Name: Dr. Matthew Baxter
University: Capella University
Major: Management and Organization
Specialization: Leadership and Education
Degrees: Doctorate of Philosophy, Masters in Administration, Bachelors in Leadership and Organization
Experience: Twelve Year
Matthew Baxter, the newly appointed Principal, his wife, Amanda, and daughter, Joy, are excited to bring their passion for learning to the Anchor Lutheran School Community. Matthew and his family have lived in many places around the world, actively contributing to schools’ learning and growth. Matthew, an educator born in Anchorage, Alaska, and his wife Amanda, of John Day, Oregon, have practiced teaching and educational leadership in California, Oregon, Arizona, Guatemala and China. As a child, Matthew attended West Anchorage High School and Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church. Having early exposure to many different schools and a diverse range of teaching methods, he was fascinated with education even as a child. Matthew further pursued his education at Eastern Oregon University where he completed his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees focused on Organization, Leadership and Management. There he met his future wife who attained her Bachelor’s in Music and Master’s in Elementary Education from the same university. Matthew’s thirst for learning led him to pursue a Doctorate of Philosophy (PhD.) from Capella University, specializing in Management Education.
After working for many years for the Oregon University System and Palo Verde Unified School District, Matthew and his wife, Amanda, received an opportunity to work at Hangzhou International School (HIS) in China. At HIS, Matthew coordinated the International Baccalaureate Project-Based Approaches to Learning Curriculum and taught Theory of Knowledge courses while pursuing a post-graduate certificate in International School Leadership from Western Canada University. During his years as a primary and secondary school educator, Matthew advocated many activities, including the Hangzhou Student Film Festival, Global Issues Network, Community Garden, Living Library and weekly bible studies in China. Such accomplishments and his quality to lead resulted in his appointment of Professional Development Coordinator and Teacher Representative on the HIS Leadership Team. During his career, Matthew has published numerous scholarly articles regarding the relationship between academics and self-leadership. Recently, he completed a four-year study between explicit instruction and acquisition of Approaches to Learning skills. The study won the prestigious recognition of the East Asian Region of Schools Action Research Grant. Matthew and Amanda’s daughter, Joy, was born in Hangzhou, China last November, 2020, prompting them to return home to the United States to be closer to their families.
Since taking on leadership positions, including being an Elder of Zion Lutheran Church in Blythe, California, Matthew has established a strong commitment to community service. As a result, he promotes action projects and educational opportunities that give back to the community and develop students’ sense of social responsibility. This helps students realize their leadership capacity to positively contribute to the cities and countries in which they reside. Matthew highlights the need for youth to develop the skills that will help them relate to, and successfully collaborate with, those of different backgrounds, beliefs, and experiences. He believes it is not required to abandon one’s own belief system, such as faith in the Lord, to have the ability to work well with others, model Christian values, and extend the grace of Jesus Christ. Matthew and his family hope to use their skills and experiences to maintain and enhance the scholastic and spiritual atmosphere of Anchor Lutheran School.
Early Childhood Director / Child Watch Director
Name: Rebecca Finney
University: Troy University, Troy, AL
Degree: Bachelor of Science
Experience: Fourth Year
About The Early Childhood Director:
This is Rebecca's first year as the Early Childhood Director. She taught 4 year old preschool at Anchor, though it is her 4th year working with the school. Rebecca is originally from Wisconsin but her husband is a 22 year soldier, and she was also in the military for a short time as well- so she has lived in nearly every part of America. She is a graduate from Troy University of Alabama. She loves working with 4 year olds and loves the joy they get from learning. She believes in putting great focus on the social and emotional dynamics of learning and puts great emphasis on autonomy, independence, respect for others and respect for self. She loves to see the change in their critical thinking and communication skills- especially in regards to their emotional intelligence; she enjoys seeing them go from a "preschooler" to a school age student. Away from work, Rebecca enjoys spending time with her husband Shane and her two sons: Shane Jr. (19) and Samual (17) and her two Boston Terriers: Opie and Ragnar. She loves fitness and spends a lot of time at the gym. She also loves fishing and hiking and all things Alaska .