Teacher Spotlight: Wendy Willis
By Evie Fordham
Wendy Willis teaches middle school science courses Engineering and Forensics at Wake Christian Academy. She has two bachelor’s degrees, one in Agricultural Engineering and the other in Science Education, from North Carolina State University.
Mrs. Willis first felt the rewards of educating others while in college.
“While I was… working on an engineering degree, I came to realize that I enjoyed tutoring students, especially in math,” she said. Years later, she attended Wake Christian’s sixth grade orientation with her eldest son. Middle School Principal Larry Hoxie got up to speak.
“[He] announced that they needed a teacher for a new elective being offered at Wake Christian entitled ‘Engineering,’” she said, “I was intrigued, and after praying about the job opportunity, I felt that I should apply. Now, I am thankful to be a part of Wake Christian.”
Her classes give kids hands-on experiences.
“What’s really great about the engineering and forensics classes is that students don’t just learn about these careers, they get opportunities to experience doing engineering and forensic science,” Mrs. Willis said.
In Engineering, students design, build and test balsa wood bridges, while in Forensics, students dust for fingerprint evidence and analyze tire tracks.
Mrs. Willis recalled the first year that Engineering class tested their balsa wood bridges. They incrementally added sand to a five gallon bucket suspended from the bridge’s center.
“One student filled the bucket almost completely full of sand,” she said, “The students began to worry that the bucket wasn’t going to hold enough sand to break that bridge… I was surprised, along with the students, that a balsa wood bridge could hold so much weight. It was an exciting day in engineering class for us all.”
When she is not instructing students, Mrs. Willis enjoys spending time outdoors with her husband and two sons, both of whom attend Wake Christian. She also loves to cook.
Her favorite part of teaching is helping students reach “Aha!” moments.
“It is… very rewarding to see students enjoy learning, get engaged in the subject matter and ask their own thought-provoking questions,” she said.
Most of all, Mrs. Willis loves that she is helping her students better understand God through science.
“Creation illustrates how magnificent, powerful, creative, wise, awesome and loving God is… He is the Master Engineer of our universe,” she said, “I like to point out to students how math and science concepts are powerful evidence of what we believe about God from the Scriptures.”