This is the first of a two-part series introducing the newest members of our BCACS Family. To read part one, click here.
Scott Thurman, Battle Creek Area Catholic Schools Art Teacher
Scott Thurman struggled in school as a child but loved working with his hands.
After earning an associate’s degree in graphic art, Mr. Thurman pursued his bachelor’s degree in communications. A job at the Y-Center had him working with kids, which he enjoyed so much he decided to become a teacher.
“After getting my first teaching job, I decided to get my master’s degree in school counseling to help young children who struggled like I did,” Mr. Thurman said.
He worked for Athens Area Schools and Battle Creek Public Schools but had his eye on the Battle Creek Area Catholic Schools.
“A very good teacher friend and I had talked several times about ‘maybe’ someday me being the art teacher for BCACS and how wonderful it would be,” Mr. Thurman said. “When I retired, and this position came open, she [contacted] my wife. I felt that it was meant to be.”
Sarah Miller, St. Joseph Elementary and Middle School Physical Education and Health Teacher
Sarah Miller started her career in fitness. A few years in, she started thinking about her past teachers.
“[These teachers] were great mentors and influences,” Ms. Miller said. “I decided to switch gears slightly and go into education.”
It’s a course change that suits her well.
“I enjoy multiple aspects of teaching – when the students get excited about learning, when they challenge themselves when they succeed in something they were unsure about or working hard to improve upon, when I see them helping each other with confidence and kindness,” Ms. Miller said.
Ms. Miller, a BCACS alum, is excited to be “home”, not only as a teacher but as the parent of a BCACS preschooler.
“I appreciate the education I was given while attending BCACS, and I love how the Catholic faith is intertwined with standard curriculum,” Ms. Miller said. “It is a great “family” to be a part of.”
Blake Shaw, St. Joseph Middle School Social Studies Teacher
Blake Shaw enjoys working with young people, which is why he became a teacher.
Mr. Shaw’s early career had him on the student support side of education, working as a Lakeview Middle School graduation coach and a Westlake Elementary School behavioral interventionist.
“Working with a student to overcome a challenge and watching them succeed is my favorite part of being an educator,” Mr. Shaw said. “I enjoy building relationships with students and their families.”
Looking to make a change while staying in education, Mr. Shaw found a nice fit as the St. Joseph Middle School social studies teacher.
“I loved the tight-knit community feel of St. Joe,” Mr. Shaw said. “This is the place that my wife and I would like to send our children to school. I am most looking forward to getting to know the students and the families and having a very fun and successful school year.”
Angela Parshall, St. Joseph Elementary School Fourth Grade Teacher
Angela Parshall credits her high school chemistry teacher for her decision to be an educator.
“His enthusiasm and love of learning inspired me,” Ms. Parshall said.
Ms. Parshall has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education, a master’s degree in literacy instruction, and is currently working on her master’s degree in teaching English to speakers of other languages.
“My favorite part of teaching is being a part of young people’s lives and helping them in whatever ways I can to set them up for success in the future,” Ms. Parshall said.
Why is Ms. Parshall spending her 17th year of teaching at BCACS?
“I decided to come to the Battle Creek Area Catholic Schools because of the strong connections between the school, the families, and the church,” Ms. Parshall said. “I am looking forward to developing relationships with staff members, students, and families and being a part of this great school.”
Susie Labrecque, St. Joseph Elementary School Second Grade Teacher
Susie Labrecque was always drawn to children and life as an educator. Fortunately, she had family in the field.
“My aunt taught for thirty years, and I spent a great deal of time in her classroom,” Ms. Labrecque said. “I think she truly inspired me to enter the teaching field.”
This inspiration led to a 30-year career teaching at Battle Creek Public Schools.
“I love teaching all subjects,” Ms. Labrecque said. “Watching children flourish in all areas of study warms my heart. Witnessing students’ confidence and independence grow is truly inspiring.”
Mrs. Labrecque retired last August, but she wasn’t done with the classroom just yet.
“When I was approached about teaching at St. Joe, it just felt like the right thing to do,” Ms. Labrecque said. “I love the staff and all the precious children. Everyone has welcomed me with open arms, and I feel truly blessed to be here.”