How long have you been at HCS?
My journey at HCS began in 1993 as a Kindergarten student. I was blessed enough to have parents that would drive daily from Castaic because they believed in this ministry. I attended Hillcrest from Kindergarten to 12th grade, worked as a summer camp counselor for 9 years, and was a teacher’s aid in Kindergarten and First Grade. Six years ago, I was walking around campus with Mr. Kendrick when he stopped in front of room 16 and said, “I want this to be your classroom”. I instantly started crying, but that is a precious moment I will never forget and here we are six years later.
What did you do before beginning your ministry at HCS?
After graduating from Hillcrest, I attended Fresno Pacific University where I received my BA. I then attended CSU Bakersfield where I earned my California Teaching Credential. The following fall I began my teaching career at Heritage.
You are a graduate of Hillcrest that later became Heritage – what lead you back here?
I feel extremely blessed to call this place my “second home” and it truly is. This is where I grew up and teachers impacted my life and helped to shape me into the teacher I am today. When the time came to apply for a job I put out different applications and I am so thankful that God opened this door.
You teach Kindergarten – what aspect about teaching this grade level interested you?
I love that at this age the kids love school, their teacher, and are little sponges and soak it all up. This age allows you to be silly and have fun, which I hope shows them that school can be a fun place. I am not going to lie to you, I definitely go to bed at 8:00pm some evenings, but it is worth it.
What is the best part of your job?
I get to teach kids to read! I am equipping them with a skill they will need and will use for the rest of their lives! That is by far one of the more incredible parts of my job. There is nothing like experiencing that “light bulb” moment when things click and their faces light up with excitement. During second semester it is so rewarding to hear my students read to me on their own. I also love all of the cards, drawings, and hugs because at this age everything is exciting for them.
What is one thing most people don’t know about you?
I actually have my own hand lettering business. I started Kirsten’s Kalligraphy in December 2017 and create custom pieces. I create anything from hand lettered ornaments to wooden signs to envelope addressing. I have been involved in weddings, adoptions, graduations, retirements and more!
What do you enjoy doing outside of your time at HCS?
I enjoy traveling, Bible Journaling, and calligraphy. I would also not object to floating around the pool or burying my toes in the sand.
What are some of the biggest advancements you’ve noticed during your time at HCS?
Other than the expansion of course, curriculum and technology are two of the biggest advancements I have seen as a student and now faculty. What I do not think most people know is that when a new curriculum is chosen the teachers evaluate many different options to find the best for our students. What is going to make them the most successful and what is going to raise the bar and make them stand out. Expectations have definitely risen from when I was in Kindergarten, but it is truly amazing to see what these students are doing. Technology has also come a long way at HCS. We have been blessed with interactive white boards, computers in the classroom and a great computer lab, and iPads that my students use weekly.
Why do you think Christian education is so important?
Christian education is not just equipping students for future education, but for eternity. I was blessed enough to have grown up in a Christian home, but I am very aware that some of our students do not. This school is vital in the lives of students and families. Although that is a large burden to carry, we are called to be the hands and feet of Jesus and I am so thankful to be a part of an eternal impact.
Are there any exciting classroom projects/programs you are currently working on?
There is always something exciting happening in Kindergarten! One of the most exciting things coming up is our unit on Butterflies. We will be taking a trip to Kidspace in Pasadena for a caterpillar to butterfly class and then bringing caterpillars into the classroom to watch the lifecycle. The wonder and excitement in their eyes during this time is fantastic!
What is your favorite thing about Heritage Christian School?
Honestly, that this is a family. You might think, “Really? She is just saying that”, but being a student first and now a teacher I can tell you that is the absolute truth. The staff here is genuine and truly care and love their students. We are invested in each child academically, spiritually, and emotionally. I would not have come back to teach if I did not believe in this ministry.
What is one piece of wisdom you can share with parents?
Your child’s teacher is on their side. Please know that if hard conversations are brought up, it is not easy, but we want the best for your child. If teachers are honest, we would much rather avoid tough conversations, but we know that they are necessary and because we care for your child that is why we have them. Please see our heart and know that we are a team!