“God brought me to Kingsway,” says Dr. Julie Giardino, the new head of Kingsway Christian School. A passionate educator, Giardino has spent the last 27 years in education, 22 of those years she spent in Christian schools. We sat down recently to talk to Dr. Giardino and learn about her goals for Kingsway Christian School (KCS).
What made Kingsway the right fit for you?
The recruiting process had been long but encouraging. But my one remaining concern was whether the church and school were finding unity. Unity between the church and the school is important. I knew once I had the chance to meet with Pastor Matt Nickoson, I would be certain that Kingsway was the right fit for me. You can always tell when you’re following God’s plan, you don’t have any human struggle. Pastor Matt’s easy-going manner and solid Bible teaching and passionate support of the school as a ministry assured me that this was my new church and school home.
What are your plans?
I have several new initiatives including a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) program. Our goal is to make KCS STEM certified in two years. The church allocated 3,000 square feet for us to build our labs. We will have a we lab and a maker space lab – for engineering and physics. A gifted program will also serve through the STEM initiative. We also plan to invest heavily in our athletics program.
Why is having a STEM certified program so important?
It’s the stuff of reasoning and thinking. These kinds of things teach kids how to teach with an engineering focus. Engineering has been a big part of my life. I have four sons, three of whom are now engineers. When they were growing up, they were always trying to find ways to make their bed without touching the sheets with their hands or make ziplines out of garage door cables. If you don’t let kids take safe, leveraged risks, they never learn how things work. Our pursuit of STEM certification is more than just a label, it is a school-wide effort to encourage creativity, innovation and problem solving. Elevating critical thinking is one of the goals of the program, and I believe we will see some very engaged and excited learners using those new spaces very soon.
Why is it important for a Christian school to invest in science?
God is the Master Creator. He designed us to think, reason and question. If we don’t combine science with Christianity, we won’t become a thinking and reasoning people. God wants us to learn and grow and continue to incorporate our faith with what we’ve learned.
What are you bringing to the athletics program?
We will be bringing on a full-time athletics director soon to further develop the programs. We have 58 unused acres that we are blessed with, and we want to utilize them. God wants us to be fit and active. Athletics is the perfect “lab experience” to help us practice all we’ve been teaching our kids in school. Athletics and competition give students a perfect opportunity to establish teamwork, learn to work together, react with poise and develop maturity in winning, losing and preparing for a contest. It is an important reflection of what happens in real life every day.
What have you noticed most about Kingsway’s involvement in Avon?
The people in Avon like to come here, whether it’s for RibFest or other events. We are excited to get out beyond our walls and serve the community. As the church and school work together, I think you will see the evidence of service in our community even more.
Anything you’d like Avon to know?
I would love for Avon to be invited to celebrate with us as we enter our 40th year of serving families. We are humbled that God established the school with a mission that has not changed in four decades. We are thankful to our ‘pioneers’ who stepped out in faith to bring the reality of a strong Christian school to this area. We will be celebrating this wonderful milestone all year long. We invite Avon residents and all families to celebrate this strong legacy and pray for our continued ministry to families and children.