Class of 1999
Brittany Coulbert was part of a group of six students who excelled through King’s from preschool through graduation. From her toddler years to her teenage years, Brittany has a long and special history at King’s. This history shaped her talents, her love for learning, and her relationship with God.
“I’m so thankful that my time at King’s was filled with warm memories, positive role models, and good friends!” Brittany shared through email. As a student, she embraced her love for music as a part of choir, band, Abundant Life and Living Faith. “Living Faith was such an important part of my high school experience. Music has always helped me connect to God, and I’m thankful that I was able to start every morning of high school with worship,” Brittany said. “Being able to combine my love of singing with worship songs helped deepen and strengthen my relationship with God. I found myself really meaning and praying the words in the songs we sang.” This was in large part to her most influential teacher at King’s, Mr. Pumphrey. “I am thankful for Mr. Pumphrey’s leadership, encouragement, and role model, as he called on us to be the best we could be for the Lord.”
And as a part of Living Faith, she also had the chance to go on spring break mission trips to Korea and Japan. According to Brittany, the incredible memories formed on these trips drew her closer to God and started her on a path in missions. “I knew even in high school that I wanted to use my skills to serve the poor.”
After graduating from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 2005 with a bachelors and masters degree in civil engineering, Brittany worked for a Boston-based Christian non-profit called TechMission. In her role, she coordinated programs that integrated and taught computer literacy in inner-city after school programs. After several years with them, she decided to head to Uganda as a missionary. Brittany joined Engineering Ministries International, a Christian mission organization that provides architecture, engineering, and construction management services to Christian non-profit organizations that serve the poor and share the gospel in developing countries. After seven years in Uganda serving faithfully, Brittany will continue supporting the mission stateside at the organization’s headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colorado starting in September.
In much of her post-graduate work and life, Brittany can see how her time at King’s prepared her.
“My experience at King’s gave me a strong foundation of faith, which has guided my steps through life and ultimately led me to missions work,” Brittany shared. “My time in choir, Abundant Life and Living Faith greatly deepened my relationship with God through worship. The in-depth Bible classes gave me a strong Biblical foundation, and great teachers encouraged me to work hard and enjoy learning, which helped me get into a great college like MIT and thrive in my professional and missions work.”
As she reflects on this time and looks ahead for herself and the upcoming Class of 2018, she shares these words of advice: “Learn to discover and be comfortable with who you are. Don’t worry so much about fitting in or being the same as your friends. True friends will enjoy you for who you are. You are created and loved by God, and you are made to be unique.”
2017 Distinguished Alumni: Kristen Miller
King’s Schools annually presents its Distinguished Alumni Award at the Awards Assembly on May 30th. The criteria for selection of our Distinguished Alumni is inspired by the four pillars of King’s Schools – Academic Excellence, Christian Commitment, Caring Community and Rich Heritage. This year we are proud to present the 2017 award to Kirsten Miller, King’s class of 1988.
Kirsten is one of the most genuine, upbeat people you’ll ever meet. You’ll find her positive outlook in every aspect of her life. She is a Godly woman who is determined and has never been afraid of hard work. She contributes her success in her professional career, charity work and family life to her upbringing, her experience at King’s, but most importantly her faith in Christ. Kirsten began attending King’s in 1980 in the 4th grade. The solid foundation in academics, friendship and faith she experienced at King’s gave her a sound basis to succeed after high school.
Kirsten is the President of Norpro, Inc. Norpro is an industry leading manufacturer and distributor of thousands of kitchenware items, producing in over 20 countries and exporting to over 70 countries worldwide. Kirsten has been with Norpro for 25 years where she has experienced solid company growth and strong bottom line results each year.
Kirsten began working at Norpro while attending King’s High School. She continued with the company while completing her BA and MBA degrees in Business Management and Administration at Seattle Pacific University. She has been serving as the President of the company since the late nineties with passion to see its growth and full potential reached. In this role, her driven and optimistic attitude, combined with daily enthusiasm, continue to push Norpro towards innovative and quality products.
Kirsten is happily married to her college sweetheart. She is a proud mother of four wonderful sons. She committed her life to the Lord at the age of six, was raised in a solid, Christian home and has served Jesus all her life. She is a woman of The Word, a woman of prayer and dedicated to investing in ministries that spread the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Class of 1979
Dan Kieling may have only joined the King’s community in his junior year of high school, but the impact of those short years have reverberated through his life and into the next generation.
A Heart for King’s
Dan knew public school was not for him. He dropped out his sophomore year hoping to find a school that challenged him. His search came up fruitless, and he considered joining the military until he met a girl at church who told him about King’s Garden. After a summer tour and visit with the counselor, Dan knew he’d found the place for him. Even with a 13 miles drive each way, responsibility for paying his own tuition, and a job that had him waking up at 2:00 in the morning, Dan knew King’s was where he wanted to be. “What happened that August and rolling into the school year was nothing short of amazing,” Dan shared about his start. “Friendships took hold along with an outpouring of love from peers, parents, teachers, and administrators.” Dan had found his place.
He quickly dove into the King’s community by getting involved in extracurriculars, including football, basketball, and track in addition to drama and editing the Quill. But it was the relationships that created a memorable experience for him. “The friendships created among students and teachers were important and gave me a new perspective in looking at how good things could be,” Dan said. “Humor, practical jokes and pranks were always a part of the package and allowed me to get to know teachers and administrators in a way that shed a positive light on who they really were as individuals.”
A crowning accomplishment of Dan’s time at King’s was his influence over the school’s name. In 1979, King’s Garden became CRISTA, and the original plan was for each school to be named after the organization: CRISTA High, CRISTA Junior High, and CRISTA Elementary. This didn’t jibe with Dan, and he teamed up with fellow student Gary Malkasian to address the administration. After weeks of discussion and dialog, the students heard the administration’s decision: “The High School will be known as King’s High, the Junior High as King’s Junior High and the Elementary School as Dan Kieling Elementary!” While the elementary school of course never took Kieling’s name, the schools we know today have their names in large part to Dan’s petitions.
Dan’s high regard for King’s also poured out to many of his teachers and administrators, of whom he said:
Mrs. Smith sitting down next to me in the first weeks starting school, placing her hand on my shoulder and asking how she could help me succeed and assist me with my school work. I was blown away by this and her compassion.
Howard Inouye was indignant that I learn and stay awake in math class. It was not unusual for me to nod off since I was getting up early to go to work and running on very little sleep. He placed me in the first row and would open the windows. He would pace in front of me as he taught from the chalk board and when needed, kick the bottoms of my feet to keep me awake. He did not tell the other kids the real reason he had the windows open during winter, but I knew why.
Judith Reilly in drama was the tough, “caring mother type” with a soft heart and would let you know that “You Will Succeed”. She also taught us etiquette, such as how to properly applaud or clap hands.
Larry Skogstad for Contemporary World Problems, Home Relations and Basketball Coach – taught me hard work and discipline. “If you want to beat your opponents you have to put in more work and effort than them.” We hated running lines, stairs and conditioning but were appreciative for this when game time rolled around.
Diane Peasley – Journalism, became an older sister to me and was genuine in her interactions, allowing me to have a confidante with a female perspective when needed.
Ruth Winquist – Vice Principal was always there for you. She gave the appearance of a “Drill Sergeant” but always had your back and best interests at heart. I enjoyed sitting in her office having a great conversation with her and learning something new about her or her family at the same time.
Ms. Monty – Linda Montgomery my sassy, sarcastic English teacher with her quick wit and intellect helped to keep me in place and on my toes. If you see her, be sure to ask her about the “mask episode”, where “I stepped over the line”. She said it would be in her memoirs.
Running Toward the Goal
After graduating King’s in 1979, Dan went onto college and spent a few years in security and law enforcement positions before entering the business world. He now serves as Vice President of Corporate Security for Wells Fargo, overseeing criminal issues and investigations and keeping staff, customers and assets safe for the company. “There is never a dull moment,” he said.
Dan loves adventure, and his post-graduate life has been filled with travels that get him outside. “My passion is enjoying anything in the outdoors,” he said. “Doing long remote hikes here in the northwest or exploring the Grand Canyon a week at a time. Mountain climbing has been a big part of life.”
Running has taken up residence in Dan’s life since 2005. He brought long-distance running into his regimen as a training tool for mountain climbing and soon completed his first marathon. “After having completed one it felt like it was just easier to stay in shape by running throughout the year and having another marathon on the calendar to keep the nonstop training going,” he said. “Then the goal was to qualify for the Boston Marathon.” (He did!)
Over the next eight years, Dan completed marathons in all 50 states (in under four hours each!), and last month his 75th marathon was in the books. He’s reached his running goals, but the journey for him isn’t over, saying, “The best part of this journey has been to inspire others to join in to lead a healthy lifestyle.”
Inspiring others with his journey hasn’t been relegated to the physical. His time at King’s awoke him spiritually, and that awakening has spread through the generations. “The experience of shaping my life, with influence from the King’s family, began as a 16-year-old and had lifetime impacts. Determined and with His Grace, I was able to reach out spiritually to my family,” Dan shared. As he reached out over the years, his mother, father and six siblings all embraced the love of Christ that he’d so warmly experienced and received as a student at King’s. “I can only imagine what could have been if not for the grace of God and if I had never heard of King’s Garden,” he said.
The impact of King’s was so great that at 18-years-old he made a vow that should he have children, they would attend King’s as well. With wife and fellow King’s alumna by his side, Dan is proud to call his four grown children King’s graduates. “As my own kids have grown into adults, I continually see the influence, inspiration and spiritual care they also received from their time at King’s and how solid their faith is when put to the test,” Dan said. “For that I am very thankful.”
Advice for the Senior Class
“You have heard it before that life is a journey. Prayer, goal setting and making moves in the direction you want to head are important to get to the desired outcome. Thinking just about the finish can be overwhelming, you want to have that in mind, but more importantly are those smaller steps and goals that make up the journey, taking you to the finish. Focus on the small continual goals with an eye toward the finish line. When I climb mountains or run a marathon, thinking about the summit or the finish line can be daunting. Focusing on the next hundred feet of ascent or running the next mile is not so overwhelming. Learning to enjoy each step along the way adds to the beauty of it all.
“The journey is yours to create and take. It can be an amazing journey! The ball is in your court, what are you going to do with it?”