My name is Miss Hope. I am the lead teacher and founder of Mount Sinai Academy in Normal, IL.
I am an Illinois certified elementary educator with endorsements in English As a Second Language, Mid-Level Mathematics, and Mid-Level Science. I earned a bachelor's degree in elementary education from George Fox University and taught in the public school system in Oregon for 3 years.
As a previous homeschool student myself, I have experienced first hand how fruitful the classical Christian education model can be. I am so excited to see what God has in store for this school and cannot wait to welcome you into the Mount Sinai family!
As a child, I grew up in a Christian household that put God at the center of everything. Whether we were attending church, going to school, or even playing sports, everything was done in a manner to glorify and worship Him.
I had a less-traditional schooling experience than most and did not regret a second of it! Being homeschooled in various co-ops and academies until my 7th grade year encouraged me to fall in love with Jesus and my education simultaneously. In fact, I grew up attending a school much like the one I decided to found. The ability to explore academics in the same environment that I explored my relationship with Jesus was an experience that would shape how I approached learning for the rest of my life. Despite transitioning from a homeschool environment to a private school setting, from 7th grade until graduation, my faith was still intertwined with all areas of study.
My school experience was a hybrid of classical education and inquiry-based instruction. The combination of these two instructional techniques caused me to fall in love with both mathematics and Latin; two experiences I do not believe I would have had in the traditional public school setting.
Despite my success in mathematics and pressure from family and friends to pursue engineering, God put a different calling on my heart. He knew that my strengths would be used in a different capacity and called me to be a teacher. I attended George Fox University where I played soccer and pursued a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. During this time I also conducted mathematics research into children's thinking and was published at the national level.
Upon graduating, I began teaching in a public school which was an environment I had never been a student in. This was a shock to me on two fronts. The first was that my faith was no longer allowed past the front doors of the school building. The second was that the curriculum and learning progressions were not actually benefiting students, but hindering them in many cases. I felt a deep fear that I had chosen the wrong career path, but when Covid-19 closed schools in the spring of 2020, I realized that God had put me exactly where I needed to be.
I became a teacher to minister to, raise up, and unconditionally love my students in the way that Jesus has loved me. When schools closed, many of my students went home to environments that were less than ideal for learning. My classroom was filled with students who were lonely, scared, helpless, and quite frankly forgotten most of the time. God had indeed put me here for a reason. It was now my turn to invest in my students in a way that far exceeded the four walls of my classroom. I held online socials during the week, delivered Christmas presents, and even played video games online with large groups of my students outside of school hours. My purpose was to pour into my students academically, emotionally, and mentally as much as I possibly could and my love for teaching was re-ignited.
After this experience, I knew that I wanted to work in an environment where I could build powerful relationships with my students, as opposed to shuttling 200 of them through my classroom each day for a 50 minute lecture. This was the first year that I had the idea to start my own classical school. But in my stubbornness, I brushed off this calling at first. I didn't think I had the financial ability or experience to pull it off and I put it on the shelf.
However, after teaching in the public schools for another two years, I began to fall out of love with my career once again. I was tired of preaching a curriculum that I did not believe in while simultaneously silencing the relationship I had with a God I believed in with my heart and soul.
After my third year teaching, I decided to "retire" and pursue higher education at Illinois State University. The thought of starting a school pulled on my heart again, but this time when I tried to ignore it, God put it right in front of my face. After looking for less than a week, I was lucky enough to buy my first house in Normal, IL only a couple minutes from my university. It also just so happens that this house is the ONLY house on my street with a three car garage. Once I realized the potential for converting this space into a classroom environment, there were no more excuses that I could find to combat this calling that God had put on my heart so many years ago.
Now, here we are. A teacher with a classical Christian education, now opening her own Christian classical school. I am beyond excited and blessed to be on this journey and I hope that you are as excited to join the Mount Sinai Academy family.
We will see you when doors open in the Fall of 2023!