On this International Women's Day (IWD), we celebrate the stories of women who are shaping our future, and Kristen Odegard, a local teacher at Trinity Christian Academy, stands as a beacon of inspiration in the realm of education.

For Odegard, teaching is more than just a profession; it's a passion deeply rooted in her desire to foster meaningful connections with her students.

"I love so many aspects of teaching. My favorite is just being with the students. It is the most exciting part for me," she expresses. Her enthusiasm for guiding students to learn and grow within their interests highlights the profound impact she has within the classroom.

Odegard's journey in education began at Concordia University in Edmonton, where she pursued a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a minor in education.

"I always knew I wanted to be a teacher, so it was kind of easy to pick my minor with that," she reflects.

This early clarity of purpose laid the foundation for her career in shaping young minds.

As a junior high teacher, Odegard finds fulfillment in working with this age group, describing them as her favorite.

Despite the challenges that come with balancing work and personal life, Odegard maintains a sense of equilibrium by setting boundaries and prioritizing self-care.

"I don't work on the weekends. I stay a little bit later after school so that I don't end up taking a lot of work home with me," she shares.

When asked about advice for aspiring female educators, Odegard underscores the value of gaining exposure to working with children in various settings.

"My advice would be for them to go and have exposure to working with children. So whether that's teaching Sunday school or working at a camp in the summer, being around friends who have kids, babysitting—all of that stuff because you learn so much from kids. I don't think we give them enough credit," she advises.

Drawing inspiration from the strong women in her life, Odegard credits her parents, especially her mother, who was also a teacher, as her biggest role model.

Additionally, she finds support and strength from her three sisters, whom she describes as amazing and resilient.

Kristen Odegard's journey exemplifies the transformative power of education and the profound influence of dedicated educators in shaping the future generation.

On this International Women's Day, her story serves as a reminder of the invaluable contributions of women in nurturing young minds and building a brighter tomorrow.

Send your news tips, story ideas, pictures, and videos to news@strathmorenow.com