Karen Ottoson

Educational Leadership for Faith-Based Schools


"Through this program, the professors, and my fellow students, I learned what true Christian leadership should look like and the importance of grounding everything in God’s Word."

Why did you choose this graduate degree program? What interested you in this particular field of study?
After being in education for many years, I was ready for a new challenge and I wanted to learn more about leadership for Christian schools. I was sent an email about the program at CBU and liked the fact that I would be on campus for 4 classes and the rest could be done online. Since I was teaching full time at that time, this program was a great fit for me.

What did you like about being in this program at CBU?
This program is amazing. It confirmed to me the importance of strong, godly leaders who mentor, teach and support their staffs so that their staff can mentor, teach and support their students all under the guidance of God and His Word. The central focus of Christ in everything that a school does made this program so very valuable and helpful for me.

What did you think about your professors?
The professors were amazing. They were godly men and women who challenged us, prayed for and with us, and taught everything to us from a Christ-centered point of view. 

Did you complete any field work?
I did my field work at the school I was teaching at during this time. The principal wanted me to develop a survey and then contact former students to see how our school was doing educationally and spiritually.

How did you grow while in this program at CBU?
I grew tremendously. I came in wounded by the treatment I had received at the school I had formerly worked at by the principal and senior pastor. Through this program, the professors and my fellow students, I learned what true Christian leadership should look like and the importance of grounding everything in God’s Word. This program caused me to be more dependent on the Lord and to seek Him in all that I do in my job, whether I am teacher or a principal. 

What have you done since graduating?
I have continued to teach since receiving my master’s degree. I have worked part time the past few years due to the need to care for my aging father. I know this is what God has for me right now.

How has your time at CBU prepared you for your life and career after grad school?
I continue to seek God’s will for what He has next for me. I would love to help run a Christian school, but until then I will teach my students from a Christ-centered position, and support and love them and their families.

Is there anything you learned at CBU that you still use in your professional life today?
Of course! Loving and caring for my students, their families and my fellow co-workers as Jesus did. Also, the research we did has caused me to do more research and searching when preparing my lessons. 

How are you making a difference in the world? How are you living your purpose?
I am following Jesus and His desires for my life to the best of my abilities. I find great joy in teaching children from a Christian worldview. God has blessed me with continued relationships with my former students and knowing that they are walking with God and serving Him is a huge blessing and very humbling!

Would you recommend CBU to others? 
Since starting my program at CBU, I have recommended CBU to everyone! The classes and programs are so Christ-centered, challenging and helpful for growing in faith and career skills.  Having fellow students who I can email for help with new programs or questions about curriculum is a bonus. Since many of my former students are old enough for college or grad school, I always recommend CBU! 

Anything else you’d like to add?
I am so thankful for Dr. Heyman seeking me out and allowing me to be a part of this program. This program changed my life.


Learn More

M.S. in Education, Educational Leadership for Faith-Based Schools
School of Education


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