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Faculty & Staff

Dr. Tami Seddon


Tami Seddon was raised in Carson Valley on her family’s fifth generation ranch. She graduated from Douglas High School in 1985 and attended the University of California, Davis where she received a B.S. in chemistry. She then attended Stanford University where she received a Ph.D. in inorganic chemistry. She returned to Carson Valley and started her family as she worked as a research chemist. She obtained her teaching credential from Sierra Nevada College and was blessed to help Mr. Norm Brauer open Sierra Lutheran High School in 2002. She obtained her colloquy through Concordia University, Irvine in 2011 and a Master’s in Educational Administration from Grand Canyon University in 2017. She currently serves as the Principal, Chemistry teacher, and Academic Olympic Coach. She is the proud parent of three kids – two former Falcons and a future Falcon. She enjoys sharing the gospel with teens, her family, and helping on her family’s ranch and loves to watch the ways that God blesses the SLHS community.


Pastor Mark Duerr

School Chaplain & Theology Coordinator


Pastor Duerr grew up in Bakersfield California. He graduated from Concordia University Irvine with a major in Theology. Upon completing his B.A. in 2013, he moved across the country to St. Louis, Missouri. There he discovered what humidity was and met plenty of friendly people who didn’t know what mountains were. Pastor Duerr moved to Macomb, Michigan, for his Vicarage (one year internship for pastors). While serving at Immanuel Lutheran Church and school, he discovered his love for teaching. (What could be more fun or more rewarding than preparing the next generation of Christians for this world we live in?) He graduated from Concordia Seminary St. Louis in 2017. Pastor Duerr loves to learn new things, especially when it comes to the field of Theology and its application in our world today. Nothing could be more important than our faith in Jesus, the Christ. Pastor Duerr will be teaching the most of the theology classes and is in charge of implementing the new Theology curriculum.

Ms. Tracey Cornell

Business Manager

Tracey Cornell was born and raised in Southern California. She was blessed to be raised by parents that love and serve the Lord.  She accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior at an early age. Tracey moved to Northern Nevada in 1995 with her two small children and parents. She loves the beauty of the Carson Valley which is a reminder of the awesome Lord we serve. She’s grateful the Lord brought her to Sierra Lutheran to serve the students and families. Tracey has two grown children and three grandchildren.

Mr. Michael Nelson

Athletic Director & Teacher

Michael Nelson moved here from Kansas City, MO after he graduated in 2006 from Concordia University, Nebraska with a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education. His emphasis is in mathematics and theology. Additionally, he holds a M.Ed. in Educational Administration. Michael has been our athletic director since 2010 and is also the girls basketball coach. He and his wife have three children. He is a giant Packers fan and loves to watch the Astros.

 missing-student-id-18 Mr. Ben Walther

Technology Director & Teacher

Ben Walther was born in St. Louis, MO and grew up in Sheboygan, WI. He attended Concordia University Wisconsin, and received two degrees: a B.A. in Business Education and a B.S. in Computer Science. After graduation, he received a call to Racine Lutheran High School where he taught computer, business, and P.E. classes for 11 years. At Racine, he served as Technology Director and coached Volleyball, Varsity Basketball, and Varsity Golf. An avid St. Louis sports fan, he roots for the Cardinals, Blues, and Rams. He is also a Michigan Wolverine fan – Go Blue!


 missing-student-id-11 Mrs. Kitty Murphy

Staff Development Director & Teacher

Kitty Murphy was born and raised in North Dakota and moved to Carson Valley 30 years ago. She received her BS Degree from Minot State University, and later earned her Master’s Degree in Literacy Studies from UNR. After 30 of teaching in Douglas County Public Schools, Kitty is anxiously looking forward to teaching in a Christian school where Jesus is the focus of the everyday environment. Outside of work Kitty enjoys hiking, reading, singing, working out at the gym, and spending time with her granddaughter. She will be teaching US History and PE, along with staff development.

Ms. Katie Allin

Administrative Assistant/Community Relations & Development

Miss Allin moved to Reno from San Antonio, TX. Homeschooled 1st-12th grades, she went on to complete a B.A. in Literature with 8-12 Teaching Certification from University of Houston and graduated Summa Cum Laude. She has worked with a variety of students and grade levels in the subject of English, and taught dance for eight years. She is passionate about providing an education that merges the traditional with technological advances and making sure that our students have a solid foundation in both skills and faith to succeed in the future. Having been involved in many different ministries at her church, from youth to children to worship, she is thrilled to bring those skills with her to the faith-based environment of SLHS.

Ms. Sandy Goins

Administrative Assistant

Sandy Goins was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. She married, had two sons, and moved to Texas. She became a Christian in 2000. In 2004, her husband died from cancer prompting her move to Carson City to share the gospel with her family. Sandy has been involved with Teen ministry for 12 years. She has served both Early Teen and Teen Community Bible Study. Currently, she volunteers at Life Choices Community Pregnancy Clinic on the HOPE Team, presenting information to teens in the Carson Valley community.  Sandy is blessed by her two sons, and welcomes a new daughter-in-law into her family. She truly enjoys serving  the students and families of Sierra Lutheran High School.

Mr. Howard Houghton

Facilities Manager

Howard Houghton has spent a combined 35 years in construction design and management and facilities management working for organizations such as Harley-Davidson Financial Services, the Bellagio Hotel & Casino and FedEx.  Mr. Houghton holds numerous credentials in Business and Facilities Management, First-Responder instruction, as well as a Certificate in Biblical Studies. In 2010, the Lord impressed upon Mr. Houghton that he should focus less on business and more on family.  Being offered the position at SLHS was an answer to a prayer he hadn’t prayed and he is now looking forward to the next few years when his boys will be students at SLHS.

Ms. Lynn Ballantyne



Miss Ballantyne grew up in Ypsilanti, Michigan. She attended Concordia University in Ann Arbor, Michigan and earned her B.A. in 2014 in Secondary Education with a major in Math and a minor in History. Her first call was to Danville Lutheran School in the cornfields of Illinois. After teaching there for three years, she moved to the mountains of Nevada to teach and share God’s love with the students and families of Sierra Lutheran. In her spare time, Miss Ballantyne enjoys reading and playing guitar.

Mrs. Jenny Cochran


Jenny Cochran moved to the Valley over 13 years ago from the Bay Area.  She has a BA from California Polytechnic State University, SLO and is a ACE certified fitness trainer, a Registered Yoga Trainer and a Yoga For Athletes Team Trainer.  Jenny began her career in the business world, but decided to work part time in the Fitness industry when her children were small.  After substitute teaching at SLHS, Jenny found her passion.  She is currently enrolled in the Masters program at Sierra Nevada College to earn her MAT. In addition to Anatomy, Health and Spanish classes, Jenny enjoys her role as the SLHS College and Career Counselor.  She is daily inspired by the students’ love for the Lord, and their passion to follow his word.

Mrs. Heather Jackson


Heather Jackson graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in Mechanical Engineering.  During her college years, she served as a missionary in Durban, South Africa for 18 months.  Upon college graduation she returned home to the Carson Valley where she worked as a test engineer at Bently Nevada.  She has spent the last several years as a private math tutor for students in the Carson Valley while focusing on raising her family.  Heather and her husband, Bo, have four active boys.  Her family enjoys mountain biking, backpacking, rock climbing, and exploring the beautiful world God has created for us.  She is excited to join the Sierra Lutheran staff and teach Pre-Calculus.

Ms. Denise Klitse



Denise Klitsie was born and raised in Southern California near the beach, and found Christ when she was 19. She received her BA Degree in Illustration from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA. Right out of college, Denise was a freelance illustrator for about a year before she met her future husband and landed a job as a Layout Artist with Walt Disney Feature Animation. After eight years, she left Disney to start a family. She recently moved to Nevada in June 2013. Denise has always maintained a studio in her home; she has been busy with illustration work since 2010 and paints in between. For many years she has dreamed, prayed, and imagined teaching. She woke up at 3am last May with the thought, clear as a bell…. “Monday morning contact Sierra Lutheran about the art teacher position.” We are so thankful that God has brought her to us!

Mrs. Heather Kois


Heather Kois was born and raised in Boise, Idaho. She graduated from Concordia University, Nebraska, where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Secondary Education with a comprehensive subject endorsement in literature, and a music minor. She moved to Carson City in the summer of 2013. She teaches all levels of English.

Mr. Martin Kois


Mr. Kois grew up in Omaha, Nebraska.  Like most of his 6 siblings, he attended Concordia University in Seward, Nebraska, where he met his wife, Mrs. Kois, and earned his Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education with subject endorsements in biology and theater.  Mr. Kois considers last year’s production of Godspell to be his proudest achievement in the area of theater.  When not teaching, leading drama, or spending time with his beautiful wife and adorable son Jesse, Mr. Kois enjoys acting with the BAC improv troupe, birding, and video games.

Mr. Brandon Neal



Brandon Neal was born and raised in Orange County, California. He received his B.A. in History and Political Thought from Concordia University Irvine, along with his California Single Subject Credential in Social Science. During his time at Concordia, Mr. Neal met Mrs. Neal during a month-long Roman history course in Rome, Italy. In addition to teaching, Mr. Neal has experience working in high school youth ministry as he loves getting to connect with students and help them grow in their faith. He will be teaching social studies, PE, and Theology, as well as coaching football and baseball. Mr. Neal loves sports (Go, Pack, Go!), video games, and Marvel movies.

Mrs. Danika Neal



Danika Neal grew up in Napa, California, before moving to SoCal to study at Concordia University Irvine. There, she obtained her B.A. in History & Political Thought, Lutheran Teaching Certificate, and California Single Subject Credential in Social Science. In addition to teaching history, Mrs. Neal has experience as a writing consultant to college and graduate-level students across various disciplines. She and Mr. Neal were married this past summer in Napa and feel incredibly blessed to be teaching at the same school. Mrs. Neal will be teaching World History, American Literature, and Theology, as well as coaching JV Volleyball.