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Running head: MY STORY

Peterson Abridged Narrative

LLP Part 1

Leadership and Learning Plan LEAD 635

Andrews University

By

Dawn Peterson

January 8, 2017
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MY STORY
My story

I am the product of eight years of prayer by my parents. They thought they were unable to

have children after so many years of "trying" and had almost given up hope. I grew up in a home

where both parents were Seventh-Day Adventist Christians.

Elementary years

My first memories start when we lived in Takoma Park, MD and Dad was a professor at

Columbia Union College. I remember growing up on the campus and knowing the professors

and faculty. They remember me as the girl who rode her bike all over campus because that was

where I learned to ride my bicycle. I have fond memories of the strawberry ice cream socials

held on the center of campus with the huge magnolias in blossom.

I attended John Nevins Andrews Elementary school (JNA) and can recall the many special

projects that we were a part of in class. My neighbor, Enid, that lived across from us was not a

church member and, because of our friendship she started attending JNA. My next door

neighbor, Myrna, was also my friend and her grandma made the best corn tortillas! These were

my first introduction to multicultural friendships!

My dad decided to complete his doctorate in Health Science (now called Public Health).

We moved to Yucaipa, CA where he attended Loma Linda University while my mom worked at

Loma Linda Medical Center as a Respiratory Therapist. I attended Mesa Grande SDA School. I

remember several events that took place during those years. Even at that young age 4th-6th

grades, it was important to me that people be treated fairly by all parties. I remember standing

up for a classmate who was being bullied and had my hair pulled for doing so. She was

appreciative of my effort and I now have a hard head for the effort! The other event that stands

out in my mind also an event took place at school. I had been absent for several days due to an
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illness. When I returned to school, the teacher blamed me for something that took place during

the timeframe that I was gone. I was sent to the principals office. When Mr. Hamilton heard

my story he checked with the school secretary and found out that I could not have done it

because I was not present. He and I played a game (Parcheesi) together and then he sent me

back to class. He taught me that there are many different ways of leading with grace and love.

Junior high

We moved to Weimar, CA when my dad accepted a position at Weimar Institute to be the

Chairman of the Health Sciences department. I attended Weimar Elementary for my seventh and

eighth grades and then attended Weimar Academy for my Freshman and Sophomore years. I

struggled through Algebra 1. The teacher, Mr. Morford, spent his summer helping me complete

my class. At the end of the summer when I finally finished Algebra 1 he suggested that I pray

about accelerating my high school and finish in two more years instead of three. I remember

gaping at him. He knew my deficiencies better than any of my teachers, and that he would think

that I should accelerate seemed preposterous to me. I actually laughed at him. But after I thought

about it, I decided to lay it before the Lord. I am a "urim and thummim" type of person and I

laid out a fleece to the Lord. I asked the Lord to block my acceleration by using the

administrative committee to simply not allow me to join the junior class for the Fall Quarter.

However, the committee came back with a schedule to finish my high school in the three-year

plan rather than the regular four-year plan with the exception of American History. They

suggested that I take that by correspondence. As a result, I felt that the Lord had given His

blessing to this plan.

We then moved again to Rapidan, Virginia where my dad had a key role in the

development of Hartland College. He became the Dean of the College. Meanwhile, I tried to
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find an academy on the east coast that would accommodate my acceleration program, but

nothing fit. It was suggested to me that I should simply take the GED. When we checked out

the state requirements I found out that I was too young (I needed to be 18 years old) and that my

graduating class had to have graduated. Neither of those met my situation. Upon inquiry we

were told the decision to allow for exceptions was up to the Superintendent of Schools for the

Sate of VA. I met with him and at the conclusion of our conversation he gave me permission to

take the GED. I started to work at the college in various departments and was allowed to take

classes that would be added to my college transcripts as soon as I turned in the documentation of

completion of the GED. I passed my GED in June 1984. That meant that what should have been

my junior year in high school became in reality my freshman year in college. I feel as though

my college experience was like God's automatic car wash with everything happening at once.

College

I took elementary education and wanted to do something with daycare (early childhood). I

chose to do my student teaching at Union College because they had a lab school as well as a lab

daycare. I did my elementary student teaching at George Stone Elementary School and then

completed a daycare administration practicum. This is where I met the love of my life. Harley

Peterson was a secondary education student at the time. Over the years I realized that had I not

been in God's high speed education plan, I would never have met my husband as he was three

years ahead of me. God also slowed him down through a year spent as a student missionary.

Starting my teaching experience

Following graduation, I accepted a teaching position in a small one teacher school in the

Arkansas-Louisiana Conference. I was so excited I did not realize that despite my attempt to be

really choosy the school and I were probably not the best fit,. The school was made up of 7
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students grades 1-9 from three families. I had great support from the conference office for which

I was very grateful. I did not understand at the time the many different layers within our

educational system. I later came to understand that while I thought I was employed by the

conference and received employment benefits such as insurance, years of service on my service

record, and educational benefits, I was actually employed by the school. The school paid the

conference for my salary so they ultimately had control of my employment. It was only recently

that I came to understand this school was what is considered a satellite school.

I started to find that the parents would show up in the classroom any time they wanted and

would take control of the room. If they did not agree with my discipline measures they would

openly disagree and tell the students, they did not have to follow what I said. Little by little I

found my self-confidence shrinking and I felt that I had no authority whatsoever in the

classroom. I was also told by the conference office that I should not be teaching the ninth grader

at all but that was expected of me by the principal who was the mom of one of the families. I felt

isolated from other Adventists as they also had church at the school (they were a church

company). I did not realize how intermeshed these families were and how much outside of the

norm they were. I thought that since I was "hired" by the conference I would be teaching at a

traditional school. I was wrong. The reality was that this was a self-supporting school where I

got church benefits.

I began to become depressed although I did not recognize it at the time. My future

mother-in-law was the one to pull me aside during the Christmas break and suggest that I needed

to consider other options. I spoke with the conference superintendent and he actually told me

that under the circumstances because of the situation at that particular school he felt that I should

resign. He said that it would ultimately look better on my record when I wanted to apply at more
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MY STORY
mainstream Adventist elementary schools. I took his advice and resigned before the new year. I

always felt like a failure in that situation but I'm not sure what else I could've done. I followed

the advice of those older and wiser. In spite of feeling like a failure, I felt like a huge weight had

lifted from my shoulders that I really did not even realize was there.

I moved up to Union College in Lincoln, Nebraska to be near my fianc and got a job as a

teacher of two-year olds in a local Christian daycare for the next seven months until my

wedding. I really enjoyed my time there and realized that I could be a team player.

New life together

Harley and I got married on August 7, 1988. We immediately left on a moving

honeymoon to California with a stopover at Rio Lindo Academy for our very first conference

teachers meetings before landing in Bakersfield where we had jobs waiting for us at Bakersfield

Adventist Academy. Harley would be teaching math and science in grades 9-12 and I was asked

to teach Kindergarten in the mornings and run the library in the afternoons to give me full time

equalivancy employment.

I really enjoyed teaching Kindergarten at Bakersfield Academy. Ken Bullington was Vice

Principal and my immediate supervisor. I was very fortunate to have him teach me the ways of

good teaching and leading by example. He was always positive about my teaching and gentle in

his manner. He was able to correct without making me feel like I had failed. Several memories

that stand out to me during that time were that he would surprised us by leaving goodies on our

desks sporadically to let us know he cared and was there for us. He also taught us the

importance of documentation. It seemed that his slogan was document, document, and

document some more. It came as no surprise that after I left teaching he was asked to be the

Associate Superintendent in the Central California Conference.


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I came from an unaccredited college so it was challenging to get church certification.

Beverly Benson, Registrar for the Pacific Union took up the task of finding a way to validate my

degree. She asked me to take a battery of tests. I took the California Basic Educational Skills

Test (which is required by all California teachers), the National Teachers Exam and the Graduate

Record Exam (GRE). It was determined that I met the required level of understanding in my

chosen field of education and I was given a standard teaching certificate.

I started my first year teaching Kindergarten with 12 students if I remember correctly. By

the time I left three years later, I was blessed with 28 beautiful children in my room. The Lord

was watching out for me that last year with that many students as I was pregnant with our first

child and I was having a miserable pregnancy. With so many students it was required that I have

a full-time aide in my room and that allowed me to flee the room without worries when I was

sick.

Before school started my third year, the first grade teacher and I attended Gesell Institute

for Child Development whose mission is to promote the principles of child development as the

basis for all decision making for young children (Gessell Institute, 2016). We were taught how

to developmentally assess students in order to screen them for school readiness while giving the

parents something concrete to explain why Johnny may not be ready for school. We assessed

all those entering kindergarten and first grade. The school had passed a developmental age

requirement for both kindergarten and first grade. This had a huge impact in my classroom. The

children that came into the classroom were more developmentally ready to learn than the

previous two years I had taught. It was like the lightbulb had turned on for my whole classroom!

I became a believer in developmental readiness! This would later play a large role in our

familys choices about the education of our children.


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Along comes babies

When my daughter Ashley was born on May 22, 1991, I started my maternity leave. We

had thought that I might return the next fall to just teach kindergarten, but in the end we decided

that it was more important for me to stay at home with her. I had no idea at the time that I would

be home for more than 20 years.

In July of 1991, Harley decided to quit working for the church and he took a sales job. It

became evident during that year that teaching was where God wanted him to be and He used a

very close friend and mentor Merv Kessler to draw him back into working for the church. This

brought another move for us. This time to Keene, TX where he became the math and science

teacher for Chisolm Trail Academy. We enjoyed our time there. Brice was born on March 22,

1994. Both of our children grew up on the academy campus.

Homeschooling

Ashley attended preschool at Keene Adventist Elementary School (KAES) with Ruth Just

as her teacher. She loved it and Ruth was a wonderful teacher. When it was time for her to start

Kindergarten, we decided that since I used to teach kindergarten I would homeschool her. In the

fall of that year, we attended our first homeschooling convention and we were overwhelmed at

where homeschooling had gone! It was amazing. We listened to a speaker who talked about

school readiness and the ability of childrens eye to neurologically track while learning to read.

This reminded us of the counsel from Ellen White,

their minds have been taxed with lessons, when they should not have been called out, but
kept back until the physical constitution was strong enough to endure mental effort. Small
children should be left as free as lambs to run out-of-doors, to be free and happy, and
should be allowed the most favorable opportunities to lay the foundation for sound
constitutions (White, 1968, p. 8).

This statement had a huge impact on our decision-making process. We decided not to formally
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teach Ashley reading during her kindergarten and first grade years. We focused on the other

subjects and just taught reading readiness such as learning her letters but no writing or putting

letters together to form words. When we made this decision we also realized that we would not

be able to simply decide we were done homeschooling and send her to church school. It would

have been unfair to her and the teacher for her to be placed in an age appropriate classroom when

she couldnt read at that grade level. It forced us to make a longer term commitment to

homeschooling than we had initially planned. Thankfully she loved being homeschooled!

Mary Kay Blessings

I was introduced to Mary Kay Inc. in 1997. I was thrilled to find a creative financially

viable company that was God centered. I became a beauty consultant and realized immediately

that I could make money and have fun while doing it. It also gave me a reason to get out of the

house and meet other women. I was able to put my teaching skills to use teaching women how

to care for their skin and enjoy the beauty that God gave them. I have seen many lives

transformed through our company and Im honored to be used by God in that way.

The Beginning of Many Moves

In 1998, Harley was asked to interview at Maplewood Academy. We had an enjoyable

time visiting the school. Harley spent two years at the church elementary school (4th-5th grades)

as a child, so it was fun for him to visit his old stomping grounds. Part of the interview process

was to have a visit with the president of the conference. He told us that it was conference policy

not to hire or allow their workers to homeschool their children because that was not supporting

Adventist education. Needless to say we did not get the job but God had other plans for us.

Harley accepted a call to be the principal/teacher at Killeen Adventist Junior Academy

(KAJA). Killeen is the civilian community for the Fort Hood Army Base. Our school and
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church were made up of a lot of military families. With that comes families that homeschool

because of the transitory nature of families in the military. We were able to make friends with

several homeschooling families in the area, both Adventist and non-Adventist alike. It was

during this time that I realized that Brice, our second child, had some learning difficulties. We

later found out that he had an extremely low working memory as well as a specific learning

disability and remnants of dyslexia. We decided that now that Ashley was in 4th grade and

reading really well, this might be a good time for her to return to church school. We decided that

she needed to be in on the decision because we felt very strongly that because of Harleys

position we could not play favorites with the teachers. Once she enrolled she would have to stay.

She thought about it and decided that she wanted to wait until she could be in her dads

classroom (he taught grades 7-10). So we continued to homeschool putting more emphasis into

Brices needs. I learned to be creative in finding ways to help him learn since we did not have

the special education help that one might get from the public school and our church schools did

not provide special education help at that time. Its only been in the last ten years or so that

conferences have been able to help teachers in that area, for which Im grateful.

God sent us to Auburn, California next. We chose to attend my old home church when we

lived at Weimar. It was nice to be back. Harley fell in love with the church and we were able to

be very active. The church used to have a very active pathfinder club but recently they hadn't

been able to find anyone willing to become the director. I felt impressed that this was something

I should do. I had almost completed my Master Guide while in college so I found my record

sheet and finished it up. I was blessed to have a close friend who worked on hers at the same

time and we restarted the pathfinder club together. That year was international camporee and our

club went! We were so excited!


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Much to our sadness and many tears we felt the Lord leading us away again. This time we

moved down to Newberry Park Academy in southern California. Ashley enrolled in the 8th

grade at Conejo Adventist Elementary School (CAES). It was at this time that we started to look

to see if there was a way to get Brice involved with the school in some way. CAES offered to let

Brice participate in their sports program. As a 5th grader this was exciting for him! He played

basketball and football with their teams for two years. In the 7th grade he enrolled full time. It

was his teacher, Dottie Jacobson that finally got the local public school to test him. What a

blessing that turned out to be. We were told later by UCLA that had I not homeschooled him,

they would probably have been seeing more than just remnants of dyslexia. By teaching him at

home I was able to work with his needs specifically and they felt that was a benefit for him. It

was nice to have some positive confirmation that our decision to homeschool him was the right

thing to do.

Mary Kay Second Time Around

Now that both of our children were in church school, I asked for the Lords direction on

returning to my career. I had always figured that I would renew my teaching certificate and go

back into the classroom when my children were successfully back in brick and mortar schools,

but apparently that was not Gods plan at that time! He asked me to restart my Mary Kay

business instead. I had never really left the business, but I was not working it regularly. So I

called Robyn Cartmill, my director, and we made a plan for how to really work my business. I

am blessed to say that my team and I earned the use of a free Mary Kay Pontiac Vibe for a year!

I learned a lot in my business that year. I worked my business differently than I had before. This

time, I was growing my team and training them at the same time. I learned team building skills

and taught them how to use the strengths God had given them. We trained everyone on the
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DiSC personality or mind style. I was blessed that I had this business during this time in our

familys experience.

Harley had a Spinal Disc Fusion that took a long time to heal, Brice had contracted severe

Asthma and Ashley was diagnosed the summer after high school graduation with epilepsy. We

were fortunate to be near University of California Los Angeles so that Ashley could see a world-

renowned specialist for her special type of epilepsy. If I had been in the classroom, I would not

have been able to care for my family. I felt blessed to have a job that I loved and that I could

take with me anywhere!

New job experiences

Lodi Academy called Harley to be their principal after eight years at Newbury. They

promised us that I would have a job waiting for me but when we got there, they let us know that

they did not have a position available for me after all. In our second year there, Walter Turner,

the principal of the elementary school, asked me if I would come be his secretary. He was a

friend of ours and Harley and Walter often prayed together for their schools. Because of this, I

knew that there were problems at the elementary school. I finally agreed but found my work

environment to be unbearably toxic. I shared the office with the treasurer who did not like

change, and she did not like Walter. Since Walter and I were friends, she did not like me and

was not shy about telling everyone she thought would listen and agree. Needless to say, I

resigned in November due to stress. I had been the third secretary in a year and they went

through two more the year after I left.

Next, Harley was asked to go to Chicago, Illinois to be the principal at North Shore

Adventist School in Chicago, Il. We told them that I really needed a job in order for us to move.

They told me that in a year the kindergarten teacher was retiring and that they had several
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couples working at the school. One of the board members owned a couple of daycare centers

and although my resume did not mention my daycare experience, she called and after finding out

about my background, she agreed to hire me as the lead teacher in one of the infant rooms.

Cuddle time challenges

I had the joy of cuddling and teaching babies ages 6 weeks to 15 months every day. I

really enjoyed my work. I got along great with all the parents and was able to maintain good

relationships with many of them even after their babies left my room and center! I was asked to

develop a circle time for my room in order to stimulate their learning. I really enjoyed coming

up with themes, finding books, music and art projects.

This job also involved emotional challenges for me. My coworker was Muslim and

although that did not create difficulty, her cultural behaviors and personal attitudes made it

difficult to work with her. She would be nice and treat me respectfully when someone was in

our room and the minute they left she would transform into someone else entirely. She also

would lie to me and the parents as well on several occasions about the care their babies had

recieved. I worked hard to foster an honest relationship with the parents and I was not about to

lie to them about their child. I felt as though she was mean and hateful. I found out that she had

managed run off everyone who had been scheduled to work with her. As a Christian I struggled

with this relationship. I wanted to be an example of Christian love, but I was coming home

crying every day from the stress. Finally, 6 months after I started I turned in my resignation. The

director pled with me to stay so I did. Fortunately, eventually my coworker quit.

However, we then went through a change in administration that ultimately led to my

resignation. Our previous director had a degree in Early Childhood and although she hated

conflict and did not want to deal with workers issues like that of previous my coworker, she was
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a fairly good manager. Our next director however, held no education degree and she too avoided

difficult managerial decisions and did not seem able to manage the day-to-day responsibilities

very well. Fairly often, the staffing schedule left us scrambling to meet state required ratio

quotas. She also lost would lose her temper at the drop of a hat. I began to wonder if she was

feeling overwhelmed in her new position.

Coming back from surgery

In March of 2016, I had a joint fusion that required me to use a walker for 8 weeks and

placed me under weight lifting restrictions. When I was medically cleared to return to work, I

was still restricted to lifting any more than 25 lbs. The doctor looked specifically at the list of

current baby weights in my room submitted by their parents. Fortunately, all eight babies were

under the 25 lb. weight limit sp I was allowed to return to work. I was so excited to get back in

my room. I really missed my babies! When I contacted my director and gave her the good news,

I was told that she had no open positions in my room at the time and that she really needed me to

help the toddler room develop more age appropriate activities. The teachers were not stimulating

the toddlers enough and it was causing undesirable behaviors. I was concerned about stepping

on toes since it was not my room but she assured me that it did not matter to her. So, for two

weeks I designed an hour of activities per day. I then had the other teachers participate in the

planning the activities and their implementation. During those next two weeks I guided them in

planning age appropriate activities in thematically based weekly units. However, it was difficult

for me to be in that room because all the children were above my weight restriction. That meant

that I was unable to physically remove a child when he was endangering another child if using

my voice did not work. Plus, I was still in rehab and the toddler room was a physically

demanding room. I had expected to return to my infant room where there are built in breaks
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when we rocked a baby to sleep or feed them a bottle. I was having a hard time making it

through the full day due to the pain and less stamina related to my fusion surgery.

New Horizons

At this time Harley was also getting very tired physically from his principal position that

had become a teaching /principal position so he started to look for a teaching positions instead of

an administration one, and was offered a position teaching grades 7-10 in Gurnee, IL about 35

miles north of Chicago. Originally, we thought that was perfect because I could keep my current

job at the daycare and he would commute, but they really wanted us both up there and because of

the mixed grades and the enrollment size offered me a position at the school as his teachers

assistant. Ever since we had worked together at Bakersfield we've wanted to once again work at

a school together, we just never dreamed it would actually be in the same classroom! I felt that

this was an answer to prayer for us since I had been out of the formal classroom for so long, I

could gradually return to church work.

Woes of being unaccredited

When filling out my employment papers for the Gurnee position, I was informed that I

would be at a higher pay rate if my teaching certificate was renewed. To me that meant taking

more classes at a community college because my bachelors degree was from an unaccredited

college. Over the years it had been impossible for me to get into a graduate program. Because of

that, I have accumulated a long list of community colleges where I have taken miscellaneous

classes to renew my teaching certificate over the years. Because my degree was not recognized,

I would have to either take throwaway classes at a community college or retake another full

bachelors degree which felt rather daunting. A friend suggested that I check out Andrews

University to see what they would do with my degree. I spoke to Dr. Covrig in February 2016
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and he recommended that I speak with Dr. Siebold because he had experience working with

students from Weimar College. My husband and I set up a Facetime meeting with himduring

which he explained how the Leadership MA program could work for me. He said that it would

be his responsibility to walk me through the application process and get my application cleared if

necessary. The beauty of this program was its flexibility to meet individualized needs and future

plans and that it was all online with the exception of the yearly Leadership

Conference/Roundtable. My husband and I prayed about this new possibility and felt that the

Lord may be leading. I applied to the school and started making plans to attend the Orientation

scheduled in June.

After I applied I was told by the Graduate Admissions Department that my GRE scores

were too old. I started to study for it and began to realize that, as math is not one of my

strengths, I was not going to have enough time to feel prepared for the quantitative section.

After several conversations with both Dr. Covrig and Dr. Siebold via email I decided to wait

until fall to start the program. I like to know exactly what is needed in order to succeed. For me

that meant passing the GRE with the required scores.

About two or three weeks later, I received an email from Dr. Siebold telling me that the

department had voted that they were not going to require the GRE and asked if that would make

any difference in my decision to wait? They felt it was important for me to attend the June

orientation. But when I spoke with graduate admissions they emphatically told me that the

department had no right to make that determination and that it would not apply to me because if

the requirement was accepted it would not apply until the following fall (2017). Again I

wondered whether the Lord was telling me to wait. Content with my decision to wait, I was

surprised to get a another call from the graduate admissions office. They said that if I were to
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schedule to take the GRE and send them a copy of the confirmation email they would then hand

over my application folder to the Leadership Department for them to review. I looked at my

husband and we decided that we needed more information so I sent an email to both Dr. Covrig

and Dr. Siebold and I got a call from Dr. Siebold, who was in England at the time. Dr. Siebold

answered our questions regarding the importance of taking the GRE and scholarship possibilities

and whether I would have to retake the GRE again at a later date if I did not pass the first time (I

was afraid of failing the test). In the end I registered and took the test the next week and the

Lord blessed me with the scores that I needed to start my masters!

The Journey Continues

It has been a journey of learning, patience and many trials. I believe that the Lord led in

my acceptance at AU and that He will be with me as I work on my graduate degree. Dr. Siebold

impressed upon me the need to narrow down my focus from several interests to one. Initially

there were three areas that interested me. After working at the daycare center and observing

several different leadership styles of its managers and their struggles, I was interested in

potentially becoming a daycare director and figured that a leadership masters would be useful

toward that end. Another area of interest of mine is special education because of the special

needs that both of my children have had over the years. Lastly, I have a passion for

homeschoolers. We felt the Lord led us to homeschool our children and really enjoyed the

experience. There were difficult times when we received thoughtless and disparaging comments

about our choice to homeschool because of being conference workers at the time. I found myself

wanting to shout from the mountain tops that my children were in Adventist education! I was an

Adventist and I even was using some of the same curriculum that was used in our church
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schools. Because of my experience, I want other church members that homeschool to not have to

encounter the same difficulties that we did. I would love for them to feel as though the local

school and education department were a valuable resource for them instead of an adversary.

It was a Northern California Conference Superintendent, Bill Keresoma, that gave me the

idea that our church school and homeschool families could work together, when he commented

in passing, that their office was looking into hiring someone to be a homeschool coordinator for

the conference. I was intrigued by the idea and spoke with him in depth about it later. He has

encouraged me to look for ways that our church can incorporate homeschooling families into our

educational system not as fulltime students, but in a potentially new way. He sees the future of

our church education system needing to change to meet the needs of our families.

As I look back over my narrative, I see that God has led me down a very different educational

path. That may be why Im more open to alternative choices in education. There are many

reasons families choose to homeschool and I believe we need to be sensitive to those reasons

because it is not our job to decide what is Gods calling for their family.

2016 Cohort

During our 2016 Leadership Cohort Orientation I learned more about myself. I have taken

many personality tests over the years. I have found that Im basically equal portions of sanguine,

choleric, melancholy and very little phlegmatic (which is my husbands strong suit). In addition,

for years in Mary Kay we used the DISC personality test to help us better understand ourselves

and our team members as well as our customers. During the orientation, I took three more tests.

These tests reminded me that Im someone who God made in His image and I need to work

within my strengths while seeking to improve my areas of weakness. According to the Gregorc

Style Delineator I am a Concrete Sequential (32) and Concrete Random (26). The Kolb
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Learning Style Inventory test shows that I have a Diverging Style with my top two scores being

RO (Reflective Observation) 41 and CE (Concrete Experience) 31. The last test I took was the

Strengths-Based Leadership Finder. My top five strengths are Responsibility (Executing),

Communicating (Influencing), Individualization, Developer, and Empathy (Relationship

Building). These tests showed me that I like working with people and that Im sensitive to their

needs and feelings. I tend to observe to learn new things and I need to see the physical reality of

what Im learning. Some of my fears are of the unknown (ambiguity) and failure.

Looking toward the future

In writing this narrative I have learned a lot about myself (you said this earlier). I find that

I have been lead down an unconventional path in my educational experiences from high school

through college and also in how I have taught my children. I have looked for unconventional

ways to solve problems and have been willing to try new things to improve our lives. I want to

help others find answers to their educational needs and to help pave the way for others that may

want more guidance in their homeschooling experience. I would love to help conferences and

schools to find ways to work with the homeschooling families in our churches so that they can

feel that the Adventist educational system includes them. I want them to see our schools and

conferences as resources rather than as obstacles or worse yet, angry deterrents to their goals. I

recognize that many of these families have been called by God to homeschool their children.

Who are we to tell them that they are not giving their children an Adventist education? Im

excited that getting a graduate degree in the area of leadership will equip me with the knowledge

and experience to find creative ways to find solutions that will help conferences, schools and

homeschooling families work together to educate young people for service in Gods finishing

work.
20
MY STORY

References

Gessell Institute. (2016). Mission Statement. Retrieved from


http://www.gesellinstitute.org/about-us/mission/

White, E. G. H. (1968). Counsels on education, as presented in the nine volumes of Testimonies


for the church. Mountain View, Calif.,: Pacific Press Pub. Association.