Beyond the Classroom
A Legacy of Adventist Education
I fell in love with Adventist Education in 1957 when I started first grade at Parkview Junior Academy in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. That romance led me to Lake Nelson Junior Academy in New Jersey, Vienna Junior Academy in Virginia, Riverside Elementary in California, Ozark Adventist Academy in Arkansas, and Southwestern Adventist University in Texas.
My attendance at these Adventist schools has had a mighty impact on my life. Having caring teachers that pray with and for you makes a difference. Attending and participating in programs such as Week of Prayer, chapel, baptismal classes, daily devotionals, and other service projects further entrenched me in my walk with Christ.
At each school I found a committed teacher, ready to assist and impact my educational process. They invested a part of themselves in their students, taking a personal interest in my successes and failures. I received high quality academics and this foundation prepared me for advancement throughout my education and into my career.
Socially I was immersed with fellow students who shared like values. I felt included and those friendships strengthened my relationship with Christ and my church. It is important to have peers who have the type of influence that grounds you in God.
At Southwestern Adventist University I met Dana Young, the lovely lady who became my wife. This summer we celebrated our 46th anniversary. God blessed us with three sons, and each one of them graduated from Adventist schools.
When it came time to choose a career, I remembered Principal James Nick saying, “Three good reasons to be a teacher are June, July, and August.” As a young man I thought that meant I only needed to work nine months of the year, vacationing and enjoying life each summer. In my 44th year of service in Adventist education, I have yet to have one of those summers! I have zero regrets with my career and firmly believe that Adventist education is a calling from God.
My career began at Parkview Adventist Academy where I served as teacher and administrator for 12 years. Afterwards, we moved to Texas where I was at Burton Adventist Academy for 13 years. I was then privileged to spend over 13 years at Southwestern Adventist University as professor and later chair of the Education & Psychology Department. This is my sixth year as Vice-President of Education for the Southwestern Union Conference. Each experience brought tremendous blessings.
Adventist education has been a part of my life for 60 years, as a student, teacher, principal, professor, and administrator. It has influenced my spiritual life, family, and career. A word of gratitude to Mrs. Lutz, Miss Hanselman, Mrs. Ashbaugh, Principal Dudley, Miss Yingling, Principal Scheideman, Principal Nick, Dean Fulbright, Elder Swinyar, Elder McClean, Dr. Pinterich, and Dr. Beyer for their caring guidance and mentoring. The fact that I still remember these dedicated teachers and administrators by name, after all of these years, affirms their influence in making me the person that I have become.