Renaissance Network welcomes two new schools into the program

Posted on April 25th, 2013

The Renaissance Network is growing! We at the Alumni Awards Foundation (AAF) are proud to announce that we are adding two more schools into the Renaissance Network: Hinsdale Adventist Academy (HAA) in Chicago and Madison Academy (MA) in Nashville, Tenn.

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The Renaissance Network is a new school-management program that seeks to build a strong network of respected, influential Adventist schools that elevate the standard of the entire education system. The Renaissance Network achieves this by providing K-12 schools with outside resources and management expertise through long-term partnerships.

“On behalf of the entire AAF Board of Directors, we are pleased to be working with Hinsdale, Madison, the school boards, the Illinois Conference and the Kentucky-Tennessee Conference in our journey to develop a Division-wide network of viable model schools,” said Dr. Robert Summerour, AAF board chairman. “Our vision is to make Renaissance schools among the most respected and influential schools in the country – raising the bar in their communities and in Adventist education, everywhere.”

Schools accepted into the program are connected with a powerful support system that encourages excellence in the spiritual, academic, social, and physical development of students. HAA and MA in collaboration with Thunderbird Adventist Academy (TAA) will receive external management expertise, comprehensive school planning services, and other resources through partnership with the Renaissance Network.

Hinsdale Adventist Academy

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Hinsdale Adventist Academy is a PreK-12th grade day academy.

Over that last 12 months, HAA has made positive steps toward becoming a Renaissance School. HAA’s school board and conference designed and approved a new school constitution in November 2012 – downsizing its operating board from 28 members to just 13. This new board uses a hybrid model based on both representation and member expertise. Dr. Meechai Tessalee, school board chairman, describes this new structure as a “resource board” that focuses on promoting the school vision and securing funds to accomplish it.

“The most exciting thing about the Hinsdale experience is the change in the board structure,” said Dr. Wendel Tucker, Renaissance School Manager to HAA. “It’s an opportunity to make the governance between the local board and the school administration more efficient and effective.”

AAF plans to help HAA reach its highest potential by establishing a well-performing annual budget, developing an education plan that includes advanced coursework and teacher development, and expand the facilities.

HAA is also shifting administration with Robert Jackson assuming the role of Principal as of July 1. Jackson has been working alongside the current Administrative Principal, Dr. George Babcock, for the past three years and has worked in Adventist education for the past 18 years. “I am very excited at the prospect of HAA joining forces with AAF,” said Jackson. “I am really looking forward to learn from the experience of others and to have the resources that we need to push our ideas forward.”

Madison Academy


Madison Academy has a one-to-one iPad program for student learning.

MA is known for its mission outreach, family atmosphere, and technology-integrated curriculum. In looking for ways to increase cognition, MA was the first Adventist academy to start a one-to-one laptop program for its students, which has evolved into a one-to-one iPad program. Students are tested for their individual learning styles, and teachers customize each student’s learning experience using the iPads.

“There is already a good program in place at Madison, and we are going to build upon it and make it stronger,” said Dr. Greg Gerard, renaissance school manager to MA. The first things AAF plans to concentrate on include: defining a viable business plan for the linen service, developing an aggressive marketing and recruiting strategy, and establishing new sources of funding.

This partnership also brings new leadership with Kris Fuentes, a MA alumna, becoming principal on July 1, 2013. Fuentes has been serving as principal for 12 years at Escondido Adventist Academy in California.

“The Madison I remember has a huge pocket of parents who recognize that the single most important job they have on this planet is to invest time, energy, expertise and love into their children. This clarity of purpose makes Madison very attractive,” said Fuentes when asked about what she is most looking forward to coming back to MA. “I am honored to serve at the school where I met Jesus and committed my life to the teaching ministry.”

Extending the Mission

RN Pull Quote_MelWhen AAF launched the Renaissance Network in 2011 with TAA, our goal was to develop a completely new governance and management concept for Adventist
academies. Now with the addition of HAA and MA, we are able to fulfill our goal of developing the “Renaissance brand” of Adventist education.

“With the addition of two more schools, every step we make has triple the impact on Adventist education,” said Melanie Litchfield, AAF director. “This kind of synergy has never been tried in Adventist education, and it’s exciting to imagine the full potential for creating innovation and efficiency.”

AAF intends to extend the program to more schools for the 2014-2015 school year. Do you have more questions about the Renaissance Network or how your school can be involved? Read more here.

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