Kathy Wayland
Kathy Wayland

Kathy Wayland has lived in Orange her whole life and taught at several Lutheran and Christian schools.  “I’ve always enjoyed watching a child learn. If you become a teacher, you should really have a heart to teach and a love for children.”

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Kathy Wayland

Kathy Wayland’s great-grandmother came from Germany to Orange in the early 1900s, beginning a legacy in Old Towne Orange that she continues to this day.

“I attended St. John’s Lutheran School,” says the retired teacher.  “My grandfather, my mom and all my kids went there, and now I have two grandkids there. That’s where it all started.”

It was while in kindergarten that Wayland decided she wanted to be a teacher.  “Mrs. Keiser was my kindergarten teacher, and I loved her class,” Wayland recalls.

As a senior at Orange High, Wayland took a preparation class for people who wanted to be teachers.  “We learned how to use the mimeograph machine and got to go into classrooms.  I requested to go into Mrs. Keiser’s classroom.”

While still a senior, Wayland was asked to be an aide at Immanuel Lutheran School.  Then she took early childhood education courses at Santa Ana College and began teaching at St. John’s in the Lamb’s Lot Pre School.

“Kathy was the very best practicum student I had and probably the best preschool teacher I ever worked with,” says Nadine Mehaffey, who taught preschool at St. John’s and was a mentor teacher for the state teacher mentor program.  “She’s a natural teacher.  I probably learned more from her than she ever learned from me.”

St. Paul’s Lutheran School followed while Wayland also attended Azusa Pacific in Orange and completed her bachelor’s degree.  Then life took her back to St. John’s.

“Being a Lutheran school teacher, I looked at teaching as my ministry.  I went where God called me,” says Wayland, who spent her career in preschool, kindergarten and first grade.

Wayland obtained her teaching credential at California State University, Fullerton.  Then, Wayland’s husband, an Orange City Firefighter, was hurt in the line of duty and Wayland stayed home for a year to care for him.  She then spent the next five years teaching kindergarten at Covenant Christian.

“I found that job by mistake,” says Wayland.  “I drove to the wrong school for a kindergarten interview.  They didn’t know me, but I had my portfolio and they hired me on the spot.”

After the position at Covenant Christian, before retiring, she taught kindergarten at Hepetha Lutheran School.  Total, Wayland taught for 30 years.

“It was the best career I ever could have had,” she says. “It went by too fast. I’ve had two students tell me they became teachers because of me. That was the biggest thrill.”

Wayland enjoys helping her husband, Mark, who began the flag lowering ceremony at Plaza Park more than a decade ago to support men and women who were serving.

“I just love the small town feel of Orange,” says Kathy.  “It has that special ‘a ‘peal’.”

Kathy Wayland  /  [email protected]

Article Published in the
Mar / Apr 24 edition of the Old Towne Orange Plaza Review
Written by Sheri Ledbetter Photo by Kristin Smetona
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