Years at GRACE:
This is my 24th year teaching and my 20th year at GRACE.
Positions held over the years:
I've taught 8th grade physical science, chemistry, physics, yearbook, algebra IB, 9th grade health, 7th grade health, photography, video editing, and a variety of study halls. I've also been science department chair for however long we've had department chairs - I can't remember.
Describe GRACE in ONE word:
What have you most appreciated about being apart of the GRACE community?
I feel trusted, and I know my ideas are valued, which was not the case in other places I’ve been where I felt like a piece of a machine. I laugh every day with my students and my colleagues. I get to pray with others and be prayed for.
What do you think sets GRACE apart from other schools?
We understand the balance between holding kids to a high standard and guiding them through stressful times and giving grace and mercy. Many schools lean strongly one way or the other, but I feel like GRACE has a balance because we view the student as a whole person.
What's your favorite memory of your time at GRACE?
That's an impossible question to answer after 20 years, but I'll try. In January of 2018, a local pastor named Don Sandberg was invited to do the teachers' devotion on the workday we have right after Christmas break. He was also my physical science teacher, so they allowed me to introduce him before he spoke. That was one of the most meaningful experiences of my life because his ministry in my high school years contributed so much to my ministry and the teacher I eventually became. To tell the people in that room, who are such an important part of my present (and most of whose kids I have taught physical science), about this person who was such an important part of my past was indescribable. Then, I got to introduce him to former GCS student (and later turned teacher) Hannah Eichhorst, continuing this legacy of teachers. That was just one of the best experiences of my life.
What have been the biggest changes you've seen over the course of your time at GRACE?
We have grown in academic strength – not that it was bad before, but we've had more opportunities to add classes and guidance. We have grown in athletic strength. When I started doing the yearbook, there were 10 teams. Now, I think there are 26. I think we are all more intentional with our approach to everything than we were when I started. And, of course, we use technology now in ways we couldn't have imagined then.
How are students similar today than they were years ago? How are they different?
I'll start with how they are different. Social media barely existed when I started at GRACE (MySpace was new if that tells you anything). The constant connectedness of students has pros and cons. They can't get away from any drama that may be going on because it continues online, but they can also reach out to encourage a friend with a text when they couldn't have done that before. As for how they are the same, kids have always been and will always be energetic and curious about the world and looking for us to guide them through it as they become adults. The methods may change, but the goal doesn't.
What advice would you give to a family who is considering enrolling their child at GRACE?
Dive in. Have your child take electives and join clubs and go to games their friends are playing in. Connect to the community.