Once an outgoing, hard-working, faith-focused high school student, Mrs. Suzanne Tarta Kraai returned to those same hallways, currently directing her enthusiasm and energy into Administration and Enrollment.
Mrs. Kraai’s fondest memories of high school are centered around memories of her teachers and friends, some of whom are still her closest friends. Specifically, she remembers spirit weeks where the whole school would participate in wild, over-the-top dress-up days.
Upon graduation, Mrs. Kraai chose to spend her college years at Baylor University in Texas. She then left Texas for Michigan with a BA in Theater and an emphasis on Interdisciplinary Humanities Studies. “I was told what an unusual mix this was because they both required great time investment,” she says. Mrs. Kraai taught as a sub in Michigan after graduation, which is where she discovered her calling. She then returned to New Jersey and was welcomed back to EC to teach Humanities and English as well as choral music for the next 7 years; in addition to a NJ teaching certificate, she earned a masters degree in educational leadership.
Mrs. Kraai is currently the Director of Enrollment and in her fourth year in administration. She is married to her high school sweetheart and has two beautiful children. She values relationships and enjoys staying connected with EC mentors and mentees long after graduation ceremonies occur.
As the years go on and Mrs. Kraai continues to mature in her faith, her relationship with Christ becomes all the more intertwined in each of her life roles. She has experienced challenges that taught her patience, sorrows that taught her gratefulness, and difficulties that have taught her to have faith. “By no means does do I feel like 'I've arrived,’” Mrs. Kraai explains. “Being faithful takes continuous effort and I fail time and again, but accountability and community are some of the greatest gifts from above to help me spur on towards the things of Him and not of the world.” Mrs. Kraai also shares how God’s truths and sovereignty are unwavering and sure, even in such a noisy and chaotic world.
As a student at EC, Mrs. Kraai “was so well prepared to excel in an honors college program, [my] experience in extracurriculars and athletics more than developed my abilities to be successful and [my] personal best, but most importantly the Christ-centered character development propelled my skill set in every way- from time-management, discipline, accountability, values, loyalty, and to value every other fruit of the Spirit that stems from Him.” Although she may not have understood it at the time, transferring to Eastern Christian as a high schooler was a large part of God’s plan in shaping her to be the person she is today. Mrs. Kraai sees her relationship with God as the “singular, most important thing we begin, develop and strive to sustain.” Although the world is full of riches, she knows that Christ is more valuable than all of it put together.
Mrs. Kraai looks back on her high school experience: “I'm so grateful that ECーin its institutional identity, but more so in the very people that have so deeply invested in it and give life to its inceptionーare devoted to pin-point just that: Christ first and as a result, everything else we do is approached from that lens to be the absolute very best possible, to run to win, to push ourselves more, or suffer for His glory, because we represent the King, and he requires us, as privileged servants, to pursue excellence in every forum for our Lord. What an awesome, great, humbling, and stimulating freedom!”