Timothy Gustafson, MS Ed

A Second Master’s Degree—Totally Worth It!

Tim Gustafson Teaching 8th gr. Room 1 (1) (1)Twenty-two years ago, Tim Gustafson DMLC ’83 earned a master’s degree in education from Viterbo University. Last May he earned a second master’s degree, this time from MLC.

Why another graduate degree?

Mr. Gustafson says he enjoyed studying for his first master’s degree and saw how it made him a better teacher—a profession he loves. “For the past 31 years, I’ve really enjoyed being in the classroom each day with my students. It gives me the opportunity to see them learn new things, and I enjoy sharing the Word with them.”

When he transitioned to the call of principal, he knew he had more to learn. “The role of the principal is changing, and I needed a stronger background in administration.” Although another principal early in his ministry had served as a good role model, Tim wanted to take more coursework too.

The problem was time. As principal and grade 7-8 departmental teacher at David’s Star-Jackson, Wisconsin, his time was at a premium. “I’m in the classroom two-thirds of the day, and the other third I’m working on my administrative duties. My biggest challenge is finding the time to do everything and do it well. I couldn’t find a master’s program that fit my schedule,” he says.

The MLC program sounded good, with its flexibility and convenience, but he was hesitant about taking all his classes online. It wasn’t until a colleague finished the program and told Tim it would really benefit his ministry that he decided to take the plunge.

“It didn’t take very long before my concerns about working online were put to rest,” he says. “The online format allows for flexibility with your time, which works perfectly for a busy WELS teacher. I could work on my assignments early in the morning or late at night.”

Tim was pleased with the content as well. The instruction courses showed him many ways to improve his teaching and assessment, and he successfully incorporated them into his classroom. The leadership courses helped him better understand his role as a principal. “I think that’s helped me do a better job of working with curriculum and leading my staff,” he says.

But it was the scriptural foundation of the program that really made it worthwhile. “Everything in the classes was focused on God’s Word and how we can further his kingdom. I like taking classes with other WELS teachers because my faith is strengthened as I work with them. We generally come from similar backgrounds and work in similar situations, so it’s a great way to exchange ideas.”

Mr. Gustafson is grateful to David’s Star congregation for their encouragement, prayers, and tuition reimbursement. “If I wouldn’t have had this support from the congregation, I wouldn’t have been able to complete my master’s,” he says.

And he also wants to encourage other teachers to enroll in the program, just as his colleague first encouraged him. In fact, his son Phil has already taken his advice to heart and is enrolled in the program now. Tim says: “Don’t wait to get started! At the beginning it seems like a long process, but the classes are well worth the time and effort. The faculty was great to work with and was very encouraging along the way. It’s a great way to improve your God-given talents, and your ministry will really benefit.”

More on Tim Gustafson DMLC ’83, MLC ’14

Wife: Rachel DMLC ’83, grade 2 teacher at David’s Star

Four sons: Philip (27) MLC ’09 teaches at St. Mark-Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Phil is also in MLC’s master’s program. Stephan (24) works and lives in Wausau, Wisconsin. Jacob (22) is a senior at WLC majoring in business finance. Caleb (16) is a junior at Kettle Moraine LHS.

Hobbies: golfing and reading history and historical fiction