Jenny Johnson, MS Ed

Schopper, JenniferJenny Johnson Schopper MLC ’98,’14 took a path familiar to many women who graduated from D/MLC. After teaching a few years, she got married, started a family, and resigned from teaching to stay home with her young children. A few years later, when the time was right, she wanted to make herself available again for full-time ministry, which necessitated taking three credits to renew her certification.

That’s where Jenny’s love for God and children, as well as her love for learning itself, rose to the forefront and asked the question: Why just take three isolated credits? Why not make them count toward something bigger? Why not learn more about the science of education so I can better serve children?

With those thoughts in mind, Jenny decided to pursue her master’s degree at MLC. Her choice of emphasis – special education – has a rich and personal history of its own. “My oldest daughter, Corynn, was my inspiration,” she says. “She has difficulty in school. She was very late in talking, and for quite a while, she was extremely difficult to understand out of context. She is now diagnosed with ADHD (the inattentive type), an expressive speech and language disability, and dyslexia.

“She struggled to simply learn her letters and sounds,” Jenny continues. “This made reading extremely challenging, and I didn’t know how to help her. The school she attended was unable to help her either, so I decided to home-school her, praying that the individual attention would help. I was nervous, so I took every special education class MLC offered.

“My first class was probably my favorite: Diagnosis and Remediation of Reading Difficulties. We were supposed to do a case study on a student and set up a plan for helping them read. I used Corynn as my student. It was invaluable finding out exactly where she was at and figuring out ways to help her.”

When Jenny was halfway through her master’s program, she was called to teach grades 3 and 4 at Loving Shepherd-Milwaukee. With the tools and confidence she received from her master’s courses, she became a resource not only for Corynn, who was in her classroom for two years, but for all the students with learning challenges. Especially helpful, she says, were Cognitive Psychology, Behavioral and Emotional Disabilities, Human Exceptionalities in the Classroom, Communication Disabilities, Diagnosis and Assessment of Students with Special Needs, and Teaching Children with Learning Disabilities.

“When my daughter was young, I could tell that she didn’t learn the same way as other students, but I couldn’t explain it,” she says. “Now, I can talk with medical professionals and representatives from the public school system and explain exactly what I’m seeing. I can also talk with the parents and doctors of other students in similar circumstances. I’m able to share my experiences and offer suggestions.”

Jenny admits that initially she had some worries about going back to school. Would a rigorous course of study fit into an already busy life? Could she manage the workload? While online courses are flexible and convenient, would the technology be too much for her? Would she even remember what she had learned about education as an undergrad?

“I need not have been so worried,” she says now. “The classes were very manageable, and the professors were extremely supportive, flexible, and understanding. Moodle was also easy to use. And the program made me remember how much I love school and learning. I looked forward to each class’s beginning!”

Although Jenny entered the program as an individual and a home-schooling teacher, she finished it as a full-time teacher at Loving Shepherd, a school where people value continuing education. They urge all their teachers to pursue it, and they also help fund it.

“Education has greatly changed since I finished my bachelor’s degree, and it continues to change,” she says. “It’s important that teachers stay current on the research behind the many different educational theories as well as the technology available to aid the lessons being taught in the classroom. When teachers further their education, they show a commitment to life-long learning and are a wonderful example for their students. MLC provides an online program that makes it convenient for participants to do their work at a time that works in their schedule. The technology is not intimidating. I appreciated the fact that the classes are taught by instructors who understand what it’s like to teach in WELS classrooms and the issues that WELS teachers face. Finally, every class is taught from the perspective of God’s Word.”

And that emphasis – on the Word of God and the ministry of the gospel – is what makes MLC’s program truly special.

Meet Jenny Schopper

Education: MLC ’98: BS-Education (STEP Parish Music), MLC ’14 MS-Education

Family: Husband Curt Schopper and daughters Corynn 12, Kyra 10, Kirsten 7

Ministry: Grade 3-4 teacher, organist, junior choir director, and senior choir accompanist at Loving Shepherd-Milwaukee

Hobbies: Hiking, biking, swimming, water-skiing, playing volleyball, and reading (favorites: The Lord of the Ring series, theHarry Potter series, and the Divergent series)

If only there were more time: She’d travel more

A small but important fact: Schopper is pronounced with a long /O/.


Written by Laurie Gauger DMLC ’87