Membership Assistance Spotlight: Tecate Christian School

May 8, 2024
By: Megan Ilertsen, ACSI Director of Donor Engagement 

Located 1,500 feet north of the Mexican border in California, Tecate Christian School (TCS) is on a mission to reach children and their families with the hope of salvation while providing a quality, Christ-centered education. The school is a ministry of Tecate Mission International (TMI) and was established in 1965 as a missionary school for families serving with TMI in Tecate, Mexico. The school still operates today as a missionary school—all staff and teachers raise their own support to work there—but the majority of their students are Mexican nationals who cross the U.S./Mexico border each day to receive their education at Tecate Christian.

Ron Hoffman, Executive Director of TMI and Principal of TCS, cites that the reason the school was opened on the U.S. side of the border in “Little Tecate,” as the locals call it, is because it is against the law in Mexico to teach the Bible to children in elementary and secondary school. Most people don’t realize this because Mexico is largely a Catholic nation. But the government controls what can be taught in school about religion, limiting it to only stories and music, leaving Bible teaching strictly to the church.

“We are teaching the Bible because that's what's going to set [students] free and introduce them to the Lord,” explains Hoffman. “We read the Bible with them, study the Bible, and pray for them every day in class. We're very evangelical.”

Tecate Christian School is the only school of its kind serving grades 1–8 in “Little Tecate,” California, and Tecate, Mexico, an area with a population of around 160,000. They are not only a Christian school with a biblical foundation and evangelical mission, they are also an English immersion school—only 1st grade is bilingual. These features, along with small class sizes, make TCS a highly sought-after school among the locals. But with only enough space to serve 100 kids each year, the school always has more students waiting to get in than they can accommodate.

Despite its size, the impact Tecate Christian School has had on their community over the past 50 years is immeasurable. Hoffman, who has served at TCS for 30 years, adds, “There is no shortage of stories of how God continues to use and bless our school.” 

One story he shared is about a former student who came to Tecate Christian as a first grader and was part of the first class to graduate after attending the school from first to 12th grade. She went on to continue her education elsewhere but later returned to Tecate with a heart to give back to her community and is now serving as TCS’s first grade teacher.

This generational impact is also seen through other graduates sending their children to Tecate Christian and alumni leading their own families and communities in faith because of what they learned at school. Hoffman recalled a story when a graduate saw him in a parking lot years later and pulled over, with his family in tow, to say “thank you.” This alumnus shared, “At TCS, you challenged us to read a chapter of Proverbs every day. I did that and I'm still doing it. My wife and kids are also all walking with Christ. We're active and serving in a church in Mexico. I just want to thank you for challenging me to read the Bible every day.”

Hoffman believes this is the power of Christ-centered education. “Christ is being lifted up. The word of God is being proclaimed. One by one, we're hoping to continue to make a difference as long as God will allow us to do this.”

Considering their location in a remote area of the United States, their small school size, political challenges at the border, and the unique calling of staff to serve as self-funded missionaries to an underserved community in Mexico, the staff at Tecate Christian School has reason to feel isolated from a Christian community of support. But that’s where ACSI comes in.

Thanks to financial assistance provided by the generous donations of ACSI supporters, Tecate Christian School has been able to remain connected to ACSI’s worldwide community of Christian schools and educators. Hoffman explains that the relationships they have with other Christian schools through ACSI make them feel “part of something bigger.”

Hoffman specifically cited the ACSI Community platform that connects him and his teachers with other Christian schools, enabling them to share ideas and encourage and pray for one another. Hoffman adds, “It is a huge benefit for small Christian schools struggling to have [access to] other Christian schools that can encourage each other.”

Hoffman also described the amazing opportunities ACSI provides for students to participate in Student Leadership & Learning events. When TCS students participate, Hoffman says, “They feel like they're part of something bigger, which is very important for our kids, given their circumstances. Kids need to know they are valued, and being a part of these events helps them see their value. Kids can paint a picture and take it to a local art competition, or they can go to a speech meet, etc. ACSI gives us that platform.”

ACSI exists to strengthen Christian schools, like Tecate Christian School, and equip Christian educators, including Ron Hoffman, as they prepare students academically and inspire them to become devoted followers of Jesus Christ. This mission exists for every Christian school and every Christian educator, no matter where in the world they are located, what challenges they may face, or how out of reach they may seem. ACSI reaches them. We see the power of what Christ-centered education is doing in every community. And, thanks to the support of Champions like you, we can make sure that every Christian school that needs it has access to the incredible benefits ACSI membership and resources have to offer.

Thank you for supporting ACSI and the Christian education movement around the world. To help more schools, like Tecate Christian School, feel “part of something bigger”, please visit