Board & Staff

Little Blessings


Caroline Buttendorf

Caroline Buttendorf

Post University-Child Studies

Favorite Scripture: “I can do all things in Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13-16



Denise Kessman

Preschool (K3) Teacher

Denise Kessman

CDA: Child Development Associate Degree 

Favorite Scripture: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Lean not to your own understanding, but in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”  Proverbs 3: 5-6

Kathy Re

Preschool (K4) Paraprofessional

Mrs. Re grew up in New Fairfield and graduated from Danbury High School. She has over 20 years experience working with children, and joined Christian Life Academy in 1993.  In her free time, Mrs. Re enjoys walking, swimming, crafting, shopping, playing tennis, and spending time with her family. Mrs. Re has been married to her husband Carlo for 38 years. They have 4 grown children and 3 grandchildren. They are long time members of Brookfield First Assembly of God. Mrs. Re enjoys working with young children, especially in a Christian environment!


Kristy Pfeiffer

Kindergarten, Team Leader Preschool-Second Grade


B.A. in early Childhood Education, Fayetteville State University

ACSI Certified, Education & Bible Studies

Favorite Scripture: “Hold fast and follow the pattern of wholesome and sound teaching which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.” 2 timothy 1:13



Hannah Miller

Third Grade

B.A. California University of Pennsylvania
Favorite verse – “Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:19

Isabella Andrade

Second Grade Teacher

Kristy Pfeiffer

Kindergarten, Team Leader Preschool-Second Grade


B.A. in early Childhood Education, Fayetteville State University

ACSI Certified, Education & Bible Studies

Favorite Scripture: “Hold fast and follow the pattern of wholesome and sound teaching which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.” 2 timothy 1:13


Carina Stefanko

Kindergarten Paraprofessional

Mrs. Stefanko grew up in Danbury and has attended Brookfield First Assembly of God since she was a child.  She has been married to her husband for 39 years and has 3 grown children, Christopher, Emily , and Elizabeth—who have blessed her with 7 wonderful grandchildren! Mrs. Stefanko was a stay-at-home mother for 17 years before she began working at CLA in 2002. She has worked in K4, 1st Grade, 3rd Grade, and now Kindergarten for the past 6 years. She loves working with children and encouraging their own creativity. She has volunteered at First Assembly with the Missionettes girls’ ministries, the youth group, Vacation Bible School, and Children’s Church.  Mrs. Stefanko says she loves “the opportunity to pour God’s love into our students,” and considers CLA to be a mission field for the community.


Cheryl Mitchell

Fourth & Fifth Grade Teacher

Favorite Scripture:  “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”  Romans 12: 1-2

Middle School

Silvia Picon

Middle School Math

B.A. in Science Cornell University

Favorite Scriptures:

“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.” Psalm 23:6

“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name!” Psalm 103;1


Amanda Tornatore

Middle School Language Arts, Technology & Library Science

B.A. English Language & Literature, Smith College

M.A.T. Secondary English Education: English Language and Literature, Smith College

Favorite Verses: 

“Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” Colossians 4:5-6


Craig O’Neil

Middle School Science Teacher

Mary Duncan

Middle School History Teacher

B.A. Elementary Education, Valley Forge Christian College



Joshua Coles

Art Teacher

B.A. Messiah College
Favorite Scripture: “And he has filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills— to make artistic designs…and to engage in all kinds of artistic crafts.”  Exodus 35:31-33


Roxanne Lundberg

Admin Asst & Admissions Coordinator

Ms. Lundberg is Christian Life Academy’s Admissions Coordinator and Administrative Assistant. She serves as the friendly voice on the phone and a smiling face in the school office. She has worked at CLA since 1998 and her energy and efficiency keep administrative matters running smoothly. Ms. Lundberg grew up in Danbury. She is the mother of two grown children, both of whom attended CLA. She loves spending time with the Lord, and attends First Assembly of God Church in Brookfield, where she serves on the Nursing Home Ministry.  She enjoys taking her three little Chihuahuas to dog obedience class; whether they listen or not is another story.

School Board

No Photo Available

Chris Carroll

Pastor Al Van Geersdaele


Pastor Al and his wife Louise have lived in Southbury since they were married in June of 1977.  They have two adult sons, Aaron and Joshua. They have two grandchildren; Aria who is one year old, and Isaac who is four years old, who attends Christian Life Academy.

Al trusted in Christ for salvation on October 10, 1981.  He worked at Southbury Training School as the Power Plant Chief Engineer, retiring on January 30, 2009 after 34 years.  He served as a Deacon in his former AG Church for 22 years and, during that time he took courses at the Berean School of the Bible.  He became a Certified Minister in 1988, became a Licensed Minister in 2005, and was Ordained in 2011.  

He became a full time Minister of Missions and Pastoral Care at First Assembly in February of 2009.  He became a part of the board of Christian Life Academy in April of 2019. He is active in C.L.A. Chapel services, teacher devotions, and is a Kid’s Church worker for Brookfieldfirst.

His passion is preaching in churches, prisons, and on the street; teaching, evangelism, and serving God’s people, especially kids.

Pastor Morgan

Phil Morgan has pastored churches in both Australia and the United States for the past 23 years. A graduate of Commonwealth Bible College, both his father and grandfather were Assemblies of God ministers, and Phil’s own call to preach came when he was just a teenager.

Phil’s great passion is preaching and teaching God’s Word, and in any spare moment he enjoys reading. During the summer months he can often be found floating around on the lake near their home fishing for Bass.

He and his wife Alli have 4 children: Ben, Sam, Bethwyn and Ewan–all who attended Christian Life Academy.

Currently Phil serves at First Assembly of God in Brookfield, Connecticut, USA, where he has been the Senior Pastor since June of 2003.

Rod Moore

Rod Moore

Rod graduated from St. Lawrence University with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology. He has served on the CLA board since 1985. He is a retired Realtor and mortgage originator.  He has served on the deacon board of First Assembly of God Church, and serves as a commissioner on the Danbury Zoning Board of Appeals.  Rod is the proud grandpa of two granddaughters who live just a little too far away to attend CLA.  Looking to the future through their eyes, he realizes more than ever how important a solid Christian education is to them and all our children and grandchildren. 

To quote Dr. Alan Pue, a noted Christian educator, we want to “pursue God’s purpose in making disciples of our young people – not just fully devoted disciples, but fully developed disciples, disciples who not only act passionately and graciously but who also think deeply, wisely, and biblically.”

Sandi Miller

  • A never at home, stay at home mom
  • Married since 1995
  • Mother of 3, all who attended CLA
  • Member of the CLA Board since 2009
  • Member of Walnut Hill Community Church, Bethel CT

Lynn Morse