West Michigan Christian Schools Blog

WMCS Teacher Tuesday Q & A with Fremont Christian School’s Gladys Pell

WMCS Teachers are Extraordinary!

It takes extraordinary people, living extraordinary lives to proclaim the truth of the Gospel through their work as teachers. At WMCS we have MANY such people and we love to celebrate them!

Last year we launched, Teacher Tuesday and it was a wonderful way to highlight a very special teacher from all five West Michigan Christian Schools every week. We’re excited to start the campaign again, so be sure to check our social media every Tuesday to see who will be featured that week. Teacher Tuesday is a GREAT opportunity to encourage these PK-12 teachers, drop off their favorite drink (see blog post for what that is) and thank them for their service! Our faculty collectively use their giftedness to teach children how to SHINE and RISE UP to their God-given potential. They shepherd the WMCS students to GROW as Christians and default to leaning on ALWAYS CHRIST. It’s a teacher’s goal to encourage every student to LOVE. LEARN. LEAD.

Celebrating Gladys Pell of Fremont Christian School (PK-8th grade)

A quote from Nick Donkersloot, Fremont Christian School Administrator:

There is no denying the love that Gladys has for music. God has blessed her with a gift that she loves to share with her students. Her passion and joy are evident in how she is able to take our middle school students and turn them into amazing bands and choirs. Gladys is always looking for new and exciting ways to challenge her students. FCS is blessed to have Mrs. Pell. 

Gladys Pell

Q: How many years have you taught there?

A: I came to Fremont Christian School in the fall of 1985. I left in 1993 to be home with kids, did some teaching at Fremont Public and Providence Christian HS before coming back to FCS in 2006 and it’s good to be “home.”

Q: What classes/grades do you teach?

A: Currently, I am teaching all bands and choirs in grades 5-8, as well as 7th-grade pre-Algebra. I’ve taught everything from K music to 9th grade German over the years!

Q: Do you have kids there? Graduated from there? 

A: My husband, Dan, and I have 4 kids, all graduates of Fremont Christian School: Michael (FCS ’07, PCHS ‘11) is married to Nicole Ribbens Pell (WMC ’11); Elizabeth (FCS ’10, WMC ’14) is married to Tyler Herlien; Emilee (FCS ’11, WMC ’15) and Hannah (FCS ’14, WMC ’18).

The Pell family celebrated a marriage this past summer.

Q: What’s your favorite teaching moment(s) to date? Tell us the story.

A: In my 2nd year at FCS, I was able to take the Jr. high band to State Festival, where our sight-reading judge was my former 5-12th grade band director, Henry VanderLinde. I had dreamt of being a band director since 6th grade, and to be at Festival with him as our judge, and then to receive a top rating from him was very exciting for me! As a young teacher, it really felt like God was confirming the choices He led me to make for my career!

Q: What your favorite memory of a student who came back after graduation and contacted you?

A: I was walking through the Amway Grand Hotel at a recent music teacher convention when a young lady ran out of a business in the hotel and wrapped me in a huge hug! It was a former student who recognized me and wanted me to know how much music class was a positive influence in her life, and the one thing she looked forward to every day in MS and HS. 

           
Q: What’s something fun that most people do not know about you?

A: My parents were first-generation immigrants from Germany to the United States. They spoke German at home all the time because they wanted to immerse us in their native language — a great selling point for immersion classes—it works! I can understand almost everything anyone says in German, but please don’t ask me to speak it! Since I don’t use it much, I would most definitely embarrass myself! And…my first trip to Germany was when I was only 18 months old!

The annual TIGER game day!

Q: What do you love most about your job and why? 

A: The kids. Definitely the kids. And definitely middle school kids. I love being a part of their days, and I love sharing the joy of music with them, even though they don’t always appreciate it. Middle schoolers have so much going on in life, and they have such an excitement for learning. I think Middle school is a time when they have so many opportunities to try new things and I love challenging them to be the best they can be, to the glory of God!

The kids. Definitely the kids. And definitely middle school kids. I love being a part of their days, and I love sharing the joy of music with them, even though they don’t always appreciate it. Middle schoolers have so much going on in life, and they have such an excitement for learning. I think Middle school is a time when they have so many opportunities to try new things and I love challenging them to be the best they can be, to the glory of God!

Q: What’s the best part of your day? 

A: That first cup of hot tea in the morning as I read through my morning devotions and get ready to face the day!

Q: How specifically has the Lord gifted you as an individual and how does that help you as a teacher? 

A: I have a fairly high tolerance level for noise, which I think is important in what I do. Sometimes musical creativity can be noisy! And, NO…I don’t wear earplugs!

I also feel God has blessed me with an ability to relate to MS kids and love them, even on their difficult days. 

Q: If there was anything you could change about your job, what would it be? 

A: I would LOVE to get the bands and choirs back into the festival scene, which would give them a greater opportunity to be beauty creators outside of our community. 

Dan & Gladys on an Alaskan vacation celebrating their 25th Wedding Anniversary!

Q: What’s your specific favorite non-alcoholic beverage? 

A: My students could answer this one: hot tea! You would be hard-pressed to find me without a cup close by (although often it does get cold….)

I also love a hot cocoa day with my 7/8 Choirs on those cold, Michigan winter days!

Q: What are you most grateful for when it comes to your job?

A: The support of an amazing school community: parents/grandparents, school board, and staff! It is so gratifying to have a team effort in raising kids to understand their role in God’s story!



Q: How do you feel Teaching for Transformation will augment or re-shape your tactics/approach/perspective as a Christian educator?

A: I believe that Teaching for Transformation has been my goal since beginning to teach so many years ago. I love being able to share my faith through music and have always tried to encourage kids to grow in their walk with God through the music we use. I do love the current terminology that reminds us that we are a part of God’s continuing story. It is my prayer that my students will always see the value of music in their lives and how their music choices can impact the world around them. I pray that they will be active participants in worshiping God through music.

Gladys and her husband Dan.

As a beloved faculty member, Gladys is part of the heart of WMCS. We are BLESSED and FAVORED to have her as part of our school family!  

A SMALL TOKEN OF APPRECIATION

A heartfelt THANK YOU, Allison, from all of your colleagues at WMCS and the school families!

We have a couple of small tokens of appreciation for you, Gladys! It’s two $10 gifts from our two WMCS retail fundraising partners, DIBS! on Resale and B2 Outlet Store Muskegon.

To redeem, please check-in at the front desk at DIBS! on Resale in Muskegon so they can award you this token of appreciation — $10 goes a long way, so enjoy the shop!

To redeem your $10 off at our B2 Outlet Store, go shopping and then submit your B2 sales receipt to your school principal and we’ll send you a check to reimburse you!

Relocated to a new store in Muskegon in January of 2019, DIBS! On Resale proceeds benefit our local West Michigan Christian Schools (WMCS). In the fall of the same year, we also celebrated the opening of our second retail fundraising partner, B2 Outlet Store. Both stores exist to help raise funds for all five of our schools including Fremont Christian (PK-8), Muskegon Christian(PK-6), Grand Haven Christian (PK-8), New Era Christian (PK-8) and Western Michigan Christian (7-12).

West Michigan Christian Schools (WMCS) is a collaborative system of five schools throughout the Lakeshore region of Western Michigan, that work under a “Better Together” philosophy, offering a top-quality, PK-12 Christian education experience and a full scope of academic and extracurricular programs. Benefiting from close cooperation and a seamless curriculum, our schools collaborate to formulate strategy and execute the necessary plans to achieve, elevate, and sustain Christian education in West Michigan.

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