An Interview with a CCS Alumna - Kari (McCavanagh) Olson, Class of 1991

Kari (McCavanagh) Olson, Class of 1991, lives in Manchester, CT, with her family. Her children are now the second generation to be blessed with a CCS education!


Kari Olson remembers Cornerstone Christian School from its earliest days.  In fact, she was a member of the charter class when CCS first opened its doors in 1981!  Prior to that, Kari had attended public school up through 2nd grade.  Kari’s mother, Nancy, was disappointed in the public school system which was teaching secular humanism to her children, and she wanted an alternative.  Nancy learned that Neale and Gladie McLain planned establish a school which upheld her Christian faith, and so she enrolled Kari and her brothers when the doors opened. 

Kari loved her time at Cornerstone!  She thrived in the small environment and appreciated her God-centered education where “teachers prayed for and loved on her.”  She was also able to develop strong relationships with her classmates, many of whom are now life-long friends.  Being nurtured in this type of environment made it feel like she was surrounded by family.  Kari also appreciated the opportunity to interact with all kinds of people, even those she wouldn’t normally gravitate toward.  She believes this has served her well in life as she’s learned to forge relationships with those who are different than her.

After graduating in 1991 (as the second graduating class of CCS), Kari attended Eastern Nazarene College (ENC) in Quicy, MA.  She remained there for 1 ½ years before deciding to move home and begin hairdressing school.  Once completed, she moved to Nashville for the next 7 years where she met and married her husband, Kris. 

The urge to move home to Connecticut came once Kari learned she would become an aunt!  She and Kris moved back to be closer to family.  She also began her own family and gave birth to Sinead and Jaden, in 2004 and 2005, respectively.  After living in Connecticut for some time, God called her family to become domestic missionaries working at a Christ-centered recovery program called His Mansion in Hillsboro, NH.  She and Kris were staff members until God called them back to CT in 2016.

Ever since Kari became a mom, the prayer of her heart was to send her own children to CCS.  God answered that prayer in 2017 when Sinead and Jaden enrolled in the middle school program.  Kari wanted her children to be protected from the harmful philosophies of the world and has been blessed by the changes she’s seen in her children since they’ve started attending CCS.  Sinead has become “more settled spiritually” and she reported to Kari that everyone at CCS is “so nice!”  Kari believes Sinead has responded to the character of Christ in the people surrounding her.  For Jaden, Kari has watched him blossom academically.  He has become a more independent student and has experienced significant growth in his reading and writing abilities.

At CCS, we “have no greater joy than to hear that (our) children are walking in the truth.” (3 John 1:4).  It’s wonderful to know that a new generation of students are being blessed by a Christ-centered education, too!  If you would like to share your experience as a CCS alumni, please contact Dawn Snellenberger at