Brenda Bernard to Serve as K-8 Academic Principal at Sioux Falls Lutheran School


Sioux Falls Lutheran School is pleased to announce that Mrs. Brenda Bernard will serve as K-8 Academic Principal beginning in July, 2019. Her predecessor, Mrs. Sarah Sailer, has served SFLS in a variety of roles over the past 20 years. Mrs. Sailer’s service as assistant principal will conclude at the end of the 2018-19 school year as she steps away to spend more time traveling with and supporting her husband, Rev. Scott Sailer, who currently serves as President of the South Dakota District of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.

Mrs. Sailer shared that she is excited about the many benefits bringing a full-time K-8 principal onboard will have for students, families, and educators at SFLS. She also shared that she plans to continue serving and assisting with special projects at SFLS.

After 26 years with the Sioux Falls School District, Mrs. Bernard looks forward to beginning a new chapter at SFLS where she can share her faith while working closely with students, families, and teachers at SFLS. Her resume includes experience as an elementary special education teacher, an early childhood program administrator, and an elementary special education coordinator. She has also presented extensively on topics about which she is passionate, including student and teacher resiliency, classroom management, autism, dyslexia, special education and more.

As K-8 Academic Principal at SFLS, Mrs. Bernard will assume and assist with a variety of responsibilities including instructional supervision, teacher hiring and professional development, class schedules, special services, curriculum review and revision, student discipline, school safety, annual testing, policy updates, high school transition, and accreditation through National Lutheran Schools and the State of South Dakota.

“Mrs. Bernard’s well-established track record for researching and implementing best practices in support of the whole child, for collaborating with and advocating for teachers, and her expansive professional experiences—all wrapped up with her kind and gentle approach—will undoubtedly result in a new gold standard for Christ and child-centered academics at SFLS,” SFLS administrator, Mrs. Tia Esser, said. “Please join me in welcoming Mrs. Bernard to the SFLS family and thanking God for another unimaginable gift!”

Check out the Q&A below to meet Mrs. Bernard and learn more about her new position at SFLS:

What first sparked your interest in education?
My first experience with education was teaching Sunday School. I grew up in a very small country church where everyone always had a role in helping with tasks and events. We relied on each other greatly, which instilled a strong sense of service for neighbors and for God. I was asked to teach Sunday School as a high school student, and I quickly grew to love to help children learn and grow in their faith and understanding of the Bible. These experiences still impact me today.

How do you anticipate your professional experiences with the Sioux Falls School District to guide or impact your work at SFLS?
I have been very blessed to have a variety of teaching and leadership roles and positions in the Sioux Falls School District. In every role and in every school, I learned the importance of teamwork and service to each other as teachers, learners, and parents. I believe everything I have learned, the successes I have been a part of, and the challenges I have worked through have all led to this moment. When put together, our past experiences give us the ability to think reflectively and creatively as teams to ensure all students grow academically, emotionally, and spiritually. I know that at SFLS, I will continue to learn and teach through successes and challenges. I am filled with anticipation to have this opportunity to work with the SFLS team.

What are you most looking forward to about joining the SFLS team?
I am really looking forward to actively working with teams, including children, families, and staff, on a daily basis. Currently my office and much of my work is in an administrative building; I dearly miss being in a school assisting children, working alongside staff, and developing relationships with families. When I was offered the position at SFLS, I celebrated by purchasing a warm “recess” coat!

What excites you most about integrating your faith with your passion for education?
My life, like the lives of most, has had times of such joy and beauty, but also times of grief and disappointment. As teachers and parents we all have these experiences, and I cannot imagine approaching them without being grounded in faith and knowing the gift of grace and salvation given to us through Jesus Christ. Being able to share this faith, hope, and love in a community of believers, with the purpose of serving children and each other, is an immense gift and responsibility. Joining the SFLS team brings me full circle back to my roots of the joy of teaching and learning in Sunday School.