Since 1972, Tyler Street Christian Academy has served the Oak Cliff community. Established by Tyler Street United Methodist Church (as a nondenominational Christian school), classes were initially held in the church buildings. Acquiring property and expanding the campus was an extensive process that began immediately upon the opening of the school, but it was not until 2001 that ground was broken on the current 20,000 square foot, $3.2 million building.
If walls could talk, the walls of TSCA would certainly have stories. They’ve seen the growth and the development of Oak Cliff. They’ve seen struggle and strife, triumph and change. Yes, these walls have seen it all, but the people inside the brick and mortar — they’re the real storytellers. They make up the resilience, the kindness, the heart and soul of TSCA.
And we want you to meet them.
…we want to tell stories of who we are, through the lens of the people that make it so.
Among a variety of articles and resources, we’ll be periodically featuring the people of TSCA on our blog because we want to tell stories of who we are, through the lens of the people that make it so. We’ll be talking with them, learning their own stories and finding out why they love being a part of the TSCA Family.
We couldn’t do a series like this without first featuring our steadfast Superintendent, Dr. Karen Egger.
Dr. Karen Egger came to TSCA in 1978, and joined the staff as a middle school Social Studies teacher. Four years later, she became the Elementary principal where she would serve for the next eight years. Then, in 1990, she was asked to be Head of School.
“Initially, I was asked, and I said no. And I was asked again, and I said no. And then the third time when I was approached by the then-president of the board of directors, he asked me if I would pray about it.
“I was in our chapel across the street, and I knelt at the altar. And God told me pretty clearly it was what I was supposed to do.”
Throughout the years, Oak Cliff has seen a lot of people leave. Once upon a time, 10th Street was in the Guinness Book of World Records for having the most churches on one street — not so, anymore. It’s seen masses flee to the suburbs with the introduction of desegregation. It saw houses and storefronts shuttered. It’s ushered in urban pioneers and people with visions of a “Brooklyn-Dallas.” It’s been witness to change and evolution — some welcome, some not. But regardless of the ebb and flow of Oak Cliff, TSCA’s roots are planted firm.
“Unless God tells us to move, or to do something different, we just need to stay committed to where He has us.
“Every year when I sign my contract, I prayerfully consider, ‘Lord, is this still where I’m supposed to be…is this still where we’re supposed to be?’ And He says yes. And until He says otherwise, this is where we stay.”
Unless God tells us to move … this is where we stay.
A nearly-40-year career at TSCA comes with memories and experiences aplenty, but some of the most prevalent moments are the day-to-day interactions with colleagues and students.
“I think we enjoy coming to work each day. We enjoy seeing each other. We enjoy the, ‘good morning’ exchange while we fill our coffee cups. But more than that, we enjoy what we do as a team. It takes every one of us pouring into kids to make a difference. We do life with these kids. We pray with them. We get to impact their lives on so many levels.
“I enjoy these kids. I love watching them learn. I love hearing them sing. I love seeing the artwork they produce. How could it be more fun? There are challenges, of course, but we make it work. Everyone is willing to go the extra mile to make it work.”
I consider myself to be a life-long learner. … The best teachers are the best learners.
Of course, the students aren’t the only ones who learn. They’re not the only ones who grow or the only ones who have questions. The TSCA experience has a way of helping you figure out who you are — in your own eyes, but more importantly, in the eyes of Christ.
“I’ve been challenged as a leader. My faith has been challenged. I think that’s part of it. And I think I’m stronger. I’m a stronger Christian because of the role I’ve played at Tyler Street Christian Academy.
“The other part of it is, I consider myself to be a life-long learner. That’s very important. We should never quit learning. The best teachers are the best learners.”
To love what you do, and know that it makes a difference — how could anything be more fun?
We’re celebrating our 45th year at Tyler Street. Almost half a century we’ve been here — serving and teaching, watching and learning. We’ve bloomed and matured and progressed, but really, we’re just getting started.
As for the future of TSCA, well, it’s bright. Because we care about Christian education, and we care about kids.
“I see us continuing to grow. I see us continuing to meet the needs of parents who are interested in Christian education. We can meet that need.
“My favorite quote [by Ruth Bell Graham] is, ‘To love what you do, and know that it makes a difference — how could anything be more fun?’”