Shields Family

Kevin and Kristine Shields and family

For the Shields—Kevin, Kristine, Juliette '19, and Nathan '22—Bear Creek is more than where the kids go to school. Since they first enrolled Juliette in kindergarten in 2006, it has truly been a family endeavor.  

Kristine has been active as a Parent Rep, Mentor Mom, and classroom volunteer for many years; while Kevin, who has volunteered for various field trips and other activities as his work schedule allowed, took on a bigger volunteer role responsible for membership in the Grizzlies Boosters Club. Juliette blogs for the Upper School News Team and mentors younger girls on Bear Creek’s volleyball team. Nathan continues to grow into leadership roles through athletics, and his empathy leads him to seek out and include other students in a variety of ways. 

When asked why they have chosen to focus their time, talent, and finances on Bear Creek, Kevin answers, “Our family and the community both benefit from our involvement. We’re already here—why wouldn’t we want the full benefit?” He reflects further that, “At Bear Creek, something happens beyond the academics. The community here creates an environment that is so supportive and caring, it extends to our entire family and improves how we function as a unit. The values of Bear Creek parents and students align with ours, and instead of playing defense against negative outside influences, we can spend our time as a family moving forward. The culture here encourages and gives back to our family. That’s invaluable.” 

Both Kevin and Kristine credit the outstanding teachers and athletics coaches, as well as other parent volunteers, for helping to create such a healthy environment. Says Kristine, “There are so many leadership opportunities for the kids: in athletics, in House — it makes it easier as a parent for us to encourage our kids to plug in when there are lots of ways for them to do so.”

Shields Family

Athletics Banquet 2019

Kevin adds, “The fact that so many parents step up to be involved in different ways is what makes the difference. It allows the school to create many more opportunities for students to learn and grow.” 

In 2011, the Shields moved to Finland for Kevin’s job. While they loved the experience overall, Juliette and Nathan longed to return to Bear Creek. After much discernment, they returned to the U.S. and Bear Creek in 2013. 

Their time in Finland affected them deeply. Kristine comments, “Our kids understand in a very real way what it means to not belong in a new place; and to have to struggle and persevere before becoming part of a community. Because of that, they have so much empathy. They have both worked hard since we returned to reach out to other students and help each one feel included. When we came back, I got involved in the school in as a Parent Rep and a Mentor Mom because I realize in a much deeper way how important it is to embrace people, especially those who are new or haven’t quite connected in the community yet. I’ve become much bolder about reaching out to other parents.” 

 “I really feel like we’re doing mission work here,” Kristine continues. “We are investing in future leaders. And we are part of a legacy, too. We are inspired by the example of those parents who came before us and laid the groundwork for the school our kids now enjoy, and we want to contribute in our own ways to that legacy.” 

Kevin sums up their philosophy, “It’s hard not to give back to Bear Creek. We want to do so, because we get so much value out of it as a family, it feels right to invest in the school. Giving of our time, talent, and treasure is our way to say thank you.”