Introducing the Office Manager

Meet Tessa Powell

I don’t believe we’ve ever been formally introduced! My name is Tessa. Most of you probably already know me as the girl helping out in the office. I was pleased to accept the position of Office Administrator at CHESS in February.  Though my title is Office Manager, I have done my level best to fill both of the Cliffords’ capacious shoes.

I became involved with CHESS in one way or another back in the year 2000 when my parents decided to homeschool both my brother and me. Originally, my brother and I were supposed to have a brief stint with home education through our elementary years, but God had a different plan for us, and we both went through the entire program. I graduated with my CHESS high school diploma in 2012, and my Chambers College degree in 2014. During my sophomore year in high school, I worked in the CHESS office as an intern, and continued as a staff assistant in the Chambers College office until last year.

In my last semester of high school, I began teaching a K-1 class on the book of Genesis at CHESS, and discovered that I had a real desire to work in Christian education long-term. I continued to teach for CHESS for the next two years, but was unsure of how I could make Christian education a full-time job. I applied to teach at several online schools, and looked into getting licensed at UNC in order to work at a school like Dayspring, but nothing came of any of this. God clearly had a different plan.

When I heard in the fall of 2014 that it was possible CHESS was going to discontinue, I racked my brain for ways I could help fill the void for for the many, many families that CHESS serves with its uniquely beneficial program, and thus I began looking into helping out with co-ops in the Greeley area. As I looked into these co-ops, it became very evident to me that the CHESS program was almost irreplaceable in what it offers to homeschool families.  It also became apparent that God had a very different plan for me.

In October, MaryBeth contacted me and offered me a job with the intent of training me in the spring semester until she could move on with her family and leave the care of CHESS to the Board, to the future principal, and to myself. I jumped at the chance, and also applied for the position of Office Manager. I was eventually hired, and the plan was for MaryBeth to remain on board for the spring semester so she could train the new principal and me for the years ahead.

As per usual, God had a different plan. We did not find a new principal until the end of this spring semester. Eventually, it became clear that it was best for MaryBeth to be with her family, and she resigned in February. I stayed on and began to tread water. Whenever I came across a question I could not answer or an issue I could not resolve, my line was, “Let me do some research and get back to you on that.” Then I would promptly ask MaryBeth and write down her answer for posterity.  If not for MaryBeth’s continued patience and incredible mind for detail, coupled with an enormously capable assistant in the person of Sarah Goodman, I don’t think any of what transpired this semester could have been possible.

By the grace of God, however, I have settled comfortably into this position and am looking forward to working with you all in the future. Through these circumstances, the Lord has certainly strengthened my faith and broadened my outlook on life. His Word has been the most precious thing to me throughout this semester, and as often as I found myself insufficient to the task at hand God proved His sufficiency.

I look forward to following the rest of His plan.