GSAA Welcomes New Principal and Staff

September 09, 2015 | Eve Rusk

Gem State Adventist Academy (GSAA) has welcomed a new principal and other staff.

Marvin E. Thorman accepted the invitation from the GSAA operating board and the Idaho Conference to serve as the academy's next principal. He brings a rich experience of 33 years of teaching and has been supervised several student teachers for the past nine years through the education program at Southern Adventist University (SAU). With 20 years as a leader in the academy Senior Survival experience and a strong desire to nurture teachers and students, Thorman is uniquely suited to lead GSAA into deeper spiritual and academic ministry to God’s teens. He says ministry gives him purpose and fulfillment.

Thorman's wife, Lisa, is a musician with a master's in piano performance and enjoys teaching piano.

Glen Wahlman comes to GSAA from Bakersfield Adventist Academy in California to lead the science program. He has a Master of Science in education from SAU and graduated from Pacific Union College with a Bachelor of Science in biology. He is certified to teach biology and chemistry. Wahlman brings 17 years of teaching experience in sciences and has also taught anatomy and physiology for six years. He enjoys using animals and plants to bring life to his classes.

Wahlman also uses art and new technology in the classroom to help his students succeed. He is mission-minded, having spent more than five years in Russia and the Marshall Islands. He truly enjoys teaching in the natural sciences and exploring the wonders of God’s creation.

Born and raised in the sunniest state on the map, Florida native Cecilia Simmons comes to GSAA by way of Tennessee. Simmons firmly believes in God’s leading in her life even when that leading means traveling out west and living far away from her twin sister. She believes Idaho is right where God wants her to be.

A recent graduate of SAU, Simmons comes to GSAA with teaching certifications in music and German. In addition to completing her necessary studies at SAU, Simmons also spent a year abroad studying German in Austria. An accomplished flutist, Simmon has a love of music surpassed only by her love for God. Her greatest desire is to use music as a medium to reach the hearts of her students for Christ. Simmons seeks to be a mentor wherever she goes and has worked with the First Year Experience staff at SAU as a freshman mentor for three years. She brings her love of the outdoors and her own unique brand of enthusiasm to the GSAA music department.

Tom Sherwood, the GSAA gardens manager, was born and raised in west-central Minnesota. Sherwood met his wife, Doreen, a farmer’s daughter, in the farming community of Wheaton, Minn., and together they decided to move west to Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho. On June 2, 1979, Tom and Doreen were baptized and became Seventh-day Adventists.

Tom Sherwood began his teaching career in the Nevada-Utah Conference and has taught in Upper Columbia and Idaho conferences. While in Pasco, Wash., his love for gardening took root and blossomed. Sherwood says, “Educating young adults for service to God and country and growing delicious organic vegetables are two primary goals here at the GSAA gardens. Together with your prayers and support, we can accomplish much to advance the kingdom of God.”