About Us

The mission of Riviera Christian School and Childcare is to equip each child with skills, knowledge, and character, grounded on the firm foundation of Jesus Christ.

A Legacy of Academic Excellence

Since 1965, we have been providing children a foundation in Christ and a quality academic education.

Riviera is a unique and wonderful place for kids to learn. The elementary classes are smaller than average, and the core of the curriculum is not only Christ-centered, but fundamentally sound. The fundamentals are so crucial throughout the student’s academic career and beyond, but Riviera is much more than fundamentals. Riviera equips children with a solid academic, social, and spiritual foundation. They can learn how to think, communicate, collaborate, and compete effectively, empowering them to succeed in any environment.

Our staff is dedicated to making certain each and every student is prepared to take the next step in their life and education. We provide differentiated instruction so every child is challenged and supported to their greatest advantage. We also provide many opportunities for students to build a school community together in which all members can flourish.​

Finally, the fact your child will be prayed over each and every school day is worth more than any fortune on earth. The power of faith and prayer and the love of our faithful staff is a life-changing blessing. Each of our students is a gift entrusted to our care; we are honored with the responsibility to shine the light of Christ into each of their lives. Riviera is made up of students and families that will be blessed, and in turn, be equipped to be a blessing to the world.

God Bless.

At Riviera, we value…

Integrity.

We honor Christ and each other by being truthful and accountable.

Flexibility.

We find creative ways to navigate change.

Family.

We communicate and collaborate with our families for the benefit of each student.

Perseverance.

We tackle challenges with courage and persistence.

Stronger Together

Since 1965, we have been providing children a foundation in Christ and a quality academic education.

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Riviera Christian School is a member of the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI). ACSI provides the following resources for Riviera:

  • Annual standardized assessment starting in grade one (Iowa Assessments)
  • Professional development opportunities for early education and elementary teachers
  • Support in public policy and legal affairs
  • Consultation with educational leaders in our area
  • Science curriculum resources
  • Regional student activities such as speech meets, spelling bees, and math olympics
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Teach me knowledge and good judgment, for I trust your commands.

–Psalm 119:66

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Educators that Care

The RCS Staff teach by example, from hearts that love God and serve others. They collaborate with each other and with parents to provide excellent care and instruction for each child. RCS staff participate in regular professional development through a variety of online and in-person avenues.

Foundations Matter

Jesus taught that a house built on a firm foundation would remain standing in spite of storms. Students at RCS have the opportunity to gain physical, academic, and character foundations whatever their age or abilities. The curriculum facilitates differentiated instruction within the classroom, allowing teachers to support and challenge students based on their specific needs.

A woman smiling who works in the food industry, with a brown bow tie, white dress shirt, and brown apron

History

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Beginnings

In 1965, the newly-built Riviera Baptist Church began to provide Christian education and care for children in West Salem. Kindergarten opened first in 1965, followed by preschool classes a number of years later. Dina Washburn was very instrumental in establishing a strong foundation for RCS until her retirement in 1998.

Eventually, a school board was formed with the purpose of establishing an elementary school as a mission of the church. Three significant decisions provided a lasting impact on the school. First, the school would be a ministry of the church. As such, all school staff were–and continue to be–employees of the church. Also, the church provides the classroom space and covers the utilities and insurance costs of the school, thereby decreasing the operating costs of the school. This allows RCS to provide quality education and childcare at a lower cost to families. Secondly, elementary teachers must be licensed through the state of Oregon. Finally, some calendar alignment with the Salem-Keizer school district was established. This would help families with older children in public school to have consistent schedules.

Growth

In 1995, the school board formally opened the elementary school program. With Jennifer Kleiber as the first principal, a first grade class was added, and the school quickly expanded to add 2nd and 3rd grades the following year. Before long, 4th, 5th, and 6th grades filled out the elementary school classes. Sixth grade was dropped when the Salem Keizer school district made 6th grade a part of middle school.

In January, 2000, Riviera Baptist Church changed its name to West Hills Community Church. Debbie Frost became the new principal the following year. Mrs. Frost knew many parents personally, because she had been a preschool teacher at RCS for 12 years. Those relationships helped to strengthen and enrich the school’s growth. Riviera added a certified daycare center in 2003, to provide care for the children of school teachers. Whenever space was available, additional children joined as well. The combination of school and day care gives parents a place for consistent “all-in-one” care for their children.

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Recent Years

In the last 10 years, Riviera has continued to provide a strong education to every student. The day care expanded to include children as young as eight weeks old. Elementary students now have access to chromebooks instead of having to share a computer lab. From grade two and up, every student has their own chromebook to use in school. Curriculum has been updated to give students and teachers access to instructional practice based on current research without contradicting the school’s biblical foundation. Security systems have been upgraded, and an IT team now ensures dependable access to digital and online resources and tools.

Ongoing Improvements

The Parent Teacher Club (PTC) of Riviera was responsible for providing the first playground in the mid-1990’s. Today’s parents have been fundraising for a new playground for a number of years. Thanks to the dedicated efforts of many PTC parents and the generous donation of our families and sponsors, those efforts will pay off at last. In the summer of 2024, a new playground will replace the current one. Riviera families will reap the benefits of this project for many years to come.

Our Staff

Faith Gerber

Faith Gerber

Elementary Principal, Child Care Director
Kayla Lawrence

Kayla Lawrence

Office Manager, Assistant Director
Faith Gerber

Lindsey Fery

Assistant Director
Kristine Altringer teacher smiling for school picture

Kristine Altringer

Childcare Head Teacher, Sub Director
Faith Gerber

Katie Barker

Childcare Teacher
Faith Gerber

Shari Bass

Aide
Faith Gerber

Carol Claunch

Childcare Teacher
Cassidy Costello

Cassidy Costello

1st Grade Teacher

About Me  
Classroom Wishlist

Faith Gerber

Cindy Dearing

Office Assistant, Childcare Teacher
Tara Engelsman

Tara Engelsman

3rd Grade Teacher

About Me  
Classroom Wishlist

Keltis Hall

Keltis Hall

Preschool 4 Teacher, Sub Director

About Me  
Classroom Wishlist

Rebekah Huebsch

Rebekah Huebsch

4th & 5th Grade Teacher

About Me  
Classroom Wishlist

Madi Hull

Madi Hull

PE Teacher, Childcare Teacher
Jon Huntley

Jon Huntley

Aide
Kim Kauffman

Kim Kauffman

Head Lunch Cook
Hope Larson

Hope Larson

Aide
Faith Gerber

Jasmin Lee

Aide
Faith Gerber

Chelsie Nichols

Childcare Teacher
Kaci Niles

Kaci Niles

Kindergarten Teacher

About Me  
Classroom Wishlist

Stephanie O'Neil

Stephanie O'Neil

Preschool 3 Teacher
Andrea Pruett

Andrea Pruett

5th Grade Math & ELA Teacher

About Me  
Classroom Wishlist

Julie Ruscher

Julie Ruscher

2nd Grade Teacher

About Me  
Classroom Wishlist

Annie Stewart

Annie Stewart

Aide
Chris Woodard

Chris Woodard

Childcare Teacher
Faith Gerber

Jeanette Woodard

Childcare Teacher
Faith Gerber

Hannah Leichty

Childcare Teacher
Faith Gerber

Lauren Derksen

Aide