Principal absorbing the culture
NORTHROP – Paul Steinhaus doesn’t have to start his job as principal, volleyball coach, and biology and religion teacher at Martin Luther High School until July 1, but the Wisconsin native has jumped into the job with both feet weeks ahead of schedule.
The school had been operating with interim principals for the past year.
Steinhaus, his wife, Lynn, and their three daughters moved to the area from Green Bay, and Paul immediately went to work preparing for next school year.
He is spending his time “absorbing the culture,” learning how schools, parents and students interact in the school and community.
He has been meeting teachers, students, parents and others, soaking in all he can learn.
“The job is really wrapped up in personal relationships,” he said. “Ultimately, education is the responsibility of the parents and they have choices,” like public, parochial or home school.
“Our business is helping parents train up kids to the next level, and for us that is academic and spiritual.”
Steinhaus knows students are getting well-educated academically – this year’s graduating class had an average ACT score of 26.6. The national average score for the college prep test is 21.1. But Steinhaus believes the spiritual side of student education needs to permeate their lives.
On a white board hanging behind his desk the words “Eternal Investment” and “Matt 6:20-21” are written. It is a reminder to him about what his job is about, and what he wants students to learn.
The verse is:?”Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
“We want to help families do that with their kids,” Steinhaus said. “Lutheran schools are youth ministries.”
But this career wasn’t always what Steinhaus had in mind.
His original college degree is in exercise physiology, but after graduating and not finding much work, he began to think about teaching.
His eyes light up when talking about the opportunity to teach biology in a Christian school.
“A lot of Christian schools don’t teach evolution at all,” he said. “Some just do overviews of the ideas.”
Students at Martin Luther learn about evolution and about creationism in depth, allowing students to compare and contrast them. Students are asked to determine which theory fits with reality.
Steinhaus has put together his creation curriculum on his own, using resources from research groups such as the Institute for Creation Research and Answers in Genesis.
He believes students should be surrounded by religious teaching, as is instructed in Deuteronomy 6:4-9:?”These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”
Steinhaus wants to hear that families are discussing what students are learning at home.
“Teaching kids [about God] is a 24/7/365 job,” Steinhaus said.
He believes the different academic disciplines act in a similar way to the many languages people praised God with during Pentecost.
“We all speak a different language here,” he said. “There is a language for teaching math, history, science. … Jesus speaks to us through them.”
Personally, Steinhaus looks to verse 1 Corinthians 9 for inspiration, which he summarizes as: “We will do our best and be deliberate with what we are doing.”