A WORD FROM OUR CO-PRINCIPALS
I am thankful to have the opportunity to introduce myself in my new role as co-principal at Rapid City Christian School. My name is Richard Stecher and I have been teaching high school science at RCC since the winter of 2012. My journey at Rapid City Christian goes back a little before that though. I attended RCCS as a student my junior and senior years of high school and witnessed firsthand the beginning of the school at its new home at the Hart Ranch. In my senior year we moved out to a building with just enough rooms to use as classrooms and a fully functioning horse arena. A plastic snap-together gym floor protected by a heavy cloth hoop building outside served as gym, lunchroom, chapel, and essentially any other function the school required. What had I gotten myself into? While I attended the school pursuing a better education, I got a whole lot more than I bargained for. The whole school had an odd, tangible sense of kindness about it that I just could not quite put my finger on. I slowly came to realize that this place functioned more like a family than a school. I was too young in my walk with Jesus to have a reasonable grasp on the concept of the body of Christ, which of course is why it seemed so foreign. Every day at school I was surrounded by staff who loved the Lord and truly walked out their faith with a rare authenticity in front of all the students and families. Being surrounded by influences like that makes a young person really think.
After high school graduation I went to SDSU, where I majored in biology, minored in chemistry, and specialized in secondary education. During college I was blessed with a loving wife, and after graduation we were able to return to Rapid City. I took a high school science teaching position with the school and could barely believe the change. Where did this outstanding chapel come from? There was a gym indoors, a real gym! The student population had more than doubled since my own graduation. New classrooms lined what used to be horse stalls, dirt, and straw; and the football field outside was lined with a perfect red track. Walking in today you would never know what the building used to be, which is part of the reason I’m introducing myself this way. God used faithful workers (many I’m sure) to pull off an incredible transformation at the campus of Rapid City Christian. That’s really what the school is all about, transformation. The changes in the campus pale in comparison to the changes the Holy Spirit works in people when the Word of God is taught as truth. So that’s why I’m here. As a teacher I was serving God, now as co-principal (I still get to teach biology) my goal is the same albeit in a different position. I’m excited for what God has in store for the upcoming school year for all the students, families, and staff at Rapid City Christian and I hope you are as well.
As a teenager someone once told me, “When you say, ‘I never want to….’ God laughs”. I didn’t appreciate the thought at the time, but I’ve come to realize that God has a way of changing our hearts to fit His purposes. In high school there were two things I did not want to do – teach or travel to places that were dirty or had snakes. Ironically, then I graduated college as a secondary teacher and have been teaching and taking missions trips to areas of poverty for fifteen years and ended up teaching in South Dakota, where I’ve had snakes slither across my feet twice! God changed my heart about teaching because of a teacher – one who was passionate about his subject, interested in every student in his class and dedicated to helping us understand our role in God’s kingdom. And teaching led to mission trips, as how could I say ‘no’ to student’s in their quest to minister?
I graduated from Bob Jones University in the spring of 2003 with a bachelors’ degree in Secondary Social Studies Education. I started teaching at Tri-City Christian School in Hickory, NC in the fall of 2002 and that first teaching job was an experience! I replaced a teacher who had the ‘remnants’, so I taught World History, English 10, Consumer Math, Algebra I, Art, Bible and Home Economics at various times over the next three years. After teaching at Tri-City for three years I felt it was time to expand my horizons and began looking for teaching jobs internationally. I was offered a position at Global Vision Christian School in Eumseong, South Korea in 2006 where I had the opportunity to work with ESL students in the classroom and through coaching while also gaining some administrative skills serving as Athletic Director and Department Chair. In 2009, I decided to move back to the states to be closer to family and to start pursuing a degree in educational administration. Rapid City Christian offered me a job in 2009 as Athletic Director, Coach and Social Studies teacher. I completed my master’s degree in Educational Leadership and gained my principal’s license in 2016. In the last ten years at Rapid City Christian I’ve held a variety of titles and responsibilities and it has been exciting to watch Rapid City Christian grow into our current building and expand our student body and areas of service. I am excited about taking on a new role and I look forward to seeing where God will lead Rapid City Christian in the future.