Staff & Faculty Directory

Administration

Kristen Okabayashi Principal

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I am blessed to serve as the principal of Hope School since fall 2010. I am a people person and appreciate the supportive relationships we form at Hope between students, families, and staff, which are crucial to helping each student reach their potential as a learner and also as a member of society. I am a lifetime learner, completing a master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Seattle Pacific University in June 2019 to compliment a master’s degree in Teaching also from SPU, and a bachelor’s degree in Business from the University of Washington. I have been married to my wonderful husband Scott since 1994. We have four sons who all graduated from Hope, with two currently in college and two who have graduated college. I love traveling, reading (particularly science fiction and young adult literature), and playing board games, particularly with family and friends. Along with our boys, we also have two fun dogs, Jasmine and Hiro.

Sally Heit Admissions, Communication and Marketing Director

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Born and raised in Sherwood, OR, I am a country girl at heart. I followed in my father and grandfather’s footsteps when I graduated from Oregon State University with a bachelor of arts degree in English, and it was also where I met my husband of 28 years. I spent my early year working as a production coordinator for several companies in San Francisco and Seattle in the printing industry before I becoming a mom of three, all of whom have a strong connection to Hope Lutheran School. My daughter has graduated from Seattle Lutheran High School and my middle son is attending West Seattle High School while my youngest son is a seventh grader at Hope. As a young mom, I spent 10 years serving in leadership in the international nonprofit Christian group, MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) which not only supported me socially and spiritually in motherhood, but also allowed me to rediscover my leadership skills and prepare me for serving at Hope Lutheran School. Supporting and building relationships between families, students, and staff that form this amazing school family is one of my favorite things about job, and I’m blessed to be able to serve God in this way.

Tammy Shelver Office Manager

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I am thrilled to be joining the Hope Lutheran community this year as a preschool teacher. I have found it to be a very warm and welcoming environment. Preschoolers are so energetic and fun! It is my hope to nurture and equip them with a joy of learning, curiosity, and an exuberance for life! I grew up in the PNW and attended Washington State University, where I studied Child & Family Studies, with an emphasis in Child Development. I spent 10 years as a preschool teacher at Childhaven, a therapeutic child care center for young children who have experienced trauma. When we had our own two children, I came home to raise them. Our children attended preschool at Hope, and then were homeschooled until high school. Our daughter is now off at college, and our son attends Seattle Lutheran HS. Throughout the homeschooling years, I worked as a preschool teacher, a reading specialist, a homeschool teacher, and was actively involved in our kid’s activities. I have been married to my wonderful husband for 23 years. We enjoy traveling (anywhere & everywhere!), barbequing with friends, adventures with our kids, and daily walks along Alki Beach.

Shari Wallace Tuition & Billing

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Hello! I have been a member of Hope Lutheran Church since 1994 and was also a parent at Hope Lutheran School from 1994 to 2003. After my children attended Hope and Seattle Lutheran, they graduated from WSU—go Cougs—and both are enjoying successful jobs and careers. My experience as a parent, combined with my previous work in business customer service with Bank of America, has given me the tools I need to understand and perform my tasks as your tuition billing contact. When I’m not working I enjoy walks with my husband and our dog Callie. I also love spending time with my family, which now includes 5 grandchildren, and time at our vacation home in Eastern Washington.

Preschool and Extended Care (ESC)

Christina Figgins Preschool Director. Extended Care Director and Lead Preschool 3 Teacher

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I am the preschool 3s “Sea Star” teacher as well as the Director of our preschool program and Extended care program. I attended Hope Lutheran School, Seattle Lutheran High School, and have been a member of Hope Lutheran Church my whole life. I have a bachelor’s degree in psychology, with an emphasis on early childhood education. After graduating from the University of Washington (UW), I worked in a lab at UW studying children’s eye movements. Research studies were fascinating, but my true passion was teaching young children. I worked for a learning center by Greenlake for eight and a half years, which gave me a rich source of knowledge about respecting children as individuals, and honoring the family unit. Some of my hobbies are reading, walking my dog, gardening, camping, boating, learning about foreign cultures, and spending time with my family. I am blessed with a wonderful husband (married 26 years) and we have three awesome grown kids. Being a mom has taught me a lot about understanding other parents, and how we all just want our children to succeed. This is my goal as a preschool teacher—working together to help children feel confident about learning, while having fun!

Carol Christian Preschool 3 Aide

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Hello. My name is Carol Christian. I am so excited to be working as the preschool 3 aid. This will be my seventh year working in the preschool program here at Hope. I started working with Christina Figgins 9 years ago as the preschool aid. I left for a couple years and returned three years ago as the ESC/Sand Dollar club aid. I have lived in West Seattle for 53 years and became a member of Hope when I married my husband Rob 26 years ago. I am the mother of a 20 year daughter who is currently attending the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. I am looking forward to working with all of the amazing Hope preschool families and staff.

Mairi Seraile Preschool 4 Orca Teacher

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My family and I have been a part of Hope Lutheran School and Church since 1984. I am part of the rather large group of teachers and staff who are Hope Lutheran School alumni. My husband and I have three daughters who have loved being a part of the Hope Lutheran family as well. I am the lead teacher for the Orca Pre-K class. I am honored and looking forward to patterning with you in the growth and education of your child this year. I cannot express the joy that fills my heart in God’s calling on my life. Teaching children about God’s love for them while watching them blossom into a new stage of life is so very fulfilling to me. Guiding my students and watching them thrive while connecting our core curriculum into each day of our academic year will be a lifelong blessing to both your child and me.

Emma London Preschool 4 Orca Aide

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I am a graduate of Hope Lutheran School and am excited to return to serve in a staff capacity at the school. I have been teaching since 2021. I started babysitting when I was eleven years old and always knew I wanted to work with kids. I have also worked as a nanny. 

Taylor Kuhn Extended Care

Rodrigo Elizando Extended Care


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My name is Rodrigo Elizondo, and I am the new ESC teacher.  I have lived in West Seattle for almost all my life until finishing my 4 years at UW Tacoma. I try to be active outside of work by weightlifting, playing basketball, and going to concerts.

Kindergarten - 5th Grade Teachers

Jennifer Neafcy Kindergarten Teacher

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l! It has been one of my great joys to work with children and their families spreading the love of Christ through education. I began my ministry in Lutheran Schools in 1992. During that time, I have had the honor of teaching Pre-K through 8th grade, serving as an assistant principal and an interim principal, and working in children’s ministry. I have a B.A. in Elementary Education, a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction, and further graduate work in Educational Administration all from Concordia University in Texas. Prior to moving to Seattle in 2010, I taught at Lutheran schools in Houston and Austin, Texas. In my free time, I enjoy cooking, hiking, spending time near the water, and traveling with my family.

Anna Zetzsche First Grade

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My name is Anna Zetzsche and I’m the first grade teacher here at Hope Lutheran School. I graduated with my BA in Elementary Education from Seattle Pacific University, and I had the honor of doing my student teaching at Hope. I immediately fell in love with the community here and am so excited to be able to continue my career with this wonderful school. I worked at a preschool in Queen Anne that I loved for the last several years, and most of my childhood and youth was spent being a teacher in whatever capacity I could find, including counseling at summer camps, volunteering in my local elementary school, and leading classes in Vacation Bible School. In my free time I love to read, sew, spend time outdoors, and find new coffee shops around Seattle!

Elonna Visser 2nd Grade

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I am thrilled to be teaching second grade at Hope Lutheran School! My connection to Hope started in 2019, first as a volunteer in the art program and then as the K-2 art teacher. I was fortunate to expand that connection in 2021 by becoming the Kindergarten homeroom teacher. I earned a B.A. from Calvin College and received my teaching certificate and a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction from Seattle Pacific University. I hold endorsements in Elementary Education (K-8), French (K-12), and Math (K-12), but have always enjoyed working with children in the primary grades. I’m honored to be part of this academically rigorous and faith-based community, and I look forward to partnering with students and their families in the coming year!

Mary Norton Third Grade

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In 1969 my teacher gave my class a writing assignment, to answer the question, “What will you be doing in the year 2001?” I wrote the following two sentences, “I will be a music teacher. I will live at the beach.” Close. I am now teaching third grade and live five minutes from the beach. My teaching career began at Concordia University in Portland, Oregon, with a degree in elementary education. I taught at Calvary Lutheran for the next seven years in grades 1 through 4. I then worked as a stay-at-home mom for five years when my two girls were little and then came to teach at Hope. My family has been a member of Hope Lutheran Church since 1993, and I have been teaching at Hope since 1996. Both of my daughters began attending Hope Lutheran School in preschool and continued through the eighth grade. I enjoy spending time at the beach and messing about in boats. I cherish time reading all genres of books with a keen eye to historical and science fiction. The bookstore is a favorite date night in our house. I actually like to run, slowly, and participate in races. Teaching at Hope enables me to live out my faith on a daily basis. I am given the privilege of guiding young hearts to Christ as they begin their walk of faith.

Erika Alba Fourth Grade

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Mrs. Alba is a graduate of Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Religion and a minor in Mathematics. Mrs. Alba graduated cum laude, with University Honors and with Distinction in her major. She earned her teaching credential in Elementary Education at California State University, Los Angeles, and later earned a second teaching credential in Secondary Education, Mathematics. Mrs. Alba had recently begun graduate studies at California State University, Northridge before relocating to West Seattle. Mrs. Alba has previously taught high school music and mathematics as well as middle school math and science at private and public charter schools in Los Angeles, California. She most recently taught small group instruction, mathematics and served as Department Chair at a concept charter high school in Los Angeles. Mrs. Alba is excited to be part of the Hope Lutheran family and is pleased to serve the community and Our Lord through education.

Stacy Robertson 5th Grade Teacher

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Hello, Eagles! My name is Stacy Robertson and I find great peace in knowing that I am exactly where God wants me to be. I have been teaching since 2009 and and began teaching 5th grade at Hope School in 2022. I was raised in Central Illinois and discovered my zeal for teaching while helping a friend with her math my senior year of high school. I
studied mathematics and education at Illinois College and then began my teaching career in Naperville, Illinois. I’ve taught high school math for several years, served as a
math tutor for students for a variety of ages, and worked with elementary students at Seattle Classical Christian School and as a homeschooling parent. I enjoy playing
pickleball and going to escape rooms. I have a passion for making math accessible to all learners, and I find tremendous joy in watching student understanding unfold before my eyes. I’m looking forward to a great school year.

Middle School

Tim Allen Sixth Grade Home Room

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I was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest for my entire life, moving from Washington to Oregon and back again on multiple occasions. I finished high school at Seattle Lutheran High School, received my undergraduate degree from Pacific Lutheran University with a major in history, and achieved my master of arts in teaching degree at Concordia University in Portland. I am a huge sports fan (college football especially—Go Ducks!), and I work to bring teamwork and leadership into the classroom. I also love reading, doing anything outdoors (disc golf most notably), and just exploring this awesome world. My wife Brianna and I have 2 beautiful daughters, Harlyn and Kamdyn, and watching them grow up is one of my favorite things.  I cannot wait to continue to teach at Hope and help this community grow!

Tim Caudle 7th Grade Homeroom
Sara Kunkel Eighth Grade Home Room

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I am the middle school math teacher here at Hope Lutheran School.  I teach the 6th Math, 7th Math, 8th Math and Algebra to all students.  Some of our students test into advanced math and will take the next level of math together with the regular math students in my class.  Math in my class is engaging, challenging and also laid out in a way that students practice skills until mastery so that they feel successful before moving onto the next concept.  I believe that every student can learn math with a growth mindset, when they feel successful and when they have fun in the process.  Along with teaching math, I lead a Glee Club singing group that performs at events and also competes at LEST each year where they have earned a blue ribbon each year.  

I love mentoring and encouraging students to follow the path God has chosen for them.  Because of this, I chose teaching as a profession and earned my BA in Secondary Education from Concordia University in Portland and my Masters of Education from Concordia University in St. Paul, MN.  My first teaching position was at Lutheran North High School in St. Louis where I taught Math and Theology.  While raising my young children, I taught online High School Theology classes through Orange Lutheran High School.  It gives me such joy to help students experience the amazing love God has for each person and to help them reach their full God-given potential using their unique gifts. Every student matters, every student is gifted in their own way and every student has something to offer the world.

Specialists

Jill Brown Music Teacher
Kathryn Romaine Art Teacher

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I am an artist from Brooklyn, NY. That pretty much describes me: I’m a creative big city person! I am married to Chris, have a son Eben and a dog named Cracker Jack. I grew up overseas living in Istanbul, Turkey. I received my BFA in painting with a minor in printmaking and art history from Winthrop University, S.C. and I earned my MFA in painting from the New York Academy of Art, NYC. Before moving to West Seattle, I taught at a Reggio school in NYC. I am very excited to be returning to Hope this year teaching art. I believe we are all creative beings with the potential to share our perspectives with one another. I love seeing my student’s view of the world through their creativity and process making. My goal as a teacher is to give my students the tools and awareness to help them express their ideas and imagination.

David Sleighter K-8 Teacher


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My name is David Sleighter and I am very excited to be a part of the Hope Lutheran community. I grew up in North Seattle, attending Concordia Lutheran in Seattle and then King’s High School in Shoreline. I then attended Concordia Irvine and graduated with a degree in Exercise Sports Science. My dream was to be a PE teacher and coach, but God’s plans are different. I started working in Southern California in youth ministry and then teaching Theology courses at different high schools in Orange County. In 2013 I moved back to Seattle to work at Seattle Lutheran High School. Currently, I enjoy staying active, playing golf, exercising, and softball. I am an avid fan of the Mariners and Seahawks, who is hoping one of the two will make the playoffs. I feel fortunate and blessed to be at Hope and looking forward to the school year! 

Mark Goodspeed K-8 P.E. Teacher
Leah Evjen-Bryan Resource Specialist

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I have always been drawn to working with children, working for many years as a nanny before graduating from the University of Washington with a bachelor of arts degree in English. I went on to pursue a K-8 teaching certificate with graduate coursework in human development through Pacific Oaks College. I took time out to stay at home with my three children and it was through my oldest child that I found my passion in teaching– working one-on-one with children who demonstrate learning differences. Current work with students draws on Slingerland as well as Wired for Reading training. I am an avid linguist and a perpetual student thanks to free online massive open courses. I feel blessed to be working with the students and families here at Hope Lutheran School.

Roger Davenport Technology

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I grew up in South Africa (just in case you were tempted to ask if I’m Australian). I moved to Seattle 18 years ago with my wife Mandy. I have a 7th Grader at Hope. I love technology! I went to the University of Port Elizabeth and studied Computer Science. I thrive on being able to help people with technology (and the associated challenges). I also design and build WebApps, something I get pretty excited about. My goal is to make sure that our students are exposed to all the opportunities that the tech field has to offer, while still being educated about online safety and responsible tech usage.When I have time, I enjoy paddle boarding and camping.

Amulya Oehlschlaeger-Browne Lunch Supervisor and ESC
Katie Yang Primary Grade Assistant