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Lower School Faculty (PS–6)

Mr. Christopher RutzChristopher Rutz
Associate Head of School / Head of Lower School

Prior to joining the former Santa Barbara Christian School as Head of School in 2012, Christopher Rutz was Assistant Head of School at Calvary Christian School in Pacific Palisades, California. He joined Providence as Head of Lower School in 2013 and also served as Interim Head of School, 2014-2015. He spent eight years as a classroom teacher and has been an administrator since 2004. Mr. Rutz earned a B.A. in History from the University of Minnesota, a B.A. in Secondary Education from Western Oregon University, and an M.ED in Educational Leadership from the University of Oregon. He and his wife, Kristan, have two daughters, Keara and Noelle, both Providence students.

 Matt KnolesMatt Knoles

Assistant Head of Lower School

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). 

Besides his work in the classroom, Mr. Knoles teaches guitar through Good Times Guitar and is a worship leader at Santa Barbara Community Church. He and his wife, Krista, have three children, Tully, Tessa, and Beck, who are part of the Providence family.

Caitlyn Patton

Patton-WebPreschool Director

Our founding preschool director, Caitlyn Patton came to Providence from the El Montecito Early School, where taught since 2011. She has been a preschool educator since 2006, serving as a teacher and assistant childcare director in Orange County before returning to her native Santa Barbara. Ms. Patton earned a B.S. degree in child development with a minor in psychology from California Polytechnic University at San Luis Obispo.

TLucera162x220Terry Lucera

Executive Assistant to the Head of Lower School

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, this time in the front office. She and her husband have two daughters; their younger daughter, Miranda, attends Providence Upper School.

jsmithJan Smith

Operations Manager – Lower School

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.

Emily BatesoleEmily Batesole


Emily Batesole pursued her passion for working with children at Azusa Pacific University, where she earned a B.S. degree as a Child Life Specialist and a M.A. degree in education. Prior to joining the Providence faculty, Mrs. Batesole worked in Santa Barbara public schools as a credentialed special education teacher. She is passionate about enriching children’s lives and leans on her advanced degree to create stimulating and learning-rich environments for preschoolers. 

Silvia BordinSilvia Bordin


Silvia Bordin as been a part of our school family for over 20 years, including serving on the Board of Directors. She earned Early Childhood Education and Liberal Arts & Science in the Humanities A.A. degrees at Santa Barbara City College, where she has been the ECE Department tutor for three years. She also holds a B.S. degree in human services management from the University of Phoenix. Her work experience with the Santa Barbara County Education Office in the Early Start and Preschool Inclusion Program garnered a Child Development Site Supervisor Permit. Mrs. Bordin is fluent in Spanish and has studied American Sign Language. Her sons (Robert, 25, and David, 21) attended Santa Barbara Christian School. Her daughter, Eliana, is currently enrolled in Providence Lower School.

2185808_origKara Berge


Kara Berge is a recent 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. Ms. Berge 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 (Cunningham) 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.

SJacobs162x220Stacey Schiff

Second Grade

Stacey (Jacobs) Schiff earned a B.A. degree in History from the University of California Santa Barbara and a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from California Lutheran University. Prior to joining the former Santa Barbara Christian School staff in 2012, she worked in both public and independent elementary schools. Mrs. Schiff brings tremendous skill, energy, and love for her students and her profession to Providence.

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 teaching since 1999 and joined the former Santa Barbara Christian School faculty in 2009. She and her husband, Doug, have two sons who attend Providence.

Mrs. Jennifer Suleiman

Jennifer Suleiman

Fifth Grade & Art

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. She loves to go to the ocean, paint as often as possible, and spend time with her family.

KleenWhitney Kleen

Sixth Grade

Whitney Kleen earned a B.A. degree in Liberal Studies and a multiple subject teaching credential with a supplemental authorization in mathematics from Pepperdine University in 2004. She spent ten years teaching sixth, seventh, and eighth grade classes in Santa Barbara, Carpinteria, and Irvine before joining the Providence faculty in 2015.

CorazzaDebbie Corazza


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 Eglin


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. Her three children, Margaret, Jamie, and David, love to visit the Providence campus and draw funny things on her whiteboard when no one is looking.

matthiasBlake Matthias

Physical Education

Blake Matthias  holds a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology from Westmont College where he played on the baseball team. As a Warrior, he was named to the All-Conference Team and served as a leader and mentor to younger players. Since graduating, Mr. Matthias has coached at the Westmont Summer Youth Sorts Camp and served as a church youth group leader and member of mission trips to the Philippines, El Salvador, and Mexico. He joined the Providence faculty in 2015.

Tara Rohde
Kindergarten Assistant

Tara Rohde worked in investment banking in San Francisco before following her true calling to work with children. She earned a teaching credential from Antioch University in 2004 while working at a private school, teaching first, fourth, and fifth grades. She joined the Providence faculty in 2015.

SSanchez162x220Sonora Sanchez
Extended-Day Program Director

Sonora Sanchez earned a B.A. degree in English Literature from Westmont College in 2013. She has worked with children and education in a variety of pre-professional positions, including working in youth groups and at schools on international mission trips. She has a passion for education, faith, and children. Ms. Sanchez hopes to inspire the students she works with to crave knowledge and grow in their faith. She joined the Providence faculty in 2014.