If students at Trinity Lutheran School in Boone are looking for a role model in the area of life-longing learning, they need look no further than Prinicpal Dale Karner.
Karner has four decades of educational experience behind him, and yet he’s spending his “summer vacation” as a student again, taking university classes in Des Moines, gearing up for the new school year ahead.
The veteran educator completed his first year at Trinity Lutheran School in May but says Iowa has so many unique laws that it’s presented “a big learning curve” in settling in to his new position.
A Chicago native, Karner earned his undergraduate degree in education from Concordia University in Concordia, Neb. He later earned a master’s in education from the University of Missouri in St. Louis.
Karner has spent his career teaching in Lutheran schools across the nation, spending two years teaching in Los Angeles before heading to the Midwest and teaching for the next 37 years in St. Louis. The enviroment may be different, but the focus is the same.
“Kids are kids; that’s no different,” Karner says in describing the move from much larger metropolitan areas.
Most of all, Karner enjoys working in a Lutheran School, where Christ-centered values are key to the curriculum.
“That’s what we’re here for, to tell people about our Saviour. I love being a part of that, so do all the teachers here,” he says. “They’re a great staff.”
Karner points to studies by the Search Institute that show some 40 traits beneficial for a child.
“A lot of the traits are what some people would say are old-fashioned,” but research over three generations demonstrates their value, he notes.
Among those 40 traits are such things as having a set of religious beliefs and even having the influence of a grandparent or other older family member. At Trinity, focus on the family is very important.
“The parents love what we do and love having their kids here,” Karner says.
In the last school year, Trinity Lutheran served 122 students, preschool through eighth grade, with a staff of five teachers. This year they’re looking forward to increasing that to total of 5.5 full-time teaching positions.
In addition to serving as principal, Karner teaches sixth, seventh and eighth grade math and science.