Six Questions: Ms. Katherine Kramer, Assistant Headmaster

As we prepare to kick-off the new school year, we are introducing our new teachers to our ILS community, and giving our returning faculty a chance to re-introduce themselves through our Six Questions Series. We hope you enjoy this chance to get to know a bit more about all your favorite teachers and faculty.

Today, we're excited to share Ms. Kramer's responses to our Six Questions. Ms. Kramer has been a part of our ILS community for seven years, teaching in both our Lower and Upper Schools, serving as our Upper School Lead Teacher, and now joining the administration as our Assistant Headmaster. Ms. Kramer is looking forward to the new year, seeing all our returning students and families, and getting to know all of our new students and parents as well!

1.      What will you teach at ILS/what is your role at ILS?

I am assuming the new role of assistant headmaster. Under the direction of Ms. Habrecht, I'll work primarily with faculty and our families on the rewarding and thrilling job of developing our curriculum and culture, or at least a job that is rewarding and thrilling to me!

2. What does classical education mean to you?

I think classical education, in general, is about the pursuit of wisdom, or perhaps, really loving what is worth loving. It is reclaiming many aspects of historic pedagogical principles: the trivium and the quadrivium, all pointed toward the pursuit of wisdom. Classical education can be looked at from many angles, but most agree that it focuses on the development of the person into becoming a thoughtful, discerning individual. At ILS, it's ultimately about our relationship with Christ and living out our vocations, which is true wisdom. This involves an excellent and vigorous study of content (especially, the trivium and quadrivium) and the wisdom we find there, but it also involves the formation of our souls and the purpose that we'll increasingly inculcate virtue in our lives. The good content found in a liberal arts education helps that formation of my soul, and the shaping of my soul continues to inform what content I choose to take in. It's the great life-long quest for me: learning, studying, developing skill and habits, all toward the goal of becoming increasingly conformed to the likeness of Christ.

3. What are you looking forward to most this year in your new role at ILS?

Believe it or not, next year will be my SEVENTH year at ILS. My teaching career began with the 2nd grade students, where I spent two years with those lovable scholars before I moved to the Upper School as the literature and writing teacher, and then was offered the honor of working as the Upper School lead teacher.

Next year, I am very excited to get to know our entire ILS community in a more personal and meaningful way (hello once again, Lower School!).  Also, I am so very enthused about the prospect of teaching 7th and 8th grade logic. These are the same students I taught in 2nd grade, and then again in their 5th and 6th grade years, so I know them fairly well at this point. I hope they will be ready for a wild and thrilling ride through the intriguing and yet practical land of logic - they'll love it, whether they know it yet or not!

4. Who was one teacher who inspired you?

In addition to my parents, who home-educated me, I would have to say my wonderful pedagogy professor, Dr. McCollum, in college. I did not plan to become a teacher, but she believed in me, and pointed out abilities I had that inspired me to try teaching. My parents opened up the world of learning as a magical and inspiring place, especially through reading. No matter what, they believed in me, challenged me, treated me with affection, and cheered me on. What kid would not not be inspired by that?

5. What is your favorite book? (What book has most inspired you?)

Oh dear.... The list below contains current favorites that I've been returning to again and again the last few years, but I'm sure more will soon work their way into this list:

   . Non fiction: Desiring the Kingdom by James K. A. Smith, but maybe also The Art of Dress by Linda Przybyszewski
   . Book of Scripture: The Psalms have been helping me pray lately.
   . Poetry: George Herbert's collected works
   . Fiction/Epic/Mythology: Book One of the Faerie Queen by Edmund Spencer, "Fierce Wars and Faithful Loves."

6. Please share one thing families wouldn't already know about you.

Believe it or not, my dad taught me a lot of wilderness survival skills, including such matters as map-reading, scat identification, the important of a good piece of gear which could save a life some day, and so on. Have I used these skills to survive in the wild? No. Do I intend to use them? No. At any rate, though, it's good to know how to survive off the land if the situation ever warrants...