Lisa Bernier is one of GCU’s finest. This is her fifth year as a full-time faculty member in the College of Education, where she teaches ESL and special education courses for undergraduate students. Lisa has always had a heart for teaching; since her childhood, lining up her stuffed animals and teaching them with leftover worksheets, it has been her passion and desire to be an educator. In fact, Lisa earned her bachelor’s degree at Grand Canyon University in the 1980s in elementary education and has never looked back. She has been a teacher for 32 years now and has loved the opportunity to equip and encourage the next generation of educators here at her alma mater!
We recently caught up with Lisa for to hear some of her advice, stories and hopes for GCU.
What piece of advice have you found most helpful to either yourself or your students?
My teachers at Grand Canyon back in the 80s told me that God makes teachers. It is a gift and a calling. If you don’t feel called or that intrinsic motivation to make a difference, to commit to this all-consuming job we call teaching, then it’s probably best to re-evaluate your major and goals. This will take everything you have, but if you allow God to use you wherever you are teaching, then the rewards are forever-changed lives.
Do you have a favorite story or memory from your time teaching at GCU?
Every summer, I take a team of GCU College of Education students to the city of Soe, which is in West Timor, Indonesia. They get to teach English in Christian schools, run a weekly bible/English club for children at two Compassion Indonesia sites and minister to children at a church-run orphanage. The growth I get to witness in each GCU student that goes on the mission trip is amazing – not only in teaching practices, but in character and spiritual maturity as well. I wish all of our College of Education students could have this type of experience before entering the profession.
What makes the College of Education community unique?
From a faculty perspective, the College of Education faculty and staff are a team of highly skilled individuals. We’re not afraid to pioneer new ideas, and we work as a cohesive unit. One of the best things is that we’re one another’s biggest cheerleaders! Everything we do is filtered through the lens of what is best in preparing our students, at all levels, for their callings as educators.
What do you want your students to get out of their education and community at GCU?
Our conceptual framework for the College of Education encompasses learning, leading and serving. I love this framework. I think this is how Christ demonstrated teaching for us, and he is the ultimate teacher! I want all of my students to become teacher-leaders and those who choose to follow Christ to also be salt and light to the school community in which God places them.
It is our hope and desire that Lisa Bernier will continue using her God-given passion for educating and encouraging others for many more years, spreading her knowledge and wisdom to GCU students. To learn more about the College of Education’s majors and programs, visit our website or contact us using the Request More Information button.
Written by Breanna Alverson, a senior earning a business administration degree at GCU.