March 11, 2014

​Teachers in One-room Schools Recognized

, superintendent of schools, Southern New England Conference

Within the boundaries of the Southern New England
Conference, four one-teacher schools are thriving. These schools are staffed by
teachers who are on the front line of Christian education every day, basically
by themselves.

It’s hard to imagine being the only adult at
school day after day, having no other adults to talk with about “life” in the
classroom, unless the school is fortunate to have a teacher’s aide. Yet these
teachers work diligently to proclaim God’s to their students and their
communities. Although teachers everywhere deserve greater appreciation for their
service, those who teach in one-teacher schools do it all: from administration
to teaching every subject to every student in every grade. And when done well,
it’s phenomenal to see!

For example, there’s the Bayberry school on Cape
Cod. Jen Case, principal/teacher, John Piroski, pastor of the Cape Cod church,
and a strong school board provide a haven of excellence for their students.
This year 18 students are enrolled. Under Case’s tutelage, and with the help of
her supportive teacher’s aide, Dini Jeltema, these students are blossoming in a
learning environment that every child should have the privilege of

At Berkshire Hills school in Pittsfield,
Massachusetts, Mark Bugbee, principal/teacher and Dennis Farley, pastor of the
Berkshire Hills church, along with another strong school board, provide a
varied educational atmosphere that oozes success, from learning in the
classroom to learning in the great, rural outdoors.

Another outstanding one-room campus is
Maranatha Adventist Regional School in Willimantic, Connecticut. Tami Todd,
principal/teacher, took God at His Word and made the impossible, possible.
Beginning the school year with only one child, this school now hosts 12
students. Richard Pinero, pastor of the Willimantic church, and the school
board had a vision. Now students are learning the joy of Christian faith.

Finally, but by no means least, Wachusett Hills in
Gardner, Massachusetts, is guided by Edie Conrad, principal/teacher. Conrad
faithfully works endless hours every day to provide the best for her students.
She, too, is blessed with the faithful support of Einar Rom, pastor of the
Gardner church, and the school board as they uphold the strength of Christian

These are only four examples of teachers who
minster in one-room schools, but all teachers in this category are the unsung
heroes of Christian education. They arrive at work on time every day, perform
their duties faithfully, are “experts” in each grade and each subject, value
their students as individuals, and are involved in the activities of their
churches. By the grace of God, they master what could be an overwhelming
challenge and bring forth order, creativity, and students who are happily
involved in learning.

Although all teachers should be appreciated for
what they do in the classroom; all pastors who support Christian education in
word and action need to be thanked; and all school board chairs and board
members are to be commended for their sacrifice of time. Today, we say to the
teachers in our one-room schools, “You are greatly appreciated! We honor you
for all you do to demonstrate the love of God, and we thank you for teaching on
the frontline of Adventist education!”