Meet Our CCA Team


Meet Our CCA Team


selene nelson

Mrs. Nelson proudly serves as Principal of Carefree Christian Academy. She's a graduate of Grand Canyon University, with over 20 year's experience in leadership, education, and business. Mrs. Nelson is known for maintaining CCA's high standards of excellence, safety, and success. She loves spending time with her husband and daughter, reading mystery books, and helping CCA students flourish and grow!

Mrs. Nelson also serves as a CCA instructor, currently teaching:

  • Bible
  • Math
  • Science
  • Dual-Enrollment College Course Facilitator

Gary Bacskay

Mr. Bacskay was born and raised in Phoenix Arizona, and has been one of Arizona's finest Christian school instructors for the last 5 years. He's passionate about coaching high school football, track, and sharing stories of his military career in the US Army. Mr. Bacskay is known for his engaging teaching style, high standards of excellence, and caring attitude for his students. When he's not leading PE drills or classroom discussions, Mr. Bacskay enjoys spending time with his wife and three sons.

Mr. Bacskay currently teaches:

  • English
  • History
  • Physical Education

Michael Newland

Mr. Newland, more commonly known to his students as Sensei Michael, is a true Martial Arts and education master. Having actively studied martial arts for over 40 years, he has taught and competed in martial arts competitions around the world. Sensei Michael earned a 6th Dan in Shorin Ryu (6th degree blackbelt), and also holds a 1st Dan in Chinese Kenpo and a 5th Dan in Okinawa Kobudo. He's also served as an educator in various schools and subjects for over 15 years. Sensei Michael coaches students in courtesy, respect, and life skills with a sense of humor and kind professionalism. When he's not teaching or running CCA and Carefree Church's security team, he enjoys traveling with his wife to Prescott, Okinawa Japan, and more.

Sensei Michael Newland currently teaches:

  • Karate
  • Friday Bible, Math, and Science



Meet Our CCA Team

Meet Our CCA Team


sarah hourigan

Ms. Hourigan has been teaching music, vocal, and dance lessons in the valley for over 3 years. She's a "triple threat," known for her expertise as an actor, singer, and dancer. Ms. Hourigan plays 7 instruments, and when it comes to dance, her students call her a "genius choreographer." When she's not teaching or playing a lead role in a local theatre production, Ms. Hourigan can be found spending time with friends or showcasing her cheer skills as a cheerleader on the Arizona Christian University cheer team.

Ms. Hourigan currently teaches:

  • Music and Voice
  • Drama
  • Dance

Melody Mendenhall

Mrs. Mendenhall is known for her hands-on teaching style and artistic flair. Skilled in both education and fine arts, she's taught students art, sign language, career and life/home economics skills for over 20 years. Mrs. Mendenhall oversees CCA's Fine Arts program and works with students to complete projects in a variety of media types. She also brings in guest art teachers from the local community and Sonoran Art League. When she's not teaching or creating artwork of her own, Mrs. Mendenhall enjoys spending time with her husband and 3 children, creating culinary artistic masterpieces, and growing her collection of vintage sewing machines.

Mrs. Mendenhall currently teaches:

  • Art
  • Career Explorations
  • Online Course Facilitator

Jo-ann Humphrey

Mrs. Humphrey is a graduate of Malone University, with over 20 years experience as a CPA and business executive. She brings her expertise in multiple C-suite positions, accounting, and leadership to our students as she leads our Career Explorations program. Mrs. Humphrey is known at CCA for her strong Christian faith, friendly smile, and encouraging students to develop skills and habits to boost their success. When she's not busy teaching and volunteering in the community, Mrs. Humphrey enjoys hiking the Arizona trails with her husband and CCA volunteer Tom.

Mrs. Humphrey currently teaches:

  • Career Explorations