ELCA: A Great Place to Grow

by Susan Hearn • Elementary Assistant Principal

A child’s education is a critical part of their life as they grow and develop. It is a time when foundations are set and worldviews are formed. At ELCA, we are very intentional about Kingdom Education and shaping the students’ worldview to be a biblical worldview that will equip them to navigate life based on biblical standards.

I have been a part of the family of ELCA since 1995. It is a tremendous blessing to be a part of this ministry and to witness how God has blessed and prospered our school.

The last couple of weeks, I have been gathering pictures of the early days of ELCA for different projects. Looking at these pictures and reminiscing have led me to think about how ELCA has grown and changed over the last 25 years.

When I started teaching at ELCA, it was a small school with one class per grade. We were a close-knit family with the common goal of educating students for Jesus. Classroom supplies were limited, as I had to buy my own staples, tape, and other common school supplies.  We didn’t offer many special classes or accelerated classes. Art was occasionally taught by parent volunteers. Our academic program consisted of textbooks and supplemental resources that were mostly purchased by the teachers. We didn’t have a lunch program that offered many choices. You either brought your lunch or you could order from the takeout restaurant of the day. There was one person that was the receptionist, the secretary and handled admissions. We did not have PTF, Fine Arts Patrons, or a Booster Club. We had limited to no technology, a very small library and minimal playground equipment. None of that deterred us, the administration, teachers and staff held a common belief in Jesus and a love for children and education.

God has greatly blessed our school! We all are very thankful and excited about the tremendous growth we have experienced over the last fifteen years or so. We have more students, academics have soared, fine arts programs have greatly expanded, and athletics is huge. Today with all the programs and resources we have added, one thing has not changed – We are still a close-knit family with the common goal of educating students for Jesus.

The heart of ELCA is not the building we occupy, the resources we have, all the programs we provide, how high our test scores are, how many students we have, sports titles we’ve won, or musical programs we perform. The heart of ELCA is the bond we share through the love of Jesus. We pray together, suffer together, and rejoice with one another.  Why would you want to grow anywhere else?

Susan Hearn has been at ELCA since 1995. She taught third grade for 12 years, and served as the Math and Reading Coordinator before serving as the Curriculum Director for elementary. Currently, she serves as Elementary Assistant Principal. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Education from Georgia State University and a Master of Arts in Teaching from Piedmont College and her Education Specialist degree from Valdosta State University. Prior to coming to ELCA, she taught kindergarten and third grade at another Christian School and first and third grades in Clayton County Public Schools. She and her husband Scott have been married since 1982. They have two children, Jacob and Miranda.