God radically changed my life just before my 20th birthday. Ever since that night of transformation in August of 1989, I’ve been enthusiastic about making Jesus known and challenging others to follow Him. That journey has taken me into occupations in church ministry that include youth pastor and Director of Christian Education. Several years ago, I transitioned into education, working as a teacher and campus administrator in a Christian alternative school.
I believe that a good teacher is one who enjoys learning, discovering, pursuing, and sharing truth. I personally love to learn and have always felt comfortable with a book in one hand and a highlighter in the other. However, the ultimate joy in learning is found in passionately presenting ideas to an eager learner. As I’ve researched, studied, and even observed Classical Christian education, I’m convinced that it’s the best model to train students to possess a broad base of knowledge coupled with a solid biblical worldview.
I am thrilled to be a part of the staff at Three Oaks Christian School. I am committed to creating a school and culture that fulfills our mission to “partner with parents to educate and disciple children consistent with a biblical worldview, teaching them to be lifelong learners able to discern, articulate, and defend truth in a compelling, winsome Christ-like manner.”
My wife (Heidi) and I have been married for 26 years. We have seven children (ages 23 to 9-year-old twins). Several activities that I cherish are spending time with my wife and family, reading, and woodworking. I have a BA in Pastoral Ministries from Taylor University and a Master of Divinity from Grace Theological Seminary.
Church Affiliation: First Mennonite Church in Berne, Indiana.
5th & 6th Grade Teacher
I graduated from Spring Arbor University in 1995 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education with Science and Language Arts endorsements for grades 6-9. My Student Teaching experience was in Michigan where I taught to an inner city 4th grade class.
Kindergarten & 1st Grade
After graduating from Butler University in 2013, I taught first grade for two years. In 2015, I returned to Decatur to be closer to my family and began teaching fourth grade that fall. In September, I married my best friend, Christopher Whalen. The following summer we were excited to find out we were pregnant!
Throughout the school year we were considering whether I could stay at home to raise our baby. A few months before Layton was born, we knew that I was called to stay home and God would provide our needs (because that is what he promises.) I thoroughly enjoy spending my days with Layton! When Three Oaks had their first informational meeting, I knew I wanted to be involved; however, I also strongly desired staying home with Layton. In Godly fashion, we experienced a perspective-shifting time where God made it completely clear and undeniable that Three Oaks is where He wants me.
Having graduating from a liberal arts college and teaching in public schools, the classical Christian education model was new to me. I’ve spent time researching, seeking, and learning about the model, and I wish I had known about it sooner! I am the most excited about integrating the Word of God into our daily learning and fostering our relationships with God.
It is undeniable that God has great things planned for Adams County and surrounding areas. I have seen God move in ways I could have never imagined. He guided me to Three Oaks, and I am grateful for the opportunity to teach Kindergarten and first grade from a Biblical worldview.
Grammar & Upper School Art Teacher
I was homeschooled from 1st through 12th grade, along with my older sister and four younger siblings. My parents wanted to give their children an education built on a biblical view of the world, and they also wanted to be able to spend more time with us; to have the flexibility to embrace and learn from all of life. It wasn’t until about midway through high school that I realized how much of a blessing that actually was. That is also when I began to grow in my own faith as a follower of Christ. I am so grateful for the love, patience, and freedom my parents gave me as they encouraged me to pursue my interests and most importantly my relationship with Christ.
I can’t remember a time when a fascination with the arts wasn’t part of me. I started to get an interest in music at a young age and started dancing at an even younger age; drawing, painting, and creativity were always part of our education growing up. In high school, I took private art lessons from a very talented artist once a week, and she really helped me grow as a painter. I give God all the credit for any amount of talent that He has seen fit to give me, and I thank him for giving me opportunities to use it and learn from it.
In 2016, I married my best friend. Carson is a huge part of my life. In the last ten years we’ve known each other, we’ve seen each other make mistakes, but by the grace of God, we’ve also been able to witness that grace in each other’s lives. We enjoy hiking, kayaking, exploring, reading, cooking, playing music, spending time with loved ones, working, pretty much just all of life we enjoy doing together. It is our hope that as we grow, we are able to share the love and truth of Christ with others.
In 2017, I received my bachelor’s degree in elementary education. Growing up I really always loved children, and I knew I wanted to work with them in some way; I also wanted to use my interest in art. I wasn’t sure how these things would fit together, but God did and I am so thankful for the opportunity he’s given me to share my love of art with the students of Three Oaks Christian School!
3rd & 4th Teacher
I graduated in 2016 from Johnson University Florida with a Bachelor’s Degree Interdisciplinary Studies K-6. In 2017, I graduated from Johnson University Tennessee with a Master’s Degree in Holistic Education. I also have an endorsement in English as a Second Language Pre-k – 12.
After graduation I moved back home and worked in an intensive behavior classroom as a full time paraprofessional. I later got the opportunity to fill a maternity leave position in a first grade classroom.
I recently moved to the area and am excited to see all that it has to offer. I love to watch and play sports, listen to country music, and spend time with my family and friends.
I am excited to get to be a part of the team at Three Oaks Christian School. I cannot wait to be a positive influence to students and families in the area. I will be teaching 3rd and 4th grade and am so excited to watch the students learn and grow in their education and their spiritual growth!