The lives of teachers during the summer break

Aug. 18, 2015

FORT WAYNE, Ind. — School is back in session, and the teachers are back in the classroom. So, we decided to ask our teachers: What did you do this summer? Here is a little look into the lives of our teachers — outside the classroom.

Stacey Salisbury (Practical Arts):
“I attended the Shipshewana Quilt Festival with Jayne Reff (school nurse), took some classes, and shop-hopped to seven quilt stores in one day. I spent a lot of time at the lake, reading (both for pleasure and for school) tending my flower garden and my vegetable garden, trying to keep the wildlife from eating everything before I could. I had two weeks of “camp” with my grandsons, going to two county fairs, crafty stuff, building Legos, fishing and canoeing. I also completed some little projects that had been in the planning stages for some time.”

Dianne Moellering (Fine Arts):
“Some of my summer was devoted to my lawn and garden. I love puttering out there, trying new plants in new places. We have lots of bird feeders and some that the squirrels and chipmunks are allowed to visit as well. I love color and texture. My garden goal is have a variety of colors and textures from late spring to fall. God made so many beautiful choices, and it is so much fun to explore the possibilities! Another part of the summer was the two weeks in July with Jr. Cadets, Big Cadet practices and parades. It is fun to look at what the fall might be made of. New music begins, and anticipation builds. After that, my husband and I spent a week with his 86-year-old mom at our house. When we took her back to Plymouth, Mich., we made a weekend side-trip to some southwest Michigan wineries. The following week I drove the 6 1/2 hour trip to Ripon, Wis., (listening to new band music choices for the year) where my 88- and 89-year-old parents live and spent five days with them in their home. Always relaxing and fun! Then... back to preparations for band, band camp and another fast moving year — as always!”

Alicia Drier (English):
“This summer, I worked at Sweets So Geek, a bakery just across from CLHS on Anthony. I also traditionally volunteer at Fort Wayne Animal Care and Control in the summer, specifically with their foster kitten program. I fostered 10 kittens until they were the proper age and weight to be adopted through the shelter. When I wasn't busy with either of those projects, I traveled to NYC and Chicago just for fun. I saw two Broadway shows ("Something Rotten" and "A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder") and caught up with Carolynn Stouder, a CLHS alum who is studying acting in NYC. Near the end of the summer, I devoted my time to a master’s class on teaching composition to better myself as an educator this fall.”

Karen Bieberich (Study Center):
“This summer, my family drove out to the Grand Canyon and four other national parks in Utah and Colorado. We went horseback riding and whitewater rafting. We saw many beautiful scenes. National parks are amazing places to hike, explore and learn new things about nature. My husband and I and our kids, Grace (junior at CLHS), Noah (7th grade ESM) and Luke (4th grade ESM), loved our trip.”

Pam Rusher (Practical Arts):
“This summer, I attended at least 25 Little League baseball games, helped keep score and be a dugout supervisor as well as team supporter. I also was a taxi driver for basketball camp, baseball camp, football camp, and Franke Park camp. I attended two days of IMPACT, and sat in on the Edmodocon 2015 conference. I spent one day visiting a friend in Michigan with Kim Nash (Guidance Counselor) and visited South Haven, and I also met up with brother and his family in Sandusky (Cedar Point!). I found new bike routes since the rain disabled my usual paths and updated and revised some driver’s ed documents. I rewrote the Health Final, worked in progress on a new fitness unit for PE classes, and taught driver’s edand rescued lost souls dealing with the BMV.”

SFC (R) Alan Conrad (JROTC):
“After being in Washington with the Cadets, Gyneth, Tibor Bierbaum and I spent a glorious week floating and fishing in the Boundary Waters Wilderness Canoe Area. It was time spent meditating, reflecting and rejuvenating.”

Lizzy Hoham (English):
“I moved from Fort Hood, Texas, to my new home in Fort Wayne with my husband, Ted, son, August, and rescue hound, Annabelle. We are in the process of buying a house and getting settled. I’m excited for my new classes at CLHS!”

Tim LaCroix (World Languages):
“I spent six weeks living and traveling in Europe — Germany, the Netherlands, Austria and the Czech Republic. Four of those weeks were spent with CLHS students with our GAPP (German American Partnership Program) and our partner school in Lüdenscheid, Germany. Then the other two weeks were as a tourist and guide with my wife and four other teachers, as together we experienced culture and history and beauty of southern Germany, Austria and parts of the Czech Republic. Living and traveling in Europe helps me rejuvenate, re-set and re-shape priorities both in my personal life and as I seek to give my best to my students. I also had two weeks of family time in Minnesota with parents, siblings, nieces and nephews — with my family and my wife's family.”

Stephanie Marks (IMC/Library):
“In June, I traveled through Costa Rica with a group of 12 students, five parents, Miss Kim Nash and Mrs. Lizette Pierce. We toured coffee and chocolate plantations, hiked to the top of a volcano, kayaked at the bottom of a second volcano, hiked in the rainforest, took a crocodile boat ride, road the air tram through the rain forest, learned to make homemade tortillas, swam in the Pacific, climbed a waterfall, visited a local school and played with the kids, went horseback riding, planted trees in the rainforest and zip lined through the tree canopy. It was a jam-packed 10-day trip, and it was fantastic! In July, I went on vacation with my family and spent a week playing golf, mini-golf, shuffleboard, cards, going to the beach, and just relaxing. In between my vacations, I taught summer school for 42 students and worked most days at school getting the library ready for this school year.”

Lisa O’Dell (Science):
“Joining the Concordia family is one of many wonderful gifts God chose to bless me with this summer. Additionally, I taught science at Life Community's VBC and games at Aboite Lutheran Church's VBS. These were two exciting and fun filled weeks for me and my two daughters, Lydia (9) and Violet (7). We also spent a week camping with my parents at Chain O' Lakes state park where we spent an extraordinary afternoon fishing with some newly hatched butterflies. Between several day trips to visit my large family, our annual trip to the Indianapolis Children's museum, and my nephew's wedding we spent every minute we could at the Jorgensen YMCA swimming with our friends. All in all the summer was a wonderful mix of relaxation and excitement which God has used to energize me to serve him by doing what I love, teaching chemistry!”

Crystal Castleman (Science):
“Most people choose to travel south for the winter to avoid the snow. I enjoyed traveling south this summer since it allowed me to avoid most of the rain that plagued the area. My boys and I spent one week at Sunset Beach, N.C., with my brother. We also accompanied my husband on a business trip to Greenville, S.C., for a week. The highlight of our summer was traveling as a family down to Florida to see Mickey Mouse and his friends for a few days. The time spent together with my family was refreshing for the soul. I feel renewed and ready for the school year. I also spent one week in Asheville, N.C., at an AP Biology workshop that focused on including statistical analysis in biological experiments. The College Board added statistics to the AP Biology curriculum in 2013. There are few specific examples for high school biology teachers to reference. Traditionally, statistics is not a required college course for high school biology teachers (including me). This workshop was full of ideas of how statistical analysis can be efficiently included in the biology curriculum. I look forward to using most of the ideas in the course this year.”

Michelle Converset (English):
“During most of my previous summers, I would most likely be found on the back of a motorcycle traveling across the state and Midwest on various trips to visit family and sight-see, while also teaching driver's education. This summer, however, with college tuition looming for two sons, travel was cut to a minimum. Rather, I had the pleasure of spending almost every day with one or two students in a car, teaching them how to drive defensively while also getting to know each student better than I could in a classroom. I've felt very blessed by the angels who kept us safe on the roads and by the students I had the privilege to teach and who also taught me a lot about life and life as a teenager. I also enjoyed a few day trips on the motorcycle, a concert in Indy and the occasional glimpses of my sons, home from college but also working full time. Finally, I gave my running shoes a "run for their money" and thoroughly enjoyed many quiet, early morning runs (usually before all the rain or heat started), enjoying God's creation while huffing and puffing to some semblance of fitness. I feel very honored to be a part of the Concordia family, and I enjoy giving back all the blessings God has given me.”

Rev. Joe Gudel (Theology):
“I divided my summer into several categories, with the first being family. My wife, daughter and I took the historic Amtrak "California Zephyr" trip from Chicago — all the way out to San Francisco (and back), right through the heart of the Rockies. Really beautiful! In the realm of academics, I continued doing some research and writing. Hopefully about one year from now I will have put most of my articles and notes into a book format aimed at late high school years to entering college years. It will answer the 10 great objections to Christianity posed by non-Christian religions and belief systems. And finally, health-wise, I got serious about trying to get in shape and have lost 20 pounds so far. Also, our entire extended family got Fitbits and are "competing" in teams with each other in two-week cycles to see who can put in the most steps/stairs/and cardio-minutes. I also grew back my beard, which I haven't had since I lived in Israel, 19 years ago.”

Luanne Erdos (Practical Arts):
“I spent the summer preparing Matt's Rack for vibrant ministry in the 2015-16 school year; seeing friends and family; playing tennis; creating lessons and materials for a new course I will be teaching (accounting); and organizing "stuff" for sending my child to college. I was also reading, reading, reading — both for school and pleasure, and orchestrating trips and activities for Honors Academy for 2015-16 school year.

Eric Kaschinske (Math):
“This summer, I spent quite a bit of time at basketball camps, including one week of high school and two weeks of elementary here at CLHS, as well as a week at Emmanuel-St. Michael. I also spent one week where I directed a basketball camp at Camp Lutherhaven in Albion, Ind. As a family, we vacationed in various parts of Michigan, including Frankenmuth, Grand Haven, and Petoskey. In addition the "normal" summer things like painting, other house projects, and carting our three kids around to various athletic events, I was also able to spend quite a bit of time running, biking and playing tennis. Professionally, some of the summer was spent in CDL training, as well as a few other growth opportunities like webinars. I also spent quite a bit of time working with 8th grade math teachers to make sure the incoming 9th grade students were placed as accurately as possible.”

Darcy Lugo (World Languages):
“Between running the kids to VBS, science camp, cheer camp, golf camp, Camp Lutherhaven, and golf tournaments, I was busy! In the moments that both kids were occupied, I took time to re-map Spanish 1 (with the help of Mrs. Pierce), update vocab lists, and start videos for flipping the classroom. I've been creating and putting together "stations" to do in the classroom. We did find time for vacation! Eva and I went to Washington, D.C. for my niece's graduation and to fulfill her dream of seeing the tall pointy building (Washington Monument). The whole family spent a few days in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., to relax on the beach and fulfill Isa's dream of meeting the Gator Boys.”

Nathan Gotsch (Media Arts):
“I spent the summer in New York City working as a marketing and audience engagement consultant for Museum Hack, a company that gives renegade tours of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the American Museum of Natural History. (Learn more about them here: I also made an ad for them to try to help explain what they do:

Mark Dolde (Ministry & Technology):
“Over the summer, I traveled to Edmonton, Alberta, with my father and son to celebrate my grandmother's 95th birthday. Later in June, I was the was a chaperone for Concordia Church's youth mission trip to San Diego. In July, I vacationed in Michigan near Luddington with my in-laws (all 19 of us): swimming, fishing, tubing, hiking, devotions, singing for the 10th straight year of enjoying God's creation in the Manistee National Forest. I also taught summer school Algebra 1 and Pre-Calculus online.

Concordia Lutheran High School, located at 1601 St. Joe River Drive in Fort Wayne, Ind., was founded in 1935 as a private, co-educational Lutheran high school open to students of all faiths and backgrounds. With Christ at the center, Concordia continues to pursue educational excellence that equips individuals for lifelong learning and service as disciples of Jesus Christ. Learn more at