On my drive to my first day of employment at ACS, I got a flat tire when I drove over a fork in the road. Really! The pictures are there to prove it (along with the mismatched tire on my car). Anyway, I knew I was going to a great place when I nervously texted Roy Van Eerden. “I’m going to be late for my first day because I drove over a fork and got a flat.” His reply? “Salad or dinner?” In the midst of that challenge, I had to, “LOL.” It’s been a great mix of laughter and challenge since then, and I am so glad for God’s grace in the midst of multiple forks in the road over the last 20 years.
When I graduated from ACS in 1993, I would have laughed at anyone who predicted I would be working at the elementary school as a Grade 5 teacher and Vice-Principal! There was no way that I, setting out with a goal of getting a degree in Chemistry, hoping to work with a pharmaceutical company, would ever be employed at my old school! In fact, had someone offered me a job at ACS on the spot, I’m pretty sure I would have said no.
Why? Well, I know that I had plenty of maturing to do, both in my character, faith, and especially in my appreciation for the benefits of Christian education. I also did not really have any sure idea of what I wanted to do for work. Where was I being called to use my gifts? I did not know, but was pretty sure that I needed time to find out. I would have been reluctant to take on work at ACS, let alone any school.
While at Dordt, I switched majors from Chemistry to English, quickly determining that if I loved English, I would need to either take up writing or teaching. I then had my eyes opened to the joys of teaching when I first visited a middle school classroom in Sioux Center, Iowa. Even better, I gained a passion for both the challenges and joys of Christian education, working to make it distinct, meaningful and God-honoring!
Eventually, I completed my student teaching (half in Iowa, half at ACS in the high school English department), and hesitantly took on my first job teaching at Oak Harbor Christian in Washington State. I was prepared to teach high school English, so teaching middle school students was initially a stretch; but once again, God had better plans for me, showing me that middle school students are actually a blast! After 10 years at OHCS, my wife and I and our three daughters moved to Aldergrove so I could work at Langley Christian Middle School.
Last spring, I noticed a job posting for a Vice-Principal/Teacher at ACES. Now the question was no longer why, but why not? Call me a slow learner, if you will, but 20 years after graduating from ACS, I’m back! Over the past four months I have been learning about new staff, students, families, and the new expectations for me in my dual roles as teacher and Vice-Principal. I have loved the opportunity to learn especially about the school’s passion and commitment to Christian education. I have also loved to hear the abundant laughter throughout the school, which helps me to fully embrace the mission of, “Engaging Minds, Nurturing Hearts, Shaping God’s World,” regardless of whatever forks in the road may lie ahead!