I am a 2017 graduate of Concordia Nebraska with a Bachelors in Secondary Education with an emphasis in Mathematics. While I have only formally taught in Wisconsin, I performed my student teaching in Nebraska and Idaho. I am originally from Galesburg, Illinois and most of my family still lives in that area.
The Mission of the Lutheran School
The Lutheran school is a great tool for parents and congregations to help prepare and equip young men and women in the faith. It provides a welcoming community and freedom to talk and discuss matters of the church and of home in a safe and uplifting setting. The Lutheran School also provides a way for the church to reach out to families and communities that may have otherwise looked the other way.
My Approach to Education Ministry
God calls people to a vocation and places them where He believes they are needed. I believe I am called to not only teach, but to also help my students grow as people and as Christians. I believe God places people where they are most needed, and right now He needs me here at Wolf River Lutheran High School.
I am a Shawano native, who grew up on a dairy farm 3 miles west of Shawano. I first attended West Shawano School, a one-room 1-4 grade rural school, then moved to St. James Lutheran School and graduated from Shawano High School in 1973. I earned my B.A. in Education at Concordia College, St. Paul, MN. I began my teaching career in Nebraska. I have also been a teacher and grade school principal in Lutheran schools in Michigan and Wisconsin. I taught at Shawano Community Middle School for 10 years. I also served two Churches in Gillett for 4 years as a Deacon of the North Wisconsin district, LCMS.
I am currently in my 4th year teaching Religion and Science courses here at Wolf River High School. I teach woodshop, agriculture, and horticulture semester classes. I am currently coaching the girls’ basketball team, and I am the director of the school play in the fall.
I was a member of the original steering committee and chairman of the site committee for our school.
I truly believe that God has blessed us greatly with our school and intends it to be a source of great learning that provides for every need of our students. Christian education is more than just the books and getting a job in the future. It is about shaping our children to be able to withstand the temptations of the world and at the same time being a witness to the only source of salvation for mankind, Jesus. Our education is not limited to a lifetime, but rather for eternity.
The High School years can be very challenging to a young person’s moral and spiritual development. Attending a Lutheran High School doesn’t shield students from the world, but rather helps them to cope with life’s difficulties through repentance, forgiveness, restoration, and being constantly reminded how much God cares for them and how valuable their life is. As a teacher, it is my job to help students learn to the best of their ability and to help them recognize the individual talents and abilities with which God has blessed them. Every student is unique and valuable.
My wife Donna and I live in Shawano. Donna loves to bake and makes treats for our students almost every week. We are members of St. James Lutheran Church in Shawano. I am a lay minister and church sextant and Donna is a greeter at St. James. We are members of the Fun For Friends and Fellowship group at St. James that meets once a month for all adults with special needs in the Shawano community. I lead the devotions and music while Donna prepares and directs the craft for the day.
I have two children, Ross and Julie, and two grandchildren, Taylor and Rayna. Donna has three children, Nick, Heather, and Corey, and two grandchildren, Emerich and Ellayna, and she is expecting another grandchild in 2019.We enjoy baking, gardening, and during the winter months, putting puzzles together. I also sing in the senior and men’s choir at St. James and have been acting at the Mielke Theater for the past 14 years. My most memorable roll to date has been portraying Vince Lombardi
Principal Jerry Jiter
Jonathan (Jon) Berkesch
Wolf River Lutheran High School
W7467 River Bend Rd
Shawano, WI 54166
Faculty & Staff
Renowned for its distinctive Lutheran Christian values, rigorous academics, assisting students
in the pursuit of their individual life goals, and a positive atmosphere.
I was raised in northwestern Wisconsin, in a parsonage, with my four siblings in a small town. I attended Concordia University Wisconsin with the majors of Pre-Seminary studies and Theological Languages. This was an important time in my life, where I grew in my faith exponentially, taught campers in the summer, made great friends, and found my wife. I still value my education and relationships that I received at that school. After that I attended one year of school at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis. Then, my family and I were offered a position in south Texas as missionaries to the oil fields. We gladly accepted and served there for a few years. I also served as a volunteer firefighter while serving the community as a spiritual guide. This ministry was the start of a new church in that area; thankfully, this church is still alive today. After our mission work in Texas, we relocated back to Wisconsin where I have been serving as a school substitute teacher for a couple of years. That is when the Lord led us to Wolf River Lutheran High School.
My favorite hobbies include: spending time with my family, woodworking, being outside, reading, and an occasional trip on the motorcycle.
For the past 37 years I have answered God’s call to teach in Lutheran schools. I spent my first 32 years teaching at the middle school level, some in MN and the rest in WI, and the last five teaching at the high school level. I have been married to Julie for 37 years and have three grown children. Presently I have five grandchildren. I love sports, literature, gardening, and fishing. I have a passion for my Lord and count myself very lucky to be serving him at Wolf River Lutheran High School.
I graduated from Concordia University, St. Paul, with a BA. I have a major in education and a major in art. I have taken many graduate classes from multiple schools including: University of MN, Mankato State University (MN), UW Green Bay, St. Norbert College, Marian University, and Concordia University WI. Even though I do not hold a master’s degree, I have received more than 80 graduate credits from these different schools. I am a member at Redeemer Lutheran Church in Green Bay, WI where I serve as an Elder and worship leader.
I was born and raised in Gresham where I attended Gresham School, grades kindergarten through 12. I was very lucky to have amazing parents who were foster parents to over 200 children while I was growing up. I have seven siblings, six of whom live in the Shawano area. I married Richard Beauprey who passed away on Christmas Eve when my daughter Megan was 5 years old. I am proud to say that Megan is a first grade teacher at Hillcrest Primary School in Shawano and she has a 3 year old daughter Marciana. I also have three amazing step-daughters that live in Michigan and a total of 7 grandchildren.
I have worked for the Shawano County Department of Social Services and then for the City of Shawano Police Department as a dispatcher for police, fire and ambulance. Due to working nights, weekends and holidays with a young daughter I decided to get a job where I could spend more time with her. I was then hired by the Shawano School District as a secretary at Lincoln Elementary School. I spent 21 years working for the Shawano School District from which I retired in July.
The retirement decision just came to me one day and I turned in my resignation, with just a feeling that it was the right thing to do, but also not knowing what the future would hold for me. I still think back of how things just fell into place and that this is what was meant to be, all within a matter of weeks. I had no reservations, no fears of the unknown, just a feeling of knowing that I was doing the right thing and that God would take care of me. It seems that He did, by giving me the opportunity to come to WRLHS.
I have enjoyed getting to know the students, the staff, and the parents. It has been an exciting and busy time at WRLHS and I thank God everyday for letting me be a part of it.
For the past thirty-eight plus years I have served the Lord mostly in Lutheran schools as either a teacher or principal or both. I served as principal in the public schools for three of those years. I am married to Lynn and we have three grown children. We have seven grandchildren. My formal education comes from a variety of places; Bachelors of Education degree from Illinois State University, Lutheran Lay Ministry Certificate from Concordia Milwaukee (now Concordia University Wisconsin), Teacher Colloquy from Concordia River Forest (now Concordia University Chicago), Masters of Science in Educational Administration from UW-Superior. Most of my best experiences continue to come from the real world in and out of the classroom.
The Mission of the Lutheran School
The most effective outreach and evangelical tool of the Lutheran church is the Lutheran school. It is a valid choice for members of the congregation and their children academically and spiritually. It is the “front porch” of the church to the surrounding community. Many community parents and families come to the church by first coming through the Lutheran school, the church’s “front porch”. They experience the Lutheran Christian education, trained ministry teachers, and the welcoming fellowship of a Christian Community.
My Approach to Education Ministry
God uses people to carry out His mission to baptize and make disciples. I am called to serve the Lord in His mission wherever He plants me. My specialty is education and development. I have never really worried about where I might serve. I only trust God that he will open the door that is right for me and His mission. I just make myself available for service. In this case He has planted me at Wolf River Lutheran High School.
Development of the Lutheran School
The key to the successful development of a Lutheran school is proportional to its positive relationship between the three major stakeholders; students, parents, and teachers. If a school is to be effective in educating its students, then the students, parents, and teachers need to be working together. I like to use the analogy of the three-legged stool. Each leg is represented by one of the three main stakeholders; students, parents, and teachers. If one of these is not functioning in a positive, open communication manner then the stool will fall and the child will not be served in the best possible way. Each day we need to work at keeping the lines of communication open so that the relationships remain strong.