7 December

 History is one of my favorite subjects.  I love looking in the past and seeing how civilizations rose to power and how they fell from this power.   I also love examining the scientific achievements that were discovered during their rise and how these advances helped them become great.  Looking historically, many civilizations become dominant because of an advance in weaponry, mobility, and defense.  This advance only last as long as the other side did not learn from that advancement. I believe that the major reason that these ancient civilizations fell from power is that the leaders eventually thought they were gods and could do whatever they felt like doing.

 Looking at the Bible, strictly as a historical book, you learn how since Cain killed Abel there has been violence in what is now the middle east.  How some of the ancient civilizations were descendants of the sons of Noah (Genesis 10).  How the rise of the Roman Empire and their greatly improved transit system provided a means for the Christian faith to be spread all over the known world.  I also enjoy studying:

  • · How even during the fall, God has a plan for the world?  Genesis 3:15, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”
  • · He has a purpose for us.  Proverbs 19:21, “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”
  • · He promises us a Savior.  Luke 1:31-33, “You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
  • · He promises to come again to take us to heaven. John 14: 1-3, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”

    Read more: 7 December Penning

30 November  

 “It’s the most wonderful time of the year, With the kids jingle belling, And everyone telling you be of good cheer, It’s the most wonderful time of the year.”

 I am sure you will hear this song repeatedly over the course of the next couple weeks until you can’t stand it. The song was written in 1963, and much of it still holds true today. There are parties that people attend, there will be mistletoe, holiday greetings, stories about previous Christmases with loved ones, and caroling. (Don’t forget, we will be caroling with Christ Lutheran on Saturday, December 9th at 2:00pm.) These things are still true 54 years after the song was written, but do they really make it the most wonderful time of the year?

 Sunday starts the season of Advent in the church calendar. Advent means “the arrival of a notable person, thing, or event. Over 2000 years ago, the magi and shepherds were preparing for a notable person as was King Herod, they were just for different reasons. Why were they looking forward to the arrival of this baby? They were looking forward to a Savior. One who would deliver them from captivity. Two-thousand years ago, these men did not yet know the Truth. Jesus was born to deliver ALL the world from death and the devil. So why do we continue to celebrate the season of Advent in the church? The reason is not only because of baby Jesus, but we also celebrate as we look forward to His second coming.

 John 14:1-4 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place I am going.”

Jesus is the Way and He tells us, “I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” The advent season is not just about the birth of Jesus, but also the excitement of the arrival of Jesus during the second coming. The peace that comes knowing He has a place prepared for all who have Him in their heart. The knowledge that salvation came through the birth of Jesus and the preparation of His return to take all believers to heaven is what truly makes this, the most wonderful time of the year!    

15 November  

 Over the existence of MLA, we have been blessed with multiple facilities that have allowed us to complete God’s work in nurturing students and families spiritually who have entered our doors.  We are currently blessed with enough classrooms to hold up to 7 classes, a designated computer lab/library, and an art room.  With additional students we have the option to convert the Library & art rooms into classrooms.  We have a cafeteria that can seat 75 people, and a top-notch gym that has an amazing basement that is used for storage and shelter in cases of emergency.  MLA has a playground the kids love to play on.  We will be adding basketball goals and other games in the parking lot. 

I remember the first time my whole family visited MLA.  My kids were playing on the playground and as I watched them, I was envisioning the need in the future for the area be converted into classrooms and thinking about other areas that could be used for playgrounds.  As I spoke with family members and longtime supporters shortly after, many of them voiced a similar vision and their thoughts on solutions to the challenges these changes would make.  

I pray that we continue to increase in our student population.  I shared last week about many of the key people that we have in place that will help with that growth.  As we gain students, I pray that we face the problem of where to fit all the classrooms and are faced with the possibility of expanding in a way that the students continue to have a place to learn and play safely.  My prayer is that the Lord will provide us with clear answers as to His will for us and how we are to proceed with the facilities that we have been blessed.

9 November

 Two years ago, enrollment growth was recognized by the NLSA Board as key.   The area needed to be improved, and they believed it was important enough to fill this unique position. MLA is blessed to have a very special person in this job.  The position is especially significant because there are many private schools that do not have this position nor an energetic, outgoing, do-anything-to-help person. Many of you have seen her at different functions, seen her in the morning or in the afternoon, and probably have received multiple texts from her.   Mrs. Martens is that person for MLA.  She was hired a little over two years ago as the Development/Admissions Director.  After two years of working for us, I believe she continues to be as fired up for MLA and her Lord as she was on day one.  She is continually working in the community so others will know about the gifts we have at MLA.  

 MLA is also blessed to have a dedicated staff that works hard to help every student succeed.  They work behind the scenes to help bring new students into the MLA family.  The staff helps the new families/students to feel welcome and grow academically and spiritually so they may face the challenges of the world.  These wonderful teachers play an important role of making sure the children are in a safe, academic atmosphere, and that they are excited about school daily.  

 MLA is blessed to have wonderful parents.  You play a huge role in the success of your child(ren) and MLA.  Your encouragement and prayers for the faculty, staff, leadership, and children are enormous.  Mrs. Martens and the staff have critical roles in the growth of MLA, but word of mouth is an even bigger component.  A personal invitation to a family to attend an MLA event literally opens the door for them to experience a small taste of what MLA has to offer.  A positive post on Facebook, GreatSchools, Google, and the many other digital media sources available provides others with positive feedback.  

 Thank you for being part of the MLA family, as well as, the present and future success that the Lord has in store for MLA.   

2 November  

I have thoroughly enjoyed observing our Martin Luther Academy teachers lead and teach the children they have been entrusted.  I have seen lessons where all students are engaged in what is being taught and are following along great.  I have observed students who are able to take initiative to start their task and complete it well.  The teachers have provided clear expectations for their students and work with them when this expectation is not met.  So why would I include academics in our strategic planning?  

As educators, we are always told to be lifelong learners.  We are constantly working to improve our craft, so we can best meet the needs of the students we teach.  We do an excellent job educating our students in grammar. I have heard multiple stories of our alumni's’ success in writing classes in high school and into college.  We recently implement a new reading curriculum that will help students to learn reading strategies that will help them to become stronger readers. At the upcoming Professional Church Workers Conference that we will attend in a couple of weeks, all the teachers signed up for a class on using various parts of the Google suite in the classroom. We will continue this study throughout the remainder of the year and will be working towards the students being able use these suites effectively on classroom assignments. We will be taking a long look at what concepts we want our students to learn over the course of the year and the best way to achieve this mastery. As with any profession, we are always trying to improve our craft.    

Read more: 2 November Penning


Before school started, I attended an Administrator's Workshop that spoke on discipleship.  Being new to MLA, I was curious, how successful are we at modeling discipleship for our students.  I surveyed the teachers, asking them to rank four statements from one to four and provide evidence if they rated high on the scale:

Our students love being a part of the body of Christ.

Our students feel and know the presence of God.

Our students know how to forgive.

Our students understand, can use, and share scripture.

 I was pleased with the responses given.  There were many 3 and 4 rankings with evidence from the teachers as to why they rated the statement that way.  There was evidence shared about the students’ enthusiasm during chapel, completing memory work, the daily opportunity to ask and forgive others, and much more.

 Moving forward at MLA, we desire to continue this spiritual growth.  We want to partner with you. “Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6. It is such a great opportunity for us to be able to work together with the children you have entrusted us to teach.   We are blessed to share with our children here and at home about the love of Christ, to worship together, and share the gift of prayer daily.  As the school year continues, we want to make sure that our faith continues to grow in Him both at home and at MLA.  

 Blessed to serve MLA and our Lord,

One project I started when I arrived at Martin Luther Academy was to develop a vision and direction for MLA.  I spent time meeting the Pastors, of the four congregations that support MLA, parents, constituents of MLA, board members, faculty and staff.  I asked them what they would like to see from MLA in the future and ways we can work together to achieve these areas discussed.

I have learned over the years that when leadership works together and communicates the vision, everyone will have better knowledge and understanding of the direction desired for MLA.  We are blessed to have a very broad range of constituents that have interest in the direction of MLA.  Throughout the conversations, there were several common areas that continued to arise.  These areas were/are: spiritual, academic, population, and facilities.  When this information is shared with different groups, it is explained that they are not areas that are being done poorly, but areas that we can improve.  Over the past week, parents of alumni have shared the successes their children are having in high school both academically and spiritually.  The areas being identified are just areas that we can grow, and that is a part of this vision.  MLA needs to continue to grow stronger in these areas as we move forward.

A couple of years ago, I attended a conference on marketing and branding.  The big take away for me was, know your niche.  It was interesting when I asked other principals what their niche was because they had a hard time identifying it.  As I worked through the development of a vision, I also wanted to find our niche.   I have been praying for an answer to identify why MLA is appealing to others.  I believe that God has put that answer before me through observing others around me.  I have discovered that MLA has a family oriented atmosphere.  The parents care for each other and our children, the congregations care for MLA, and the students care for each other.  Paul tells us in Romans 12:4-5, “For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.”  I am thankful that even though we are individuals we are one body in Christ, and that He guides and protects us daily.

Blessed to serve MLA and our Lord,  

Thinking back 8 years ago. . . Jessica and I were married about 2 years. We had each been called to Wisconsin about a year and a half earlier. We served the first cold, snowy winter either one of us had truly experienced. I was still in shock that the Lord would lead us to Wisconsin. As I am continuously reminded, God al-ways has a plan. It may not be easy and in this case, it was definitely not nearly the warm, sunny beach, some of us dream of living. In the Spring, eight years ago, the faculty and staff where I taught, learned that we were in need of taking a pay cut of about 30% for the remain-der of the year; otherwise, a few teachers would be out of a job for the rest of the year. Jessica and I cancelled our cable, adjusted our priori-ties, and even though things seemed tight, we saw that we lived comfortable, especially after knowing the cost of twins. Philippians 4:19 “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”

Last week, I shared that the Executive Council had been exploring ways to be good stewards of what the Lord has giving MLA. The council approved a Walkathon which was a great success, raising about $7,100 to be used towards a student information system and basket-ball goals for the parking lot. They have explored health insurance options, energy saving methods for the building, increasing enrollment and finding grants. The council is also exploring the tough decision of raising tuition. Tuition at MLA has remained the same for the past 8 years. It currently costs MLA about $8,100 to educate a single student. MLA is

Read more: 12 October Penning

                Martin Luther Academy is blessed through all the volunteers that work to build MLA.  Volunteers are visible on a regular basis: lunch, athletics, room parents, event organizers, etc.  There are also volunteers that are not always visible such as the Executive Committee (EC) and members of the Board of Delegates.  

The Executive Committee consist of LCMS church members from the four member congregations that support MLA.  The Executive Committee works with the principal concerning matters of policies, appoints committees as necessary, directs specific items of business, and examines the MLA budget.  The EC meets once a month to discuss these matters.  Currently, the Committee is exploring avenues to balance the yearly budget.  

The Board of Delegates consists of two lay (uncalled workers) delegates from each association member congregation and a pastoral delegate.  Delegates are entitled to one vote concerning major matters regarding Martin Luther Academy and are responsible for reporting information back to their congregations on the activities at Martin Luther Academy.  The Board of Delegates meet four times a year.

Read more: 5 October Penning

Being at Martin Luther Academy is great!  It is amazing to be part of a community that cares for each other like family.  I am able to see this more and more each day through many of the events listed below.

  • · We had great participation for our first TEAM (Together Everyone Achieves More) meeting last week.  TEAM’s next dinner fundraiser is Tuesday, October 10, at Panera.
  • · Thanks to everyone for making the 1st Annual MLA Walkathon a success.  The students walked over two miles and raised over $7,100.  The money will be used to purchase basketball goals and a student information system.  A special thank you to Julie Battista and her committee!
  • · We had a strong number of students that sang on Sunday at King of Kings Lutheran Church.   Mark your calendars for Sunday, November 12, when we sing at Holy Cross Lutheran.
  • · The Liberty Fall Festival was a great opportunity to partner with St. Stephen and share with visitors about MLA and St. Stephen Lutheran Church ministries.
  • · The students held their first Family Group activity on Tuesday.   Family groups are students from each grade mixed together so they can interact with each other.

    Read more: 28 September Penning

Yesterday, I had a surprise opportunity arise; I was able to lead chapel and speak on God’s timing. Every morning, I receive a bible verse of the day from Bible Gateway; I had not yet read it that morning before chapel.  I opened the email and started reading it to the students, knowing I was leaving this opportunity to the Holy Spirit.   “Be glad, O children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God, for he has given the early rain for your vindication; he has poured down for you abundant rain, the early and the latter rain, as before.” (Joel 2:23 ESV).  I was amazed at God’s timing and how fitting the verse was.  We had the rain showers Monday and Tuesday, and every time I come home there are more and more leaves on the ground.  This is a sure sign of Fall nearing.  How was God able to provide such a verse at such a time?  He’s God

Read more: 21 September Penning

 By Mr. Scott Dixon

14 September

      Pastor Rodriguez led chapel yesterday and based his message on Mark 4:35-41.  He had the children visualize being in the boat on the sea that was unexpectedly caught in a storm so strong, that professional fishermen feared for their lives.  ‘“And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”’ (Mark 4:38b).  This is another example to u show the disciples did not truly knew Jesus, but how the disciples truly needed Jesus.  

      We are no different today.  Jesus wants us to know Him.  We have the opportunity daily to grow in Him through prayer and the Word.  His Word offers us amazing peace.  At times, we have storms that come upon us unexpectedly and just like the disciples we ask, where is Jesus?  This is just one way that the devil sneaks into our lives.  We need Jesus today, like the disciples did 2,000 years ago.  Jesus is with us like He was with the disciples.  Jesus models what it means to have true peace even before the disciples woke Him and even after.  The peace that can only come from Him, ‘And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” (Mark 4:39).  As you face the storms of this world, call on Him and find His peace in all situations.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.  Hebrews 13:8

By Mr. Scott Dixon

7 September

 On Wednesday, Pastor Froiland led chapel and based part of his message on the 4th commandment.  Honor your father and your mother.  What does this mean?  We should fear and love God so that we do not despise or anger our parents and other authorities, but honor them, serve and obey them, love and cherish them.  Friday is Grandparents’ Day at MLA (and Sunday is National Grandparents’ Day).  It is a day filled with excitement and joy for both the grandparents and the kids. They get to spend quality time together and the students tour them around their school.  It’s a day that we “honor them, serve and obey them, love and cherish them.”  The children love having their grandparents/special person join them at school.

Read more: 7 Sept. Penning

31 August

Martin Luther Academy teachers attended Lutheran Educators’ Day.  During the morning, we had the opportunity to worship with surrounding Lutheran school teachers and learn about generational trends.  The presenter shared with us about generational trends and the differences between the generations.  Most of our children are Millennials or part of the Alpha generation.  These generations have known some sort of digital technology their entire life.  They are growing up with information just a few clicks away; their attention is kept for shorter amounts of time.  They do not have as much outside playtime and have many other differences.  Our children learn differently; and times are changing.  

Read more: 31 Aug. Penning

24 August

I love the word intentional.  It is a word I like to use when speaking about education.  I used it often when I was coaching sports and teaching.  It was one word that was used so the students would think about the motions and strategies were using.  I always want the students to think about what they are doing and why they are doing it.  Eventually, their intention become natural and they no longer have to think about it.  

Monday was the Solar Eclipse.  Calvary Lutheran School joined us on our campus for the viewing.  It rained when they arrive and when they left, but we were able to see most of the eclipse from beginning to totality!  It was dark enough that the lights in the parking lot turned on and the crickets started chirping.  It reminded me of God’s intentionality in creation.  Genesis 1:31 says: “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.”

Read more: 24 Aug. '17 Penning

Principal’s Pennings 
By Mr. Scott Dixon 31 August 
Martin Luther Academy teachers attended Lutheran Educators’ Day.  During the morning, we had the opportunity to worship with surrounding Lutheran school teachers and learn about generational trends.  The presenter shared with us about generational trends and the differences between the generations.  Most of our children are Millennials or part of the Alpha generation.  These generations have known some sort of digital technology their entire life.  They are growing up with information just a few clicks away; their attention is kept for shorter amounts of time.  They do not have as much outside playtime and have many other differences.  Our children learn differently; and times are changing.   
This workshop fit perfectly with our school theme this year.  Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever from Hebrews 13:8.  He is never changing.  That is a difficult concept for us to understand in an age where there is instant change.  As you read through the Bible, remember the Word was passed down through oral history and written over the course of four thousand years.  One thing that you will find is that even though it was written over many years, by many different authors and in many different books, the truth remains the same.  We were promised a Savior at the fall of man, and the prophets prophesied about Him even when the people did “evil in the eyes of the Lord.”  Jesus Christ is the Savior that was promised for thousands of years.  The promise has not change for us.  He remains our Savior today and will be the Savior for our children’s children.   

16 May

This being my last Principal’s Pennings for MLA, I must thank everyone for such a wonderful “retirement” experience. I don’t know how many times you sit back and reflect on the many blessings you have at MLA, but they are too numerous to mention. What a wonderful faculty we have. You probably have no idea how many “extras” they do behind the scene, making sure the educational experience your child has is to the best of our ability. Thank them often. They deserve it!

I have been so blessed to be able to work with all of you at MLA. It will be hard to leave, as I’ve made so many new friends. And the kids! They are all so very special to me. But now it is time to turn over the baton to Mr. Dixon. He will be arriving late June and is so excited to begin his school ministry at MLA. I have met both Mr. and Mrs. Dixon and their twin five year olds. They are so ready to be an integral part of the MLA family!

Read more: 16 May Penning

9 May

This was recently sent to me:


ONE: Don’t miss the boat!

TWO: Remember that we are all on the same boat!

THREE: Plan ahead. It wasn’t raining when Noah started building the boat!

FOUR: Stay fit. When you are 60 years old, someone may ask you to do something really big!

FIVE: Don’t listen to critics. Just get on with the job that needs to be done.

SIX: Build your future on high ground.

Read more: 9 May Penning

 As we celebrate our teachers this week, the following Acrostic

Poem seems appropriate!  




Academy is blessed to have


Read more: 2 May Penning

18 April

I grew up on a farm, so I understood the commercial well. It was a commercial for medicine for baby pigs. As the farmer held the piglet, he said, “A baby pig’s life is like a three legged stool – all he has is you, his mammy, and Terramyacin!” I think a child’s life is also like a three-legged stool – all he has is 1) you (the Christian home), 2) his church, and 3) his school. Each one of these provides an essential part of the child’s growth and development. Focusing on the Christian home, we see that Christian homes provide such necessities as:

Security based on God’s love. One can have peace only when he/she realizes that God is in charge. That’s a huge relief! Not everything depends on us as parents. You know how much you love your children. God is able to love even more. THAT is security.

The Christian home provides moral values, the proper guide for right and wrong. We as a school, support you in the teaching of values through the Bible and Ten Commandments.

Read more: 18 April Penning

Come By and Visit!

We are located at the corner of 72nd Street and Overland Drive in the Northland

To schedule your tour, call Lisa Martens at 816-734-1060.


7112 N Overland Drive


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