AQ Alumna Shares Passion for Religious Education
Update: June 2014 - Since the original publication of this article, Gordon has written about her recent spiritual journey in a new book, Nine Months to Spiritual Maturity (a Transformational Devotional). As an exploration in faith through scriptural meditation, the book grew from an intense nine-month process of writing and discernment. Gordon credits a former Aquinas professor, Sister Jean Milhaupt, O.P., with planting an essential seed of inspiration. As a freshman at Aquinas, Gordon took an English class with Sr. Jean who urged Gordon to pursue her talents and develop her writing abilities. Thirty-five years later, this word of encouragement has borne fruit in Gordon’s new devotional. >More about Gordon’s Book
"It was really God's timing for all of it," said Linda (Jordan) Gordon ‘81, Aquinas alumna and coordinator of volunteers, alumni, and diversity at The Potter's House School. Gordon, who has worn a variety of hats in her career, discussed the unique path which led her to her current position, and allowed her to share her passion for education in a diverse and charitable environment. The Potter's House School, a private Christian school on the southwest side of Grand Rapids, has provided Gordon with an outlet to share her many passions with an eager learning community.
Originally from Alabama, Gordon moved to Detroit during her junior year of high school. Shortly after the move, though none in her family had previously attended college, she began the search to further her education.
"I knew I wanted to go to college," said Gordon, "It wasn't a question of if I wanted to, it was a question of where." With a strong faith base and a healthy family foundation, Gordon began to look for a small college with a religious tone. After applying to a variety of colleges across the state, she chose Aquinas for its efficient application process and stunning campus. "The campus was so beautiful," said Gordon.
After graduating in 1981 with a Bachelor of Arts in business administration, Gordon returned to her home state in hopes of beginning her career, but was soon met with the harsh realities of a struggling economy. Fortunately, she received a call from Aquinas Career Services regarding an available position in the Grand Rapids area. She accepted the position as a scheduling auditor with a local General Motors plant, and later worked for another manufacturer as a scheduler. Unbeknownst to Gordon, Grand Rapids would become her permanent home.
While at General Motors, Gordon met her future husband and married. Shortly thereafter, the two began to build their family. After two full time jobs, three children, and fourteen years as a successful homemaker, Gordon faced the terrible hardship of losing her husband to liver disease. However, she did not allow this tragedy to slow her ambition for hard work and a stable home for her children.
"I had to do something," she said. In 1999, Gordon accepted a part-time position as volunteer coordinator at The Potter's House School, where her children attended. Later, her position grew with the school to administrative assistant, diversity coordinator, and most recently alumni coordinator.
The private Christian school is attractive to Gordon due to her upbringing and religious background. Tuition is paid through individual donors, foundations, churches, businesses, and parents. In addition, volunteers play a major supportive role in the school. Though the need for volunteers steadily increases each year, the community is never in short supply of tutors, librarians, and classroom aides.
The school also is known for its Christ-centeredness and diversity. Gordon requested her position include professional development for the teaching staff in the area of cultural competency due to the rich and diverse student body. "I have a passion to help teachers understand and appreciate children from varying cultural backgrounds," said Gordon.
As Gordon looks back on her college education, her family, and her unexpected career at The Potter's House, she is grateful for the myriad of opportunities. The spiritual commitment of the school, the support of volunteers, and the ambition of parents and students, inspires Gordon in her every day work.
She asks herself, "Is this what God means when he talks about the body of Christ?" and reflects that the school has provided a unique home for her and many others. The Potter's House is a place which fosters a Christ-centered education, while bringing together a diverse group of people, inspiring children and adults alike.