West Coast Leaders’ Retreat
March 15-16, 2024
George Fox University – Newberg, OR
Thriving schools need thriving leaders. The burgeoning growth of new classical Christian schools combined with a culture riddled with division and anxiety, means leaders face significant challenges. Hear from seasoned leaders and join in conversation and problem-solving with like-minded peers. You won’t want to miss SCL’s first West Coast event in beautiful Newberg, Oregon on the campus of George Fox University.
A thriving relationship often starts with a common vision, purpose, and understanding of calling. Are boards and heads aimed at the same things? Is their ideal for leadership aligned with their classical Christian commitments as a school? What are the virtues required of boards and heads that they must seek to identify, cultivate, and hold each other accountable to? What does it mean to lead both at the board and head level in ways that are faithful to the classical Christian model and unite the school community? What does Christian thought leadership within the school community require of boards and heads in this contentious cultural moment? In this session, Joseph Clair will explore these questions and facilitate a conversation about what this looks like at your school.
A native Oregonian, Joseph Clair followed his educational pursuit all over the world and earned degrees in both England and the United States. He became professor of Theology and Ethics and now executive dean at George Fox University after receiving his doctorate in Religion, Ethics, and Politics from Princeton University in 2013. He earned his bachelor’s degree at Wheaton College (IL), a master’s in theological studies from Duke, a master’s in philosophy at Fordham, and a master’s in philosophy of religion from Cambridge where he studied as a Gates Cambridge Scholar. He is the author of Discerning the Good in the Letters and Sermons of Augustine (Oxford University Press, 2016) and On Education, Formation, Citizenship, and the Lost Purpose of Learning (Bloomsbury, 2017) along with numerous articles and essays on faith, culture, education, and ethics. In his spare time, he likes to spend time with his wife, Nora, play with his four kids, fly fish Oregon’s many rivers, and work on his hobby farm.
COLLABORATIVE LEADERSHIP: HEAD OF SCHOOL AS BRIDGE BETWEEN GOVERNANCE AND OPERATIONS
The Head of School stands between the operations of the school and the strategic governing body of the school. This requires a high level of wisdom and expertise. When done well, the Head can harness the strengths and insights of the administrative team and act as a catalyst to the Board’s growth and maturity. In this session, Travis Koch will examine the essential ingredients of collaborative leadership and show how the Head of School can facilitate the vital relationship between school administration and effective board governance.
Travis Koch is headmaster of St. Stephen’s Academy in Beaverton, Oregon, where he has served since 2016. He loves to repair and improve neglected things such as watches, cars, buildings, recipes, curriculum, and school policy manuals. He holds a B.A in history from Stanford and an M.A. from Yale. When he’s not reading or answering school-related questions, you’ll probably find him in the garden or kitchen with his wife, or in the garage fixing something, or in the field chasing bumblebees with one of his five children.
A transition into a new role, whether it is an internal move or a move to another school, is an exciting season. A season that is full of opportunities to establish trust and set a solid foundation for years to come. As much opportunity as exists to create clarity and cast vision, transitions can easily be made unnecessarily difficult if the leader lacks situational and personal awareness. In this session, we will look at recommended best practices from HBR and Michael Watkins and apply them to our schools.
Brent Stevens is the Head of School at Grace Academy in Georgetown, Texas. Brent has been in education for 13 years, beginning as a Latin teacher in the Grammar school at Covenant Classical School in Fort Worth. He has served in a number of leadership roles and has had the opportunity to teach a wide range of ages from 3rd to 11th grade.
Brent earned his Bachelor’s Degree from the Texas Baptist College, a master’s degree in Classical Education from the University of Dallas and an Ed.S. from Gordon College. He and his wife, Stephanie, live in Georgetown with their three children.
Being A Non-Anxious Leader in an Anxious World
It is not an overstatement to say that the world has changed over the last few years, and with all of the rapid change, anxiety has followed. The challenges of leading a school have also changed, and you might have found yourself wondering if you are still cut out for the job as a Head of School. What questions should I be asking now? How can I best shepherd my people to carry out our mission? In this season, Justice Kerr will discuss how Heads of School need to think about leading in an age of anxiety. Reflecting on Mark Sayers’ book, A Non-Anxious Presence, Justice will look at our current leadership landscape, the importance of avoiding setting up strongholds, and how to lead your people in an anxious world.
Justice has been serving as the Head of School at Petra Academy since August 2020. Before his time at Petra, Justice worked for seventeen years at Covenant Christian Academy in Colleyville, Texas. Justice has served in a variety of roles over his twenty-five years in education, ranging from teaching Latin and Logic, to Rhetoric School head for eleven years.
Justice earned a bachelor’s degree in Philosophy from Oklahoma Baptist University and a Master of Humanities from the University of Dallas.
Justice has been married to Mandy Kerr for twenty-four years and has a son, Caden, who is married to Elise, and two daughters, Sophie and Addy.
When Boards successfully support and develop their Heads, the Heads can, in turn, develop and grow the leaders under them. Given the scarcity of good leadership, it is essential that Boards and Heads work together to meet the leadership needs of the school beyond the current Head. What is the best way to do that? How can Boards and Heads work together to ensure the long-term leadership needs of the school are met. In this session, Keith Nix will draw from his research at the Gordon Masters program to share best practices for leadership succession and sustainability.
Keith Nix has served as the Head of School at Veritas since 2010. Mr. Nix has served as Chairman of the Board of Society for Classical Learning (SCL), Vice Chairman of the Board of Association of Classical and Christian Schools (ACCS), and President of the Board of Academic Advisors for the Classic Learning Test (CLT). He consults and coaches classical Christian school boards and leaders and currently teaches at Gordon College in their Graduate Leadership Program, equipping Classical Christian school leaders. Prior to moving to Veritas in 2010, Keith was a board member, and then later Head of School at The Westminster School in Birmingham, Alabama. He is a founding Arête Fellow and facilitated the Arete Fellowship for many years. Prior to working in classical Christian schools, Keith was President of Nixgroup, a boutique consulting firm working with start-up and early stage organizations and businesses. Mr. Nix enjoys tennis, golf, and great books. He is married to Kim, an accomplished artist; the Nixes have three grown children and two grandchildren.
Spreading Hope is aiming to ignite a movement of urban classical Christian schools in our nation’s cities. We’re pleased to sponsor SCL’s West Coast Leaders’ Retreat, and we’d love to invite you into what God is doing to expand access to a remarkable education for urban youth.
Deadline for early bird pricing is March 1st, 2024