Schoolgirl and teacher playing acoustic guitar in music class

Employment Equity Encouraged (Part 1)


If you want your school to succeed you need to hire visionary, self-sacrificing staff like Gloria, Moses, and Dana*. These people could all be somewhere else earning a lot more money, but they chose to give of themselves as locally funded employees to their church school.

Schoolgirl and teacher playing acoustic guitar in music classBy the time these three were on the same staff each of their professional careers had surpassed 25 years. Gloria was a recording artist who turned wannabe singers into nightingale choirs. Moses could have joined a university staff but chose to help struggling high school students comprehend the most complex mathematical equations. Dana had a burden for the souls of young people that reflected in and out of her Bible classroom. Each of them had taught in some of the largest and most prestigious academies in North America. While enjoying professional successes they each received a call from an old friend who was principal of a small, struggling K-10 church school. She told them that God was doing amazing things at her school and they needed to bring their gifts to be a part of the exciting and blessed turn around. Even though they would not be “regular” full time conference employees, each of them only needed to be asked once. Despite the reduced salary for these three “locally funded” positions Moses, Gloria, and Dana each said “Yes!”

They brought their gifts and God multiplied their talents. Moses became the High School Math teacher as well as the strong male influence that was lacking in too many of the lives of the students. Gloria formed small choirs and ensembles, orchestrated holiday programs and talent shows, and taught classroom music to all classes. Dana taught Bible to all students from 4th to 10th, helped the children prepare sermons for Weeks of Prayer, held baptismal classes, and physically baptized the children. Gloria and Dana both assisted with discipline issues, after school events, and church activities. Many times Gloria and Dana would provide transportation to off-campus events for the students.

One might say, “All of this is normal for church school teachers.” But did you notice that each of these experienced, professional educators worked for reduced salary as a “locally funded” teacher. In their system locally funded means that you receive no health care, retirement points, or sick days. They might receive up to 20% less than conference sponsored counterparts. There is little to no opportunity for advancement in their system. In some church schools the number of locally funded teachers surpasses the conference employees. All too often a locally funded teacher will become “stuck” in that slot for years. Yet, these gifted teachers usually work longer hours than their contracts require in order to interact with families and create exceptional learning environments.

To be continued… Look for part 2 in one week.

*Names changed


Teaches English and History at Forest Lake Academy (Apopka, FL), USA. She served as a principal in Southeastern Conference, Florida, as well as a K-8 classroom teacher in Florida Conference. At the university level, she has supervised student teachers (Washington Adventist University), taught history (Advent Health University), and continues to teach various educational methods courses (Southern Adventist University). Dr. Nugent graduated from Southern Adventist University (B.S.), Andrews University (M.A.), and Walden University (Ed.D.) with a doctoral study on how to teach mathematics in a multi-grade school. Her current research interests include the impact of portfolios on education and standards based instruction. Visit Dr. Nugent's blog:

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