Life of a Brave: 21 Questions with New SJB Global Director, Mrs. Diane Gihring

by Christian Angel, Managing Editor

St. John Bosco High School welcomes SJB Global Director Mrs. Diane Gihring, as she works to serve all students on campus and around the world with St. John Bosco High School’s innovative online learning option.

Photo by Christian Angel, Managing Editor

Q. Where did you grow up?

A. I grew up in Corona, California.

Q. What school did you attend for university?

A. I got my Bachelors degree at Concordia University Irvine. I studied English and got my Teaching Credential at Concordia University. I also attended Chapman University and got my Masters degree in English. I am currently attending Claremont Graduate University and pursuing my Doctorate degree in English.

Q. Do you have any prior experiences working in constructing an online school program as SJB Global?

A. Yes! I helped build Orange Lutheran Online starting 20 years ago. I created online classes, trained and taught online as a teacher, became an administrator and oversaw the day to day running of the online school and visioning for the future.  This included hiring, training, and supervising online teachers, developing and overseeing curriculum creation, and working with students and our office team to support everyone in their roles.

Q. For how long have you been teaching?

A. This is my 29th year in education. I taught full time high school English in the classroom for 11 years and now have been working in online education for 21 years.

Q. How did you find St. John Bosco and what made you interested in working here?

A. Mr. Crawford, our Dean of Admissions, is one of my former English students and we have been co-workers in the past. He recommended me as someone who could successfully build an online school for Bosco. I was interested in moving to a new school because of the opportunity and challenge of starting at a new school, being reinvigorated as an educator, and I believe God led me to this school.

Q. What is your favorite part about St. John Bosco thus far, why?

A. I love the general atmosphere at Bosco. I feel very peaceful here on campus and with the students. I also love the Salesian Mission and the commitment to the students. Don Bosco set a great example for us and I hope to follow in his footsteps.

Q. How has your time at St. John Bosco been so far?

A. I have loved being at Bosco. The administration is incredibly supportive. The teachers are all on a mission together, which I especially appreciate. The best part, of course, is working with individual students and seeing them succeed.

Q. What is your favorite aspect of your job as Director of SJB Global? 

A. At this point, I love checking in with our students who work in the Learning Commons every day. I really enjoy supporting and encouraging students. I also like doing the same for our online teachers. I am a nurturer so I like taking care of and coaching those around me to be their best. I also really appreciate working with the administration and teachers and being a part of the overall mission of the school.

Q. What do you hope to accomplish with the launch of SJB Global?

A. What I have seen happen at a school with an online option is that it becomes a normalized part of the day and schedule. It offers more flexibility and options for students to help pursue their passions and be involved in everything they want to. It also helps grow the school because we can have more students with the opportunity to be a part of the Bosco community. Right now we have online students living in the Pacific Northwest, Northern and Southern California, New England, and China who are full-time online students. That’s pretty cool!

Q. What are your favorite hobbies?

A. I like to pretend I am living on the frontier! I garden and make jam. I make beef jerky and dried fruits. I like to make quilts for special people. I work on my house.

Q. What do you do in your free time?

A. I am a little bit obsessed with Star Wars right now and am trying to watch all of the movies and series in order. I am watching Rebels right now. I also love to travel, bake, swim, paint, and walk!

Q. Do you have any pets? If so, what are they and what are their names? 

A. Yes, of course, we have the best pets! I have 2 tortoises. Truman is a desert tortoise. He is about the size of a dinner plate. Sheldon is a Russian tortoise and is about the size of my hand. They are great pets because they sleep all winter–so we don’t have to take care of them at all, and then when spring comes around, they wake up and they get to start living their best life again exploring our backyard. I grow foods they can eat all over the yard.

Q. What is your favorite type of food? 

A. That’s a tough one! So many favorite foods! I guess I’ll say chips with salsa and Coke are a perfect combination! Having tacos with them is even better!

Q. What is your favorite sport and what team is your favorite?

A. I love baseball and the Angels! I live only about 1.5 miles from the Big A so I can hear their fireworks when they hit a homer! I usually go to about 20 games a season with my dad, husband, and or other friends. I am glad we have a few other Angels’ fans here on campus!

Q. Do you have any favorite athletes? 

A. Trout and Ohtani are stand-out professional athletes for me for sure. They are both incredible athletes who, in addition to being naturally gifted, also work hard to improve and be the best they can be. I appreciate their work ethic and their fair play.

Q. If you could go on vacation anywhere in the world, where would you go?

A. I always want to go somewhere warm and tropical! Hawaii, Bora Bora, the Bahamas, Mexico, anywhere with warm blue ocean water!

Q. What is your favorite holiday and why?

A. That’s a hard one. I am not sure I have a favorite holiday. I like celebrating any holiday, major or minor. I especially love the candy associated with holidays. I always decorate the house for each holiday, make special foods for each one, and listen to special music.

Q. What are some difficulties that you went through to get to where you are today?

A. I am a recent breast cancer survivor. I was diagnosed in July 2020 with Stage 2 cancer. I underwent chemo, 4 surgeries, and radiation. God healed me and has allowed me to use this experience to give him glory and to share my experiences with others and support them through similar circumstances. I have no evidence of cancer for almost 2 years now.

Q. What is your favorite movie and tv show? 

A. My favorite movie hands-down is Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. It came out when I was in middle school and I have loved it ever since. I have probably seen it 100 times. And for TV, my favorite show right now is The Curse of Oak Island. I am waiting for them to get the gold! 

Q. What is your favorite drink?

A. There is nothing better than a Coke from a fountain with lots of ice, or ice-cold bottled Mexican Coke.

Q. What are some hidden talents that you would like to share?

A. I make a pretty good amateur Disney Tour Guide. I worked there in college, and I have had a pass for several years. I still go several times a year, and I love learning Disney Trivia. Let’s go!

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