Our teachers and staff are committed followers and lovers of Christ who are united in serving the Lord through the field of education. We believe, above all else, that we are to "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind.'" (Luke 10:27a)
Mrs. Erin Ciulla
Head of School
Mrs. Ciulla, together with her husband, Mr. James Ciulla, founded Odessa Christian School in 2008 out of obedience to the Lord’s calling. Mrs. Ciulla holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from the University of Tampa. Prior to founding Odessa Christian School, she worked at a group home for young people with developmental disabilities for 15 years, including 10 as co-director. During that time, Mrs. Ciulla developed with her mother-in-law (and co-director at the group home), Mrs. Diane Ciulla, an equine therapy program for individuals with emotional and developmental disabilities, focused on the therapeutic and learning benefits of being active in nature, and adventured with Mr. Ciulla and their two sons.
From Mrs. Ciulla:
I love Jesus, I love to learn, and I love adventure! As Head of School at OCS, my heart is to combine all three of these in a challenging, inspirational, and joyful educational experience for each and every one of our students. The thrill of seeing students grow and discover they are learning not only content, but also how to learn, how to create, and how to live – for Jesus, others, and self – is such a joy! I rejoice at being a part of teachers and students connecting over a math hurdle, writing challenge, or spiritual breakthrough, and count it an honor to be called to this position.
I pray every parent recognizes and embraces the ideals of an education from a biblical worldview and growth mindset focus, and that instills perseverance and personal responsibility in their children – not only at school, but also for life. From learning to read to traipsing around Spanish Colonial ruins, from multiplication facts to writing, producing, and acting in a full length play, learning is what one makes of their opportunities. Learning is about so much more than textbooks and standardized tests. OCS shines the light on opportunities – students learn how to embrace them!
My favorite activities include reading (I may have a book problem) - preferably with some hot tea and our two dogs on either side of me on the couch, and adventuring with my family and friends, especially if it involves the outdoors, water, mystery, and/or history. While I love to read, I am hard pressed to name just one favorite book, though, if I had to choose, Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte) would probably be way up there, along with pretty much anything by Alcott, Rosenberg, and Grisham. Braveheart, Sound of Music, Downton Abbey, and Seinfeld are all on my screen time list. I hold unwaveringly to God’s word, and I am pretty sure I am divergent. J
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.
Mrs. Amanda Mummau
Curriculum and Instructional Specialist
Upper Grades Teacher
Mrs. Mummau holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in elementary education with a minor in Bible from Clearwater Christian College. She married her best friend, Abe, in 2002, taught in public school for 4 years before taking time off to raise her girls, and has been teaching for 9 years at OCS. Mrs. Mummau and her family have been a part of OCS since the very beginning, and, in May 2021, her oldest daughter will have gone from Kindergarten to graduation at OCS!
Mrs. Mummau is famous for answering questions with a question to help students not only discover the answer, but to learn HOW to discover the answer. Mrs. Mummau tirelessly seeks out ways to help all her students grow, and helps them learn to always embrace the challenge, to never quit, and that the reward is worth the effort!
From Mrs. Mummau:
I love being there for students’ “aha!” moments, and seeing students go from shy and unsure to confident and willing to help others understand. Being able to see students grow academically and socially, and having alumni return to let me know how well OCS prepared them for college and future success are some of the things I love about being a teacher.
I love OCS for my own children - the small class sizes, the camaraderie across grade levels, the academic challenge with a growth mindset emphasis. For myself, the positive staff, the ability to focus on teaching and not discipline issues, and being able to incorporate spiritual emphasis at all times.
I believe parents should send their students to OCS for a positive, Christian environment that focuses on the whole child, a growth mindset emphasis, accountability, and the rigorous curriculum.
S-H-I-R-E SHIRE SHIRE SHIRE!
I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord watches over you—
the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.
Mrs. Kalette James
Mrs. James was born “in a galaxy far, far away….. Lubbock, Texas.” She holds double Bachelor of Arts degrees in elementary education and English from West Texas A & M University. Mrs. James loves reading and writing, and has been teaching for 18 years, helping students of all ages master these important skills.
Mrs. James brings a joy and energy to learning, and her love of reading and writing is infectious! Even reluctant readers and writers find growth through Mrs. James’ deep knowledge and experience of the humanities, musical talents, and beautifully transparent Christian testimony.
Mrs. James has been married to her husband, Cliff, for 27 years, and they have three children. They relocated to the Tampa area from Amarillo, Texas in 2015 for Cliff’s work, and OCS was blessed as a result!
From Mrs. James:
Teaching has been a life-long passion for me! I love getting to know the students and watching them grow as people and learners. I especially love teaching at OCS because everything we learn can be connected to the Bible, and I am thankful to be allowed to share my belief in God and my love for Jesus with my students.
The students, families, and staff - OCS feels like family. I love the beautiful surroundings - the lake and trees and animals. There is so much beauty here for the students to see every day. What a great environment for learning.
We love our students! OCS' rigorous curriculum prepares students for each level and shines a light on Biblical truths. Students must work hard to achieve, but are allowed to be curious risk-takers in a non-threatening classroom environment.
I love (almost) all genres of music! I enjoy all things outdoors - hiking, biking, running, beaching, boating, kayaking, dog-walking, sports-watching,
tennis-playing, hammock-reading.... I miss my family and friends in Texas every single day....but I love Florida!
You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.
[H]is faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
Mr. Santo Ciulla
Physical Education, Upper School Bible, Genius Hour
I love being a teacher because of how fulfilling it is to see students excel in school and conquer difficult tasks.
Mrs. Kristina Nast
Mrs. Nast holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in history with an endorsement in Spanish from the University of South Florida. She married her high school sweetheart and together they have three beautiful children. Mrs. Nast brings a high level of spirit and enthusiasm to all she does at OCS, and is a Disney expert!
From Mrs. Nast:
I love being a teacher because I get to build a loving relationship with my students and show them God’s love and mercy in the classroom.
I love everything about OCS; what an incredible learning environment! Also, I love the house system and the sense of ownership it brings to our students for their school and the comradery it promotes throughout the school.
I think that students need an individual approach to their education and their character development. At OCS the teachers and administration are committed to meeting your student where they are and finding the best way to teach them and not just teach the class.
Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.
The world tells us something different than God's Word. It’s important that I listen, follow, and most importantly, obey God.
Mr. Samuel Ciulla
High School Biology, Elementary Science and History
Mr. Ciulla, also known as "Professor," holds a Bachelor of Science degree in legal studies with minors in Bible, business, and criminal justice, from Southeastern University. During his high school and undergrad careers, Professor Ciulla excelled in his coursework, graduating with a 4.0 GPA. He was a member of his university’s honors program, interned with the State Attorney's office, earned “best in major,” and was a trusted tutor to many.
Like his brouther "Coach," Professor was born and raised in Florida, and attended Christian schools from K-12, as well as for his undergrad degree. He has a passion for Creation, especially in his beloved home state, and this has led him on many an adventure, from parks to beaches, and to sinkholes, islands, and swamps, with many an encounter with unique and beautiful flora and fauna.
Combining his love of nature with a commitment to the pursuit of knowledge and wisdom, Professor Ciulla brings to the classroom a strong sense of personal responsibility in learning, along with a high value on evidence-based understanding. Students have an opportunity to explore, research, and present their findings in ways that allow for creativity and collaboration while also engendering discipline and focus. As a recent college graduate, Professor understands what it takes to be successful at that level and beyond, and why starting early in applying those skills is so helpful.
Mrs. Beverly Kidwell
Mrs. Kidwell, originally from Winston-Salem, North Carolina, attended the University of South Florida for 2 years and has been in Christian ministry for 30+ years. Ministry has taken her all over the United States, but her heart is here in the Tampa Bay area.
She is married to Pastor Brad Kidwell. They have a married daughter, Adrienne, and a new grandson, Shepherd, who has stolen Mrs. Kidwell’s heart!
Mrs. Kidwell has dedicated her life to assisting parents in “raising up children in the way they should go so that when they are older, they will not depart from it,” and she is well loved!
From Mrs. Kidwell:
I love OCS’ campus, where the presence of the Holy Spirit can be tangibly felt! Close relationships are developed here between one another – students and faculty - and with Christ.
I love seeing the fruit from sowing the seed of the word into kids!!
I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Section 1002.421(2)(h), Florida Statutes requires that classroom teachers at all Florida registered schools meet one of the following requirements:
OCS meets or exceeds this requirement.