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Rebecca Alexander Elem. Library
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Rebecca Baker JH/HS Faculty
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Education:

BA Spanish & Music – Oregon State University
(one term of study in Spain and one term of mission work in Peru)

Rebecca Baker is a 2009 graduate of Santiam Christian. After receiving a Bachelors in Spanish and Music, Rebecca was very excited when the opportunity came up to teach here. She loves everything the school does and is glad to still be a part of it. And we are happy to have had her as faculty since 2015.

While playing music at church, Rebecca met her husband and they were married in 2016. They both share a heart for missions as well as music. They love to travel and read books, and read books while traveling. This helps her understand different cultures and people with different perspectives. She believes the world God created is so great and marvelous, and she loves being able to explore it in different ways.

During a term in college Rebecca had the opportunity to study in Spain. She has also been to Peru several times. She shares with her classes the different cultures she has experienced. She especially gets excited about the school’s mission trips to the Dominican Republic as her students get the opportunity to use the Spanish they have learned.

Being a part of a community of believers at Santiam Christian is priceless to Rebecca. She has the opportunity to discuss her faith alongside education as well as be challenged and learn from others. She says, “I love being able to pray with the students and talk about real life issues in the context of the Gospel.”

Jay Barton Athletic Director / Faculty
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About

Oregon State University – BS Business

Oregon State University – Graduate Teaching Cert. Education

American College Education – M. Ed Educational Technology

Jay Barton has degrees in both Business and Education and has been a part of the Santiam Christian family since 2005. Prior to joining us, Jay taught in North Salem as well as doing some substitute teaching.

While in college, Jay found a sweetheart of a girl and they have been married for over 30 years. Together they have raised three children, all of whom have graduated from Santiam Christian. As a family they love to travel, attend sporting events and enjoy spending time in the outdoors.

Jay has actual business experience that extends beyond his classroom. This provides an additional layer of teaching he can pass on to his students.

The sports offered at Santiam Christian are what excite Jay the most. It’s not surprising that, outside of a work day, you can usually find Jay enjoying a good athletic event. In addition, Jay also enjoys old science fiction movies and reading.

Jay has valued his time and grown here at Santiam Christian. When asked what has kept him here, he replied, “Why would anyone teach somewhere else?”.

Samantha Beam JH/HS Registrar
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Education:

Western Oregon University – BA Geography/Geology

Sami Beam married her college sweetheart and received her Bachelors in Geography. She came to Santiam Christian in 2007. She views her work here as a ministry, as it is an opportunity to use her gifts and abilities to serve the students and the Lord. She appreciates the opportunity to work where her two daughters also attend school.

As a family, the Beams enjoy being in the outdoors together, usually hiking or biking. To relax and unwind Sami enjoys creating things, primarily by sewing and crafting. She likes the process of taking things apart, cutting them up, and putting them back together in a different way that creates something new and beautiful. This is the same type of skill that makes her good at her job – taking apart a complex problem and putting all the details together into something workable.

In her role at Santiam Christian, Sami enjoys the opportunity to advise students during high school so they will be well prepared for that next step in life. As a parent, she values the school coming alongside in the influence of her children.

“Countless times, my kids have shared messages from teachers or chapel that have reiterated what we are trying to teach them at home or what they are learning at church. We appreciate not just the quality academics and instruction, but that the values and beliefs being taught in school do not contradict ours.” ~Sami Beam

Jeannie Bittner JH Social Studies
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Education:

B.S. Education – Oregon State University

Jeannie Bittner earned her Bachelors in Education and began substitute teaching in public schools for several years. She taught a couple of years at Westside Christian before joining us in 2004.

She met her husband, Steve, in high school, but they did not get serious about their relationship until they were in college. Together they have raised four children, all of whom are Santiam Christian graduates. In Jeannie’s spare time she finds enjoyment in spending time with her family, traveling and quilting.

Traveling to other countries has made Jeannie more appreciative and thankful. It has helped her value experience more than things. Seeing all of the ways that people from different cultures do life has helped her realize there are many ways to do the things we do.

Jeannie loves the community at Santiam Christian and getting to really see the hearts of her students as they develop strong character. Her unique life experience helps her in relating to her students. “I didn’t come to know the Lord until I was in college, and came from a somewhat difficult family background, which helps me to better understand different perspectives in life.”

As to why she believes Santiam Christian is worth the sacrifice for a family to make to send their children here, Jeannie quotes Colossians 2:8 “Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ.”

Steve Bittner JH Principal, International Student Co-ord.
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Education:

B.S. Education – Oregon State University, 1980
M.Ed. Education/Reading – Oregon State University, 1990

Many years ago, Steve Bittner taught in both public and private schools, but has been with our Santiam Christian family since 1998. He brought with him a Bachelors in Education and a Masters in Reading/Language Development.  

Santiam Christian has been a big part of the Bittner family as Steve’s wife, Jeannie, is also a teacher in our Junior High and all four of the Bittner’s children are graduates of Santiam Christian. Their family loves to travel and finds adventure in experiencing new cultures and people. The Lord has allowed Steve to travel to many places around the globe and he believes that brings a unique perspective to the classroom.

With Steve’s love for travel, it is not surprising that he has a huge heart for international students and feels it is a great honor to be involved with them.

Steve is excited about the direction of the school and the addition of new staff members. He understands the sacrifice that families make in order to send their children here and stands by the philosophy that having our children spend all day in a place founded on a Biblical worldview is simply invaluable. In Steve’s own words, “I love the SC community and am so thankful to be a part of something that has the capacity to literally change the world!”

When not at Santiam Christian, Steve can be found enjoying his old VW van, hiking in the outdoors or just being with his family. All simple pleasures that bring him a great deal of contentment.

Tiffany Braun Elementary - 5th
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Education:

Corban University – BS Elem. Education

Tiffany Braun graduated from Santiam Christian and went on to earn her Bachelors in Elementary Education with a minor in Bible. Along the way she got married, and she returned to us as faculty in 2012.

The smaller class sizes at Santiam Christian is invaluable to Tiffany. She believes this allows her to meet and build relationships with her students which also makes a huge impact in her classroom environment.

Tiffany grew up as an athlete and took on coaching as one of her first jobs in college. She believes teaching and coaching go hand-in-hand.

“I have learned a lot of my communication skills from sports. The ability to communicate with your athletes translates to talking with your students in the classroom. I truly feel if I would not have had one or the other I would not be as effective in my trades.”  ~Tiffany Braun

Diana Braunworth HS Faculty
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Education:

B.S in Child Development and Family Relations – Colorado State University
Teaching Certificate – University of Denver

Diana Braunworth has ministered internationally herself and has hosted many international students in her home. She las lived abroad for seven years in Egypt and Malawi, Africa and has traveled extensively.

In addition to her travels, Diana has earned a Bachelors in Child Development and Family Relations with a Teaching Certificate in Elementary Education. While in college, she met her husband and they now have four adult children. Their family is continually growing with the addition of grandchildren. Her family enjoys being together and her children have inherited her love for travel as well.

Diana has used her education by teaching in Cache LaPoudre in Fort Collins, Colorado, Cairo American College in Maadi, Egypt, and more locally, in Corvallis, at Westside. She joined us here at Santiam Christian in 2014.

It is not surprising that Diana has a heart for international students. In her role here at Santiam Christian she loves being able to share her faith and pray with the international students as well as being able to teach them the Word of God. She appreciates working in an environment of teachers that truly care about the whole person.

Diana loves to study God’s Word and she loves music. She teaches both Bible as well as piano and therefore enjoys continuing to study both subjects. Whether at school or at home, Diana truly understands the eternal value of what she is doing everyday.

Brenda Buhrkuhl HS English
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Education:

Sacramento State University – BA Liberal Studies
Stanislaus State University – Teaching Credential Secondary

SC Freshman English teacher, Mrs. Buhrkuhl, has a rep. It’s that she is tough but fair, firm but kind, and really passionate about helping kids to know what they need to for the next step in their life journey.

“Every day offers opportunities to connect practical knowledge with eternal purpose and to help kids process life’s challenges through a Biblical worldview. It is a gift to be able to combine a job with ministry at a place like Santiam Christian!” said Brenda, when asked why she has chosen to minister at SC.

“As the gap between secular culture and Christian values widens, I believe it’s more important than ever to saturate our kids with truth from God’s word as they grow, so that they will be able to withstand the continual chipping away at their faith that they will face throughout life.”

As an English teacher, she has a way with words, doesn’t she. She eloquently says what we believe and why we are here. We are grateful that Brenda and her family have chosen Santiam Christian as their home, extended family and ministry!

 

Kathie Carley Elem Office
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Kathie Carley met her husband, Justin, in college and got married just two weeks after graduating from OSU. Now 20 years later, they have three kids – one launching into college and two others who are students at Santiam Christian. They are a busy, sports-minded family. They can be found either coaching or watching nearly every kind of SC sporting event.  It’s no surprise that this Athletic Administration major has found a place to combine her love of sports with her talent for administrative detail, as the SC elementary administrative assistant.

One of the things about Santiam Christian that touches Kathie most is knowing that SC families are trading financial sacrifice for peace of mind concerning their kids’ emotional, educational and spiritual safety.  She loves being part of that sense of safety.

Kathie and Justin are both involved in coaching at SC. Kathie’s many years as a competitive gymnast and later a college cheerleader at OSU have given her the talent and ability to coach the SC cheer team. She says that coaching is a great opportunity to help build deeper relationships with families and to help build strong character in her athletes.

The whole Carley family loves the small community atmosphere of Santiam Christian. Kathie is moved by the fellowship that comes from sharing the joys and challenges of school and sports alongside other parents who are choosing to make the same sacrifice.

Joseph Cook HS Social Studies
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Education:

Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) – Western Oregon University
BA History – George Fox University

Teresa Cornwell HS Bible / English
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Education:

Masters Degree in Teaching – Oregon State University; Certifications in English and Public Speaking
Continued Education in Graduated level Bible courses – Hope International University
Bachelors Degree in Speech Communications – Oregon State University with previous college experience at Northwest Nazarene University and Capernwray Bible School

Erika David Educator
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Education:

Bachelors in General Science  / Masters M.A.T. in Secondary Education

Erika David earned a Bachelors in General Science and has her Masters M.A.T. in Secondary Education. While in college, she also met her husband and together they are raising three children, all of whom attend Santiam Christian Schools. Erika briefly taught at Riverside Christian School in Yakima, Washington before joining Santiam Christian in 2015.

Erika gets enjoyment from being outside working in her garden or running to clear her mind. She also loves cooking, and food….although she says she sometimes enjoys them a little too much. As a family, you can find them spending time outside together enjoying God’s creation by doing a variety of activities like snow skiing, water skiing, hiking, fishing, swimming, kayaking and SUP-ing.

At Santiam Christian Erika is most excited about the continuing implementation of technology, and helping students navigate technology while becoming critical thinkers. Erika understands the rigorous academic load offered at Santiam Christian, but appreciates the family atmosphere as well. She loves being a part of a team of teachers that are invested in the students learning as well as growing them as leaders with character.

Erika values the small class sizes as it allows her to truly get to know her students. She also looks for opportunity to share her faith openly. When asked what keeps her here at Santiam Christian, Erika says it best, “We are a family here at SC!”

Kim Deskins Preschool teacher
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Education:

Corban University – BS Elementary Education

Kim Deskins feels that a calling has been placed on her heart to minister in a Christian school setting. Therefore, she used her Bachelors degree in Elementary Education teaching at Albany Christian School for many years before coming to Santiam Christian in 2013.

Kim is married and has two children. Her oldest is a graduate of Santiam Christian and her youngest is still attending. In keeping with God’s calling, she and her husband are actively serving in the children’s ministry at their church. Her family loves to go on hikes together or simply visit with family and friends. Kim has an interest in learning about history, so you may find her visiting different types of museums when she can.  

Being a teacher and choosing to have her own children enrolled and influenced at Santiam Christian Schools shows that Kim firmly stands by her words, “The education received at Santiam encompasses not only the academic, but the spiritual. The Lord is brought into all areas and there are protections put in place that cannot be utilized in the public school setting.”

Glen Dishman Bible Teacher
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Education:

B.S. Biblical Studies – Western Baptist Bible College (now Corban University)

Glen has a Bachelor’s degree from Corban University in Biblical Studies. Post-graduate studies were at Black Hills State in South Dakota, and Fresno Pacific University. Glen has been in Christian education for over 35 years. He has also taught P.E., Weight Training, Health, Math, Driver’s Ed, Finance and Family Living. He has served as an Athletic Director 20+ years, Dean of Students and also served on an ACSI national curriculum team.

Coaching history: Football, Basketball, Track – Coach of the Year five times.
During his time of coaching Track, he led his team to 16 league championships and five sectional championships in California in eight years.

He has a passion for music ministry and has been on worship teams and choirs with his lovely wife, Vickie who will be working with the SCS music program. They are marriage mentors with the American Association of Christian Counselors. They have four lovely daughters and eight grandchildren.

Glen’s slogan is: “Born and bred, corn fed, red ‘til dead – always a Husker…GO BIG RED NEBRASKA!” His passion is teaching the Word of God and seeing students grow in their Christian life. He loves God, family, football, students and snow. He and his wife are looking for a local church.  They have a cabin home in Welches in the Mt. Hood area.  They are thrilled to be here in Eagle land: GO SC!

 

Timothy Eby JH/HS Science; Cross Country
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Education:

BS in Biology – Westmont College

Tim Eby grew up in a large family with adopted sisters and foster kids. While in college earning his Bachelors of Biological Science, he spent a summer term in Costa Rica.He met his wife, Rachel, at Westmont in Santa Barbara, California and they both joined us at Santiam Christian Schools in 2001. He describes himself, his wife and three children as “an outdoor family” as they enjoy taking road trips, camping and hiking.

What keeps Tim at Santiam Christian is the sense of Christian community. Where parents, teachers, and administrators work together for the common good of sharing and instilling Christ into the lives of the students. He sees that Santiam Christian meets the needs of the whole person, believing that education is not just about taking classes and participating in sports. It’s learning to follow Christ in all that you do.

Tim’s love and passion for what he does is evident in the excitement displayed in his classroom, “I love the discussions I have in all of my classes. Sometimes the content is controversial; that’s when class is most exciting.”

Rachel Eby Elementary (K-6)
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Education:

B.A. in Liberal Studies  – Westmont College, Santa Barbara CA;
California Clear Credential in Elementary Education  –  Westmont College, Santa Barbara, CA

Rachel Eby is married to our very own Tim Eby. They met and fell in love while attending Westmont College and got married the day after Tim finished his teaching credentialing program. They have three children that are also enrolled at Santiam Christian Schools. They love to spend time as a family and they especially find enjoyment out in God’s creation.

Rachel received a Bachelors in Liberal Studies and taught at an Elementary School in Long Beach, California for four years. She and Tim both came to us at Santiam Christian in 2001. After a few years, Rachel took a break from teaching to make being a mom a priority. During that time she also taught piano and worked at her church. With her children in school now, Rachel recently joined us again as faculty.

Being in the classroom and getting to know her students is what excites Rachel. She loves seeing “the light turn on” when a student discovers something or finds a new interest or passion.

“I love that I can integrate my faith in Christ, in words and action, into every aspect of what I teach. I love that my own children are surrounded and embraced by teachers, staff, peers, and parents who seek to develop their walk with the Lord.”

Rachel believes the most important aspect of a child’s development is their spiritual life. At Santiam Christian, a student not only receives an excellent education, they spend the bulk of their day with others whose foundation is Christ. That will influence their choices as they grow into adults.

Tyler Ferguson JH/HS Math
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Education:

MS in Education in Curriculum and Instruction: Mathematics –  Concordia University
B.S. Education: Mathematics with minor in Mathematics – Corban University

 

Tyler Ferguson joined Santiam Christian in 2015 and has kept busy by not only teaching here, but simultaneously teaching evening classes at Corban University. He is fully using his Bachelors in Mathematics Education with a Minor in Bible and Math, as well as a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction: Mathematics Education. Tyler appreciates that he has had the opportunity to teach from middle school through the college level.

Tyler loves the people at Santiam Christian as the community feels like family to him. As parents consider the sacrifice required to have their children enrolled in this school, he believes parents should know, “We have high expectations for our students that allow them to have a goal. We see the potential in them and push them/walk with them to reach that potential.”

Tyler finds it very fun to interact with the students. He can be seen cheering on his students while watching the various sports offered here at Santiam Christian, but also loves to support all of the extracurricular activities his students participate in.

Tyler loves politics, board games and people. In addition to enriching the students’ lives here at Santiam Christian, Tyler is a volunteer in the youth program at his church and has said, “I love investing in young people’s lives. The vast majority of my life is spent with other people.” 

Cassie Firkins Elem. Faculty
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Education:

Bachelor of Arts in Child Development – California State University, Chico
Multiple-Subject Teaching Credential – Simpson University

Cassandra Firkins, who prefers to go by Cassie, has a Bachelors in Childhood Development and spent four years teaching at KidCo Headstart before coming to Santiam Christian in 2017.

She was drawn to Santiam Christian for the encouraging, supportive, family environment. She feels it is a freeing and comforting place to be as she does not have to worry about hiding her faith. She can truly be herself with her students and coworkers.

Cassie has gone through public schools her entire childhood and has experienced the challenge and heartache that can come from being mocked or ridiculed for sharing or expressing her faith. Cassie sees that Santiam Christian provides a safe environment in which to help our children learn the skills they need for life in our ever-changing world, but also about God’s plan and purpose for their lives.

Still young in her education experiences, Cassie has joined her husband on two, year-long deployments in a three year time-frame. She adds, “I have really learned how to live in the moment and try to make every day purposeful. I have also learned that not all wounds are visible or easily seen, so I try to instill that love and passion for life in my students, while being attuned to their individual needs and circumstances.”

Peggy Fletcher Business Office
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Leiah Greene HS English
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Education:

BA in English  –  Oregon State University
GSD (Graduate Studies Diploma) in Biblical Studies –  Western Seminary

“I have been married to my husband, Sean, for more than two decades.” Says HS English and Bible teacher, Leiah Greene. Together they have three beautiful girls, who all attend Santiam Christian. In their spare time they enjoy camping, white water rafting and playing with their dog, Luna.

Before becoming a teacher at Santiam Christian, Leiah and Sean appreciated the peace of mind that came from having their girls at SC, where they felt confidence in trusting the faculty and staff to show them love and grace every day. “The love they have for my children is priceless. I hope I give that same peace to my students’ families, now.”

With a degree in English and a background as a writer and editor in the corporate world, Leiah brings “real world” experience into her classroom. She feels blessed to be able to share her professional experience and expertise in a place of faith, Christian worldview and family atmosphere. She is excited to watch students as they grow in maturity, faith and humility. “I enjoy sharing my faith with students, which is something I would not be welcome to do in the public sector.”

In addition to spending time with her daughters, she enjoys “reading and drinking hot tea… daily.” She says, “As a life long learner, reading informs and educates me. It’s a hobby that either affirms or challenges my perspective, which I find healthy and stimulating.”

Heidi Grosenbach Preschool Teacher
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Education:

Western Oregon University – BA Elementary Education

Heidi Grosenbach earned a Bachelors in Elementary Education and began her journey into the world of teaching. She spent a year teaching first grade in Korea and then came back to the states where she taught at New Life Christian Academy for five years. In 1993 she came to Santiam Christian and we were privileged to have her a part of our family for six years. After some time off to be with her family, Heidi rejoined us in 2010 and we have been happy to have her with us since.

Heidi appreciates the community of like-minded people at Santiam Christian. People who strive to honor the Lord. She sees that children are valued and cared for by the staff, faculty and administration and believes that the learning that takes place affects the soul as well as the body and brain. Heidi adds, “It’s very exciting to watch the children start their journey of learning and get excited about what they can do.”

Heidi and her husband both serve on the worship team at their church, and together they have two beautiful daughters. As a family they simply enjoy being together, whether it’s working outside, playing with their pets or hanging out at the beach.

Quentin Haase HS Spanish
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Quentin Haase has been a teacher, pastor, youth pastor, missionary, men’s dorm supervisor and Dean Of Men at a Christian college. He’s a Vietnam veteran and has had quite a number different jobs and experiences over the years. He has also lived in and visited a number of countries in the world.

His teaching credentials are just as impressive. Quentin has a Bachelors in History, a Masters in Counseling and a Masters in Religious Education. He also received a Diploma in Advanced Spanish from Javeriana University in Bogota, Colombia.

He taught for several years in Washington and California, and for about 12 years in South America as a missionary in Paraguay, Colombia, and Peru. We were privileged to have him join our Santiam Christian family in 1992.

Quentin has five grown children with varied occupations, interests and pastimes. His youngest three are graduates of Santiam Christian.

Quentin loves the Lord and is so glad that God led him to Santiam Christian. He loves the school, the students, the teachers and staff, and the purposes and goals of Santiam Christian. As he says, “I am so happy to not only teach my subject, but also to be able to be involved spiritually in the lives of everyone here.”

Quentin is a treasure of a man that devotes himself to Bible study, prayer and his church. He loves to keep in contact with relatives and friends and has been known to consistently pray for his students, both current and alumni.

Joanna Haugen Business Administrator
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Education:

Bachelor of Science – Rugters University/Cook College
Postbaccalareate in Accounting – Oregon State University

With degrees in environmental science and accounting, many years spent in account auditing service, AND a year of having her two boys enrolled at Santiam Christian, Joanna Haugen combined her career and her love of SC, in her position as the SC business administrator. Through the years, she and her husband, Eric, have been passionate about being involved in the things that their boys care about. Since the boys are multi-sport athletes, Joanna can be seen on the sidelines of athletic events all year long.

When asked what she is most excited about at Santiam Christian right now, she said that she loves, “watching Coach Bain (HS football coach) interact not only with the high school boys, but with the younger boys as well. He cares about their character more than about what is happening on the field. That’s invaluable to me.” She says, “That’s what will make these boys into great husband and fathers in the future. That’s why he does it, and it’s amazing to witness.”

Joanna loves how her boys have benefitted from the smaller, community-minded environment of Santiam Christian. She is grateful to be involved at the administrative level of helping maintain what is available here at Santiam Christian for other families for the coming year and well into the future.

Personally, Joanna enjoys teaching yoga in addition to her work at SC. She feels like it has taught her to be more patient and accepting of herself and of others. It’s helped her to learn to take deep breaths when facing things that are difficult. Teaching has also helped her to deeply understand that what you see of people on the outside might be a whole lot different than how they feel on the inside.

Misty Herbert Elementary - 4th
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Education:

Corban University – MS Education

Linfield University – BA Elem. Education

Misty Herbert believes she was called to Christian ministry and serving the Lord with her passion in teaching. This passion began as she earned a Bachelors in History and a Masters in Education. She began living out her calling by previously teaching at Fairview Christian School before coming to Santiam Christian in 2004.

Misty believes in the ministry and education at Santiam Christian because our children are our most treasured gifts from the Lord. Giving students a strong foundation in Biblical principles in every subject makes Santiam Christian more than just a school. She loves the community of believers here that make this place a family.

She met her husband while attending Linfield College and after graduation they served as missionaries with Campus Crusade for Christ in Corvallis, OR and eventually at the headquarters in San Bernardino, CA. All three of their children are graduates of Santiam Christian and as a family they appreciate the arts. They love to go to movies, plays, music events and community theater. They also enjoy supporting the Arts here at Santiam Christian.

When talking about bringing her life experiences into her classroom, Misty says, “Having been a missionary and a pastor’s wife, I recognize I am called to this ministry and it is more than just being a teacher. Teaching is discipleship. I value the time I have with each student every year.”

Heidi Hill Elementary, 1st
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Education:

Human Development and Family Sciences – Oregon State University
Elementary Education – Oregon State University
Exercise and Sport Science – Oregon State University
Gerontology (minor) – Oregon State University

Michael Hill JH/HS Math/Bible
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Education:

BA Pastoral Studies – Northwest University
BS Math Education – Oregon State University

Mike Hill enjoys a full and experienced life. He holds Bachelors in both Biblical Studies and Mathematical Education. He worked part-time for 11 years developing Computer Based Training for Wah Chang, taught at Tillamook Christian School for four years, pastored in Oregon, Wisconsin and Kansas for 15 years, and has been with us at Santiam Christian since 1986.

A former student and their family introduced Mike to his future wife, Sharon, and they were married in 1996. Mike is proud of his two daughters; Joy and Julie who are both Santiam Christian alumni. He also has a granddaughter that is a Santiam Christian graduate as well. Mike has two more granddaughters living in Nashville, TN that are also attending a private Christian school.

Mike feels that God has called him to be at Santiam Christian. He loves seeing the “light come on” in a student when discussing a topic. He loves the energy of the students and feels that they keep him young. He has a passion to prepare kids to face their future with the knowledge of God’s Word. In his own words, “Your children are the most important treasure you have and they need to be raised and taught in an atmosphere that honors parents and God. Without a Biblical worldview our kids will not know how to face the challenges of their expanding world with principled discipline.”

Andrew Hovey Elem. Science Lab
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Education:

Medical College of Wisconsin – PhD – Microbiology & Immunology

Tina Jones Elementary - 1st
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Education:

Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education – Western Oregon University

Tina Jones knew she wanted to be a teacher since she was in the second grade. She has used her Bachelors in Elementary Education by teaching at other private Christian schools as well as in public school before coming to us in 2004. She loves being able to teach children about the Lord and feels He has called her to use her passion for teaching here at Santiam Christian. 

She sees Santiam Christian as a family and an experience like no other. She appreciates partnering with parents to help their children become all that God has called them to be. She has had parents tell her over the years that one of the reasons they love Santiam Christian so much is because they know that their children are safe and loved when they drop their child off at the door every morning.

Tina has two adopted children who have had various educational needs. She understands what parents feel when they are not sure where to turn or how to best help their child who perhaps is struggling in some area. She knows that each child is precious and deserving of the best education and she feels that Santiam Christian does a great job with meeting the needs of children right where they are.

When not teaching, you can find Tina spending time with family and friends; laughing, hiking, reading, spending time in the Word, playing games, going to the beach or shopping. And as Tina says, “I am an empty-nester but don’t truly feel like an empty nester because of all the precious children in my class!”

Esther Knaupp HS Eng; Librarian; Yearbook
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Education:

Masters in Educational Communication and Technology – Western Oregon University
BS in Education with a major in English – Western Oregon University

Esther Knaupp has Majors in English as well as Educational Communication and Technology. She taught for six years at a Christian school in Forrest City, Arkansas before setting down her roots here with us at Santiam Christian in 1984.

She sees Santiam Christian as a place where students are being taught a godly worldview that will be the foundation for the rest of their lives. She loves being in a place where she is able to work with students and impact their lives for eternity. Esther especially loves teaching Seniors and challenging them to follow God with all of their hearts.

Esther loves to grow roses and share their beauty with others. She shares a home with her mother and believes her life is an example to her students by giving them the perspective of how a single person can be happy and fulfilled.

Tracy Kniebuehler HS Math Teacher
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Education:

BS in Electrical Engineering – Oregon State University
Teaching Certification – Western Oregon University

Tracy Kniebuehler joined Santiam Christian as a teacher in 2011. She brought with her a Bachelors in Electrical Engineering as well as 17 years experience as an Electrical Engineer in the workforce. Tracy believes it’s her real-world experience that can be used in the classroom to help students understand math and science concepts even better.

Always willing to challenge herself and grow, Tracy gets excited about opportunities to teach new classes. She loves the family environment at Santiam Christian, the small class sizes, the personal interaction she can have with the students, and the opportunity to help students grow in their faith. She appreciates that Santiam Christian comes alongside families in watching out for the students, to help shape them into respectful, responsible, Christian men and women.

Tracy is married to her husband, Greg, and they have a daughter, Bailey, who is also a student at Santiam Christian. Together they love to travel and experience new things. Family is very important to Tracy, and she hopes that the students see that example in her as well.

Amy Krahn Agriculture Education Instructor
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Education:

Oregon State University – Masters of Agriculture & Masters of Arts & Teaching (M.Ag focus was Animal Sciences, Rangeland Resources, and Ag Education)

Oregon State University – Bachelors of Sciences (Animal Sciences & Agriculture Business Management)

Amy Krahn was born and raised on a family farm in Hood River, OR where she was active in 4-H and FFA. She has a Bachelors in Animal Science and a Masters in Agriculture and Animal Science as well as a Masters of Arts and Teaching. She has taught at Oregon State University and Linn-Benton Community College. She made a very deliberate decision to move from higher education to teaching at Santiam Christian in 2015. Having spent many years in higher education, she feels blessed that she can now teach at the high school level on a “different” platform, which offers her students a unique experience in the classroom.

She and her husband believe strongly that Santiam Christian offers a variety of opportunities for their own daughters that they would not be able to get from any other school in the area. Santiam Christian is a faith-based institution that offers Agricultural Education through FFA, an assortment of academic courses, opportunities for college credit, an athletic department that excels, and daily instruction in Bible. She believes Santiam Christian is worth every penny!

Amy’s passion in life is being a good mom and wife and she loves spending time with her daughters and husband. She loves living in a country of many privileges, saluting the flag and honoring our soldiers. Amy says, “I love my country. I love my God and I love knowing that my future is eternal through His salvation. On my worst days, I love the reassurance that I am loved, I am a child of God, and I have faith in my future in Him.”

Tina Longballa JH/HS Visual Art Instructor
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Education:

Bachelor of Science in Apparel Design – Purdue University
Bachelor of Science in Consumer and Retail Management – Purdue University

Tina Longballa has a degree in Apparel Design and Retail Management. She worked for ten years as a professional apparel designer and artist, as well as being a Santiam Christian parent, helping in her children’s classrooms and working in the school office. She officially joined our Santiam Christian faculty in 2013.

As a parent and a teacher, Tina appreciates the fact that our school embraces community and school spirit through academics, athletics, and clubs such as Band, Choir, Drama, FFA, and the STEM program.Tina sees there is so much in the world today that tries to distract kids from living in God’s Word everyday. The environment at Santiam Christian keeps the students accountable for their actions and supports their spiritual growth. She believes that her work as a designer and freelance artist for many years has prepared her to help her students for the workforce and to encourage them to “Dream”, “Risk”, and “Create” a life that glorifies God.

Tina is married and is blessed with two wonderful children who are also students at Santiam Christian. As Tina says, “The heart of the mission and being a disciple of Christ is what keeps me at Santiam Christian. Having my own children enrolled at the school is an extra bonus.”

Jill Martinson Elementary - 6th
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Education:

BA Education – Pacific Lutheran University

Jill Martinson earned a Bachelors in Education and spent nine years teaching school in Hawai’i before God clearly opened the door for her to join Santiam Christian in 1991. She was hoping it would be the kind of school where she would want to spend her entire career. She sees that it has been that and so much more! It has become her family and her home. She believes God called her to work with our 6th graders and it is her great joy to watch them explore, learn, grow, discover, blossom and flourish. It is not surprising to see her former students light up at the sight of her and greet her with a hug.

Jill stands by the idea that Santiam Christian is worth the sacrifices families make in order to send their children here. “I believe a Christ-centered education is one of the most valuable things a Christian parent can provide their child. At Santiam Christian, parents know their children receive an education that is not based on the world’s value system, but on a Biblical foundation of faith in Jesus Christ and the foundations of His Word.” ~Jill Martinson

Leah Maupin JH Soc. Stud./Curr/Ins
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Education:

Masters in Curriculum and Instruction – University of Nebraska – Lincoln
Bachelor of Secondary Education (Social Sciences) – Central Michigan University

Leah Maupin has a Bachelors in Social Science and a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction. She taught in a junior high school in Lincoln, Nebraska and “some other venues along the way” before joining us at Santiam Christian in 2014.

She says she has been married to the same wonderful guy for over 30 years. They have four children that all received their education from Santiam Christian and feel they were well-prepared for college through that education.

As a parent, Leah firmly believes her children received the finest education in the area by professional teachers and authentic Believers who invested in her kids as eternal beings with a calling and a purpose. “They were taught well and loved deeply. We are blessed.” ~Leah Maupin

Leah believes having four adult, or nearly adult children, gives her a perspective on teaching that she didn’t have before. She feels that she understands teenagers better and genuinely enjoys them…even junior high students in large quantities!

In Leah’s words, “I love the students I work with, the people I work alongside, and the Lord who oversees it all! I definitely feel called to be here.”

Melissa (Mac) McLain JH/HS Faculty
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Education:

Bachelor of Education, Mathematics; Corban University

Melissa (Mac) McLain has a Bachelors in Education that she began using by briefly teaching at Albany Christian before joining us at Santiam Christian from 2002 until 2009. She then took time off to enjoy the priority of putting her family first and being a mom to her four girls.

Mac is a Santiam Christian graduate and says that she married her high school sweetheart 10 years after high school. With her girls now a bit older, Mac has rejoined us at Santiam Christian in 2017. She feels the fact that she went to school here and sat in the same classrooms brings a unique life experience to her own teaching. “I loved this place as a student – never a question that I always wanted to teach here. Great staff, students and families that make each day enjoyable. Freedom to talk about Jesus, be real, make mistakes, share important values with kids, etc.” ~ Mac McLain

Mac loves that her kids are hearing about Jesus each day and have teachers who care about them outside of the classroom. They are making friends who come from families who share the same values. Mac sees Santiam Christian as a place where kids can get a great education but also have students and staff who truly care about their character; people who care about the long-term for each student.

Kerry Mehlschau Elementary (K-6)
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Kerry Mehlschau grew up on a farm. She married her college sweetheart and now she and her husband are raising their five children on their family farm. They love to work in the field or with their animals in the barn. She believes in learning that is hands-on and fun; learning that isn’t necessarily in a textbook, or on a worksheet, or even inside the classroom. She and her husband have also had the privilege to be foster parents to a number of little ones. She feels this has taught her how unique and special each child truly is.

Kerry has a Bachelors in Education and has taught at an elementary school in California, Albany Christian School and she has even homeschooled. She joined us in 2016 and now all five of her children are attending Santiam Christian Schools. With that in mind, Kerry says, “The value of the foundation that is laid in the lives of these students, academically, socially, and spiritually, is priceless and will be the building block for the rest of their lives. This is worth our financial sacrifice.”

Kerry loves that Santiam Christian has Preschool through 12th grade all in one location. The younger students can enjoy the older kids’ sporting events and drama productions, and the older students have the opportunity to be cadet teachers or reading buddies with the younger ones. Another one of Kerry’s favorite things about Santiam Christian is the Chapel time. She feels it is like a mini church service geared toward little ones.

“I love teaching at Santiam Christian because I can share Christ everyday with my students and relate all subjects back to Him. I get to watch and listen to the kiddos pray and praise and worship God.” ~ Kerry Mehlschau

Annette Miller Elem, JH & HS Band
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Education: MA Education / BA Music Education

Western Oregon University – MA Education / BA Music Education

Annette Miller has a Bachelors in Music Education and a Masters in Education. She has taught in a variety of places in Lebanon, Lacomb and Albany and she joined Santiam Christian in 2002 when her own daughters started attending. Although her daughters have since graduated, Annette has not felt the desire to leave. She loves small schools and appreciates the family atmosphere and Christian focus at Santiam Christian. Annette is busy, as she currently is teaching with us here at Santiam Christian Schools as well as at Albany Christian School.

“Being able to worship Jesus freely in a school setting makes a huge difference. The small class sizes, caring teachers, administrators, and staff and the individual attention students receive is extremely valuable too.” ~ Annette Miller

Outside of school, Annette enjoys sewing, knitting, baking, walking, traveling, church activities, eating out, and reading. Her goal is to read 100 books a year! Her appreciation for music has been passed down as one of her daughters has also become a music teacher. Both of her girls play instruments along with Annette, and they have even been in a band together. Annette adds that her husband loves to listen.

Beth Miller Elementary (K-6) PE
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Peter Ness Elementary Principal; HS Track
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Education:

Western Oregon University – BA PE/Health

Peter Ness has a Bachelors in Education and a Masters in Administration and he joined our family at Santiam Christian in 2002, not long after marrying Kimberly who is also on faculty with us. Together they have four wonderful boys that have had the privilege of being a part of Santiam Christian their entire lives.  

Peter believes the education at Santiam Christian is more than just excellent academics. The administration, faculty and staff are here to come alongside parents in the Christian raising of their children. Everyone strives for the best with the understanding that setbacks, and at times failure, is a part of being successful.

“I get to be a part of this process to the students here, and I consider being a part of this family/community a wonderful gift God has given me and my family.” ~ Peter Ness

Being with God’s people and the outdoors is what Peter wants to be a part of and where he wants to be. Building projects with others are some of his greatest memories. Climbing up a mountain or going down one on a snowboard or skis is refreshing and an amazing way for him to enjoy the company of friends and marvel in the outdoors. Peter adds, “I am only challenged/shaped by these experiences by knowing that God brought me to ‘that’ place with ‘that’ person at ‘that’ time to help me understand Him more.”

Linda Nimmo JH/HS Student Advocate
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Matt Nosack HS Science; BB Coach
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Education:

George Fox University – BS Biology

Matt Nosack has loved teaching and coaching since day-one. He holds a Bachelors in Biology and has been a part of our Santiam Christian family since 1988. He has two boys that are both graduates of Santiam Christian and a daughter that is currently enrolled here. Spending time doing anything with his family is what brings Matt the greatest joy. In his classroom he loves the interaction with his students and seeing that “now I understand” moment. On the playing field, Matt loves teaching character and seeing it implemented within the sport.

At Santiam Christian, Matt appreciates that Jesus is lifted up as who He is, The Son of God. With that, he sees teachers give so much of themselves, and are a fantastic outside-the-home influence to reinforce the Christian values, lifestyle and character that is being taught within the home.

When asked what has kept him at Santiam Christian for all of these years, Matt replies, “The ability to share Jesus with students and coworkers, and working with such great, committed people.”

Charles Perry JH/HS Choir/Guitar
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Education:

Baylor University – BME Music Ed/Vocal

Chuck Perry earned a Bachelors of Music Education from Baylor University and was  very busy teaching in three different middle schools in Waco, Texas each day for three years.

In 1999 he joined us at Santiam Christian. He says that he originally started teaching at Santiam Christian in order to allow his children to be educated here. He says, “An education at Santiam Christian is one of the best bargains for the dollar in any private education facility in the area. The school has great success inside and outside the classroom.”

In his free time, Chuck enjoys watching older movies as well as listening to classical music.He and his wife enjoy any time they can spend with their three children. Even though his children are all grown and have graduated from Santiam Christian, Chuck continues to stay because he believes that God is not yet finished with his work here.

“I really enjoy the energy the students bring to class. I like the give-and-take in the discussions we have each day and the work we accomplish in the performing groups.”  ~Chuck Perry

Patricia (Trisha) Peters Elementary - 6th
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Education:

BA Elementary Education and BA Bible Theology – Moody Bible Institute

Santiam Christian sixth grade teacher, Trisha Peters grew up in Indonesia, where her parents worked and served. In her early life she experienced many different cultures and religions. She met her husband Jesse, while in college at Moody Bible Institute, where she received degrees in Elementary Education and Bible. After teaching for three years at another school, Trisha brought her love for middle school aged children and training in teaching to Santiam Christian. She and Jesse love this age so much that they minister to middle schoolers at their church, on the weekends.

“I love how Santiam Christian has the same passion I do for equipping the younger generation with a strong foundation in the knowledge of the Word, in order to defend their faith now and in the future.” Says Trisha. “I see that the truth of God is biblically integrated into every subject matter at SC, not just in Bible class.”

She feels like her diverse background and life experience helps her to widen her student’s perspective to include what goes on outside of the world they know. She hopes that she can inspire students to use the gifts that God has equipped them with to serve and support others.

Laura Peterson HS Social Studies
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Education:

Cal Poly State University – BA History

University of Nevada – Reno – Teach. Cert.

Laura Peterson says her life has not been particularly “unique”. God has blessed her with a very stable and healthy Christian family, and this is true for many in our student body. Laura wants those students to know that God uses them and their story as well. She feels God has called her, and students like her, to help those who carry very heavy burdens.

Laura met her husband, Eric, through InterVarsity Christian Fellowship while they were both studying at California Polytechnic University and she was earning her Bachelors in History. Together they have three children. Their oldest is a graduate of Santiam Christian and their younger two are still attending. As a family, they enjoy boating in the summers and watching the Seahawks. Before coming to teach at Santiam Christian Schools in 2009, Laura taught at public schools in Nevada as well as a private Christian school in California.

 As a teacher at Santiam Christian, Laura appreciates the small class sizes which allow her to really get to know and connect with her students. She looks for opportunities to share her faith with her students and encourages them to see Christ in all subjects and situations. She believes that students can get a quality education at Santiam Christian without having to sacrifice their commitment to their faith.

Laura enjoys working alongside supportive parents to ensure that a team is working together to help grow and mature students. Laura adds, “We are called to raise our children to be lovers and followers of God. This environment seeks everyday to help parents in that mission.”

Marc Powell JH/HS Woodshop
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Education:

Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education – Western Oregon State College (WOU)
Associates of Arts – Chemeketa Community College

Marc Powell married his high school sweetheart from Woodburn High School. Their only son is married and set to graduate from Oregon State University. Marc adds that there are “no grandkids yet”.

Marc earned his own Bachelors degree in Education and did substitute teaching for Central High School for several years. He joined us at Santiam Christian as a paid assistant in 2015 and officially began teaching a year later in 2016.

Small class sizes and better student behavior is what Marc notices and welcomes at Santiam Christian. He appreciates the Christian-based education from teachers that truly love and care for their students.

Outside of the classroom Marc enjoys woodworking, cars and camping. These activities give him a sense of worth, enjoyment, and appreciation for God’s creation.

Jennifer Preston Development
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Jennifer Preston is an Eagle Super-Fan! Through the years, she and her husband, Fred could often be found watching one of their two girls play an SC sport. Now, with one having graduated from SC and moved on to Biola and the other at SC, she will spread her bleacher time between schools. Jennifer embodies the community spirit of “You cheer for mine, I’ll cheer for yours.” that exists in the Eagle Family.

She doesn’t only cheer for SC sports. As the Development Assistant, she is a cheerleader for all things SC. “I love it when I have the opportunity to talk with people out in our greater community who notice our students, and the impact they are making, whether it is in academics, athletics and especially in their character.”

Come to most any SC athletic event and Jennifer will be there. Listen for her infectious laughter and welcoming smile that says, “Here, come sit by me! I want to tell you something awesome about every one of these amazing kids!”

Raelyn Riedlinger Admissions Director
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Michelle Riley Business Office
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Michelle Riley LOVES the Santiam Christian family. She may not teach in a classroom, but her service to Eagle families is every bit as important. Michelle handles the family accounts at Santiam Christian. She has been sharing her talents in the business office in 2010.

Michelle and her husband, Mike, have one son, who is part of the SC class of 2020. She loves working at the school and being involved at school both as a staff member and as a parent.  When she is not hard at work, Michelle and her family enjoy camping and spending time together.

Michelle says that she really enjoys quiet activities like reading, crochet and cross stitch. While she likes the quiet, she doesn’t mind the loud cheering at an Eagle baseball game! GO EAGLES!

Erik Ritschard HS Principal
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Education:

Calvin College – Grad Certificate – Van Lunen Center for Exec. Manage.

Pensacola Christian College – MS Secondary Education

LeTourneau University – BS Aviation Technology

Erik Ritschard married his high school sweetheart and has earned a Masters in Secondary Education. He has taught in private Christian schools in Colorado as well as at Barclay College in Haviland, Kansas. Erik joined our Santiam Christian family in 2016 with his wife joining us a year later in 2017. They have five children and two grandchildren that pretty much enjoy doing anything they can together: playing games, watching movies, skiing, hiking, drinking coffee, etc.

Ever since Erik began teaching, he’s always felt that Christian schooling presents some of the best opportunities for discipleship. He is motivated to keep going with the hope of realizing that opportunity in abundant ways in the lives of many, many children and teens. He sees the changing landscape of education can be challenging, but exciting. The challenging culture means that the work of helping students follow Jesus is demanding and can be difficult, but the need is great and hope rises to meet the challenge.

“When all is said and done, only a couple of things from our school experiences will really last and really matter: our basic academic foundations, and what we learned from school about how to live a good life. Santiam Christian tackles both of those areas with enthusiasm, and provides really solid footing for students in both. If the essential things are in place, everything else can be built up from there, and I think Santiam Christian does well at providing firm foundations for our students.” ~Erik Ritschard

Jani Ritschard JH/HS Faculty
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Education:

B.S. LeTourneau University
M.S. Pensacola Christian College
Grad. Fellowship, Van Lunen Center for Executive Management in Christian Schools, Calvin College

Jani Ritschard has a Bachelors in Psychology and Family Counseling and Bible. She taught for 11 years at a Christian academy before joining us at Santiam Christian in 2017.

She married the guy she has loved since high school and together they have five grown children, who have all graduated from Christian schools. Her children and grandchildren are always close to her heart and she tries to see them as often as possible.

As a teacher, Jani has a passion for Christian education. She views her work as full-time ministry. She believes all education and training comes from some philosophical frame of reference, “……and truth is only found in Jesus Christ. Therefore, parents, being responsible for the training of their children, need to seek team members to help them educate their children from a Biblical worldview. I believe the teachers at Santiam Christian take this mission to heart.” ~Jani Ritschard

At home, Jani loves growing, raising and studying food. She finds things like gardening and making bread very grounding and worshipful. She also enjoys music, especially playing the French horn. She enjoys dogs and is often training or showing them.

Jeanne Schaffner JH & HS Counselor
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Education:

Bachelor of Arts in Behavioral Sciences – Northwest University

Jeanne Schaffner has spent many years in ministry with her husband as Youth Pastor, Associate Pastor, Senior Pastor and as missionaries in Warsaw, Poland. The have two children that are graduates of Santiam Christian and she believes they were  well-prepared for their next steps and to lead missional lives on the college campus.

“I look at my own kids and believe it was invaluable for them to receive an education that not only came from a Christian worldview, but one that was not hostile to the Christian worldview.” ~ Jeanne Schaffner

Jeanne has a degree in Behavioral Science and came to work at Santiam Christian in 2012. She feels it is her job to help students discover what the next step is after graduation and how to get there. She received very little input in her own life when it came to making decisions about college, career, or her future. Because of that, she was determined to help her own children navigate those decisions. She became a student of the college search, financing, and application process. She believes God had in mind that she would become equipped not just for the good of her own children, but for many Santiam Christian students now and in the future.

Jeanne feels that her time as a missionary in Poland was personally transforming. It allowed her to develop a deep love and appreciation for the diversity within the Body of Christ. On her own time, Jeanne loves to read, ski, ice skate, travel, and spend time with her family and friends. She always enjoys meeting new people.

Michelle Setniker Elementary - 4th
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Education:

Western Oregon University – MS Reading / BS Elem. Education

Michelle Setniker has a degree in Elementary Education and officially joined our faculty in 2007. She and her husband have three children. Their oldest is a 2017 graduate from Santiam Christian and her younger two are still attending. As a family, they find the most enjoyment in being together outdoors.

A few years ago, Santiam Christian implemented schoolwide character education. Monthly character traits are carefully chosen to educate our students. Michelle values this education and has seen this bring about meaningful conversations in her classroom that focus on how to treat others and choosing behavior.

Michelle sees that Santiam Christian provides families with a Christian education in a setting in which students are truly loved and cared for. Small class sizes and a supportive administration allows teachers to reach students in a meaningful way and serve their individual needs. She believes that Santiam Christian Schools don’t just provide a quality education, but also provide a family atmosphere.

Speaking as a teacher and a mom, “My husband and I enrolled our daughter here for Kindergarten. We knew right away at our first tour of the school that this was where we wanted our children to grow. I was blessed four years later with a teaching position and continue to feel the sense of family and community that we did on our first visit.”

~ Michelle Setniker

Cathy Shanafelt Office Manager
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Lisa Sheldrake JH English
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Education:

BS in Elementary Education with minors in English and Religion – Walla Walla University
MS in Curriculum and Instruction – Portland State University

Lisa Sheldrake has earned a Bachelors degree in Elementary Education and a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction. To say she has traveled a fair bit is an understatement. She went to college in England, traveled Europe, grew up in Alaska, lived in Mexico for a bit, and went on mission trips to various countries. She taught at Central Valley Christian School in Tangent for 16 years and at Grand Ronde Christian School for two years; a one room schoolhouse with all eight grades and a wood stove for heat! She settled in with us at Santiam Christian in 2014. She believes all of this helps her see things from different perspectives.

Lisa is married with three children, all of whom are enrolled at Santiam Christian. As a family they love to cook different ethnic foods from around the world. She says her kids love to eat everything and anything. Her family also appreciates music. Lisa plays the piano and guitar and her husband plays the trombone and stand up bass. There is always music playing in her home, “…whether we create it ourselves or we are listening to it. We often are found in the woods hiking or exploring. May the forest be with you….” ~Lisa Sheldrake

Lisa grew up with Cerebral Palsy and that has played a huge part in her not judging others because they are different. As Lisa says, “Different isn’t bad…it’s different!” As a teacher Lisa loves to challenge her students to look at life from different angles and outside their comfort zone. She finds it a privilege to pray for her students and finds it priceless that teachers pray for her own children as well.

Andria Shinn Business Office
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Jacob Shore HS Faculty - English
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Education:

B.A. History – Oregon State University

Karen Sisler JH/HS Foods; Elem Art
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Jameel Tolbert JH Boys' PE
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Education:

Kinesiology: Oregon State University

Jameel Tolbert has a Bachelors in Kinesiology and was a coach for three years before coming on as faculty in 2016. He sees an inclusive environment and strong values at Santiam Christian Schools; where guidance is given and directed specifically for each student and each one is treated as the unique individual they are.

Jameel understands the ups and downs of expressing true character during sport and physical activity. He uses this understanding to cater to each student and assist them in improving their self-control and/or leadership skills. He believes this builds a better understanding of enduring physical activity and how it leads to future successes in fitness and in life.

Basketball, art, music and fitness are Jameel’s main areas of interest even outside of work. “These things help me maintain a strong sense of self and provide me with a broad understanding of various aspects of life.” ~Jameel Tolbert

Carla Towery Elementary - K
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Education:

Western Oregon University – BS Elem. Education

Carla Towery met her future husband during their Junior year of high school, so it’s safe to say she married her “high school sweetheart”. They have two daughters that both graduated from Santiam Christian, and as a family they enjoy traveling, getting together, loving on their pets, and gardening.

Carla has a Bachelors in Education and taught in various local schools before arriving at Santiam Christian Schools in 2001. Having her own children attend and graduate from Santiam Christian makes Carla stand by the belief that the Biblical morals that are being taught here at the school are worth the sacrifice families may have to make to have their children here.

As a teacher, Carla loves teaching thematically and has collected many things throughout her life and brings it all to the table for her teaching units. She enjoys cooking, and tries to incorporate that in her classroom whenever she can as well.

“I’m just a big fan of Santiam Christian and I love the people that I have been blessed to get to know through this job!”  ~Carla Towery

Bryan Twedell Maintenance Director
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Bryan Twedell is our mild-mannered, Superman! His quiet, unassuming ways don’t even hint at the incredible feats of service and heroism that he performs each and every day!

After studying Christian Education in college, he ventured to the other side of the world as a staff member at Continental Theological Seminary in Sint-Pieters-Leeuw in Belgium, where he served for 11 years. His four years of study in Canada and total of 13 years in of ministry in Belgium working with international students has provided him with unique life experiences that give him insights far beyond our campus borders.

Bryan, his lovely wife, and two daughters returned to the US, where his youngest daughter attended Santiam Christian and graduated in 2002. He recognizes that those years in her life were transforming for her. Later in 2006, Bryan joined the staff of Santiam Christian. His desire is that SC will have impact in the lives of other students and that many more lives will be touched, as his daughter’s was.

Bryan brings his can-do attitude and heart of service to Santiam Christian, where we recognize that we are the blessed beneficiaries of his grace and patience. Bryan is the Physical Plant Manager, which basically means that he does everything, for everyone, all the time. When asked why he does it, he said, “My hope is that I can be a good example to the students through conscientious, cheerful and faithful work.”

Amy Van Beek Elementary - 2nd
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Education:

BA in Elementary Ed and Communications – Dordt Christian College

Amy Van Beek married her college sweetheart after they met at Dordt Christian College in Sioux Center, Iowa, where she was earning her Bachelors in Education. Amy joined us at Santiam Christian in 1988 and she and her husband also opened a small Christian school in Bellfountain, Oregon that educated her own children plus 70 other children from preschool through high school for 10 years. They own a dairy farm in Monroe and have raised two adopted children whom are both grown, married and have blessed Amy and her husband collectively with three grandchildren.

Amy grew up in Christian schools, raised her children in Christian schools, and deeply values the idea of raising children with a Kingdom mindset. “……I want to be a part of raising children to understand who the Lord is and how He is an integral part of our lives and learning. Jesus commanded us to go and make disciples and that is what I desire to do.” ~Amy Van Beek

As a teacher, Amy’s prayer is to make each child in her classroom feel safe, loved and successful. She has a younger sister with Down’s Syndrome and has Dyslexia herself. She has experienced trying to learn in a classroom where the expectations were the same for every child. She has raised a son with ADHD and some learning disabilities, and was a parent who had to advocate of her son to help him be successful. Over the last 30 years she has educated herself on how to make children successful.

Amy realizes we get one chance to influence the lives in each generation and she wants every child to be taught Truth. Parents can teach it at home, however those lessons need to be supported at the school and not contradicted. At Santiam Christian, teachers come alongside parents and educate in Biblical Truth. Amy believes you cannot put a price tag on that!

Jodi Vetter Elementary - 5th
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Jodi Vetter views teaching, in a public or private setting, as a mission. She earned a Masters in Education, taught in the public school system, and then joined us at Santiam Christian in 2011. She believes teaching at Santiam Christian is a privilege that allows her the opportunity to serve by walking alongside families, assisting children in learning about themselves and the world around them, using the Word of God as a foundation.

Having the opportunity to teach a child’s heart is a privilege Jodi does not take lightly. At Santiam Christian, Jodi believes parents can have confidence that teachers are dedicated to supporting students academically, socially, emotionally, and spiritually all through the lense of Scripture. Students learn to view their faith holistically and that their faith is not something that is only applicable in limited situations. Educating the whole child is priceless to Jodi.

“I am blessed to guide students every day to work hard, play hard, be kind and follow Jesus!” ~ Jodi Vetter

Outside of school Jodi enjoys exploring the outdoors with her husband and two children. Whether on two wheels or four, gliding on top, through or alongside the beautiful forests, lakes, creeks or oceanside of the Pacific Northwest, Jodi says, “This is what refreshes me and feeds my creativity.” Jodi sees how gritt, mindfulness, focus, and determination in her adventures transfer directly to her classroom, teaching students to keep stretching themselves to develop into the person God has created them to be.

Gretchen Villers HS Bible, ASL
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Education:

BS Religious Studies with a minor in Deaf Education – Liberty University

For years, Gretchen saw her life as a series of random detours and experiences. Many did not make sense to her and she chafed against the haphazardness of it all. She is now understanding that God was using each of her experiences to grow her and shape her heart. She sees now that her story is part of His plan. She never dreamed that she would teach in a high school, but now she says, “….’teenagers are my jam’ and I now wonder how I ever thought I could be happy doing anything else.

Gretchen has a Bachelors in Religious Studies with a Minor in Deaf Education. She and her husband, Lance, came to Santiam Christian in 2013 after being a part of a couple of Christian schools in California and a public school in Colorado.

Her children came to Santiam Christian from public school. She believed her children were receiving a great education in the public school system, and many of their teachers were even Christians. She and her husband saw themselves as missional teachers in public school. After enrolling their children at Santiam Christian, Gretchen says, “Coming to Santiam Christian allowed me to see that the overall worldview my children were being taught [in public school] had influenced their thought patterns more than we realized. I know it is a sacrifice to have your students at Santiam Christian, but I believe that the worldview and truths of scripture they are taught here will allow them to grow up to be world changers….Santiam is committed to equipping students to live with purpose and mission.”

Outside of school, Gretchen loves to read, cook, bake, hang out with family, and run. She believes running keeps her sane, clears her head and allows her to reset. She also loves to spend time with her husband, exploring the Oregon Coast or just being together. She also loves spending time with her three kids, as she adds, “My kids make me laugh and keep me humble. I love spending time with them.”

Lance Villers Superintendent
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Education:

Liberty University – M.Ed. Administration
Evangel University – BA Math
CSU – Pueblo – BA Computer Science

Lance Villers has Bachelors in Math and Computer Science as well as a Masters in Administration. He and his wife, Gretchen, both joined us at Santiam Christian in 2012 after working in private Christian schools in California and a public school in Colorado. Their family consists of three children, two that are graduates of Santiam Christian and are now attending college, and one is still attending Santiam Christian.

Lance believes his experience working in both the public and private education systems gives him a unique perspective on education. Lance compares his experiences in the public school system versus his role at Santiam Christian, “I don’t have the levels of bureaucracy I faced in the public system, and am not being forced to implement programs and philosophies I don’t agree with. I also don’t like the accountability systems in place in the public schools where everything is measured by test scores.”

Lance is most excited about the quality of students and families that are a part of Santiam Christian. He knows that students can get an academic education just about anywhere. What they can’t get is a Godly foundation that will shape them the rest of their lives. “I truly believe we are making a difference every day at Santiam Christian.” ~Lance Villers

When not at the school, Lance loves taking road trips with his family and visiting new places, especially places with warm sunshine. He likes to golf, as well as build furniture. He believes this gives him an outlet for the creative side of him that doesn’t always get uses in his day job.

Catherine Weber Preschool Teacher
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Education:

Oregon State University – BS Early Childhood

Catherine Weber has a Bachelors in Human Development and Family Studies. She taught at Corvallis Montessori School for a couple of years before joining Santiam Christian in 2005.

She is married to her husband, Robert, and they have a son and daughter that are high school age. As a family, they go camping year-round and warming up by a good campfire. They enjoy water and snow sports, biking, and playing on the beach and in the mountains. They are pretty much happy wherever they can be with family and friends. Catherine is also active in leading with a local Younglife group and she considers “loving Jesus and loving people” as one of her hobbies.

When asked what keeps her at Santiam Christian, Catherine replies, “It’s all about Jesus! I love that I can pray for, love on and focus on Jesus in everything we teach.”

 

 

Juergen Weissschuh Elementary Music
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Juergen Weissschuh grew up, went to college and taught for years in Germany. After marrying a 1999 Santiam Christian alum, Suzann, they jumped “the pond” and landed in here in Oregon. Along with their two preschool aged children, they enjoy that Oregon has both beaches and mountains, and that from the mid-Willamette Valley, both are close enough to visit often.

After teaching for 10+ years in Germany, some of which were in a very impoverished area of the country, Juergen put his bachelors in music to work, teaching here at Santiam Christian. He brings a unique texture to our music room with his delightful accent and experiences in different kinds of schools. His passion for leading worship at his church and hobby of making music with his family translates perfectly into making music with Santiam Christian students. He especially enjoys teaching children how to play instruments.

He is enjoying the Santiam Christian atmosphere that values commitment to each other’s success, community, encouragement and trust. He feels like combining these things creates the strongest foundation for education.

Juergen also has degrees in EFL, Design and Technology.

Kapla West Elementary (K-6)
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Kapla West has had the opportunity to live in a variety of places; from growing up in a small farming community in Idaho, to attending college in the big city of Tacoma, Washington, and now Oregon. She earned a degree in Education and has taught in several different school settings, both private and public. She believes these opportunities provide her with life experience and stories she can bring into her classroom to help connect with her students. She has also attended professional development classes that have given her a wide range of teaching strategies she can use to help students be successful.

As a teacher, Kapla appreciates the small class sizes at Santiam Christian. She feels this allows her the ability to work with struggling students, giving them more one-on-one and small group instruction to meet their needs. Kapla loves having the opportunity to share Christ and His love with her students. 

Outside of school, Kapla and her family enjoy being outdoors, camping, golfing and gardening. She and her husband have two boys that are elementary school age. Kapla says about having her boys enrolled at Santiam Christian and staying her herself, “…….[I appreciate] the opportunity for my boys to be at a Christ-centered school, developing friendships with families that share our same values.”

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