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Lower School Faculty & Staff (PS–6)

Matthew Knoles
Lower School Principal

Matthew Knoles taught for 10 years in public elementary schools in Santa Barbara, Goleta, and Ventura before joining the Providence faculty in 2014. He holds a masters degree in educational policy and leadership and a preliminary administrative credential (California State University Northridge, 2010). He completed the California teaching credential program (Chapman University, 2004) after earning a bachelors degree in sociology (UCSB, 2000). 

On Sundays, Mr. Knoles serves Santa Barbara Community Church as a worship leader. He and his wife, Krista, have three children; all are part of the Providence family.


Cheri Diaz
Interim Preschool Director

Cheri Diaz graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in early childhood studies from CSU, Channel Islands, and a master’s degree in early childhood education from American College of Education. She is a Certified Online Instructor, a Level 3 Outdoor Classroom Specialist, and has been certified as a Reliable Observer for Pre-K in the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS). She is a member of the Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) Consortium for Santa Barbara County. Mrs. Diaz and her husband have been foster-to-adopt parents since 2002 and have four children ranging from 12 to 19 years old. She is the founding director of Hope 4 Kids Early Learning Center, Santa Barbara. 


Terry LuceraTerry Lucera
Executive Assistant to the Lower School Principal / Human Resources Coordinator / Science Teacher

Terry Lucera is a graduate of Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo with a B.S. in Biological Sciences. She has completed coursework toward a teaching credential at California State University, Northridge. She is no stranger to the independent school arena, having taught elementary and middle school science at a private school in the San Fernando Valley for 13 years. Upon arriving in Santa Barbara in 2011, Mrs. Lucera took employment as a teacher-editor reviewing science education and technology materials but found she missed the school environment. She is happy to be back on a school campus, in the front office and in the science classroom. 


Jan SmithJan Smith
Lower School Operations Manager

Jan Smith earned a B.S. in Elementary Education at the University of Indianapolis. She has served in various administrative capacities at Santa Barbara Christian School since 1995. Mrs. Smith and her husband, Tom, have two grown sons, Matt and Tim, both alumni of SBCS.


Kara Baker
2185808_origKindergarten

Kara (Berge) Baker is a graduate of the Westmont Teacher Credential Program and received a Liberal Studies degree from Westmont College in 2012. She has extensive experience in the classroom through her student teaching and pre-professional work in instructional assisting in the Santa Barbara community as well as internationally, both in public and private education. Mrs. Baker has developed a strong understanding of student development and enjoys sharing a relationship with each student based on his or her interests, personality, and faith. 


Ms. Jill Cunningham

Jill McLemore
First Grade

Jill McLemore earned a B.A. in Liberal Studies from Westmont College in 2005, as well as a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential in 2006. She began working at the former Santa Barbara Christian School in 2008. She enjoys the opportunity to work with young students at Providence and considers it a privilege to be a part of the school community.


Deborah FullerDeborah Fuller
Second Grade

Deborah Fuller was born and raised in Santa Barbara and is thrilled to continue to be a contributing member of this unique community. Before joining the Providence faculty in 2016, Mrs. Fuller taught both kindergarten and first grade at Roosevelt Elementary School. Mrs. Fuller earned a bachelor’s degree in liberal studies with an emphasis in art from Westmont College in 2013. She holds a multiple subject teaching credential.


AHammer162x220Anne Hammer
Third Grade

Anne Hammer earned a B.A. degree in Liberal Studies from Westmont College where she was named the Outstanding Liberal Studies Student for 2012. She completed her Multiple Subject Teaching Credential in 2012 and joined the Providence faculty in 2013. She is truly an outstanding educator and passionate about her faith and her calling.


Mrs. Christa Jones

Christa Jones
Fourth Grade

Christa Jones earned a B.S. degree in Elementary Education and Mildly Mentally Handicapped Education from Huntington University in Indiana, and a Master’s Degree in Education from Indiana Wesleyan. Mrs. Jones has been in the teaching profession since 1992 and joined the former Santa Barbara Christian School faculty in 2009. She and her husband, Doug, have two sons, a Providence alum and an Upper School student. 


Mrs. Jennifer Suleiman

Jennifer Suleiman
Fifth Grade

Jennifer Suleiman earned a B.A. degree in Studio Art from the University of California Santa Barbara and a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from California State University, Sacramento. She has been a credentialed teacher since 1994 and involved full time in classroom education since 2004. Mrs. Suleiman joined the former Santa Barbara Christian School faculty in 2010 and has been teaching art and fifth grade with a passion. In 2013, she was honored to become a fellow of the South Coast Writing Project—an organization that is dedicated to training up young writers in the classroom. 


Mary Wilson
Sixth Grade

Mary Wilson has been a teaching professional since 2007. She joined the Providence Lower School faculty in 2017 after teaching fifth and sixth grades at Oaks Christian School in Thousand Oaks, CA, and at Pleasant Valley Christian in Camarillo, CA. Mrs. Wilson believes a teacher plays a critical role in the life of a student and loves finding ways to make learning engaging, fun, and enriching. She has many strengths, including curriculum development, strong leadership, love for students, and an excitement for Christian education.


CorazzaDebbie Corazza
Librarian

Debbie Corazza earned a B.A. in English and French from the University of Southern California, and an M.A. in English and American Literature from Claremont Graduate School. She earned a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential at Point Loma Nazarene University and has many years of classroom experience. She joined the Providence faculty as librarian in 2013 and is dedicated to instilling a love for reading in children. Mrs. Corazza and her husband, Mark, are the parents of four SBCS graduates.


Sarah EglinSarah Eglin
Music

Ms. Eglin has been teaching music, directing, accompanying, and performing in the Santa Barbara area since 1999. A native of Alexander, New York, she graduated from the State University of New York College at Fredonia, with a B.M. in Piano Performance and a B.M.E. in Music Education, and worked with the New York State Summer School of the Arts Choral Studies program for four years as a studio accompanist and instructor. Ms. Eglin is the musical director for Stage Left Summer Theater Program, and has also directed over 30 local musicals since 2001 at Dos Pueblos High School, Santa Barbara High School, Crane Country Day School, Goleta Valley Junior High, UpStage Left, and Lobero Theater Camp.  Ms. Eglin taught for many years through Children’s Creative Project, a local non-profit supporting arts education in our local elementary schools. She taught music at Crane Country Day School and at Hope and Monte Vista Elementary Schools before coming to Providence. In addition to her classroom teaching, she worked at El Montecito Presbyterian Church as the Interim Children’s Ministry Director for two years, as well as the Children’s Choir Director and the Sanctuary Choir Accompanist for 12 years. 


Kyler Harvey
Fine Arts Teacher / Kindergarten Assistant

Kyler Harvey graduated from Texas Christian University in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in fine arts. She served as a teaching assistant at La Canada Elementary for two years prior to joining the Providence faculty in 2017. Ms. Harvey also is a professional dancer and has taught dance since 2010.


Kelley Henderson

Extended Day Program Coordinator 

Kelley Henderson is passionate about children and their early development. She holds a bachelor’s degree in communication and education from the Univerisity of California at Santa Barbara. Miss Henderson previously worked as a camp counselor and supervised an extended care program for Rolling Hills Country Day School in Palos Verdes, CA before joining the Providence staff in 2017.


Lauren Matthias
Physical Education

Lauren Matthias graduated from Westmont College in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology. She has years of experience working with elementary-aged children as a summer sports counselor and substitute teacher. She joined the Providence faculty in 2017, replacing none other than her own husband, Blake Matthias. Mrs. Matthias also is a women’s soccer coach at Westmont.


Elysia Mitchell

Instructional Assistant, Third—Sixth Grades

Elysia Mitchell earned a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology at Westmont College. A professional runner, Mrs. Mitchell has worked with students as a sports camp coach for the Santa Barbara Family YMCA. She joined the Providence faculty in 2017.


Evie Prohaska
Instructional Assistant, First—Second Grades

Evie Prohaska is a seasoned educator. She worked as an instructional aide at Vieja Valley Elementary School from 2004 until she made the move to Providence in 2016. Mrs. Prohaska’s gentle spirit and creative talents are a gift to Providence.


Melanie Cordero
Preschool Room One

Melanie Cordero is a qualified site supervisor and certified early childhood education teacher with a degree in early childhood education. She also is a certified and fully qualified infant/toddler teacher and a certified Level 2 outdoor classroom specialist.  She has had a passion for working with young children for many years. She worked as a nanny and in infant care at her home church in Colorado from a young age. She has worked at Hope 4 Kids Early Learning Center in Santa Barbara where she has been continuously promoted, due to her skills with children and her passion for the field. Ms. Cordero is hard working, creative, and loves seeing the amazing things children can create as they explore their world. She joined Providence as part of the interim team in January 2018.


Shannon Zamora
Preschool Room Two

Shannon Zamora joined the Providence Preschool faculty in 2015. She has been teaching preschool classes since 2008, serving previously at El Montectio Early School (2011-2015) and Trinity Preschool (2008-2011). In addition to teaching preschool, Shannon taught art at UCSB’s Summer Day Camp from 2011-2015. Shannon earned her Early Childhood Education credentials at Santa Barbara City College. She is a dynamic teacher who has a passion for teaching children about the love of Jesus and enjoys providing a fun, creative learning environment for her class.


Hannah Salerno

Preschool Assistant

Hannah Salerno has a B.S. degree in zoology from the University of California at Santa Barbara and she earned her early childhood education credentials from UCSB and Ventura College. Hannah previously taught preschool-age children how to swim at the Wendy Fereday Swim School and she has worked as a behavioral therapist for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. She joined the Providence team in August of 2017. Hannah is passionate about showing children the love of Jesus Christ and providing a joyful, creative, and fun preschool environment.