School Staff

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Arden, Brenda
2nd Grade Teacher

Mrs. Brenda Arden is a Nebraska native, attended Concordia University in Seward, Nebraska, and graduated with a B.S. in Education with a concentration in early childhood and a minor in mathematics.  This is Brenda’s twenty-first year teaching at St. James.  Brenda serves on the St. James Auction Committee as the secretary and the PTL Executive Board as the staff representative.  Brenda enjoys spending time with her husband Michael going to Purdue sporting events and walking the West Lafayette trails.  Brenda is thankful to be a part of the St. James family and is excited to begin her twelfth year teaching second grade.  It is a blessing to share the love of Christ with the children and families at St. James. 

Her favorite verse is:  "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your path straight."  Proverbs 3:5-6

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Dombkowski, Amy
5th Grade and 6th-8th Social Studies

Amy Dombkowski grew up in Michigan City, Indiana. She is a graduate of Indiana University and received her Colloquy from Concordia University.  Her children are SJS graduates.  Her son is a sophomore in high school and her daughter is a sophomore at Indiana University. Ms. D is thankful for St. James Lutheran School and the blessing it has been in her life. She loves her students both past and present! This is her 26th year at St. James.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.  Jeremiah 29:11


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Farrington, Jenna
Middle School Math, PE and 8th Grade Homeroom Teacher
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Goodspeed, Amanda
Director of Music

Mrs. Amanda Goodspeed continues in her 8th year as Director of Music for St. James Church and School.  A graduate of St. James school in 1994, Mrs. Goodspeed is privileged to continue to teach and share the music of our Lutheran heritage.  In addition to school music, Mrs. Goodspeed is faculty advisor for the volunteer librarians.  Mrs. Goodspeed encourages all parents and congregation members to join the adult choir, handbell choir and instrumental groups which she directs.  When not at church/school (no, she does not live at church), Mrs. Goodspeed enjoys providing experiences for her children Amelia (Fifth Grade), Joey (Third Grade) and Heidi (PreK). 

Her confirmation/favorite verse is: The Lord is my light and my salvation, — whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid? Psalm 27:1

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Hamilton, Cara
3rd Grade Teacher

Mrs. Cara Hamilton enjoys teaching at St. James. Originally from Chicagoland, she moved to Lafayette in 2002 to teach at St. James.   She loves spending time with her husband, Craig and daughter, Laura, who also attends St. James. Mrs. Hamilton has a cat, Maggie.  She enjoys playing games with her family, bike rides, and hiking.  

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Huth, Carol
Resource/Assessment Coordinator

Carol has worked at St. James since August 1996.  She is a native of Lafayette who received her Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education with an endorsement in Special Education from Purdue University.  Carol and her husband, Dave, have a son, Daniel, who is serving as a Youth Minister  at Trinity Lutheran Church in Davison. Michigan.

Carol enjoys being with her granddaughter, Liana, as often as possible and traveling with her husband to Wisconsin to visit relatives and go to Green Bay Packer games.

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Jeffries, Kourtney
K-2 Classroom Aide
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Keiser, Lynn
Middle School Language Arts Specialist & 7th Grade Homeroom

Mrs.  Lynn Keiser

     Middle School Language Arts

     Seventh Grade Homeroom--Spelling Bee, Speech, and Drama “Coach”--Cheerleading Supervisor--Jr/Sr High Church Youth Coordinator


     Mrs. Keiser loves teaching at St. James!  She is thankful to be able to teach a Christ-centered curriculum and humbled to be able to serve our Lord in this mission.

     A graduate of Purdue (BA) and IU (MA), Mrs. Keiser is happy when either the Boilers or the Hoosiers win when they play!

     Mrs. Keiser has a life license in English and Psychology education and has taught every grade her license will allow, grades 6-12.  She has taught at Mitchell HS, New Palestine HS, and Rossville MS/HS. She taught extended maternity and illness leaves at Delta HS, Fountain Central and Benton Central, as well as subbed at all of the area high schools, while her children were growing up.

     Mrs. Keiser and her husband, Dann, travel to see their four children (Lauren and hubby Nathan and son Jonathan in Midland, Texas; Lindsey in Washington DC; Licia in Indianapolis, and Daniel in Phoenix, Arizona).  When she is not visiting children, she loves to spend time at her country home in Warren County, gardening and listening to the roosters crow.

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Northington, Ashley
School Secretary

Originally from Chicago, Mrs. Northington attended the University of Louisville and graduated with a B.S. in Communication with coursework in Elementary Education. Ashley moved to Lafayette five years ago and this makes her fifth school year at St. James.  Ashley enjoys being with her husband, puppy and five children: Aidan (11) Madison (10) Ethan (9) Grayson (6) and Hannah (5).  Mrs. Northington thoroughly enjoys traveling with her family, attending sporting events, staying active and participating in the local community.  Ashley is thankful to be around the children at St. James and is blessed to be a part of the St. James Family.  


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Rider, Donna
Middle School Science Specialist and 6th Grade Homeroom

Donna has enjoyed teaching God's children for more than 30 years.  She and attended college at Concordia University, Ann Arbor and has taught in Lutheran schools in Indiana, Illinois, and Michigan. She is married to Paul Rider and has the privilege of being a stepmother to six children. She lives in Delphi, Indiana.  She is very excited to share God's love and the wonder of His creation as she teaches the wonderful students of St James.


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Ripke, Kris
4th Grade Teacher

Mrs. Kris Ripke teaches 4th grade and is a member of St. James . She graduated from St. James in 1974, taught here from 1987-1990 and returned in 2003. She is also a registered nurse. Kris is married to Jerry Ripke, and they have five children and 3 grandchildren.

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Rogers, Jacob

My name is Jacob Rogers and I serve as Principal of St. James Lutheran Church & School. I grew up in Indiana (Purdue University and Colts fan) attending St. James as a student. I have received my Bachelors in Music Education from Indiana State University; Masters in Education: Curriculum & Instruction from the University of Phoenix; and my post-masters from Indiana State University in their Principal licensure program. I also received my Colloquy through Concordia University, Chicago.  I have been a member of the Lutheran church since my cradle days, and enjoy working at St. James every day. The Lutheran church and school community provided great role models in my life that gave me a great education and, more importantly, provided a great foundation of faith for me through the working power of the Holy Spirit. I have been in the education field for 15 years (8 years as a music teacher, 7 years as a principal) and serving schools in Southern Illinois, Ohio, Utah and St. James. My wife and I have 2 boys, who also attend St. James Lutheran School. I enjoy playing the trumpet at church and community functions, trying to play golf, and spending time with my family.

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Roland, Lydia
1st Grade Teacher

Ms. Lydia Roland grew up in Holt, Michigan. She received her training in Elementary Education at Concordia College in River Forest, Illinois. Ms. Roland came to St. James in 1989 to teach first grade. She helps with Scrip, serves on the Auction Committee, and has two cats: Tia and Hanni. A highlight of my summer was a day trip to Chicago with Mrs. Goodspeed, Amelia, Joey and Heidi. We visited Shedd Aquarium and my favorites:  Navy Pier, Millennium Park and Buckingham Fountain. We used/enjoyed nearly 10 modes of transportation!  Our own feet a lot and water taxi and bicycle taxi, to name a few.  It was the BEST DAY EVER! 

My favorite, (mantra) comes from the lyrics to Breath of Heaven.  "Do you wonder as you watch my face. If a wiser one should have had my place?  But I offer all I am for the mercy of your plan.  Help me be strong.  Help me.  Breath of Heaven hold me together.  Be forever near me. Breath of Heaven."  We are reminded to just breathe. One God-given breath at a time.

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Schoon, Amy
Pre-Algebra Teacher

I graduated from Purdue University in 1996 with a BS in Math Education. I received my MA in Math Education in 2001 also from Purdue. In 2002, I married my husband, Ben. We have 3 daughters, Maya, a 6th grader, Lyla, a 3rd grader and Cassie, a kindergartner all here at St. James. I taught high school math for 13 years and also taught Geometry one year at St. James.

Tietz, Joan
Art Teacher

I have taught preschool. Second grade, and art in four states. I have 20 + years of teaching art. As Picasso said, Every child is an artist.” The children in my classes are encouraged to be creative while solving problems. This year, we will study, Art through the Ages.” My education is a b.s. in elementary education with endorsements in art and early childhood education.

Matthew 28:20. “ I am with you always.”

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Trautmann, Melissa
Kindergarten Teacher

Melissa has been part of the faculty at St. James since 1996.  She grew up in Valparaiso, Indiana and graduated from Indiana University Northwest with a Bachelors degree in Elementary Education. She completed her colloquy through Concordia University in Chicago and her Masters Degree through Ball State. Melissa has two sons and a step daughter who have all attended St. James.  She lives with her husband Mike and enjoys walking, reading, and going to the beach!

Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous.  Do not be frightened and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.  Joshua 1:9