STAGE Welcomes Jan Friesen
STAGE welcomes Jan Friesen as its new Placement Coordinator. Student Teaching and Global Engagement experienced a number of changes in the last year. The Directorship of the program passed from Janet Blomberg to Gary Nuss to Sheryl O’Bryan. 2021’s pandemic forced the program to move its Pre Experience Orientation from an in-person weekend training to an online Friday night and Saturday program. This spring, STAGE welcomed Jan Friesen to learn from the current Placement Coordinator, Al Gurley.
Change of Role for Al Gurley
Al Gurley faithfully and steadfastly served as the heartbeat of STAGE for the last 25 years. He placed thousands of student teachers at schools all over the world during his tenure. Not only did Al find student teaching assignments that met each student’s wishes, but each placement also had to meet university standards as well as state licensing requirements. On top of that, Al also prayed for each student that he placed.
Al will continue to work with Interaction International. His role will change this fall, and he will become Interaction’s chaplain. He will be able to focus his attention on prayer and spiritual guidance for the organization.
Jan Friesen began her international life in Cote d’Ivoire where she and her husband served at an international school. When that school closed due to civil unrest in the nation, they moved their young family to Morocco. There, Jan gained a variety of experiences teaching in different schools. She also served as a liaison between the school and incoming teachers. After a short stint back in the States–in exotic Arizona, Jan, her husband, and their youngest daughter moved to Senegal where she taught at Dakar Academy. A few years later, she was back at George Washington Academy serving in a number of capacities.
We are thrilled to see someone of Jan’s caliber stepping into Al’s very large Placement Coordinator shoes. She brings a plethora of experience and connections to the position, as well as a deep appreciation for international schools, their teachers, and their students.