A slice of local life: Horizion’s Jim Brown: Teaching in many ways

Jim Brown is a great example of never giving up until you find your niche in life.

He has experienced many different careers over his lifetime; from being a pro-league baseball hopeful, to applying for dental school, and then teaching science and math. Loved by many students, Brown has been teaching at Horizon Christian School for almost 30 years; while also working at the local Safeway since 1991.

In his early years, Brown was hopeful for a chance to play in the big leagues as a professional baseball player; when his baseball career ended, he turned his interest to dentistry. “I was impressed at an early age by my orthodontist at the time; how he was able to take my teeth and rearrange them to where I had no teeth in the middle of my mouth and the overlap was corrected. I thought, ‘Man what a great thing to be able to do’.

“Unfortunately, I was not able to get into dental school so I chose to get married and took a job at Steelcase Office Manufacturing in Southern California before moving to Hood River in 1980,” Brown said.

After he moved, Brown took a job as a foreman for an orchard located in Hood River. In 1983, Oscar Stenberg (then principal of Baptist Christian, now athletic director of Horizon) approached Brown about teaching a few science classes at Baptist. Brown had known Stenberg previously, since they both attended the First Baptist Church and had children about the same age, which created close family ties.

Due to his previous education in science, Brown had no issues returning to the science field. “I’ve never had difficulty with science; it’s kind of an easy track. It was an interest that was certainly a preparation to take that next step. The classes were mainly a study of human anatomy and physiology which lent themselves to doing some dissection. At the time the school had never really been involved with it – that’s where it all began,” Brown said.

It wasn’t until late fall of the following year that Stenberg offered Brown a full-time position on staff.

After some thought, preparation and prayer Brown joined the staff of Baptist Christian School in November of 1984. Baptist Christian would soon merge with Shepherd of the Valley, which then became Summit Christian School and later Horizon Christian School in the late 90’s.

Every morning Jim Brown arrives at Horizon around 5 a.m. and prepares to teach multiple classes, co-advise for Horizon’s leadership team and work with seniors to prepare for graduation.

Brown said, “I’m a senior advisor and a co-advisor on leadership team. Those are additional things that running a small school with small staff provides — areas of need. I don’t mind filling in and servicing in those areas of need.”

For his leadership team role, Brown co-advises with English teacher Faith Kempf to assist the elected students in fundraising, student store activities, and financial exchanges. At Horizon’s student store, students who need a lunch or just want something extra can purchase lunch, snacks, and candy to help fund the activities leadership team does for the school.

“Leadership team has been good. It has allowed students and advisors to direct kids in a way that they can become leaders during and after they leave the school,” said Brown. “It also enhances their ability to communicate and be visionary as well; to come up with ideas to be presented to administration that would be good for the school.”

With plans to return for the 2013-14 school year, Brown said, “As God wills, He will guide and direct all of this, so we’re not anxious for anything. We’re looking forward to not just the completion of this year, but also who God will bring along next year to continue the process. I can’t think of anything else but positives as we look down the road.”

Katie Tolbert, Class of 2013 at Horizon, has served as a news intern all school year.

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