NBC Adjunct Professor, Dr. Karen Lea
Teaching, Learning, & Leading
When I think about my life, my autobiography is summed up in the words to the song “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so. Little ones to Him belong, we are weak, but He is strong.” My life has been an adventure with God, not always easy, never boring, and always with a God who loves me.
I grew up in Colorado and Idaho, in a lower economic family where parents worked more than one job. So, I learned that work is important and that doing your best is more important than what job you have. As the third child, I think I was God’s surprise to my parents. They had raised my sister as a traditional girl learning to cook, play piano, etc. They raised my brother learning to hunt, and fish. Then I came along and wanted to do it all. Today, that is a blessing since I can cook a great meal, host a gathering, know what is wrong with my car, fix my plumbing and electrical, shoot accurately at a target, and mow and weed my lawn. I doubt I will ever grow out of being a tomboy.
My K-12 education years were in different types of classrooms that encouraged me to become an independent learner that I see in my love of online learning and teaching. My elementary years were in a school without walls – for those that don’t know that part of our education history, there were multiple grades in a large room without walls. We sat on bean-bag chairs and our education was individualized based on our test results. In high school, I had a teacher who found out I wanted to teach and had me teach his classes during my study period. As I look back, I see those years as God shaping me into the teacher I am today and fueling my love of learning.
Shortly after I graduated with a mathematics teaching certificate, I moved to California where I fell in love with teaching in the urban schools. I discovered that God had planted a love in me for my urban students and a strong desire to help them get an education. While teaching for twelve years in the urban schools, I earned my M.A. and Ph.D.
I then knew God was leading me to teach at the university level, and I spent fourteen years teaching others how to teach. During that time, I found myself in various leadership roles and discovered God had put in me a desire to teach others how to lead with love. I was also in charge of the teacher education accreditation efforts, and through that, discovered that God was broadening my life and giving me options.
After several years in higher education, I knew I needed more experience to be credible in my instruction. As with all my other career changes, God orchestrated this one, and I was offered a job writing curriculum for a military unit. I trained others how to write quality curriculum and teach. God used this career to teach me more about myself, and to stretch my faith. For all of that, I am always thankful.
Currently, I am back in higher education as an Assessment Developer for an online university. I am enjoying the challenge of new learning and am enjoying working from home.
Through all of this life, God has always reminded me that He loves me, He will never leave me, and that as I live in obedience, He will continue to grow my faith in Him.
Dr. Karen Lea has been an instructor for NBC since 2016.