Staff

Say hello to the team!

Ms. Xavria Schwarz - Principal

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Ms. Xavria Schwarz has served in the education field since 1996, and has been the principal at CLS since 2000. Before becoming a principal, Ms. Schwarz taught fourth grade at Bethlehem Lutheran School - Kennewick, WA. Ms. Schwarz was named the Pacific Southwest District’s Administrator of the Year in 2009 and Concordia University’s Outstanding Alumna of the Year in 2016. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies and Child Development from Concordia University – Irvine, CA, Master of Education in Educational Administration from Heritage University – Toppenish, WA, and a Lutheran Teaching Certificate from the Concordia University Education Network.



Mrs. Melissa Payne - Preschool Director

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Mrs. Melissa Payne has been working in the education field since 2010, and has served at CLS since 2017. Prior to that, Mrs. Payne served at other Lutheran Schools in Southern California, including St. Paul’s Lutheran School- Pacific Beach and Grace Lutheran-Escondido, teaching pre-kindergarten, fourth grade, and fifth grade. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies from San Diego State University - San Diego, CA, a Site Supervisor Permit for Early Childhood Centers from Grossmont College - El Cajon, CA, and a Lutheran Teaching Certificate from the Concordia University Education Network.


Mrs. Kristy Furrow - Admissions Counselor

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Mrs. Kristy Furrow became the Admissions Counselor for CLS in 2018. Prior to this, she was a kindergarten classroom aide from 2016 - 2018. Mrs. Furrow is an experienced non-profit specialist with 15 years of success in corporate relations, marketing, media relations, public relations, budget management, donor cultivation and solicitation, sponsor development, grant writing and management, and board development. She holds a Bachelors of Arts in English from University of Washington - Seattle, WA.


Mrs. Karen Trapp - Extended School Care Director

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Mrs. Karen Trapp has served in CLS since 1995. She serves in a variety of roles at CLS, but primarily as our Extended School Care Director.


Mrs. Sarah Buskirk - Secretary

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Mrs. Sarah Buskirk has served CLS since 2003 as School Secretary. Previously she served as a "room mom," lunch aide, and Chairman of the School Board. Her four children and husband are CLS graduates. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Sociology from University of San Diego - San Diego, CA.


Mrs. Jill Kusel - Kindergarten

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Mrs. Jill Kusel has served in the education field since 1995, and has served CLS since 2019. Previously, she has served at Faith Lutheran School - Fair Oaks, CA, West Portal Lutheran School - San Francisco, CA, St. John’s Lutheran School - Napa, CA, and most recently at St. Paul’s Lutheran School - Concordia, MO. She is married to our eighth grade teacher, Mr. Mark Kusel. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Child Development from California State University - Sacramento, CA, a Lutheran Teaching Certificate from the Concordia University Education Network, and is working on a Masters of Arts in Elementary Education from Southeastern University - Lakeland, FL.


Mrs. Rachel Duggie - First Grade

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Mrs. Rachel Duggie has served CLS since 2016. Prior to serving as our first grade teacher, she served as a pre-kindergarten teacher from 2016-2017. Mrs. Duggie is an alumnus of Christ Lutheran School, and she graduated in 2006. She holds a Bachelors of Arts in Psychology and Social Behavior from University of California - Irvine, CA, a California Teaching Credential from San Diego State University - San Diego, CA, and a Lutheran Teaching Certificate from the Concordia University Education Network.


Mrs. Katie Bigon - Second Grade

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Mrs. Katie Bigon has served in the education field since 2017, and has served at CLS since 2019. Previously, she served as a second grade teacher at Stone Oak Elementary School - San Antonio, TX and as fifth grade clinical teacher at Concordia Lutheran School - San Antonio, TX. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary and Early Childhood Education from Concordia University - Austin, TX and a Lutheran Teaching Certificate from the Concordia University Education Network.


Ms. LeAnna Christopher - Third Grade

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Ms. LeAnna Christopher has served in the education field since 2009, and has served CLS since 2011. Previously, Ms. Christopher taught Kindergarten at CLS. Before coming to CLS, Ms. Christopher taught a fifth/sixth grade combination class at Immanuel Lutheran School in Orange County. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies from Concordia University - Irvine, CA, a Master of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction from Concordia University – Portland, OR, and a Lutheran Teaching Certificate from the Concordia University Education Network.


Mr. Joshua Payne - Fourth Grade

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Mr. Josh Payne has served in the education field since 2006, and has served at CLS since 2016. Prior to coming to CLS, he has taught at St. Paul's Lutheran School - Pacific Beach, CA and Grace Lutheran School - Escondido, CA. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Education from Concordia University - Irvine, CA, a Master of Arts in Education Technology from Concordia University - Irvine, CA, and a Lutheran Teaching Certificate from the Concordia University Education Network.


Mrs. Casey Sitze - Fifth Grade

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Mrs. Casey Sitze has served at CLS since 1997. She has coached and served as one of the leaders of the Student Leadership Team. She loves hearing the fun stories the fifth-graders tell her, and enjoys teaching art. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Education from Concordia University - Irvine, CA, a Master of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction from San Diego State University - San Diego, CA, and a Lutheran Teaching Certificate from the Concordia University Education Network.


Mr. Jacob Sitze - Sixth Grade

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Mr. Jacob Sitze has served in the education field since 1998, and has served at CLS since 1999. Previously, he served as the eighth grade teacher at St. Paul’s Lutheran School - San Diego, CA. He coaches both girls’ volleyball and basketball. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies from Concordia University - Irvine, CA, a Master of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction from Concordia University - Irvine, CA, and a Lutheran Teaching Certificate from the Concordia University Education Network.


Mrs. Tiffany Giles - Seventh Grade

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Mrs. Tiffany Giles has been working in the education field since 1999, and has served at CLS since 2015. Previously, she taught Physical Education and English in two Southern California public middle schools for 19 years. Mrs. Giles has spent over 20 years coaching girls volleyball and basketball at the middle school and high school levels. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and Minor in Physical Education from Indiana University - Bloomington, IN, and a Lutheran Teaching Certificate from the Concordia University Education Network.


Mr. Mark Kusel - Eighth Grade

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Mr. Mark Kusel has worked in education since 1996, and has served at CLS since 2019. Prior to coming to CLS, Mr. Kusel taught at Redeemer Lutheran School - Redwood City, CA, West Portal Lutheran School - San Francisco, CA, St. John’s Lutheran School - Napa, CA, and Trinity Lutheran School - Alma, MO. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Valparaiso University - Valparaiso, IN, a Master of Science in History from California State University - Hayward, CA, and a Lutheran Teaching Certificate from the Concordia University Education Network.


Mr. Aaron Mietzner - Science and Computers

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Mr. Aaron Mietzner has taught at CLS since 2017. CLS is the first school Aaron has had the privilege of serving. Previously, he has had experience tutoring and working on various research projects in a university setting. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Biology from Concordia University - Irvine, CA, and a Lutheran Teaching Certificate from the Concordia University Education Network.


Mrs. Christy Holden - Resource Teacher

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Mrs. Christy Holden has been the Resource teacher at CLS since 2014. Prior to this, she was a teacher of the Deaf in Carlsbad, CA and then a stay-at-home-mom. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Special Education, Master of Arts in Special Education, and a Specialist Credential in Communication Handicaps, all from San Diego State University – San Diego, CA, as well as a Lutheran Teaching Certificate from the Concordia University Education Network.


Mrs. Kathy Barkett - Music Teacher

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Mrs. Kathy Barkett has served Christ Lutheran Church Ministries part-time as Praise Band Worship Leader since 1999, and is now full-time, having added the responsibility of Christ Lutheran School Music Teacher. Kathy grew up in a musical family, enjoyed band in middle school, choir in high school, taught private lessons, worked as Musical Director at Valhalla High School, accompanied CYT and CCT, and plays several instruments. She has a passion for kids, especially with regards to raising up young worship leaders. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Church Music from Point Loma Nazarene University - San Diego, CA.


Rev. Travis Ferguson - School Pastor

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Pastor Travis Ferguson has served Christ Lutheran Church Ministries since January of 2019. Previously he served as Associate Pastor at Grace Lutheran Church in Knoxville, TN. Pastor Travis has served as a police and fire chaplain for various agencies in Missouri & Tennessee, and has been an Air Force Reserve Chaplain since 2014. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Behavioral Science from Concordia University - Seward, NE and a Master of Divinity from Concordia Seminary - St. Louis, MO.