Late last week, I had the opportunity to sit down with a Petra alumna on the tail end of her Christmas break home from college. Rachel and I talked for well over an hour, and I enjoyed learning more about her years at Petra (which were before mine), as well as her current studies at Stanford University in Palo Alto, CA.
During our conversation and in the midst of several far-reaching topics, I asked Rachel when, from her perspective, a good time might be to begin having a Petra “homecoming” of sorts. As we tossed around the pros and cons of the different seasons of the year, she made a comment that struck me:
“We’d have to make sure to invite the teachers from those years. After all, they’re what make Petra, Petra.”
She’s right, of course. Rachel’s comment was a good reminder of the contributions of those who have taught before us, as well as of those who are here right now. Nevertheless (and as life goes), we anticipate more turnover than usual in our faculty – particularly in our elementary grades – next year, but it’s all for the best of reasons: family.
To keep you in the loop, I’d like to make you aware of the faculty vacancies coming and ask for your prayers and help to find the “best of the best” to fill them:
Three of our staff (4th grade teacher Melissa Denison, 5th grade teacher Jennifer Skinner, and 10th and 11th grade teacher Ashley Schreibeis) are expecting – Ashley in February, Jennifer in March, and Melissa in June – and planning to stay home with their babies once they are born. I wouldn’t be surprised if we get all three back when their kids are ready for Petra, but until then, we are excited for their news.
Second grade teacher Katie Elder will not be returning next year, as she and her family will be moving to Bend, OR, to be closer to family. And 1st grade teacher Jean Snyder will be retiring at the end of this year after 11 years at Petra to be a full-time grandmother. Both Katie and Jean have been anchors for us, and we’ll miss them.
There’s no question that these are all big changes that affect four grades – 1st, 2nd, 4th, and 5th – but all of them are legitimate ones for all the best of reasons. As I like to tell staff and families in the midst of transitions like this, roles change but relationships don’t have to; yes, such anticipated departures will be bittersweet, but that’s exactly how we want them to be (after all, who cries over a place and people you won’t be sad to leave?).
After talking with Elementary Principal Mark Christofferson (who is not pregnant, nor moving, nor retiring), we’ve posted our open position listings. If you know a teacher – preferably with classical Christian teaching experience – who might be interested in joining our faculty at an elementary level, please encourage them to apply for a position. We’re looking for the best of the best as we begin interviewing prospective staff in March, so spread the word and let us know of any candidates we should pursue.
And pray for these precious ladies – Melissa, Jennifer, Ashley, Katie, and Jean – as God lead them on a path somewhat different from ours, either for a time or indefinitely. Pray that God would provide comfort in the midst of the pending transitions, and that even now He would be preparing a place and people for them to love and enjoy as they have here. We’ll miss them, are grateful for their combined years of contribution to our school, and will wish them the best when it’s time to say, “shalom chaverim” – “peace…until we meet again.”