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Archive for the ‘Our Progress’ Category

The Renaissance Network – Your Questions Answered

Posted on August 8th, 2011

For the last two years, the Alumni Awards Foundation (AAF) has been working with educators, entrepreneurs, philanthropists, and leaders of the Adventist Church to develop an innovative management model for Adventist schools. AAF recently partnered with one academy to pilot the program this year. We are actually launching the pilot program a year ahead of schedule because we want to make this program available to schools as soon as possible.

The Q&A below is intended to provide you with the current thinking on how the Renaissance Network will operate. Be aware that this information is subject to change as the model is further developed in partnership with our pilot school, Thunderbird Adventist Academy. Thank you for your interest, and we welcome your feedback as we work together to improve and empower Adventist education.

Q: What is the Renaissance Network?

A: We invite you to imagine a school where students are afforded the best educational experience. Imagine a school where local school boards and administrators have free access to a powerful support system on a daily basis that facilitates expert management, staff training, financial planning, educational support, and facility master planning. Imagine a school where teachers are honored and appreciated, administrators are rewarded, the students are challenged, the community is engaged… and together, they are pursuing a vision for greatness.

Now imagine a network of these schools that bear the Adventist Education brand.

Welcome to the Renaissance Network.

Simply put, the Renaissance Network is a new way to deliver management resources to Adventist schools. Schools that join the Network are immediately linked up with a team of education professionals that help the school principal and staff design and implement a comprehensive, customized school-improvement plan. Once approved by the school board, the team ensures the school has support needed to develop and maintain a quality, sustainable education program.

Although we are in the early stages, our vision is to develop a Division-wide network of viable “model schools”– with superior academics, a rich spiritual atmosphere, cutting-edge technology, even facilities that meet or exceed expectations. As partners with AAF and with each other, schools in the Network will be able to accomplish so much more than they could independently.

We believe our Adventist academies should be the leading example to all Christian schools – maintaining a strong Christ-centered worldview, while providing the greatest college-bound educational experience possible. The goal is to equip Adventist schools with tools they need to become and remain centers of excellence.

Learn more about Our Vision.

Q: Why is the Alumni Awards Foundation developing the Renaissance Network?

A: Because our kids deserve the best. It was in Adventist schools that our lives were changed. We are therefore entrusted with an opportunity and responsibility to build schools that deliver quality, Adventist education.

We believe Adventist education is the most powerful, effective, lasting means for ministry in North America. The pulse of our church is inextricably linked to the vitality of our school system. Yet the challenges facing our schools are great, and they have serious implications for every member of the Adventist family. Research shows that the Adventist church is aging, and meanwhile enrollment in its schools is only declining. The future of our hospitals, universities and churches is endangered by the present instability of the Adventist school system.

As a community of advocates for Adventist education, we are compelled to roll up our sleeves and work to secure the future. We believe our organization is positioned to put forward solutions that extend beyond what the church structure currently offers. We are driven by a deep desire to see Adventist children and families have access to first-class education. We want to empower Adventist schools to be places of opportunity – places where spiritual nourishment, academic rigor, meaningful relationships, and hard work collide to create an experience for students that cannot be matched anywhere else.

Q: How does a school become a member of the Renaissance Network?

A: The first step is to ensure that the local school board and conference are in agreement with the mission of the Renaissance Network and AAF. Applying to join the Network is a completely voluntary action taken by the school’s governing bodies (usually the local school board and conference). We are not trying to create a one-size-fits-all model for every Adventist school ever built. This program is (more…)

Filed under News, Our Progress

Tucker Brings 26 Years of Adventist Education to the Network

Posted on July 1st, 2011

The Alumni Awards Foundation (AAF) is partnering with school administrators, local school boards and conferences to create The Renaissance Network. The start-up team for the Renaissance Network includes Wendel Tucker, David Daniels and Greg Gerard. Tucker retired June 30 as superintendent of the Alvord Unified School District to lead the launch of the Renaissance Network.

The purpose of the Network is to “rebirth” Adventist secondary education into a network of Adventist academies that deliver excellence in the educational, spiritual, academic, social, and physical development of our students. The Network will provide resources and management expertise to schools.

The interim team will be considered part-time until a full-time leadership team is established for the Renaissance Network. Daniels, principal of Takoma Academy, and Gerard, principal of Georgia-Cumberland Academy, will partner with Tucker as-needed while continuing in their current roles as school principals.

Tucker has been serving as a superintendent in Riverside, California, since 2008, which followed four years as assistant superintendent for the same district. He holds almost 20 years of experience in the public school system, along with an additional 26 years specifically in Adventist education.

Prior to his days in Alvord, Tucker served as principal of two public schools and three Seventh-day Adventist academies. He served as vice president for advancement and university relations at La Sierra University. Tucker holds a Ph.D. in educational leadership and teaches organizational behavior and leadership for La Sierra University in their schools of business and education. As an alum of Pacific Union College, Tucker moved into a career in the Seventh-day Adventist school system by teaching at Pacific Union Preparatory School.

Tucker leaves Alvord being noted as a “visionary” by Ben Johnson, Alvord Unified School District board president. Johnson said Tucker has done a great job. Under his leadership in Alvord, Tucker accomplished $350 million worth of facility projects for the school district.

Tucker is well-known in his community, where he currently serves in numerous capacities. He is president of the Riverside Public Library Trustees and Foundation Board, as well as serves as chair of the Mayor’s Highest Education Business Council, Community of Colleges and Universities Sub-committee in Riverside. He is a member of Riverside’s Mayor’s Strategic Plan Steering Taskforce and the Mayor’s Advisory. Tucker is also a member of the La Sierra University Foundation.

Undoubtedly, Tucker will lend much knowledge and expertise to the AAF Board of Directors as they continue to partner and establish the groundwork for the Renaissance Network.

Tucker’s new role on the Renaissance Network leadership team for AAF will begin immediately. In fact, Tucker has already been in regular conversation with the interim principal for the first pilot school to join the Renaissance Network this fall.

“I’d expected to ease into retirement for two to three months, and selection of the first pilot school came a little sooner than expected,” Tucker said. “But my energy level is great and this is a wonderful challenge.”

AAF Director Melanie Litchfield said Tucker is currently working with the school’s interim principal to develop a summer recruitment and staffing plan for the 2011-2012 school year, as well as plans for a campus face-lift.

“He has a lot of expertise in facility improvements, which will serve the school well,” Litchfield said. “He takes a lot of time to ask questions and fully investigate various options before settling on a course of action. He really wants to help the Foundation build something that lasts.”

Tucker will continue to reside in Riverside, California, with his wife, Janis. He will commute to the first Network school on a part-time basis as plans continue to develop for the 2011-2012 school year. Tucker said he is excited to be laying the foundation for opportunities the school could not otherwise afford on their own.

“We believe in specific markets, the Adventist academies should be the Christian school of choice,” Tucker said. “We are going to be very objective and realistic… but our long-range plan is to create centers of excellence.”

Release of the first pilot school and more details are to come. Local school boards who wish to join the program in 2012 may apply to join the Network next month. A partnership will be established with the Network through a contractual agreement.

Filed under News, Our Progress

Leadership Team Gears Up for Pilot Program

Posted on March 22nd, 2011

The Renaissance Network is a program that partners with school administrators, local school boards and conferences to create the best possible educational experiences for students. The purpose of the Renaissance Network is to “rebirth” Adventist secondary education into a network of Adventist academies that delivers excellence in the spiritual, academic, social, and physical development of our students. Local school boards who wish to join the program would establish a partnership with the Network through a contractual agreement.

The leadership team for the Network is emerging, and thus far includes David Daniels and Dr. Greg Gerard.

David Daniels is principal of Takoma Academy (TA) in Takoma Park, Maryland. TA offers advanced placement classes. Special education and vocational/technical programs are also available at this school. TA was one of the first schools to partner with the Commonweal Foundation on its Seventh-day Adventist Capacity Building Initiative. The initiative supports K-12 partner schools through evaluation, resources, training, and best practices collaboration.

Dr. Greg Gerard has been principal of Georgia-Cumberland Academy since 2002. The academy, located in Calhoun, Georgia, has seen a 25% increase in enrollment under Dr. Gerard’s leadership, and is currently running at full capacity. He holds a doctorate in Educational Leadership from Western Michigan University and belongs to the National Association of Secondary School Principals. Dr. Gerard has served as a member of the AAF Board for five years.

The core leadership team will lead a turnaround in one pilot school for 2011-2012. The school will be selected by mid-April. The team has identified the following as objectives for beta schools:

  1. Generously support the personal spiritual development of each student.
  2. Improve the academic outcomes of each student.
  3. Provide an environment where students value relationships more than rules.
  4. Enhance the opportunities for each student to grow physically through work, exercise, health, and wellness.
  5. Establish sound business operations in each school through outside governance management and financial resources.
  6. Increase enrollment through additional student aid, improved school programs, and facilities that meet or exceed expectations.

Filed under Our Progress

AAF Visits Schools for Review

Posted on March 22nd, 2011

The Renaissance Network proposal for Adventist K-12 schools has been presented numerous times in the last month in our travels across the country. Director Melanie Litchfield, as well as several AAF board members and the Network model leadership team, have visited five schools as potential candidates for the pilot program set to launch this fall. Additional schools of consideration are on the traveling agenda through month-end. One to three beta schools will be selected for the pilot program by April 15.

Filed under Our Progress

Education Directors More Supportive than Ever

Posted on February 17th, 2011

Representatives of AAF met with union directors in San Antonio, Texas on February 17 for a discussion of the latest initiative developments. After several hours of dialogue, union education directors said they are more supportive than ever of the program and expressed their encouragement of continued progress.

Filed under Our Progress

January 2011

Posted on January 1st, 2011

Leadership team assembles to define pilot program. Details to follow soon.

Filed under Our Progress

AAF Encouraged to Pilot Program

Posted on November 4th, 2010

AAF presented an alternative operations model to the NAD K-12 Board of Education on November 4. The Board, which includes union presidents, education directors, and NAD administration, agreed to participate in a summit where AAF’s proposed model would be submitted in full for review and revision. The board voted to send 12 delegates, one from each union and several from the NAD, to the tentative summit.

Several board members encouraged AAF to pilot the project with a handful of schools and conferences. AAF’s board accepted the recommendation and plans to engage the first schools in early 2011.

Filed under News, Our Progress

Summerour Speaks at National Summit on Adventist Education

Posted on October 22nd, 2010

AAF Co-Chairman Bob Summerour presented on La Sierra University’s campus for the first-ever National Summit on Adventist Education, co-sponsored by the university, the NAD, and the Pacific Union Conference. The summit was entitled Crossroads of Peril and Promise. Visit La Sierra’s site for the full summit article.

Filed under Our Progress

Union Education Directors Review Proposed Education Model

Posted on October 6th, 2010

AAF met with union education directors in Williamsburg, Virginia, to review progress of the proposed education model and discuss next steps. After the model was presented, time was allocated to exploring questions and concerns. The directors unanimously gave their blessing to pursue further development.

Filed under Our Progress

Academy Principals Receive Perspective Survey

Posted on September 15th, 2010

AAF has been sponsored by the Commonweal Foundation to conduct a survey that assesses Adventist schools from the perspective of current leadership. The survey was sent by email to the 108 academy principals in the NAD.

The survey has been developed in partnership with the Commonweal Foundation, with input from the NAD Office of Education and AAF Knowledge Community members. The survey covers important topics such as school boards and local church support.

Filed under Our Progress

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