Building foundations for the future By Abigail Thorpe | Photo by Sara Schrock
Shar Wikoff and her husband have called Sandpoint home for over 20 years. During that time, they have raised a family, built community, and developed a deep love for Sandpoint and its people. Wikoff started at Sandpoint Christian School as a long-term sub, and it was during this time that she fell in love with the students, families and staff. She has since served on the school board, taught and moved into the role of principal in 2020, where she embraces every opportunity to pour into students and build foundations to strengthen the future of our community.
Q. What sets Sandpoint apart and makes it such an incredible community? A. Over these 20 years, we have built a community. Through church, school, sports and other opportunities, we have built relationships with good people that we consider family. Sandpoint is a place that has a spot for everyone and allows for a variety of experiences, but it is still a small enough community to know people and to be known. These experiences can be summed up by a story. I have been attending volleyball games for quite some time and go as often as I can. I get to know some of the players by sight and name. We were out one afternoon in the community and saw a past player. I was able to tell her how much I enjoyed watching her play and catch up on what she is doing now. Sandpoint is a place where connections can be made. Even in the simple act of going to volleyball games.
Q. How is the community of Sandpoint integral to the purpose and mission of Sandpoint Christian School? A. Sandpoint Christian School is a school from our community and for our community. It is very cyclical—we are here to support the community need for a nondenominational, faith-based learning community, then we send students out from here who are good community members. The Sandpoint community supports the school. We have been part of the community for over 25 years, and we now have students whose parents were students at our school.
Q. Is there one thing that stands out most for you during your time at Sandpoint Christian School? A. The people stand out to me. We have a dedicated staff that pour into their students every day, guiding their learning and their personal growth. Our families are supportive and are engaged in our learning community. Our students are a joy and the focus of what we do. We have a group of supporters that strengthen our learning community by volunteering, donating, and praying for our school. We have a fantastic relationship with the Church of the Nazarene and its staff, who accommodate and give to the school in so many ways. There are many people who make Sandpoint Christian School what it is, and these are admirable people.
Q. As principal of Sandpoint Christian School, what is your vision for the school and what do you hope to achieve during your time? A. We are in a wonderful position of having a lot of students and more interest in the school than we have space. So, while keeping our foundations of Christ-centered learning, a school of families, and academic excellence, we would like to grow our school. We are deep in the planning stages of this now. We are creatively using the space we have to serve our current families and looking to build in the near future to provide more space for additional students.
Q. You serve as a key role model and influence in your students’ lives. What is one or two things you would like most to instill in them? A. Our vision for our learners is that they will be academically challenged and prepared, spiritually mentored and grounded, service-oriented and demonstrate compassionate hearts. Even though our students are preschool to eighth grade, one thing that keeps me focused is to remember that we are developing adults. Academics and character are both important. We have high academic standards and we want students to love and be loved. They will be knowledgeable but also realize that their actions speak. Compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, forgiveness and peace are important to learn too. With our biblical foundations, our students leave our school ready to be community members who contribute in extraordinary ways.
Q. What one piece of advice would you give to students headed out into the world? A. Once you are a student at Sandpoint Christian School, you are family, you are loved, and you have a group of people here who are rooting for you and want the best for you.
Q. Is there a specific person or moment that has helped inspire you and that you look up to in your own work in the community? A. Knowing the stories of our students is an inspiration to me. Some students have had incredible loss and hardship in their lives. We are able to come alongside parents to love and support the student in learning and personal growth. Every kid needs adults in their lives who they know love them. Students who have had a hard start in life need them even more. This is why one of my favorite parts of the day is greeting kids at the door in the morning. I want to welcome them to a place where they are known and loved.
Q. What’s been a key moment from the past year, something that you look back on with pride/joy/thankfulness? A. Any time I see student growth, I am thankful and thrilled to be a part of Sandpoint Christian School. I love to celebrate that growth with students. Recently I had a student come in and read to me after struggling to learn letters and sounds! That is just one example of the growth that I get to see at Sandpoint Christian School.