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NewsLink is our bi-monthly e-newsletter for parents, faculty & staff at HMS. You can find extended articles & information from NewsLink here. 

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Faculty Feature: Mrs. Lynne Brubaker & Mrs. Dawn Landes 

Lynne Brubaker & Dawn Landes were both honored with service awards at the Staff-Board Appreciation Banquet in January. We are grateful for their years of service to the students & families of HMS. 

Dawn Landes, Principal/Administrator: 5 years

What factors lead you to come and work at HMS?  What qualities and values of HMS have kept you here for five years?

I was told two things that piqued my interest in HMS:  it has a nice, small community feel and it has a reputation for being innovative.  I was also impressed with the board’s thoughtfulness in organizational planning.  I would say all those factors continue to be true and have kept me here. 

What is your current job/role(s) at HMS?  Has this changed at all since you were first hired?

I currently serve as both principal and administrator.  The two roles are distinct in ways that are not obvious.  As administrator, my work entails all the big-picture needs as head of school such as strategic initiatives, budgeting, networking, as well as building operations and safety.  As principal I spend a lot of time with teachers, parents and students.  The combined role is really too big for one person so I’ve worked to build an incredible team of staff and faculty who have expertise in leading many of these areas.

What is your favorite part of your job?

I love everything about my job.  I think what makes me most excited is to see the amazing gifts everyone brings to the table to make HMS a wonderful place to learn and work.  And that includes the students too . . . I am inspired every day by the beautiful, God-given gifts we see sprouting and growing in every classroom!  Students love to be creative, curious, funny and encouraging.  That is fun to be around each day.

Explain how you view your job at HMS.  Is it more than just a job?

It is an honor to be able to relate to families in a way that links the mission of our churches and school.  Our children are not only the future leadership in our communities and workforce, they are a part of the Church where we want them to feel they can contribute their gifts, even now.

Also, education has never been just a job for me, it’s life.  I have been involved in education and church leadership in some capacity my entire life and so my personal and family life fits well into the rhythm of a school year and the activities of our church community.  Working in a Christian school offers a bonus of more easily linking the two.

How does your faith impact the way you approach your position at HMS?

The prayer of Jesus in John 17, that God’s people be one in Spirit and purpose, inspires me in all that I do in life.  In my work at HMS we are working together for the good of our precious children.  I want to see us as a community do all that we can together to nurture and empower our young people to discover how they can be a part of God’s work around them.  To see families, grandparents, donors, faculty and staff all working toward this brings me great joy!

Do you have any examples/stories of special moments at HMS?  Times that make all the hard work worthwhile?

Of all the schools in which I’ve worked, I have never seen a group of faculty so committed to knowing and growing the individual gifts and potential of each student as I do in the HMS faculty and staff.  When I see their persistent team efforts blessing a student who has struggled emotionally, academically or socially, and that student begins to bloom, I wish I could call a community celebration.  We’d be having lots of parties if I did.

The annual benefit auction is probably the biggest event at HMS and requires tons of work from all corners of our school community.  It raises a good amount of money for both our capital replacement and operations budgets, but it is also the most-noted favorite memory of our current students and alumni. 

I should also say that the evening events our PTF plan are also big-time favorites among the students. If the PTF ever wonders if the prep work involved is worth it, they should stand by the bus line in the afternoons when the students are beyond themselves with excitement for the Winter Carnival, movie night or roller skating party. 

What opportunities do you enjoy as the principal at HMS that you may not have at other schools, whether public or private?

What I like about HMS is that we can get to know each student on a personal level.  I’ve worked at other private and public schools that were too large for this and the systems were not in place to really make it possible.  At HMS our small class sizes, mentor groups and student support services enable us to provide individual attention and care.  Those structures also help me learn to know the students more personally.

Any reflections from your five years at HMS?

The longer I am at HMS, I see more pieces in the beautiful picture of the broader community that can contribute to a child’s education and ultimate success in life.   There is the history of HMS, rooted by its founders over 35 years ago who wanted to see quality Christian education in this local community.  There are the large numbers of small and family-owned businesses in this area of Lancaster County where entrepreneurship, craftsmanship, generosity, work ethic and community connections can provide valuable lessons for our young people. Mission agencies and non-profits offer opportunities for our student to learn to serve and care for their global and local neighbors.  And of course the efforts of parents, guardians, grandparents provide an important family context for each child.  This growing picture blesses me and I’m convinced should be part of how students receive a well-rounded education at HMS.

The original building purchased by the founding families was formerly an alternative school within the public district.  What a neat picture!  I hope we can continue to be an alternative that is unique, innovative, Christ-centered and connected to the gifts of our community.

Lynne Brubaker, Instructional Aide: 10 years  

What factors lead you to come and work at HMS?  What qualities and values of HMS have kept you here for ten years?

When I was a Kindergarten teacher at Ephrata Mennonite School between 1985­-1989, I heard good things about HMS and took time to visit Becky Leatherman's kindergarten class to see how she structured her kindergarten class to optimize student learning. I also heard positive stories from Harriet Douple, a long-time HMS teacher who attended our church, so when I was looking for employment after our daughters were in school full time, Hinkletown was a natural choice.

What is your current job/role(s) at HMS?  Has this changed at all since you were first hired?

I have been an instructional aide all my years at HMS. I have facilitated small groups in grades K-­5 with reading, math and writing. The teachers, IVEPers and other instructional aides I work with have changed over the years but the joy of being a part of this spiritually inspired education of students has been an ongoing blessing.

What is your favorite part of your job?

A favorite aspect of my job is to be a part of the curiosity, enthusiasm, openness, simple spiritual belief of children that Jesus has called us as adults to strive for.

Explain how you view your job at HMS.  Is it more than just a job?

I am so grateful to be in a job that is part of a higher mission of bringing God's kingdom to earth as we encourage each other to develop our gifts by deepening our relationship with the creator, and through the power of his spirit, use those gifts to share His love with others near to us and around the world.

How does your faith impact the way you approach your role at HMS?

I love the freedom to create sentences with wisdom from the Bible during spelling tests. I love to be able to read books like "The Very Mean word" based on a true story by Desmund Tutu to students during lunchtime. In the story, a group of boys yelled a very mean word at Desmund. He was angry and a kind father asked if he could forgive because all people deserve compassion. Desmund said he couldn't forgive. When Desmund said a mean word back to the boys he discovers that fighting back doesn’t make him feel any better. When he saw the mean kid treated roughly by his older brother, and met him later alone, Desmund was able to say he was sorry which inspired the other boy to do the same.

Do you have any examples/stories of special moments at HMS?  Times that make all the hard work worthwhile?

I felt God's tender touch through a first grader who handed me a note with a flower lovingly colored in purple, blue, yellow and orange with the exact words I needed when feeling sad this first Christmas going through a separation from my husband. Inside the flower were the uplifting words, "The Lord will guide you always." Isaiah 58:11.

I observed a special moment recently when I suggested to 2 boys who were sent off to a quiet spot to help them concentrate, to see how quickly they could get their problems done. After a little bit I heard the boy who was ahead encourage the other, "I forgot to do this one thing so you can still catch up."

What opportunities do you enjoy as an aide at HMS that you may not have at other schools, whether public or private?

I think there is an amazingly caring staff and supportive community at Hinkletown that is unusual to find. I look forward to up­-building inservice days, birthday lunches, and am always amazed at the food lovingly prepared during teacher appreciation week. The chapels that are prepared, the envelope that is passed around to help when things are difficult for a family, and the service projects set up are all beautiful expressions that I might not experience at other schools.



Teacher Feature: Miss Bethany Reiff

Nurturing students' love of art & expression for 10 years at HMS 

by Gina Lusk, HMS patron & former HMS teacher 

Bethany Reiff will be honored at the annual staff banquet with a ten year service award from HMS!  Bethany was originally hired to teach art, however her roles have grown to include FCS and 6th and 7th grade Social Studies.  Bethany also taught Spanish for quite a few years at HMS.  When asked why she has stayed for ten years, Bethany said, “I really believe that HMS is a school where the things you learn about good teaching in college are actually practiced. I love the ways teachers at HMS can speak into decisions on many levels. It truly is a team atmosphere, and I really appreciate the emphasis on other cultures.”

I had the privilege of teaching with Bethany during her first five years at HMS.  I can testify to Bethany’s love for her students and her desire to see each one develop their God-given talents!  Bethany said, “working with students brings me the most joy and life. I especially like teaching across grade levels, enabling me to watch the students grow up over their time at HMS.”

Bethany was encouraged to apply for a job at HMS by former teacher, Mag Nolt, even though Bethany hadn’t been considering the possibility of teaching in a private school.  Interestingly, on the way to her interview, she mistakenly stopped at the one room school house down the road and was relieved to learn that it wasn’t HMS.  Reflecting on teaching at a private school, Bethany said, “I really enjoy the diversity of my job.  Teaching at HMS allows me the opportunity to teach a variety of ages and subjects, which I love.  I feel called to my work and hope and believe it is an investment in building the Kingdom of God.”  For example, Bethany has enjoyed having a middle school homeroom the last two years, increasing her ability to disciple her students and share about her day to day walk with Jesus.  

Another passion I observed in Bethany is her love for people from other countries and cultures. She explained, “Our middle school theme this year of welcoming the stranger is close to my heart and is something the students hear me talk a lot about through their years at HMS. It's been exciting to me to see students graduate from HMS and hear of them traveling to other places to serve and build the Kingdom of God around the world”

One of the busiest times of the school year for Bethany is in May, as she puts many many hours into preparing for the Fine Arts Festival.  Although it is only a one night event, Bethany said, “when all the art work goes up and the people fill the building, all the work is worth it. To see the students beaming as they show off their artwork and the families enjoying the food and program makes my heart full.”

In closing, Bethany said, “I can hardly imagine a better place or job for me, and I am so thankful to be part of the HMS community!”  

We are blessed to have such a gifted and Christ-centered teacher on staff at HMS, and as a current patron, I say, “Bethany, thank you for your dedication to the children of HMS!”