Horizon Prep is very excited to welcome and introduce our new Head of Schools, Dr. Erik Konsmo. Dr. Konsmo joined us just as the school year was ready to begin in late August. Erik comes with 11 years of experience as Headmaster of Renton Christian School in Renton, Washington. Erik’s education was in Theology and he brings a lot of energy and excitement to his new role here.
We sat down to get to know Erik a little bit better.
Q: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I was born and raised in Seattle. I’ve been married to Tammie for 21 years. We have 2 kids: Emma, who’s starting at HP in 8th grade, and Andrew, who is a 5th grader. While we love our hometown of Seattle, we are all very excited to move down to San Diego!
Q: What should we call you?
Whatever you want! The students call me Dr. K or Dr. Konsmo, but Erik is fine. :)
Q: How is it getting acclimated?
We haven’t been here for long and are living in temporary housing for now but we sure like the weather, and have already gotten the kids into activities right away so their lives can become normal as soon as possible. The weather’s great, but ironically it was cold and drizzly on our first day here so we felt right at home!
Q: Tell us about your faith
I grew up in a Christian home and spent a lot of time at church, but I distinctly remember a long talk with my dad in my bedroom when I was in second grade, and we kneeled by my bed and prayed together and I accepted Christ. By junior high, I really felt the Lord prodding me to go into ministry. I originally thought I would become a missionary, but during college I fell in love with theology and that led me to seminary and my doctorate in New Testament Theology, then to teaching theology at the college level, until the Lord led me to Christian education.
Q: How did that career change come about?
I really thought that I would be a Bible scholar, sitting on a faculty, writing articles and lecturing, but my path shifted after a phone call from the pastor of my church, who was looking for a head for the church-sponsored school. He was looking for someone with overall leadership qualities, instead of someone with only a background in K-12 education and he thought of me and that’s really how it happened. I didn’t know it at that point, but I have definitely found my calling in educational leadership.
Q: What were you able to accomplish at your last school?
I loved my experience there, learned a lot and made a lot of progress there. When I arrived, it was a little bit of a mom and pop shop. I was tasked with growing and maturing the school and its processes, stabilizing the finances, leading students and staff and repairing relationships between the church and the school. We did a lot of strategic planning, and accomplished some great goals, among them becoming fully accredited and filling the classrooms. I really loved my experience there, but now it’s time for my second school.
Q: Why the move to HP?
Our school went to 8th grade, and while I really did love it and had a great experience there, for several years I’ve been very passionate about adding a high school. I have to say, 8th grade graduation was always the saddest day of the year for me, because I really felt like we weren’t done with these students. In fact, at 8th grade we are just getting started and it’s way too early to send them on. This was hitting home now as my daughter is just entering 8th grade. Unfortunately, it wasn’t going to change as my old school did not have the opportunity to expand at this point, so as only the Lord can do, one day this spring I happened upon Horizon Prep’s posting on the ACSI website, and I reached out, and was put through an intense vetting process and here I am!
Q: Why is Christian education important?
That’s a great question, and there are many answers. Of course, the Bible only mentions churches, not Christian schools. A lot of people see Christian school as a luxury that only some can provide for their kids, but the world is changing quickly, and the influence and importance that a Christian school can have in a student’s - and family’s - life is incredible. Think about all the state mandates to teach transgender curriculum – even starting in kindergarten - telling children that they can choose their gender! Our school office would get phone calls asking if boys have to use boys bathrooms and if we teach gender identity. Sometimes these are Christian families asking, but they are also people who are not members of any church asking - just parents trying to protect their children. This is not necessarily just an issue for Christian families. If you think about it, we are about to have the 10th anniversary of the smartphone. The temptations and access to the world that our kids face are very new and really tough for our kids to manage. To learn how to properly use technology in a safe Christian environment - which our kids probably won’t learn at church on Sunday - is important. It’s crucial that they learn to navigate and responsibly live a righteous life in the midst of this very fast-paced world in which they live.
Q: What are your plans for HP?
First and foremost, I definitely love the academic strength that’s here, and the strong sense of family and community. The happiness and joy on campus is pervasive and we definitely won’t change that! There are so many positive elements that have been established already, and while I’ll spend most of this first year really learning and observing, we will also do some strategic planning in facility and program planning. We will start with focusing on growth in our new high school. We’ve just finished our first 12th grade year and it’s going to be really fun to see and experience the maturing of the high school, not just academically, but in athletics, the arts, and spiritual formation. There’s a lot of opportunity to show the local community the impressive things going on school-wide, including our high school.
Q: What would your theme for the year be?
Purpose and Potential. We want each student to find their purpose in Christ and reach their full potential through the power of the Holy Spirit. We don’t just want the kids to cross the line of faith and be saved, but to fulfill God’s unique purpose for their lives. And the exciting thing is that the Lord will start speaking to them and directing them on that path here during their school years.
Q: Any last thought?
I’m just excited to be here! It’s going to be a great year and a great next chapter and I can’t wait to meet everyone.