Clapham Christian Classical School

Clapham Journal

Q & A with Beth Kleitsch and Nathan LeMahieu

The school year is in full swing and the students are settling into their new routine. As a parent you may have touched base with your student’s teacher but you may also have seen an unfamiliar face or two on the faculty. We caught up with two of our brand new faculty members, Beth Kleitsch and Nathan LeMahieu, and asked them some questions to get to know them better. I am delighted to share their interview answers with you.

Beth Kleitsch


Beth Kleitsch is the Upper School science teacher at Clapham School.

Beth is the Upper School Science teacher at Clapham. Read on to learn some fascinating facts about canoeing, skiing and Chinese cooking!


Q.   What are you currently reading for enjoyment?

A.   Lately I’ve gotten into audio books. I took a road trip with my 16-year-old sister last month and we listened to a couple Dickens novels, The Old Curiosity Shop and Hard Times, as well as some Sherlock Holmes stories, and a newer book about the 1936 US Olympic rowing team, called The Boys in the Boat, by Daniel James Brown. Now I’m working my way through Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina on my long drives up to Wisconsin to see my parents. These have all been very engaging books, so much at times that I have to turn them off so I can drive safely!


Q.   What interests do you pursue outside of teaching?

Beth Kleitsch, Clapham School science teacher , gunwale pumping.A.   I love to improve skill in sports I’ve known for a while. For example, I’ve been skiing for years, but last winter I learned to ski backward. It’s tremendously pleasant! And this summer I’ve been experimenting with new canoeing techniques. While camping with our regional church family a week ago, I learned to paddle standing up, like a gondolier, and also to “gunwale pump.” Gunwale pumping (pronounced “gunnel”) is done by standing up on the edges of the boat very far back, and doing rhythmic squats to propel the canoe forward. It was great fun, but I don’t think I’ve ever had such a sore back in my life! I also love indoor rock climbing, and I go to Vertical Endeavors in Glendale Heights quite often.



Q.   When did you decide to become a teacher?

A.   I think I’ve always been a teaching person. As a teen I spent some time teaching my younger siblings skills like riding a bicycle, a few tid-bits of Latin, the Westminster Shorter Catechism, and other stuff. In college I was offered a position as a tutor for biology, and that launched my teaching “career.” After college I took a job as a tent-maker missionary English teacher in China, and that’s where I began to truly appreciate how much work is involved, and how much patience and passion is required to be a true teacher. But more importantly, I learned to trust God with my students’ minds and souls, as well as with my time, my heart, my energy, and my love.


Q.  What is your favorite meal?

A.    After living in China for a couple years, I’ve acquired a taste for spicy food and seafood. There are so many exciting Chinese dishes that I love, but I think my favorite is stir fried garlic stalks and pork. I loved this dish so much that I learned to make it exactly the way they did in the restaurants. Garlic stalks are the flower stem of garlic plants, resembling asparagus, but tasting and smelling of garlic. They’re very spicy raw, but turn sweet when cooked. Pork makes everything taste better, so we cut thin strips of it to sear before adding garlic stalks, onion, garlic cloves, sugar, chicken bullion (with MSG!), and soy sauce. It’s served with steaming hot sticky rice and eaten with chopsticks and, of course, friends. 

Q.    What made did you decide to teach science?

A.    This verse has been my motto since my college statistics class:

“The works of the LORD are great, studied by all who have pleasure in them” (Psalm 111:2).

God reveals himself in his works of creation and in the holy scripture, and both inform our minds and hearts, directing us to worship him. He has given me keenest pleasure in studying his works and worshiping him and I want to share that with others, especially young men and women. It’s like a treasure hidden from untrained eyes, and I have the power to train eyes to see the treasure. And, once trained, those eyes will see more and more and more, until the treasure brings joy for a lifetime.

Q.    Name the book that has had the most impact on your life.

A.    Aside from God’s word, I’ve been impacted for many years by Corrie ten Boom’s The Hiding Place. The example of her faith and her struggles in unthinkably difficult times imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp was a sort of proof to me that God is real, his power is unquenchable, he gives joy to those who trust him, and his love is for everybody. I also really appreciate her honesty with how she felt during hard times, and her lack of trust. Corrie’s admiration of her sister Betsy (who shares my name, Elizabeth) also inspired me to be like Betsy, who was (as Corrie saw it) more faithful and kind than Corrie could be. I return to this book every few years, and recommend it to anybody who’s going through troubles. 


Q.   What is your favorite quote.

A.     “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”

                                                                                                                                                 -Jim Elliott.


Q.   Tell us about your family.

A.    I come from a large family. I have seven siblings: four older brothers, two younger sisters, and one younger brother. We were all homeschooled, most of us all the way through high school. We were raised in Wisconsin, for the most part, and spent a lot of time outside, exploring, playing together, getting into trouble, and learning. We read many books, since we had no TV at home, and learned to love good classical (and classic) music because our dad hand-made speakers and of course we had some rather large ones in our living room.

I have 11 nieces and nephews, 8 of whom live in Illinois. All but one of my siblings walk with the Lord now, and we have seen God’s faithfulness in our lives.


Q.   What do you like about teaching at Clapham?

A.    I really like the concept of joyful discovery. That has been my life, and I want to share the joy. Also, as a child I always wanted to attend a private school, wear uniforms, go to classes and learn lots of things, have many friends at school, and do sports. So as an adult it’s fun to be a part of a community where that happens.


Q.    List 5 adjectives that describe yourself.

A.     Sociable, earnest, deep, playful, adventurous.

Beth Kleitsch, Clapham School Sience teacher,  practicing the art of calligraphy.


Q.     Do you have any unique skills?

A.     I speak Mandarin Chinese tolerably well, and I learned some Chinese calligraphy. I’m also working on learning to play the Chinese oboe/cucerbit flute.  



Nathan LeMahieu 


Dr. Nathan LeMahieu is the Class Seven homeroom teacher.  Keep reading to learn about his teaching and travel experiences.  

Nathan LeMahieu is the seventh grade home room teacher at Clapham School.


Q.    What are you currently reading for enjoyment?

A.     I’m thrilled to finally be reading for enjoyment again after four years of reading for doctoral work followed by a year of reading for church ordination! I just finished Jane Eyre last week and have moved on to Julian Johnson’s Out of Time, a book on music and modernity recommended by my predecessor, Mr. Aulie. 


Q.     Name the one book that has had the most impact on your life. 

A.    Ironically, now working in the College Church building, one book that made an impact in my previous work was Kent Hughes’ Liberating Ministry from the Success Syndrome. It refocused my attention on spiritual disciplines and heart-orientation rather than on aiming solely for pragmatic, and often artificial, results.


Q.     What interests do you pursue outside of teaching?

A.     I enjoy playing basketball and golf and watching a variety of sports and attending local college and high school games with my kids. At home, I like to work around the yard and to prepare meals. I love traveling and especially look forward to the trip-planning process. 

natahan lem


Q.     What attracted you to teach at Clapham?

A.    I’m thankful for the impact that Clapham has already made on us as a family, both for my daughter who began as a student last year and for my wife, Julie, who is now in her third year teaching music at Clapham. I appreciate being part of a community made up of both students and teachers who are joining together to pursue truth, goodness, and beauty in the world. Clapham is rooted in the past, but is oriented toward serving the world in the present and the future, a balance that I value.


Q.    Describe a funny moment you experienced as a teacher. 

A.     Perhaps this is not a great self-endorsement (!), but I once was preaching at an outdoor Sunday morning service in rural Ghana when a man in the front row fell fast asleep and was creating a bit of a distraction. The host pastor stopped me mid-sentence, woke the man up, and proceeded to deliver a brief lecture on the impropriety of the man’s behavior. He then turned things back over to me to continue as if nothing had happened!


Q.     List 5 adjectives that describe yourself.

A.     determined; detail-oriented; loyal; discerning; intentional  


Q.     Tell us about your family.

A.      Mrs. LeMahieu (Julie) and I have been married for eleven years. We had our wedding reception right here in Wheaton. At the time, I thought that it was too far out west for anyone to actually want to attend the wedding, but ironically, now we essentially live right down the street from the venue!

Caroline (7) and Henry (5) were born in Highland Park, Illinois, during the years I served as a local church pastor in that community. More recently, Theodore (1) was born here at CDH during my time in the PhD program at Wheaton College. We have no pets and are trying hard to turn aside all requests from the children to change that!


Q.     What clubs/sports teams did you join as a child?

A.     I played baseball through eighth grade and basketball through tenth grade. My other primary activities in middle and high school were drama, choirs, and mock trial. 


Q.     What team do you cheer for?

A.      I cheer for the professional sports teams of my Wisconsin childhood (Packers, Brewers, and Bucks), and I attend as many Northwestern University and Wheaton College games as possible across a variety of sports.


Q.    What is your favorite quote?

A.     “Be a sinner and sin strongly, but more strongly have faith and rejoice in Christ.”  –  Martin Luther


The LeMahieu Family Fall 2018


Clapham School is proud to be a part of the journey of these two fine teachers. We look forward to seeing them in the halls and benefit from their experience and obvious love for life and teaching. Welcome to the family Beth and Nathan! We are so glad you are here.






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