Brenda Hill, Westside Christian Administrator
My name is Brenda Hill. I feel so incredibly blessed to be a part of Westside Christian School. My experience working in education started at Hawthorne Elementary, followed by the Challenge Center before becoming an administrator in Sioux Falls– at Hawthorne Elementary and Rosa Parks Elementary. I love being a part of Westside because I know firsthand that Jesus makes all the difference. We get to talk to Him and about Him each and every day at school. We can pray for one another, enjoy learning about Him, and worshiping Him together. What a gift to be able to give children.
I’m married to Donn, the love of my lifetime. We are blessed with two incredible sons, two amazing daughter in-laws, and two of the sweetest grandchildren ever! When I am not working, I treasure time with family and friends! My quiet time with Jesus is my favorite part of the day. Once in a great while I get to play around on the piano and lift up a song of praise. I love writing, walking, biking, playing pickle ball, Scrabble, Sudoku puzzles, and most of all watching beautiful sunrises and sunsets.
Heather Wilson, Lower Elem Classroom Teacher
Hello! My name is Heather Wilson and I am excited to return to the Westside Christian School team this year in the Kindergarten-1st Grade classroom!
I felt called to teaching at a young age and have been working with students from the time I was in high school. I have had experience teaching in both public and private schools, as well as tutoring, teaching English online, and homeschooling. I love watching the “aha” moment when a student understands something for the first time, and engaging students in becoming lifelong learners by making school exciting and fun! I believe in student-driven, hands-on learning and meeting the individual needs of students at their own pace. I feel blessed to have the opportunity to share and model my faith in Jesus with my class.
In my free time I enjoy spending time with my two daughters, my family, and my friends. I love playing games, cooking, drinking coffee, and going on adventures!
LaVae Tschetter, Early Elem Classroom Teacher
Hello! My name is LaVae Tschetter and I am excited to be joining Westside Christian School’s learning family- teaching 1st and 2nd grades this year. My teaching experience has been in public schools. I find joy every morning in the smiles and energy children bring with them. I have taught multi-grade English learner classrooms and a variety of grade levels. My own children attended Christian school and I anticipate with excitement being part of that experience. Walking alongside children has been my life passion as I love observing them experience and grow in who God has created them to be. Being part of that process in a Christian school where we pray together and see God at work daily will be a blessing, as we creatively explore how they learn best and provide learning opportunities to watch that happen.
Our family has lived in Nebraska, Colorado, and Missouri before returning to Huron, South Dakota, my home, several years ago. I eagerly look forward to my move to Sioux Falls. My daughter and her family live in Harrisburg and it will be so nice living closer to them. My son and his family are in Knoxville, Tennessee, where I love traveling to spend time. Things I enjoy are flowers, plants, reading, baking, walks, coffee, outdoors, Bible study, learning new things through taking classes.
Miriam Stake, Middle Elem Classroom Teacher
Hello! My name is Miriam Stake. I was born and raised in Sioux Falls, SD. I graduated from South Dakota State University with a major in Early Childhood Education (Birth-Grade 3), along with a minor in Human Development and Family Studies. Most of my teaching experience comes from public education, but I am so incredibly blessed for this opportunity to work in a place that allows me to share Jesus and teach about Him at school.
I was raised in a Christian home and got baptized in Ethiopia (my mother’s origin) when I was five years old. I was raised in the Ethiopian culture and grew up speaking the language. This last spring, I had a longing to rededicate myself to Christ. God was calling me to do more and to use the talents that He gave me for His glory. God gifted me with a voice to lead others in worship and a heart to work with children. I come from a long line of teachers in my family and have always had a passion to teach children the goodness of God and to help them to be competent lifelong learners.
In my free time I love to stay active. I enjoy working out at the gym, slacklining, hammocking, hiking, rock climbing, playing my piano, ukulele, and singing and baking–cake décor being my specialty.
Tim Thomas, Upper Elem Classroom Teacher
Hello! My name is Tim Thomas, and I am excited to be teaching the upper elementary students at Westside. I am passionate about teaching in ways that help students remember experiences. I receive my BA and MA in Elementary Education at Warner Pacific College in Portland, OR. I’ve taught both locally in public schools and also in China.
On a more personal note, I love spending time with my family, reading research studies on topics I am curious about, and building relationships with others. I look forward to working with you and your children!
Tristen Jackson, GL PlayEVERYTHING Coordinator
My name is Tristen Jackson and am the P.E. teacher here at Westside Christian. I grew up in Le Mars, Iowa– which is the ice cream capital of the world. Blue Bunny ice cream is our claim to fame! I attended the University of Sioux Falls where I majored in Exercise Science. While in college, I worked for the Kids Inc Afterschool Program for 4 years. I met many kids who impacted my life while working in that program.
From there I knew I wanted to pursue a career that involved fitness and children. After graduating with my bachelor’s degree in 2018, I started working full-time for GreatLIFE. I have recently accepted a position with them as their PlayEVERYTHING Coordinator. I like to spend my spare time with the loves of my life– Kelli and our daughter Teagan. I have a passion for fitness, children and the community of Sioux Falls.
Kristi Stelter, Music Teacher
My name is Kristi. I grew up in Lake Benton, MN. After graduating from Augustana University, I taught music in MN for several years. In 2005, I returned to Sioux Falls to attend Sioux Falls Seminary. After a few years of helping start the WestSide Lutheran Church community, I found a connection to West Nidaros Lutheran Church, where I have been on staff as director of worship and music since November of 2014.
Currently, I live with my two very furry Pomeranian pups, Francie and Graci. When I have free time, I like to go out with friends, eat ice cream, color, play cards and games, and travel when I can. Mostly, I travel over to Minnesota where I can visit most of my 8 nephews, 5 nieces and 2 great-nephews– whom I adore! Spoiling them is my life specialty! I love worshiping, leading others in worship, and working with children! So, basically, I get to do everything I love to do!
My favorite Bible verses are Joshua 1:9: “I hereby command you: Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” and Psalm 100:1, “ Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness.”
Maggie Veenendall, Extended School Day Teacher
Hello! My name is Maggie Veenendall, and I am so excited to be the Extended School Day teacher!
I was born and raised in New Richmond, Wisconsin. Currently I am a student at USF where I am working on getting my degree in Elementary Education, while also competing on the USF Women’s Golf Team. I have a younger brother and sister, who both mean the world to me! Family has always been so important to me. My mom’s encouraging support and guidance helped me realize my passion for teaching after starting out on a pre-med path.
Some interests of mine include golfing, hiking, journaling, baking, playing games, reading, and of course taking my 3 wild dogs on a walk! I have always enjoyed working with kids for as long as I can remember, and am looking forward to all God has is store for this year!
Autumn Gray, Extended School Day Teacher
Hello! My name is Autumn Gray and I help run the extended school day program at Westside.
I grew up in River Falls, Wisconsin. This year I will be a junior at USF majoring in Media Studies with minors in Marketing and Biblical Studies. For the past couple of summers, I have been a counselor at a Christian camp in northern Minnesota called Camp Cherith. I really enjoy helping the campers learn more about the Lord. I hope I can make the same impact with the students at Westside.
In my free time I enjoy waterskiing at my cabin in the summer as well as playing tennis and soccer. At home, I have two younger sisters, my parents, and our dog named Tillie.
Georgia Hayes, Art Teacher
Hi, I am Georgia Hayes! I teach art at Westside Christian School. I grew up in Sioux Falls and graduated from Dakota State University with a degree in Elementary Education and the University of California with an Art major.
I taught in California for 9 years before returning to Sioux Falls in 1985 to teach at Christian Center School until 2016. I came to Westside Christian School in 2016 and love it as much today as the first day I began! I am blessed beyond measure to share Christ weekly with our students.
My husband and I have 2 wonderful sons. Our oldest son, Matthew and his wife, Meredith work as Doctors of Radiology at Sanford Hospital in Sioux Falls. Our youngest son, David, graduated from the University of Alaska in Anchorage, Alaska and works for the Federal Government in Classified Information. His wife home schools our 2 wonderful grandchildren.
I gave my heart to the Lord in 3rd grade at an after school program at my local church. I grew up in that church and loved it dearly for the Godly influence the people had in my life. Philippians 4:13 is one of her favorite Bible verses. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” My hobbies are working in my perennial garden, biking, walking and being with my family.