One of ICSV’s goals in our Strategic Vision is to build up our faculty and staff by “fostering a culture of continual improvement.” We have been working hard to develop a strong professional development program that provides in-house professional development, makes available conferences and seminars, and allows individuals to take additional university courses or to receive training in their area of expertise. On April 11, the entire ICSV faculty and administration travelled to Prague in order to spend three days at the ACSI Teacher Conference. This was a time of professional growth and networking with other Christian educators from around the world. Three of our teachers, Christine Sipos, Greg Brobst, and Joel Alba, had the opportunity to present sessions on using technology in the classroom and how to roll out a BYOD program.
Today, 49% of our teaching staff hold advanced degrees, and we are excited to share that we have several staff members who are enrolled in or have recently completed masters and doctoral programs. Mrs. Barbara Dax received her Masters of Science in Information and Library Studies (with distinction) from Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, Scotland. She was awarded the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (UK Library Association) Award for having the highest grades in her field of study. Miss Devan Mizzoni has just completed her Master’s degree. Devan says that she has always wanted to pursue a Master’s degree in International Development and was pleased when she had the opportunity to do so here at Uni Wien. Miss Mizzoni attends church at New City Wien.
The desire to use one’s God-given gifts is not limited to the ICSV staff. Board member, Anna Gryskiewicz, recently defended her doctoral dissertation at Southeastern University, earning her Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership. Her husband, Tony, is also a doctoral student, studying at Biola University. Dr. Gryskiewicz says that it was a middle school teacher who believed in her and encouraged her to “dream big!” Today she is passionate about teaching, especially those who experience learning challenges. She also loves training and equipping young people to fulfill their God-given calling. She and her husband serve on the pastoral team at Vienna Christian Center as youth pastors.
We extend our congratulations to Dr. Gryskiewicz, Mrs. Dax, and Miss Mizzoni for showing grit and grace through the education process and for glorifying God with the lovely minds that God has given to them. We extend our thanks to Miss Sipos, Mr. Brobst, and Mr. Alba for sharing their knowledge and experience with other Christian educators from around the globe. Part of my personal vision for ICSV is that we will become a leader among the international Christian schools. I believe that it is our responsibility to bless others as God has blessed us here in Vienna. Our staff members are doing this very thing.
Because of His Faithfulness,
Sharon Brobst, Ed.D.
And I am free to run,
I am free to dance,
I am free to live for You,
I am free, I am free!
Last night I got to run around the MP with everyone who came out for Praise Night. Teachers and students and parents and the SEW team all ran around singing “I am free!” I laughed because Mr. and Mrs. Loucks were out there running with the kids, too. I told them that I thought we could check off “running with the bulls” from our bucket list.
What was all the running and dancing and singing about? There are many verses in the Bible that talk about being free. The Apostle John simply says, “So if the Son (Jesus) sets you free, you will be free indeed.” The Apostle Paul reminded the Romans that they have been set free from sin, with the result being eternal life. He again writes, this time to those living in Galatia, that they were called to be free, but that they were given that freedom so that they could serve one another in love.
I have a quote hanging on my wall that says, “Christians are, indeed, free. Free to serve, free to love our neighbors and enemies alike. We are free ‘to follow the Lamb wherever He goes,’ even if it means giving up our earthly freedoms in the process.” This is a daily reminder to me that I have been freed from the penalty of sin because of Jesus’ sacrifice for me on the cross. This freedom was shown to me because of God’s grace, completely unmerited on my part. Because of this, I am to extend that grace to others by freely loving and serving them.
If you walked through the MP Room this week you would have heard the elementary students making the funniest noises and singing the craziest songs. Jerry and Michaela Jacoby come to ICSV every two years to run a Spiritual Emphasis Week with our kids. They have been traveling around the world for their entire career using song, Bible characters, sock chickens named Elmer and Popcorn, and jokes to teach Christian character and biblical principles. Something that Jerry pointed out was how the children would cheer when others were chosen to go up on stage. He remarked about how unselfish that was. Well, on Thursday as the children were leaving chapel, one boy tripped and fell as they raced to get downstairs. Instead of taking advantage of that and running on ahead, his friend stopped and asked him if he was okay, and then they proceeded to go down the stairs together. This is grace. This is using one’s freedom not for personal benefit but by looking out for the needs of others before our own. I couldn’t help but smile seeing our elementary students demonstrating this profound truth at such a young age.
Next week is a three-day week for students, as our entire teaching staff is traveling together to Prague for the ACSI Teacher Conference. This will be a time of encouragement and refreshment for the faculty, but also a time of growth and challenge. As soon as we return, we will be heading into Holy Week, the week between Palm Sunday and Easter when Christians remember how Jesus willingly gave up His freedom to take upon Himself the sin of the whole world. I wish you all a most blessed Easter as we can say:
Through You the kingdom comes
Through You the battle’s won
Through You the price is paid
Through You I’m not afraid
Through You there’s victory
Because of You my soul sings
I am free!
Because of His Faithfulness,
Sharon Brobst, Director