Tacoma Baptist Faculty
Elementary Principal, Middle School , English
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Laura holds a BA from Washington Baptist College of Biblical Education, a Principal Certificate from ACSI, and has worked on an M.A. in Educational Administration. Laura served as a teacher and supervisor at Resurrection Christian Academy in Sterling, Alaska, for ten years prior to moving to Washington. She taught in the middle school at Tacoma Baptist Schools for twelve years before moving into administration in the fall of 2003. As elementary principal Laura loves the opportunity to nurture the teachers as well as disciple the elementary students in an environment that upholds biblical principles and practice. In addition to her educational experience, Laura has served in a number of church ministries as well as assisting her husband in his role as camp director at Resurrection Bible Camp. Paul and Laura have three grown children and six grandchildren. She enjoys hiking, writing, painting, and reading as time allows.
Laura would enjoy talking with you about how TBS can meet your child’s educational needs. Please call the school office for an appointment.
4th Grade, Elementary
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Marcie Kazarovich has over 15 years of experience teaching and ministering to children of all ages, both in professional and volunteer positions. She earned her Bible degree from Word of Life Bible Institute and her bachelor's degree from Middle Tennessee State University. She completed her elementary education credential at Western State College, in Gunnison, CO, and is currently working toward a master's degree in education. Marcie has been actively serving the Lord, first, as a chaplain's wife and mother of five, and second, in the Good News Clubs, AWANAS, and various other ministries within the Army chapel. God has put a desire in her heart to teach children and bring them into a closer relationship with Jesus Christ.
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Lorna Kearns joyfully served the Lord as a Children's Leader in Bible Study Fellowship International for six years before earning her bachelor's degree in education with an endorsement in biology at Pacific Lutheran University in 2003. She gleaned valuable teaching techniques while working as a substitute teacher for three years before she began teaching kindergartners at TBS in September 2006. Lorna is continuing her education in the Professional Certification program at Seattle Pacific University. Equipping children to grow cognitively, physically, socially, and most of all, in their walk with God, is Lorna's mission as a teacher, modeled on Luke 2:52, which states that "Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men." Lorna and Stephen, her husband of 40 years, live with their cat, Rainier, and are the proud parents of three adult children, all married. They especially enjoy their six grandchildren.
First/Second Grade, Elementary
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Trisha Thornton came to Tacoma Baptist in 2007, after working in youth ministry and children's ministry for four years. She earned her bachelor's degree in Christian Education from Eugene Bible College in 2002. When asked what she loves about teaching, Trisha answered, "I love teaching young people God's Word and helping them to look at the world around them based on God's truth. It is a privilege to partner with parents to help their children grow academically, spiritually, and emotionally." Trisha enjoys reading, playing board games, and spending time with husband and three children.
Third Grade, Elementary
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Cheryl Koskovich has served 24 years in Christian education, first in San Diego, CA, and then in the Northwest. She completed her BA in Behavioral Science at National University in San Diego and then completed her teaching credential program at United States International University, also in San Diego. God called her to Tacoma Baptist Elementary in 2003, where she has taught third grade ever since. Cheryl says, "I love teaching this age, when they are so open to the message of God's love to them, the Gospel." Cheryl enjoys traveling and spending time with her family, which includes five grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
Fifth Grade, Elementary
Julie Peterson is no new face to Tacoma Baptist Schools. She started as a kindergarten student and continued at TBS through graduation. After graduation she attended Western Baptist College, earning a bachelor’s degree in Education, and immediately returned to TBS and began her 14 year (and counting) teaching career. When asked what led her back to teach at Tacoma Baptist she replied, "Tacoma Baptist feels like home to me, and had such a powerful influence on me as a student both spiritually and academically that I couldn’t imagine teaching anywhere else." Julie enjoys spending time baking, reading, and hanging out with her husband (also a TBS graduate) and three children.
Sixth Grade, Elementary
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Donna Brooks began serving at TBS in the art room in 2001. She began teaching in 2004 after earning her Masters in Teaching from City University. Her bachelor 's degree was earned through Western Washington University in 1993. Donna appreciates the opportunity she has had to watch students grow in Jesus throughout their years at TBS. Outside of school, Donna enjoys family vacations with her husband, Mike, and three daughters, Sarah, Ashley, and Jennifer.
Instructional Support Center
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Lynn Hamlin graduated from Western Oregon State University with a BA in Education and an endorsement in Special Education. She worked for two years as a Resource Room Teacher in the Bethel School District before starting her family with her husband of 20 years. After five years of homeschooling their three children, Lynn returned to the classroom. This is her seventh year at Tacoma Baptist. Lynn writes, "I love working with the students in the Instructional Support Center (ISC). They are a daily source of inspiration to me. Working with all grade levels makes this teaching opportunity both unique and satisfying." Along with being a pastor's wife, her three children keep her "enjoyably busy." Lynn also enjoys gardening, canning, and baking.
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Amanda Hinz is the instrumental and general music teacher at Tacoma Baptist Schools and New Hope Christian School. This is her fourth year teaching in South Sound Christian Schools. Amanda received her degree in music education at Pacific Lutheran University in 2004, and is currently working toward a master's degree in education at The Master's College in Santa Clarita, CA. Miss Hinz loves to show her students the enjoyment of participative music making. In her spare time, Miss Hinz enjoys camping, hiking, and reading.
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Bill Jackson came to SSCS after serving 18 years as a Missionary/Church Planter with Mission to the World. Many of those years were spent serving in Japan. He earned his bachelorʼs degree in education from eastern Washington University in 1979 and his Masterʼs degree in Missions from Reformed Theological Seminary in 1988. Bill state, “It is a great privilege to guide young people to see that all truth, goodness and beauty is found in Christ and His Creation.” Bill enjoys playing games with his family of eight boys, one girl, and one wife of 29 years.
Math/Bible, Middle School
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Kraig Gillman first started teaching and coaching at Tacoma Baptist in the fall of 2002. He currently teaches math and Bible at Tacoma Baptist Junior High, and is the head baseball coach and assistant boysʼ basketball coach at Tacoma Baptist High School. Mr. Gillman earned his Bachelor of Science Degree in Physical Education/Education from Washington State University in 1985, and his Masterʼs Degree in Educational Technology from City University in 1994. Before answering the call of the Lord to Christian education Mr. Gillman taught for 15 years at Columbia Crest, a small K-8 school, in the Eatonville School District. Daily interactions with students, both in out of class time, are the highlight of Mr. Gillmanʼs day. In addition, he looks forward to how Lord brings something new to each school day. In his spare time, you are likely to find Mr. Gillman hunting, fishing, or just spending time enjoying his wife of 25 years, Sandi, and their two college age sons, Lane and Grant.
History/Bible, Middle School
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Matthew Maki has served in a dual capacity in Christian education and as an officer in the US Army Reserve since 1980, with fifteen of those years at Tacoma Baptist Schools. He earned his bachelor's degree in Geography from the University of Colorado in 1974, a second bachelor degree in Social Studies from Washington Baptist Teachers College in 1980, and has accumulated over 60 graduate hours in other advanced training institutions such as the Army Command and General Staff College, the Naval War College, and Northwest Baptist Seminary. Matt holds both standard teaching and secondary level administrative credentials from ACSI. Following his one year deployment to Iraq, he returned to TBS as a junior high history and Bible teacher. Matt states, "I am convinced that Christian education serves as a critical link to support the Christian home and church. Preparing students to know God, and to serve him as outstanding citizens, is absolutely essential for the promotion of Christian principles and the defense of practical freedom." Matt has been married 32 years, has three grown children (all TBS grads) and five grandchildren, (three attend New Hope). Matt enjoys a host of activities including time with family, fishing, hunting, hiking, motorcycling, reading, and following debates regarding both political and religious trends.
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Karen Edwards joined TBS in 2008 and is thrilled to have spent 20 years working in public and private schools. She received her BA and K-8 certification from UW Bothell in 2002-2003 and recently earned her Washington State Professional Certification. Karen feels blessed to work in a Christian school and loves how technology allows students to work more efficiently and gives them a chance to express who they are as part of God's creation. Karen moved to Orting in 2008 with her husband and their two adult children and adorable grandson. She enjoys reading, swimming, camping, and time with her family.
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Christine Lutterloh is a 1986 graduate of TBS. Music education, whether being educated or educating, has played an important part of most of her life. She has been a piano teacher for more than 16 years and is in her ninth year teaching choir at TBS. Her choirs and music students have won many top awards and her 2009 choir traveled to New York to sing at Lincoln Center with Vanguard University. Christy states "I know I am doing what God has designed me to do; I rely on Him and give Him all the glory for my success." Christy enjoys spending time with her husband John and five sons and loves vacations to sunny destinations.
Bible, High School
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Keith Plunket earned his bachelor's degree in Bible from Cedarville University in 1985, and his Master of Divinity from Northwest Baptist Seminary in 1991. Keith served on the pastoral staff at First Baptist of University Place for 3 years before coming to Tacoma Baptist Schools full time. Keith has been with Tacoma Baptist for over 20 years and is the only school where he has taught. Keith states, "It is a privilege and a blessing to teach the Word of God to teenagers every day!" He enjoys spending time with his wife Maria of over 20 years and their daughter Eliana who is a student at TBS. He also enjoys reading, board games, and college football. Go Buckeyes!
History/Bible, High School , Middle School
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Jeff Olive has taught secondary mathematics for more than 25 years. He has also served in pastoral ministry for over 20 years. Jeff has earned 3 college degrees: a bachelors in vocal music performance; a bachelors in math education; and a masters in biblical studies. Jeff enjoys working with young adults, teaching them math to improve their thinking and problem solving skills and teaching them Bible so that they may learn to love and serve the Lord Jesus.
English, High School
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Raised in the midst of the wheat fields of Eastern Washington, Shelly Ausmus transplanted to the Seattle area in 1980. She attended the University of Washington and experienced a life-changing encounter with Jesus. After finishing a bachelor's degree in English, she found herself in full-time ministry until the 1990's, at which time she married her husband Mike and started a family. She has over 25 years of experience in Christian ministry, ten of which have been in the classroom teaching Language Arts and US History. She enjoyed a year as guest columnist in a Puget Sound Newspaper, and loves challenging her students to think of all the different ways they can use their own writing. Her hobbies include exploring trails in the Northwest, dabbling with her camera, family time, and writing.
English, High School , Middle School
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Lisa McGowan received her B.A. in Education from Whitworth College in 1984 and taught Special Education in Enumclaw before taking a break to be a full time mother. She continued tutoring and assisting in various homeschool co-ops, and returned to the classroom when in 2001, she moved from substituting at TBS to teaching high school English and ESL. She is fascinated with studying the Holocaust and incorporates it into many of her lessons. She is thankful to be working in a Christ-centered environment with people who have a desire to honor and serve the Lord. In her off time, she enjoys reading and spending time with her husband and daughter.
History/Bible, High School
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Gary Andersen began teaching at Berean Christian High School in Concord California in 1971. After five years at Berean he came to Tacoma Baptist and has been here since that time. Gary received his bachelors degree from Corban University and completed his education with a master's degree from Northwest Baptist Seminary. Mr. Andersen states that, "the joy of working with a wonderful group of young people at TBS is what keeps me teaching". Gary has been involved in the sports program at Tacoma Baptist by coaching basketball and baseball in both the high school and middle school. One of Gary's greatest joys was watching his three children and oldest grandchild graduate from TBS.
Science, High School
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Ty Newton grew up in Gig Harbor, went to a combination of public and Christian schools with his last two years of high school at Tacoma Baptist Schools. During those last two years of high school, he truly made his faith his own. His wife also graduated from Tacoma Baptist. They started dating during their sophomore year of college and now have five daughters. Ty graduated from Concordia Lutheran University in 2002 with a degree in Biology and secondary education and went on to teach in the Portland Public Schools. He then taught at Lighthouse Christian in Gig Harbor for several years where the Lord confirmed for Ty that God wanted him teaching in Christian schools. During that time teaching at Lighthouse Ty earned his master's degree in computers and education. In 2007 God opened up a door to teach at Tacoma Baptist. Ty states, "I have been so blessed in my time serving here."
Lab Science Specialists
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Debbie Guy earned a BS in Medical Technology from the U of W. She has worked at several local clinical laboratories and in central Africa as a medical technologist. She has experience in teaching Lab medicine, elementary science and horseback riding. She enjoys introducing kids to the study of God's creation in the laboratory and encouraging the next generation of scientists. Outside of school she spends time doing outdoor activities with her son and husband. She also enjoys training horses, gardening and cooking.
Math, High School
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Carolyn Kosylo joined TBS for the fall of 2010. She graduated from the University of Calgary with a B.ED. After teaching for 6 years in both public and Christian schools, Carolyn and her husband felt the Lord calling them to mission work in Russia. After serving in Russia for 2 years, Carolyn was busy being a full time mother and Army wife. She moved (for the last time!!) to WA in January and is excited for the opportunity to teach in the classroom again. Carolyn has been married for almost 16 years and has two sons, Nathan, age 12 and Graham, who is eight.
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Mark Smith graduated from Pacific Lutheran University in 1975, with a degree in Education, and went on to teach and coach for 32 years in the public school system. He earned his Master's Degree in Athletic Administration at St. Mary's College in Moraga, California, in 1982. Mark has been the head football coach at Tacoma Baptist since its inception in 1991. He took over as Athletic Director on a part-time basis in 2005 and after retiring from Washington HS he became the full-time Athletic Director in 2007. Mark and his secretary (his wife, Susan) have been involved at Tacoma Baptist for over 25 years! When Mark isn't coaching football or track & field, working on athletic schedules or interacting with his athletes, he is out on the golf course. Go Crusaders!
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LeAnn Kitselman earned her Bachelor's Degree in Psychology with an emphasis in Counseling and Human Services from Corban University in 1993. LeAnn is an alumna of Tacoma Baptist and is married to her high school sweetheart, Todd, who is a Sergeant with the Tacoma Police Department. Todd and LeAnn have three children who currently attend Tacoma Baptist. In addition to providing academic counseling to help students plan their high school course work, LeAnn annually hosts College/Career Workshops, organizes and facilitates college visits, and helps keep students apprised of many scholarship opportunities. LeAnn is our school's testing coordinator for grades 7-12, including serving as our AP Test Coordinator. LeAnn's favorite hobby is caring for and spending time with her family. She also enjoys reading and time spent with her extended family and friends. LeAnn has served faithfully as the school's guidance counselor for four years. If you have questions about classes, requirements for graduation, credits, or course information please contact her via email or phone.
Spanish Teacher, High School
Marisa Nicely was born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Earned a degree in Hospitality Management and Travel, as well as Theology and Christian Education. Her experience includes 21 years of teaching Spanish, recruiting, training, and mentoring young people for leadership, as well as national & international missions outreach. Recognizing the urgency of this day and walking in the anointing of the Spirit, she is passionately dedicated to leading this generation, which is the church of today, to Jesus Christ.
2nd Grade, Elementary
Renita Howat is beginning her eighteenth year with South South Christian Schools and counts it a real privilege and responsibility to teach and minister to children. "Permit the children to come to Me.... for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such these. '" Mark 10:14 Renita graduated from Hope College in Holland, MI, with a major in English and minor in French. She has spent a total of 22 years thus far in Christian education and also has taught Sunday School for many years. She has four children, all of whom are married and live locally. She enjoys spending time with them and her seven grandchildren. Her hobbies include cooking, baking, classical music, poetry and hiking.
Science , Middle School, High School
Amy Hunter grew up in Washington where she attended a combination of homeschool and Christian school. She graduated from Tacoma Baptist in 2002 and went on to pursue post-high school education. Ten years and one beautiful daughter later, Amy graduated from Western Governors University Teachers Program with a Bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences for 5th - 12th grades. Immediately after graduating she was employed by South Sound Christian Schools and has worked here ever since.
Pre-K Teacher, Elementary
Melody Atwood joined the TBS staff in 2012. She earned her bachelor's degree in Elementary Education and Special Education from Stephen F. Austin State University in Texas in 1988. She enjoys teaching children of all ages and has experience teaching in a variety of grades from Pre-K thru 5th. She took a break from full time teaching for many years to homeschool her children before deciding to put the younger two in TBS. "As parents, our greatest desire is to develop in our kids a heart that loves and serves Jesus. We were so happy to find a school that shared a heart that was similar to ours." Melody also serves as the children's director at the church where her husband serves as pastor. They have 4 children, two here at TBS and two in college. She enjoys hiking, camping, cooking, sitting by warm fires, and time with family. She considers teaching at TBS a unique privilege and says, "I love being able to teach in a place where I can help children grasp God's great love for them and where I can lead them to the 'Throne of Grace so that they may find help in their time of need.' What a privilege!"
History / Social Science, High School
Kevin Guenzi began coaching football for the Crusaders in the Fall of 2010 and joined the staff part-time in the Library and Elementary Computer Lab later that same year. Kevin has a BA from Washington State University in Social Sciences and has transitioned over the last three years into the high school as a Social Studies teacher. He is married to his wife of 15 years, Tammy, and has two children at TBS: Savannah, age 11, and Bethany, age seven. Kevin gets great joy from coaching and loves to read and watch movies. He finds it most rewarding when students return to the school after graduation and show that they continue to face the challenges of life with God on their lips and in their heart.