Grants Pass Adventist School Welcomes New Staff

October 25, 2016 | Jennifer Burkes

The Grants Pass Adventist School (GPAS) began the school year on Aug. 24 with an official designation as a junior academy. The school celebrates more than 100 years of service in 2016 and once again offers Christian education for kindergarten through 10th grade.

There was much excitement as students arrived to a building lovingly updated with fresh paint and artwork. In addition, the school has a new principal/teacher, ninth- and 10th-grade homeroom teacher, and music instructor.

Richard Rasmussen, GPAS principal, comes to Grants Pass from Lewiston, Idaho, where he served as principal of Beacon Christian School for 13 years. He graduated from La Sierra University in California with a degree in history and political science. He is the recipient of the Zapara Excellence in Teaching Award, the Don Keele Excellence in Education Award and the Alma McKibbin Sabbatical Award.

In addition to being principal, Rasmussen teaches ninth- and 10th-grade history. He also instructs art, Bible, language arts, keyboarding, physical education and social studies for the seventh- and eighth-grade students. He brings many years of educational experience in Adventist schools. He is passionate about Christian education and loves to incorporate hands-on projects and technology-based learning into the classroom.

When Phil Engelman and his wife, Kathy, moved to Oregon from Ohio, they traveled the Old Oregon Trail. They visited all the important forts and landmarks along the way, journaling the entire adventure for friends and family, including their three children and eight grandchildren.

Phil Engelman says Adventist education “is about preparing for eternity as well as a life of service here on Earth. Jesus is the focus of everything we do.” He is the ninth- and 10th-grade homeroom teacher, as well as instructor of Bible, physical science, geometry, health, practical arts and physical education. He also teaches math and science for the seventh and eighth grades. In particular, math, science (especially biology) and history are favorite subjects.

Cathe Morse is excited to be teaching all music classes at GPAS. This includes choir, band and handbells, along with instrument lessons. Adventist education is important because, she says, “I can encourage my students to use their talents to bless others and bring glory to God, and I can talk about the specialness of the Sabbath. Being an Adventist educator is a wonderful way to work with the Lord to teach, mentor and encourage the next generation of God’s workers.”

Her favorite subject is, of course, music, but she is also passionate about math and science. In fact, she says, “If I were not teaching music, I would be a math teacher.” She taught at Rogue Valley Adventist School in Medford from 2004 to 2009 and then at Rogue Valley Adventist Academy 2014–2016.

Sheryl Shewmake, a long-time teacher at the school, leads the second- through fourth-grade class. Amy Whitchurch returns as teacher of the fifth- and sixth-grade class. The entire staff, as well as many volunteers, are committed to providing quality education and showing the love of Jesus.