Madelyn Santos-Director

Madeline Santos

School Director
I am a proud veteran of the US Air Force where I served as a Security Forces member. My mission at ACA is to continue to advance the school in its admissions, finances, and competencies. It is my privilege and honor to provide tours to prospective families and to share all about our nurturing, loving, and brilliant staff. I invite you to visit our admissions page to schedule your tour today.
Michelle Sammartino-Administrative Assistant

Michelle Sammartino

School Secretary
I have been married to my high school sweetheart for more than 30 years. We have been blessed with two wonderful boys and a beautiful daughter-in-law. I have been at ACA since 2019 and I love it! In my spare time, I like to spend time with my family, read and garden.


Megan Huston-Kindergarten

Megan Huston

Kindergarten Teacher
I teach kindergarten and love it! I have two daughters ages 5 and 8. We live in Pitman with our three (yes three) dogs! I love Mexican food and training in MMA. In my free time, I love to garden and play outside with my girls!
Allison Sweeney-First Grade (1)

Allison Sweeney

1st-grade Teacher
I worked in the medical billing field for several years but I felt that the Lord was calling me to early childhood education. I started teaching at a private Christian school in 2014 and went back to school full-time to obtain my bachelor’s degree from Wilmington University. I have a New Jersey CE to teach preschool-third grade and I have taken education classes at Montclair University. As a teacher, I want to do more than just inspire my students to work hard and do their best academically. I also believe it is an opportunity to minister to children daily. My vision for my students is to create a safe and nurturing environment that focuses on the whole child. I want my students to grow and mature in all areas while they are in my classroom: academically, physically, and spiritually. First grade is a year full of tremendous growth and I cannot wait to see what God has in store for us this year! I am a mother of one son, Gabe, and our chocolate lab, Lucy. I enjoy reading, making wreaths, walking, and spending time with my family and church family. I also love to bake and decorate cakes. My prayer for this year is to open our eyes and hearts and to shine our lights for Jesus! Our Bible verse for this year will be Psalm 23.
Ivy Whipple-Second Grade

Ivy Whipple

2nd-grade Teacher
I have been married to my husband Philip for almost 15 years. We do not have children, but we have a cat named Reba! She got her name from my love of country music. It is not uncommon for me to be seen in cowgirl boots! My educational background includes a BA in Biblical Literature/Psychology, a Master’s in Education, a K – 12 Bible certification from ACSI, and a School Counselor Certification from ACSI. I have taught at ACA for fourteen years and taught preschool for approximately 18 years before coming to ACA. My desire for my students is that they will grow physically, spiritually, socially, and intellectually (Luke 2:52) while in my classroom. I feel blessed that God has called me to this ministry and do not take my responsibility lightly. I am looking forward to what God has planned for ACA!
Teresa Carlson-Third Grade

Teresa Carlson

3rd-grade Teacher
I became a child of God at the age of seven. At that same age, God laid it upon my heart to become a teacher. I believe God gave me the gift of teaching and love for children. I worked at a camp for underprivileged kids as a counselor and lifeguard/swimming instructor for four summers during my college years. I started teaching, as soon as I graduated from East Stroudsburg University, at a Christian school in the Poconos for five years. Then, the Lord led me to New Jersey to teach at Cumberland Christian school for nine years. In 1999, my husband and I were blessed with twin sons so we agreed that I would be a stay-at-home mom and homeschool. When our sons graduated high school, I began student teaching until I obtained a full-time position at ACA. Some of my favorite things to do are hiking, camping, baking, and crafting. I enjoy bowling, watching movies and playing miniature golf, and hanging out with friends. I have been going to Gloucester County Community Church for over 30 years and have served on the missions committee, as a girl’s ministry leader, and as a women’s ministry leader.
Casalea Young-Third Grade

Casalea Young

3rd-grade Teacher
I am a wife to my wonderful husband and mom to my four awesome children. I hold a Master’s Degree, from NYU, in elementary & special education. Alongside this, I hold a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Rutgers University. I’ve had the desire to become an elementary school teacher since I can remember the time being asked, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" I don’t look at teaching as just an opportunity to teach a bunch of information out of a book, but rather one full of much more! I enjoy planting and watering godly seeds in the hearts of children (as it has been done for me), helping build a foundation of good character, and assisting in training them in “the way they should go”—all in light of God’s destiny for their lives.
Suzanne Forte-Fourth Grade

Suzanne Forte

4th-grade Teacher
I am a graduate of Rhode Island College where I obtained a bachelor’s degree in Education and continued my education where I received two master’s degrees. I retired from Margate City Public Schools in June 2018 after almost 30 years of teaching and recently retired from Montclair State University where I served as an adjunct faculty member for 16 years. My new career path has brought me to teach at Ambassador Christian Academy. I enjoy guiding students in the development of academics as well as aiding them as they develop their personal relationships with Jesus. I am married, have two sons, and have three grandchildren. My favorite pastime is crocheting and enjoy gardening and various crafts.
Pastor Matt Brown-Middle School Math

Pastor Matt Brown

Middle School Math Teacher
I am originally from Queens, NY with a BA in Elementary Education (Math Emphasis) from Eastern Nazarene College (Quincy, MA). Upon graduation, I answered the call to full-time ministry and am currently the worship pastor at Bridgeton First Church of the Nazarene in Bridgeton, NJ. I have served as a physical education, math, substitute, and music director at different schools across South Jersey. I enjoy sharing the love of God through teaching math, laughter, stories, music, sports, and games (and game shows!). I am married to Lindsey and have three sons, Levi, Caleb, and Henry. 2022-2023's key verse is from 1 Samuel 16:7, But the Lord said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
Julia Cummings-Middle School Language Arts

Julia Cummings

Middle School Language Arts and Lead Teacher
I love reading, traveling, cooking, running, and spending time with my family, including my twenty nieces and nephews. I earned a B.S. in Elementary Education and a minor in Theater Arts (summa cum laude) from Liberty University. I hold New Jersey teaching certificates in Elementary and Middle School Education (specializing in Language/Literacy and Social Studies). I have taught at ACA since 2013. As the middle-school language arts teacher, my goal is to cultivate my students’ ability to read, write, think, and speak well. As the middle-school lead teacher, I seek to partner with families to both challenge and nurture their children into a deeper understanding of the world and of themselves within a safe environment. One of my favorite aspects of teaching is introducing my students to great books (including the over 2,000 books in my classroom library!) and helping them develop as independent readers and writers.
Victoria Holmes-Middle School Social Studies

Victoria Holmes

Middle School Social Studies Teacher
I grew up in South Jersey for most of my life and went to a small Christian school in the area where I was taught the Word of God and would develop a love for teaching. I didn't always know that I was called to be a teacher, but in the summer of 2016 on a mission trip to Guatemala is where I felt called. After praying and seeking counsel from teachers and family, I knew that I wanted to follow God’s call. I pursued the calling and studied Elementary Education at Pensacola Christian College from which I graduated in 2021. I am so thankful that God allowed me this opportunity to teach here and I am excited about what he has in store for me! Here is a little about me: I love to bake, travel, camp, and take road trips with my friends. My goal as a teacher is to inspire my students to develop a love for learning. I want to equip my students with helpful tools and resources to navigate life as young Christians. Lastly, I want to be an encouragement to my students and let them know that every day I pray for them.
Nicole Maiese-Middle School Science and ASL

Nicole Maiese

Middle School Science and American Sign Language Teacher
I have been a Christian since I was a little girl. I have an associate’s degree, a bachelor’s degree, and a certificate of achievement, and am now working on a master’s degree. I have worked as a substitute teacher for almost 6 years in public schools. Now I am a part-time American Sign Language (ASL) teacher as well as a full-time middle school science teacher.
Pastor Jim Smith-Middle School Bible

Jim Smith

Middle School Bible Teacher
I’m a credentialed minister with the Assemblies of God and a husband. Most importantly, a follower of Jesus Christ. I’ve lived in NJ all my life. I am excited to help the students of ACA grow in their walk with the Lord. When I’m not working, I like to read and go to the gym.

Special Area Teachers

Indiana Hill-Art Teacher

Indiana Hill

Art Teacher
I am a new addition to the ACA family and am looking forward to empowering every student to think creatively, develop craftsmanship, and use their art as a tool to reach others for Christ. I grew up in Utah where I had an amazing middle school art teacher and was inspired to pursue fine arts as a lifelong career. I joined YWAM’s (youth with a mission) “Marriage of the Arts” discipleship training in Nuremberg, Germany, and was able to use the skills God had equipped me with to reach people in Ethiopia. For 6 months I witnessed the Lord use arts to heal, encourage, process, entice and engage people whose heart language I struggled to speak. Art is incredible in that it can cross over any difference we may have with one another and can speak to all people. After Ethiopia, I graduated from Delaware College of Art and Design, married a “Jersey Boy”, moved to Carney’s Point, and have been working with students in Wilmington, DE, and Salem County, teaching art. This upcoming school year I will be teaching at Ambassador on Fridays and continue as the Director of Education for Rodney Street Tennis and Tutoring as well as keep up my private art lesson business “The Art Garden” -cultivating growth in visual arts. I believe all students are capable of creating because we are all made in the image of the Master Creator. Thanks! My website:
Pastor Matt Mangano-Physical Education

Pastor Matt Mangano

Physical Education Teacher
My name is Matt Mangano, I’m the PE / Health teacher for ACA. I’m also the full-time Youth Pastor for Crossroads Worship Center. I’m married to my beautiful wife Nikki (ACA’s bookkeeper) and have 2 kids, Anthony, and Angelia. I love my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, serving His Kingdom, and spending time with my family. I enjoy just about every sport that exists (primarily football, volleyball, and hockey), playing the drums or bass guitar, as well as board games, video games, and even ping pong. My goal is to maintain a safe, healthy, spiritual atmosphere where every student can learn, grow, and socialize with their peers. A place where they can be comfortable being themselves as they learn to discover and fulfill their God-given purposes.
Laura McDonald-Music Teacher

Laura McDonald

Music Teacher/Director
I have been married to my husband, Wayne since 1996 and we have one daughter who was born in 2007. We are founders of a non-profit ministry, Voice to the Nations Worldwide Evangelism. We also own a music business and my husband teaches private music lessons: Play Like the Pros School of Music. I love being a wife and a mom. I also love acting, singing, dancing, drawing, cooking, camping, and being outside as much as possible. I have been at ACA since 2011. I am a graduate of The Gary Whetstone School of Biblical Studies in New Castle, Delaware. I have over 30 years of experience working with children from nursery age to teenagers in varying employment and ministry positions. I got involved with the arts at a young age which included dance, choir, band, and theatre classes. I traveled as an evangelist with my husband for many years ministering in music, dance, and public speaking. I teach because it’s a calling of God on my life. Years ago, I had a dream where I saw what God could do in the lives of children if they were reached for Him. It impacted me in a big way and I want to do my part to reach as many children as I can with the love of Jesus. The vision I have for my students is two-fold: 1- To introduce them to the basics of music and music theory. This is so they will have a foundation to build upon if they decide to pursue music further. 2- To teach them how to worship and experience God’s presence. I also teach them how to minister God’s presence (not just perform) through the gifts and talents God has given them. An interesting fact about me is that I am a triplet – all 3 girls! (I also have 3 older siblings. We were our parents’ surprise!


Nicole Arellano-First Grade Classroom Aide (1)

Nicole Arellano

1st-grade classroom aide and Aftercare Supervisor
I have been married to my awesome husband for 12 years and together we have 3 children, all attending ACA. We are active members of Crossroads Worship Center and we all love to sing and play games together. After being a stay-at-home mom for 7 years, I began working in early childhood education. It brings me such joy to help children learn and guide them in the way of the Lord. When I have free time, I enjoy being outside gardening and planting native flowers that benefit the birds and butterflies of our area.
Alexandra Hanna-Kindergarten classroom aide

Alexandra Hanna

Kindergarten Classroom Aide and Before Care Supervisor
Hi, I am the Kindergarten paraprofessional at ACA! I love working with children and sharing the love of God and His word with them. I have a 3 year old daughter at home and a baby boy on the way due April 2023! My goal is to maintain a safe, healthy, spiritual atmosphere where every student can learn, grow, and socialize with their peers. A place where they can be comfortable being themselves as they learn to discover and fulfill their God-given purposes.

Stephanie Recke

Elementary Classroom Aide and Aftercare Coordinator
I am a graduate of Temple University with a BA in Communications. I am married with one daughter. I love dogs and reading!

Dawn Smith

Elementary Classroom Aide
I am a wife and mother of two. I went to West Deptford High and Rowan. I have always wanted to teach and the Lord has blessed me. I have been teaching for the past thirty years. Last year, I had the pleasure of joining the ACA family. I am truly blessed to learn from the students almost as many new skills and knowledge as I impart to them. My goal is to maintain a safe, healthy, spiritual atmosphere where every student can learn, grow, and socialize with their peers. A place where they can be comfortable being themselves as they learn to discover and fulfill their God-given purposes.

Support Staff


Simone Douglas

I am Ambassador Christian Academy’s custodian. This is my third year working at ACA. I am currently in college working on a degree in Human Services. In my free time, I enjoy studying Mandarin Chinese.

Nicole Mangano

Hi, my name is Nicole (Nikki) Mangano, I am the bookkeeper for ACA as well as Crossroads Worship Center. I started my professional career as a Phlebotomist for the American Red Cross, but God had other plans for me. He moved me into finance 16 years ago. I worked closely under the CFO and the Controller of the company I formally worked for to train me in finance. That experience opened the door for me to become Crossroads Worship Centers' bookkeeper 12 years ago and for the last 3 years, I have been privileged to also be the bookkeeper of ACA. I am also the wife of Pastor Matt Mangano and a mother of 2 beautiful children. One of which we have been blessed to send to ACA. In my free time, I love quality time with those that I love and care about. I also love serving the kingdom of God in any capacity that the Lord leads me to.

Christina Vare

School Counselor
I graduated from Grove City College with a B.A. in Sociology and minors in Psychology and Christian Ministries. I went on to study at Mission Seminary (formerly Biblical Theological Seminary), where I earned an M.A. in Biblical Counseling. After graduating, I counseled at two crisis pregnancy centers and assisted my husband in vocational ministry with college students. I have experience as a counselor for an outdoor adventure mentoring program, working with at- risk youth and children with behavioral challenges, leading church youth groups, and in foster care and adoption. I have been married to Brian for 20 years, and we have a daughter and three sons, ranging from 4 to 15 years old.

Wayne McDonald

Private Music Lessons Contractor
I am married to Laura McDonald, the music teacher at ACA. We have one daughter, Sierra. I’ve been a minister for over 20 years and I’m part of the Pastoral staff at the church we attend in Millville. I have been playing on the worship team there for almost two decades. Laura and I are founders of a non-profit ministry, Voice to the Nations Worldwide Evangelism, for which I traveled as a full-time Evangelist for several years. During that time, I led worship in many churches. We run the ministry on a part-time basis now. We also founded Play Like the Pros School of Music in 2002. I travel to clients’ homes and teach many different instruments. I also tune pianos. My other interests are spending time with my family, writing books, riding ATVs, nutrition, and weightlifting. I am a certified fitness trainer and love teaching people how to take care of the body God gave them. I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Christian Ministry from the Chesapeake Bible College and Seminary in Ridgely, Maryland. I am also a graduate of the Gary Whetstone School of Biblical Studies and the School of Ministerial Training in New Castle, Delaware. I teach because I want to transform lives! The vision I have for my students is to not only teach them to play but to impart to them how to worship God from their hearts. I also have a vision to get enough musicians together to create a school band that could play together for chapel meetings and/ or other special events. Phone: (856) 889-552