I was born and raised near Cincinnati, Ohio. At the age of 15, I found my home in Eastern Kentucky after the death of my mother, who was raising me on her own. I graduated from Red Bird Christian School in 1989 and received my BA in Early Elementary Education (K-4) from Alice Lloyd College in 1995. That same year, I married my husband, Mike.
My teaching career began at Cornerstone Christian School in London, Kentucky, where I stayed for two years. I then served as a substitute teacher in the Laurel County School System and was hired full time at Colony Elementary School in 1999, where I taught for 15 years. I was blessed to have my two daughters, Michaela and Chloe, attend the school where I worked.
In August of 2014, our family made the move of over 2,000 miles to Newberg, Oregon. Our primary reason for relocating was to be closer to our two older children (from my husband’s previous marriage), James and Stephanie, and four grandchildren who were growing up without our presence. Since the move, I have been fortunate to return to Christian Education, where my heart lies. I have taught at both Stafford Academy and McMinnville Christian Academy.
Let me back up and explain not only how I ended up at Alice Lloyd College, but also how I came to choose Education as my major. Upon graduation, at the top of my small class at Red Bird Christian School, I decided to enroll in a local community college. I thought I would quickly obtain an office administration AA, and obtain an office job, something I always thought I would enjoy doing.
Two summers later, I volunteered to teach Vacation Bible School at a local church, and throughout the entire week, I received compliments and praise on how well I worked with children and what a wonderful teacher I was going to be. I had also applied for an office position in our community school and was asked if I would be interested instead in a job with the mission’s Early Childhood Development Program. I accepted the position of a home visitor while continuing to attend community college. These new opportunities inspired me to change my major to Elementary Education. But where would I finish?
I’d heard of Alice Lloyd College. I’d even had classmates who had gone there. But, it was an invitation from a fellow church member whose daughter was attending ALC, to go along with them to visit campus that led me there. Also, the fact that the College had a Student Work Program and guaranteed tuition to those from Eastern Kentucky and surrounding areas allowed me to transfer there without having to worry about how I would have to pay. Remember, I was the child of a single mother, whom I’d lost at age 15. With only the support and care from two older siblings, I learned early on how to be independent.
I immediately fell in love with the beautiful campus on Caney Creek. The students were all so friendly, and the faculty and staff were supportive and caring. I recall sitting in Hunger Din the first week I arrived and having the Academic Dean, Dr. Wallace Campbell, join me at my table. He asked many questions, such as where I was from and what my major was. I felt as though he was truly interested in getting to know me, and his kindness helped me affirm that I was where I belonged.
I also joined the Voices of Appalachia and sang in a choir for the first time. It is an experience that I am proud of and will cherish forever. The director, Mr. Richard Kennedy, made sure that each and every rehearsal was a fun and special time. One special memory I have is from a spring tour in Florida, during which we sang in some of the most beautiful churches I had ever seen. I felt loved and appreciated by people across that state.
Another person who impacted my ALC experience was my student work supervisor, Mrs. Sandy Mitchell. In addition to running the Career Services Office, Mrs. Mitchell was also in charge of the Baptist Student Union (now referred to as Campus Ministries). Through my involvement in that organization, I was able to make many Christian friends.
Dr. Stephen Wilson was one of the many wonderful professors I will never forget. His Asian History course was very interesting and entertaining. In addition to teaching us about history, Dr. Wilson also instilled in us many important lessons about life.
I eventually went on to receive two Master’s degrees, one in Elementary Education from the University of the Cumberlands and the second from Eastern Kentucky University in Educational Leadership. While both are great institutions, neither of them impacted my life and my career the way that Alice Lloyd College did. There’s just something about living on the ALC campus, sitting in the stone buildings, passing the Founder’s Shack each day on the way to class, and crossing the Bridge to the Future.
While enrolled in the school’s Philosophy 300 class, I learned about the unique history of the College and the motivation that Alice Lloyd and June Buchanan had in every aspect of this impactful institution. I’ve kept my copy of “Miracle on Caney Creek” for all these years, and I recently reread it. I found myself overcome with tears of gratitude while being reminded about the sacrifices made by these two women to ensure that students like myself reached their full potential.
In the most recent issue of “Pippa’s Song”, I read an article written by that beloved professor whom I mentioned earlier, Dr. Stephen Wilson. It was entitled “How Another World-Wide Pandemic Led to the Founding of Alice Lloyd College.”
You see, in the months before the Covid-19 Pandemic, my world was already on unsteady ground. The school where I was currently teaching was financially struggling and threatened by closure mid-year. My family was also facing a personal crisis of our own. I found myself questioning my Creator and wondering if moving to Oregon had been the right decision. But, the very week that I received my copy of “Pippa’s Song”, a fellow teacher and friend, Jessica Flood, asked me if I would be interested in taking a step of faith and co-founding a new Christian micro-school in Yamhill County, Oregon. That article written by Dr. Wilson seemed to be confirmation to my family and me that God was calling Jessica and me to move forward and establish a NEW type of school that could function during our “new normal.”
Heritage Christian School, a micro-school with a modern take on a one-room schoolhouse (just like Alice Lloyd started), was launched in the midst of the current pandemic and will open its doors in the fall of 2020. It will serve students grades K-12 residing in Yamhill County, Oregon, and will have small class sizes, online instruction, and recordkeeping, along with individualized attention to multi-grade level students.
I am passionate about challenging and motivating students, and I want to help them to reach THEIR full potential. I know that “at such a time as this” God has called me to help carry a torch for the next generation of leaders.
Alice Lloyd College has influenced my life in many ways and continues to inspire me as I educate and encourage others along the Purpose Road. I will forever be grateful for the opportunities ALC provided, and the lessons it instilled in me about leadership and service.