Admin & Staff

Principal: Kara Kaufman

Kara Kaufman joined Pilgrim as a teacher and parent of two students in 2015.  She has held many roles at Pilgrim, including the sixth and seventh grade homeroom teacher, middle school humanities teacher, and now principal.  Kara graduated magna cum laude from Concordia University, Portland and took her first call to teach at Pilgrim Lutheran School in Santa Monica, California.  While teaching, she completed the SLED administrator’s program with the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod and earned her Master’s degree with Grand Canyon University.  Kara spent seven years serving as a school principal before returning to the classroom in fall of 2015.  In 2022 she took over the role of interim principal until she was officially called to the position in 2023. Kara is also an instructional coach with FACTS, has served on three accreditation site teams with AdvancEd and NLSA, has taught as an adjunct professor, and has been a student teacher supervisor for Grand Canyon University.    She enjoys gardening, cooking, and game/movie nights with her family.  Pilgrim has become an integral part of her family’s life over the past years, and they are grateful to be here. 

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Romans 12:12

Early Childhood Director: Julie Bedard

Julie has a Masters of Education in Early Childhood Curriculum and Instruction. She has served as a classroom teacher and Early Childhood Director for over 20 school years. She is also a popular speaker in early childhood topics for Teachers' Conferences. 

Her teaching philosophy includes a combination of free play, teacher-directed play and guided play. Students learn best through direct experience with objects and people, and it is the job of the teacher to set up the learning environment and schedule in ways that lead the children to learning outcomes. She prefers the term "intellectual" to "academic" in that children not only learn facts but also how to think on their own and solve problems. Social Emotional skills are at the forefront of any good Early Childhood program. Children receive the needed space and direction to learn to show respect for other children and adults and adjust to the classroom environment. 

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

Director of Christian ED: Andrea Gehrke

After 27 years in youth ministry I am an OLD TIMER! While there have been a lot of changes over the years two things remain constant. God’s love for me and for His children. I have degrees in Behavioral Science and Christian Ministry from two different Concordias—Portland and Irvine. I was blessed to spend 4 years in Germany in youth ministry working with Army families in Berlin and International families outside of Frankfurt. The remaining years of my ministry have been here in Oregon—23 at Pilgrim. While traveling around the world, almost always with teenagers, it has become evident in meeting different people that while our cultures are different—Jesus is the one thing we have in common. My favorite part of being in youth ministry is seeing young people express their faith through action in all of their different activities and the thing I am most thankful for are the adults who encourage and mentor our young people. It is my greatest joy to see former youth, some with families of their own, living out their faith in Jesus. One of my favorite promises from God is that NOTHING can separate us from His love that we have in Christ Jesus.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39

Admissions, Marketing & Communications Director: Megan Townshend

Pride leads to disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom. Proverbs 11:2 NLT

Business Manager: Debbie Hendrix

Debbie Hendrix joined the Pilgrim Lutheran staff in 2010. Previously, she has accounting work experience as staff accountant at CPA firms in California and Oregon. Debbie and her husband, Patrick have two sons, Zachary and Ethan who both attended Pilgrim from Preschool/Kindergarten through the 8th grade. As a family, they love to go camping, hiking, and huckleberry picking.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13

Human Resources Manager: Kim Darby

Kim began at Pilgrim Lutheran School in September 1999 as Mrs. Reitmeier’s 3 & 4’s preschool aide. It was the best job ever. Five years later when the church secretary retired, Kim applied for the job and got it. From there the job has evolved! She now handles a variety of jobs from HR and Payroll to Facility Scheduling to Membership Records to Financial duties. When not at work, Kim enjoys spending time with her family, knitting or cross stitching, reading and on occasion, playing the flute. Kim is happily married to David and together they have four children, Michelle, Megan, Jessie & Jayden. Then the REAL best job ever came along in the form of a granddaughter, Luna Rose, who is the apple of their eye. She is looking forward to the birth of their second granddaughter, Amaya Storm.

Even so, let your light shine before men; that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:16

Librarian: Lois Linnemann 

Lois has been a Lutheran educator for 32 years. After earning her Bachelor of Science in elementary education from Concordia University, Chicago; she began her teaching ministry as second grade teacher at a Lutheran school in Ogden, Utah.  In 1987, she was called to teach fifth and sixth grade at Pilgrim and was a classroom teacher, both full time and part time, for 9 more years before becoming school librarian in 2005.  Lois finds joy in working with children and helping them find pleasure in reading. She and her husband, Mark, were married at Pilgrim Lutheran Church in 1988, and together have three children. All three were baptized at Pilgrim and received excellent preschool, elementary and middle school educations at Pilgrim Lutheran School. She says that the teachers at PLCS gave each of her children a strong foundation academically and in their faith, and prepared them for the rigors of high school and college.

“But BLESSED is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7-8

Art Program Director: Sarah Olson

Sarah Olson was born in Invercargill, New Zealand, one of the southernmost cities in the world. Her travel-enthusiast parents took her to many locations abroad, ultimately settling in the United States. She has had the privilege of studying at Parsons School of Design as well as the Art Institute of Portland. An accomplished designer who started out in fashion design and children’s illustration, she transitioned to structural interior design to focus primarily on residential remodels. She has been recognized by the Building Industry Association of Washington and received the 2008 Building Excellence Award for Residential Exterior. Sarah came to Pilgrim Lutheran Christian School by way of her youngest daughter attending Preschool. Shortly after enrolling her daughter it was her love of cooking and her enthusiasm to be a part of the school that she took over the role of “Chef” for the hot lunch program.  Her drive and passion for the school ultimately led to developing a robust Art curriculum. As a creative educator, Sarah’s goal is to continue to expose students to various mediums and techniques to further their growth within the Arts.

Music Program Director: Carol Ewing

Mrs. Ewing is  celebrating her 19th year of teaching at PIlgrim; 29 years total in education. She has previously taught sixth grade, elementary music, and 3 year old preschool in Tennessee, Georgia, and even in the country of Kenya! Currently, she is the pre-school 3’s and 4’s teacher, as well as music instructor for kindergarten through 8th grade.  She also directs the school’s middle school choir, as well as several handbells choirs. Mrs. Ewing loves to see students discover their God-given talents, and their “aha” moments of learning a new skill. In her spare time, Mrs. Ewing loves spending time with her family and friends, going to musical theater, and being “Mimi” to her four grandsons.

For the JOY of the Lord is my strength. - Nehemiah 8:10

Athletic Director | PE | Intervention Specialist: Alisa Benson

Alisa Benson joined Pilgrim’s teaching staff in 2014. She taught Kindergarten until the present school year. Alisa is currently teaching 1st/2nd grade. Alisa graduated from Pacific Lutheran University in 1993 with a BA degree in Japanese Language and Culture. In 1996 she was hired by the JET program to teach English in Japan for one year. Upon returning to the states, Alisa returned to school to receive her Masters Degree in Education from George Fox University where she also completed her ESOL endorsement. Alisa spent four years as a substitute teacher in the Beaverton School District before accepting her position at Pilgrim. Alisa enjoys sports and is currently the Athletics Director. Alisa has three children: Kyle, Julia and Payton. Her son Kyle was both a student and athlete while attending Pilgrim until he was promoted in 2016. Her youngest daughter Payton is currently a student at Pilgrim and plays basketball and soccer for the school teams.

You may not understand NOW what I am doing BUT SOMEDAY, you will. - John 13:7

Office Manager: Audra Correia

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations. Psalm 100:4–5 

Technology Specialist: Kevin Linehan