With Erin Smith’s (now Erin Stonecipher!) recent marriage and move, ICS was left with a big hole to fill in the Upper School Principal position. The ICS Administration knew that the person to step in to fill this role would need to be diligent, experienced, and committed to the same level of excellence that Mrs. Stonecipher exemplified in her many years of ministry at ICS. Administrators prayed, assembled a search committee of ICS teachers and received resumes of many incredible candidates interested in the position.
God answered these prayers and preparations in a way that only He can by bringing Rachel Reno, a former ICS 8th grade teacher of seven years, back as our new Upper School Principal. Ms. Reno has years of experience both in the public and private school settings, earned her Masters in Education, and has studied the field of biblical counseling. In His perfect providence, the Lord has measured her steps and the timing of ICS’ need to coincide. As a school body we are deeply thankful for her presence here.
Below, Ms. Reno’s former ICS students (who are now teachers themselves) express their thankfulness for her return to the school that they love.
“ICS laid the groundwork for my career in education and Rachel Reno definitely played a part in the process. She helped me understand the structure of the English language and how literature affects my life in a real way. I believe the things that I teach my elementary school students every day should be relevant to their lives. I’m excited that Ms. Reno is working again at ICS and has the opportunity to facilitate meaning and purpose in education to both the teachers that work under her and the many students that will walk the halls under her leadership!” – Heather Campbell, ICS Class of 2004 and Masters of Education graduate student
“Rachel Reno was my 8th grade English teacher at ICS. As her student, she encouraged me to be confident in who God created me to be. I remember just wanting to be around her, even if that meant diagraming sentences with her at lunch. She had an approachable and calming presence that displayed her love for God. She also desired for each of her students to have a firm foundation in Christ, and taught us that each choice we make in life must bring glory to God.
As a current teacher at ICS, I try to spread the joy and love that I have in Christ to each one of my students in the same way Rachel did for me. She made being in her classroom enjoyable, and she consistently sought to bring out the different strengths in each of her students. My prayer is to allow the Lord to use me to have an eternal impact on my students in the same way the Lord used Rachel with me.” – Danielle Gleason, ICS Class of 2007 and ICS Kindergarten Teacher
“Refocusing a class of unwieldy 8th graders (especially after lunch) is no easy feat, and yet Ms. Reno commanded the room with grace and authority. She had made classroom management a game—how fast could we quiet down? Who would be first? Who would shout the loudest?
When I first met Ms. Reno, I liked her immediately. Of course, I was in stage where I liked people who looked like me, and the fact that she was tall and had brown hair drew me instantly to her. Just the same, I was slightly intimidated by her. I thought she was the prettiest teacher I had ever seen and I didn’t know if I could hang. She just seemed so…cool.
Her disarming smile and winsome personality quickly disbanded any awkwardness I may have felt, and after I carpooled with her on the way to the wilderness retreat with several other girls singing songs at the top of our lungs, it’s safe to say any tension dissipated.
Thinking back to 8th grade English, I remember sentence diagramming. I remember reading Anne Frank and coming into a classroom turned upside down where we had to huddle under sheets in silence. I remember the first Socratic seminar I ever had, the infamous and infuriating loop of questions as we attempted to explain what it means to have an identity. I remember the way she taught me to layer details into my writing (how am I doing with that, by the way?).
And then there were the other things. The friend things. We exchanged favorite books and after I graduated from ICS, she invited me to come running with her. I remember being exhausted and thought we were close to being finished when she said we were almost halfway.
On that run, Ms. Reno taught me something I’ve never forgotten. Near the end of the run, she said, ‘I always give my very best at the end.’ Then she sprinted up the hill to the car. She taught me to give everything I have and to keep pushing, even when you don’t think you can. I run several times a week, and I always sprint at the end.
As a teacher, she taught me that authenticity is the only secret to great teaching, and that you can’t take yourself too seriously.
In my own classroom, I’m horrified when I ask students to identify parts of speech, and they can’t. They didn’t have Ms. Reno. How she made sentence diagramming fun, I’ll never know. Like I said, the woman has a gift.” – Lindsey Hardenbergh, ICS Class of 2004 and John C. Marshall High School English Teacher
“What stood out to me most as Ms. Reno’s student was her passion and work ethic. As a preteen trying desperately to fit in and do as little school work as possible to squeak by, I was convicted by Ms. Reno’s unabashed fanaticism about grammar and sentence diagramming. My secret was that deep down I loved those things, too. The fact that she could be so excited about school and still be so well respected in the eyes of her students showed me at a very important time in my life that it is okay and essential to pursue the talents God has given you. Doing your best glorifies God, and Ms. Reno always does her best. I am thrilled that she is back to bless another generation of ICS students with her wisdom and godliness.” – Erika McKellop, ICS Class of 2004 and Upper School Librarian
Welcome, Ms. Reno!