Some of Andy’s favorite memories from his time at Northwestern involved service—participating in Spring Service Partnerships in Arkansas and Oklahoma, volunteering at a food ministry in Sioux Falls, and reaching out to the community with the Education Club. As he pursued an elementary education major with endorsements in coaching, middle school and reading, he was also steeped in Northwestern’s “teacher as servant” philosophy. He finds that background invaluable in his work as an educator. “I am daily challenged to consider how I am being a servant for my students and reflecting Christ’s service to others around me,” he says.
How well did Northwestern prepare you for your career?
My Northwestern experience prepared me for much more than my life as an educator. Beyond my education courses, I was taught to engage myself in learning with the world around me. Whether it was in my general education courses, discipleship groups or Spring Service Partnerships, I learned to reflect on my learning, ask questions, reason through my thoughts, and ultimately connect my learning to my faith. Northwestern taught me to look at all my experiences as valuable learning opportunities. This attitude pervades Northwestern and has helped me develop myself not just as a teacher, but as a learner.
What from your Northwestern education has most helped you in your job?
Reflecting and thinking critically were key practices emphasized during my time at Northwestern. As an educator, I daily need to reflect and consider how I can best meet the needs of students as I plan, deliver instruction, and assess student understanding. In addition, thinking critically has allowed me to be a better consumer of educational research in an effort to put best practices into action for the children I teach. Both of these practices were embedded in every course I took at Northwestern and are a testament to the quality of the education offered by the college.
As you look back on your time at Northwestern, what stands out the most?
I deeply valued the opportunity we had to learn daily in community. Much of my classwork involved working in groups, we attended chapel as a community, and I sought out other ministry opportunities to learn from others. These experiences helped me continue learning in community with the first-grade team I teach with and the colleagues I work with on school and district-level improvement teams.
What did you most appreciate about the NWC education department?
The community that was established between students and professors. I always felt welcome to meet with professors. Whether it was a conversation about academics or an opportunity to discuss education beyond my coursework, their doors were always open and they were always willing to talk.
What are your future career goals?
Since earning my master’s degree, my goals have been to continue working on the elementary district math team and the district school improvement team. I also have a dream to work as an elementary math coach or specialist.