ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

Peace provides a Christian education for our students.  We speak openly of our faith and model how we can live our faith.  Our school offers many advantages including a caring Christian community, high academic expectations and results, National Lutheran Schools Accreditation and outstanding NWEA test scores.  We have an excellent student-teacher ratio, Special Education support services and positive Behavior Interventions and Support programs school wide.

Kindergarten

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Ms. Megan Willemsen
Kindergarten Teacher

Ms. Megan Willemsen, Kindergarten Teacher

After working for four years in the public school district, I felt a very strong pull from the Lord to go in a slightly different direction. Working with children has always been my calling however being able to share God’s love with them while helping them learn how to walk in His Word is my passion. 

 

I have been a member of Peace Lutheran since I was 7 years old. I attended Sunday School, worshipped with my family,  was confirmed in middle school and much later, my child was baptized here as a baby. Having the opportunity to come to Peace and share my love for God with my students feels like coming home. Being a part of a Lutheran family goes beyond just attending school at Peace. It is a journey that goes on into eternity. 

 

I earned my Bachelor's Degree in Elementary education from Oakland University. I taught for 4 years in Utica Community Schools before finding my home at Peace Lutheran Church and School where I have taught Kindergarten for 5 years. I love to work in the church nursery on Sunday mornings and as a VBS leader in the summer.

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Mrs. Gail Willemsen
Kindergarten
Teacher's Assistant

Mrs. Gail Willemsen, Kindergarten Teacher's Assistant

I have been a member of Peace Lutheran, along with my family, for over 25 years. During my time at Peace, I have served as a Sunday school teacher, catechism teacher, Family Night dinner set up and server and a VBS volunteer.

 

My passion has always been teaching. I received my bachelors and master's degree in education from Oakland University, and taught in Utica Community Schools for many years.

 

In the past five years I have served many hours volunteering in the kindergarten class at Peace, where my daughter, Megan, is the teacher. I feel truly blessed that God has put a call in my heart to return to the classroom as the kindergarten aide. I will have the opportunity of not only serving as my daughter's aide, but the privilege of assisting the kindergarteners at Peace on their journey in faith and their growth in the love of our Lord. 

Grade 1

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Mrs. Erin Geffert
Grade 1 Teacher

Mrs. Erin Geffert, 1st Grade Teacher

My childhood consisted of church camps, Wednesday Night Live programs, VBS, and more.  I remember the joy and excitement I experienced from attending each of these opportunities.  Then as a youth it turned into watching children grow in their love for the Lord through my experiences as a helper in VBS and summer camp counselor.  Working with children has always been my calling from the start.  I know God was planting seeds introducing me to various leadership opportunities my whole life.  These are the reasons why I became a teacher.  

 

After graduating college I always thought I would teach in a public school and become a shining light in the public classrooms.  However God quickly led me to my first teaching position in a private school.  I was hooked and it became very clear my work was to teach God’s word along with education.  Five years into teaching a new door opened and led me to Peace.  I love the family environment Peace shares, and how we all belong.  Each day brings new adventures in my life and the lives I get to impact each year in the classroom.  I thank God daily where I am now and look forward to the amazing opportunities He has for my future.

 

I have a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Oakland University and a Master’s in Early Childhood Education from Saginaw Valley State University.  I have been teaching for 15 years in Kindergarten and First Grade.

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Mrs. Karin Sparks
Classroom Aide

Mrs. Karin Sparks, 1st Grade Classroom Aide

I grew up in the metro Detroit area and attended Peace Lutheran Church in Warren.  When my husband and I moved to Shelby Township, I visited the area churches looking for one to call home.  When I visited Peace, I felt that the people of Peace were friendly and welcoming.  Peace felt like home.  I got involved in teaching Sunday school and that fostered my love of working with children.  When my son was older and I was looking for an alternative to public school education, we decided to enroll him at Peace and I have been a member of the Peace family ever since.  

 

I have been on staff at Peace for 20 years.  I have worked in the Early Childhood Department and now have an opportunity to work in the elementary grades as a teacher aide.  I have a passion for working with children and helping them to grow in knowledge and in their faith.  Being a mom of three unique children has taught me that we do not all learn the same way.  God made each of us different in the way we learn, process, and show our knowledge.  I enjoy working with children and finding the way that they learn best!  

 

As a member of Peace, I have served as a Sunday school teacher, Stephen minister, VBS leader, and a prayer partner.  I have a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Oakland University.  I am also certified in Early Childhood through Macomb Community College.

Grade 2

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Mrs. Heidi Chaplin
Grade 2 Teacher

Mrs. Heidi Chaplin, 2nd Grade Teacher

Ever since I was a little girl I’ve wanted to be a teacher. I attended public school, but I had the most loving elementary school teachers. They taught compassion and love of learning.

 

When I reached junior high and high school, my experience was that of many teenagers; stress, hormones, and drama with friends. This is when I found my church, Hope Lutheran and its Youth Group. This Youth Program and its leaders were my safe place. They accepted me and introduced me to a personal relationship with Jesus. I also made Christian friends! It is also when I went through confirmation class and it  strengthened my faith. 

 

It was also at Hope that I volunteered to help with VBS and Sunday school. A woman who was a real teacher, found out that my career choice was to become a teacher and said I should actually teach a Sunday School class! I was only a teenager but I was hooked! I loved teaching children and especially about Jesus! 

 

When it was time to go to college I knew I was going to become a Lutheran school teacher. I attended Concordia University in Ann Arbor where I received my Bachelor of Arts Degree in Education and also a Lutheran Teaching Diploma. I wanted to teach children to have that relationship with Jesus at an early age.

 

I was given the opportunity to teach and share Jesus in almost every grade in K-8 in the Lutheran schools. I was also blessed to be able to teach at my children’s school while they were attending there. All the while, I loved to volunteer as a VBS director, Sunday school teacher, youth leader, and I became involved in women’s and marriage ministries.

 

In the past five years, God led me to Peace Lutheran. Peace has become my home. I felt the warmth from the beginning when I came here. It is a place where Jesus’ love is taught by actions and shown to all who come in its doors.  I was happy to be able to help with some of the children’s ministries at Peace. I enjoyed Kid Zone, VBS and doing the Children’s messages on Sundays as well as Chapel messages with my class.

I model Peace's welcoming message of  God’s love in my classroom. I want my students to see Jesus in me. I want them to know Jesus personally and how much He loves them! I want to see them in heaven some day. (I do tell them this).  

Religion is my favorite subject to teach in school. I feel privileged to  be able to teach about it  here at Peace.  I’m looking forward to my 25th year of teaching and many more!

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Mrs. Lisa McGowan
Grade 2
Teacher's Assistant

Mrs. Lisa McGowan,  Grade 2 Teacher's Assistant

When I began working as a teacher’s aid at Peace Lutheran, I was overjoyed to join a school community that is focused on faith and knowledge. Being a teacher’s aid has given me the opportunity to help young students grow in their faith and education. The community of people I have the privilege to work with is astounding in their capacity for kindness and empathy, and I am proud to be a member of such a wonderful community. 

 

I obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts from Wayne State University, and taught recreational art to children and adults prior to working at Peace Lutheran.

Grade 3

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Mrs. Janel Stier
Grade 3 Teacher

Mrs. Janel Stier, 3rd Grade Teacher

Hi, I’m Janel Stier and I am the third grade teacher here at Peace!  My calling to become a Lutheran School teacher started back when I was in fourth grade! I have loved sharing my faith with my students, parents, and  families.

 

God has always been a big factor in my life. With my life journey God has been a part of it and guided me all the way.

 

Philippians 4:13:  I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Grade 4

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Mrs. Sue Trinklein
Grade 4 Teacher

Mrs. Sue Trinklein, 4th Grade Teacher

I feel so blessed that I "get to" use my spiritual gift in being an effective teacher of young children. Being in the classroom excites me as I positively invest in the lives of girls and boys. I can't think of anywhere else I would want to be! I love to watch my students grow spiritually, academically, emotionally, and physically into all that God has called them to be ... productive people influencing the world around them.

Grade 5

Mrs. Ruth Smigielski
Grade 5 Teacher
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Mrs. Ruth Smigielski, 5th Grade Teacher

Hi, I’m Mrs. Ruth Smigielski, and I am honored to be joining Peace Lutheran School as the 5th grade classroom teacher. After earning an associate’s degree from Concordia University and a bachelor’s degree in journalism and public relations from Wayne State University, I went on to earn my bachelor’s degree in education from Oakland University. I received my master’s degree in education from Concordia University and have extended my educational credentials through Marygrove College and Andrews University. 

I have taught all levels of elementary school ranging from kindergarten through fifth grade.  I taught for many years at St. Mark Christian Academy, a Coptic Orthodox school.  I also worked as the youth program coordinator and museum educator at the Cranbrook Institute of Science.

I believe it takes a community to raise a child and a teacher working with a parent is critical.  My teaching philosophy is from Proverbs 22:6, “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old, they will not turn from it.”  Sharing God’s love with children across the curriculum is fundamental.  All children are unique and need a stimulating and safe educational environment where they can grow physically, mentally, emotionally, and socially. It is my desire to create a classroom community where students are engaged in learning, invited to share their ideas, take risks and achieve their full potential. Her role as teacher is to share her faith with students as she guides them through hands-on activities, allowing them to make choices that direct their learning and develop skills to be successful in all aspects of life. 

I am a lifelong Lutheran, graduate of Lutheran High School North, and I am a member of Faith Lutheran Church in Troy. Teaching at a Lutheran school has been a dream of mine for many years.  In my free time, I enjoy spending time with family, traveling, and reading. I am excited to work with her students, families, and all the staff at Peace Lutheran.