Baymonte Christian Schools exists today because of the vision, commitment and faith of Glennon Culwell. As Baymonte marks it 40th year of operation, I sat down with Glennon to discuss his inspiration, our early history, and his vision for our future.
Glennon first came to Scotts Valley in June of 1958 as a candidate for the position of pastor at the First Baptist Church of Scotts Valley, now GateWay Bible Church. He told me that 13 people voted to call him; he was not offered a salary but they promised him they wouldn’t let him starve. When his wife Jeanie asked what his response was, he replied, “I said I’ll be there Sunday”.
At that time the only school in Scotts Valley was on Bean Creek Road, the site of the current public middle school. In time, Vine Hill School was built and the Principal and local Superintendent of Schools were committed Christians. Many of the teachers were graduates from Bethany Bible College and prayer in school was common. When a candidate for the school board challenged prayer taking place in the local schools, Glennon organized a successful campaign to support the current board members. Shortly thereafter courts voted to restrict prayer in schools.
In 1966 Glennon’s daughter Shirley was starting high school and would be leaving the school district. Glennon was joined by First Baptist members Art and Marion Davies and Ben Croghan in enrolling their children at Valley Christian Schools in Los Gatos. Valley Christian Schools was established by David and Edie Wallace where David was the school’s superintendent.
Pastor Culwell had wanted to establish a Christian school at his church, even before he received his call to serve in Scotts Valley. In 1956, while a student at Chico State, he was influenced by a strong advocate of Christian schooling named Harold Westcott. He made a decision at that time to establish a Christian school wherever God would call him as pastor.
In April of 1967 Glennon preached a sermon regarding the merits of a Christian school education. In his sermon he said, “We must have a Christian school by next school year”. This message was also delivered to the greater Santa Cruz community on Glennon’s regular weekly broadcast on KSCO radio. A group of parents from the church and the community began to meet to plan the new school. Glennon shared with me that they had no idea how to start a school; he just knew it was God’s direction. David Wallace came to Glennon’s mind as he had met with him prior to enrolling his daughter at Valley Christian. The school committee asked David and Edie Wallace to meet with them to provide advice about starting a school. In one of those meetings they asked David if he would serve as the school’s superintendent. He immediately said he would and was hired. Later that month the school board chose the name Baymonte. The school filed for incorporation with the State of California in July of 1968.
The school was not established without controversy. Three families from the First Baptist Church told Pastor Culwell they would leave the church if he opened a school. All three families did leave the church; two of them returned later and enrolled their children at Baymonte.
Linda Cantrall, who has since retired from Baymonte, was the first teacher hired by Mr. Wallace. A graduate of UC Berkeley, she interviewed for the position with Mr. Wallace in his office at Valley Christian School. In September of 1968 the school was opened with 85 students enrolled in kindergarten through eighth grade.
Baymonte’s early growth was rapid. The school used classroom facilities at First Baptist and then leased additional space at Shaw Hall, adjacent to the church property. By the start of the second school year in 1969 there were 233 students; new families were enrolling each month. Soon high school and preschool departments were added to the school.
I asked Glennon what he felt about the need for Christian schools today as opposed to the time when the school was founded. He replied that there is no comparison and the need today is much greater. He reminded me that he had written a book on the subject entitled Death Goes to School. Glennon said the major difference is the loss of Christian influence in our culture today and the lack of prayer in the public schools. He underscored that our school was established at a time when school standards were beginning to erode and the difference between then and now is like darkness and light.
Pastor Culwell offered the following advice for parents today: “Always remember that education is the responsibility of the parents. The school’s responsibility is delegated”.
If a Christian school or home school is an impossible alternative, the responsibility is still the parents. He added that parents should scrutinize their student’s curriculum. His strong admonition is that “Christian principles and moral standards must be provided by parents. Parents cannot abdicate the responsibility of education regardless of the school”.
Praise God for his servant, Pastor Glennon Culwell. Our school is a testimony to his vision, faith, and action.
Kathy Rea received her bachelor’s degree in education from Bethany College in Scotts Valley and her Teaching Credential from National University in Fresno. She has taught for more than 30 years at all elementary levels. She loves to integrate a Christian worldview and personal faith into academic studies.
Kathy’s interest outside the classroom include listening to music, researching current events and spending time with her family. Her three grandsons play basketball and water polo, so a lot of family time is spent cheering from the court or deck.
Her family is the light of her life. She has been married to her husband, Casey, for 37 years. They have two daughters and 3 grandsons.
Amy Bootz earned her BA in Speech Communication and her CA Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. Since her college days, Amy has worked in a number or positions that align with her deep passion: teaching kids while helping them grow in their relationship with Jesus.
After hitting the trails as a Naturalist at Mount Hermon, she taught for 6 years at San Jose Christian Middle School. From there, Amy was led to work in a local church, where she directed the children’s ministry for the past 8 years. This year Amy is thrilled to jump back into the classroom to teach Middle School Spanish, Drama and 6th grade Science Lab.
Amy and her college sweetheart, Josh, have two energetic, adventurous boys, Eli and Brenden and a Golden Retriever named Belle. Amy loves long chats over coffee, running in Henry Cowell with Belle and exploring the incredible outdoors in all kinds of crazy ways with her family.
Jeremae Reyes received her BA from Long Beach State University and her teacher education coursework at Biola University. She will be joining our staff as the new middle school Science teacher. She was born and raised in Long Beach and although an only child she has a God given passion for teaching children. She has experience as YMCA youth leader, a substitute teacher in the Long Beach Unified School district, and has taught robotics in Compton Public Schools.
She loves going to Disneyland and drinking coffee but top of her list is her love for God. She loves to sing and was on her home church worship team. Moving to Scotts Valley will be a big change for this Southern California native but she is excited to meet our students and start a new adventure here at Baymonte Christian School.
Kendra Morrison is joyfully passionate about teaching, learning and creating. She earned her Master’s in teaching from Bethany College and has taught at elementary schools for seven years. Mrs. Morrison is also a professional artist having earned her Bachelor’s of Fine Arts at Indiana University, Bloomington. When she’s not in the classroom she can be found in her art studio creating original works of art. Her favorite part of teaching is encouraging students to become life-long learners and explorers, and to walk with Christ daily. Mrs. Morrison has two boys, a wonderful husband, and a very kind dog named Doogle.
Kathryn McClure was born and raised in Scotts Valley. After graduating from Scotts Valley High School, Kathryn attended Vanguard University of Southern California in Costa Mesa where she pursued her degree in Liberal Studies with an emphasis in history and a minor in Biblical Studies. Kathryn received her Multiple Subject Teaching Credential and her MA in Education at San Jose State University. During her time in college, Kathryn served with Young Life, an outreach ministry for high school students. Kathryn has been on part time Young Life Staff for the last four years both in Newport Beach and Scotts Valley. She has also helped coach the girl’s soccer team at Scotts Valley High School for the past two seasons.
Kathryn has a heart for the youth in her community and feels called to instill confidence, value, and a sense of wonder about our intricate world to each of her students. Kathryn is looking forward to meeting her students and hopes to challenge and affirm each child everyday! In her free time, Kathryn enjoys hiking, camping, reading, being at the beach, and spending time with her husband.
Hi, my name is Jason Braun. I am very privileged to be the new music teacher here at Baymonte. What can I say about my life? Simply this—each season of my life has been met by the grace of Jesus Christ, and my failures have been met by His faithfulness. My calling in music and teaching started in my early 20’s, just playing guitar on a park bench at U.C. Irvine. Some Christian students came over to talk and said that I could make music for God—sadly my response at the time was “no thanks”. However God was faithful, and He had a plan for me. I later attended Chico State, where I met my ultra-talented and lovely wife Ling, and I received a B.A. degree in classical guitar with courses in Music Education. After finishing my M.M. degree at San Diego State, Ling and I moved to Boston. There I completed my teaching credential and began teaching violin and guitar classes in the Boston Public Schools. At the time, we lived in an old apartment directly across from a church. One day I crossed the street to ask for a Bible to read, and I was given one, along with the encouragement “the grace of God is calling you”. In 2005 our amazing daughter Jocylin was born, and I received full time work back in California, as a band and orchestra director with the Redwood City School District. Through a wonderful young student named Jonathan and his loving parents, I was invited for home meals and fellowship, and as the Gospel was shared with me, I gave my life to Christ. Shortly after, I began singing and playing guitar and cello at Shoreline Community Church in Mountain View, and began a 9 year stay with the Portola Valley School District, where I taught band, string orchestra, and guitar classes. Then, in 2009, along came Lydia the fearless one, our second daughter. In 2013, while still with Portola Valley, I also began teaching on an hourly basis at Sunnyvale Christian School, offering lessons in what would become K-5 classes in recorder and guitar. This was especially rewarding because SCS is a ministry partner of our family’s home church—Crosswalk Community Church. Finally, after this past year with the Hollister School District (and a 600 mile per week commute) I am thrilled to be at Baymonte, and to give my best to Christ, to students, and their families.
So, in closing, I love sharing music with kids, and to be allowed to do this while also serving the Lord is such a good, good gift.
“He gave you love now, so love your brother
He gave you a bell, so let it ring
He gave you a song; better keep on singing
For you’ll be known by the songs that you sing
He gave you a fire; keep on burning
He gave you a light; better let it shine
He gave you a prayer wheel; just keep on turning
And I believe we’ll be together, hallelujah,
When we reach the other side”.
Johnny Cash, “Over There”.
If you have a teenager, you will probably not be surprised to hear that the most recent studies suggest the average teen spends over nine hours a day in front of a screen. To some of us, this statistic may sound exaggerated, inflated or just flat out wrong, but in my experience with students, this is a conservative number.
This next generation lives online and in front of screens. Between social media and binge watching Netflix, a vast majority of our kids really do live with one foot in an alternate reality.
The reasons I raise the issue of this study is because of the recent conversations I have had with some of my middle school students this year. During lunches I often walk around and float from group to group joining in on conversations and hanging out. Recently, I approached a group as they were discussing the new show they were currently binge watching, 13 Reasons Why, their up-to-date music obsessions including DJ Khaled’s single “I’m The One,” and the all important topic of who had the better lunch and why crust on bread was ever even invented. As kids finished their food the conversations began to die, the group disbanded and a game of nine-square began. A typical Monday lunch.
What was of interest to me was the casualty of tone in which they discussed a few of the ‘afore mentioned topics. Had I been a few years older, or not around young teens everyday, there is a good chance I may not have known what these things were. Reading the paragraph above… do you? Or if you were to see them in the search history of Netflix or iTunes, would you think twice about them?
In case you have not heard of either, here is a brief synopsis:
I’M THE ONE: Amassing over 100+ Million views on YouTube within the first two weeks of its release, the song and music video features major stars like Chance The Rapper and Justin Bieber. The misogynistic lyrics (note: profanities) make the case for why a girl should want to be with them: They’re rich. The video opens with an invitation from Khaled to his crew to come over and “celebrate life, success, and our blessings”. And what are those “blessings”? Girls. Girls that Chance The Rapper and Beiber (both of whom profess to be Christian and have sung worship songs and hymns in concert) talk about in explicit ways.
13 REASONS WHY: Netflix’s current hit is about a teenage girl who commits suicide and leaves behind 13 tapes depicting the exact reason and the people responsible for her suicide. The show is extremely graphic with a plethora of profanity, the F-Word, more than one rape scene, a viewing of the actual slitting of wrists and death of a teen girl, as well as the normalization of underage drinking, homosexuality, and incompetent adults.
Now while I did share my thoughts with the students in the moment, I do not write to condemn either of these things necessarily; I trust your discretion as parents’ regarding what you feel is appropriate for your child in terms of media. (I do, however, think that awareness of what our kids are consuming nine hours of their day is so important to protecting them and helping them make wiser choices.) Especially since it is suggested, according to one study, that 70% of kids hide their online activity from their parents. So what do we do with this ever changing climate of culture and technology we are trying to raise our children in…?
Baymonte Christian School wants to continually come alongside our parents and aid and support in any way we can. In this spirit, here are a few suggestions I have in regards to your children amidst this crazy digital age…