3 Generations of Lutheran Education
Our “Serving the Lord” theme continues with a family who has given multiple generations of service to Lutheran education. Sharon Sherrill teaches first grade at St. Paul Lutheran School in Farmington, her granddaughter attends the same school, and her son is principal at St. Paul Lutheran High School in Farmington. Mrs. Sherrill has taught at St. Paul since 1971. But, at first, service though teaching was not something that seemed like it was going to last for 50 years.
Sharon Sherrill was raised in Emma, Missouri. Her parents didn’t complete many years of education themselves, but instilled the importance of education to their six children. Their push for education worked, as Sherrill attended Holy Cross Lutheran grade school, Sweet Springs High School, and Concordia University in Seward, Nebraska.
When she bagan teaching first and second grade at St. Paul in 1971, Sherrill wasn’t sure if it was going to last long. “At first, I was lonely and uncertain if this was the right position,” Sherrill explains, “My dad encouraged me to stay for more than one year–well, I did.” Fifty years later, Sherrill recognizes that it was her love of sports and coaching that intially helped her engage with her position. Being raised around athletic brothers, Sherrill had a competitive spirit, “I often had to convince people that I was the younger sister of the ‘Oetting brothers’.” Using her talents in softball and volleyball, she coached for over 25 years at the grade school level.
When asked how teaching has changed over the years, Sherrill replies, “Some teaching tools such as ditto machines, blackboards and chalk have been updated to whiteboards and chrome books, but teaching God’s Word and showing love to each child has not changed.” She notes that while the curriculum can revolve and change, “the basic ways of reaching each student and helping individuals have success is still my intent.”
Teaching during COVID-19 is an interesting experience for all teachers, staff, and parents. Sherrill notes that St. Paul, like many schools, has installed new rules for everyone’s protection and has had to alter some experiences such as group activities and hands-on teaching methods. But despite these hurdles, Sherrill is thankful to be back in the classroom, “Praying and singing as we worship each day draws the class together. We will survive this time because God is our leader, our strength.”
When asked if Sherrill had any words of wisdom for those looking at choosing a vocation, she remembered her father’s advice, “do whatever [you] do to the best of [your] ability, and give God the glory for any success.”