Submitted by Alyssa Kiefer in Current Staff/Faculty News on August 11, 2017
Position: MSHS Teacher
What attracted you (and your family) to move from New Jersey to minister at Redwood Christian Schools (RCS)?
Our family moved to Castro Valley from New Jersey for my husband’s job transfer to South San Francisco (he is a pharmaceutical chemist at Merck). We looked at many schools in the Bay Area in order to decide which area to settle in. We chose Redwood Christian Schools because of the friendliness and faithfulness of the staff, the strength of its administration, and the need for a teacher in the Science and Math departments which allows me to best utilize the gifts God has given me.
Tell us about your family and how they are looking forward to this new opportunity.
We have three children. David and Eva will be going into middle school (6th and 7th) and are looking forward to changing classes and choosing electives. Joshua will be in 3rd grade and is looking forward to making friends and being outside a lot. New Jersey weather is very different. All three of the kids are excited about the “outdoor hallways and eating areas.”
How did God call you into teaching and what are your professional credentials?
I’ve always had a gift for teaching, even when I was in school myself. In graduate school, I believed I would teach Organic Chemistry as a professor someday, but God called me first to be a mother and then go back into teaching math and science at the middle school and high school levels. I have a master’s degree in Organic Chemistry. I worked two and a half years in the pharmaceutical industry, privately tutored high school students for about 6 years (math, biology, chemistry, physics, and ACT/SAT preparation), and then taught in private Christian schools for three years. My heart’s burden is teaching science to develop scientific thinking and making math relevant to science for an integrated understanding of both subjects. Teaching in a Christian school allows me an additional gift, the ability to develop scientists who have a heart for Christ and who will be in positions to reach many intellectuals as missionaries in their scientific careers.
What have been your experiences in Christian education prior to coming to RCS?
I taught middle school math and science for one year at a start-up Christian school and then moved to a slightly more established school to teach high school. The need at that school was for Biology, Logic and Bible. I taught those subjects for two years. Because I taught such a variety of courses, I had every student in the school in one of my classes (our school only had 16-25 students in each grade). That was fun for me, but also exhausting to prepare for such a variety of topics, none of which was my true specialty. I am looking forward to teaching Chemistry!
Why do you think a Christian education is important for families to consider?
Christian education allows a student to experience Christ in all subjects, making Him the center of their lives. It fulfills our duty to instruct our children in the truth according to God. It allows children to freely express themselves instead of having to decide between compromising their faith to fit in or being persecuted for their faithfulness to God in a public school. Giving the students a safe place to demonstrate their faith (and a watchful place to catch them before they stray too far) reduces social stress and allows the students to focus on their studies.
We know it’s early but what do you love the most about RCS so far?
So far, the things that I love the most are the people that I have met and the clear procedures that are in place. Mr. Hearne has been very helpful and kind, as have all of the staff members I have met. Also, coming from two schools that were really only getting started, the established procedures at RCS have been easy to understand and appreciate. It appears to be a well-run organization.
How do you hope to make a difference in the lives of RCS students?
I hope to infuse some passion for science and math and bring God glory in the process. I hope to break a few stereotypes and build a bridge for greater understanding of how to honor God in scientific study. I hope to be a mentor and guide for the students and to enrich their lives with encouragement and advice. I hope to bring joy and peace into classes that typically are stressful and confusing.
San Francisco Bay Area Christ-Centered Private Middle School / High School