What's your title at CLHS?
English Teacher (English 10, American Literature, and AP English Literature and Composition) and English Department Chair
Are you a Concordia parent?
Yes! My sons are all Concordia graduates: Nathan 2018, Joshua, 2021, and Caleb 2021.
When did you start at CLHS?
The 2013-2014 school year was my first year at Concordia.
Please describe your position at CLHS.
I teach classes and help students with academic work as well as college applications and recommendations. In my role as English Department Chair, I plan and lead department meetings, provide support for other teachers, assist with the hiring process within my department, serve on the Academic Leadership Team, and provide leadership for the department curriculum and events. I also serve in other roles such as being a Didache leader, the Honors Academy advisory team, and assisting with the Men's Volleyball Club. I teach a lot of English skills and writing, but I also do my best to encourage students to embrace healthy habits, to be passionate about learning, and to view their own lives and the world around them with a Biblical perspective.
What was your education that led you to CLHS?
I have been a part of Lutheran schools all of my life. My parents were both Lutheran educators, so I grew up at school. I attended Emmaus Lutheran School in Indianapolis for most of my grade school years but graduated from Lakewood Lutheran School in Lakewood, Ohio. I graduated from Cleveland Lutheran High School West and then from Concordia University River Forest (now Concordia, Chicago). I earned a Lutheran Teacher degree in Secondary Education with a major in English and a minor in history. I am also married to a Lutheran educator. Throughout my life, following calls with my family has meant living in five different states. I was born in Indiana and have circled back to the Hoosier state again.
What did you love most about teaching at CLHS?
I love being able to remind students that they are dearly loved children of God! I love my students, and it is a privilege to help and encourage them in their lives, their learning, and their faith. I am also blessed to work with amazing colleagues. I am grateful that my own three sons benefitted from Concordia teachers and coaches. They were well-prepared for college and guided to keep Christ at the center of their lives through their classes and activities. During the teen years, it is normal for kids to look for more independence from their parents. It is a blessing that their mentors outside of our home were pointing them in the right direction. At Concordia, I can be a part of helping my students grow and mature as capable Christian leaders.
What's your favorite story about your time at CLHS?
As I reflect on this question, I am flooded with memories. When days are spent with hundreds of teens, there are lots of stories! However, I think one of my favorite things is when students graduate and come back to let us know that they were well-prepared, that they value the time they spent at Concordia, and that they are able to encourage others in their faith lives. As a Concordia parent, I loved seeing my own kids and my students in activities outside of school. It was particularly special to watch the marching band finals in Lucas Oil Stadium in 2017 when my oldest son was one of the drum majors and my other two sons were freshmen in the band.
Who were your mentors in your career to becoming an educator?
I have spent my whole life around teachers and have been taught by some amazing educators at all levels. A couple of my high school teachers strongly influenced my own teaching style. My junior/senior Honors English teacher modeled the way I prefer to structure my units of study. My college professors fueled my love for literature. The strongest influences, though, were in my own home. My parents were dedicated Lutheran teachers and invested in the lives of their students. My dad coached many of the teams at their schools and served as an administrator and principal. My mom often led the music and drama programs. They had high expectations for their students but provided the support necessary to reach those standards. My dad was often the main disciplinarian at school. He did a great job of administering both law and gospel to kids, teaching them what was right and not just punishing what was wrong. Students knew that they were held accountable because they were loved. My parents have about 90 years of experience between the two of them, and it would be hard to find better models of excellence in Lutheran education. I am also blessed to be married to a dedicated Lutheran educator. My husband, Tim, is the Principal at St. John, Kendallville and it is wonderful to be able to understand and support each other in the work we each do. He is a constant encourager for me and I am incredibly grateful for him!