Faculty & Staff

The core of Providence School is a talented faculty and staff, mature in Christian faith, excellent in their disciplines, skilled in the art of teaching, passionate about helping students succeed, and committed to the school’s mission. We have no doubt our faculty is among the best you’ll find anywhere in the nation.

Families can have great confidence in the role models who stand in front of their children every day.

Photo of Olivia Avery Olivia Avery Preschool Assistant Teacher

Attended: The University of British Columbia

Degrees: B.A. English Literature, B.A. Creative Writing; early childhood education courses

Joined Providence in 2020

Miss Olivia began her educational journey in our preschool and was in Mrs. Larson’s Prek class as well as Miss Catheleene’s Room 2 class. She is thrilled to be back teaching where it all began.…

Photo of Kara Baker Kara Baker Reading and Learning Specialist

Attended: Westmont College

Degrees: B.A. Liberal Studies; Teaching Credential

Joined Providence in 2013

Kara Baker has a strong understanding of student development and enjoys sharing a relationship with each student based on interests, personality, and faith.

Her favorite Providence tradition is leading the Lower School cheerleaders at the Homecoming basketball game.

Photo of Alex Bayet Alex Bayet Chef

“Chef Alex” provides tasty and nutritious meals for students on the San Roque campus.

He and his wife, Ana, are the parents of two sons, one a current Providence student and one a former Providence student.

Photo of Ana Bayet Ana Bayet Spanish Teacher

Attended: Universitat USHS (Strasbourg, France) and the European University of Madrid, Spain; Foundacion Fidescu

Degrees: bachelor’s degree in modern languages applied to international commerce (translating and interpreting); master’s degree in legal translation

Joined Providence in 2013

Since 2000, Ana Bayet has worked as a Spanish teacher, art teacher, and translator for schools and businesses around the world, including in Santa Barbara.…

Photo of Maxwell Beers Maxwell Beers Bible and Digital Design Teacher

Attended: Luther College; Bemidji State University

Degrees: B.A. Religion; Career and Technology Education credential

Joined Providence in 2015

Maxwell Beers teaches Upper School Bible classes, co-directs The Studio digital design academy, and does design work to enhance Providence School branding.  Prior to joining the Providence faculty, he worked at HYDROLogic as a marketing consultant and graphic designer and served as a career and technology teacher in the Minneapolis public school system.…

Photo of Sarah Bentley Sarah Bentley Spanish Teacher

Attended: Azusa Pacific University; Fresno Pacific University; Universidad de Salamanca

Degrees: B.A. Spanish; Spanish teaching credential; M.A. Spanish Language and Culture

Joined Providence in 2011.

Sarah Bentley was Student Ministry Coordinator for Trinity Christian College’s program in Seville, Spain from 2009 to 2011. After returning home to California, she wanted to teach at a small private school, which brought her to Providence.…

Photo of Soo Chang Soo Chang Head of School

Attended: University of Southern California (USC); BIOLA University

Degrees: B.S. Business Administration and Finance; M.Div. Christian Education

Joined Providence in 2020

Soo Chang began his career in Christian education in 2003 at The Cambridge School of Dallas, serving as admissions director and chaplain. School leadership is his passion and his calling. He has done post-graduate training in leadership through the Arrow Leadership Program.…

Photo of Caroline Corazza Caroline Corazza Director of Advancement

Attended: University of Virginia

Degrees: B.A. Government

Joined Providence in 2017

Caroline Corazza began her career as a development officer at the Young America’s Foundation Reagan Ranch Center and Rancho del Cielo, President Reagan’s historic home. She joined Providence as the development director, and shortly thereafter was named advancement director.…

Photo of Evan Covell Evan Covell Athletic Director

Attended: Westmont College; Concordia University, Irvine

Degrees: B.A. English; working toward a master’s degree in coaching and athletic administration; certified USTFCCCA Endurance Specialist

Joined Providence in 2018

Before being named athletic director in 2021, Coach Covell was already deeply involved in the Providence community, having trained the track and field and cross-country teams for the previous four years.…

Photo of Kristi Cushing Kristi Cushing Kindergarten Teacher

Attended: Westmont College

Degrees: B.A. Liberal Studies; preliminary California teaching credential

Joined Providence in 2021

Kristi Cushing has experience teaching in kindergarten, first grade, and fifth grade.

Her favorite Providence tradition thus far is the community-building All-School BBQ at the close of the Providence Fund Kickoff Week.


Photo of Caroline Cushman Caroline Cushman First Grade Teacher

Attended: Biola University

Degrees: B.A. in Liberal Arts Elementary Education

Caroline Cushman joined Providence in 2020 as a first grade teacher. She enjoys working in an environment that values faith above all else. She also loves to foster faith and relationships amongst students and staff.

While at Biola University earning her bachelor’s degree, she also undertook a minor concentration in Bible and another in special education.…

Photo of James Daly James Daly Middle and Upper Schol Art Teacher

Attended: Westmont College; University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB)

Degrees: B.A. Studio Art and a teaching credential; M.A. Education

Joined Providence in 2008

An accomplished visual artist and photographer, James Daly co-directs The Studio and teaches classical visual arts to both Middle and Upper School Providence students.

He and his wife, Carrie, are the parents of two daughters, both Providence students.…

Photo of Sara Danielsen Sara Danielsen First Grade Teacher

Attended: Pepperdine University

Degrees: B.A. Liberal Arts in Education and preliminary California teaching credential

Joined Providence in 2021

Sara Danielsen comes to Providence after teaching kindergarten for one year in Agoura Hills. She is excited to join this team of educators.


Photo of Julia Davis Julia Davis Director of Preschool Admission

Attended: Westmont College; University of Southern California (USC)

Degrees: B.A. in Spanish and Business; Certificate of Enrollment Management

Originally joined Providence 2007–2008; rejoined in 2016.

Julia Davis began her career in education at El Montecito School where she taught Spanish and pre-Algebra for a year. For the next seven years she would work as the associate director of admissions at Crane County Day School.…

Photo of Sarah Eglin Sarah Eglin Music Teacher

Attended: State University of New York College at Fredonia

Degrees: B.M. in Piano Performance, B.M.E. in Music Education

Joined Providence in 2013.

Sarah Eglin has been teaching music, directing, accompanying, and performing in the Santa Barbara area since 1999. She previously worked with the New York State Summer School of the Arts Choral Studies program for four years as a studio accompanist and instructor.…

Photo of Chris Elwood Chris Elwood Humanities and Senior Bible

Attended: Westmont College; Chapman University; Colorado Christian College; Southern New Hampshire University

Degrees: B.A. English and a B.A. in Philosophy; secondary education teaching credential; M.A. Instruction and Curriculum Design; M.A. English Literature in progress

Joined Providence in 2008

Chris Elwood’s extensive background in education begins with his several degrees. With earning those came a love of literature, history, and philosophy, which led him to join the Providence faculty.…

Photo of Austin Escamilla Austin Escamilla Performing Arts

Joined Providence in 2021

A lifelong performer, Austin Escamilla has spent many years working in the Santa Barbara theater world. He has founded theater companies, and run dozens of musicals, taught all ages in a variety of contexts. He has a passion for improvisation and sketch comedy, as well as acting for the stage and camera.…

Photo of Kendra Forster Kendra Forster Middle School Science Teacher

Attended: Westmont College

Degrees: B.S. Biology

Joined Providence in 2021

Mrs. Kendra Forster, an Augustinian Scholar at Westmont, was named “Outstanding Biology Graduate” by her professors. She has a keen interest in sharing her love of the natural world with others.

In her own experience of studying the science, she was drawn closer to God and she hopes to help students cultivate a sense of wonder for and knowledge of the natural world, while challenging them to place that wonder and knowledge within a greater Christian narrative. …

Photo of Crystal Guzman Crystal Guzman Fourth Grade Teacher

Attended: California Lutheran University

Degrees: B.A. Interdisciplinary Educational Studies, preliminary teaching credential

Joined Providence in 2021

Crystal Guzman taught in Mongolia with the Peace Crops for two years and was awarded Arkhangai’s 2019 Honored Teacher of the Year Award. She returned to the United States to teach English as foreign language (TEFL) to international students at ELC in Santa Barbara, where she also mentored incoming, prospective TEFL teachers.…

Photo of Diane Horvath Diane Horvath Tuition Assistance Director

Diane Horvath directed the Financial Aid Office at Westmont College for more than 30 years before joining the former Providence Hall staff in 2011. Her wealth of experience is an asset to the Providence community.

Photo of Emilee Hurlbert Emilee Hurlbert Admissions Associate Director

Attended: Westmont College

Degree: B.A. Music

Joined Providence in 2016

Before joining the Providence staff, Emilee Hurlbert was the director of advancement and marketing at Heritage Christian Schools in Bakersfield for four years. Prior to holding that position, she was the student and young alumni coordinator at her alma mater, Westmont College.…

Photo of Taylor Randle Hurt Taylor Randle Hurt Upper School Science Teacher

Attended: University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB)

Degrees: B.A. Chemistry; secondary teaching credential, Chemistry and Physics; M.A. Education

Joined Providence in 2013

Taylor Hurt came to Providence for the opportunity to teach with great freedom to talk about science, about faith, and about how they connect.

Taylor and his wife, Mary, are the parents of two children; both attend the Providence Preschool.…

Photo of Susan Isaac Susan Isaac MS/US Asst. Principal; Spiritual LIfe

Attended: California State University, Northridge; Pepperdine University

Degrees: B.A. in English; M.A. in American Studies

Joined Providence in 2017

Currently, alongside her several roles at Providence, Susan Isaac is also an adjunct professor at Westmont in the English Department.

After college, she worked at Mission College in Sylmar as a tutor for students with learning/physical differences, before joining the faculty at Oaks Christian School (Thousand Oaks, CA).…

Photo of Christa Jones Christa Jones Fourth Grade Teacher

Attended: Huntington University; Saint Francis University; Spring Arbor University

Degrees: B.S. Education with a Special Education minor; elementary education teaching credential; M.A. Education

Joined Providence in 2009

Before coming to Providence, Mrs. Jones was the resource teacher at Churubusco Middle School, a special education, first grade, and second grade teacher at Northwest Elementary, and the early childhood director and teacher for ESL.…

Photo of Tawny Kilpper Tawny Kilpper Director of Admissions and Marketing

Attended: University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB)

Degree: B.A. Theater Arts (emphasis on playwriting and directing)

Joined Providence in 2019

Tawny Kilpper is an advancement and marketing specialist who utilizes storytelling to help institutions further their mission and reach. Over 25 years experience in theater and film taught her how to craft compelling narratives, develop strategic plans, and execute them with precision.…

Photo of Matthew Knoles Matthew Knoles Lower School Principal

Attended: University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB); Chapman University; California State University Northridge

Degrees: B.S. Sociology; California teaching credential; M.A. Educational Policy and Leadership and a preliminary administrative credential

Joined Providence in 2014

Matt Knoles has been Lower School principal since 2016. He joined the Providence administration as assistant head of Lower School in 2014.…

Photo of April Lagunas April Lagunas Preschool Assistant Teacher

Miss April is an experienced caregiver for both children and senior citizens. She loves to plan activities and to see little ones learn and grow. She joined the Providence Preschool staff in 2019.

Her favorite Providence traditions are the Preschool Christmas program and the Fall Festival.

Photo of Tracy Larson Tracy Larson Interim Preschool Director

Attended: University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB); Santa Barbara City College

Degrees: B.A. French; Early Childhood Education courses

Joined Providence in 1995

After a career in retail/fashion merchandising, Tracy Larson was led to further her training in early childhood education. She has taught preschool students for more than 20 years, has attended five NAEYC annual conferences, and has worked in a Washington, D.C.…

Photo of Jenny Lyutko Jenny Lyutko Preschool Teacher

Attended: Santa Barbara Community College

Degree: A.A. Early Childhood Education

Joined Providence in 2019

Miss Jenny, an experienced preschool teacher, loves the Christian community that is Providence. Alongside her work as a preschool teacher, she also runs a small creative business called Poppies By The Sea.

Her favorite Providence tradition is daily morning staff prayers.

Photo of Jill McLemore Jill McLemore Academic Support Specialist

Attended: Westmont College

Degrees: B.A. Liberal Studies and multiple-subject teaching credential

Joined Providence in 2006

Jill has been a lower-elementary classroom teacher and now serves as academic support specialist.

She and her husband, Shomari, are the parents of a son who just began attending Providence Preschool.

Her favorite Providence tradition is when the kindergarten and first grade students dress up as 100-year-old elderly people to recognize the 100th day of school.

Photo of Rodney Meadth Rodney Meadth MS/US Principal; Engineering Academy

Attended: RMIT University (Melbourne, Australia)

Degree: B.S. Aerospace Engineering 

Joined Providence in 2014

An Australian by birth, Rod Meadth came to Providence after serving as secondary principal at Quisqueya Christian School in Haiti. He has served Providence as dean of students, as the founding director of the Providence Engineering Academy, and is now the principal of the Middle and Upper Schools.…

Photo of Scott Mitchell Scott Mitchell Outdoor Education Director, PE Teacher

Attended: University of California Los Angeles (UCLA); California University of Pennsylvania (where he has served as an adjunct faculty member)

Degrees: B.S. Sociology; M.S. Exercise Science

Joined Providence in 2017

Scott Mitchell aims to use his years of experience and education to create a physical fitness experience for students that is not “PE as usual.” His goal is to help students grow in their understanding of the human body and to experience how the body is created to move, play, and respond.…

Photo of Kayla Monson Kayla Monson Second Grade Teacher

Attended: Westmont College

Degrees: B.A. Liberal studies and multiple-subject teaching credential

Joined Providence in 2019

Kayla Monson was attracted to Providence by the school’s educational philosophy. She appreciates the focus on the whole child rather than solely on academic growth. She enjoys being part of a strong, Christ-centered community that encourages every staff member, student, and family toward knowing God in a deeper way.…

Photo of Nancy Noell Nancy Noell Preschool Teacher

Attended: University of Texas 

Degrees: B.S. Education, certified in elementary education, special education, and preschool education

Nancy Noell has been teaching preschool and kindergarten classes at Providence School and its affiliates for more than 30 years. She’s also taught special education classes in Texas and Louisiana, as well as preschool classes in Louisiana.…

Photo of Catheleene Ooley Catheleene Ooley Preschool Teacher

Attended: Santa Barbara City College

Degrees: A.S. Early Childhood Education and Early Childhood Education credentials 

Joined Providence in 1988

Catheleene Ooley has been teaching preschool students since 1981. After operating a daycare in Carpinteria, where she grew up, she joined the staff of El Montecito School (which became Providence School in 2018).…

Photo of Laurie Osborne Laurie Osborne Fifth Grade Teacher

Attended: Biola University

Degrees: B.A. Liberal Studies in Education

Joined Providence in 2020

Mrs. Laurie Osborne appreciates being able to live out her passion for teaching with the integration of her faith in Christ. She enjoys helping her students grow both academically and spiritually. Providence’s clear stance on Biblical principles and the school’s mission to help every child that comes through the door, no matter his or her background, drew her to work at the school.…

Photo of Connie Petersen Connie Petersen Receptionist

Joined Providence in 2020

Connie Petersen is an alumnus of Santa Barbara Christian School, which is now part of Providence School. She feels that God has called her to work at Providence and is thankful for that blessing.  She is an ardent believer in the values and kindness that Providence provides to students, including her own daughter, who is a member of the Class of 2024.…

Photo of Tiffany Philibosian Tiffany Philibosian Second Grade Teacher

Attended: University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB)

Degrees: B.A. English; multi-subject teaching credential; M.A. Education 

Joined Providence in 2012

Tiffany Philibosian’s graduate degrees focused on teaching and learning, in both comprehension and mathematics, preparing her well for teaching in the Lower School classroom at Providence.  She worked at Lindood Bell Learning Processes for three years before coming to Providence in 2012.…

Photo of Jessie Prahm Jessie Prahm Science Teacher

Attended: University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB); California State University, Sacramento

Degrees: B.A. Communication; multiple-subject teaching credential (CLAD) 

Joined Providence in 2004

Before Jessica Prahm joined Providence, she already had an extensive teaching career. She was director of education at a Sylvan Learning Center, as well as a fifth-grade classroom teacher at Stocklmeir Elementary School (Cupertino, CA) where she received the Teacher of the Year award.…

Photo of Evie Prohaska Evie Prohaska Instructional Aide

Attended: New Tribes Bible Institute; New Tribes Language and Linguistic Institute

Joined Providence in 1985

Evie Prohaska’s roots at Providence go deep. She is a Santa Barbara Christian School alumnus, who completed 6th grade there in 1966. Two of her three children also attended Santa Barbara Christian School.

Her varied experiences before joining Providence include teaching phonetics to missionary candidates at New Tribes Language and Linguistics institute, and serving at Santa Barbara-area elementary schools, including assisting the principal at Coastline Christian Academy working as an instructional aide at Vieja Valley Elementary.…

Photo of Abigail Pryor Abigail Pryor Performing Arts

Attended: Westmont College

Degrees: B.A. Theatre Arts

Joined Providence in 2021

Abbie Pryor earned the distinction at Westmont of “Outstanding Student in the Theatre Arts Department.” She is experienced in playing various theatrical roles, vocal and instrumental music, and dance. 

At Providence, Miss Pryor teaches theater, instrumental music, and a Middle School Bible class.…

Photo of Ana Rodriguez Ana Rodriguez Preschool Teacher

Attended: Santa Barbara City College

Degree: A.A. Early Childhood Education

Joined Providence:

Ana Rodriguez’s career in early childhood education began at Star King Parent-Child Workshop in Santa Barbara. She then followed her three sons to Peabody School and eventually worked at Hope School. After earning her early childhood education credential she joined the El Montecito School (now Providence School) faculty.…

Photo of Bruce Rottman Bruce Rottman Humanities, Econ, Government Teacher

Attended: Calvin University; Pepperdine University; San Francisco State University

Degrees: B.A. History and a secondary education teaching credential ; American Studies certificate; M.A. International Relations

Joined Providence in 2009

Bruce Rottman has taught in Christian and independent high schools since 1980, including Naples Christian Academy (Naples, FL), Contra Costa Christian School (Walnut Creek, CA), Lynden Christian School (Lynden, WA), and Brookfield Academy (Brookfield, WI).…

Photo of Elaine Rottman Elaine Rottman Director of Strategic Communication

Attended: Calvin University

Degree: B.A. English, with a minor in journalism; further studies in linguistics and library science

Joined Providence in 2010

Elaine Rottman has worked in independent and Christian school communications, marketing, and development since 1981. Prior to joining the administration of Providence as director of advancement she worked at Contra Costa Christian High School (Walnut Creek, CA) and Brookfield Academy (Brookfield, WI).…

Photo of Melody Schloss Melody Schloss Preschool Teacher

Attended: Wheaton College 

Degree: B.A. Elementary Education

Joined Providence in 1989

Melody Schloss began her teaching career in the first-grade classroom and as a K–6 administrator at Gateway Christian School (St. Louis, MO). After spending some time at home with the three boys born to her and Dr. Jeff Schloss, a Westmont biology professor, they decided they wanted them to attend El Montecito Early School for the beginning years of their education.…

Photo of Allison Smelley Allison Smelley Middle School Mathematics Teacher

Attended: Westmont College

Degrees: B.A. Sociology, multiple-subject teaching credential

Joined Providence in 2012

Mrs. Smelley started teaching at Santa Barbara Christian School in 1987 and  as of 2021, has taught for 18 years. Teaching Middle School math combines three of her favorites: middle school students, algebra, and Providence! She also enjoys participating as an assistant coach for the varsity girls tennis team.…

Photo of Julie Sommers Julie Sommers San Roque Campus Office Manager

Attended: Westmont College; Union Presbyterian Seminary

Degrees: B.A. Religious Studies; M.A. Christian Education

Joined Providence in 2002

Julie Sommers began her Providence career as office manager for El Montecito School. In her career in Christian education, she has served for three years as Director of Christian Education (D.C.E.) at Geneva Presbyterian Church in Modesto, fifteen years as the D.C.E.…

Photo of Carri Svoboda Carri Svoboda Middle School Humanities Teacher

Attended: University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB)

Degrees: B.A. English, single-subject (English) teaching credential

Joined Providence in 2000

Carri Svoboda is a National Board certified teacher of English language arts for early adolescents. While earning her teaching credential, she was named Student Teacher of the Year (1993). Ms.…

Photo of Carolina Taylor Carolina Taylor Preschool Teacher

Attended: Santa Barbara City College; Antioch University of Santa Barbara

Degrees: A.S. Early Childhood Education; B.A. Liberal Arts with emphasis in Child Education; M.A. Education; preliminary CA teaching credential in process

Joined Providence in 2017

Carolina Taylor discovered her love for teaching and working with children while working at summer camps and volunteering at Girls Inc.…

Photo of April Torres April Torres Sixth Grade Teacher

Attended: University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB); CaPSE Summer Institute

Degrees: B.A. Biological Sciences, secondary sciences teaching credential; additional studies in math and science education

Joined Providence in 2010

Mrs. Torres came to Providence because she enjoys leading students through core content areas that activate discovery, discipleship, and human creativity inspired by God, shepherded by Jesus, with significant purpose in the Holy Spirit.…

Photo of Sophie Troya Sophie Troya College Counseling Director

Attended: Westmont College; University of California San Diego

Degrees: B.A. Communications Studies; certificate of college counseling

Joined Providence in 2018

Sophie Troya has a passion for the development of high school students. After completing her bachelor’s degree, she worked in the Westmont admissions office for three years. She and her husband, Derek, are the parents of a young son and serve together in youth ministry in Santa Barbara.…

Photo of Donna Venzor Donna Venzor Business Office Manager

Attended: Westmont College

Joined Providence in 1997

Donna Venzor is the financial manager for multiple businesses and nonprofits in Santa Barbara, including Providence, with more than 40 years of experience in the field.

She loves how Providence provides an excellent Christian education, year after year. Her family has been involved with Santa Barbara Christian School and Providence for more than 30 years.…

Photo of Andy White Andy White Lower School Chapel Band Director

Attended: Westmont College; Azusa Pacific University

Degrees: B.A. in Religious Studies, Multiple Subject Teaching Credential; M.Ed. in Curriculum

Joined Providence in 2000

Andy White taught third grade and led the Lower School Chapel worship band at Providence for 21 years. In 2021, he left full-time teaching to take a position with Santa Barbara Community Church. We are thrilled that Mr.…

Photo of Mary Wilson Mary Wilson Lower School Assistant Principal

Attended: Biola University; California Lutheran University

Degrees: B.A. Liberal Studies with a Biblical studies minor, elementary education teaching credential;  M.A. Educational Leadership / Administration; administrative services credential

Joined Providence in 2017

Mary Wilson has been a teaching professional since 2007. She joined the Providence Lower School faculty after teaching at Oaks Christian School (Thousand Oaks, CA) and Pleasant Valley Christian School (Camarillo, CA).…

Photo of Rhonda Yager Rhonda Yager Fine Arts Teacher

Attended: Westmont College; California State University-Northridge

Degrees: B.A.; teaching credential

Joined Providence in 1994

Rhonda Yager has taught elementary school students in some capacity for more than 25 years. A lifelong learner, Mrs. Yager enjoys taking art workshops to get new and creative ideas for the classroom. She finds joy as an art teacher in the amazing ways we can explore God’s creation through art, discovering the fantastic colors and patterns in nature as well as our innate desire to create and each child’s ability to worship our creator through art.…

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