“For the first time we feel settled.”
Teachers Brian and Elise Stenberg share how the Lord closed doors and opened others, leading them and their three daughters to Northwest Christian Schools.
Brian and Elise Stenberg began their early married years in Spokane working as physical therapy aides. They met at Whitworth where they graduated with degrees in athletic training and kinesiology. “As a physical therapy aide, I worked with a lot of high school athletes,” Brian says. “It was during this time that I realized I wanted to work with kids.”
The Stenberg’s moved to Monmouth, Oregon so Brian could get his master’s at Western Oregon University. His first teaching job was at a middle school in Madras. Elise also got her master’s and they moved to Hood River. For the next six years they both taught in the public school district. Their family also grew, with daughters Ella, Tinley, and Piper joining the team.
“During our time in Hood River we felt like God was closing a chapter,” Elise says. “We had a desire to teach internationally, so we began to pursue it.”
In October of 2020 the Stenberg’s took a step of faith, selling their house and moving in with Brian’s parents. “We were hopeful things would work for us to teach internationally, but doors just kept closing.”
In the late spring of ’21, they heard about a position at Northwest Christian Schools, teaching at the Cedar Campus. Elise decided to interview, and their family slogan became, “Spain or Spokane,” as they waited on the Lord.
By God’s goodness, Elise was hired to teach 3rd grade at Cedar. But they couldn’t move unless they both had jobs.
“We were amazed and so grateful when the Lord provided a position for Brian teaching 6th grade on the Colbert Campus,” Elise says.
“So, over the summer we moved back to Spokane, and we absolutely love it here!”
“We feel like we’re right where we’re supposed to be, and it’s been a breath of fresh air. Not just for us, but for the girls too. It’s been an amazing transition for them.”
The Stenberg’s joined the NWCS family this academic year, Elise teaching 3rd grade at Cedar, Brian teaching 6th grade at Colbert, and Ella, Tinley, and Piper in 5th, 1st, and preschool at Colbert.
“For the first time we feel settled,” Brian says. “We’re all in our best spots. We feel like we can dig in. I don’t believe this would have happened anywhere else.”
Seven-year-old Tinley says she was nervous about being a first grader in a new school. Now she says she loves PE, reading, and all her friends.
Her big sister, Ella, 11, said she was “excited” to start a new school. Ella likes math, choir, and Minecraft Education, a digital learning platform.
Five-year-old preschooler Piper loves quiet time, reading, art, and movies. And all three girls enjoy reading the Little House on the Prairie series at bedtime with Dad.
Ella and Tinley took advantage of the NWCS elementary athletics program, participating in cross country in the fall. “It almost killed me,” Ella says with a grin. Currently Tinley is on the 1st grade soccer team. “We play games, and we practice, and we warm up,” she says. She thinks the best part is her coach, who also happens to be her Daddy.
The Stenberg girls also do Taekwondo. They started when they lived in Hood River. “It was a Covid survival activity,” Elise says. Ella is the only one who has continued now that they live in Spokane. She’s currently a white belt and will soon test for green.
With mom and dad teaching on two different campuses, what does a typical morning look like in the Stenberg household? “We divide and conquer,” Brian says. “Elise and I are up first, after quiet time and devotions we get the girls up. Sometimes this takes a while. Once everyone is dressed and fed, the girls go with me, and we leave by 7:10. Elise has a shorter commute, so she leaves around 7:20. And then of course there’s Milo, our miniature Schnauzer puppy. We can’t forget to take care of him.”
When asked to sum up their first year at NWCS Brian and Elise say, “People here care, top to bottom. It’s an amazing community!”
Brian adds, “My why is Jesus. I get to live that out at Northwest Christian. I can be outspoken about my faith with my students.”
“As a teacher, I love that I have the ability to be Christ-centered in the classroom in a tangible way.” Elise says. “Everyone has stuff they deal with. We get to approach it from a Christ-centered perspective, and this makes all the difference.
This story is an excerpt from the Spring 2022 issue of the NWCS Newsletter. Would you like to receive a copy of the newsletter directly to your inbox?
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