, and came to adult commitments to God as young adults. They believe that the main call of Christians in the world is to share the Gospel, and they work daily to share that with others as well as to become more like Jesus. They attend Riviera Baptist Church, where Wambui is the Worship Leader, and Brendan is an Elder. They are eager to promote the mission of NDCS to teach young people about God, and to help the NDCS families grow closer to him.

Adam Hinman - Tech Support

Information about Mr. Hinman is coming…

Have Questions?

We appreciate your interest in Nature Discovery Christian School. Please contact us if you have questions or would like to schedule a tour.