SFLS Staff


Mrs. Tia Esser - School Administrator/Principal


Tia-Esser.gifYear started at SFLS and present teaching responsibility(s): I "officially" started in 2010 as the Administrator.

Most enjoyable aspects of your teaching ministry: I most enjoy the nurturing aspects of my work with students and teachers alike. Internally, I frequently ask, "How can I help this person discover and achieve God's will for his/her life?" Additionally, I enjoy "working the crowd" when classrooms of children line up outside of my office for PE, lunch, restroom breaks,etc.—it allows me to freely visit with them, and the conversations are priceless!

About you/your family: I am married to Paul and we have 3 children, Liz (married to Ross Owen), Tim (married to Kimberly), and Jacob. We also have 3 granddaughters—Sylvia, June, and Sophie.

Favorite Bible Verse: Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2


Mrs. Sarah Sailer - Assistant Director


id000111.jpgYear started at SFLS and present teaching responsibility(s):Started in the Fall of 1999. Presently, I am the assistant administrator.

Most enjoyable aspects of your teaching ministry: Working and serving the students, their families, and the other teachers and staff in this Christ-centered place.

About you/your family:  I am married to Scott, the LCMS District President. We have three sons: Tim, a professional actor at the American Shakespeare Center in Staunton, VA; Aaron,  is married to Lisa and works as an accountant at Concordia Lutheran School in Omaha; and Dan, a percussion performance graduate student at the University of North Texas in Denton, TX.   We also have 2 cats and one golden retriever.

Hobbies: Knitting, reading, traveling to see family.

Favorite Bible Verse: Matthew 28:20 [Jesus said] “Lo, I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Ms. Myrth Perry - Administrative Assistant - Finance



Mrs. Kay Herrig - Administrative Assistant – Secretary




Mrs. Mikela Iverson - Recruitment & Outreach Director & Librarian



Year started at SFLS: June 2012

About you/your family: I am married to Travis for 14 years. We have two daughters: Miah is in 5th Grade and Kenzie is in Kindergarten at SFLS.

Hobbies: Traveling, being with family, kick-boxing, shopping, watching movies, organizing, doing fun projects with my girls.

Favorite Bible Verse: Jer 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Mrs. Megan Baedke - Admissions & Communications Director


id000185.jpgYear Started at SFLS: November 2016

About You/Your Family: I grew up in Amboy, MN. I graduated from Augustana University in 2013 with a major in Journalism. My husband, Mike, and I are members at Resurrection Lutheran Church. 

Hobbies: Playing the flute with the Augustana Blue & Gold Band, having "Gourmet Cooking Nights" with friends, spending time outdoors, and traveling whenever I get the chance to do so.

Favorite Bible Verse: Colossians 3:12-14 “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” 


Mr. Frank Thuringer - Director of Educational Technology 


id000151.jpgYear started at SFLS: 2016

About you/your family: My wife Kim and I have two children. Allyson is a Senior at Lutheran High School of SF and Colin is a Freshman at Lutheran High. 

Hobbies: Reading and photography

Favorite Bible verse:  Joshua 1:9 "...Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go."




Mrs. Kristy Bridges - AOK Director & Early Childhood Director


Kristy-Bridges.jpgYear started at SFLS: 2007

Most enjoyable aspects of your teaching ministry: Sharing the love of Jesus

About you/your family: Husband named Mark and two boys David & Eli

Hobbies: Reading, Watching movies

Favorite Bible Verse: Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4

Mrs. Sandy Tams - Preschool Teacher & Early Childhood Director


1Y01077.JPGYear started at SFLS and present teaching responsibility(s):I began teaching at SFLS in 1977. I taught preschool then and I still teach preschool now. 

Most enjoyable aspects of your teaching ministry: I love to share my love for Jesus with the children and their families. Being the first to “light the fire of learning” and then hear, “I did it!!” is just the best. 

About you/your family: 
My husband, Jim, and I have 3 children and 7 grandchildren ranging in age from 1 to 16 years old. They all live in Sioux Falls, so we are very blessed to be an active part of their lives. 

BA in Elementary Ed from Wayne State University. Colloquy from Concordia University & Masters in Administration from University of Sioux Falls. 
Hobbies: My favorite hobbies are reading and walking. 
Favorite bible verse: Joshua 1:9. “Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Miss Heather Miller - Preschool Teacher & Fantastic Five's Teacher


id000112.jpgYear started at SFLS and present teaching responsibility(s): I actually started at SFLS in 1987 as a Kindergartener and graduated in 1996. However, I began teaching at SFLS in 2011 as an Enrichment teacher at Lord of Life and an AOK teacher at the Central location. This year, I will be teaching T-TH AM preschool class and working as an AOK teacher after school. 
Most enjoyable aspects of your teaching ministry: I enjoy sharing the love of Christ with the kids and their families.  My students are so exciting to work with, always make me smile and laugh, and are so curious.  It is fun to get to learn with them and watch them as they grow physically, emotionally, and most especially spiritually.  I also really enjoy the staff that I get to work every day.  It is a joy to work with other people who share my faith, whom I can learn from and pray with.  

About you/your family: My parents and younger brother all live in Sioux Falls, so I get to see them often. I am single, as is my brother, so I don't have nieces and nephews to spoil, but I do have young cousins who I enjoy spending time with. 

Education: I have an Elementary Education degree from Dakota State University and a Masters degree from Concordia University Portland.  I also got my Colloquy from Concordia University Seward. 

Hobbies: I like to read, listen to music, watch movies, hang out with family and friends, and visit my grandpa's farm. 

Favorite bible verse: There are so many good ones to choose from. Currently, one of my favorites is: Matthew 5:14-16 "You are the light of the world...let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.


Mrs. Tina Lenz - Fantastic Five's Teacher & Kid's Day Out Director 


Tina-Lenz.jpgYear started at SFLS and present teaching responsibility(s): 1979--1991 (Called to help start grades K-3), Returned in 2006-present).  Currently I am currently teaching Fantastic Fives and are one of the Early Childhood Directors.

Most enjoyable aspects of your teaching ministry: I love the children in my class as if they were my own children.  I want them to not only learn, discover, create  and use their imagination but to know that Jesus loves them and will always be by their side.  I enjoy seeing the children, I've taught over the years, and learn how God is using them in their own lives in service to others. Seeing and talking with previous students warms my heart!  God has truly blessed my years as an Early Childhood Educator.  

About you/your family: I am married to Rod Lenz (college sweetheart).  He is the Educational Administrator for Children's Home Society.  We have 2 married daughters.  Andrea/Steve have 3 children and live in Wichita, KS and Ashley/Derek have 1 son and lives in Des Moines, IA.  Our 4 grandchildren are the lights of our life!

Education:  Received my BA in Elementary Ed from Concordia-St.Paul, MN and Master's in Early Childhood from Concordia-Seward, NE.  Have taught in South Dakota and Iowa.  

Hobbies: I love to SHOP especially at places where items have been refurbished, love to decorate our home, make crafts, go boating, visit with long-time friends and spend as much time as possible with our our grandkids!
Favorite bible verse: Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.  Proverbs 3:5

Mrs. April Kusie - Kids Day Out Preschool Teacher & Discovery House Educational Assistant



Year started at SFLS and present teaching responsibility(s): 2014

Most enjoyable aspects of your teaching ministry:  I love watching the kids learn and grow.  One of my favorite things is watching the “I can’t” turn into an “I did it!”

About you/your family: Husband, Jim; children Emma, Sam, Ben, Katie 

Education: I graduated from the University of Sioux Falls in 2000, where I majored in Elementary Education and Early Childhood.  I have taught preschool for the last 15 years and I have also taken care of infants and toddlers for the past 14 years, as the Nursery Director at my church.

Hobbies: When I am not teaching, I am a Soccer Mom, traveling on the weekends to tournaments; I also sell Usborne books.  If there is any time left, I enjoy reading, watching football (GO PACKERS!) and watching Netflix.
Favorite Bible Verse: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  Jeremiah 29:11


Mrs. Dana Deeter - Kindergarten


1Y01135.JPGYear started at SFLS and present teaching responsibility(s): 1994, just kidding that was when I was in Preschool.  2016, Kindergarten. 

Most enjoyable aspects of your teaching ministry: I love encouraging children to learn about God and apply it to their lives. 

About you/your family: I have a golden retriever dog, Addy. She is 5 years old. 

Hobbies: canvas painting, going on adventures, running/walking with my dog, attending Bible Studies, camping, and attending Sprint Car races. 

Favorite Bible Verse: Romans 12:10-13- Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord's people who are in need. Practice hospitality. 

Mrs. Brittney Vercruysse - 1st Grade Teacher


id000073.jpgYear started at SFLS and present teaching responsibility(s): 2017

Most enjoyable aspects of your teaching ministry: The most enjoyable thing I get to do every day is telling and sharing the little children about the love of Jesus.

About You/Your family: I grew up in Madison, Nebraska.  I got married May 26th 2017 to my wonderful husband, Scott. We have a chocolate lab named Dash. 

Education: I graduated from Concordia University – Nebraska in 2014 with a B.S. in Elementary Education, an endorsement in Special Education, and a Lutheran Teaching Diploma. For the past two years, I taught first grade at St. Rose of Lima in Crofton, Nebraska.             
was also a four-year member of the varsity women’s basketball team at Concordia.

Hobbies: I love gardening, traveling, and going for walks with my husband.

Favorite bible verse: Hebrew 6:19 We have this Hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.


Mrs. Ann Herther - 2nd Grade Teacher


Ann-Herther.jpgYear started at SFLS and present teaching responsibility(s): I started at SFLS in 1998 and taught 4nd grade in the Fall of 2013 I became the 2nd grade teacher.

Most enjoyable aspects of teaching ministry: I really enjoy working with the staff, working with and getting to know the students and their families.

Myself/My Family: My husband, Brian & I were married in 1982. We have two daughters, Becca and Sara, who are graduates of SFLS. 

Hobbies: Walking, riding bike and swimming. 

Favorite Bible Verse: John 10:10 "...I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance."


Mrs. Katie Mlnarik - 3rd Grade Teacher



Year started at SFLS and present teaching responsibility(s): I started teaching at SFLS in 2015.

Most enjoyable aspects of teaching ministry: I look forward to being in the classroom to assist students as they explore and experience growing into young Christian leaders for our community.”

Myself/My Family: My husband and I, along with our dog, Henry,moved to Sioux Falls in 2014. We welcomed a baby boy, Jonah, to our family in November 2015.

Education: I earned an elementary teaching degree with an emphasis in biology from Concordia University in Seward, NE. After graduating, I served for four years at Trinity Lutheran School in Billings, Montana as their 3rd grade teacher.

Hobbies: I enjoy playing sports, spending time outside, reading, technology, and traveling.

Favorite Bible Verse: "Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." Isaiah 40:30-31


Mrs. Jennifer Noble - 4th Grade Teacher & Art Teacher


Jennifer-Noble.jpgYear started at SFLS and present teaching responsibility(s): I started teaching in October of 2009. Currently, I teach 4th Grade and Art.

Most enjoyable aspects of your teaching ministry:
 The most enjoyable aspect of teaching for me is the children. They are so much like a sponge at this early age in their education and I am blessed to help fill that sponge with knowledge, love, compassion, character, joy and the love of Jesus!

About you/your family:
 I am originally from Nebraska. My family and I have lived in the Sioux Falls area for almost 10 years now. I taught 3rd and 4th grade before having children of my own. I stayed home for 10 years with my children who are now 16, 12 and 10. My husband is the owner of Active Data Systems and very involved with the community.

 My favorite thing to do is spend time with my family! I really enjoy being outside, scrapbooking, traveling, playing board/card games, watching movies and reading magazines. 

Favorite Bible Verse: I have two favorite verses... Joshua 1:9"...Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." 

And Jeremiah 29:11" For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Mrs. Steph Hofmaier - 4th Grade Teacher


id000172.jpgYear started at SFLS and present teaching responsibility(s): 
2017, 4th grade math, science and social studies.

Most enjoyable aspect of my teaching ministry: I love the connections and relationships that I form with my students. I enjoy helping them discover and develop their God given talents.  

About you/your family: I am a Sioux Falls native! My husband, Adam and I have three kids: Sophia, Cole, and Will. 
My past teaching experiences include reading at West Middle School in Rapid City and 7
th grade math at Patrick Henry Middle School in Sioux Falls. Most recently, while raising our young family, I have subbed, taught online, and tutored. 

Education: I have received degrees from Augustana University (Business Administration & Economics), and the University of Sioux Falls (Elementary and Middle Level Education).

Hobbies: Spending time with my family, reading, baking, going to Zumba, biking, gardening, and watching movies.

Favorite Bible verse: This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it!  Psalm 118:24


Mr. Jon Pinn - 5th Grade Teacher


Jon-Pinn.jpgYear started at SFLS and present teaching responsibility(s): 2001, I currently teach 5th Grade.

Most enjoyable aspects of your teaching ministry: The most enjoyable aspect of my teaching ministry is integrating the Christian faith into all learning. It's such a blessing to see God at work in the daily lives of his children and this school.

About you/your family: My wife, Heidi, and I have been married for 18 years and have two sons, Adam, and Daniel.

Hobbies: We love staying active with our kids activities which include baseball, basketball, running, and competitive swimming.

Favorite Bible Verse: One of my favorite Bible passages is from Colossians 3:1-4 where Paul encourages us to set our hearts and minds on things above.


Mr. Casey Raaen - 6th Grade Homeroom & 5th-8th Grade Language Arts


id000099.jpgYear started at SFLS and present  teaching responsibility(s): 
2017, 5th - 8th English Language Arts, as well as keyboarding.

Most enjoyable aspects of your teaching ministryI enjoy the privilege of watching students grow both in the content area and as individuals.

About you/your family I grew up in Sioux Falls. 
My wife, Alison, and were married in 2016.

Education: I received a Bachelor of Arts in English and Secondary Education degree from Augustana University. As well as endorsements in middle school Language Arts and K-12 athletic coaching. 

Hobbies: I love sports and am a fan of Minnesota sports teams. I also enjoy weightlifting and reading.

Favorite Bible VerseMatthew 19:26 


Miss Marli Ockander - 7th Grade 


id000188.jpgYear started at SFLS and present teaching responsibility(s): Started in 2003 and I teach Middle school science, 7th religion, a math course,keyboarding.

Most enjoyable aspects of your teaching ministry: Watching joy fill the hearts, faces, and actions of students who know Jesus as their Savior. Experiencing the "light bulb" moments with the students as they learn. Sharing knowledge and learning with students.

Hobbies: Husker football fan, soccer fan, traveling and bird watching

Favorite Bible Verse: Philippians 4:13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.


Mr. Nicholas Deeter - 8th Grade Teacher & Athletic Director


id000005.jpgYear started at SFLS and present teaching responsibility(s): 2014 ; 8thgrade homeroom, social studies, and math teacher

Most enjoyable aspects of teaching ministry

Myself/My Family: I grew up in Seward, NE.

Education: I spent a year at UNL and then attended Concordia University-Seward where I earned my Bachelor’s degree in Middle Level Education with endorsements in math and social studies.

Hobbies: I enjoy watching and playing sports and spending time with family and friends

Favorite Bible Verse


Miss Leanne Holdorf - Middle School Math


1Y01265.JPGYear started at SFLS and present teaching responsibility(s): I started at SFLS in 2009 as an AOK worker and now teach middle school and high school mathematics. I am also the student council coordinator, math club sponsor, and girls basketball coach.

Most enjoyable aspects of teaching ministry:  There is nothing quite like helping someone achieve an "ah-ha" moment and seeing the progression of self-reflection over time.

About myself/family: My parents, Kurt and Kathy, live here in Sioux Falls. I also have three older brothers, two sisters-in-law, and two nieces.

Education: I received my Bachelor of Science in mathematics specializing in education in 2014 from South Dakota State University along with an endorsement in coaching.

Hobbies:  I have always loved sports and technology. As a kid, I played baseball and have since moved into slow-pitch softball. And whenever I can, I like to fiddle with technology to see how things work.

Bible Verse: 1 Samuel 12:24 - Be sure to fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things He has done for you.


Mrs. Melinda Wood - Spanish K-8


id000074.jpgYear started at SFLS and present teaching responsibility(s):2017

Mrs. Wood is a graduate of the University of Minnesota  Duluth where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish teaching. After her second child was born, she took time away from teaching to raise her young family. She returned to teaching at SFLS, where her children also attend school, in 2017.


Mrs. Melanie Nelson - P.E.











Mrs. Karen Dooley - Music Teacher


id000240.jpgYear started at SFLS and present responsibility(s): I began teaching at SFLS in 1997 as the part-time band director. I now teach music classes for 4th- 8th graders, direct the band and choir, and help with our K-3 violin program and orchestra. I also teach private music lessons for piano, voice, guitar, violin, and band instruments.  

Most enjoyable aspects of teaching ministry: I love helping students discover and develop their musical, social and spiritual gifts and abilities.

Myself/My Family: Quint and I were married in 1990. We have 4 daughters who all attended SFLS through the 8th grade. 

Hobbies: Hiking, reading, playing piano, enjoying time with family and friends.

Favorite Bible verseI have many favorites – one of them is 1 Peter 3:15 "...in your hearts honor Christ as Lord, always being prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have; yet do it with gentleness and respect..."


Mrs. Kristi Prouty - Music Teacher


id000184.jpgYear started at SFLS and present responsibility(s):2014, I teach Preschool - 3rd grade music, and private piano and voice lessons. 

Myself/My Family: My husband, Jay and I have two children. Grant is in 7th grade and Elyse is in 3rd grade at SFLS.                                            

Most enjoyable aspects of teaching ministry: I enjoy being able to share my love of music with the children at SFLS.  And it is such a blessings to be teaching in the Christ-centered school where my own children are. 

Education: Bachelor of Music Education degree from Northern State University

Hobbies: Reading, spending time with family and friends, watching sports, and playing golf. 

Favorite Bible verse: "I can do everything through him who give me strength."Phillippians 4:13


Mr. Jim Wosje - Facility Building Manager


1Y01039.JPGYear started at SFLS and present responsibility(s)2016, building maintenance 

Myself/My Family: After spending twenty-eight years in the United States Navy, Jim worked twenty years in a maintenance position at O’Gorman Catholic Schools. 

Hobbies: golfing, hunting, and fishing

Favorite Bible Verse: