Miranda Kaluka grew up down the street from GRACE in Hillsborough, North Carolina. According to Miranda, it was a pretty small town back then and a place where everyone knew everyone. Miranda recalls that no matter where they went, even the gas station, they would see someone they knew. Miranda has fond memories of growing up and spending her childhood with her younger sister, Jessica, playing in the woods or in a pretend world with their Barbies and baby dolls. Growing up, Miranda was very involved in their small Baptist church in Durham. When not in school, church, or playing with her sister, she danced (ages 2-17), played soccer, and was a cheerleader.
Both of her parents worked full-time, so summers were spent with her grandparents on their ten acres of farmland in Mebane. Miranda shares that some of her happiest memories come from those summers on the farm. She also confesses that her summer memories are what likely fuel her passion for the show “Fixer Upper” and why she longs to one day have a farmhouse with a bunch of chickens running around.
After high school, Miranda moved to Lynchburg, Virginia to attend Liberty University with the plan of transferring back to NC State to get her civil engineering degree. The Lord had other plans for her though. On freshman move-in day, at 17 years old, she met a handsome New Jersey boy named Jesse. Miranda recalls, “I had never met anyone quite like this fella and his heart for the Lord was the main thing that attracted me to him.” After dating a year, Miranda began to reconsider moving back to NC and pursuing her original plan. Jesse asked her if there was something other than civil engineering that she might be interested in and Miranda answered, “Well, I like kids so maybe I could teach?” Miranda admits that yes, she changed her major to teaching…for a guy. Three years later, that guy became her husband and after six moves, they settled in Apex where they live with their three kids: 4th grader Miller, 2nd grader Ellie, and TK-er Thaxton.
After taking a nine-year break from teaching to raise her three kiddos, Miranda returned to the classroom full-time when she stepped in last January to fill the void left when a job transfer took her predecessor to Chicago. Miranda shares that each of her children are wildly different and they have helped her connect with her students in a whole new way. She hopes that when students enter her classroom, they feel accepted, they learn to love learning, and they understand that a relationship with Jesus is what she wants most for them in their little lives.
Miranda and Jesse have been members of The Summit Church since 2010 and have been very involved in their children’s ministry. They started at the Brier Creek campus where Miranda briefly ran the Awana Cubbies program, worked part-time as a Children’s Director, and led special needs classes. Since settling in Apex, the Kaluka’s now attend Summit’s Apex campus.
When asked to identify her favorite pastimes, Miranda replied that outside of her family, she loves being outdoors, working in her gardening, doing yard work, and watching her kids do what they love to do (both boys play soccer and Ellie is involved in gymnastics). She also enjoys going on dates with her husband, girl’s nights with my Bible study friends, and missions (especially those involving children).
Miranda shares that the very first verse that her preschoolers had to memorize in Awana Cubbies was Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Miranda explains that this is her favorite verse because it puts us all on an even playing field, “As soon as I start to think that I am awesome or somehow worthy of God’s glory on my own, this verse reminds me that I am part of the ALL here.” She also stated that she loves how it doesn’t just end there as verse 24 continues by saying, “and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” This is the verse that drives her to want to tell the world that we are ALL justified because of Jesus!