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Who We Are

Kootenai Bridge Academy was approved by the State Charter Commission and the State Board of Education in October 2008. It was built on a foundation of dedicated educators seeking to bridge the gap that exists between the traditional education system and student success.


Our approach to student progress is based on the idea that nothing in education matters if the needs of the individual student are not being met. Our small size and unique approach to learning allow us to focus on these needs and assist our students in their quest for progress.

We understand that not all students thrive in a traditional school setting, and for various reasons. Our goal is to recognize individual student barriers and assist in overcoming them. 


Our Staff  teaches with Firmness, Fairness and Love.


Our online curriculum delivery gives students flexibility in the pace at which they work, as well as the location and time they do their schooling. Students are loaded 2-3 courses at a time; however, if they choose to work on just one class at a time they can. Each course consists of a series of lesson quizzes, chapter posttests, and a final review test. Once the student passes the final review test with an 80% or above, they receive credit for that course and are given a new one. 


Elective credits are earned by completing independent study projects. A list of these options can be obtained at the school or downloaded here. In addition to these electives, work credits can be earned by students providing paystubs to their teacher: every 150 hours equals an elective credit. We encourage students to pursue electives that help them grow socially and emotionally, as well as academically. If a student has an interest in an area not covered in the given electives, they can speak with a staff member about alternate opportunities.

How We Work
Attendance Policy

Students are responsible for completing 5 graded lessons a day, Monday through Thursday. Failure to complete 5 will result in an absence being recorded for that day. Absences can be made up by doing extra lessons, every extra 5 lessons equals a day present.


Students are allowed 6 absences in each 9 week quarter. If they go over 6 absences, their account will be deactivated and they will be required to complete an elective credit or wait until the next quarter to be reactivated.


Our attendance policy is created with student progress in mind. If policy is followed, students should be earning a credit every
2-3 weeks.

Meet Our Staff

Mike Baum 


Mike brings over four decades of teaching, coaching, and administrative experience to Kootenai Bridge Academy. He has been an instructor with KBA since it began as an independent charter school in 2009 and specializes in US History & Government.


Rick Clute


Rick “Papa Bear” Clute found himself at home with the KBA troop in 2012. He is unquestionably an advocate for the success of our kids and is treasured by our students and staff alike.


EMAIL:  rclute@kootenaibridgeacademy.org


Nathan Clute


Nate has been in education since 2002 and has experience teaching at both the high school and middle school level. He has been an English and Language Arts instructor with KBA since 2011 and is passionate about helping our students grow and succeed.


EMAIL: natekba@gmail.com


Marcia Dettmann

Special Education Coordinator/Instructor

Marcia has been with KBA since 2009 and makes a daily impact on the lives of our students with learning differences. Besides her integral role at KBA, she is also the owner/operator/coach at her gymnastics school in Rathdrum and enjoys outdoor activities and sleeping in on the weekends. 


EMAIL: mdettmann@kootenaibridgeacademy.org

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Deb Gelet


Deb came to KBA as a substitute teacher in December 2014, and we just couldn’t let her go. Her genuine care for others and diversity of knowledge makes her a treasured piece in the KBA puzzle.


EMAIL: debgkba@gmail.com


Dodi Jordan

Business Manager/Co-Captain

Dodi graduated from Project CDA in 1991 and was immediately hired at the school, where she later became Head Secretary.  Since then she has worked in Finance at the Central Office, pre-school Special Education at Fernan Elementary and has been Business Manager at Kootenai Bridge Academy for all of it's 9 years.

EMAIL: kootenaibridgeacademy@gmail.com


Charles Kenna


Charles graduated from San Diego State University in 1989 with a degree in History.  He moved to Coeur d'Alene in 1994 and earned an MA in Educational Administration in 1998.  He has taught at Project CDA (Venture Academy), Lake City High School, the Old Bridge Academy when it was on Best Avenue and the Juvenile Detention Center.  In 2009 he became the first Principal of Kootenai Bridge Academy and is still loving every minute!  In his spare time, Charles is a Knight in the Society for Creative Anachronism.

EMAIL:  kootenaibridgeacademy@gmail.com


Lisa Lewis

Vice Principal/Instructor – 2005 - 2020

Lisa was one of the founding members of Kootenai Bridge Academy. She played many roles in the workings of the school, but her passion was always in her relationships with her students. Lisa will forever be remembered for her kind heart and sincere compassion for students.


Jennifer Thissell


Jen meticulously manages the in and outs of students transcripts and registration. However, her most revered role is being the rock that many of our students rely on.

EMAIL: kbaregistrar@gmail.com


Jill McDaniel


Jill is our speech and Communications instructor and specializes in English and Language Arts. She has been teaching since 2004 and has been with KBA since its beginning. She enjoys nothing more than using her expertise to help our students succeed.

EMAIL:  jmcdaniel@kootenaibridgeacademy.org


Heather Olsen


Joining the KBA team in 2013, Heather is our guidance counselor and enjoys helping our students plan for life after Bridge. Outside of school she is the mother of four and lover of food!

EMAIL: heather@kootenaibridgeacademy.org

Title IX Coordinator


Erin Wright

Data Management Specialist

Erin joined the KBA team in 2020 after 15 years in the aerospace industry. She is now KBA's remote proctor, attendance keeper, Chromebook wrangler, and collector of data. She enjoys helping distance learners with alternative solutions to exam-taking on the KBA campus.

EMAIL: erin@kootenaibridgeacademy.org


Megan Piephoff


Megan has been in education for 14 years. She is a North Idaho native, having graduated from Lakeland High School and University of Idaho. She specializes in Social Studies and Science, and dabbles in math for fun. She believes in helping students grow, not just academically, but personally as well, to make them stronger to handle whatever life hands them.

EMAIL: megan@kootenaibridgeacademy.org


Cindy Rust


Cindy Rust has been teaching since last century (1996). She is a nerd in love with math and science. She uses humor and patience to help student’s breakdown their animosity towards these. She values students’ personal attributes and works to incorporate them in their education to motivate them to keep learning.

EMAIL: cindy@kootenaibridgeacademy.org