Article

Connecting, Collaborating, and Cultivating a Relationship with Christ: The Journey and Resources of Two School Leaders

Jennie M. Carr and Tammy T. May

Jennie and Tammy’s relationship is precious and has grown significantly over time. It’s hard to believe they met only three years ago through email. Initially, their relationship started as professional and mutually beneficial, supporting each other as a school principal seeking support for Title I students in math and as a college professor of an elementary teaching mathematics course. They devised a partnership focused on relationships through a hybrid mentorship in 2018, which turned into Tammy’s doctoral dissertation and which is now a fully interactive virtual mentorship project that has positively impacted over 175 students’ lives. Along with this project came the beautiful creation of a lifelong friendship.[1] 

From 2018 through early 2020, we were able to meet at local coffee shops to spend time with each other planning, praying, writing, and sharing our innermost thoughts, feelings, and concerns. Reflecting back, these face-to-face times together were so important to us and helped us to develop a strong foundation for our relationship. In fact, we were together when we both received emails from our respective employers in March 2020 indicating that schools were closing due to the pandemic.

As Christian educators and leaders, we fully recognized the additional obstacles that were before us in both our home lives and our educational settings. Early in the pandemic, it was easy to make excuses and focus on our work to-do lists. We felt success when items were crossed off the lists. But what about things that didn’t make it on the lists? How about things that are so important they shouldn’t need to be listed, like prayer, Bible study, and fellowship with others? Times as unprecedented as these needed additional time and coordination. As a result of our determined efforts to be Christian leaders and educators, we chose to spend virtual time together studying God’s Word and praying for each other. Continuing to be God’s servants and living out His plans for our lives was, and still is, our ultimate goal, whether in a pandemic or not. We were (and still are) determined to come out of the pandemic with a stronger relationship with Christ.

Jennie and Tammy’s relationship is precious and has grown significantly over time. It’s hard to believe they met only three years ago through email. Initially, their relationship started as professional and mutually beneficial, supporting each other as a school principal seeking support for Title I students in math and as a college professor of an elementary teaching mathematics course. They devised a partnership focused on relationships through a hybrid mentorship in 2018, which turned into Tammy’s doctoral dissertation and which is now a fully interactive virtual mentorship project that has positively impacted over 175 students’ lives. Along with this project came the beautiful creation of a lifelong friendship.

Along with this project came the beautiful creation of a lifelong friendship.

From 2018 through early 2020, we were able to meet at local coffee shops to spend time with each other planning, praying, writing, and sharing our innermost thoughts, feelings, and concerns. Reflecting back, these face-to-face times together were so important to us and helped us to develop a strong foundation for our relationship. In fact, we were together when we both received emails from our respective employers in March 2020 indicating that schools were closing due to the pandemic.

As Christian educators and leaders, we fully recognized the additional obstacles that were before us in both our home lives and our educational settings. Early in the pandemic, it was easy to make excuses and focus on our work to-do lists. We felt success when items were crossed off the lists. But what about things that didn’t make it on the lists? How about things that are so important they shouldn’t need to be listed, like prayer, Bible study, and fellowship with others? Times as unprecedented as these needed additional time and coordination. As a result of our determined efforts to be Christian leaders and educators, we chose to spend virtual time together studying God’s Word and praying for each other. 

As a result of our determined efforts to be Christian leaders and educators, we chose to spend virtual time together studying God’s Word and praying for each other.

Continuing to be God’s servants and living out His plans for our lives was, and still is, our ultimate goal, whether in a pandemic or not. We were (and still are) determined to come out of the pandemic with a stronger relationship with Christ. This is an abridged version of this article. To read more, subscribe to the print edition of Christian Educators Journal.


Dr. Jennie Carr is associate professor of education and the elementary education program coordinator at Bridgewater College in Virginia where she teaches methodology coursework to prepare the next generation of teachers. Carr is an award-winning and nationally recognized educator with scholarly work published in the areas of instructional technology, building relationships, classroom climate, and virtual mentorships. She holds her pre-K–6 teaching license and believes in continuing her knowledge as a teacher with certifications like Seesaw Ambassador, Virginia Economics Educator, Flipgrid Level 2 Educator, Remind Connected Educator, and SMART Exemplary Educator. Carr resides in Virginia with her husband, two children, chocolate lab, and about a dozen free-range chickens.

Tammy May is the principal of Lacey Spring Elementary School in Harrisonburg, VA. She has worked in the field of education for over twenty-six years and strives to develop positive relationships with students, staff, parents, and the community. She is currently working toward her EdD and enjoys every opportunity to be outdoors, savoring the beauty of nature.