Grade School Principal
Krista Barnhouse CO ’95 GR ’01 focuses on relationships
Walk down the halls at Faith Lutheran, a pre-kindergarten to fifth grade school in Lincoln, Nebraska, and chances are that you will hear principal Krista (Radke) Barnhouse CO ’95 GR ’01 before you even see her. She has a big voice, one that can carry across a crowded gymnasium before chapel or a playground of rowdy students or shout out a greeting as kids enter the school in the morning. And she’s always ready with a laugh, a song or a story.
Krista makes it a priority to develop personal relationships with her teachers and every kid in the school, which means she’s rarely waiting in her office for someone to come to her. “I try to wander hallways as much as I can,” she says, “going out, being in the classrooms, helping my educators know I'm there for them. My primary thing is to support them in the classroom. I'm not checking up on them. I'm just there to help them and to come in and rile the kids up a little bit.”
Relationships have always been important to Krista, and her experience in Concordia University, Nebraska’s education department was no different. “I loved the classes. I loved learning. I loved interacting with and being in classrooms and all of that, but I absolutely loved the professors,” she says. “From the beginning, they took an interest in each student and made you feel like you were known. And it's not like I graduated, and I moved on, and that was it. Anytime I go back, somebody recognizes me, and I, of course, remember all of them. And it's like they just saw me yesterday and we just pick up exactly where we were.”
That care and personal attention carried over into the online master’s degree Krista earned from Concordia as well. “Every time, the first day of class, it was like, do introductions, tell us something about you,” she says. “But it's the same classmates in your cohort the whole way through. So the professor might be new to us, but the students all knew each other. Trying to come up with something different for each class’s ice breaker was just hilarious.”
The focus on faith was another thing that Krista noticed at Concordia, and one that she brought with her into her professional life as first a teacher and then a principal in Lutheran education. “I can't imagine living my life teaching outside of Lutheran education,” she says. “It is just so ingrained to share the love of Christ with all of the students.”
“In our culture today, to think of a child going through life, without knowing that they have someone who is on their side all the time, walking with them, who loves them no matter what, I can’t imagine it,” she continues. “That's what Lutheran educators get to be. We get to expose these children to a God who loves them, and then to be able to walk alongside and show them what living as a Christian can be like. And so much of how I learned to do that came from professors and office people and staff and everybody at Concordia.”
Krista tries to make each day fun, from greeting the kids first thing in the morning to leading singing and dancing and sign language in chapel to visiting different classrooms and getting to know the students. But she’s also human.
“I have those days where I just feel overwhelmed by everything that's going on,” she says. “And yet I can't imagine doing anything else. When I think about how amazing God has been over my years of ministry, that he's allowed me to play this role and get to know so many different families, I know I’m blessed. I pray every day, ‘Just help me to know how best to work for these families and how to be a blessing to them.’”