As we lead our school in what it means to be a multi-ethnic, socio-economically diverse urban Christian and classical school, we have found it is much more of a journey than an end, and we are traversing what feels like uncharted territory to help guide the way along with other school leaders. The process of asking tough questions and finding harmony in what could be perceived as incongruous is an ongoing process. Listen in as the academic directors of Hope Academy in Minneapolis share the questions we ask ourselves and the answers we have discovered as we continue the quest of finding the sweet spot. Ben Johnson, high school academic director, and Katie De Kam, director of curriculum, will also join in the discussion; and there will be plenty of time for questions.
Debbie Harris graduated from Azusa Pacific University with a bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies (with a California K-8 certification) and has spent twenty-plus years as a classroom educator and administrator, primarily in the elementary grades. Since 2000, Debbie has worked at Hope Academy, an inner-city classical school in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in several roles which have included administration, instructional coaching and as a classroom teacher. She is part of the Spreading Hope Network which is helping the classical movement spread in inner-city schools across the country. She lives in Hugo, Minnesota with her husband and two sons.
Kelvin Simms graduated from Pensacola Christian College with a Bachelor of Arts in History and English and a Master of Science in Curriculum and Instruction. He has taught in middle and high school classrooms in Christian schools in Maryland and Minnesota. Today, he serves as the middle school director at Hope Academy, an urban classical Christian school in Minneapolis. When not teaching, he and his wife enjoy ministering with teens and young people at their church.
Rena Hall received her BA in Spanish and Science from the University of Minnesota – Morris. Following a career with Northwest Airlines, Rena returned to the University of Minnesota to obtain her M.Ed. Rena taught for several years in one of the largest districts in Minnesota before moving to the private sector where she served for 13 years as principal and Spanish teacher at a private school in one of the Minneapolis suburbs. Rena currently serves at Hope Academy in dual positions –Lower School technology teacher/technology integrationist and academic Director for grades 3-5.