Rogers Elementary Welcomes New Staff

August 19, 2016 | Clare Thompson

Due to two resignations and one retirement, Rogers Adventist School (RAS) in College Place, Wash., needed to find a strings director, third- and fourth-grade teacher, and principal.

Melissa Claridge, one of Rogers’ part-time junior high teachers, is taking the third- and fourth-grade position. “My passion has always been for third- and fourth-graders. I appreciate their big hearts and enthusiasm for life," she explains. "They are willing to participate and be silly. They are in the midst of forming their own opinions and are passionate about their beliefs. They are curious and ready to delve into researching the answers to their questions. Being a part of their growth and walk with Jesus is an honor.”

“We’ve seen how Melissa builds strong relationships with her students and colleagues and are thrilled to have her join our team full time," says Clare Thompson, outgoing principal. "We look forward to the contributions she will make to our students and school family.”

The new strings director, Holly Blackwelder Carpenter, is a graduate of Rogers School. Since returning to Walla Walla so her children could attend Rogers, she has built a full violin studio. She is the Japan Seattle Suzuki Institute director and a member of the Suzuki Association of the Americas' board of directors.

“My desire to fill this position comes from a deep passion for instructing young people in the art of music and my even deeper desire to serve my Lord and my church," says Carpenter. "I see the RAS strings program as providing not only an opportunity for its own students to continue to grow in the arts, but to be an outreach to other students in the community who may join the program.”

“Holly Carpenter is a deeply committed instructor, who loves her students and rejoices with them over the music they make," says Jeremy Beam, RAS personnel committee chairman. "She cannot envision a more fulfilling career than teaching our young people. Rogers Adventist School is excited to have her join our team.”

Holley Bryant, the new RAS principal, comes from Walla Walla University, where she has been the marketing and human relations director. Prior to that, she served as principal of Hood View Junior Academy in Boring, Ore. “I have a huge passion for Seventh-day Adventist Christian education — not only for my two young children, but also for the future of our church," says Bryant. "I’m so excited for the opportunity to not only support and maintain the current RAS program and culture, but also for the chance to think 'outside of the box' — to be creative and innovative as we continue to make Seventh-day Adventist Christian education relevant in our church and local communities.”

Greg Dodds, RAS board chairman, agrees. "We are absolutely delighted that Holley Bryant will be the next principal of Rogers School," he says. "She brings passion, professionalism, experience and visionary Christian leadership. Most importantly, she cares deeply about children and each of their spiritual journeys.”

The RAS familiy searched the world over and found top-notch, dedicated personnel to join the experienced, wise and devoted staff for their school. They’re expecting 2016–17 to be a stellar year as Christ continues to lead this school. If you know children who would benefit from attending school here, please contact the principal at