Miss Jojo retires

News | November 28, 2017

It’s when kids like Carver run into her arms and call her Onana. Or when Teddy smiles a big smile and backs up into her lap in the St. Paul Preschool office. Those are the moments that Joanna Roland cherishes the most.

Joanna – known as Onana, JoJo, Joenana, and lots of other pretty adorable versions of her name – will be retiring at the end of this month. She’s led the St. Paul Preschool for nearly two decades. She’s also played a key role in St. Paul’s children and family ministries, as well as congregational hospitality. 

“I’m so grateful for this place,” she said in her office on the sunny west wing of St. Paul. “I love these kids. The joy and excitement in their little faces warms my heart.” Three words come to mind when she thinks of her time on staff: Gratitude, joy, and love.

Joanna began her work 18 years ago at the preschool. Thirty-nine kids attended then, many of them at no cost. Most of the teachers were volunteers, and St. Paul staff would take the church van
and pick kids up for class. She and the preschool board set out on a journey to grow the preschool slowly and carefully.

Today, St. Paul Preschool has about 100 students who attend various days in six classrooms. One of the most recent significant changes is the school’s participation in the statewide initiative to ensure as many four-year-olds as possible have access to high-quality preschool.

St. Paul Preschool is devoted to integrating the love of God into a developmentally appropriate setting for young kids. The program shines with weekly chapel services, art, music, language, science, and math. Special events wrap in family, friends, and honored guests. Through a longstanding commitment to community outreach, the preschool offers scholarships for at-risk children and families in need.

Joanna calls the school a joyful village.

As she steps away from her role at St. Paul, Joanna will be moving into her new role as grandmother. Her daughter and son-in-law, Beth and Jered Popowski, are new parents to Lydia Jane. Joanna and her husband, George, will care for Lydia while mom and dad are at work. She couldn’t be happier to be with Lydia. Joanna is a bit sad about leaving the preschool. However, she
finds great comfort in Hebrews 13:8: Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

“My heart is overflowing with gratitude,” she said. “I’ve grown spiritually, personally, and professionally. It’s been a joy to work with so many wonderful people. I start every day by thanking God for this place.”

Farewell weekend

If you’d like to donate to a retirement gift for Joanna, please write a check to St. Paul clearly marked for “Joanna Gift.” You’re also invited to send individual cards or notes to the church, or drop a written expression in the basket on her farewell weekend, December 2-3.

New preschool director, assistant director named

Two long-time St. Paul preschool staff members have been named as director and assistant director.

Karen Strusz will be the preschool director. She taught for 10 years at St. Paul and is in her third year as assistant preschool director. She oversees the statewide voluntary preschool classrooms as part of her work. Karen earned a degree in health care administration from Winona State University. She completed her onsite supervisor credential for the Iowa Department of Human Services.

Karen has previous experience as a community educator, assistant administrator of a medical practice, and as an instructor in the child care program at Scott Community College. She also worked at the Child Abuse Council. Karen enjoys working with children and watching them learn about themselves and the world around them.

Karen is married to Brian. They have two children – Madison and Megan are both former preschool students at St. Paul.

Kathy Becker will be the assistant director. She has been a part of St. Paul Preschool for 18 years as a teacher and resource guide. She attended Kirkwood Community College and the University of Missouri. She has an associate’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Scott Community College. Kathy has volunteered extensively in the Davenport Community School District and as a mediator for the Scott County small claims court.

She and her husband Rod live in Davenport. Their son, Zach, resides in New York City. They lovingly remember their daughter Mariah, who died of cancer in November 2002.


One comment on “Miss Jojo retires”

  • Marge Irwin

    December 1, 2017 at 3:47 pm

    My dearest Joanna – you have blessed St. Paul Preschool with your love of children and faithfulness to the Lord. It warms my heart to see how the program has flourished and grown under your care. May you now have the joy of cherishing time with your grandchildren and know you are appreciated and loved by so many families. In Love, Marge

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Daniel 12:1-3

The Time of the End

1“Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise. And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued.2“Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt.3“Those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.

Psalm 16

1Preserve me, O God, for I take refuge in You.

2I said to the LORD, “You are my Lord;

I have no good besides You.”

3As for the saints who are in the earth,

They are the majestic ones in whom is all my delight.

4The sorrows of those who have bartered for another god will be multiplied;

I shall not pour out their drink offerings of blood,

Nor will I take their names upon my lips.

5The LORD is the portion of my inheritance and my cup;

You support my lot.

6The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places;

Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me.

7I will bless the LORD who has counseled me;

Indeed, my mind instructs me in the night.

8I have set the LORD continually before me;

Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

9Therefore my heart is glad and my glory rejoices;

My flesh also will dwell securely.

10For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol;

Nor will You allow Your Holy One to undergo decay.

11You will make known to me the path of life;

In Your presence is fullness of joy;

In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.

Hebrews 10:11-25

11Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins;12but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, SAT DOWN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD,13waiting from that time onward UNTIL HISENEMIES BE MADE A FOOTSTOOL FOR HIS FEET.14For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.15And the Holy Spirit also testifies to us; for after saying,





He then says,



18Now where there is forgiveness of these things, there is no longer any offering for sin.

A New and Living Way

19Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus,20by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh,21and since we have a great priest over the house of God,22let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.23Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful;24and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds,25not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.

Christ or Judgment

Mark 13:1-8

Things to Come

1As He was going out of the temple, one of His disciples *said to Him, “Teacher, behold what wonderful stones and what wonderful buildings!”2And Jesus said to him, “Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone will be left upon another which will not be torn down.”

3As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew were questioning Him privately,4“Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign when all these things are going to be fulfilled?”5And Jesus began to say to them, “See to it that no one misleads you.6“Many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He!’ and will mislead many.7“When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be frightened; those things must take place; but that is not yet the end.8“For nation will rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be earthquakes in various places; there will also be famines. These things are merely the beginning of birth pangs.

Daniel 7:9-14

9“I kept looking

Until thrones were set up,

And the Ancient of Days took His seat;

His vesture was like white snow

And the hair of His head like pure wool.

His throne was ablaze with flames,

Its wheels were a burning fire.

10“A river of fire was flowing

And coming out from before Him;

Thousands upon thousands were attending Him,

And myriads upon myriads were standing before Him;

The court sat,

And the books were opened.

11“Then I kept looking because of the sound of the boastful words which the horn was speaking; I kept looking until the beast was slain, and its body was destroyed and given to the burning fire.12“As for the rest of the beasts, their dominion was taken away, but an extension of life was granted to them for an appointed period of time.

The Son of Man Presented

13“I kept looking in the night visions,

And behold, with the clouds of heaven

One like a Son of Man was coming,

And He came up to the Ancient of Days

And was presented before Him.

14“And to Him was given dominion,

Glory and a kingdom,

That all the peoples, nations and men of every language

Might serve Him.

His dominion is an everlasting dominion

Which will not pass away;

And His kingdom is one

Which will not be destroyed.

The Vision Interpreted

Psalm 93

1The LORD reigns, He is clothed with majesty;

The LORD has clothed and girded Himself with strength;

Indeed, the world is firmly established, it will not be moved.

2Your throne is established from of old;

You are from everlasting.

3The floods have lifted up, O LORD,

The floods have lifted up their voice,

The floods lift up their pounding waves.

4More than the sounds of many waters,

Than the mighty breakers of the sea,

The LORD on high is mighty.

5Your testimonies are fully confirmed;

Holiness befits Your house,

O LORD, forevermore.

Revelation 1:-4-8

John 18:33-37

33Therefore Pilate entered again into the Praetorium, and summoned Jesus and said to Him, “Are You the King of the Jews?”34Jesus answered, “Are you saying this on your own initiative, or did others tell you about Me?”35Pilate answered, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests delivered You to me; what have You done?”36Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.”37Therefore Pilate said to Him, “So You are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”