Teacher Tuesday: Covenant Christian’s Rich Ambrose, teaching success. 

April 7, 2020

Teacher Tuesday: Covenant Christian’s Rich Ambrose, teaching success. 

By Kate Krieger, MCP Staff Writer.

Teacher Tuesday is a presentation of Metalworks. Metalworks is a small, family-run company with facilities located in Ludington and Manistee, manufacturing metal office filing systems. Be sure to show your support by liking the Metalworks Facebook page here.

Mason County Press is featuring area educators each week in a series called “Teacher Tuesday.” We will be choosing different educators from Mason County.

AMBER TOWNSHIP – After his future mother-in-law told him he needed to find a career to help support her daughter, Rich Ambrose settled on education as a choice, but not because he always enjoyed school, but more because he loved working with kids.

Today, Ambrose is the director of Covenant Christian School. 

A 1982 graduate of Ludington High School, he attended West Shore Community College and then went on for his teaching degree at Grand Valley State University, graduating in 1986. He has been teaching for 30 years, starting out in Ottawa County.

I spent nine years teaching fifth grade at Roosevelt Elementary at Zeeland Public Schools, and 21 years teaching seventh and eighth grade at Covenant Christian Schools here in Ludington.”

Ambrose said he really likes seeing kids become inspired and motivated in the classroom to become their own unique selves.

“I love to motivate kids, teach them in a way that is fun and inspiring, and to make an impact in their lives, and that is what teachers do,” he said.” “Teaching to me, is an opportunity to ignite passion into the hearts of young people and unlock what makes them unique. To bring out the strengths of their character.”

Covenant Christian School is a private, Christian-based school, located on US-10/31 between Ludington and Scottville. The school offers grades pre-school through eighth. After two years of teaching at CCS, Ambrose was offered an additional position that he couldn’t turn down.

“Two years after teaching at Covenant, I was offered the teacher /principal/administrator position,” he said. “I served in that position until 2014 when we hired Tess Ambrose (my daughter-in-law) to be the schools administrator. In 2015, we hired Lois Bongard Newkirk to be our school principal. So, at the present time I am still teaching 7/8 grade and acting as the schools’ director.”

Many people may think that CCS was started because of peoples’ lack of appreciation for the local public school districts that serve in the same capacity, but Ambrose said that in CCS’ case, that was not at all the reason behind its formation in Mason County.

“I think that many people believe that private schools, especially Christian schools, are birthed out of a discontent for public education,” he said. “In our case that could not be further than the truth. I love our community and I believe we have some of the best public schools here in Mason County. That is one of the reasons we only go to the eighth grade, because we want our students to finish in one of our excellent high schools. Our relationship with our public school partners is excellent and we support them. Together with our community we want to equip our students with the tools necessary to be the best community members they can possibly be.”

Being a Christian based school, Ambrose did say that there are differences in the education, but really in only one capacity.

“In theory CCS is no different than other schools,” he said. “Our teachers are the same and for the most part so is our subject content. Our day and activities are structured educationally similar to our public schools in the area. However, there is one area that I think we can take advantage of, and that is the area of spiritual formation. Our desire is for kids to learn and accept a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. To be discipled and grow in their knowledge of God. To submit to the authority of the Bible and use it as the filter through which they go through life. I want our students’ toolbox to be filled with all that they need spiritually to be effective leaders for the Kingdom of God. I want our eighth graders to have a Christian world view, with a deep desire to love and serve others in this community.”

There is no doubt that Ambrose loves his job and being able to see the growth in his students educationally, emotionally and in their faith. His dedication and desire to motivate and assist his students in any way possible is what really drives Ambrose’s ongoing passion for teaching, especially in the present day with so many things happening in each student’s life outside of the classroom.

“I think we live in a very different culture than we did a few years back when I began teaching,” he said. “Kids are coming from such different perspectives and life conditions, so we need to adapt how we present learning to them. I think we will see a pivot into a hybrid of teaching and online experiences becoming the norm over the next few years in all of our schools. Choices and options will be the wave of the future. Education as a whole will need to become more nimble and flexible to provide the best education possible.”

Overall, Ambrose wants all of the students who travel through CCS to become successful, caring and well-rounded individuals who carry the values they learned at school throughout the rest of their lives.

I think the best part about teaching is the kids,” he said. “Kids can be so goofy and I enjoy my time and interaction with them. I am grateful that I have time to invest into kids at a junior high level, where I can daily instill good principles into them like respect, hard work, kindness and compassion. Plus, I enjoy amazing relationships with my colleagues. Working together creatively with them to inspire young people can really cement your relationship together. Teaching is still an honorable profession and has the potential to change a life. So, if you love kids and are a bit crazy and creative, then teaching is for you.”

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