Naomi Wilkes has been teaching for the past six years and is excited to join the ZLO family for school year 2020-2021! She holds a B.A. in Chinese Language and Culture from Western Washington University (WWU) with a Minor in Music and a TESOL certificate (Teaching English as a Second Language) as well as a M.A. in Discipleship from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (NOBTS). She teaches Chinese language and culture and beginning fiddle classes at ZLO. Three things that students will quickly learn about Naomi is that she is passionate about what she teaches, she loves people, and she is a little crazy about the color purple. 🙂

Language and music have much in common. Both of them can be seen as complex codes, with symbols and structures that hold mystery to the uninitiated. Naomi sees herself as a code-breaker, and her role is to give students the key to breaking the code and discovering meaning and beauty for themselves. Like Lucy discovering Narnia, when students begin to master the code they enter a magical world that they never knew existed. Naomi loves seeing the light of understanding dawn in a student’s eyes and sharing in the excitement they feel when they piece together the puzzle for themselves. Notes become transformed from dots and lines on a page to dancing music that carries you on wings. Characters and tones come to life, no longer strange and ancient symbols but the blocks to building bridges of friendship and understanding with a culture so different from our own.

In 2014, Naomi started teaching violin and piano and has experience teaching students age four to retired adults, and everywhere in between! She enjoys getting to work with students of all ages and levels and works hard to tailor her instruction to their needs and goals. Naomi teaches her students that music is a gift to be shared with others and that it is ultimately one way that we worship God, the Creator of all beauty. One of her favorite things to do is to sit at her piano or take up her violin and just play, giving music back to God in praise. In fiddle classes, students learn how to play fiddle songs by ear, read simple music, and play lots of music games!

In 2015, Naomi decided to sign up for a Chinese class at Skagit Valley College, and she quickly fell in love with the beauty and richness of the Chinese language and culture. Chinese is one of the world’s oldest and most fascinating languages, now spoken by over 1.4 billion people in China and around the world. Naomi completed her Major in Chinese Language and Culture at WWU and was named the Outstanding Graduate for her department’s graduating class. As part of her degree she studied in Chengdu, China for one semester. China is now a world power and has a persecuted but growing Christian church. Naomi is passionate for all peoples to know and worship Jesus as King, and her greatest hope is to pass that vision on to her students. Class imitates an immersive experience (class is 90% or so in Chinese), goes at the pace of the students, and is filled with many opportunities for fun! Students develop speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills at an introductory level and also learn important skills for developing relationships with people from an Asian culture.

Most recently, in May 2020 Naomi completed her Master of Arts in Discipleship from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (NOBTS). Jesus has entrusted every Christian with the mission to make disciples, and so Naomi sees herself not only as a teacher but as a disciple-maker. She is committed to teaching her students to know Christ and center their lives around him.

What are classes like? Check out the links below for full descriptions of Chinese and fiddle classes: