“I was mentored by Mr. Preston without him really knowing it.” Ryan Garvin's passion for History started in a desk in Mr. Preston's classroom. Back at Hillcrest as a teacher, Ryan's road back to Hillcrest developed faith, formed his family, and redesigned his idea of student formation.

Ryan, a 1999 Hillcrest alumni, attended the University of Minnesota, where he graduated with a degree in Social Studies. He stayed in Minneapolis, building his family with his wife, Amy. Their family expanded to include 3 beautiful daughters, Paisley, Veda, and Waverly, during their 10 years in the Twin Cities.  

“I was mentored by Mr. Preston without him really knowing it.”

Ryan and Amy grew closer together, stepping into leadership roles in their church. A subgroup called married for life in their home church gave Ryan and Amy a unique place to blossom as a family. They loved their work in the Cities, blessed by a tight-knit community with whom they shared meals, practiced accountability, and grew in their faith. The Garvins experienced God's presence in their marriage ministry, but God’s plan wasn’t complete.

Ryan started feeling called to something different. A shot-in-the-dark email connected Ryan with Wayne Stender, and conversations sprouted about a position at Hillcrest, where Mr. Garvin might teach history.

Talks over coffee with Wayne turned into an interview with Principal Isaac. Months later, Mr. Garvin packed-up his family to walk the path God laid out for them as Hillcrest's newest staff members. The decision wasn't easy, change never is, but Ryan and Amy trusted God through the process. “We wanted to trust that what God had planned for us was even better than what we had,Or what we were planning," Ryan explains.

Mr. Garvin’s three passions are: history, mentorship, and ministry. He lives-out his “big three” everyday.

History, taught from a christian worldview, is a primary love. He teaches in such a way that his students begin to think for themselves. Recently, Ryan halted his lesson-plans to talk about current events, directing students to think about the recent shootings in Oregon. Their discussion led to a project where students are communicating their perspective on the second amendment. Mr. Garvin directs his students to lay down a foundation for why they believe what they believe. He is helping them build their own perspective using logic, reason, and the Bible. It is a training that will build their christian faith to stand firm in a secular classroom.

Mr. Garvin loves mentorship, mostly because of the strong mentors he has in his life. He wants to be available for his students, dropping everything to focus on messy situations by offering prayer, raising bigger life questions, and simply praising God. He desires deep relationships; meaningful interaction that causes students and faculty to live life on life while walking alongside each other. “ I am in the mission field.”  Mr. Garvin explains, seeing mission opportunities everywhere as he lives his life as an ambassador for Christ. He is now seeing everyday as a new opportunity to love others.  

Walking Hillcrest's halls, the same ones he walked 20 years ago, Mr. Garvin is seen in a tie instead of his high school converse. He isn't Ryan any longer, now it is Mr. Garvin, and he stands in front of desks that he sat in years ago. His life journey prepared him for this job at Hillcrest, and God's plan is still not done yet.

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