Ms. Kim Kyle
God often has a different plan for us than we have for ourselves and Ms. Kim Kyle is a powerful testimony to what submission to that plan looks like. In her senior year of high schoo
l, Kim was accepted by a language immersion program, the first step in reaching her goal of becoming a UN translator, but God had a different plan. She describes an encounter with the Holy Spirit at church where the Lord told her, “You could do that, but your life will mean more for the Kingdom if you teach.” In an act of submission, Kim’s next move was to a Christian college in Texas where she majored in education and theology, and then transferred to a teacher’s college in Chicago, Illinois.
Ms. Kyle’s career began on the southside of Chicago, in a heavily gang-infiltrated area, “The day I went to observe, they were expelling a kid for bringing a gun to school…. I spent a lot of time around kids like that on purpose,” she says, “It’s one thing to disciple kids who already have somewhat of a passing knowledge of who Jesus is, but it’s a totally different challenge to take kids who live in tough situations and lead them to a living relationship with Jesus that really changes them.”
Ms. Kyle later ran an afterschool gang-resistance program in inner city Phoenix, AZ called Downtown Urban Community Kids or DUCK. It was an evangelistic program where kids could receive tutoring and help of many kinds. When she finally returned to Charlotte, she taught for a year at Lake Park Christian Academy, then moved to Resurrection Christian School which later merged with Garr Christian Academy to form Charlotte United Christian Academy. In this impressive career, Kim has taught everything from preschool to 12th grade, but she says she has settled on teaching high schoolers as they resonate the most with her heart, “…I have such empathy for them and such a desire for them to know who they are in Jesus and the impact they can already have on the world. A lot of people say they are our future, but I disagree, they are our present.”
She declares a strong desire to come alongside her students with genuine encouragement to become sons and daughters in the kingdom of heaven who recognize their personal gifts, “While I’ve been hired to teach Spanish, Latin and Apologetics, to me that’s just the platform where I get to be Jesus to teenager. Give me anything to teach and it will be a platform to make an impact on kids.”
During her career as a teacher, Mrs. Kyle has also been a world traveler and lifelong learner. The experiences she’s had have truly impacted her personal testimony to the glory of God and while she recognizes the importance of having practical and academic head knowledge about the Bible and Jesus, she emphasizes the importance of relationally spiritual experience. This heart and mind focus has contributed heavily to her mission in teaching, “My goal is to broaden their [students] horizons but narrow their focus. I was them to experience as much of the world as they can, while their focus still remains Jesus…” she later adds, “The man with the argument is always at the mercy of the man with the experience.”
As BCCA junior, Khoa Nguyen says, “Ms. Kyle is the one who helps us strengthen our faith and love toward God. She also teaches us to be good stewards by following His words.”
Kim is definitely dedicated to creating experiences with her students as well. Based on Isaiah 62, she began initiating ‘affirmations’ in her classroom years ago, where her students would receive encouraging words from her and also from each other, “It’s been extremely meaningful for them,” she says, “It’s powerful in terms of believing what the Word says about who we are…you call a girl beautiful for long enough and she straightens up. They become self-fulfilling prophecies.” She now focuses on giving affirmations and encouragement in her students’ Bible journals, “I never want to be lacking in encouragement because I want to be sowing it all the time.”
Ms. Lea Bowling
“I have done things differently from most people,” says Lea Bowling, one of Back Creek’s most notably inquisitive teachers, “My academic and professional careers have been so unusual.” Indeed, Ms. Bowling has taken her career one step at a time, just not in the usual order. After homeschooling for the whole of her primary education, she spent a year teaching at a small church school in Pennsylvania but then returned home to teach her four youngest siblings.
During these years in the homeschool environment, Lea pursued her degree in education while also working at a Christian bookstore where she frequently sold Christian and classical curricula to homeschool mothers. She spent this time learning about classical education, “I would take books home and read them…as I homeschooled, I taught in a classical way. I like the integration of everything, it’s rigorous.” She also spent time visiting schools and sitting in the classrooms, “That’s when I thought, ‘yeah, I’m pretty sure I want to do this.’”
When Lea completed her degree, she returned to Pennsylvania and taught Middle School science and language arts for the next three years at a small Christian school, much like Back Creek. When she chose to return to Charlotte and find a teaching position here, she already knew she wanted to work at a classical school. In a clear show of Sovereign will, the door cracked open at Back Creek. After a year of part time substituting and tutoring, Lea was brought on as a full-time teacher in the middle school, teaching the subjects she loves: history, literature and especially Bible, “I was moved to my dream position,” she says.
Ms. Bowling is now known around school for asking great questions and challenging students and faculty to think harder, deeper and more critically, “It’s the classical goal to learn how to be a critical thinker and not take what you see at face value.”
As the epitome of a self-driven, life-long learner, she loves to read and incorporate multiple resources into her lessons, “One thing I love about my job is how free I can be. I can be learning, and I can bring my students on that same learning journey,” she continues, “I don’t like to just stick with the textbook. I like to pull in other material and media. For example, I like to use the literature or documents of a certain time to make the people and problems of that era come to life and then relate them to what’s going on now.” Her favorite part, however, is bringing it all back around to the Christian worldview and connecting humanity through the ages to timeless scripture. Of course, along with her love for learning and teaching, Lea has a heart for her students, “I love these subjects, but I also love the kids! I love middle school kids. I love hearing their questions and thought processes and interest (or non-interest) and opinions about the material we’re learning.”
There’s no doubt that her love for learning and love for people are both contagious and just one more point of strength for Back Creek Christian Academy. Wherever we go, so long as we have people like Ms. Lea Bowling, BCCA will only become a better and better environment for students to be a part of.
Mrs. Kim Crowell
Kim Crowell prefers to fly under the radar and avoid the spot light, but that doesn’t stop anyone from noticing the hard work and unconditional love she fills her 1st grade classroom with. Brooks Dover, a lifelong student at BCCA had Mrs. Crowell in Kindergarten and is now a sophomore in high school, “Over the years, Mrs. Crowell has become like an aunt to me. She’s always there for me and always makes a point to speak to me daily. With her great personality and infectious smile, it’s hard not to love her.”
While it may seem like she was always meant to be a teacher, it wasn’t always Kim’s main aspiration. As a child, she says, she wanted to become an actress, then as the years went by, the dream of acting turned to a dream of driving a purple, big-rig truck with the name ‘Kimmy B’ sprawled across the side. Her dream then changed to becoming an accountant and finally, a travel agent. Lucky for us, before this spunky lady stepped on the path to becoming Kimmy B, the trucker, or a fabulous Hollywood actress, she found herself inspired with a passion to work in education, specifically with those who have special needs. She focused on obtaining her four-year degree and graduated from the University of Northern Iowa in Elementary Education with a minor in Behavioral Disorders.
After teaching her first few years in a BEH (Behaviorally, Emotionally Handicapped) program in Iowa, Kim moved to the south and began teaching at Nations Ford Elementary in Charlotte. In the midst of an underdeveloped special education program, she was motivated by her love for the children to be the change she wanted to see. She carried this attitude with her to Kannapolis, NC where she taught fifth grade and won Teacher of the Year for Forest Park Elementary School. She began teaching at Back Creek Christian Academy a few years later.
Mrs. Crowell has now been at BCCA for 14 years, most of those years she has taught Kindergarten, but she has the gift of adaptability and has transitioned to teaching First Grade like it’s all she’s ever done. In her classroom, she says it’s important to be flexible and always trying new ways to do things, “Sometimes I try and fail. It’s forever changing.” One thing she wants to stay the same, however, is the amount of love she pours into the children who come into her room, “I want these kids to look back and think, ‘Wow, she really loved us,’ they may not remember me that well, but hopefully they’ll remember how they felt in my classroom.”
Along with this constant love and care for her students, Kim loves their families as well, and works to keep them included. One example of this is the Kindergarten Manner Dance. Twelve years ago, Kim was one of two women who founded this dance to top off the class’s month-long study on etiquette. At the dance, dads with daughters and mothers with sons, attend to showcase the students’ manners they’ve learned. Kim finds it extremely important to keep the whole family included in what the students are learning, “I love my kids and I love the families and I always want to keep them involved.”
If you ask Kim about her spiritual testimony, she’ll tell you that it wasn’t simply being in church that changed her—she had gone to church her whole life and not really known Jesus personally—it was the people God placed in her life who introduced her to what a relationship with Jesus could be. She knew she had the passion to dive into something and it was a matter of moving toward God or farther away, and we’re so grateful for the choice she made. This choice has led to her constantly being a part of what God does at Back Creek. As a long-term goal, she wants to go back to school to obtain her degree in counseling and open her own practice which serves families, adults, teens and children and/or hospice counseling. Her personal aspirations and well-known reputation reflect who Mrs. Crowell is at the very core, in life and at BCCA, somebody who loves to help people.