Alumni Insights

Elementary Education

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Nathan Reeves

Nathan Reeves (’02 Elementary Education grad)
Administrator, Bill Rice Christian Academy (Murfreesboro, TN)

“PCC’s education program gave me a very solid foundation in teaching. PCC taught me the traits of a master teacher so that I can help our teachers become master teachers, too.

“The internship gave me a chance to observe great teachers and how a great school is run. It also gave me a chance to practice what I observed and then be critiqued. I appreciate PCC’s high educational standards.

“The best part about working in education is having a part in kids being saved and lives changed.”

Shari Pedde

Shari Pedde (’81 Elementary Education grad)
K-4 Teacher and Child Care Supervisor, Granite Baptist School, (Glen Burnie, MD)

“I enjoy teaching phonics and reading using A Beka. It is priceless to see the students’ faces when they are able to sound out words.”

PCC’s education program taught that “learning to be detail-oriented and thoroughly prepared for the day helps to keep me on track and allows for the day to flow smoothly. Being able to work in the PCA elementary school brought a strong desire to have my own classroom. The internship allowed me to build up gradually under supervision and finally assume classroom responsibilities.”

Andrew Archibald

Meredith White (’07 Early Childhood Education grad)
Preschool Teacher, Granite Baptist School (Glen Burnie, MD)

“My daily responsibilities include teaching the three-year-olds basics such as numbers, counting, letters. I love being with the kids all day, every day. They make me smile, and I love their simple outlook on life.

“PCC’s methods classes prepared me for my current work by giving me the organizational skills needed to perform my daily tasks. It takes more than just the ability to teach to be a teacher. My classroom also needs to be clean and clutter-free to be conducive to learning. The key to a smooth day is organization.

“In addition to classes, my internships at the nursery and Pensacola Christian Academy were the most valuable aspects of my training because the experience taught me how to manage my time. Though challenging, those weeks of full-time teaching were good practice in preparing for my own class after I graduated. The whole experience made my first year such a success.”

Pamela Wieler (’00 Elementary Education grad)

  • Principal/Teacher, Independent Baptist School (Soroti, Uganda)
  • M.A. in Bible Exposition: Pensacola Theological Seminary

“I came to Uganda in 2005 for one year to replace a furloughing missionary. However, after a few weeks, the Lord specifically showed me this was where I would serve Him. On Sundays, I teach children in Serere village; during the week, I am the principal and one of the teachers of Independent Baptist School, where we educate the orphans we care for and a few children from our church.

“My favorite part about working on the mission field is the opportunity to share the love of Christ with those who have never heard. I’ve come to love the people God has sent me to, and I’ve developed a desire to see them grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord. Leading someone to the Lord and training them in one-on-one classes is a true blessing because these orphans are the generation that can turn this country around.

“The Lord used PCC and other ministries to guide and direct me to where I am today. During a Mission Prayer Band meeting, I learned about a missions boot camp where I attended and first learned of the opportunities to serve in Uganda. The Lord also used a PCC missions trip to Ivory Coast, my undergrad work in Elementary Education and Missions, teaching for four years at Pensacola Christian Academy, and earning my master’s degree from Pensacola Theological Seminary to fully prepare me for the future work He would have me do.

“I am truly thankful for the dedication of the teachers I had at PCC. The smaller class sizes allowed the teachers to know us by name, and they were willing to help when it was needed and to pray with me when I had a burden. Seeing their examples has helped me show compassion in my own classes.”

Rachel Gifford

Rachel Gifford (’04 Elementary Education grad)
Third and Fourth Grade Teacher, Tabernacle Christian School (Martinsville, IN)

“PCC prepared me in the different projects we were required to do. Everything—from bulletin boards and game ideas to the experience of peer teaching and my internship—has been used in the last seven years. The best part, looking back, was the hands-on experience of the internship. There was no better way to see the workings of a classroom than to be in the classroom yourself. The internship helped me be a better teacher under the guidance of a master teacher.

“I love working with 3rd and 4th graders! They are eager to learn and enjoy learning and games. They want to please authority and have a tenderness to the things of God. I have been teaching the last seven years and have seen remarkable achievements in the academic and spiritual lives of my students. Through the last few years, I have been able to see a child come to Christ almost every year.”

Bernadette Rodriguez O'Shea

Bernadette (Rodriguez) O’Shea (’97 Elementary Education grad)

  • English Kindergarten Teacher, (Spanish School House)
  • Public Speaker for Education and Children’s Ministry

“PCC demanded excellence and quality from their teachers. After 10+ years of teaching, I have yet to come across another school that produces educators in this manner. For me, the best part about PCC’s education program was my teaching classes.”

The internship was beneficial because “I was never allowed to give less than my best. To this date, I am still in contact with my mentor teacher. She and I have developed a precious relationship that has extended outside the classroom/internship.

“Not only do I have a privilege to teach, but I am also a public speaker in the fields of education and children’s ministry. I am a Recommended Expert speaker for Children’s Ministry Academy (an online ministry training school for those who serve in children’s ministry). I also speak at Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) teacher conferences and conventions. When I am not at school or at a convention, I speak at other schools to encourage and motivate their faculty and staff.

“One school I taught in allowed me to move up quickly. In four years I went from Co-Teacher to Lead Teacher to Assistant Director to Director. I was told many times that there was something different about my style of teaching and the leadership qualities I possessed. I know this was all taught to me from my years at PCC.”

Elizabeth Baker

Elizabeth Baker (’09 Early Childhood Education grad)

  • Kindergarten Teacher, Elementary Art Teacher, and Varsity Cheerleading Coach, (Milford, OH)
  • Award: Teacher of the Year during second year at Milford Christian Academy

“My favorite part of teaching and coaching is being able to show the love of God to my students and their families through the vehicle of education.

“The education I received from PCC has been invaluable to me in my ministry. Looking back, I am extremely thankful for the challenging academics, busy schedules, peer teachings, curriculum studies, and my teaching internship. These and the many other tasks I completed during college helped prepare me to be an effective teacher.

“The internship I completed at Pensacola Christian Academy made a tremendous impact on my teaching style and gave me practical classroom experience which I was able to carry with me into my career. I felt completely prepared and at ease for my first year of teaching thanks to my challenging internship in kindergarten at Pensacola Christian Academy.”

Jessica Paliling

Jessica Paliling (’04 Elementary Education grad)
Principal, Victory Christian Academy, (Fort Plain, NY)

“When I was a senior in high school, I took a college trip comparing several colleges. What stood out most to me about PCC was that I was permitted to sit in on classes. Of course I chose any available teaching education classes to observe. I’ll never forget hearing one teacher instruct a Materials and Methods class. I knew right then that I wanted to be the kind of teacher she was training her students to become.

“While attending PCC, I had many preparatory classes for my field. Each one truly pushed me out of my shy comfort zone. I am very thankful that I was given many opportunities to practice teaching in front of my peers before entering a classroom. The PCC elementary education internship was unlike any other I had looked into before attending PCC. Most had only peer teachings before the actual internship, but at PCC, it was great that we already had experience at the Academy teaching gym and Bible classes. During my internship, thirty-two first graders helped me to be assertive and very creative.

“I graduated from PCC in December of 2004 with the intent of going home and not being able to teach until the fall of 2005. God had very different plans for me. A fifth grade teacher left the school I graduated from one week before I graduated from college. I started teaching in January of 2005 as the fifth and sixth grade teacher. I taught various grade levels, even junior and senior high classes. Our school had no drama department, but my principal asked me to start one. Who would have thought that all of those dramatic productions and Fine Arts Series at PCC would come in handy for an elementary education major!

“Since 2009, I have been the principal, doing everything my small Christian school has needed me to do. From the bottom of my heart, I know that without my PCC education, being a principal would never have become a reality.”

Amanda Ruffner

Amanda Ruffner (’07 Elementary Education grad)
Kindergarten Principal, K-5 Teacher, and Third Grade Team Teacher, Brooklane Baptist Academy (Hueytown, AL)

“PCC’s program helped me to become very organized, and I learned how to integrate Biblical truths into every subject and lesson. The best part of PCC’s program was my internship at PCA. It gave me ‘real life’ experience before being in a classroom on my own. It also taught me to give my all every day and to trust the Lord daily for what I needed from Him to teach to the best of my ability.”

Amanda Shupp

Amanda Shupp (’10 Elementary Education grad)
Fifth Grade Teacher, Red Lion Christian School, (Red Lion, PA)

“My favorite part about working in education is the ability to help students discover new things about the world God has created and see Who God is as He is revealed in His Word.

“PCC’s program prepared me for my current work by teaching me how I can teach all the subjects from a Biblical point of view, and it gave me opportunities to do so as an undergrad. The best part about PCC’s education program is all the educational classes geared toward teaching each different subject.

“The internship helped to prepare me for being a teacher by observing all the different things that I would be doing once I had my own class and having several different opportunities to experience hands-on teaching situations.”

Debbie (Brumbelow) Morrison (’83 Elementary Education grad)

  • Substitute Teacher, Sherwood Christian Academy (Albany, GA)
  • Owner/Tutor, ABC Tutoring

“What made me choose PCC was that you are in a classroom your very first year of school. It makes you stop and think about what it takes to be a teacher.

“I love the interaction with the kids. It’s so neat to see their faces when they ‘get’ a concept that you’ve been teaching in the classroom, and it’s very satisfying knowing you are where God wants you to be, doing what He’s called you to do.”

Susan Noll (’82 Elementary Education grad)
Teacher, Santiago Christian Academy, (Santiago, Chile)

“God used a prayer letter of a missionary family stating that they needed teachers at SCA. Three weeks later, I flew from California to Santiago with the financial help of God’s people. My schedule includes teaching 7th grade math, world studies, US history, 3rd and 4th grade science, 5th and 6th grade science, and ESL in the seminary.

“I love talking about what God has done and showing others how wonderful He is. Hopefully, my students will desire to know Him better.

“PCC’s program taught me discipline and submission. I appreciated the opportunity to be in the classroom before student teaching.”

Melissa Henry

Melissa Henry (’08 Elementary Education grad)
Sixth Grade Teacher, Maranatha Christian Academy (Santa Ana, CA)

“I could not have picked a better education program. My internship was the best thing ever! I felt prepared when I stepped into my current teaching position three days after I graduated from PCC. I did not feel like a first-year teacher; I felt experienced. PCC prepared me tremendously.”

Lynette Gardiner

Lynette Gardiner (’02 Elementary Education grad)

  • Second Grade Teacher and Founder/Director of the Elementary Drama Program at her school (Turks and Caicos Islands, Island of Providenciales)
  • Award: Cambridge Who’s Who in American Education (2007)

“PCC has helped to prepare me for my current position by giving me a quality education with the very best professors. The best part about the education program at PCC is that it demands punctuality, neatness, preparedness, and participation.

“The internship helped prepare me for being a teacher because it offered practical experience in the classroom. It was great to work with the students to get the feel of being in a classroom with students. It showed me that the teaching profession can also be very rewarding.

“For two years, I had been seeking God’s will as to where He wanted me to be. The more I prayed, the more peace He gave me about moving from Orlando, Florida, to the Turks and Caicos Islands. I asked the Lord if He would place me in a government school that needed me the most, and He did.

“The favorite part about working in my field is that I get to talk to my students about the Lord every day and give an invitation for those who are willing to accept Him as Savior.”

Joanna Burt (’98 Elementary Education grad)
Head Elementary Teacher, Lighthouse Christian School (Valdosta, GA)

“PCC’s education thoroughly prepared me for my field. I was so blessed to have attended this college! I came into the field knowing how to run an efficient classroom and being solidly founded in the right philosophy for education. The best part of PCC’s education program was learning from master teachers who were truly experts in their field.

“The internship was where I put all of the book knowledge into practice and learned what it takes to run a classroom. It helped prepare me to teach in a Christian school classroom on my own.

“My favorite part of working as an elementary teacher is watching children grow in knowledge and in the Lord. Seeing children accept Christ as their Savior and grow in Christ, all while giving them a great education, is such a rewarding feeling. God continues to place such a love in my heart for children that with each passing year my ‘job’ becomes more of a blessing!”

Deborah Driggers Kirk

Deborah Driggers Kirk (’96 Elementary Education grad)
Lead Pre-K Teacher and Mentor Teacher, Stepping Stones Early Learning Center (Georgia State Pre-K Program)

“The best part about PCC’s education program was most definitely the instructors. With their encouragement and wisdom, I have been able to teach in a manner that has allowed me to prosper and further my career. I have a notebook of several quotes and sayings that my instructors said over and over that I refer to often.

“The internship gave me the knowledge of how to run a classroom efficiently and effectively.”

Dawn Miller (’03 Elementary Education grad)
First Grade Teacher and Cheerleading Coach, Fairwinds Christian School, (Bear, DE)

“The teachers at PCC always had time for me and my questions. Their heart for us and passion for teaching always showed through and inspired me to be like them. I knew they loved the Lord, and they loved us. I always pray that the Lord can use me in my students’ lives like He used PCC teachers in mine. Also, no matter which methods class it was, teachers always stressed being prepared and planning ahead. Knowing what I am doing each day has really helped me to adjust to those unexpected things that come up in the schedule. The resources available to me at PCC were priceless.

“The internship was wonderful hands-on practice! I learned a lot about what a classroom is really like, and I still go back to my notes occasionally to refresh my memory on how certain things were done. Classroom discipline and time management came alive there. When I started teaching at Fairwinds, the second grade teacher came and asked me how I was able to finish all three reading groups during seatwork time. I was able to share with her the things I learned at PCC, and she took them and used them in her classroom!

“Last year, two of my students came to know Christ! I was so honored to have a part in that. Both were a result of students going home and asking their parents about the Bible story that we were working on that week. Also, there is nothing like standing in front of a classroom of students and making learning fun! Especially when you have a student that is struggling with something and they have the ‘aha!’ moment. It’s wonderful to see their faces light up with understanding when they finally get it!”

Adrianne Hughes (’04 Bible grad)

  • K5 Teacher, Valley Christian Academy (Santa Maria, CA)
  • M.S. in Educational Administration: Pensacola Christian College

“God’s timing is amazing! After I graduated, I went to Mexico on a missions trip. It was there I received a phone call from Valley Christian Academy, inviting me to come interview the following week. I visited the school and knew this is where God wants me. Our kindergarten program is growing, and this year I have 28 students.

“God gave me the desire and opportunity to teach, and the education program at PCC gave me the knowledge and the tools to develop my skills. Every day, I find myself using tips that I saw or heard from my professors.

“In the last several years, I have used the knowledge from my philosophy of education classes almost as much as any other training I received at PCC. Parents are concerned for their child’s education. More than once, I have met with parents and had them ask me to explain why we teach in kindergarten rather than play. They want to know what makes us so different. I am able to explain the benefits of traditional Christian education.”

Kelli Floyd

Kelli Floyd (’96 Early Childhood Education grad)
K-4 Teacher, Crosspointe Christian Academy (Indianapolis, IN)

“PCC prepared me by having teaching classes that taught me how to be a prepared and organized teacher. Student teaching at the Academy was an excellent opportunity to learn from seasoned teachers while still having the opportunity to compare experiences with the other student teaching peers.

“The internship helped prepare me by allowing me to get in an actual classroom and see how things were done. All children are not the same, and they don’t all behave and react the same way. It was the perfect opportunity to see how seasoned teachers handled situations with different children. I also had the opportunity to try those very same things myself and could talk to those same teachers for advice.

“My favorite part of teaching a K–4 class is that this is usually their first time in a school setting actually learning. I love to see their little eyes light up when they realize that they can actually read words and write their own name. They are so innocent at this age, and they enjoy even the little accomplishments.”

Andrea Holloman

Andrea Holloman (93 Elementary Education grad)
Elementary Coordinator, Faith Christian Academy (Goldsboro, NC)

At PCC, “I received well-rounded education that includes every facet of elementary education. I enjoyed being able to see the whole educational program; I worked in the [A Beka Book] Distribution Center for a time. I saw it from the warehouse to the classroom.”

The internship gave “he opportunity to teach in two different levels, helping me to decide which grade area I preferred.”

Lois Rall (’85 Elementary Education grad)
Administrator, Valley Forge Baptist Academy (Collegeville, PA)

“I felt very well prepared to teach when I left PCC. The structure in class observation and practice teaching were all beneficial to me. The best part of the program is the hands-on opportunities including the sophomore practicum. PCC was always striving for excellence, and that has followed through with me to this day.

“When I did my practice teaching, I had two teachers who worked with me, and they weren’t afraid to point out areas I needed to work on as well as encourage the areas where I was doing well.

“As an administrator, the reward of seeing students who want to live for the Lord is worth all of the difficult times. I’ve been in this ministry long enough that I see students that I have taught who have now graduated from college and are serving the Lord. It is exciting to know that I had a small part in helping them to become who they are today. The opportunity to work with young people to help them find what God wants in their lives is my favorite part.”

Katherine Grete Kiser (’83 Elementary Education grad)
Educational Therapist

“PCC gave me a solid foundation on which to build my understanding of childhood development and learning. I feel I was prepared to begin teaching after graduation.

“The internship gave me a practical platform allowing me to put my teaching abilities into action. My supervising teacher was instrumental in my development as an effective teacher.

“The Lord led me to take educational therapy courses. These courses enabled me to personally assist eighteen other students as well and start a Discovery Therapy Program at Covenant Christian School in Mobile, Alabama. My title was Discovery Program Coordinator. This coming year, I will be working at Traverse City Christian (Traverse City, Michigan) in the Resource Center to assist students who struggle in general classes. I love the ‘ah ha’ moments when students finally understand a concept.”

Kathy Johnson

Kathy Johnson (’04 Elementary Education grad)
Assistant Administrator, Liberty Baptist Academy

“PCC teaches personal responsibility by demanding it in every class and holding students accountable. In teaching and now in supervising teachers, that has helped me realize the importance of teaching those characteristics to our students. To me, the best part of the education program is the experience in an actual classroom for a whole semester. My advisory teacher taught me by example and with patience in showing and telling me how to be the teacher I should be.

“I am so thankful the internship lasted a full semester and that we were required to keep up with so much: boardwork, detailed lesson plans, visuals for our classroom, etc. I like how we taught one subject, then added another and another until we were ready for full responsibility. There were no surprises when I took my own class the next year.

“I have been working at Liberty Baptist Academy for 7 years. I taught 2nd grade for the first 6 years, and this past year was my first as Assistant Administrator. Liberty came to PCC’s recruitment my senior year, and that’s where I met them and eventually felt the Lord’s leading to go there.

“I love seeing the growth of the children. This past year, I really enjoyed working with and helping the teachers. I absolutely love going from classroom to classroom during Bible time and hearing the classes recite verses and sing Bible songs. It reminds me why I’m doing what I’m doing.”

Maria Juwita

Maria Juwita (’04 Elementary Education grad)

  • Elementary Teacher, (Indonesia)
  • M.S. in Elementary Education: Pensacola Christian College

“In Indonesia, we have only one Christian university that offers an education major, and it uses the liberal progressive philosophy. However, the foundation at PCC is solid. It is 100% pure gold—PCC showed me the right kind of education so that when I see wrong philosophies and practices in other schools, I recognize them right away.

“The PCC education faculty are so easy to talk to. They understand you, and I am so thankful for them.

“When I went back to Indonesia, I was surprised that many teachers had no basic training: if they can’t get another job, they take a teacher’s position. PCC taught me that teaching is a high calling; they take the opportunity to influence children very seriously. It is an honor to be a teacher, and it is my privilege to teach, by God’s grace.

“After I had been teaching in Indonesia for a few years, I was the principal of the secondary school and was asked to help change the curriculum. Within one year, we changed the entire school’s curriculum to A Beka, and I had the privilege of training the teachers on how to teach with the traditional method.

“I also taught my son using the A Beka nursery curriculum. Other parents saw that he was more advanced than their children. They started asking me to teach their children, and I began accepting students in my home. People can really tell the difference with the education that I received from PCC, and they want that good education for their own children.”

Rebekah Poteat

Rebekah Poteat (’93 Elementary Education grad)
Missionary (Togo, West Africa)

“The Lord has called me to Togo, West Africa, where I serve as a church planting assistant. This entails evangelism (village and hospital, particularly with AIDS patients), teaching women and children in the Agou church, training teachers for the Agou church, and training and observing Christian school teachers for the Togo field. Seeing the needs of lost people, their lack of education, and their lack of opportunity thrust me into attempting to make a difference in the lives of the Togolese for the Lord.

“I have been privileged to teach children as well as women to read. Seeing and hearing the progress made, especially in learning to read the Word of God, is a thrill like none other! The school system in Togo is quite lacking because of huge classes, no books, rote learning, teachers who do not care about the students, etc. Through the vision of another missionary, we have been able to start a program for training teachers for the Christian schools that are hosted by our churches. This year we have completed the goal of training teachers for K–6th grades, having added one grade per year.

“Having majored in education at PCC, I have been able to ‘practice’ what I learned in different contexts, including at home with the children who are a part of my life, missionary kids, Togolese public and Christian schools, churches, villages, etc. Early in life I had a desire to teach, and God has given me the ‘desire of my heart’ to be His vessel to communicate to others. I appreciate the Christian philosophy and desire for excellence instilled in us at PCC. I was encouraged to love children and to seek to help them grow mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually.

“Having opportunities to integrate what we learned in the classroom through Christian service opportunities like Bible clubs, etc., along with actually teaching in the Academy built confidence, showed me the importance of establishing relationships with my students, and enabled me to put what I learned in the classroom into a practical setting.

“Each term, I have worked with a different Togolese church. The teacher training has enabled the churches to be independent of me because they now have their own qualified teachers for Sunday school and children’s church. To God be the glory for allowing us to reach the goal of training the Christian school teachers so that our churches can give a Christian education to their children. I praise the Lord that I have been able to serve Him for fifteen years in Togo!”

Barbara McAferty

Barbara McAferty (’02 Elementary Education grad)

  • Kindergarten Teacher, Calvary Christian School (Southern Pines, NC)
  • M.S. in Educational Administration: Pensacola Christian College

“The education program at PCC most of all prepared me to have an open mind toward others. The best part of the program is that it forces you to take on tasks that are inconceivable, at least at the time they are presented.

“My favorite part of teaching is imparting a knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ and watching that knowledge grow into a love for Him.”

Laura Redding

Laura Redding (’02 Elementary Education grad)
Fifth Grade Teacher, Rincon Valley Christian School, (Santa Rosa, CA)

“PCC helped prepare me for many aspects of teaching by using hands-on experience and peer evaluations as well as very knowledgeable and professional staff to equip me for Christian school teaching. In my opinion, the best part was the core educational classes, the amazing professors, the teaching internship, and also the ability to get so many examples of good teaching and creative ideas for both teaching and bulletin boards.

“The internship helped prepare me by allowing me to experience hands on in the classroom and gave good models of teaching as well as creative ideas. I also appreciated the honest feedback and constructive criticism by those over me.”