From Teacher to Principal Making a Difference in Colombia
Sarah Trussell’s ’16 (School of Education) journey to becoming elementary principal of a PK-12 school in Colombia began with a passion to do mission work abroad. After working in a school in Africa, she found an opportunity to fulfill her dream of working in a Spanish-speaking country, Colombia. As a pre-K teacher, she’s been preparing for an administrative role, and with her education from Regent University’s School of Education, she will start her new job at the beginning of the school year.
“I’ve always been more inclined toward administrative things,” said Trussell. “I’m very organized, and the current elementary principal and I really got along well. Two years ago, they asked if I’d be interested in moving into administration, so I prayed about it a lot. We weren’t sure how long we were going to stay, but they said if I could get a degree, I could be trained into administration at the school.”
Trussell’s school, El Camino Academy, is a Christian, English language immersion school. It combines North American and Colombian culture and offers dual diplomas. As principal, she needs to ensure that the school meets requirements from North America and Colombia. She looks forward to bringing a different skill set and teaching background to her team of administrators. Her Regent education equipped her to influence faith and learning integration in her school’s classrooms.
“It’s a challenge because there are no evangelical (or Protestant) Christian universities in Colombia,” said Trussell. “For our Colombian staff, having a Christian worldview and knowing how to integrate that, that’s not included in any of their training. The North Americans come from a variety of backgrounds, and some of them have come from Christian universities, but some come from a very secular view. It can take a while for teachers to find a way to integrate faith authentically while teaching their subjects.”
Trussell says the Church is thriving in Colombia, and her school’s mission is to disciple students. The plan is to work with students and others to develop the gifts God has given them to become leaders who make an impact on Bogota, Colombia, and around the world. She says her school administration program showed her how to develop a team, budget, program curriculum, and integrate a biblical worldview.
“I really enjoyed the online learning, because it allowed me to connect with teachers from all over the world,” said Trussell. “I was able to connect with others in international schools. The courses provided a good mix of practical, theoretical and theological approaches. We learned why we are doing what we’re doing and how that fits into God’s work here on earth, how He’s building His kingdom here through education and how we can be a part of it.”
Trussell’s husband is a math teacher in El Camino Academy’s middle school. The two have enjoyed learning and experiencing Colombian culture in Bogota, a city of 9 million people. They’re wrapping up a summer vacation in the United States, but will be back in Colombia before classes start in August.