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, Berne, IN.
From the time I was in Elementary school, I have always known I wanted to be a teacher. I just couldn’t imagine myself in any other career. Teaching and school was what I loved and where I knew I wanted to spend my career. I wanted to work in the public schools as a witness and a Christian influence on the children who weren’t hearing the Gospel at home. After graduating from Miami University in Oxford, OH with a degree in Early Childhood Education it became clear that where God wanted me was in the Christian Schools. I began to see Christian education as an essential tool for preparing the next generation to do God’s work. While I have experience teaching in Christian schools in Kindergarten through second grade, Three Oaks is the first Classical Christian school I have had the privilege to be a part of. I am looking forward to teaching with a classical approach to education and all that it has to offer. In addition to my Early Childhood degree, I also have a Master’s degree of education as a reading specialist and a certification in the Orton-Gillingham method of reading tutoring.
My husband Dustin and I have been married since August 11, 2007. We have four children. As a family we enjoy camping, spending time outdoors, bike rides, and board games. I enjoy reading and swimming for fun and fitness. I am excited to teach at Three Oaks and see all that God will continue to do!
Church Affiliation: First Presbyterian Church, Ossian, IN
1st & 2nd Grade Teacher
Teaching at Three Oaks Christian School is life a dream come true. I enjoy the opportunity to be excited about God in the classroom: the WOW of nature, the thankfulness for opportunities to learn, and the special characteristics of each student. God is Truth which helps us understand the truth of 1+1=2.
After graduating from Adams Central, I attended Butler University, Indianapolis. I graduated in 1993 with a BA in Elementary Education. I gained employment as a kindergarten teacher, but later worked with adults in an Adult Education program. God has always been my desire. Through college and into young adult life, I didn’t want to stray from the Bible. Though I’ve made mistakes, His protection is evident to me.
In my late twenties, I married Tom in June 1998. God gave us one child before taking him to Heaven November 2015. Even though the ground beneath my feet was shaken, my strength to stand relies on my walk with the LORD. My son and I enjoy simple bicycle rides and playing at the playground. We stay busy helping my dad at the family farm.
With some training in Classical Christian education, I am on a journey of learning, so that I can impart to my students the true, the good, and the beautiful of life as they grow toward adulthood.
Church Affiliation: Faith Baptist Church, Berne, IN
3rd, 4th, 5th Grade Teacher
Church Affiliation: Pleasant Dale Church, Decatur, IN
1st Grade Assistant
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.
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!
Upper School Latin, Science, & Math
I started in education in 1988 as a special needs math teacher at a vocational school, working with Juniors and Seniors in high school. I really appreciated the administration and their focus on student responsibility and character. In 1990, I came home to begin to raise our (now) 8 children. I have enjoyed many years as a homeschooling mom, private math tutor, and as a Classical Conversations director, with brief stints as a business owner (tutoring, cognitive training), and a Christian school teacher. Now that all but one of our children are adults (and are best friends), my husband, Andrew, and I are ready for me to return to the world of work outside the home. We are both thrilled with this opportunity to be a part of the Three Oaks community. We especially appreciate the emphasis on character, discipline, and citizenship. When we are not working, we will continue to disciple our children, and enjoy our growing crew of grandchildren.