Originally from a small farming community in Michigan, Marissa Engelhard grew up attending Lutheran schools. And as her mom is a teacher herself, Engelhard is quite familiar with a classroom setting. Engelhard said that another one of her biggest influences in becoming a teacher is from her high school Spanish teacher, who really led her into Spanish teaching. After high school, Engelhard attended Concordia: Mequon where she majored in Elementary Education with minors in Spanish and ESL.
Now teaching fourth grade and Spanish at The King’s Academy in Lake Ozark, Engelhard is excited to watch her school grow. “[King’s Academy] started as a kindergarten-third grade school, which expanded into fourth grade, then fifth grade...now there are over 100 students at a K-8 school. The level of commitment from the parents shows how excited they were to have a Christian school in the area.”
Something that really struck Englehard while teaching at her first Call at a school in Arizona, is that it’s becoming quite commonplace for students in Lutheran schools to be unchurched. “I was teaching second grade at the time,” remembers Engelhard, “And this girl asked, ‘Why is the snake talking?’ It allowed me to explain [the Bible story] about Adam and Eve and the snake in the garden... Many kids’ first experiences with the Bible are at a Lutheran school. And then they are taking everything they learned home to their families.”
Teachers play a pivotal role in making Lutheran education so unique. “There is truly nothing like impacting a child’s faith walk five days a week... Not just religion class, which is 30 minutes to an hour a day, but also learning [faith] at lunch time, and other content areas... We are producing Christian leaders in this world and that is a very important mission.”