I am thankful to be a part of a school that embraces Truth and actively promotes academic excellence as part of our pursuit of Truth. I love the classical model of education which seeks richness and depth in knowledge, understanding, and wisdom. I also love science, and desire to teach in an environment where a robust science education points students to our creator rather than undermining their faith in Him. I am grateful for the freedom to choose curricula that will engage the students and ignite their sense of wonder. It is a blessing to be part of a team of godly, intelligent teachers who love their subject matter, love their students, and love having fun!
When did your love of science first begin?
I had a great science teacher in 8th grade that affirmed my questions. She encouraged me in my quest for wanting things to make sense. I have always been curious and was the kid that drove my parents crazy with incessantly asking, “But, why?” I have always loved spending time in nature, doing things with my hands, and enjoying the discovery of how things work.
Why did you decide to teach?
Originally I went to college for physical therapy, but after volunteering in a sports medicine clinic I found myself under-stimulated and desiring more. I have the “gift of gab” and have always been very relational. I realized that teaching is a way to combine a love of science with building relationships through communication. Additionally, science did not always make sense to me and so I empathize with the student who struggles to understand tough concepts. I love trying to make the complicated simple (or, as John Milton Gregory put it, “the unknown must be communicated by the known”). I strive to get young Christians excited about science in hopes of inspiring them to make a difference for the kingdom. I hope to see them intelligently engaging in the “science in society” conversation, and perhaps even to pursue science professionally. We need examples of well-educated Christians who have mastered their field of study and simultaneously know that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom!
How does the Christian worldview impact the way you teach science?
I firmly believe that the beauty and complexity of science enlarges our view and increases our awe of God the almighty. There are many “aha” moments in science and they are great opportunities to highlight the amazing creativity of our Creator. I do not see science as antagonistic to faith in Christ, but rather as a revealer of Him. I want students to be confident that learning about science can fortify their faith as it did many scientists throughout history. However, science as an academic discipline often claims to be the ultimate source of truth for what is “real.” When discussing scientific laws, theories, and principles, it is a perfect opportunity to discuss the source of Truth and design and the value of inference and reason. Helping them understand the proper use of the word “prove” and training students to notice biases in scientific writings are great ways to incorporate a Christian worldview into science.
What do you love most about WHA’s students?
I love the enthusiasm for learning I am seeing in the students. I have heard no one complain about any of the assigned reading, or activities. Across the board, my students participate respectfully and eagerly! I love the spirit of encouragement I have seen among the students as classmates take risks to answer questions or explain ideas.
What about you? What are some things that you enjoy when you are not teaching at WHA? What kinds of activities are life-giving to you?
I love biking, camping, hiking, mountain biking, backpacking, kayaking and generally being outside. I also enjoy games and music and cheering on my kids in their various athletic or performing arts endeavors. I must add winter sports like cross-country skiing and ice skating, which includes having people over for ice skating parties on our backyard rink! Cooking, sewing, and reading are on the list as well. And when I am done raising children, I look forward to more golfing, traveling, and gardening.
Can you share a formative experience or book that has impacted your thinking about education and the learning process?
Teaching in public schools, having kids in a brick and mortar classical school for six years, homeschooling for 10 years, and teaching in a classical homeschool co-op as well as Christian school that was not classical, have all impacted my understanding of education. I have four very different kids that each have taught me much about the learning process. I am a bit less confident than I used to be about one formula being best for learning to take place. I have experienced that an eclectic, smorgasbord approach to finding and taking classes, has been advantageous for my children. Various books have impacted my thinking about education. Some of the most important ones are A Thomas Jefferson Education, by Oliver Van DeMill, Recovering the Lost Tools of Learning by Douglas Wilson, The Seven Laws of Teaching by John Milton Gregory, and The Soul of Science by Nancy Pearcy.
Do you have a favorite book or author, one that has made a significant impact on you as a Christian?
C.S. Lewis’ writings, especially Mere Christianity and The Screwtape Letters, have been very influential to me in understanding my faith and humanity.