Preschool Staff

 
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kbridges@sflutheranschool.com

Mrs. Kristy Bridges - Early Childhood Director

Year started at SFLS: 2007

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

About you/your family: My husband, Mark, and I have two boys named David & Eli.

Hobbies: Reading and watching movies.

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

 
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elarson@sflutheranschool.com

Ms. Elizabeth Larson – 2-Year-Old Teacher

Year started at SFLS: 2017

Most enjoyable aspects of your teaching ministry: I have always loved working with young children. Watching them develop and learn on their own, with my guidance, brings me great joy! When a child is working on a new skill, I will be their cheerleader. 

About you/your family: I graduated from Northern State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education, a minor in early childhood education, and endorsements in kindergarten and middle school language arts, social science, and natural science. After college, I taught 1st and 2nd grade for the Midland School District before taking time off to raise my five children and run a day care. I have served at Sioux Falls Lutheran School since 2017 as an educational assistant, an after school care provider, the summer program director, and now as the full-time 2-year-old teacher.

Hobbies: I enjoy going to my children's events and doing things with them. All five of them used to figure skate, so I also took lessons with them (they were much better than me)! We also enjoy going to Stampede hockey games together. Before I had kids, I enjoyed cake decorating and quilting. 

Favorite Bible Verse: I really don't have one favorite, because each moment of my life requires a different verse. When it comes to working with 2-year-olds, Matthew 19:14 comes to mind: “Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.’”

 
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akusie@sflutheranschool.com

MRS. APRIL KUSIE - KIDS DAY OUT PRESCHOOL TEACHER (AM) & EDUCATIONAL ASSISTANT (PM)

Year started at SFLS: 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: My husband, Jim, and I have four children: Emma, Sam, Ben, and 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 

 
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baker@sflutheranschool.com

Mrs. Brooke Aker - Kids Day Out TEACHER

Year started at SFLS: 2014

About you/your family: My husband, Corey, and I have four children: Alyssa, Ethan, Andrew and Ella.

Education: I have a Bachelor of Science in Elementary & Special Education, with endorsements in Middle School Language Arts & Social Studies from Black Hills State University.

Hobbies: I enjoy reading, singing, handbells, camping, golf, and playing cards. 

 
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hmiller@sflutheranschool.com

Miss Heather Miller - Preschool Teacher

Year started at SFLS: I started at SFLS in 1987 as a kindergartener and graduated in 1996. However, I began teaching at SFLS in 2011. This year, I will be teaching 3-year-old preschool.

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. My brother recently got married, and I have several 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: “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.” —Matthew 5:14-16

 
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stams@sflutheranschool.com

Mrs. Sandy Tams - Preschool Teacher

Year started at SFLS: I have been teaching preschool at SFLS since 1977. 

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 hearing, “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. 

Education: 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: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” —Joshua 1:9

 
 
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rbult@sflutheranschool.com

Mrs. Rachel Bult – Preschool Teacher

Year started at SFLS: 2019

Most enjoyable aspects of your teaching ministry: Young children have always brought me Joy. I love the way they learn and explore their world. In addition, it’s exciting to work with some of the early childhood teachers I look up to. I student taught with Mrs. Tams in 2004, and I knew then that I wanted to be a part of this wonderful teaching team.

About you/your family: I graduated from Concordia University, St. Paul, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in early childhood education and a Lutheran Teaching Diploma. I have eight years of experience as a head preschool teacher for ages 3-5, as well as experience working with infants. My family and I are members at Faith Lutheran Church, and my husband, Derek, serves as the principal at Lutheran High School of Sioux Falls.

Hobbies: I love to read, garden, bake, and spend time with my family.

Favorite Bible Verse: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” –2 Corinthians 5:17

 
 
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jfjelstad@sflutheranschool.com

Mrs. Jade Fjelsad – Preschool Teacher

Year started at SFLS: 2019

Most enjoyable aspects of your teaching ministry: Preschool children have so much love and passion for learning everything about their world. I love being able to share their love for learning and help them grow—those aspects of my job are what led me to preschool. In addition, special education has always been very near and dear to my heart. One of my best friends in high school used a wheel chair. Learning of her struggles in life encouraged me to work with special needs students to have a chance to make a positive influence in their lives. Finally, I absolutely love sharing the love of Jesus with children! I love having the opportunity to openly teach about Jesus and watch children grow in their relationship with the Lord.

About you/your family: I earned my Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education with a minor in Early Childhood Education from Black Hills State University. Since then, I’ve spent 15 years working in preschool and elementary special education classrooms. My family and I also attend Resurrection Lutheran Church, were I serve as a Sunday school and vacation Bible school.

Hobbies: I enjoy reading, riding bike, camping, watching my boys play baseball, and scrapbooking.

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

 
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tlenz@sflutheranschool.com

Mrs. Tina Lenz - Fantastic Fives Teacher

Year started at SFLS: I was called to help start grades K-3 at SFLS from 1979-1991. I returned in 2006, and I am currently teaching Fantastic Fives.

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 also 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 their lives to serve 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). After 40 years in education, he recently retired from his position as the educational administrator for Children's Home Society. We have two married daughters. Andrea and Steve have three children and live in Wichita, KS. Ashley and Derek have one son and live in Des Moines, IA. Our four grandchildren are the lights of our life!

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

Hobbies: I love to shop, especially at places where items have been refurbished. I 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

 
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Mr. Bhrett Baney - Preschool Educational Assistant

Year started at SFLS: 1997

About you/your family: My wife, Peggy, and I have two children named Emily and Ryan. Our son Ryan is married to Kara.

Education: Bachelor of Science from SDSU

Hobbies: I enjoy bowling and sports.

 
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Miss Carrie Congdon - Enrichment Teacher

Year started at SFLS: 2008

Most enjoyable aspects of your teaching ministry: The most enjoyable aspects for me are building relationships with the children, parents and my coworkers. I love teaching in our Christ-centered environment and watching the children grow, learn and develop.

About you/your family: My family consists of my mom, brother and sister-in-law, sister and brother-in-law, two nieces and one nephew.

Education: Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education

Hobbies: I enjoy traveling, spending time with family and friends, and reading.

 
 
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Mrs. Lesa Harr - Preschool Educational Assistant

Year started at SFLS: 2012

Most enjoyable aspects of your teaching ministry: I enjoy seeing the kids mature and the excitement they express when they complete a project.

About you/your family: My husband, Craig, and I have two sons, Lucas and Levi.

Education: I have a MS in counseling/human resource development and BA in English/speech/drama. 

Hobbies: My hobbies include reading, singing, playing piano, and camping. 

 
 
 
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Mrs. Tiffani Meier -Kids Day Out Educational Assistant

 
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Mrs. Jill Nikolas - Fantastic Fives Educational Assistant

Year started at SFLS: 2008

Most enjoyable aspects of your teaching ministry: The most enjoyable thing about my work is being with the children and being with faith-filled coworkers.

About you/your family: My husband, Roger, and I have children three children named Allie, Joseph and Micah.

Education: Two years at Northern State University.

Hobbies: My hobbies include reading, gardening, and crafts

 
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solson@sflutheranschool.com

Mrs. Susan Olson - Fantastic Fives Educational Assistant & Fantastic Fives Enrichment TeacheR

Year started at SFLS: 2016

Most enjoyable aspects of your teaching ministry: My favorite thing about teaching at Sioux Falls Lutheran School is sharing Jesus with all of my students.

About you/your family: My husband, Darren, and I have four sons at SFLS: Ethan, Luke, Joshua, and Benjamin. Darren is currently serving as the Executive Secretary of the South Dakota LCMS District. Prior to this position, he served at St. John's Montrose and Zion Lutheran in Canistota for 8 years. I also grew up on a farm in Truman, MN. I attended St. Paul Lutheran School in Truman, MN, and Martin Luther High School in Northrup, MN.

Education:  I have an elementary and middle school education degree, as well as a Masters of Education degree in early childhood, from Concordia University in Seward, NE. While my husband was in Seminary and on vicarage, I taught at several different schools. I started with middle school language arts for one year at St. Paul's Lutheran School in Jackson, MO. Then I taught one year of 5th grade at Christ Community Lutheran School, St. Louis, MO. After that, I taught 7th grade at Immanuel Lutheran School in Bay City, MI. Then I went back to Christ Community Lutheran School in St. Louis for two years of 4th grade. When we moved to South Dakota, I took the call to Zion Lutheran Preschool in Canistota as the head teacher and director. I served there for eight years. 

Hobbies: I enjoy reading, shopping, traveling, spending time with friends, and hanging out with my four boys!

Favorite bible verse: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” —Philippians 4:13

 
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Mrs. Brenda Paulson - Preschool Educational Assistant & AOK

Year started at SFLS: 2013

Most enjoyable aspects of your teaching ministry: It is rewarding to watch the preschool children develop basic social and academic skills throughout the school year.  Getting hugs from the kids is the best reward.

About you/your family: My husband, Loren, and I have three children named Sara, Marisa, and Jessica. We also have nine grandchildren: Austin, Hailey, Cade, Kennady, Maiya, Grady, Brady, Corbin and Kaleb.

Education: My background is in accounting.

Hobbies: I enjoy reading, gardening, and spending time with family.