Faculty members are listed under their
primary discipline.

Bible & Worldview


History & Social Studies








Foreign Language




Student Services


professional development

Ryan Garvin

History, Chapel, basketball coach


Civics and Economics
World History
US History 1500-1877
Social Studies 7&8




Ryan was born in Wahpeton, ND, where he lived until his freshman year of high school when his family relocated to Fergus Falls so he and his sister could attend Hillcrest Academy. He graduated from HLA in 1999 and then attended Minnesota State Community and Technical College in Fergus Falls, obtaining a Business & Accounting degree.

After marrying Amy (Synstelien) Garvin (HLA '01) in 2003, they each completed their schooling at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, where he received his Bachelor of Arts in History, with an emphasis on the late Roman Empire. He attributes his love of history to his high school teacher, Hillcrest's own Gregg Preston. Mr. Preston’s passion and excitement for his subject along with a solid Biblical perspective allowed Ryan to see God's hand in history. “I hope to bring that same inspiration and love of learning to my classroom,” says Ryan.

God has sharpened my desire to come alongside others in a mentoring capacity as I have intentionally surrounded myself with mentors of my own

While finishing his degree at the U of M, Ryan began working as a temp at Merrill Corporation in a division of the company called DataSite, which facilitates mergers & acquisitions. For the last four years of his decade there, he supervised a team of project managers. Among other responsibilities, a large part of his job involved teaching skills and providing leadership training and mentorship among his team. Here Ryan discovered a gift for helping people realize their natural abilities, hone their skills, and become aware of the unique gifts God has given them.

Ryan and Amy made Substance their home church while in the Twin Cities and became part of what is now a thriving ministry called “Married for Life.” They felt privileged to serve alongside others who possessed an earnest, godly desire to breathe life into marriages and families.

Along the way, God has sharpened Ryan’s drive to connect with others in a mentoring capacity. He has intentionally surrounded himself with mentors of his own, as well as taking on the role of mentor to others who have been able to benefit from his life experiences. “I am excited to use my passions and abilities within the culture of Hillcrest as I seek to share knowledge, life skills, and a Biblical worldview with my students. I can't wait to see what God will continue to do in and through me as I pursue His calling for my life,” says Ryan.

Ryan and Amy are co-coordinators for chapel services at Hillcrest and are excited for the opportunity to continue in ministry together. They have four daughters. As a family, the Garvins enjoy biking, camping, and reading. Ryan also loves music, guitar, gardening, basketball, travel, and Indian food.