I attended UCLA and Bethany College, graduating with honors from Bethany in 1984 with a B.A. in Sociology (and minor concentrations in Math and Spanish). Since then I have continued my education and have subsequently obtained ACSI certification in elementary education and my Pennsylvania Private Academic Schools certification in Nursery and Kindergarten. The Lord led me to Champion Christian School through a temporary substitute preschool teacher position in the spring of 1997. Since then I have taught every grade at the school. Prior to teaching at Champion I operated a daycare in my home where I had the privilege of nurturing and caring for over 40 children of all ages.
1997-Present: Faculty, Champion Christian School
2008-2010: Life's A Beach (Face Artist)
1990-1997: In Home Childcare
1980-1984: Bethany College (Alumni Office Receptionist; Business Office Secretary; Foreign Language Educator; Tutor)
Connellsville Area High School Diploma 1980
UCLA Summer Session 1983 (Statistics, Child Development, Occupational Practicum)
Bethany College BA, Sociology 1984
Post Graduate and Masters Level Course Work at Westmoreland County
Community College, Fresno Pacific University, and Penn State.
My ongoing professional development also includes many CEUs through ACSI, the Center, and the Intermediate Unit.
ACSI Elementary Teacher Certification
Pennsylvania Private Academic Schools, Certification in Nursery and Kindergarten
Additional Organizations, Awards and Affiliations:
Owner, M&M Tire and Auto, Cancer Awareness (Survivor since 1989) and Motivational Public Speaker; Chestnut Ridge Historical Society Charter Member; Foreign Exchange Student Host; Award of Distinction on College Comprehensive Exams; Zeta Tau Alpha Fraternity (Academic Achievement Chair); Sigma Delta Pi (Spanish Honor Society); Project Head Start Volunteer; Vacation Bible School Director; Sunday School & Children's Church Teacher, Preschool Steering Committee and Faith Action Kids consultant at Word of Life Ministries; National Honor Society; Who's Who; Bair Foundation/Westmoreland County Foster and Adoptive Parent.
husband Jim and I (married September 15,1984) live in Jones
Mills and have six children. Through foster care and adoption
we have nurtured 25 children in our home. We attend Word of Life Church
Favorite Bible Passage: Romans 5:1-8
"Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (NIV)
Of Christian Education
My personal philosophy of Christian education briefly stated is that all students should be taught from a Biblical perspective. I believe that the Bible is the true and inerrant Word of God and that it is the absolute truth. The Bible should always be presented as such. There is no truth except God's truth. Everything presented in the classroom should be identified as either being consistent with or in opposition to the final authority, God's Word. I believe that everything I do in the classroom is a product of this philosophy. I have been commanded by God to go forth and teach the Word. I need to do this everywhere I go including the classroom.
In order to be effective as a Christian educator I need to be thoroughly routed in Jesus Christ. I believe that includes living my life under the values outlined on pages 32-37 in the Philosophy of Christian Education. I think that the most effective method of teaching is by example.
My Christian worldview has been formed by Biblical values. The most important of which is an unconditional love for my fellow man. Christians are often recognized by their loving nature. I have even been commanded to love my enemies. I remember this in the classroom when I have a student with whom I do not "click". I love them no matter how frustrated I can become by their behavior. I try to respond so that my love for them is clearly evident. Because of this love and caring I have a personal emotional interest and investment in the outcome of each student's life.
Forgiveness is also a crucial part of being an effective teacher. I need to forgive others as God forgives me. Part of that forgiveness is letting go of the incident and no longer acting toward another person as if the offense is an ongoing thing. If I have a student who has offended me I need to deal with the offense appropriately and make sure it doesn't negatively affect the way I relate to that child in the classroom.
Christians are commanded to be honest and to maintain integrity. If I display dishonesty in front of my students I cannot expect them to learn to be honest. Again I feel the best teaching method is by example. I think it is important that I teach as if the supervisor is always in the room with me, knowing that the Ultimate Supervisor is always with me.
In order to be obedient to Christ I need to support the chain of authority that God has placed over me. I also need to use the authority He has given me over my students appropriately by not abusing that calling. I feel it is important for me to impart to my students a deep respect for those who have dominion over them.
I am called to use Matthew 5 and Matthew 18 to resolve conflict. This is just as crucial in my relationships with my coworkers and supervisors as with my students. If I come into the classroom with some conflict that is unresolved it may have a negative impact for the Kingdom on my students. I feel very strongly that my primary purpose with these pupils is to instill in them the absolute truth. This could easily be impeded if my heart is not right with my fellow man.
I need to reflect justice to the world. This is one of the reasons that I became a foster parent. As a Christian I must work to help balance justice in the world and in the classroom. This willingness to sacrifice for justice needs to be reflected to my students.
My moral character must never be in question. I will always strive to stand for what God says is right without stepping over the boundaries of acceptable behavior. I am far from perfect, but I strive to live up to the virtues that are required in a Christian walk.
I possess personal values consistent with God's Word. I believe in the sanctity of life. And respect and value all life. I believe that you cannot serve God and money simultaneously. I feel very strongly that the "extra" time I spend doing my teacher job is a gift to God and a blessing to me. This has been difficult to balance out with my belief in the importance of family as a vital institution created by God (something I need to work on). I have a deep love and compassion for children and their education. Jesus set a wonderful example of His interest in children by listening to them and blessing them. I know that I need to be a good steward with the gifts God has given me and to take care of the world around me. I believe as a Christian educator it is important that I attend church regularly and study the Word with others in the faith. I also need to say on a path, which recognizes God as not only my Provider, but as my Provision. This helps me to keep in perspective that I have gained nothing here if it hasn't furthered the Kingdom. The only thing we all need to strive for is God Himself; the rest comes when we live our life according to His Word.
The secular and sacred worlds to indeed need to coexist. As a human walking the earth I am in the world and surrounded by secularists, but as a Christian I stand apart from the secular world in my thoughts, words and actions, and the philosophies that govern those words, and actions. I am still in the world, but no of the world. I am of Jesus Christ. In order to impact a secular world and the Christian world for the furtherance of the Kingdom I need to set an example so that others will see what I am and what I have and want to have it too.
Now I have established that the core foundation of my Philosophy of Christian Education is that I as the teacher need to have a Christian worldview and live accordingly, and that this worldview needs to be modeled for and instilled in my students. I will fit this into the context of Dr. Gibbs' "five major 'pieces' to the puzzle".
The purpose of education is to teach the whole child and prepare them for service to the Lord, no matter what their vocation may be. In the Christian school we not only have the privilege, but also have an obligation to teach beyond the cognitive, physical, emotional, and social parts of the students being. We need to address the spiritual part of the student. We need to, along with the parents and the church, help to prepare the student for life in the world. We need to help them to gain the skills and the knowledge to function successfully in society and to contribute to the betterment of the world around them. We also need to arm them for the battles that Satan has waiting for them. They must be equipped with the full armor of God to face these challenges successfully.
All the areas of development need to be taught in the context of Biblical principles and spiritual guidance. Implied in Christian education is also the obligation to nurture the whole child. I feel that we need to take an active role as educators in the cultivation of love and caring in our students. To not only express our love for them, but teach them to love one another.
While we address all of these areas of education it is important to remember our calling to further the Kingdom. I feel that the most crucial teaching we can impact is tha tof the wonderful gift of salvation. Without some students we only plant the seed and someone else waters it until it bears fruit, but we must never stop trying to reach each child for Christ.
I agree with the goals set forth in the Philosophy of Christian School Education. They summarize the views I hold. The first is "to learn the knowledge of God and His truth". The student must be made aware of what those truths are and how they fit into his life and the lives of those around him. Second, the student needs to be able to know and "respond to God and His truth", and base all of his choices on this absolute truth. These truths will never change; they are the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. These give the child consistency and hope that although many things in the world around them are changing that they can rely on a God that will never lie or change. The third purpose is "to live in harmony with God and His truth". Students need to learn to obey God's word in all that they do. Last, they need "to impact others with the knowledge of god and His truth". This needs to carry over into all walks of life. They should be able to disciple and evangelize to friends, family, coworkers and strangers.
The learner should be recognized as an accountable being that will think of himself. He will not change his behavior without the proper motivation to do so. God created men as moral beings. After the fall, the sin nature of man became evident and is evident in our students and us today. We need to model self-control and obedience to authority in our classrooms.
In addressing the nature of the learning process it is important to remember that man has been created in the image of God. God is vast and many faceted. Children are diverse like God. Each child is a unique person and must be recognized as such in order to be taught effectively. Each child has his own personality, spiritual maturity, abilities and background. These unique characteristics coupled with a certain learning style require the teacher to be able to adapt and use various teaching techniques. Often modifications are necessary in the classroom. Although each learner is unique there are some general developmental guideposts to be observed. We need to make sure that everything presented is developmentally appropriate for the group being taught. They need to be taught to relate everything they are presented with to God's truth and to be able to come into a right relationship with the triune God.
The teaching process needs to be consistent with the teaching of the Bible. We can't "beat" the information into the student; we need to influence the child's mind and heart in a way that is acceptable to the Lord. Teacher's lives should be exemplary; we need to practice what we teach. Students are motivated more by what they see than by what they hear. We need to present all material within the context of the Bible (as being consistent or not with the Truth). We need to prepare the child academically for the vocation they intend to pursue, so it is necessary to make the academic information we are imparting to them is accurate and up to date. We must keep learning and studying ourselves to avoid becoming stale and uninteresting. We need to teach as Jesus taught, according to the needs of the individual or group being taught.
Finally, education has to be properly balanced between traditional methods and experiential methods of teaching. Some things can be explained by writing them on the chalkboard, but most are more effectively taught when the student is allowed to experience what is being taught. What is taught needs to be carefully scrutinized for its value and its consistency with the Word of God. I believe it is acceptable to use secular textbooks in a Christian school as long as they are supplemented with Biblical integration, the content is carefully evaluated and inconsistencies with God's Word are identified clearly to the students. This is a tool that can be used to help the students learn to have discernment when reading or hearing materials in any situation.
In summary, I feel as a Christian educator, along with the parents and church, I need to address the needs of the whole child. I believe that the primary responsibility for a child's education is in the hands of the parents. I am here to supplement that teaching and to fill the gaps. The most important teaching I can impart to my students is the Salvation of Christ and the hope that is in Him and our relationship with Him. If we seek Him first He will supply all our needs and lead, guide and direct everything we say and do in and out of the classroom. I will work for the Kingdom and on a day-to-day basis I will consult the Lord in my decision-making process and walk in the obedience to Him. When I fail I will seek forgiveness and "Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I [will] press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus" (Phillipians 3:13b-13)!
1. The Philosophy of Christian School Education. Edited by Paul Kienel, Ollie Gibbs and Sharon Bery. Colorado Springs, CO: ACSI 1995.
2. The Pattern of God's Truth. Frank Gaebelein. Colorado Springs, CO: ACSI, 1997.
3. Classroom Discipline: A Management Guide for Christian School Teachers. Jerry Haddock and Ollie Gibbs. Colorado Springs, CO: ACSI, 1991.
4. The Christian Mind. Harry Blamires. Ann Arbor, MI: Servant Books,
5. The Christian Story and the Christian School. John Bolt, Grand Rapids, MI: CSI, 1993.