Twin Peaks Classical Academy is a tuition-free charter school serving PK-12 grade students in the Longmont, CO area. We are proud of our Classical Education, and equally proud of the talented teachers that help us realize our mission to “encourage students to seek truth, beauty, and goodness in both their acquisition of knowledge and their development of character.”
We recently chatted with Kindergarten teacher Ms. Julie Ahrens to find out more about her work at Twin Peaks. It’s not hard to see why our students love to be in her classroom!
When did you know you wanted to be an educator?
I graduated high school many, (many), years ago knowing I wanted to be a kindergarten teacher. I had been accepted into the elementary education program at UNC and felt like my career path was set. Then, in August of that year, I learned that I was wait-listed for campus housing. This threw me for a loop and altered my trajectory a bit. In that moment, I talked myself out of pursuing a degree in teaching and instead became a corporate paralegal. While I was fairly successful working as a paralegal, it never became my passion. My heart was always with children. I volunteered for camps, sports and any other activities I could find where I was working with kids. I eventually left that career to run children's programming at a local church. While working there, I again felt the calling to return to my heart's first desire--that of being a kindergarten teacher. I returned to UNC to get my Master's in elementary education in 2018. Being in a classroom is the fulfillment of all I've ever wanted in a career. It is my passion and skill set. I'm so fortunate to be doing what I've wanted to do all along.
Who was your favorite teacher and why?
My favorite teacher was my AP English teacher my senior year in high school. Her name was Mrs. Karpenske. While in retrospect, I know that her teaching methodology might not work today, she challenged us to think critically, to love literature and to always try our best. At that time, there was a list of books that the school district in which I grew up was not allowed to teach. She brought in the list of these books and we each picked one of them. We then were challenged to read the book and devise a two-week lesson plan, including a field trip around that book. Her thought was that while she wasn't allowed to teach about the books, that we could read them and imagine how we would go about teaching them if given the chance. These were classic works of literature including, "A Clockwork Orange", "Waiting for Godot," and "Brave New World." I love that I got to experience all these classic novels in a truly creative way. I admire her ingenuity and that she trusted us with very complex ideas. I am a smarter, wiser and better educated scholar because of her.
How does Twin Peak’s mission and vision align with your personal values?
I love the notion of pursuing the good, the true, and the beautiful. In a world where we often settle for the lowest common denominator, I want to reach for more. I love that Twin Peaks focuses on encouraging students to be the best that they can be. I believe in the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake and appreciate that Twin Peaks focuses on the fundamentals of education and character without being distracted by lesser things; no matter how flashy they might appear.
What do you love most about your role?
I love that I get to be the first contact for elementary school students. I get to show these new kinders how to love learning. How to pursue excellence and that size doesn't matter. The smallest acorn can still grow into the tallest oak tree. I also have two children of my own; one who is very academic and one who is severely Dyslexic. I love that I can take my knowledge of both and create a kindergarten classroom that embraces everyone.
What else would you like us to know about YOU?
I feel so privileged to get to be a teacher at Twin Peaks. It was the school I picked for my own children. I loved it first as a parent, and now as a teacher. I sometimes regret the years I wasted not being a teacher, when I knew that's what I should have been all along. But, I also know that I am more passionate about teaching now than I might have been had I been teaching for the past two decades. I recognize that teaching is both a gift and a calling and it should not be taken lightly. I also have learned that the most important aspect of kindergarten is to teach children that school is a good place to be and that learning is its own reward. I teach with that goal in mind. We are sometimes messy and silly and chaotic, but everything I do is designed to point these little ones to greater things.
Twin Peaks Classical Academy is grounded in Classical Education curriculum, thanks to talented teachers who are passionate about inspiring learners. Are you interested in learning more about how Classical Education can be a fit for your child? Contact us and enroll in our tuition-free charter school today!
About Twin Peaks Classical Academy
Twin Peaks Classical Academy is a tuition-free charter school serving PK-12 grade students in the Longmont, CO area. Our traditional Classical Education curriculum connects students with a higher purpose by inspiring knowledge and developing character. Students are supported by a tight-knit community of caring teachers and staff and engaged families. Join our public charter school today! Enrolling now.