David Miller (Principal, Senior Rhetoric Thesis) graduated from Wheaton College (Wheaton, IL) with a degree in Communications: Media Studies and earned a Masters in Teaching from Northwest University (Kirkland, WA) with Washington State teaching credentials in English/Language Arts and History. Prior to coming to Covenant, he worked as a teacher, coach, and administrator for twelve years at a Christian school, while also completing a school mentorship program in administration.
Mr. Jerry Saldajeno (Science, Math) has a B.S. in Cell and Molecular Biology from San Diego State University and M.S. in Biochemistry from the University of Nebraska, Kearney. At one point, he was working for the City of San Diego performing water tests and looking for bacteria. He began teaching at Covenant in 2018. With over 10 years of teaching experience, he loves being able share his passion about science and hopes to inspire students to become future scientists. Jerry also enjoys basketball and bass, and you’ll find him regularly participating in our Chess Club.
Mr. Richard Hannula (History, Civics, Economics and Honors Algebra 2) is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Southern California with a B.A. in history. He also earned a master’s in education from the University of Washington. In addition to his teaching, Mr. Hannula plans and leads the biennial historical tour to France and the United Kingdom. He is the author of several books, including: Trial and Triumph: Stories from Church History; Hugh Latimer: Foremost Preacher of the English Reformation; and Radiant: Fifty Remarkable Women in Church History. His book, Our Northwest Heritage, is the most widely used textbook for Pacific Northwest history by Christian schools and homeschoolers in Washington State. Mr. Hannula has been a member of the CHS faculty since the school was founded in 1992.
Mrs. Wendy Tamminga (English) has a B.A. in Art with an endorsement to teach kindergarten through twelfth grade from Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa. She has over twelve years of teaching experience and homeschooled her four children prior to joining the Covenant faculty in 2015. “I love my job because I get to discuss great literature and the implications of God’s truth in the world and in our lives,” says Wendy. She has the privilege of seeing students develop and hone their writing skills throughout their four years at CHS while getting to pursue her passion for teaching. She has a special love for Shakespeare, which was developed by directing students in plays and taking them to Ashland, Oregon to see live performances. Outside of the classroom, she loves spending time with her family, sailing, reading, drawing, playing piano, and singing.
Mrs. Jane Lewellen (Math) graduated from Auburn University with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and math education and taught math in a Christian high school in Alabama for several years before moving to the Northwest. Before joining the Covenant faculty, she worked as a computer programmer, helping to design an application programming language used by major corporations. After taking a break to begin raising her four children, she returned to teaching, joining the CHS in 2004. Since coming, she’s seen many changes in the math department, including the addition of a Geometry class, AP statistics, and offering Pre-Calculus for concurrent credit. When she’s not teaching, she enjoys watching SEC football (especially Auburn), walking her dog, and spending time with her family.
Miss Eva Battle (Art, Academic Technology, Honor Society Advisor) graduated from the University of Washington with an art major and a minor in art history and holds a master’s in education from Seattle Pacific University. She is an award-winning professional Artist and joined the Covenant faculty as an art teacher in 2004. “I love the students and getting to teach them to use their creativity given by God to glorify Him,” Eva says. “It’s a privilege to be able to work with teens, art, and in a Christian setting.”
Mrs. Melissa McMillan (Music, Choir) teaches choir and freshman music. She holds a bachelor’s degree in music education from Pacific Lutheran University and a master’s in creative arts education from Lesley University. She has been involved in church music for over 25 years as both a pianist and a director, taught in the Puyallup School District for 6 years, and has taught private piano and voice, independently. She has sung in many community choirs including the Tacoma Symphony Voices and PLU’s Choral Union. She also composes and arranges for piano and voice. On top of all of these things, she has four incredible boys and her hobbies include walking, baking, listening to music, and a love of the outdoors.
Mrs. Julie Rust (Spanish, Health) earned a B.A. from Prairie Bible College, a certificate of Spanish fluency from the Rio Grande Institute and a master’s in education from the University of Washington. She served as a full-time missionary in Colombia, South America for three years and joined the Covenant faculty in 2010. Of her goals here as a teacher she says,”Learning another language as useful as Spanish in today’s world is very motivating on many levels, but most importantly, I would like my students to be able to speak with and understand people from other cultures so they can share Christ with them.”
Mr. Jonathan Nichols (Latin) earned a B.A. in philosophy from Wheaton College, a Master of Education from the University of Montevallo, and a M.A. in philosophy from Northern Illinois University. Once a missionary in Burkina Faso, he joined the Covenant faculty in 2010. When asked what he loves most about what he does, Mr. Nichols said, “connecting with students and directing their joy and energy into learning and improving analytical skills. I love that the learning process can and should be worship, and that sometimes we can “feel his pleasure” as we gain understanding in any discipline.” Outside of school, Mr. Nichols and his family farm hazelnuts, microgreens, and are always working on something new.
Mr. Michael Pfefferle (Physics) earned a B.S. in mechanical engineering from the University of California at Irvine. He worked as an engineer for an air pollution research company in Southern California and for Boeing, and as a computer programmer for Boeing, Weyerhaeuser, the U.S. Army, and couple of software companies. Mr. Pfefferle taught full-time at CHS for several years before returning to his computer programming career.
Mr. Elias Nichols (Interface Design & Technology, Functional Interface Development) is a full-time software engineer, building financial software. He holds a B.A. from Whitworth University in Computer Science, with a focused study on distributed computing, neural networks, and network architecture. While there, he was also President of The Association for Computing Machinery Club, organizing weekly seminars, hackathons, and teaching. A Covenant High School alum, he was thrilled to return to teach in 2018. With programming as a passion, he sees it is an extremely valuable thing to be exposed to early on in education.
The Reverend Steven Nicoletti (Bible, Chapel) received a B.A. from New York University and a Masters of Divinity from Covenant Theological Seminary. He has been serving as the assistant pastor of Faith Presbyterian Church since 2013 and began teaching at Covenant in 2014. He teaches junior and senior Bible, where he enjoys helping students wrestle with the Scriptures, grow in their embrace of the gospel, and think through how to live out their Christian faith in the world we live in.
Mr. Karl Kvale (New Testament Survey) holds a B.A. from New St. Andrews College in Liberal Arts and Culture. A CHS alum, he now teaches New Testament Survey to our Sophomores. He enjoys any opportunity to research the historical and literary background of the New Testament and get students excited about engaging those subjects in class. Outside of Bible class, Karl plays guitar, is an avid reader, and likes to hike, hence he willingly leads one of our most popular clubs: the Hiking Club. He also assists with Faith Presbyterian Church’s junior high youth group and their ESL ministry as an English Partner, tutoring students 1:1.
Pastor Robert Rayburn (Bible) has been the pastor of Faith Presbyterian Church for 41 years. He has a B.A. from Covenant College, an M.Div. from Covenant Theological Seminary, and a PhD in New Testament from the University of Aberdeen (Scotland). He did further post-graduate study at the Free University of Amsterdam. For some years he taught Latin at Covenant High School and now teaches in the Bible department.
Mrs. Lisa DeMass (Speech, Yearbook) graduated from St. Cloud State University with a degree in speech communication and previously worked for Student Venture, a Christian outreach to teenagers. Mrs. DeMass has taught at Covenant since 1996 and has loved watching students become increasingly poised and confident in front of an audience in her public speaking classes. She loves biking, golf, her two daughters, and being the grandmother of two incredible boys!
Mrs. Kim St. John (Drama) earned a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies with concentrations in Speech Communication and Theatre from Fairmont State University in West Virginia. A cross-country drive after graduation landed her in Tacoma where she worked as a Trust Tax Officer in banking before beginning a family. As her four children in turn entered CHS, Mrs. St. John joined the faculty in 2005 teaching Freshman and Sophomore Speech for 13 years. She currently directs the annual CHS play. When not in rehearsals, she keeps busy working in the Faith Presbyterian Church office and delighting in her first grandchild.
Mrs. Tamara Hayes (Home Management) earned a B.A. in education from Cedarville University. She has seen her four children become Covenant High School alumni, and began working with the school in 2010. She interacts with students both while working in the Front Office and teaching Home Management, loving the fact that she’s teaching young adults something that they will use in their everyday lives.