Faculty & Staff
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Doug White is a driven, passionate Christian educator who is committed to leading a strong academic program at SAA. With 33 years of teaching and academic experience, Mr. White provides enthusiastic leadership and support to the teachers and students throughout each day while overseeing the full operations of the academy.
Mr. White attended Portland State University before graduating from Walla Walla University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Education. He furthered his education by receiving a M.Ed. in Athletic Administration from Seattle Pacific University. Mr. White has had teaching and administration experience at Spokane Junior Academy, Kirkland SDA School, and Puget Sound Adventist Academy.
Doug and his wife Sandy have two daughters and five precious grandchildren. Sandy enjoys her career as a nurse at Mt. Vernon’s Women’s Clinic. Doug and Sandy’s love for the great outdoors has made their move to the Skagit Valley an easy one.
Mr. White’s goals for all SAA students are:
Mr. White enjoys the opportunity to get to know students individually while providing a safe environment for learning.
360-755-9261 ext 300
7th/8th and Registrar
360-755-9261 ext 307
Nerida Habenicht is an efficient, organized team player that is starting her third year as part of the administrative staff as Registrar at SAA. In her tenth year at the academy, Nerida ensures proper academic transfers and college requirements are identified for each student. Nerida believes in the benefit and importance of a quality Christian education and considers it a privilege to work with the parents and students attending SAA.
Graduating from Helderberg College in South Africa, Nerida has an AA degree and is currently scheduled to graduate in January with a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from Western Governors University.
Nerida and her husband Dave have two sons and one daughter who have all attended SAA. When she is not working at SAA, Nerida spends her time helping manage the Walla Walla University - Rosario Beach Marine Laboratory in Anacortes where Dave is the Campus Director. The Habenichts moved to Anacortes fifteen years ago and feel blessed to have been able to raise their family in the beauty of the Pacific Northwest.
Nerida’s goals for SAA are:
360-755-9261 ext 303
Kathy graduated from Walla Walla University with a BSBA degree and concentration in accounting and worked in public accounting for six years. She currently works part-time for Nelson Petroleum and has CPA-inactive certification with Washington State.
Born and raised in Washington, Kathy is married to Ron and has two girls currently enrolled at SAA. When time permits, Kathy enjoys reading, dabbling in paper crafts, playing games, and hiking with her family.
A native of Montana, Tiffani lived in Bozeman before moving with her family to Burlington. She graduated from Bozeman High School and is currently attending Western Governors University to obtain her Elementary Education Degree. Tiffani is an accomplished quilter and has had some of her patterns published. Tiffani has been blessed with four children, ages 17, 14, 11, and 10.
First Grade & Second Grade
360-755-9261 ext 308
Jaimie Kraus is an out-going, professional, and creative teacher that finds new and interesting ways to present each concept. Now teaching grades 1 and 2 at Skagit Adventist Academy, Jaimie previously spent four years teaching at the middle school level. Blessed by growing up in a strong Christian family, Jaimie understands the love of her church and God. With these values instilled at an early age, she wanted to choose a career where she could share her love for both. “I feel blessed to have found a job at Skagit, where I have found an incredibly supportive community that has helped me grow,” states Jaimie. Her positive attitude is pervasive with students and staff alike.
A graduate from Auburn Adventist Academy, Jaimie received her bachelor’s degree from Pacific Union College in Angwin, California, in 2003. Jaimie worked as a substitute teacher until she began teaching full-time at Skagit Adventist Academy in the 2005-2006 school year. Now in her 7th year of teaching, Jaimie is known by her colleagues as a consummate professional that constantly has a smile and creative knack for turning the negatives into a positive.
During her free time Jaimie tries to spend as much time as possible with family and friends. She enjoys planning and using her breaks to visit her mother and brother in Auburn and is especially happy if her vacation involves time spent on a roller coaster.
Jaimie’s goals for her students this year are:
Taryn Dillon is an exuberant teacher because she wants to share the love for learning while painting a loving picture of the Savior for her students.
Committed to quality learning opportunities, Taryn has taught for 13 years and still gets excited when she witnesses a student mastering a concept. In addition, she also finds great joy watching current or previous students commit to Christian values and a spiritual walk with God. Mrs. Dillon’s organization and energy is contagious in the classroom, and she looks forward to every day that she gets to spend with her students!
Mrs. Dillon attended and graduated from Walla Walla University with a BS degree in Elementary Education and a minor in Special Education. She has furthered her education by taking classes during the summers to remain certified with Washington State and with the North American Division of Education. Last spring she completed the Washington State professional certificate program.
Taryn and her husband Robert have two girls. Robert is a nurse at Mountain Glen Assisted Living. They enjoy their family time and use it to travel, cook, and spend time on the lake.
Mrs. Dillon’s goals for her 3rd and 4th graders are:
Tami Rowe is a caring and insightful teacher that uses her eight years teaching at SAA to challenge her students to a strong academic standard. Tami has dedicated herself to using the best practices in teaching based on current research. Mrs. Rowe also has a zeal for students to have not just a head-knowledge of God but a heart-knowledge of God that leads them to a life lived passionately for Him.
Matthew Lee is a motivated, enthusiastic Christian educator who leads by example and encourages students to follow. Mr. Lee uses his creativity to provide engaging lessons and activities to his 8th grade class and in his K-12 physical education program. He seeks to provide a quality curriculum where students develop the skills and knowledge they need to live healthy lives in service to Christ. Mr. Lee takes the time to develop meaningful relationships with students as he leads them to a closer walk with God through his classes and in the intramural and athletic programs.
Mrs. Della Wisdom is a compassionate and dedicated teacher who has been volunteering and working at SAA for 15 years. She started teaching technology classes 10 years ago while her son was attending Skagit Adventist Academy. Of all the jobs that Mrs. Wisdom has had, she believes that her position at SAA is a gift from the Lord and the best mission/job on earth.
With over 20 years of teaching at Skagit Adventist Academy, Rachel Jordan has the
Monte graduated from Walla Walla University and received his masters degree from Central Washington University. Before arriving at Skagit Adventist Academy, he taught at Anderson School (Zimbabwe), Sunnydale Adventist Academy, Cascade Christian Academy, and Mount Ellis Academy. His quirky personality and sense of humor make him great to be around both in and out of the classroom.
Some of his favorite things are fly fishing, skiing, cats and being outdoors. He is married to June and has two sons, Craig and Glen. Glen is currently in medical school at Chicago Medical School, and Craig is a math and Spanish teacher living in Wenatchee.
One interesting fact many may not know, Monte and his wife have visited every county courthouse in Washington and Montana
Karyelle Nielsen is an enthusiastic band teacher with high expectations for her students. Mrs. Nielsen enjoys teaching students how to play band instruments and helping them to develop a life-long love of music. Mrs. Nielsen earned her Bachelor’s of Music degree at Walla Walla University. Majoring in Music Education with an emphasis in instrumental music instruction, Karyelle is also endorsed to teach Spanish. Having completed some graduate level music education courses at Vandercook College, Mrs. Nielsen began teaching music and Spanish at SAA in 2006.
Don Brassington is a relaxed, energetic science teacher who is genuinely interested in his students' spiritual welfare. Involving his students in fun, science-related learning activities in the classroom, Don also enjoys challenging each student to broaden his or her scope of learning through relevant labs and outdoor-learning adventures. Don has been teaching science for over 23 years and looks forward to spending eternity with former students, friends, and family.
Katy Paise decided she wanted to be a teacher when she was about six years old. Sharing her passion for literacy, Spanish, and students drove her to return to teaching after a brief hiatus as a stay-at-home mom.
Choir (High School) Band (High School) Music (Elementary)
Born in Brasil, and a daughter of missionary parents, Denice Raymundo Grant began her musical studies at the age of four. In 1973 her family moved to Portugal, and she had the opportunity to study at the Lisbon National Conservatory, and thanks to another move in 1975 to Canada, at the Toronto Royal Conservatory. Mrs. Grant went on to pursue a BM in Voice and Piano performance at Walla Walla College, where she studied piano with Leonard Richter and voice with Marianne Scriven. She received a Master of Music in Piano Performance and Pedagogy from Northern Illinois University, where she was a student of Donald Walker. After moving to Seattle in 1990, Denice was employed by the Pacific Northwest Ballet as company pianist, and then by the Houston Ballet in the year 2000. Since returning from Houston in 2002, she started a piano and vocal teaching studio, is involved in chamber music, and has accompanied several professional choruses in the area, some of which include the Bellevue Chamber Chorus, the Northwest Girl Choir, the Choir of the Sound, and The Seattle Choral Company, with whom she recorded Carmina Burana in 1999. She was the organist at Shoreline Calvin Presbyterian Church from 2002 to 2007. She has also worked with the Seattle Opera, the Seattle Symphony Chorus, the Bellevue Symphony, and the Intiman Theatre. Denice has appeared as solo pianist with the Rainier Symphony, the Port Angeles Symphony, and the Seattle Philharmonic, and in March of 2008 she will perform with the Skagit Symphony in Mt. Vernon. In December of 2006 she released a sacred vocal CD titled "If My People Who are Called by Name Shall Pray..." Denice recently completed her Doctorate of Mucial Arts in Piano performance at the University of Washington. Denice and her husband Ozzie live in Burlington; they have four children and two grand children.
Art (Pre-K to Eighth Grade)
Tammy Paul is a friendly, imaginative teacher, who is willing to jump in and help wherever needed. This year Mrs. Paul will be working with the Pre-Kindergarten through Eighth Grade students as the art teacher. Tammy has been active at SAA since her son Jesse started school here in the 3rd grade.
Tammy graduated from Upper Columbia Academy, near Spokane, where she met her husband, Kimber. She and Kimber have been married for 25 years and have one son, Jesse, who is a freshman at SAA this year.
Tammy and her husband owned a business in the Seattle area for several years, after which Tammy decided to follow her passion and went to design school to become a florist. She worked in the floral industry for eight years in the Seattle area and continues to design as opportunities arise.
Tammy is looking forward to exploring all different types of art mediums with the students. She is also looking forward to trying lots of different methods for exploring shape and color and is excited to see what the kids will create!
|530 N Section St • Burlington, WA 98233-1568 • 360-755-9261|