Teacher Bio’s

Lydia Hodak:

Title: Special Education & English as a Second Language Teacher (K5-12th grade)

I am so grateful to be involved at Fourth Baptist Christian School as their Special Education Teacher. In 2011, I graduated from Northland International University with a BS in Elementary Education.  After working for Northland camp and the University, I moved back to Minnesota and began working for a youth transition program that serviced students with emotional and behavioral disabilities, autism, other health disabilities, learning disabilities, and developmental and cognitive disabilities.  While working for the program, I began pursuing a Master of Arts degree in special education from Bethel University.  The Lord led me to Fourth Baptist Christian School in 2014 where I worked as their fourth grade teacher for three years. In 2017, I transitioned into the role of special education and ESL teacher and began building the special education program.  I graduated from Bethel University in 2018 with a MA in Special Education. I currently hold a Special Education ABS license in Minnesota, am certified through the American TESOL Institute in teaching ESL to children, hold an American Association of Christian Schools teaching certification, and am a member of the National Association of Special Education Teachers.  When I am not at school or church activities, I love going to the U of M Gophers games, playing and listening to music, reading, coaching basketball, paddle boarding, and swimming.

Heidi Caasi:

Title: English as a Second Language Teacher (K5 – 12th grade)

It is my great joy to teach English as a Second Language (ESL) at Fourth Baptist Christian School. My interest in second language and culture began as an undergraduate student. After an introductory course in teaching English, I taught English as a Foreign Language abroad in 1997 and subsequently participated in three summers of training at the Summer Institute of Linguistics, University of North Dakota. I also enjoyed involvement with the local Russian community during this time and am indebted for the insight, friendship, and food that was shared with me as I grew in my understanding of cross-cultural relationships. I eventually graduated from Thomas Edison State University in 2000 with a B.A. in Humanities. After teaching for several years, I completed a certificate in Teaching English as a Foreign Language at Hamline University and then pursued a Master’s degree in ESL, graduating in 2006.

From 2006-2016, I had the privilege of living in Southeast Asia to serve a minority Christian community alongside my husband. Though most of my role at this time was home-based, I can see that the Lord never wastes any experience.  My home became my classroom rounding out my educational background with real life experience in language learning and cross-cultural adaptation. Again, I owe so much to the wonderful people who opened their lives to me and shared their language and way of life.

In 2018, the Lord placed me at FBCS. I am honored to be part of the team here and to be entrusted with the progress of our second language learners. I truly value the unique contribution these students bring to FBCS, and I thoroughly enjoy coming alongside them to bridge communication gaps in both conversational and academic English. I also understand the stresses that come to my students (and their parents) as they strive for high levels of academic competence in multiple languages.

In addition to full-time teaching, I have the privilege of mothering five sons, all of whom are current students at FBCS. I also love sacred and classical music, quilting, and catching quiet moments of meditation. In real life, I make dinner, do laundry, and check homework.