Meet our Staff

Cross of Hope Pre-School Staff

Mary Sue Hale

Mary Sue Hale


Degrees/Credentials/Awards:  Bachelor of Science Degree, National Administrator’s Credential, NM Level Two Professional Birth-Third Grade Early Childhood License, 2018 Evangelical Lutheran Education Association Director of the year Award

 Favorite Bible Verse:  Romans   8:38-39  “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come , nor powers, nor heights, nor depths, nor anything else in all creations will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” I like this verse because of the all-encompassing ways it assures me that I am loved by God and nothing can separate me from that love.

 I have been working in the field of early childhood education since 1986.  One day in 2003 as I was on my way to a Bible study nearby, I passed by Cross of Hope Lutheran Church and saw on the marquee that the preschool was accepting applications for the position of director.  I saw this as an answer to prayer.  I was growing in my faith and I wanted to leave my current teaching position in a secular preschool and find a position in a Christian preschool.  I thank God every day for calling me to this ministry.  Spending time with God’s precious little ones, showing them His love and ministering to the families does not feel like work at all!   The preschool staff inspire me every day as I watch them nurture, love and educate the children placed in their care.  I am blessed every day I come to work.  It is exciting to be a part of this vibrant ministry at Cross of Hope!



Claudia Beck

Claudia Beck

Office Administrator

Degrees/Credentials:  LPN, New Mexico 45 hour child care course

Favorite Bible verse: Romans 5:1-5 “Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us in to this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory. We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” I am so thankful for who I am in Christ. It is by His grace and love I stand. With His love and faithfulness I can not only face every trial, but grow and find hope in Him.

I have always had a strong love for children and a call on my life to work with children. I began my career as a pediatric nurse, caring for the health needs of children. Upon starting a family, I chose due to that great love for children, to become a stay at home mom. In 1998 once my two daughters were preschool age I was blessed to become a preschool teacher. I knew immediately this was God’s plan for me. I have worked in early childcare since.  In 2012 I became the office administrator for COHP. COHP is a wonderful place where the love of God is evident in the staff relationships with each other, the students and God as well as our daily curriculum for the students.


Courtney Knutila

Courtney Knutila

Lead Teacher 4's Busy Bees

Degrees/Credentials: Bachelors Degree in Early Childhood Mulitcultural Eductaion, a mentor through CNM mentoring new teachers going in to the field of early childhood eductation

Favorite Bible Verse: Psalm 37:23-24 “The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fail, for the Lord upholds him with his hand.” This is my favorite verse because it is the ever present reminder that whatever misstep you make, He will always be there to hold you up.

I began working with preschool age children in 2008 at a local daycare center. I have been at Cross of Hope Preschool since 2015. In searching for a job as a preschool teacher I came across the Cross of Hope Preschool website. I saw that they were hiring lead teachers for their four year old program. As soon as I walked in the doors I felt like it was meant to be. It is obvious to me that it was God’s will for me to be here. COHP is a part of the community I grew up in and I even have friends who attended the preschool many years ago. I feel very blessed to be apart of the school and look forward to the many great things ahead.

Ann Martin

Ann Martin

Lead Teacher 3's Ladybugs

Degrees/credentials: Associates Degree in Early Childhood Multicultural Education, a mentor through CNM mentoring new teachers going into the field of early childhood education

Favorite Bible Verse: Isaiah 41:10 : So do not fear, for I am with you: do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you: I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” I love this verse because when I go through a tough time in my life, I know no matter what that the Lord is there for me and I will not go through it alone. 

I first came to Cross of Hope as a young mother in MOPS in 1993 when my first child, a son, was 2 years old.  Being a part of MOPS I heard from another mother about how wonderful the preschool was. At that time my second child, a daughter, was four and I was happy to be able to put her in the four year old preschool program. My youngest child, a daughter, was able to attend Cross of Hope Preschool for two years.  For one of those years our wonderful Miss Janna was one of her teachers. I was totally in love with the preschool! I was asked if I would be interested in being a substitute teacher, to which I said “yes”. In 2005 I was asked if I would be interested in applying for the educational assistant position that was opening up in the three year old program the following school year, so I did. The following year I was so blessed by the Lord and this preschool to be asked to become the lead teacher for the three year old program. The Lord gave me a new song in my hear to teach!! I never thought I would be a teacher.  I love what I do and I feel very belssed to be just a little part of these children’s lives!!


Jessica Pool

Jessica Pool

Lead Teacher 4's Butterflies

Degrees/credentials: Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Multicultural Education

Favorite Bible verse: Matthew 5:16 “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” This is a constant reminder to always let my light shine for those around me. It is something I try to remind both my own children and the children in my class to do as well.

I started teaching in 2000 at the age of 17 and have been teaching young children since. I came to Cross of Hope Preschool in 2015. I love being a part of this preschool community. Through both good and bad experiences I have had in the past, I feel that God was shaping me and leading me to be right here.  The teachers here are all so kind and loving.  We are all working so hard to create a positive and nurturing environment that allows children to learn and grow. I have enjoyed being a part of Cross of Hope Preschool so much that last year I enrolled both of my children in Cross of Hope’s Elementary school.  It was the best decision that I could have made both for them.  They have grown not only academically, but they are loved and respected by so many of the people in the Cross of Hope community.  Most of all they have grown, and I know they will continue to grow, in their walk with God.

Janna Holmes

Janna Holmes

Educational Assistant 4's Busy Bees, Music Teacher 3's & 4's, Spanish and Sign Language Teacher 4's

Credentials:  New Mexico (CDC) Child Development Certificate for Early Childhood

Favorite Bible Verse:  Philippians 4:6-7  “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” This gives me such assurance, that even though I may not know what my future holds, I do know who holds my future.  Whatever may come my way, I have the peace that God will handle it!

I was fortunate to be a stay at home mom for many years.  I started working in early childcare in 1995, teaching at 2 different churches in their preschool ministries.  I live in Taylor Ranch and had wanted to find a job closer to home.  I had a friend who taught the preschool children in MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) at Cross of Hope at that time, and told me of a job opening.  That was in May of 2001.  I got hired and started that following August. I started as an educational assistant in the 3 year old classes, then switched to the 4 year olds.  I eventually took on the wonderful task of teaching music to all the 3’s and 4’s classes.  I now teach the 4 year olds Spanish and Sign Language as well.   It brings me such incredible joy to work with these precious children that are entrusted to us each year.  I truly have the best job in the world.

Rhonda Cantu

Rhonda Cantu

Educational Assistant 4's Butterflies and 3's Ladybugs

Credentials: New Mexico (CDC) Child Development Certificate for Early Childhood

Favorite Bible Verse:  Philippians 4:6-7 “Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything, tell God what you need, and thank him for all that he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” God holds me by my right hand and He hears my prayer requests. The peace that God gives me comes for praising His name because HE is so good and faithful.

God truly has a plan and purpose for my life by sending me to this wonderful preschool to be a teacher when I was ready to go back to work after being a stay at home mom raising my two sons. While attending church and strengthening my faith, I walk in His grace. I love sowing seeds into the families and sharing God’s great love with these children and preparing them for kindergarten. I enjoy working with my colleagues because they are so much fun. I thank God for this ministry he gave me.


Get in touch with Cross of Hope


Church: (505) 897-0047
Preschool: (505) 899-0928
Elementary: (505) 897-1832


6104 Taylor Ranch Rd NW
Albuquerque, NM 87120


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