Pastor Darin Kindle
Pastor Kindle has served as administrator at CLA since June 2002. He also serves as Associate Pastor at Christian Life Church. He has served in church and school ministry since 1989, most of which has involved Christian school administration. He has a BS in Pastoral Studies from North Central University, a MA in Christian School Administration from Southwestern Assemblies of God University, and is currently enrolled in a Doctorate of Ministry (Missional Leadership) program through the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary.
He is married to Kandi and has 3 children, Evan (CLA alumnus), Molly, and Bryce. He enjoys time with his wife and children, golf, graduate studies, and is a die-hard Green Bay Packer fan. Christian schooling is a passion because of the great potential God has placed in everyone and the privilege we have as educators to assist in the equipping and preparation process of each student.
Mrs. Fiore is the preschool and prekindergarten teacher at CLA. She came to CLA in 1999 as a teacher’s assistant in the kindergarten rooms. In 2002, she was promoted to pre-kindergarten teacher. In 2009, she also began teaching preschool. Mrs. Fiore’s passion is to help children realize how much God loves them and how He made each of them wonderfully unique. Her goal is to provide children with a loving, nurturing and supportive classroom that will lay a solid spiritual, emotional, social and academic foundation. She received an Associate Degree in Physical Therapy from Morton College. She is currently enrolled in the Child Development program at Concordia University, St Paul.
Mrs. Fiore and her husband Mark have two sons, Michael and Christopher, both alumni of CLA. She looks forward to gaining two daughter-in-loves this year. In her spare time, Mrs. Fiore loves to spend time with her family, drink tea, knit, read, and watch movies.
Mrs. Webster was hired in 2008 as the head of CLA’s After-School program, and in 2009 she stepped into the Before Care program. In 2010, she also began her role as the teacher’s assistant in the K3 and K4 program. Her desire is to instill students with an understanding of God’s love at an early age so they can carry His love throughout their lives.
Mrs. Webster and her husband Patrick have two sons, Joshua and James, and two daughters, Andrea and Allyson, both alumni of CLA. In her spare time, Mrs. Webster enjoys spending time with her grown children, as well as riding her motorcycle and horses with her husband.
Mrs. Troost has been teaching for twelve years, primarily in Kindergarten and first grade. She started teaching at CLA in 2011. Gina earned her BA in Elementary Education at North Central University.
Mrs. Troost enjoys teaching in the younger grades because of the high energy and love of learning that her students have. Kindergarteners are excited about discovering new things and have a great attitude about school. Gina’s goal each year is to set the foundation in place for a lifelong love of learning in her students.
Gina and her husband Andy have two children, Cole and Elizabeth, who attend CLA. Mrs. Troost enjoys quilting, scrapbooking, doing Zumba, and decorating cakes.
Mrs. Otterblad has been teaching at CLA since 1997. She received her BS in elementary education at the University of Wisconsin River Falls. Mrs. Otterblad loves teaching 1st and 2nd graders. She is investing in the lives of children and being a part of building a strong foundation both academically and spiritually.
Mrs. Otterblad has three sons, Jesse, Luke, and Jake (CLA alumnus), as well as two daughter-in-laws, Gretchen and Emma. She also enjoys her time with her four grandchildren, Charlotte, Ruby, Nicholas, and Owen. Her personal interests include spending time with family and friends, gardening, sewing, cooking, reading, and traveling.
Mr. Geselle teaches 3rd and 4th grade and started at CLA in 2013. He graduated from North Central University with his BS in Elementary Education. Mr. Geselle’s passion is that every child he comes into contact with will come to the understanding that God loves them. As a teacher, he is committed to caring for them, loving them, and teaching them to the best of his ability. He wants his students to be able to demonstrate love, respect, and personal responsibility, as well as have high academic expectations for themselves.
Mr. Geselle’s interests are personal fitness, following professional mixed martial arts, being outdoors, church activities, laughing, and being with family and friends.
Mrs. Janssen has a BA in Education from North Central University. She has taught at CLA since 2009, with experience in 4th and 6th grades. During this time, she has also coached Varsity basketball and softball. Mrs. Janssen is an alumnus of CLA, and class valedictorian. She has a passion for discipleship through Christian education.
Beginning in the Fall of 2016 she will be transitioning into primarily teaching Bible classes for our Middle School and High School students. Her goal is for students to begin to own their faith by knowing God’s Word, building a solid foundation for their beliefs, and providing opportunities to experience Christ through the Word, worship, prayer, and community.
Mrs. Coats oversees music classes, elementary chapel programming, drama, and a student-led worship team. She graduated from Winona State University with a BS in Elementary Education, as well as minors in math and music. Mrs. Coats has taught at CLA since 2004 with 6 years of various teaching experiences prior to that. Mrs. Coats’ passion for music comes from Psalm 150:5, “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.” Helping students understand the basics of music and using music through their voice or instrument to worship God is her mission.
Mrs. Coats lives in Farmington with her husband and has three grown boys, Joshua, Isaac, and Aaron, who is married to Daniela. She enjoys singing, playing piano, leading worship at her church, reading, watching movies, and spending time with family.
Mrs. Smith has taught physical education at CLA since 2011. She graduated from Winona State University with a degree in Physical Education and Sports Medicine. She later obtained an elementary classroom licensure from Hamline University and taught in the Minneapolis School District for three years. Mrs. Smith cares about each of her students; she teaches at CLA because she feels God has uniquely called her to the Christian school platform.
Mrs. Smith enjoys being outside and being involved with her family and church. She and her husband have four kids.
Miss Meyen is Dean of Students for secondary students at CLA. She was hired at CLA in 1998 as a Language Arts and Math teacher, but over the course of a few years, she started working with students in a Guidance Counselor role and went to part time teaching in the Math area. In 2013 she was promoted to the Dean position while maintaining a connection to the classroom through teaching two sections of Math classes. She received her BA Degree in Secondary English Education, with a minor in Mathematics Education, from Winona State University and a Master’s of Education in Educational Leadership from Concordia University, St. Paul. Miss Meyen’s passion is to encourage students to see their future potential and start preparing for it right now. She wants them to be successful not just in high school, but to see them connect to the future calling that God has prepared them for after graduation, also.
In her spare time, Miss Meyen loves to explore all things British – from tea to the royal family to British authors. She also loves to travel and has led overseas student trips to the UK and Paris to inspire her students to be globally minded, as well as traveling with students on mission’s trips with CLA. You can also find her with a book at local coffee shops on the weekends, bringing together her love of literature and love of coffee at the same time.
Christian Life Academy welcomes Mr. Kirk Nelson as our new Secondary Science Teacher. Mr. Nelson was a long-term substitute teacher in our science department for part of the 2015/16 school year. During his three months with CLA, Mr. Nelson taught science classes in the middle school and high school.
Mr. Nelson has a BA degree in Biology from Concordia College in Moorhead, MN, with a minor in Chemistry. He also has a Doctor of Chiropractic Degree. Mr. Nelson has an extensive background in chiropractic care and consulting. He is now pursuing God’s call on his life to teach. Mr. Nelson is also working on completion of a degree in education at Bemidji State University.
Mr. Nelson is originally from Lyle, MN. He and his wife are the parents of 4 children, two of whom are in college, and two that attend elementary school. Mr. Nelson has coached a variety of sports, and enjoys piano, choral singing, biking, reading and traveling. Please join us in welcoming Mr. Nelson to the CLA team.
Miss Hawthorne teaches secondary Language Arts. She received her BA in Secondary Education: Communication Arts (literature, writing, speech, etc.) from North Central University and has been teaching here at CLA since 2013. Her two greatest passions are literature and students. Reading is the gateway to learning, and it brings her incredible joy to see the middle and high school students making connections to universal themes and lessons from literature through the lens of a Christian worldview. Her goal for students is that they become lifelong learners whose lives are dedicated to actively engaging and influencing the world for Christ.
Aside from teaching, some of Lisa’s interests are drinking tea, traveling, terrible puns, and science fiction and detective stories.
Mrs. Larson teaches math in the high school. She has taught at CLA since 2008, but has been coaching volleyball at CLA since 1997. Denise graduated from the University of Minnesota with a BS in Mathematics and a MBA in Accounting and Finance. She has a passion for youth and young adults, and she loves to see them grow in their walk with Christ. Her goal is to see every student feel welcomed in her classroom and to succeed at and enjoy learning.
Denise and her husband, Nate, have five children – 4 alumni of CLA, and one currently attending – and one grandchild. She enjoys coaching, kayaking, and biking.
Mr. Meyer has a B.S. degree in Elementary Education from North Central University, with a minor in Biblical Studies. Mr. Meyer also has a Master’s Degree in Education from St. Mary’s University. Mr. Meyer is in the unique position of having taught at CLA during two time periods, at both the elementary and secondary levels.
Mr. Meyer taught fourth grade for 22 years at Christian Life until 2009. In 2015, Mr. Meyer returned to CLA to teach middle school and senior high classes. He is now teaching 5th and 6th grade.
Before his return to CLA, Mr. Meyer worked at the collegiate and administrative levels. He has served as an adjunct professor at North Central University, where he worked with student teachers. Mr. Meyer has also taught education classes at St. Mary’s University in Winona. Immediately prior to his return to CLA, Mr. Meyer served as the administrator of a Christian school in Wisconsin.
My. Meyer is married to Mary and they have one child, Shannon. In his spare time, Mr. Meyer enjoys collecting old coins and books.
His passion is to help students become spiritually, academically and socially successful as they follow God’s plan for their lives. His life verse is 3 John 1:4 – “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.”
Karen St. John
Mrs. St. John has taught Social Studies and Spanish at CLA since 1995. She received her B.A. degrees in Economics and Spanish cum laude from Vanderbilt University. During that time she studied at the University of Madrid, Spain for one summer, and at the University of Leeds, England for one year. She received her M.B.A. from George Washington University in Washington, DC. Her passion is to coach students to work at levels they didn’t know they could reach. In her classroom, students are equipped and encouraged to believe that with hard work and God at their side, they can do more than they ever thought or imagined they could.
Mrs. St. John and her husband Greg have five children – 2 CLA alumni – and one grandchild. Mrs. St. John enjoys traveling and has visited most U.S. states and much of Western Europe. She has participated in several school missions trips with students to Central America, Kenya and Cambodia. She also enjoys running and has completed three marathons.