Meet the Teachers

2023-2024 SJLS Teaching Staff

Katie Green - Kindergarten
Ms. Green enters her 6th year teaching Kindergarten, after 4 years serving in the Children's Center. You'll be able to spot her as one of our most spirited on dress up days.  She loves coffee and spending time with her family.  She lives with her two dogs, Willow and Ellie.

Debi Swenson  - Kindergarten
Teaching young children has been my dream and calling as long as I can remember. I have had the joy and privilege to be in ministry to young children at St. John’s for over 40 years.  When not in the classroom, I enjoy spending time with family and friends. I have two adult children who live in different parts of the state.  My constant companion is my “fur baby”, Milo.
Kylee Ursery - Kindergarten
This is my first year teaching! I have always wanted to be a teacher, and I am very passionate about providing a positive and caring environment for students. I grew up in Bakersfield and received my degree in Multiple Subject Education from Cal State University Bakersfield. I intend to also get my Masters in Education as well in the near future. I love spending time with my family and friends, going on walks, and pilates! I have a passion for Jesus and wanted to join St. John's so that I could provide a Christian education to my future students. I am super excited to join the team!   

- 1st Grade
Type your new text here.

Amanda Green - 1st Grade
This is Mrs. Green's 14th year at SJLS.  After spending 11 years  as a 3rd  grade teacher and 2 years teaching Physical Education, she is back in the classroom for our lucky 1st graders. She has a lovely family, of which her two sons attend SJLS.

Katie Weiss - 2nd Grade
Mrs. Weiss currently serves St. John’s as a second grade teacher. She has been teaching for twelve years. She is married to Jason Weiss, who also teaches at St. John’s. They have two kids- Hudson (6) and Harper (3). she loves teaching because everyday is new, she gets to share the love of Jesus with her students daily, and it is incredible to see how much her students grow in a year. 

Shalynn Ouellette - 2nd Grade
Mrs. Ouellette enters her sixth year teaching at St. John's. She was born and raised in Lawrence, Massachusetts. She and her husband moved here about 15 years ago and we have three girls, Kaylee, Kylie, and Kennedy that also attend this school. She has been teaching for a total of about 16 years. She taught in New Hampshire as a seventh and eighth grade Math and Science teacher, and a special education assistant. She taught second grade prior to St Johns  and now our second graders at St Johns are lucky to have her!

Sara Ablin - 3rd Grade
Mrs. Ablin enters her 15th year at SJLS.  Teaching our amazing third graders is an absolute privilege. She and Mr. Ablin are also blessed with two grown sons, Bennington and Gabriel. 

Heather Peyton - 3rd Grade
Mrs. Peyton starts her third year teaching at St. John's after many years teaching in Tehachapi. She coaches football, track and enjoys running. She and her husband have three beautiful children that attend SJLS. 

Kelly Williams - 4th Grade
Mrs. Williams enters her 11th year teaching at St. John's. She and her husband are amazing parents to son Colby and their two dogs Clyde and Maci. 

Sara Armstrong 4th Grade
Mrs. Armstrong is in her second year at St. John's as a teacher, after being a St. John's parent for many years. She has 7 years experience teaching public school in Oklahoma. She and her husband have three children that keep them busy with sports, activities, traveling and playing. 

Susan Crutcher - 5th Grade
Mrs. Crutcher is entering her 15th year at SJLS. She taught 6th, 7th, and 8th grades prior to coming to St. John's. She  and her husband have a daughter. They enjoy sports, playing games, traveling, and quiet Saturdays at home.

Ashley Allio - 5th Grade
Mrs. Allio enters her 3nd year teaching at SJLS. She has taught pre-k (ages 2-5), Intervention K-6, 3rd grade and 5th grade.  She is married, and has 3 children, 2 of which attend St. Johns. She enjoys spending time with her family.

Emily Wren - 6th Grade
My name is Emily Wren, and this will be my third year at St. John’s. I have worked in multiple areas of education for the last four years, but I have over eight years of experience working with children from infants to high school. I enjoy learning and love being able to see students find their own passions in learning. I have lived in Bakersfield for the last eight years and have truly enjoyed my time here. I have been married for two years, and we have one dog, Grace. I enjoy cooking, baking, reading, and spending time with my husband and dog.

Lynn Wheeler  - 6th Grade
Mr. Wheeler has enjoyed teaching in Lutheran Schools for 42 years. He moved to Bakersfield in 1997 from the Bay Area where he taught first and second grade for 15 years. He has been blessed to serve at St. John’s at different grade levels and in administration. He has been blessed with three wonderful children and enjoys visiting his grandsons and doing activities with my kids.

Amy Hoffman - Junior High
Mrs. Hoffman enters her 10th year at SJLS and is also one of our girls' Volleyball coaches. Her dogs are just as adorable as her kids and enjoys spending time with all of them. 

Elizabeth Paulk - Junior High
Ms. Paulk grew up in Bakersfield and is an SJLS alumni. She got her Bachelors degree from Cal Lutheran and is currently in a masters program. After a long and successful career with Enterprise, she took on the calling to substitute teach for schools around Bakersfield.  She has two incredible boys, Jacoby 13 and Asher 6.  She enjoys nurturing her faith with her family  and in her spare time, she enjoys bike riding, swimming, and hiking with her children. 

Eric Hoffman - Junior High/Athletic Director
Mr. Hoffman enters his 10th year at SJLS, from Arizona originally. He runs the athletics department including Football, Basketball and Volleyball.  

Paul Rodriguez - Junior High/PE

8th Grade
I am born and raised in Bakersfield, CA. I received my teaching credential in Physical Education as well as a Masters degree in Sports Management/Kinesiology. I came to St. John’s from teaching Special Education with the Kern High School District. I have two young sons-Cooper (4) and Caleb (2) that attend SJCC and a wife who is also a Physical Education teacher.   I took many math courses in my Masters degree program, such as statistics, and thoroughly enjoyed them!  I am excited to teach pre algebra to our amazing students!

Jason Weiss - Technology/VE-JV Teacher
Jason Weiss enters his 13th year of teaching. He taught for 7 years in Junior High before moving to 5th grade for 3 years, and now enters his 2nd year of teaching technology. In his free time, he loves to golf, spend time with my family, or learn something new he can incorporate into his life or classroom. He and lovely wife have two children, Hudson and Harper. We love watching them grow with their faith in Jesus Christ daily. 

Patrice Appold  - ASL/Math/Tanzania
Mrs. Appold has served 39 years in School ministry and Administration. After "retiring" she still serves part-time at the school and enjoys crocheting and traveling in her free time. 

Brent Williams - Band Director
Mr. Williams is a renowned musician and trumpet player. He shapes musicians of the future and also serves on the church ministry team. He enjoys being a new dad to son Colby. He is also a member of the accomplished group Mento Buru.  

Type your new text here.

Type your new text here.
Type your new text here.

Shay Cawthon - Music
Mrs. Cawthon enters her 6th year of teaching. She serves on the church worship team alongside her husband. Their son Sam will be a kindergartener at SJLS this year. She  is an amazing baker and sometimes spoils the SJLS staff with homemade delicious treats!

Deborah Baraibar - Art
Mrs. Baraibar enters her 8th year teaching Art at SJLS. She and husband have two boys in high school who are alumni of St. John's.  Originally from  Mexico, she has lived in Bakersfield for 15 years.  She is into triathlons at this moment.

Pam Schrank - Resource/School Counselor
Mrs. Schrank enters her third year at SJLS after moving from Texas. She has worked in schools as a School Social Worker/Counselor for many years and truly enjoys being a listening ear to all who need it. She and her husband have three kids and they love spending their time at home, the soccer field, church, and all the other busy activities.

Jamie Quintana - Resource
Mrs. Q has been at SJLS for many years. She served in the Children's Center and also taught Kindergarten. She has a fun, beautiful spirit and  enjoys spending time with her lovely family. 

Jamie Bowman - PE K-5
After many years teaching first grade , Mrs. Bowman has traded in markers and crayons for tennis shoes and teaching Physical Education for our kindergarten through fifth grades.  Mrs. Bowman and her husband have two lovely daughters and love to travel.

Serenity Destefani - Librarian
Mrs. Destefani enters her 14th year at SJLS. She has two adorable kids at SJLS. In addition to all her library duties, she also  coaches volleyball.  

Katie Kamper - Resource
Mrs. Kamper has been a kindergarten teacher with St. John's for a few years. This year she joins the resource team to assist students across multiple grades. Her bright spirit and sweet demeanor is a blessing to be around. 

Salome Mora - Spanish 2-6
Mrs. Mora begins her 2nd year teaching at SJLS, after teaching in Science in Spain for 3 years. She also worked as a Pharmacist for 9 years. She and husband have three beautiful children. When she's not working she enjoys painting and traveling. 

Nurse Julie Jeffries
Julie Jeffries begins her second year as school nurse at SJLS! She and husband Bryan have two beautiful daughters, Emma June  and Lucy.  Julie attended Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego and received a Bachelor’s Degree in Family Life Services, with a double minor in Child Development and Psychology. She later attended Bakersfield College and received her Nursing Degree in 2012. She enjoys the beach with her family or riding her Peloton bike! She is also a huge KC Chiefs fan!!

William Hollar - Program Support Specialist
After Teaching in our Junior High and Science departments, Mr. Hollar will now take on various roles around campus: including Spanish, Yearbook, electives, Extended Care and after school clubs. 

Cody Wren - Head of Security
This is Cody's 5th year working at St. John's and his second year in the Security Department.  He's a jack-of-all trades. and also serves with our student ministry team. In his free time he enjoys hiking, hunting, and spending time with his wife and their dog Grace. 

 - Resource
Type your new text here.