Annie Gumm in Her Own Words

Annie Gumm MLC ’03 teaches grade 6, upper-grade English, PE, and choir at St. Mark-Watertown, Wisconsin. She earned her MS Education from Martin Luther College in 2021. Here’s her story in her own words.

Three reasons she decided now was the time for her master’s program: I was asked to be a mentor for a new teacher. After taking several mentor courses, I learned I could easily convert those courses into graduate credit and then be one-third of the way through a master’s program. I was also blessed to be serving at a congregation that provided financial assistance for continuing education. And finally, my husband had finished his master’s degree, and we had agreed that once he was done, I would get my degree.

What she knew she’d receive at MLC: I knew I’d enjoy the connection with other teachers who share similar blessings and struggles in the ministry. I also knew several of the professors, and I was confident they would be understanding of unexpected situations that might come up while balancing ministry, school, and family—and they were.

Why she chose the Instruction emphasis: One of the first non-mentor courses I took was designed to help me assess and diagnose reading difficulties. I had several struggling readers, and I was able to immediately apply my knowledge from that course in my classroom and in my part-time position as a Title One teacher. That course, though, was a Special Education emphasis course. While I strongly considered a Special Ed emphasis, I wanted to take more classes that would afford opportunities to immediately put into practice what I was learning. The Instruction emphasis courses provided me with those opportunities.

Her goal when she began: My ministry has been—and continues to be—a hodgepodge of opportunities to serve. I’ve been blessed to have served God’s people in high schools, elementary schools, and preschools, in urban, rural, and suburban settings, and in schools with student numbers in the 20s and the 200s! My goal has always been learning how to best serve my school and its families.

Goal accomplished! The program exceeded my expectations. I learned even more than I’d hoped. I’m extremely grateful for the time and effort the professors put into making their courses applicable to everyday teaching situations. The program forced me to reflect deeply and constantly on what I was doing in my classroom and why. Through studying best teaching practices and connecting with amazing teachers and professors from around the world, I became a more confident teacher with a plethora of ideas and tools for my classroom and school.

The blessing of flexibility: All of the classes were meaningful at the time I took them. I appreciated that I had many options for elective courses as well as choice for the order in which I took the required courses. This flexibility helped me choose the classes that best fit my current situation each year.

Professional and personal growth: Professionally, I learned how to think about why I operate my classroom the way I do, and I now have research to support the decisions I make in my classroom. Online learning helped me learn how to better communicate my ideas, and it gave me a network of teachers, resources, and ideas from across the country and sometimes from around the world. Personally, I learned how to manage my time—I became an early-morning person, as that was when it worked best in our family’s routine for me to focus on my coursework. And I learned the importance of having a balance in life between family and ministry.

The learning continues: I’ve been given a renewed love for learning. Even though I graduated, instead of feeling a sense of completion, I feel like I have a lot more to learn. While it seemed odd this summer not to have a laptop or textbooks along on family trips, I filled my summer with other opportunities to learn and grow. I’m working on becoming a certified CPR trainer, I’ve joined several Facebook pages with other middle school teachers, and I agreed to resume my role as a mentor teacher.

Her advice to others considering the MLC program: Just do it. Use your time, talents, and abilities to continue to learn and grow and become a better teacher as you serve his lambs.


Annie’s Family: My husband, Joe, just finished his first year as an English teacher at Luther Prep. We have three kiddos in eighth, seventh, and first grades.

Annie’s Hobbies: coaching, reading, hiking and exploring new places, and trying new recipes

What you’d never guess: I’m obsessed with gymnastics. Even though I’m nearly 6 feet tall, my favorite college PE elective was gymnastics!

Compiled by Laurie Gauger DMLC ’87