This month’s alumni, Kelsie (DeNooy) Ruter, is a special trifecta: alumnus, teacher, and parent! Kelsie’s story is a demonstration of the power of community and the faithfulness of God to bring us exactly where we are needed. We are thankful for our alumni making an impact around the world and are especially grateful to have Kelsie making that impact here at Denver Christian.
Growing Up at Denver Christian
Kelsie spent more than a bit of time at Denver Christian when growing up. Her father was the principal, her mother a teacher, and both her aunt and uncle taught at the school too. Kelsie jokes, “when I say that sometimes it felt like we lived at school that isn’t a stretch!” Kelsie also notes, “Likewise it is not a stretch to say that DC had a profound impact on forming my worldview/perspective. The biggest factor that impacted my calling were the people, teachers, and coaches that I had in my 13 years at DC.”
Called to Transformative Education
Each alumni and student knows the power of teachers who care about you as a person first and foremost. Kelsie knew that her teachers cared for her, regardless of how well she understood something at a given moment. Kelsie saw how engaging education could be with teachers like Mr. Postma, who made subjects like Calculus and Physics fun and informative.
“[Mr. Postma] had a bed of nails and he laid on it with a cinderblock on his chest and he let students (me included) hit the cinderblock with a sledgehammer. I believe it was to show that when your surface area is spread out among multiple surfaces you wouldn’t get punctured by the nails…or something like that!” Receiving the support of teachers who went above and beyond meant so much to Kelsie that it shaped her desire to become an educator. “I wanted to be able to teach, love, and help kids in the same way that so many teachers had done for me.”
Life as an Alumni
After graduating from Denver Christian, Kelsie attended college at Dordt University, receiving her bachelor’s in Elementary Education and her master’s of Education in Teacher Leadership. After a snowy year teaching in Montana, Kelsie returned to Colorado.
Over the next ten years, Kelsie taught 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grades in Cherry Creek, school district. Kelsie enjoyed her time in the public school system. However, she felt led by the Lord to teach in an environment where she could share her faith with her students and co-workers.
Denver Christian as a Parent & Teacher
In 2020, Kelsie started looking at job opportunities at Denver Christian and accepted a position as a 2nd-grade teacher. Kelsie says, “Returning to DC, this time as a teacher and a mom has made me appreciate it so much. I love having coworkers that pray for me and my family. I underestimated how much I would value having colleagues with the same/a similar worldview as mine. One thing I took for granted (or maybe just didn’t recognize) as a kid is how amazing the DC community was and is.” (Kelsie and her husband, Luke, have three children, Kolsten, Mayli, and Hayes). As a parent, Kelsie feels blessed by the community that goes above and beyond to make her children feel as supported as Kelsie did as a student.
In 2020, Kelsie wanted to combine her skill and passion for teaching with her faith. In her classroom, she has done exactly that. Kelsie’s students are called to be God-Worshippers, Critical Thinkers, and Community Builders in the classroom and world around them. (See our “Portrait of a Flourishing Student” to learn more about these roles!”) She says, “My hope is that when students leave my classroom, they have pursued listening to others, learning, and being the hands and feet of Jesus to others. My prayer is that they feel the pull to pursue Jesus in all they do in their lives.”