I first met Joyce Inouye at the ACSI Teacher’s Convention in Anaheim, California, in November of 2002. I attended a luncheon and seminar she was holding to network teachers within the Christian School systems and assist them in addressing the needs of children who learn differently. God had placed a heavy burden on my heart to learn to work more effectively with these students. As a first grade teacher of twenty-three years, I have seen what a serious issue this has begun within Christian schools. I was so moved at the seminar by Joyce’s knowledge and her heartfelt ministry to these children. I learned so much that day and began to see that there truly was so much I could be doing at my own school to begin educating parents, teachers, and administrators about current researched based methods of education to assist these struggling students. I also learned of her invaluable testing services and was very encouraged about sending some of my students and former students to her. I introduced myself to Joyce and immediately she began to encourage me in my desire to start a ministry at my own school. She kept in touch with me and prayed for me. I referred my first student to her for testing shortly after our meeting. This child was failing first grade at the time. After testing this student, she invited me to attend the follow-up meeting with the family. Of all the years I have sent students for formal testing, this was the first time I was asked to attend the meeting. The report came in the form of a twenty page document. It contained not only the testing results, but over six pages of actual, concrete things that this child, his parents, and I could do to assist him in the classroom. At the time I sent this child to Joyce, he had about a five second attention span. With her help and suggestions, we stretched him to forty-five minutes attending with a ten minute break. This was a life changing event in the life of this student! He continued to soar and finished the year in the top fourth of my class. I was most impressed by her concern that this child and his parents not loose sight of the fact that he was a child of God, fearfully and wonderfully made, and destined for good works in Christ. It was at this meeting I was convinced God was calling me out of first grade and into full time work with students of special needs. I enrolled in a special education credentialing program and continued to keep in touch with Joyce. Over the next year, she was able to pray for me, continue to test and work with students from our school, and assist me in working with special needs children. Most recently, she spent several hours with me and introduced me to a wonderful group of people who have a special program just for Christian Schools. She was instrumental in assisting me in my presentation of this program to our school board, and we are moving forward toward trying to establish a program for the upcoming school year. It is so rare to find someone who is truly called by the Lord to ministry in the area of special education. Joyce has true discernment when it comes to understanding how these special children are learning and she takes her job as a commission from the Lord. Her professionalism is beyond compare and the quality of her work is superior to any I have seen. I am thrilled that she is a part of my life and excited to see how many lives she will continue to touch for the Lord.
-Cherie Hoeppner – First Grade Teacher/Curriculum Coordinator, Saddleback Valley Christian Schools