Community members are rallying around the longtime Director of Preschool and Daycare, who for more than 38 years has served not only as a trusted teacher and leader, but also a mentor and friend to the hundreds of students and parents that have crossed her path.
Maren Olson was terminated by the on Thursday, May 26th after nearly four decades of service that included running youth programs, Sunday School, summer camps and Vacation Bible School. But Olson’s legacy is Christian Beginnings, the 38-year-old preschool program she built into a community institution that reaches far beyond Church membership.
Reasons for the dismissal remain unclear, though parents of Christian Beginnings students were informed that no money is missing, and no children were harmed. With no further explanation being provided by the Church, Christian Beginnings parents and Church members are speaking out.
Specifically, supporters are calling and writing Presbyterian Church leaders to express their dismay over Olson’s abrupt departure and taking to social media to share personal accounts that document the longtime teacher’s reach. More than 100 supporters have signed on to the Facebook page “Maren Olson Taught Me,”where dozens of testimonials can be found, including:
“Maren is the most amazing person, leader, friend and teacher that I know… She touched the lives of every child and parent that walked through the doors of CB. She is the most respected educator that I know and my family feels truly blessed to have her in our lives.”
“Maren was my best friend when I graduated from Christian Beginnings 30-some years ago and is my 4-year-old daughter's favorite teacher today. She makes each and every child feel special and lets them know that what they have to say is important. There is no one better…”
“Maren is an amazing teacher and human being. There are not enough words to describe the positive impact she has had over the years. My son still asks about her and I consider her a friend. If I can be half the person she is, I will be truly blessed.”
The Christian Beginnings Council of parents and volunteers has requested information from the Church regarding its personnel decision.
“Maren Olson has had a profound impact on children and parents alike,” said Christian Beginnings parent Stacy Ditka. “Our families and community are blessed by, and better for, her service. We are committed to honoring her and what she has done for our children.”
Editors Note: Deerfield Patch has contacted First Presbyterian Church for a comment on the situation and will bring you updated information as soon as it becomes available.