Faculty

Click photo for bio

David Miller (Principal, Senior Rhetoric Thesis) earned a B.A. from Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois and a Master's in Teaching from Northwest University in Kirkland with Washington State teaching credentials in English/language arts and history. He also has completed coursework towards a Master's in Theological Studies at Covenant Seminary and has presented at national conferences on classical rhetoric and fostering Socratic discussion in the classroom. Prior to coming to Covenant, he worked as a lead-teacher, coach, and administrator at a Christian school, while also completing a school mentorship program in administration and school governance.  

Principal David Miller

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 to 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 Covenant's Chess Club.

Mr. Jerry Saldajeno

Mrs. Rachael Shelden (College & Career, College Advisor) has a Master's in Teaching in Secondary Social Studies and English and worked in higher education for seven years. Recently, she was director of the Center for Writing, Learning, and Teaching at the University of Puget Sound. She taught classes and helped students develop the life skills needed for college success. She also assisted students with scholarship, fellowship, and post-graduate program applications. Mrs. Shelden is passionate about helping young adults develop the reflective skills needed to find their voice and tell their stories persuasively.

Mrs. Rachael Shelden

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 Covenant's 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 Covenant faculty since the school was founded.

Mr. Richard Hannula

Mrs. Wendy Tamminga (English, Student Council Advisor) earned a B.A. 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,” Mrs. Tamminga says. She has the privilege of seeing students develop and hone their writing skills throughout their four years at Covenant 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. Wendy Tamminga

Mr. Jesse Friedman (Math, Physics) is a graduate of Azusa Pacific University with a Bachelor's in Mathematics and minor in journalism. He has taught middle school math at a Veritas homeschool group for five summers in his hometown of Arizona. He served as a private tutor for precalculus and calculus students during his four years at college, and he spent a full semester in Budapest, Hungary conducting math education research. Mr. Friedman is passionate about his faith in Jesus Christ and is also an avid podcaster.

Mr. Jesse Friedman

Miss Eva Battle (Art, 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,” Miss Battle says. “It’s a privilege to be able to work with teens, art, and in a Christian setting.”

Miss Eva Battle

Mrs. Melissa McMillan (Music, Choir) holds a Bachelor’s 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 these things, she has four incredible boys and her hobbies include walking, baking, listening to music, and a love of the outdoors.

Mrs. Melissa McMillan

Mrs. Julie Rust (Spanish) 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. "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," says Mrs. Rust.

Mrs. Julie Rust

Mr. Jonathan Nichols (Latin, Bible) 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 spends time on his family farm where they grow hazelnuts and microgreens, and are always working on something new.

Mr. Jonathan Nichols

Mr. Elias Nichols (Interface Design & Technology, Functional Interface Development) is a full-time software engineer, working as the Head of Technology at a small, local startup. 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.

Mr. Elias Nichols

Mr. Karl Kvale (New Testament Survey, Latin) holds a B.A. from New St. Andrews College in Liberal Arts and Culture. A Covenant alum, 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 class, Mr. Kvale plays guitar, is an avid reader, and likes to hike, hence he willingly leads one of Covenant's 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 one-on-one.

Mr. Karl Kvale

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 a grandmother of three!

Mrs. Lisa DeMass

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 Covenant, Mrs. St. John joined the faculty in 2005 teaching freshmen and sophomore speech for 13 years. She currently directs the annual Covenant High School play. When not in rehearsals, she keeps busy working in the Faith Presbyterian Church office and delighting in her first grandchild.

Mrs. Kim St. John

Mr. Raymond Dokupil (Speech & Debate Coach, Study Skills, Interim Drama Director) graduated with a B.A. in English Literature from Whitworth University. He competed in Stoa Speech and Debate throughout high school and won the national championship in 2012. Since graduation, he has taught for Classical Conversations and coached Lincoln Douglas debate at Covenant. In 2019, he directed a summer speech camp and worked full time as an ESL English teacher in China.

Mr. Raymond Dokupil

Mrs. Tamara Hayes (Home Management) earned a B.A. in Education from Cedarville University. She began working at Covenant in 2010 and has seen her four children become Covenant High School alumni. 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.

Mrs. Tamara Hayes

Mrs. Sarah Hannula (Health, P.E.) holds a B.S. in Exercise Physiology from Washington State University. She was a state champion triple jumper in high school and continued her athletic career into college at Washington State University. After college, Mrs. Hannula began coaching at Curtis High School. She led Curtis to a 4A State Championship in 2012 and was the conference coach of the year in 2015 and 2016 and is USA Track and Field Level Two certified. She is passionate about mentoring and supporting youth in physical education and health and also enjoys volunteering in her church’s youth group.

Mrs. Sarah Hannula