Kathi Kraai Pearson is a 1984 graduate of Mayer Lutheran High School. She currently lives in Vassar, MI where she is an Early Childhood Director at Peace Lutheran Ministries, Saginaw, MI. Kathi and her husband, Chris, are the proud parents of Ezekiel (13). She is the daughter of Orma and the late Keith Kraai and claims Shakopee, MN as her hometown. Kathi received a Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education from Concordia College–Chicago (River Forest).
Kathi uses her skills as she hires teachers and assistants, tracks income and expenses for the early childhood center, and creates professional development opportunities for her teaching staff. There is what seems to be an endless list of other responsibilities such as overseeing the spiritual development of students and families, participating in the Michigan District Early Childhood Cabinet, and working alongside the rest of the administrative staff at Peace Lutheran Ministries.
Even though the work load can be great sometimes, Kathi tells us her greatest joy that comes with her position is “sharing the love of Jesus with the children and families and then watching them grow in their personal relationships with Jesus.”
There are challenges each day that Kathi depends on God to guide her through. Balancing work and family while meeting the needs of a staff of thirty teachers and assistants are a few of her biggest challenges. Big picture thinking can also be difficult at times.
Having a big heart, Kathi is also very active at her church as she is part of the handbell choir, a greeter, participates in the passion drama, and is a Sunday reader. She also helps her community with the 4-H Adopt a Highway program. Ask Kathi why it’s important for her to volunteer and she will respond by saying, “I like using my talents to praise God and get to know others at church.”
Kathi shares how Mayer Lutheran High School has been instrumental in preparing her for her work. “I realized during my high school years that I wanted to be a teacher and that my faith was important to me. I wanted to teach in a Lutheran school so that I could outwardly share my faith in my classroom and in my personal relationships with the families I interact with in my ministry. My teachers were always teaching us how to make the right choice in our lives and to look to Jesus to help us make those choices. The Bible has all of the help we need to guide us in our relationship with Jesus. We were able to read books about our relationship with Jesus and then we applied it to our lives both personally and in class discussion. It is important that I give my son the same opportunity to attend a Christian high school and we have been saving for his tuition each month since he was born.”
When asked if there were some words of wisdom that has helped her get where she is today, Kathi stated, “Jesus will never give me more than I can handle and when it seems too hard, I need to look for the answers in His Word. The plan that Jesus has had for my life so far is full of leadership and children—talents that I was cultivating in high school.
Each Lutheran teaching or administration position that I have had was preparing me for the next one in His plan for my life. Writing down those challenges and prayers as I go through them has helped me see that Jesus is leading me and sometimes carrying me every step of the way.” Kathi shares how she sees God working in her life. “Christian education is so important in the lives of children as they see the choices that their nation is making. The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod has made Christian education a priority and I am happy to share that with those families that are unchurched. I see Lutheran schools all around the nation closing, three in which I have had held teaching positions. We need to see our Lutheran schools as important as the missions that we fund overseas. Many people that live near our Lutheran schools do not know Jesus personally.
I am proud to share my faith with the families and children in my school.” Thank you for your wise words of wisdom, Kathi! You are wonderful example of a woman who loves the Lord and yearns to know and follow after God’s heart. May God continue to draw all of us in and give us a thirst to know Him better!