First Day For Students Is First Day For New T–SJ Principal Amy Kurtz Too
By Alex Haglund
When class started for the year at Trinity–St. John Lutheran School, it was a big day for the students. For some, this was old hat, they had been here before and were just moving up a level. Then there were of course those students who were headed through those doors for their very first day of class ever at T–SJ. A lot of pressure was on them, but what they might not have known was that there first day of class was the first day of class at T–SJ for someone else too– their new principal, Mrs. Amy Kurtz.
Fortunately for Kurtz, she heads into this job with considerably more experience than students tend to have at their disposal. She has 16 years of experience teaching, and has worked in Council Bluffs, Iowa, Omaha, Neb., and most recently, at Immanuel Lutheran School of Memphis, Tenn., where she worked for nine years teaching K-8 Spanish and worked under Principal Todd Baringer, who she describes as her mentor.
In addition to teaching Spanish (she started their program), Kurtz also taught computer classes, language arts, and also undertook the School Leadership Development Program which trained her to be a principal.
Kurtz moved to the area in July, accompanied by her husband, Mike Kurtz, and their five children, ages 7 to 22.
So while this wasn’t really Kurtz’s first day when it comes to education, it really was her first day as a principal, and her first day at T–SJ.
Rolling Out The Red Carpet
Along with Kurtz herself, a new experience for students at T–SJ was the red carpet that was rolled out for their arrival (See page A8 of the August 24 edition of The Nashville News).
Kurtz said that the red carpet was her idea, so that she and the faculty could work at “creating a culture at their school, starting with the red carpet.” The teachers, as well as Pastors Timothy Mueller and Aaron Kotila, took the idea and ran with it.
A smile comes to Kurtz face when describing her fellow educators’ enthusiasm.
“It was great,” she said, “teachers ran in and grabbed noisemakers, they were giving them high-fives, they were calling kids by name.” Kurtz said that they also would bring the noise up or down based on the age and enthusiasm of whichever student was being greeted.
The teachers’ familiarity with children is something that Kurtz said she is looking delve into herself, stating how much importance she places on “creating relationships with children, with families, greeting kids arriving to school every day….I’m able to welcome each kids before they have had much of a chance to have a bad day.”
Kurtz job at T–SJ is about more than just saying hello though– it’s about creating the right atmosphere for success– both educationally and spiritually.
“Our theme for the year is strive to thrive,” Kurtz said. “we are striving to thrive upon the rock of Jesus Christ.”
The students “see the love of their principal and their teachers, and it’s the love of Jesus through us,” Kurtz went on.
Strive To THRIVE:
• Trust in the Lord
• Hear His word
• Rely on the rock
• Involve others
• Victory in Christ
• Eternally thriving
The accompanying Bible verse for this year’s theme is John 10:10: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
“We’re striving to thrive here on earth,” Kurtz said, “but in eternity, we get to thrive with Jesus.”
“Of course I want to follow God’s will here,” Kurtz said, “he’s very intentional, and he’s put me here for the future.”
Kurtz said that overall, she wants to see growth happening at T–SJ, both with a growing number of students learning, and the growth of the students as individuals as well.