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Kingdom Builders Christian School is committed to building God's Kingdom through His children, by creating a passion and identity in Christ through strong academics and a dedication to service

Principal: Jon Ness

Jon Ness was an EBD teacher at JW Smith Elementary School for the past 30 years. He was also a principal at a small Christian school for two years. Mr. Ness has been married to Cindy for the past 30 years. They have 6 children ranging from 9 years old to 28. They have two grandchildren at this time. Cindy and Jon run an asphalt maintenance business and a residential rental business. The Ness' have done foster care for 20 years and specialize in taking in highly addicted infants. Mr. Ness will serve as Principal for Kingdom Builders and will be on the board to offer ideas and direction. The Ness' have two children who are enrolled at KBCS.

Our Focus

  • Strong biblical education

  • Strong academic education

  • Small class sizes

  • Striving for face-to-face teaching

  • Home-schooled students can take classes a la carte.

  • Strong focus on educating the whole child, including the Arts and PhyEd.

  • Hands-on learning style with entrepreneurial extras.



Leah Bratlien (Teacher)

Bio Coming Soon

Peter Coffin (Teacher)

  Peter Coffin is a lifelong Bemidji resident and a 2020 graduate of Bemidji State University with both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English, specializing in World Literature and Composition. Having benefitted himself from attending a Christ-centered private school, Mr. Coffin can attest to the positive influence it has had in his own life. His goal every day is to provide to today’s generation what was given to him: quality individualized education in an atmosphere of encouragement, friendship, and faith. 

  Despite having degrees in the English field, Mr. Coffin would describe himself as “insatiably curious” about the world around him, in all its wonderful and various capacities. Among his many interests are world history - particularly medieval history, the natural sciences - particularly biology, and most recently a new-found love for algebra! His philosophy for learning is not to simply find answers to questions, but to explore and imagine what is possible. 

Most importantly Mr. Coffin loves Jesus very much.  He is convinced that Jesus is the only true source of Life and the only framework for understanding our world.  After spending six years with his wife as the Youth Ministers at Tenstrike Community Church, he knows for a fact that every student has a special purpose in God’s Kingdom, right now, just as they are.   Mr. Coffin has dedicated his life to the careful study of God’s Word and loves to help students enter into the wonderful journey of knowing Jesus and His scripture in a deep and meaningful way. 

  Whenever he is not teaching Mr. Coffin is spending time with his ever-wise and supportive wife, Lynnea, who he has been married to since 2015, and their daughter Novella. Mr. Coffin also enjoys hiking, canoeing and amateur mountain climbing. He is working on visiting every state park in Minnesota and every national park in the United States, among other travels. His top six favorite books are: Don Quixote, The Count of Monte Cristo, Moby Dick, War and Peace, The Lord of the Rings, and The Wind in the Willows. 

LeeAnn Price (Office Manager)

  Hi – my name is LeeAnn Price and I am so fortunate to be working at Kingdom Builders Christian School as the Office Manager. Except for a few years living in West St. Paul, I have lived in Bemidji all my life. I live in the country with my husband Guy and our Shih Tzu dog, Bella. Between us we have 5 children and 9 grandchildren, 8 boys and 1 girl! One of my grandsons attends KBCS also. One of my favorite parts of the day is right away in the morning when we open the day in prayer and singing! 

  Most of my working career has been as an elementary school secretary in Bemidji, Minneapolis, St. Paul and now back in Bemidji at Kingdom Builders Christian School, and what a Blessing it is. I love being around young kids and spending time them.  

  In my spare time, I like spending time at the lake, rides in the pontoon and enjoying watching the grandkids tubing. I have done some quilting and hope to find time to do a lot more of that this winter

Lex Zylka(Paraprofessional)

Hello, my name is Alexa, but I go by Lex. I finished an Internship with Trout Lake Camps and moved back to the area. I want to continue helping with both ministry and helping children. I’ve always enjoyed
working with kids. I started volunteering at Camp Oak Hills at 14 as junior staff. Throughout the years. I’ve helped children in many ways, whether it’s Sunday School, Youth Group, or full time Camp Ministry. The joy on the children faces as they have fun, overcome challenges, while also learning about God makes it so worth it. 

Dennis Peterson (Art Teacher)

 Dennis Peterson will be teaching art and we are so fortunate to have him with us! 

 Dennis is married to Nancy. They have two children and four grandchildren. He graduated from Bemidji High School in 1970 and Bemidji State University Cum Laude in 1979. 

Dennis is a Vietnam veteran and has a lengthy work and teaching career. He has worked at Bemidji State University (Technology, Art, and Design), Deer River School District (grades 7-12), Waconia Public Schools (grades 7-12), Suburban Electric, CoreCraft Canoes, and Lindsey Rafter Factory in California. 

Some of Dennis's highlights include:

  • 2009 Spirit of Discovery and Imagination Award from the state of Minnesota.

  • 2009 OM/DI Coach of the Decade, Duluth Region

  • 2002-2006 Judge for "Walt Disney Salutes the American Teacher" awards

  • 2003 Inducted into BSU Outstanding Alumni

  • 1999 Disney Mentor Teacher

  • 1995 Inducted into the Bemidji State University Teacher Hall of Fame

  • 1995/1990 Certificate of Commendation from Gov. Arne Carlson and Gov. Rudy Perpich

  • 1993 Named a Christa McAuliffe Fellow for Educational Pioneering, Washington D.C.


Sarah Karvakko

Sarah Karvakko (President)

Karvakko Engineering

Sarah Karvakko and her husband own Karvakko Engineering in Bemidji. They also run a small farm south of town with their children. Sarah and her family attend Bemidji Evangelical Covenant Church and she enjoys helping in the nursery. She is also involved in the woman's Bible study. Sarah's business experience and past board work has been an asset to the board. For the past two years, the Karvakko family has been homeschooling and look forward to integrating their kids into KBCS through the homeschool enrollment options.


Brian Lietz (Vice President)

Youth Pastor, First Baptist

Bio Coming Soon


Tony Merschman (Treasurer)


Bio Coming Soon


Jason Christiansen ( Secretary)

Finn'n Feather Resort


Jason Christiansen along with his wife Timberly, and three kids, own and operate Finn'n Feather Resort just south of Bemidji. Jason and his family have been attending Evangelical Covenant Church for many years. Jason will bring to the KBCS Board years of experience in construction and future planning. He is honored to have this opportunity to help in spreading the good word to the next generation.

Screenshot_20220326-085618_Lite - Nicole

Janee Hill

Owner of Hill's Country Green House

Bio info coming soon

Screenshot_20220326-085618_Lite - Nicole

Courtney Mantell

Bio info coming soon

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