by: AJ Hofstetter
I had the privilege of sitting down with Susanne Horn, Liberty Classical’s Lower School Director. She’s new to the role but not new to the school. She sent all three of her kids to Liberty Classical. She taught 5th graders here for over a decade. In fact, it was not-so-long-ago that she was highlighted for being the Teacher of the Year.
She was uncomfortable with that attention.
Before she was in the role she’s in, when she was spending her days teaching classes, managing madness, and showing kids how to lean hard on God, she was in the shoes of the teachers she now helps lead. It was a role that encapsulated what we see in the person of Christ in Luke 2:52 - where Jesus grew in wisdom and stature and in favor with both God and man. It’s building whole people—not just brains.
When I say “I had the privilege of sitting down with Mrs. Horn,” I’m not throwing out platitudes. It really was a privilege. Sitting with her and hearing her heart for the job in front of her, for the teachers she serves, and for the God she’s come to walk very closely with is one of the more life-giving, soul-refreshing things a person can do. There’s a peaceful joy and steadiness in her demeanor that make you easily settle in. If she were less gracious and pleasant, it’d be easy to worry about overstaying your welcome with her. I had to force myself to not turn our time together into something unfocused and divergent.
But she helped keep me on task. She’s pretty good at that.
I have no doubt...when she read the paragraphs above, she smiled and shook her head, humbled and again uncomfortable with the attention she’s getting.
But her embarrassment can subside now. This isn’t really about Susanne Horn, Lower School Director at Liberty Classical Academy. It’s about God, His love for His children, and His relentless pursuit of them. It’s about our school and about the need for something like it to steady the waters of chaos, fear, and discord in the world around us. It's about hardworking teachers going above and beyond for a worthy cause. It’s about students who deserve to see that when God is for you, no one and nothing can really stand against you.
A Full-Speed Start to a New Role
This is Mrs. Horn’s first year as the Lower School Director. And what a year it’s been. With the uncertainty that ensues around us, she’s spent countless hours in COVID-related discussions. She’s helped adapt learning and programming. She’s helped set communication standards and equip teachers. She’s been helping to establish and enforce protocols while also supporting our lower school teachers in the most practical ways. She’s been encouraging and empowering. She’s been a cheerleader and a problem solver.
When asked the general (though probably a bit leading) question, “Why Liberty?,” Mrs. Horn gave an answer that at first glance seemed pretty standard. And then she explained herself.
Liberty is a safe place for students.
Seems like a pretty straightforward answer. Safe. It’s smaller than public schools. It’s conservative. It’s parochial. It’s not loyal to agendas and ideologies that corrupt the soul. Undoubtedly these are all adequate descriptions of Liberty Classical and what makes it safe.
But her answer went deeper.
Safe is about protecting students on a day-to-day basis, but it’s also about protecting their futures. If we’re going to build a safe place for kids to learn, play, interact, and grow, it has to be a place that’s also preparing them for something bigger and better to come. It has to be a place that sees them for who they are. It has to be safe in that it protects their minds not just from the wrong ideas for their lives but for the right ones…for God’s ideas of what it means to live an abundant life, to live a life of influence and purpose…for His ideas of what it means to be the salt of the earth and a city on a hill.
The Work Ahead of Us
We have a job to do, and it’s not just about books and grades and homework and college plans and career goals. As Mrs. Horn takes on this new role at Liberty Classical and continues to help us navigate all things unprecedented, she brings with her a commitment to the development of a life that inspires. And a life that inspires is measured over decades.
We could go on and on, talking about Mrs. Horn’s perspectives on education, her thoughts on servant leadership, or her reflections on God’s goodness even when circumstances tempt you to doubt His unfailing love. We could easily start wondering if we’re doing enough…or start thinking about what we should be doing differently. We could get divergent and worry about the world around us, about rioting and viruses and all the reasons to fear. We could let things get out of focus pretty easily.