By Amanda Compton and Kendall Brewer
Photo Credit: Rebecca Fox
Miss Kendall Brewer first joined Twin Oaks Christian School as a Kindergarten student. Little did she know that 20 years later, the Lord would call her back to Twin Oaks as an elementary classroom teacher and then again as Head of School.
Brewer launched her professional career with Twin Oaks in 2016 as the third grade teacher. The following school year, she moved up to fourth grade and was promoted to Team Lead for the intermediate grade levels.
In the summer 2018, Brewer left St. Louis for Harvard University in Boston to enroll in the Mind, Brain, and Education program, a field that focuses on helping educators integrate the research on neural plasticity, childhood development and learning science into their practice. She was one of 32 people nationwide to join the cohort for this relatively new strand of the graduate school.
While she initially envisioned herself conducting research to empower teachers to meet challenges in the classroom, particularly those working with students with backgrounds of toxic stress, Brewer quickly sensed a disconnect between life of a researcher in a lab and that of an educator. Wanting to make a direct impact in the K-12 context, Brewer switched her focus to education leadership during her second semester at Harvard.
This decision proved providential – as within a few months of changing her focus, the Head of School opportunity at Twin Oaks presented itself. After much prayer and consideration, Brewer, who was awarded her Master in Education this spring, believes God called her back to Twin Oaks to apply what she learned over this past year.
Brewer’s vision for Twin Oaks is to be known as an excellent provider of Christian education that equips students with the tools needed for good works which God has planned for them in advance (Ephesians 2:10). That said, she wants to capture the inspired, creative work that the teachers at Twin Oaks already do in the classrooms while simultaneously integrating tools and resources to further teach for translatable, real-world skills such as collaboration, communication, problem-solving and critical thinking.
Her favorite thing about Twin Oaks Christian School is the “sweetness in the community,” particularly in how the families surround each other with support and love during both joyful and difficult seasons. She also values that Twin Oaks is a place that recognizes students as spiritual, emotional and cognitive beings known and loved by their Heavenly Father, thus providing a safe environment for children to grow and blossom into image-bearers of Christ.
After earning her Bachelor of Arts in Education from St. Louis University in 2013. she took a job with a massive school district in Tulsa, Okla., with 16 teachers per grade level serving a diverse population of students. She said this experience not only taught her how to work through barriers to family-school partnerships, but also how to create classroom community in the midst of varied student backgrounds.
Brewer then went to work for the Wentzville School District where she taught fifth grade for two years. During this time, her school piloted a standards-based report card and worked to develop their reading and writing curriculum -- an experience that ignited her passion for curriculum and instruction.
Brewer is a member of Twin Oaks Presbyterian Church. Outside of work, she enjoys rock climbing and hiking as well as exploring St. Louis City with family and friends.
Her favorite scripture is Ephesians 1:18-19, where the apostle Paul prays, “that the eyes of your hearts may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.”
“This verse I pray for myself often because it captures the incredible gift of Christ dwelling within us,” said Brewer.
You may reach Miss Brewer at firstname.lastname@example.org or call Twin Oaks Christian School at 636-861-1901.
Twin Oaks Christian School, a ministry of Twin Oaks Presbyterian Church
By Amanda Compton
KMOV Chief Meteorologist Steve Templeton visited the Twin Oaks campus today to talk with the middle schoolers about weather as well as the science that drives it.
Templeton, who is the evening forecaster for St. Louis’ News 4, said he visits area schools in an effort to “demystify” science so that one day students may choose to pursue a career in meteorology. He spoke of how various types of severe weather form including tornadoes and thunderstorms, hurricanes, flash floods and even a squall, a sharp increase in sustained winds.
“Weather doesn’t just tie into science, weather is science,” said Templeton, in response to a student’s question about how science directly correlates to weather. He went on to explain that it takes science to understand the weather and that math is used to affirm science, referring to math as the “language of science.”
He also addressed a student’s question about the theory of Global Warming, explaining that the globe is in fact warming but that more science is needed to determine exactly why. “My question is, ‘Is man able to affect the temperatures of something as complex and vast as our globe?'” said Templeton, who earned a degree in Atmospheric Science from Purdue University in Indiana. “I don’t know. This is something that your generation will definitely have to address.”
In encouraging the students to persevere in their studies, Templeton pointed out that although he went into meteorology, he wasn’t always good at math. In fact, during a semester at college, he said he hired a tutor to help him better understand this particular subject. “You can always catch up in any subject,” noted Templeton. “You just may have to work harder, which is good, especially if you get the job you love.”
Templeton said that by now many of the students know which subjects they like and dislike and this process of elimination will likely continue into high school. “Find the things you like, go to college and get a job you love,” advised Templeton. “If you love what you do the money will follow.”
Templeton was invited to Twin Oaks by Middle School Science Teacher Dr. Kristen Levin, who watches News 4 every evening and has always enjoyed the pictures he shares of himself alongside students he visited earlier in the day.
“I happened to be on the the News 4 website and decided to put in a request for him to visit Twin Oaks and he responded very quickly,” said Dr. Levin. “The kids and I were so excited. He was so entertaining, gracious and genuine.”
Dr. Levin said she hopes Templeton’s visit puts a face to a profession in which science is prevalent and that it encourages some of her students to engage the sciences in the future.
Templeton will share the Twin Oaks pictures this evening after the 7-day forecast at 4:00 p.m., 6:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m.
“I learned a lot about severe weather and how it is formed.” ~Kayden Stokes
“I thought it was interesting how the eye of a hurricane is completely calm, clear and sunny.” ~Jeremy Nguyen
“My favorite part was about lightning.” ~Jack St. John
“I enjoyed how animated Steve was and his sound effects. I think I’d like to minor in astronomy.” ~Yemi Daramola
“He was so funny and I liked how he explained everything so I could understand it.” ~Hannah Nguyen
By Amanda Compton
Next week at Twin Oaks Christian School students get to donate their spare change to help fund schooling for underprivileged families in Haiti who, like parents in America, desire for their children to have an education and a future.
Launched in 2012, Change for Haiti is a non-profit organization that sponsors Haitian children by paying for their education through the Hope Community Project’s scholarship fund. In turn, money is freed up for food as well as other necessities and, ultimately, keeps families together. More than 80 percent of Haitian children live in orphanages because their families cannot afford to feed them. These families also have access to the charity’s medical clinic for a nominal charge.
Change for Haiti Founder and Coordinator Les Prouty spoke at the Change for Haiti Chapel on Friday, Jan. 18. Prouty said it costs an average of $480 to send a student to school in Haiti – as the country does not have access to free public education. Students are held accountable through an annual review process that ensures scholarship expectations are being met.
“Because many families take on caring for nieces and nephews whose parents have died, they literally have too many mouths to feed and often have to choose which children get eat,” explained Prouty. “It is not uncommon for children to get to eat three out of seven days each week as they wait their turn.”
Meanwhile, around the corner, parents see orphanages where children attend school and get two meals a day. This reality weighs heavily on moms, who are often widowed, prompting them to ask the orphanage to take a few of her children.
“These women are extremely sad but feel like there is no other option,” said Prouty. “She does it because she loves her children and wants them to have regular meals and an education. So, out of love, she reluctantly hands one or more of her children over to an institution.”
Change for Haiti has evolved over the past couple of years to address new needs and improve upon programs that are already in place. For instance, Prouty said, they recently purchased a new property to house a medical clinic, soccer field and a small community center where discipleship, Bible studies and Christian counseling will be held.
“We are also in the process of assisting them in creating meaningful work through our micro business program so they can work and make a living for themselves,” said Prouty. “We like to see them on a path to self-sustainability.”
Because the center of Haiti’s economy is agriculture, Les said, HOPE partnered with a Canadian-based organization with many years of experience to help develop an agricultural cooperative in the community they serve. According to the Hope Community Project website, “cooperatives provide a structure that utilizes the gifts and knowledge of the individual members both illiterate laborers and the educated.”
For several years now, Les and his wife, Helen, who is the Hot Lunch coordinator at Twin Oaks Christian School, have led a number of groups from around the United States on Haitian “vision trips.” These Haitian excursions allow team members to see and experience first-hand what the ministry is all about so that they might return to the United States with a passion to help the Haitian people from their hometowns in America.
Next week at Twin Oaks, students will have the opportunity to make a direct impact in the lives of the Haitian people by donating their loose change, which will fund the Hope Scholarship Program. Each day is assigned to a different coin denomination:
Tuesday: pennies and nickels
Friday: dollars and checks.
The class that raises the most money gets a pizza party. “Funds raised this week not only helps send these children to school, but also introduces them to the Savior of mankind, who is the only one who can truly transform lives,” added Prouty.
Donate to the Hope Community Project HERE!
Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”