David Sneider has been an active part of Maranatha since his daughter Sydney was in preschool. But he’s recently taken his involvement to a new level as Board Chair. “I have a deep rooted interest in helping build the success of Maranatha for many years to come, so we can continue to serve God and create more world-changers for Him,” he says. Get to know Mr. Sneider.
What brought him to Maranatha: Mr. Sneider first became acquainted with Maranatha when he and his wife, Jennifer, were looking for a preschool program for their daughter Sydney. “We just loved what we saw at Maranatha,” he smiles. “We instantly noticed the passion and energy that the staff poured into the kids. We loved that it was Christ-centered in every aspect, and there was a directed effort towards reinforcing the values Sydney was learning at home and at church.” Today, Sydney is an incoming sophomore at Maranatha, and the whole family is part of the MCA community.
Mr. Sneider’s calling to lead: “I’ve really felt that God has called me to be involved in Maranatha, and to do whatever I can to help this school,” Mr. Sneider says. So when the Board Chair role arose and he was nominated, he was enthusiastic. “God is at work in Maranatha and whatever our family can do to support that, we do. It’s really my focus.”
His role as Board Chair: “Our core responsibility as a Board is setting the strategic vision and direction for the school, and I’m tasked with guiding those efforts,” Mr. Sneider says. “We’re serving the school with prayer, doing whatever we can to help the Head of School to be successful.”
Background: Mr. Sneider grew up in Florida and Illinois. He studied at Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri, and while he was in college, his parents moved from Chicago to Kansas City. “I fell in love with Kansas City then, and it has been home ever since!” Mr. Sneider has done a number of things professionally, and today, he’s an insurance agent and owns an American Family Insurance agency.
Family and fun: Mr. Sneider is married to Jennifer, and they enjoy spending time with their daughter Sydney. Outside of work, he enjoys fishing, hunting, golfing and cooking. His affinity for cooking shines through as an MCA volunteer too. You’ll find him manning the grill for MCA barbecues. “Family fests, tailgates, staff appreciation . . . I love to barbecue at Maranatha and help however I can.”
Sharing his love for baseball: He enjoys helping to coach the Maranatha baseball team. “That’s my other part-time job!” he smiles. “I played in college and I love the game. I love teaching it and trying to be a positive influence on the guys on the team, and it’s a privilege for me to share whatever knowledge I can about baseball.”
Favorite part of being the MCA Board Chair: “I enjoy doing my part to bring everyone to the same page. I believe in bringing other Maranatha leaders, including my fellow board members and administration, together — so we’re moving in the same direction. I hope to do my part to lead us in driving towards the same common goals and vision.”
What he loves most about Maranatha: For Mr. Sneider, it’s the unique blend of Christian education and Biblical worldview. “Every staff member works hard to make sure that God is integrated into every aspect of every program, every class, every academic endeavor. Everything goes back to that Biblical worldview. That’s by far the best thing about Maranatha.”
After six years of faithful service, Superintendent Mark Schultze is saying goodbye to Maranatha Christian Academy. As Mr. Schultze completes his time at MCA, we celebrate his dedication to our teachers and staff commitment to our students. Please join all of us at MCA in thanking him for his work in our community.
Before his time as Maranatha Superintendent, Mr. Schultze worked in operations and management at American Century Investments. He spent 20 years with the company, the last 10 of which were with the marketing and web teams. “I was blessed to spend those last 10 years working under a Christian man who modeled great leadership,” he recalls. “I also go to lead professionals in marketing whose jobs were not part of my own background — writers, designers, IT, coders, developers. As God was preparing me for this job at Maranatha, he knew I had no history in teaching, but gave me the confidence to come in and lead.”
Meanwhile, outside of his work at American Century, Mr. Schultze was getting more and more involved in the MCA community. “From bringing my daughter here in fifth grade, then coaching girls’ basketball to joining the Board and becoming Board Chair, God was continually prompting me to become more engaged with Maranatha,” he says. Mr. Schultze accepted the Superintendent role in the fall of 2011.
He has a wide variety of fond memories from his time at MCA. “Education is a people business, so all of my highlights during my time here center around people. I’ve been blessed to witness kids reach new points of revelation about who they are, who God is, their own talents and their abilities,” he smiles. “I’ve also been grateful to have led a team of very dedicated teachers and staff, and I’ve enjoyed watching them accomplish some good things.”
A highlight of each year happened when teachers returned from the summer. “The first thing we do when the staff comes back for the start of the school year is a time of worship,” Mr. Schultze recalls. “We sing, we have devotions and the team gets to share how God has been working in their lives. It’s a wonderful time that I will miss.”
Most importantly, Mr. Schultze will remember how MCA’s commitment to putting faith first makes it a special place. “When the accreditation team came in, I was most delighted that they said we were outstanding in teaching a Biblical worldview and keeping that at the center of our teaching,” he shares. “We strive every day to do this, and so to have that team make note of our efforts was very rewarding.”
After his departure from Maranatha, Mr. Schultze will work on his home inspection business. “It marries my building repair background with my experiences in education and business. This work will put me out there to practice what I have been encouraging our faculty to teach our students: that all aspects of our life, everything we do, should be done for the glory of God.” He also looks forward to giving of his time as a volunteer to organizations he’s passionate about, including the nonprofit A Bright Future for Kids.
“I am leaving Maranatha physically, but the school will always be in my heart and my prayers,” Mr. Schultze says. “The need for Christian education has never been more important, and as I hand off my duties, I am praying for God to richly bless MCA and to do above and beyond anything that we can imagine.”
With children home from school, summer is an ideal time for new routines and rhythms. It’s time to visit family, travel, participate in activities, spend time together and much more. Here’s how to make the most of this precious season for your child and help your student grow.
First and foremost, summer is a great time to bring faith and spirituality into focus as a family, building a habit that will last into the school year. “Summer is the best opportunity to be intentional. As a family, spend time each week discussing what each person is doing in their spiritual walk. Encourage reading, and encourage your child to pursue an activity that allows them to live out their faith with others, like a Christian youth camp or a mission trip,” says Mark Schultze, Maranatha Superintendent.
Summer is a great time to take a family visit to a museum or a planetarium.
Integrating learning into summer activities requires intentionality, but can be worthwhile for a child. “Pull out their homework from the past year and look through a few of the questions they missed on a test or a quiz,” Mr. Schultze says. “This can be a helpful way to refresh their memory and get them ready for the new year.”
Without the regularity of the school schedule, it can be challenging for students to retain what they learned in the past year. “One way to prevent this learning loss is to enroll your child in an educational camp or college program targeted at the topic where he or she may struggle,” Mr. Schultze says.
A less structured but still beneficial option is to bolster learning through online resources. Khan Academy, for example, offers free guided lessons on a wide variety of topics from math to the arts and humanities. “Lessons don’t need to be burdensome to be effective. You can use these tools to simply refresh what your student learned that year,” Mr. Schultze says.
Summer is not only a good time to review learning, but also to help students build relationships. “Making sure your children are doing something socially gives them the opportunity to enjoy connecting with their peers,” Mr. Schultze says. “Vacation Bible School through a church or even an activity through the local parks system can be great.”
For older students, Mr. Schultze recommends building life skills by encouraging teens to get a job. “Doing a job makes school lessons come to life, and teaches kids how to interact and apply what they have learned in school — everything from hard skills like math and reading to the spiritual and character development,” he says.
Jobs can be either inside or outside the home, as long as the student has a chance to practice responsibility and trustworthiness. For younger children, a “job” can be as simple as helping with yard work or a special project around the house. “Students get to experience doing work to the glory of God.” Some students may enjoy a “job shadow” experience where they get to explore a day-in-the-life of a career that interests them.
While many students find it tempting to spend their days in front of the TV or computer, Mr. Schultze recommends helping your child unplug for a bit. “Go outside, explore God’s creation in nature, take a family visit to a museum or a planetarium,” he encourages. Another way to spur creativity and fun is reading and book discussions as a family. Choose a title that’s appropriate based on your child’s age and discuss the book together around the dinner table. This shows children that learning never stops.
Finally, Mr. Schultze emphasizes, keep the summer season balanced. “As with so many things educationally, do it all with moderation,” he says. “The whole summer shouldn’t be consumed with activities. Make sure to provide space to rest, and keep a good portion of the summer unstructured. When children have the chance to play and have fun, they can develop their God-given curiosity and really grow.”