GCS Teacher Profile: Mrs. Penny Schaeffer

classYears at GRACE: 

I’ve been here for 34 years as a teacher, but started as a parent two years earlier.

Positions held over the years:  

I've taught 3rd grade, 2nd grade, and 4th grade.

Describe GRACE in one word:  


What have you most appreciated about being part of the GRACE community?  

I get to teach in a safe environment, among fellow Christians. I am able to share my love of Christ with my students and pray with them. The administration makes themselves known to the kids. It is not uncommon to see Dr. Morris or Mrs. Williams pop into the classroom for a brief visit. Our school community reaches out to those in need. This includes outside our community as well.

What do you think sets GRACE apart from other schools?  

It goes back to the previous questions. We are a community – a family.

What's your favorite memory of your time at GRACE? 

There are so many! I may have to share two. One time I was asked to conduct chapel for Veterans' Day. The entire lower campus came dressed in red, white, and blue. Parents and guests were invited. The chorus sang "The National Anthem" and my class shared some readings about the history of the day and we watched a music video of "God Bless the USA." I asked Rick Brantley, a GRACE dad and husband of my former assistant, to close in prayer. Rick, a former Navy pilot, came in his dress uniform. He was to read a prayer that I found for Veterans. He started reading the prayer but got so emotional, that he stopped and then just prayed from his heart. Many tears were shed. 

My second favorite memory was when we welcomed home a group of soldiers back from Iraq. They marched down from the upper campus and were so overwhelmed at seeing all the kids, that when they got to a certain spot, they broke ranks and came back to the kids for handshakes, high-fives, and selfies!

What have been the biggest changes you've seen over the course of your time at GRACE?  

Of course, for me, the biggest change is the growth of the school. I started when we were sharing facilities at Mt. Olivet and using their Sunday School rooms for classes. I only had 12 students in my 3rd-grade class that first year. We only went up to 5th grade. Next would be getting computers. It started out small. We had some parents who worked with IBM, and at that time they did a matching fund program. Some of the teachers were able to get a desktop computer for their class, mainly for grading and word processing. Eventually, we got a computer lab. Moving to the current location was such a big step in our growth to where we are now.

How are students similar today than they were years ago? How are they different? 

The kids have always brought me joy. I guess the biggest difference is the knowledge that they have gained in the areas of technology.  

What advice would you give to a family who is considering enrolling their child at GRACE? 

Our motto a few years ago was "GRACE" is the place. If you are wanting your child to be in a loving place where they can grow academically as well as spiritually, then GRACE is the place for your child. They will be known, valued, and loved.