The Man on an Early Ed Journey: Mr. Richter

by Journalism student Jasmine T.

Mr. Richter, a first-year Pre-K teacher at New Life Academy, has been on a long educational journey throughout his life, in which he allowed God to breathe into his life and influence big career decisions. 

Mr. Richter was not originally planning to be a teacher and got a degree from Northwestern in Marriage and Family Psychology. He said, “When I graduated high school, I never thought I’d go into teaching, but it’s just something where every other path I’ve ever gone towards has led back to education, and anytime I walk away and go do something else, God just leads me back.” 

Another reason Mr. Richter began his journey of being a teacher was because of his mother’s influence. He said, “My mother was a teacher, and I got to see her loving her job as an educator growing up, which gave me a positive perspective of teaching. She definitely encouraged this career path for me!” 

Since Mr. Richter began his journey as a teacher many years ago, he has gained lots of experience, training, and qualifications that prepared and now assist him in his work. Recently, Mr. Richter graduated from Grand Canyon University’s online program, with a master’s degree in Early Childhood Education. 

Mr. Richter has a lot of teaching experience and is highly qualified to teach. Prior to coming to NLA, he taught at Lake Erie Discovery Center, a Preschool. After teaching there for several years, he began to notice that he was lacking opportunities to grow as an educator. He shared, “I felt like I had reached the end of the line as to where I could go as far as growth and moving forward as a teacher. So, I started exploring New Life!” 

He was familiar with New Life Academy because of connections he had with parents who had or currently have kids at NLA. “I looked at the website and saw an Early Ed opening, and thought, why not apply? Just see what happens!” explained Mr. Richter. 

Shortly after Mr. Richter applied, he interviewed with NLA’s Early Education Director and a team of staff to be considered for the available Pre-K teacher position. 

Mrs. DeBoer, the Early Ed Director and leader of the Early Ed hiring team at NLA said, “Right off the bat we just felt like he naturally loves kids, and you can tell he is very passionate about education and just enhancing the experience of New Life.” She continued to explain that the whole team appreciated his love for Jesus, his appreciation of New Life’s values, and his love for kids, and they knew he would be a great addition to the staff. 

The team unanimously voted to hire him for the open position. Mr. Richter said, “It was one of those situations where it just felt right for all of us.” 

It’s very exciting watching students’ growth over the year! When they started out at one level in August, and then by the end of the year you see so much improvement. That’s the fun part for me, just watching the change and growth and what they experience while learning a lot!

Mr. Richter, Pre-K Teacher

Mr. Richter is loved already by his students, fellow staff, NLA families, and teachers. As NLA’s only male currently on the Early Ed team, he does an amazing job relating, teaching, and guiding his students towards growth. 

Early Ed gym teacher, Star Lilly, said, “I think it’s really cool to have a male Pre-K teacher as a father figure to some students. Not only is he great with little kids, but he intentionally points them to Jesus with his actions. The kids really seem to enjoy him and love having him as a teacher!”

Mr. Richter uses his extensive training and applies it in the classroom. He tries to engage in instruction to his students and gives them opportunities to grow both spiritually and academically. 

Biblical values are implemented in class daily by going over a Bible verse and discussing how to live like a Christian. Richter says, “I try to make every student know that they are known, loved, and valued. I try to acknowledge that every student is unique, and then love them, and point out their strengths. Overall being present with them is key.”