The beginning of the 2012-2013 school year marked a year of significant changes at Community Christian School, but among those changes is a familiar face who has been with the school for many years.
Margaret Shields, who was named dean of students at the school in late July, has been with CCS since its beginning in 1978.
"I've been with Community Christian since the beginning," said Shields. "I was part of the church when they were thinking about housing a Christian school here and it's fun to be able to look back and see the history of it."
Margaret Shields looks through a 2012 Community Christian School yearbook in her office recently. On the table is a yearbook from 1978, the year the school was founded. Shields, who has been with CCS since its inception, was named dean of students at the school in July.
Shields began her tenure at CCS as a preschool and kindergarten teacher.
"That was when we had half-day of kindergarten and half-day preschool," she said. "I've been a part of it ever since. Even when my own kids were young, I was still working behind the scenes."
Shields has taught several grade levels at the school, most recently serving as the first and second grade teacher in a combined classroom. The promotion to dean of students is not what she had expected just a few months ago.
"When school was out last year, I didn't have in mind that I would become dean of students," said Shields. "We experienced a summer of transition at school, and after lots of prayer and counsel, decided this is the position I was supposed to be in this year."
With her new position also came the challenge of filling other positions.
"It was hard to give up a class," she said. "But I knew someone else could take over. We also needed to find a preschool teacher and a food services director."
As dean of students, Shields helps oversee the day to day operations of the school, and will handle administrative duties until a new administrator can be brought on board.
"We're trying a new approach to the administrator position," said Shields. "I'm doing a lot of what an administrator does with handling reports and submitting things to the state. The AEA is helping us out while we look for a licensed administrator who can come to the school a few times a month."
Shields has dedicated much of her life to education, teaching children both in and out of the classroom.
"I've always enjoyed education; always known it was where I am supposed to be," she said. "I love to see kids learn. I've spent summers tutoring kids of all different ages. Helping them learn has been on my heart for years."
Shields said she appreciates the values and environment being in a Christian school offers.
"We've been around for 35 years and our mission hasn't changed," she said. "We started with the idea that we would be a community school for all denominations. We have 17 churches represented this year and our goal is that every Christian can come here and not be taught a doctrine that is specific to any one church. We're working together for the cause of Christ; we're all on the same team and that is what makes CCS such a great place."
Shields said she plans to serve CCS for years to come in whatever capacity it may be.
"Education is my life," she said. "It's where God called me to be."