Interim Head of School
Richard Riesen joined Maranatha as the Interim Head of School in June 2015 and will serve until a permanent Head of School is appointed. Mr. Riesen has substantial Head of School experience, having recently served as the Interim Head at the respected Stoney Brook School, a Christian boarding school in New York. He also served as the Principal at Pacific Christian on the Hill for 15 years, a local high school that was committed to serving northeast Los Angeles. Mr. Riesen also serves as the Administrator of a non-profit foundation. In accepting the appointment, Mr. Riesen says he considers it “a compliment and a privilege" to serve as the Interim Head of School at Maranatha. He strives to lead the staff in “a clearly articulated understanding of the integration of faith and learning.” Richard, a former infantry officer in the U.S. Marine Corps, enjoys cycling and recently completed a bike tour from San Francisco to Santa Barbara. He and his wife of 44 years, Florence, have one son, Peter, who practices law for the U.S. Government.
Dr. Michelle Purghart is in her 23nd year in education, with fifteen years of experience in senior administration, including ten as High School Principal. Dr. Michelle Purghart is in her 5th year as Principal of Maranatha, and continues to work with faculty, staff, and administration to improve each program. Dr. Purghart’s love of curriculum, instruction and assessment has been evidenced in her involvement with accreditation, course content development, and academic counseling. She has served as a consultant, a speaker at the ACSI Leadership Summit, and has trained principals and vice-principals in data analysis, teacher evaluation, strategic planning, and curriculum development. Dr. Purghart pursued a teaching credential in English and Kinesiology at McGill University in Montreal, and immediately thereafter completed her Master’s of Education in Curriculum and Instruction at USD (University of San Diego). She received her second teaching credential in California for English and Physical Education. After years of teaching and administration, Dr. Purghart completed a doctorate at UCI/UCLA in Educational Leadership. Her dissertation determined the effects of various instructional methodologies on student learning and retention. Dr. Michelle Purghart also holds both the Tier 1 & Tier 2 Administrative credentials. Dr. Purghart has been a presenter at various conferences, consulted for various private institutions, and served as Chair for a number of accreditation teams. Her love for the Lord Jesus Christ has brought her to Maranatha, and the mission to strive for excellence in a God-honoring, college preparatory context is what she believes sets Maranatha apart from other schools in the area.