Bill Smith


STEM – Intro to Engineering


Roles/Subjects Taught:
PLTW – Introduction to Engineering Design K-6 STEM Program After School Robotics

Life Verse:
Micah 6:8

Why do you work for Christian Unified?
I teach because I have been called and equipped by God.

Interesting facts:
I served in the US Army from 1971-1974.
I navigated a 40 foot sail boat from San Diego to Hawaii.
I have climbed Mt. Whitney 10 times.
I have lunch two times a year with a former CHS student who is a full professor at Rice University.

San Diego

Masters of Natural Science – Arizona State University

Experience (Years Teaching):

Years at CUSSD:

Kristine Tendvahl


English Teacher


Roles/Subjects Taught:
7th Grade English

Life Verse:
Colossians 3:23-24—”Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.”

Why do you work for Christian Unified?
I choose to work for Christian Unified because I want to not just be an educator of academic content but also a modeler and exhorter of how to live as a Christian.

Interesting facts:
My hobbies include vegetable gardening and camping. I also enjoy visiting National Parks.

Coon Rapids, MN

BA in Human Development, Multiple Subject Teaching Credential, and English Teaching Credential

Experience (Years Teaching):
Since 2008

Years at CUSSD:
Since 2021

Christine Vail




Roles/Subjects Taught:
Precalculus, Honors Precalculus, Calculus, AP Calculus

Life Verse:
Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Why do you work for Christian Unified?
I love math! Not only do I get to do math problems all day long, but I have the privilege of watching my students when they actually gain understanding of mathematical concept.

Interesting facts:
I live in Ramona with my husband and three children.
I attended Christian High School.
I have participated in 1 half marathon, 1 marathon and 3 triathlons.
I graduated from Biola University.

Pine Valley, California

Bachelor of Science Mathematics, Master of Education in Instructional Leadership

Experience (Years Teaching):
11 years

Years at CUSSD:
5 years

David Thivierge


Science/Biology Teacher

(619) 201-8829

Physical Science/Biology

Phil 4:13 – “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.”

I have a poster in my classroom that says, “The Future of the World is in My Classroom Today”. I come to work everyday in hopes to contribute to the growth mindset of my students to be better today than they were yesterday. My main goal is to teach students how to tackle life with God by sharing some of my experiences with them. I also want to invest in guiding students to learn to critically analyze the world around them and become productive members of society.

Having worked in the Navy for 24 years, I’ve seen the world, been involved in 3 major military conflicts, and developed numerous skill sets. I retired in 2011 from Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Three, stationed out of Coronado, where I worked as a Dolphin and Sea Lion Trainer in support of Global Operations and EOD missions. After retiring, I spent the next seven years in college, SDSU and Point Loma Nazarene University, where I earned a BA, Teaching Credential, and a Masters in Education. I then taught Anatomy, Physiology, and Advanced Physiology at Coronado High for a while before joining the team here at CHS. I love to travel, camp, scuba dive, ride quads and dirt bikes, and spend time in the islands on vacation. Love Grand Cayman and Aruba!!

Muskegon, MI

BA from SDSU and minor in Kinesiology, Masters in Education and Teaching Credential from Point Loma Nazarene University

24 year Navy Combat Veteran, 15 years Navy Instructor (Physical Education/Kinesiology), 3 years JH/HS teacher: PE, Anatomy, Physiology, Adv. Physiology, Physical Science, Life Science, Biology


Kelly Valdez


Spanish Teacher


Roles/Subjects Taught:
Spanish 1 & Spanish 3

Life Verse:
Galatians 1:5 “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. ”

Why do you choose to work for Christian Unified?
I love teaching Spanish and I love Jesus so Christian High is a great place for me to teach Spanish and share the love of God. Plus, I have always had a heart for adolescents and have been involved in Jr High/High School ministry for many years. I also love the community that comes out of working alongside other brothers and sisters in Christ.

Interesting facts:
I have 4 brothers and I am the only sister and we are very close in age and close in our love for each other.
I am very competitive and love sports.
I hope to visit every Spanish-speaking country before I die.

San Diego!

James Madison University Bachelor’s in Spanish and a minor in Secondary Education

Experience (Years Teaching):
Since 2013

Years at CUSSD:
Since 2017

Andy Valdez




Roles/Subjects Taught:
US History 7 and 8

Life Verse:
Philippians 1:6

Why do you work for Christian Unified?
I have a desire for students to grow both academically and spiritually. Not only do I want them to learn about history and think critically about it, but I also pray that my students grow in their knowledge of who they are and what they have in Christ.

Interesting facts:
Love to travel with my wife
Padres Fan (Former Chargers Fan)
Lived in Austria

San Diego

UCSD- BA in History PLNU-Credential and MATL

Experience (Years Teaching):

Years at CUSSD:

Paul Woolf


Technology Teacher


Roles/Subjects Taught:
Graphic Design, AP Computer Science, JH Video Production, HS Video Production, CEO Challenge

Life Verse:
Isaiah 58:6-7 “Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?”

Why do you work for Christian Unified?
I teach because God has placed this calling upon my life, but I love teaching and investing in students for the Kingdom of God. I am humbled to be a part of discipling young hearts, and am excited to see inward change through the power of Jesus.

Interesting facts:
I love bowling
I once had dreadlocks
I became a youth pastor at the age of 19
I love Jesus

San Diego

BA in Bible Exposition, Masters of Divinity

Experience (Years Teaching):
13 years

Years at CUSSD:
First year

July 2 update

July 2, 2020

Dear Parents,

Thank you for your support as we revise our plans for Graduation 2020. As I mentioned yesterday, this change was due to the County of San Diego Office of Health & Human Services contacting us to make a change to our planned ceremony. We had been planning to apply the outdoor worship service guidelines to our Graduation ceremony, but they said we must comply to the attached guidelines that are specific to graduation ceremonies. I wanted to follow up some additional information about our upcoming plans.

Here are the updated details for Graduation 2020:

Graduation date will remain next Friday, July 10 at 6:30 PM and will last 1- 1.5 hours.
This will include the traditional graduation ceremony and will still take place on the stage in the Generations parking lot where families will watch from their vehicles.
There will be two large LED screens to view the ceremony from a distance, and it will also be live streamed.
One car per graduate will be allowed, and families will need to remain in their cars at all times. If it is not possible for your family to ride on one car, please respond to this email with your request, and we will do our best to make special arrangements. Please be aware that our number of parking spaces in front of the stage are limited.
Students will come up on the stage in groups of 10 to accept their diplomas, and get their pictures taken. Students will need to wear masks at all times, but can take it off for pictures.
Students will go back to their family cars after they exit the stage.
Gathering on campus before, during or after the ceremony will not be allowed.

When: July 10 at 6:30 PM

Where: 2100 Greenfield Dr. El Cajon, CA 92020. Please enter at the front gate to check in with your graduate and immediate family in the car.

Will graduates be accepting your diplomas on stage? Yes, grads will be called to the stage in alphabetical groups of 10, to accept their diplomas in a non-contact format.

Will students needs to ride with their families? Yes! When entering the parking lot families will be greeted and graduates will need to be in the car. We have limited seating so If students is not in the car, and arrangements have not been made in advance, you will not be able to park in the lot in front of the stage.

How will you know my student has arrived? Please write your senior’s last name on a piece of paper and place it on your dashboard before you enter. This will help us to know who is in attendance.

Can I bring my extended family? Unfortunately only immediate family can attend, and we can only accommodate 1 car per student. If it is not possible for your family to ride on one car, please email your request to kathy.alesi@christianunified.org.

Are there restrictions on vehicles? Most cars and trucks are acceptable. No motorhomes or oversized vehicles please. Larger trucks and vans may be placed in the back row so visibility for others is not affected.

Can graduates wear leis? Yes, they are welcome to wear Leis!

How will families take photos if they have to stay in their cars? A photographer has been hired to take Graduation photos of each graduate, and they will be sent to your family free of charge after the ceremony.
Attached you will find the County of San Diego Office of Health and Human Services “Drive-In or Drive-Thru Protocol for Commencement Ceremonies.” We appreciate your support and adherence to these guidelines. I am looking forward to celebrating this memorable day with you and your graduates!
Thank you for your support and partnership,
With Gratitude,
Susan Lanz
Christian Junior/Senior HIgh

Christian Junior High Promotion 2020

Our 2020 eighth graders weren’t able to have an in-person promotion ceremony, but we celebrated online in this meaningful program, including awards, words from their teachers and administration, student testimonies, and more.

Covid Can’t Keep Athletes Down

By Fiona Ostermann

Due to the pandemic, we have not only experienced social limitations but unfortunate endings of sports seasons. Though this may be the end of 2020 spring sports, our coaches are looking forward to kicking off next year with big hopes for athletes. Questions from how to stay in shape all the way to making varsity, coaches have shared with us their aspirations and insights as well as tearful farewells to this season. 

When quarantined, adapting can be difficult. Not being in a desired physical state is often disheartening, though Coach Vickie Carrington has created a self care plan including: “more time to delve more into depth of personal devotions, time to journal, more quiet time to pray” and spending great quality time with herself.  Physically staying active, Coach Carrington, Coach Beezer, and Mr. Kirwan have all continued to be motivated for what is to come. With bright hopes for the future, Coach Beezer has “been in communication with the San Diego City Conference and CIF concerning COVID-19 and working together with them to keep our student-athletes safe and planning the return for our athletes at the appropriate time.” Though competing might be over, athletes continue to work hard too! Track runners are lacing up shoes while many of us are just waking up. Intense workouts continue online for these young athletes.. And you thought 8 Bell three days a week was hard!

Though teams are pushing through, staying positive is a challenge of its own. Vickie Carrington says, “this is the time that kids work on their games “championships are built during the offseason!” This time can cause mental stress for the athletes, as many were looking towards this time to prepare for travel ball and college viewing sessions. With the uncertainties, kids are panicking and worrying.  But they shouldn’t. It’s going to work out, there are hundreds of thousands of athletes in the same position, which makes self-care, fitness, and nutrition very vital. Not to mention taking care of their grades to be more competitive in scholarship packages!!” Though life is on pause, being patient all in His timing is key in moving forward with any situation. Coaches all share the same setbacks not being able to see their athletes face to face and missing out on the competition and rewarding records. Keeping their heads up, staying busy and taking pride in the small accomplishments during weeks of constant “Groundhog days” (as Coach Kirwan describes). 

Coming back, making up for lost time, is our future teammates. With many seniors leaving, this opens more room for those who desire to make the varsity cuts. To achieve the status means to stay in shape and work hard with an all-in attitude. Self-evaluate and build off your potential and there’s high chances in scoring one for the team! Vickie Carrington tells her athletes, “I don’t care if you are or if you’re NOT the best player on the team, we know how to develop players, and we know how to get you ready for the next level, but the key to succeeding in my program is that you must have HEART, you have to be willing to grind without complaining and making excuses, you must be coachable and be a great teammate (putting your team before self), and you have to be about it in the classroom! You do that, you’ll thrive on my teams”. A “great recipe” for success as she calls it!

Goals moving forward vary from increasing the enthusiasm of our campus to staying fit spiritually, mentally, and physically. Coaches hope to be more intentional on the field, playing for an audience of One. With much confidence in the CHS community returning, coaches look forward to, “an exciting year next year as we weep this virus behind us, learn from it how to be there for each other, and move forward with a new appreciation for freedom and interacting with each other daily” (specifically said by Coach Kirwan!). May seem like we’re chasing dreams, but achievement awaits on the other side of quarantine!

May Update

Dear Parents and Guardians,

The Leadership Team is happy to inform you that Christian Unified School District is moving forward with plans to reopen our campuses on August 18, 2020.

In our districtwide planning process, we are considering what is best for our students academically, spiritually, socially and emotionally as we consider changes to campuses, classrooms, and school-wide activities. You can expect an email from your school principal by July 31, 2020, detailing more information for the coming school year. Our priority is your child’s health and safety.

Lastly, we feel so strongly about the importance of a solid Christian education during this time, that we are committed to doing what we can to ensure that any family that feels called to Christian Unified Schools, is provided the opportunity to make that desire a reality. This is especially true for our current Christian Unified families. We are looking forward to getting our school community back together again. Our offices are available to answer any questions you have, so please don’t hesitate to contact your school office.

Have a great summer!

The CUSSD Leadership Team

Coronavirus Stay-at-Home Order

This week marks the end of week 7 of Mobile learning. Our staff seems to really be in the swing of this now, and we’re enjoying having our remote staff meetings, and sharing tools, devotionals and staying connected in ways we never have before. We heading into May and rounding the corner toward the end of the school year and the many events that come along with it.  

I have several updates for you today. (It’s a long list….stay strong!)

8th Grade Promotion: Since the local and state health guidelines remain the same for large groups, we have decided It’s important to allow our 8th graders the opportunity to have closure on the school year now rather than into the future.  We have made the decision to hold a virtual 8th grade promotion on May 21st. The plan is to have an online service for the public that mimics our traditional service as much as possible, honors our students, and is available in a format that friends and relatives can join.  We are working diligently to pull this together, and I will share more details next week.

Class of 2020 Graduation: Due to the fact that State and local health restrictions for large gatherings, this has not been scheduled yet. However, we are planning on a live graduation. When we are able to choose a date, we will communicate our graduation plans with our Christian Community asap. 

Seniors: We continue to LOVE highlighting our seniors and have a few other surprises lined up for them! Check out one of our social media pages and share some love with our amazing senior class.  Please join “chsasb” or “Christianunified” on Instagram, or our Christian Jr/Sr. High PTF Group on Facebook. These are perfect places to see what’s happening, and support our seniors over these next few weeks. 

Last Day for Seniors: The last day of classes for seniors will be Wednesday, May 13th. We will hold a senior drop off/pick day for books, sports uniforms, supplies, yearbooks, etc. May 15th if restrictions allow.   Details to follow.

Last Day for Underclassmen: The last day for 7th-11th graders will be Wednesday, May 20th.  We will hold a drop off/pick a day for books, sports uniforms, supplies, yearbooks, etc. on Saturday, May 16th and Thursday May 22nd if restrictions allow.  Details to follow.
      Note: The drop-off, pick-up dates may be moved out if restrictions are not lifted by then.

Finals: Reminder there will be no finals this year. We wanted to take some pressure off families right now and relieve any unnecessary stress.  Hopefully this will place a greater emphasis on student’s daily work, and give them a little breathing room to finish strong.  

Schoolwork and Support: Schoolwork has been pared down as much as possible during mobile learning so students are able to focus on learning the concepts they need to know.  At the same time, teachers and administrators are placing a huge emphasis on supporting and personalizing learning for students and being extremely flexible. Please be in communication with your student’s teachers if needed. Our goal is for 100% of our students to succeed this quarter.  We know that if we can facilitate that right now, they will be set up for the best possible continuation of an excellent Christian education next year (either here or in college) with no gaps in learning. 

Parent Survey: We want to hear your thoughts!  One thing that helps us continue to grow as a school is to hear your constructive feedback. Expect to see a parent survey in your inbox next week, where you will get a chance to tell us what you love and what you think needs to improve here at CHS/CJHS. There will be fabulous prizes for parents that take this 5-10 minute survey.

Teacher Appreciation Week is coming next week, May 4-8th. Our PTF is developing a wonderful plan to encourage our teachers next week. If you are interested in supporting this project, please see our News and Notes today, or go to our Christian Jr/Sr. High PTF Group on Facebook, or contact Kelly Powell directly at kelly.powell@christianunified.org.  AP tests will look a little different this year. The tests usually take 4 hours, but this year they will be done from home on your own device and will include 30 minutes of setup and 50 minutes of testing. Please contact your teacher directly for specific instructions on testing for their class.  
AP Tests Dates are: 

  • Monday, May 11th, 1pm, US Government and Politics
  • Tuesday, May 12th, 11am, Calculus AB
  • Wednesday, May 13th, 11am, English Literature and Composition
  • Thursday, May 14th, 1pm, Physics 1
  • Friday, May 15th, 11am, US History
  • Monday, May 18th, 11am, Biology
  • Thursday, May 21st, 11am, World History
  • May 26th is the deadline for AP CSP and Art

I am so grateful for all you have done to support your students from home during this time and for your faith and trust in our amazing CUSD faculty and staff.  It’s not an easy time, but it’s a privilege to walk through it together.  Enjoy golfing, boating, and going to your favorite parks this weekend!  I sure will. 

Stay Safe. Stay in Christ. 

Thank you for your partnership,

Susan Lanz
Christian Jr./Sr. High 

Family Statement of Faith

  • The Statement of Faith does not exhaust the extent of our beliefs.  The Bible itself, as the inspired, inerrant, plenary, and infallible Word of God that speaks with final authority concerning truth, morality, and the proper conduct of mankind, is the sole and final source of all that we believe.  For purposes of CUSSD’s faith, doctrine, practice, policy, and discipline, Shadow Mountain Community Church is CUSSD’s final interpretive authority on the Bible’s meaning and application.
  • We believe that there is one God eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
  • We believe in the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, in His virgin birth, and His sinless life, in His miracles, in His vicarious and atoning death through the shedding of His blood, in His bodily resurrection on the third day, in His ascension to the right hand of the Father, and In His personal pre-millennial return to rapture His Church before the Tribulation and His glorious appearing to set up His Millennial Kingdom.   
  • We believe that salvation is by grace alone through faith, apart from works by the merit of the shed blood of Christ, and that the born-again believer is eternally secure in Christ.
  • We believe in the present ministry of the Holy Spirit by whose indwelling the Christian is enabled to live a godly life.
  • We believe in the resurrection of both the saved and the lost; they that are saved unto the resurrection of life, and they that are lost unto the resurrection of damnation.
  • We believe in the spiritual unity of believers in our Lord Jesus Christ.
  • We believe in the individual priesthood of the believer.
  • We believe life begins at conception.
  • We believe that the term “marriage” has only one meaning; the uniting of one biological man and one biological woman in a single, exclusive union, as delineated in Scripture. (Gen. 2:18-25.)  We believe that God intends sexual intimacy to occur only between a biological man and a biological woman who are married to each other. (1 Cor. 6:18; 7:2-5; Heb. 13:4.)  We believe that God has commanded that no intimate sexual activity be engaged in outside of a marriage between a man and a woman.
  • We believe that the Scripture dictates standards of sexual behavior. The unique roles of the male and female are clearly defined in Scripture. Any promiscuity, homosexuality, gender identity issues or other deviations from Biblical principles is a sin that is offensive to God (Matt. 5:18-19; I Cor. 6: 9-10, 19-20; Eph. 5:3-5; 1 Thess. 4:3-8).


We expect our students to be:

Influential Christians who:

  • Accept the Lord Jesus Christ as personal Savior.
  • Apply Biblical principles as the foundation for moral and spiritual living.
  • Develop and maintain an informed Biblical worldview that shapes their lifestyle choices.
  • Demonstrate God’s love through acts of service and sharing the gospel.

Investigative Learners who:

  • Master a body of knowledge, vocabulary, and skills.
  • Understand, analyze, and order relationships among facts.
  • Assess their needs and apply appropriate strategies to learn concepts and skills.
  • Actively use the tools of learning throughout their lifetime.

Perceptive Thinkers who:

  • Identify, analyze, discriminate, prioritize, and apply information.
  • Have the ability to solve problems by thinking independently and logically.
  • Make responsible and well-reasoned decisions.
  • Actively seek and apply absolute truths.

Effective Communicators who:

  • Demonstrate the ability to accurately understand, interpret, and exchange information.
  • Communicate with eloquence, creativity, and persuasion in writing and in speech.
  • Develop and utilize artistic expression.
  • Proclaim and defend the gospel with wisdom, wit and respect.

Quality Producers who:

  • Demonstrate a growing knowledge of curriculum.
  • Develop their God-given talents and abilities.
  • Display standards of excellence in all pursuits.
  • Work well with others toward a common goal.

Responsible Citizens who:

  • Respect and submit to authority.
  • Actively protect and promote freedom and democracy.
  • Enjoy God’s creation and live as good stewards within it.
  • Recognize and contribute to meeting the needs of others.    

research links & INformation

Web Research Links:

Grolier Online (includes Encyclopedia Americana)
User ID: christianhs
Password: patriot

EBSCO Host Research Databases – Full-text Periodical and Reference Articles Online
User ID: christianhs
Password: patriot2019!

SIRS Knowledge Source – Periodical articles online
User ID: CA3906
Password: PATRIOT

San Diego County Library Website
Enter library card number; enter last four digits or phone number for PIN or, for newer users, make your own PIN.