Midland Adventist Academy

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Staff Dedication

Midland's staff were dedicated for the new school year on Sabbath, August 22, 2009. The church service at Chapel Oaks SDA Church was specifically designed to feature and recognize our Midland teachers and their strong dedication in presenting the love of Jesus to their students. The sermon was presented by Elder Ron Carlson, president of the Kansas-Nebraska Conference.

A Teacher Commissioning Service was added to the program this year, providing special recognition to five Midland teachers and educators who have given much of their life to teaching Adventist young people.

During this service, five current and former Midland staff were recognized for their excellence and dedication to Christian education. They were commissioned to continue their work in teaching young people about Jesus.

left to right:
Elder Ron Carlson, Gary Kruger, Marilyn Murphy, Dan Perry, Trudy Hoffman, Keith Vollmer, John Kriegelstein 

Click on a link to read the individual tributes:

Gary Peter Kruger
Trudy J. Hoffman
Marilyn J. Murphy
Daniel Abraham Perry
Keith W. Vollmer


Gary Peter Kruger’s first teaching job was at Rusangu Mission in the African nation of Zambia. Since that first experience, he has taught Bible classes at Midland Adventist Academy, worked as an IT specialist for Shawnee Mission Medical Center, served as Midland’s principal for six years (the longest tenure in school history), and is now the Educational Superintendent for the Kansas-Nebraska Conference.
     Born and raised in South Africa, Mr. Kruger attended Helderberg College, graduating in 1975 with a Bachelors degree in Theology. During his time at Helderberg, Gary says that he was greatly influenced by Smuts van Rooyen. “He introduced me to a Savior I can love. I’m a Christian teacher today because of his influence.” After three years of teaching Bible classes on a mission station, Mr. Kruger moved to the United States and earned a Masters degree from Andrews University in Curriculum, Instruction, and Supervision.
     After receiving his Masters, Gary moved to Kansas City with his wife Davona and new son Jonathan. He taught Bible classes at Midland for four years, and during this time, he and Davona added a second son Andrew to their family. Gary changed careers in 1984, switching to an IT environment as an employee of Shawnee Mission Medical Center. While working for the hospital, Gary received many awards, including Employee of the Month in 1993, Employee of the Year in 1994, and an Outstanding Associate award in 1999.
     But his love of education remained strong, and when Midland’s board asked him to return as principal in 2002, he agreed. Mr. Kruger served in this position until 2008, when the Kansas-Nebraska Conference asked him to take on the position of Educational Superintendent. In this new role, Gary says that “instead of teaching, I now attempt to support our teachers as THEY minister to our students.”
     Mr. Kruger says that “although academics is important, our primary aim is to introduce our students to Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. He is the core, the very center of education. We teach primarily by the way we live our lives. And nothing is more effective than modeling what we teach.”
     Thank you, Gary, for teaching and guiding not only our students, but those who teach our students in the conference. We know that your future reward will be great, and well-deserved.

     Trudy Hoffman began her personal journey to excellence 28 years ago in Canada’s Ontario Conference as a 4th grade teacher. Since then, she has had the pleasure of teaching children (and their parents) at Cedarvale Jr. Academy, Helen Hyatt Elementary, Holland SDA School, Spring Valley Academy, and of course, Midland Adventist Academy. Besides teaching grades 4-7, she has also served as Elementary Vice-Principal and is currently the Principal at Midland.
     Mrs. Hoffman says that teaching began early in life for her; she remembers lining up her dolls for school and then creating math worksheets for them to work on. Her interest in education never waned, and she graduated from Union College in 1974 with a Bachelors degree in Elementary Education. While at Union, Dr. Virginia Simmons and Dr. Verle Ward encouraged and influenced Trudy by their example to become a true Christian teacher.
     After a dozen years in the classroom, Mrs. Hoffman took a short break and earned her Masters degree in Curriculum & Instruction from Loma Linda University. With her newly minted sheepskin in hand, Trudy and her family (husband Brad, daughter Carissa, and son Kyle) returned to the Kansas-Nebraska Conference where she taught for nine years at Midland. During this time, Mrs. Hoffman received the prestigious Zapara Award for Teaching Excellence, was named Teacher of the Year at Midland in 1994, and was also nominated for Kansas Teacher of the Year. In 1993, she and Brad welcomed son Collin into the family circle.
     After a short stay in Ohio, Mrs. Hoffman proved Thomas Wolfe wrong and showed that you CAN go home again. She returned to Midland as our 5th & 6th grade teacher, and is now in her 12th year of service to Midland and the Kansas City community.
     Mrs. Hoffman believes that the greatest ministry she has is to “point her students to Jesus every day, and to challenge them to seek a daily relationship with Him.” She is well known for asking students, “Have you had your quiet time with Jesus?” and for being genuinely interested in their answer.  She says, “I feel the most important contribution that I make to my student’s spiritual growth is in leading them to have a daily personal devotional life. I can change them for a few moments, but Jesus can change their heart for eternity.”
     Her philosophy of education rests on a quotation from the book Education, which reads, “It is the work of true education to develop this power, to train young people to be thinkers and not mere reflectors of other people’s thoughts.” As a result, Mrs. Hoffman believes that a true teacher will provide their students “with a Christ-centered education that prepares them for service on this earth, and prepares their hearts for heaven.”
     Thank you, Trudy, for your many years of service in Adventist Education; there will surely be many stars in your crown on that great day to come. 
     With 17 years of teaching in her career, Marilyn Murphy has a wide range of experiences to draw from in the classroom. Starting as a teacher at Lollypop Form Preschool, she has taught kindergarten in Topeka, 5th & 6th at Minnetonka Christian Academy, and 1st grade and kindergarten at Midland Adventist Academy. She currently teaches the 3rd & 4th grade classroom at Midland.
     Marilyn studied  the ins and outs of teacherhood at Wichita State University, where she earned a Bachelors degree in Elementary Education. Obviously a good student, she took additional classes at Emporia State, Union College, Hamilton University, and K-State. In 2003, Mrs. Murphy completed her Masters of Education at Kansas University with an emphasis in Learning Disabilities.
     Mrs. Murphy says that her mother strongly influenced her to become a teacher.  “My mother is a caring, loving person. She was a natural with children, and I had a good role model.” Marilyn also took her duties as a mother seriously, taking a seven-year break from “school” teaching while her three children (Sam, Rachel, and Mary Jo) were growing up.  A strong interest in education seems to run in the Murphy family; Mrs. Murphy’s husband Greg is also an elementary teacher.
     Mrs. Murphy tries to connect one-on-one with each of her students. “They know that I care about them and don’t want them to fail in any area; spiritually, socially, or academically. If they have problems, I will be there for them. I try to model God’s love to my students by loving and caring for them in all situations; to show that God loves them no matter what they do.”
     As a Christian educator, Marilyn believes that students need to be well-rounded and achieve their goals in many areas. She feels that “my calling is to educate the students so they will be a success in academic areas and also to have Jesus as their best friend. I help my students learn that Jesus gave up everything for us, and nothing they will ever do could make Him love them any less than He does at this moment.” And that’s an important lesson for all of us to remember.
     Mrs. Murphy, we appreciate your many years of love and caring as you have taught our children. God has richly blessed your efforts and will surely continue to do so in the future.

     Dan Perry has spent almost 30 years teaching middle school students how to know Jesus in a more personal way. He started his full-time teaching career at Miramonte SDA School in California, and has also taught at Sierra View Jr. Academy, West Valley SDA School, Hollister SDA Christian School (where he also served as Principal), Los Banos SDA School, and Midland Adventist Academy. Currently teaching 7th & 8th grade for Midland, Mr. Perry also fills the role of Vice-Principal for Elementary.
     Dan says his decision to be a teacher began when he was a child. The good example of several of his elementary teachers encouraged this dream, and after receiving a degree in History from San José State, he earned his Professional Teaching Certificate at Pacific Union College in 1985.
     In that same year, Dan and his wife Carolyn welcomed their first child, Christopher, into the family. Over the next nine years, the Perrys added three more children to their home; Loren, Rebecca, and Annelise, who is currently attending Midland.
     Mr. Perry says that “the best way anyone can minister to their students is by example. Consistency in how I live my Christian life and run my classroom is one of the greatest contributions I can make to the spiritual growth of my students.” He went on to explain, “I try to model grace when I let my students know that each day begins with a clean slate; that my goal is to look beyond their exterior to see the deep, inner person that they really are.”
     Since he has chosen to work in a Christian school environment, Dan strives to partner with the home and the church to develop his students as servants for Jesus. “Their salvation is preeminent in our partnership,” he declares. “I try to listen to my students and give them helpful advice. I trust that the encouragement I give them will help them build a greater hope for the future.”
     Mr. Perry, we know that teachers have a special place in God’s heart, and we thank you deeply from our hearts as well. You have touched many lives over the years, and we pray that you will continue to do so, with God’s blessing.

     Keith Vollmer and Midland Adventist Academy have been linked, well, not for eternity, but pretty close to that. Mr. Vollmer has given his entire career of 38 years to Midland, and has been one of the pillars of Kansas City education during these last four decades. More than 500 students have been blessed by his teaching skills, and he is now teaching children of his former students.
     Keith initially attended Union College, then completed a Bachelors degree in History at Northern State Teachers College. After graduation, he and his wife Becky moved to Kansas City where he took a teaching position at Midland Adventist School. He has also taken professional certification classes at a variety of colleges, continuing to improve his teaching skills on a regular basis. In 1996, Mr. Vollmer’s teaching abilities were recognized when he received the Zapara Award for Teaching Excellence in education.
     Mr. Vollmer’s mother laid the groundwork for his teaching career in an Adventist school environment. “My mother was a Christian teacher in the public school system. She loved her students but could not share her great love of the Lord with them. I wanted to be like her, but also wanted to be able to share the Lord with my students.”
     Mr. Vollmer daily reaches out to his students to draw them closer to God. “It is my desire,” he says, “to share with them and show that whatever comes your way in life, God is there with you. He has the answers before we even know the questions! I try to share God’s leading in my life, and display a life of Christian service and love for my students.”
     When asked to describe his ideas on Christian education, Keith is very clear. “Scripture does not teach that our Lord was just interested in the souls of individuals, but in each one as a total person. Christian schools should develop the total child; socially, mentally, physically, and spiritually. Once the student sees Christ as the creator of our universe, he is then open to the Lord as a Savior who loved, lived, and died for each one of us.”
     Keith has been happily married to his wife Becky for 40 years; they have two children, Tracy and Adam, and four grandchildren. Paige and Aidan both attend Midland, while Peyton and Rowan are waiting in the wings.
     Mr. Vollmer, you truly represent Christian dedication to your students and the community. You have given your entire life to Midland, and there will be many students in heaven because of your selfless direction and love for them.