About Us

Our Story

Our story begins when the Antigo School District closed the school building currently standing in the Village of Mattoon in 2016. After a lengthy struggle, Shepherd’s Watch Community Center (SWCC) was able to acquire the elementary school building for a minimal amount and now owns the building free and clear. In January 2022, SWCC decided to pursue a Christian school and use the building to share the Word of God with the children in the Mattoon area. Thus, Shepherd’s Watch Christian Academy (SWCA) was formed.

SWCA is not part of any Church or association for financial support so outside funding is critical. Ideally, primary funding would come through being a voucher school in the Wisconsin Parental Choice Program (WPCP). SWCA did apply to WPCP with all documents needed to meet the application, by the August 1st deadline. Unfortunately, it is very hard for first-year schools to get into the voucher program. Our goal is to re-apply for the year 2024-25.

SWCA wants families to have the option of sending their children to a Christian school where their children will learn who Jesus is and what he has done for all people. Where Christian morals are taught and the love of Christ is shared and taught throughout the day. SWCA is now accepting enrollment for students entering 4K – 4th grade for the 2023-24 school year.

Shepherd’s Watch Christian Academy is asking for your help. Our goal is to raise $250,000 for the Fall 2023 school year to cover the expenses of the new school. We are asking anyone who is willing to donate to this cause to give before our deadline of May 31st, 2023. Any money raised will go toward children tuition scholarships to help lower the cost of admission. If you would like to give but have questions, please feel free to contact us at 715-489-3638 or by email at shepherdswatchinc@gmail.com

Our Journey

Our Staff

Gerry Schmidt

Principal
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Gerry Schmidt

My young years were on a Farm just south of Bonduel, WI. Out of seven siblings, I was the only one who attended College. I completed my Bachelor’s Degree from Concordia, Milwaukee in the spring of 1982. My first teaching position was as a 4th & 5th grade teacher, just outside of Detroit MI. After my third year I was asked to be principal/7&8 grade teacher.

Being Wisconsin born, I had a desire to move back to Wisconsin. After 5 years in Michigan, I moved to a small country school, Zion Lutheran/Wayside WI., south of Green Bay, and became principal/7&8 grade teacher.
After 12 years I moved back to Bonduel as 7th grade teacher for 5 years, after which I became the Principal of St. Paul Lutheran school in Bonduel. After 22 years at St. Paul Lutheran in Bonduel, I decided to retire from my position to a part-time position.

Tell us a little bit about your family:

I married my girlfriend, Judy Euers, two weeks after graduating College. We have four children and I can say I taught each of them for two years while they were in attendance in the school I was serving. Each of my four children, two boys, two girls, are married and they each have children for a total of 10 grandchildren, 5 boys and 5 girls. They all live in northeastern Wisconsin.

What’s your Christian philosophy of education?

It’s ALL about JESUS. I don’t know what more there is to say. If you follow Him, Trust Him, Serve Him by serving others, you will have a full life. Thus the reason to work with parents and their children. Knowing Jesus is not something that I am going to carry in my pocket only to be used when I need Him. I need Him, as well as everyone else, needs Him every day. I look forward to sharing the love of Jesus Christ with the children and their parents here at Shepherd’s Watch Christian Academy.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

In my spare time I enjoy being outside, Whether it is hunting, fishing, yard work or snowmobiling, each is enhanced when adding your grandchildren to the event.

The best part of following Jesus is…

…the hope that he gives to us in his death and empty grave. We are made fully human in Christ, and our life, joy and suffering on this side of the Resurrection is given context and meaning.

Chas Hayek

4K and Kindergarten
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Chas Hayek

As a follower of Christ, I want to love and share Jesus with His children. I really enjoy teaching early childhood students, watching them grow through their education, relationships, and Faith.

I live in Mattoon with my family. My husband Chris and I have three children, Liam, Garrett, and Greta, who will attend school at Shepherd’s Watch Christian Academy. In my free time, I enjoy crafting, trying new recipes, and being outdoors with my family.

I received my bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education from UW River Falls. The experience I have includes working in childcare, homeschooling, and working at Peace Lutheran Ministries as a substitute teacher and teacher’s aide for grades 4K through 3rd. I am an active member of St. John’s Lutheran Church LCMS of Mattoon where I’ve been working with children in the church for over 10 years. I have served as a Sunday School teacher and have organized and taught Vacation Bible School.

One of my many ambitions is to smoothly help kindergarteners transition into school and achieve their learning goals by creating a balanced learning environment with activities that are fun, play-based, and engaging for them. I am also looking forward to bringing some of our learning experiences outdoors, by using the outdoor classroom and green space.

I am grateful and excited to nurture and share the love of Jesus with the children at our new Shepherd’s Watch Christian Academy.

School Board Members

Wade Reimer
President

Bob Hess
Board Member

Cheryl Rickert
Board Member

Zak Kickhaver
Vice President

Jeannie Larson
Board Member

Jody Lierman
Board Member

Roger Fuller
Treasurer

Reggie Jorgensen
Board Member

Christina Tessmer
Board Member

Wade Reimer
President

Bob Hess
Board Member

Cheryl Rickert
Board Member

Zak Kickhaver
Vice President

Jeannie Larson
Board Member

Jody Lierman
Board Member

Roger Fuller
Treasurer

Reggie Jorgensen
Board Member

Christina Tessmer
Board Member