Join us in welcoming new Maranatha Elementary School principal Emily Howell! Mrs. Howell’s connection to Christian education dates back to her own schooling. “I attended St. Joseph Christian School in St. Joseph, Missouri, so Christian education has been part of my life from a very young age,” she says. “I remember coming to Maranatha as a student to compete against Maranatha in ACSI (Association of Christian Schools International) competitions, so beginning this job feels a little bit like coming home to me.”
“When the principal position at Maranatha opened up, I was very excited about the opportunity to use the educational experiences I have been blessed with, as well as the opportunity to get back into Christian education,” Mrs. Howell says. “I know how important Christian education was to me growing up, so I jumped at the chance to join the MCA team.”
Family is at the heart of everything in Maranatha, and Mrs. Howell loves the strong MCA community. “It’s definitely a family atmosphere, and I have felt very welcomed here. Maranatha has a lot of wonderful things that I have missed since being out of the Christian school environment, and I feel like I have some skills to bring to Maranatha as well.”
Mrs. Howell looks forward to many things in the year ahead, especially a new and consistent view of behavior expectations. “This is one of the things I am really excited about. We have developed a behavior expectation chart based on SOAR,” she says. SOAR is an acronym for Strive to do your best, Own your actions, Always work together and Respect others. “Collaborating with teachers on this has been great and I am excited to see what this looks like in the coming year as students learn that language of SOAR and having that consistency.”
“Another big dream for this year is to take Maranatha’s elementary to new heights academically,” she says. “I am eager to even further build up our instructional practices so we can continue to build an academic program that is not only excellent, but supports the needs of many kinds of learners.”
Mrs. Howell studied at Missouri Western State University, where she earned her degree in Music Education. She went on to earn her Master’s in Educational Leadership from Northwest Missouri State University. Her first role was as a paraprofessional in a special needs classroom. “The experience broadened me educationally and was a wonderful experience for me,” she says. She also taught elementary music class in St. Joseph, as well as second and third grade.
Mrs. Howell moved with her family to the Kansas City area a few years ago and taught third grade in the Platte County school district, as well as held teacher leadership positions. Once in Kansas City, she completed her Educational Specialist degree from William Woods University — and Mrs. Howell is well on her way to becoming Dr. Howell, with coursework underway to receive her Doctorate.
Mrs. Howell enjoys spending time with her husband and two stepsons, as well as their dog and cats. They live in the Northland area of Kansas City. She and her husband both enjoy music and enjoy leading worship at their church, Fellowship of Grace in Parkville, Missouri.
As Mrs. Howell starts her first year as Maranatha principal, she looks forward to getting to know all the students and their families. “I am excited to get to know these families and serve these families!”
This summer, about 160 students participated in a wide variety of camps and activities at Maranatha Christian Academy.
Students enjoyed participating in camps highlighting soccer, volleyball, basketball, football, cheerleading and a conditioning camp called Sportsmetrics (a camp that deals with strengthening the core and muscle groups to help avoid injuries). “We had some dynamite coaches working with our kids from grades second through twelfth,” says Dave Keener, Athletic Director and Dean of Students.
Maranatha fosters the development of Christian values in our students, raising them up into people of integrity. So many of the coaches used a daily theme for their campers to incorporate character qualities into their camps. “The enthusiasm of the eager learners was encouraging to see,” Mr. Keener says.
This year, several guest instructors made special appearances during girls and boys basketball camps. “They were highly experienced players who had great testimonies of where God had taken them in the sport and how it changed their lives,” Mr. Keener says. “The kids enjoyed hearing those experiences.”
“I truly appreciate the coaches here at MCA, who are highly skilled in their sport and do an exceptional job at working to build their programs through the younger ages,” Mr. Keener says. “They planted many seeds this summer that we hope will bear fruit in the MCA sports programs for years to come.”
At Maranatha, timeless Christian values are the cornerstone of education — even our Elementary Robotics Program. “It’s wonderful to see the students work together to be successful and gain these important skills through the Robotics Program. This is what God calls us to do: to work together for the good of the world.”
Currently, Maranatha’s Elementary Robotics Club has eight robotics kits, and each kit has directions to build three robots. Students learn how to put the pieces together and how the mechanics bring the robots to life, operating them using game controllers.
Maranatha’s robotics program was made possible because of the generosity of education company Pitsco. The initial connection to Pitsco came through the daughter of a teacher and a fortuitous meeting during a Pittsburg State football game. The relationship grew when Chenaye Sutton, Elementary Assistant Principal, met a Pitsco leader at a conference. Pitsco generously donated eight Tetrix Prime robotics kits.
Elementary students can choose to participate in this enrichment co-curricular after school. This past spring, a dozen students worked in teams to accomplish their robotics goals. Every session begins in prayer, and then students share where they are in their process. Each team takes an independent approach and moves through their robotics building procedures at their own pace. While they work in teams, students practice their ability to share, take turns, communicate, collaborate and solve problems together.
The robots are capable of moving forwards and backwards and turning in either direction. Additional components enhance the robot’s capabilities, with attachments that allow the robot to lift things, place things or push other objects. After completing the first three builds as directed, the students have enough knowledge to be creative, and they move on to building robots with new functions.
The robotics club is part of MCA’s commitment to preparing students for their futures. Creative thinking and design is an important part of the skill set needed for the future, and robotics, programming and engineering activities set the stage for a future profession in these fields.”
Just like everything at Maranatha, faith is woven through every aspect of the robotics program. God created man in His image and so this creative ability is inherent in each of us. Everything that God created has a purpose, and in robotics, students have the opportunity to develop their minds in that way.
Please join all of us at Maranatha in introducing our new Head of School, Janet Fogh! Mrs. Fogh brings more than 20 years of Christian education experience to MCA and is eager to become part of the family. “I was looking for a Head of School position where I felt I could really help grow the school and make a difference, and I feel really blessed to be the new Head of School,” Mrs. Fogh says.
“From the time I initially spoke with the Board President, I felt like Maranatha was home,” Mrs. Fogh recalls. “When I came to interview on campus, I knew I was home. It’s a perfect fit.”
Mrs. Fogh looks forward to growing the already strong family atmosphere at MCA. “This is a passion of mine, and fostering a family atmosphere has been my goal in past leadership roles as well. I was looking for a school just like MCA that is excellent in academics and in its spiritual focus.”
Maranatha’s faith focus was truly important to Mrs. Fogh when she accepted the role. “This is certainly a Christ-filled atmosphere, and I really appreciate our team’s drive and desire to constantly improve and create the best environment we can. It’s clear that MCA is striving to guide students in faith and be that spiritual lighthouse.”
Mrs. Fogh is also excited to take MCA’s academic excellence to new heights. “I want to see MCA grow, expanding not only enrollment numbers but also our academic status so the school is at the pinnacle of Christian institutions. I know we can work together to make this happen.”
Ultimately, Mrs. Fogh is eager to build the MCA team and empower them to grow Maranatha students up into people of faith. “I want MCA to grow into a really strong team of people who are encouraged, equipped and ready to take on the next challenge. There is always room to grow and improve, and I feel humbled to work with such a team.”
While she recently relocated from California for this position, it is not Mrs. Fogh’s first time in Kansas. As part of a military family, she lived all over the world growing up and lived in Kansas twice. “I love Kansas, and this is an opportunity for me to return to a part of the world that once was home,” she says.
Mrs. Fogh and her late husband have two children: one daughter, who is also in education, and a son, who is an officer in the Army stationed in Georgia. She also looks forward to becoming a grandmother this fall. Outside of work, Mrs. Fogh enjoys bike riding, cooking, scrapbooking and camping, and is taking every chance she has to get to know Kansas City more.
“I am eager to get to know the Maranatha family, to be involved in students’ lives and build relationships,” she says. “So far, it has been a delight!”