The Great Lakes Bay Region Lutheran Educator Conference brought together 240 participants from 20 schools throughout the area to support each other in the ministry by worshipping together, encouraging one another, and collaborating with each other. Dr. Lisa Meyers, VL Academic Dean, reported, “It was a great day of worship, learning, and sharing!  This group of educators has done an amazing job of providing quality Christ-centered education on a consistent basis during a very difficult time for schools. To see them support and encourage each other in this important ministry was inspiring. They left excited to bring new ideas and strategies back to the classroom, showing how deeply they care about their students and want them to have the best possible learning experience.”

The GLBR Lutheran Educator Conference offered a wide variety of timely and relevant topics for educators to learn about and grow their skills. Forty-five (45) sectional were available including:

  • Anxious Students – Amy Paten from Crossroads Counseling Ministries
  • School Safety – Carla Derocher from Bay City Public Schools
  • Sectionals related to serving students on the Autism spectrum from Saginaw ISD and Lutheran Special Education Ministries
  • Coding for All Ages
  • Keep Math Accessible in a Pandemic and Beyond
  • Stop Motion Animation with Google Slides
  • Power Tools for Learning

Eric Hagenow, Principal, St. Peter Lutheran School, Hemlock, had this quote regarding the conference, “It was wonderful to meet with many Lutheran educators to share ideas, to be encouraged, and to worship together.

Pastor Burhop from Trinity, Reese led a beautiful worship based on prayer. He encouraged attendees to turn everything over to God… and then wait for Him, while VLHS’s contemporary worship group, Impact, led music.

Carol Sweebe, LEAP Admissions Coordinator said, “The sessions and speakers were fun and inspirational – such a great example of the Lutheran educational experience we offer our students and the faith that underlines everything we do.”

The keynote speaker, Rev. Dr. Ryan Peterson from Concordia University, Ann Arbor, spoke about “Embracing the Interruptions in Life”. He encouraged educators to walk into 2022 with a commitment to pause…pause to see more, to pray more, to laugh more, and ultimately to live with a Philippians 4:4-7 mindset. That all educators, parents, students, and leaders would rejoice, rejoice in the Lord always, fixing their eyes on Jesus as the perfecter of our faith.

Not only did the conference give Lutheran educators the opportunity to grow, but it also gave a chance to build and cultivate relationships as stated by MacKenzie Drinan (VL ’13), 5th Grade teacher, St. Lorenz Lutheran School. “Attending the conference at Valley Lutheran always feels like a homecoming for me. I love having the opportunity to visit with past teachers, old classmates, and current colleagues who are all on mission to share the love of Jesus. Having attended Peace and Valley Lutheran, I’m a product of Lutheran Education. One special part of becoming a teacher is that I now get to see it from the inside, and the love that Lutheran educators have for their students is just as genuine as it appears. I was reminded of this as soon as I walked through the doors of Valley and was greeted with smiles and hugs from my past teachers, now colleagues. This kind of love and belonging is what the conference is all about. Every year I leave rejuvenated in my calling to help students know they belong to Christ and they are loved dearly by God and by their school community.”