I had the privilege of joining a bunch of parents and fans from Maranatha at the State Cross Country event in Wamego, Kansas on Saturday. Boy! What a fun event! 100s of people from around the state descend on Wamego for the day. Athletes running around the golf course on a defined course and all the fans running here and there just so they can yell encouragement at 2-4 different spots on the course. Maranatha fans had many reasons to cheer. The boys” team ran around 10:30 and without anyone member of the team in the top 20, the team still fought hard and almost (just 2 points shy) got on the podium as the 3rd place team. The girls, led by Lauren Harrell, dominated the class 2A girls and took first. Lauren took second overall in the girls’ event as a freshman, but it took all the girls putting forth great efforts to take the top team spot.
I have had many reasons to reflect on our sports programs lately, and one of the most meaningful was the concept of taking the “extra” out of extracurricular. What is meant by that statement is that we expect our sports to be additional classrooms where all the character lessons and skills to analyze, assess and problem solve are put to the test. Coaches are teachers of life as well as the best way to perform in the game. Yes we must learn how to train our bodies, but as Paul reminds us, physical striving matters little when compared to the spiritual lessons. And what better crucible can be found for a young person than the heat created by competition? I saw this as each athlete looked within themselves at the cross-country meet to see just how far they could push themselves for the benefit of the team. I will get to see it up close as the basketball girls discover whether they are willing to discipline themselves to be all they can be in practice to best help the team perform at its best in the games. So as much as I join in the enthusiastic cheering for athletes as they win, let’s celebrate all the character they displayed to put them in the position to do so. Let’s also remember that the most important part of athletics is to develop and prove character.
I suppose it is a product of getting older, but time seems to be flying by. Four weeks has already zoomed by since I started this new adventure. I am as convinced today as I was when I said yes to this position that this is where God has led me. So what have I been doing? Glad you asked.
My primary focus is getting to know the team. I have been visiting with each faculty member, staff member and leader with the intent of hearing their story, passion and view-point on the school while also sharing my desire that we heighten our sensitivity to doing everything in the light of attracting and retaining students and families. Through all of these visits I have heard how God is a God of variety. The paths have been widely varied for bringing servants to our school. I have gained a better understanding of our challenges as well as our strengths. My firm belief is that our responsibility is to strive for excellence in everything we do, and that starts with each team member making the choice to do that. I believe we have many team members who do just that, but we as leaders need to keep raising the bar and making sure everyone strives for excellence consistently.
The Board has given Dr. Daugherty and me 3 top priorities for this year: 1) Accreditation, 2) Plan for Attracting and Retaining Students and 3) Ensuring we have the right Team to go forward. Dr. Daugherty is on point for the first priority. He and I are working on the other 2 priorities together. A key focus for me on Priority 2 has been getting our website upgraded. Brandyn West and I have been working together to make sure what the vision is for the site, and then developing an action plan together. She is doing a wonderful job of carrying out that plan. I am helping make sure our Team is on board with providing the information to make the site all it can be.
Marketing season starts in January, so we formed a Marketing Team yesterday and have a rich plan going into this critical time of the year. I will share more about that in a later post. One very important change that everyone should be aware of is this: All new uses of our Brand (logos, fonts, colors,etc) will need to be reviewed by this team before purchase, distribution or application. So all new uniforms, new marketing pieces, signs, etc, should be presented to this team before use. For now you can contact me or Brandyn to get a review by this team.
So the rest of my time has been invested in learning the business: dealing with parent concerns, understanding our business functions, going to training, meeting with key stakeholders (pastors, vendors, donors, etc). Since my office is right outside of Dr. Daugherty’s, we visit throughout the day and the “mind meld” is well on its way.
I love being at the school. One of my favorite images so far has been walking through the North Campus and seeing Mrs. Smith or Mrs. Mickelson sitting at their small tables surrounded by little ones totally immersed in the moment of loving and teaching the little ones.
Cherishing your prayers
As evidenced by this blog, I want to be persistent and consistent in my sharing of view points, perspectives and challenges and successes. But communication is a two way street, and I want to make sure you know that I want, no, I need to hear from you about your perspective on Maranatha. By you choosing to send your kids to this school, you have chosen to link arms with us. We want to demonstrate that we have in like manner chosen to link arms with you. To do that we must communicate to each other about goals, challenges, expectations, progress, and opportunities. We must do so in a manner that keeps the main thing the main thing: fulfilling our Mission which in turn fulfills our personal missions of glorifying God.
So as I have started this journey of service to God through Maranatha, I want to link arms with you. Please choose to link arms with me in prayer, in service, in giving and in supporting this ministry however you are gifted and enabled. I have had the privilege of communicating with a few parents about their concerns – big or small – and have been blessed that they have had a good perspective. What I mean is that they recognized they are looking at a situation with most likely limited point of view that is absolutely essential to hear, but yet they trusted leadership to consider all input and make a right decision. It would be irresponsible of leadership to be jumping to respond to every piece of input without first seeking to gain vantage points from all parties involved. So having all stakeholders share what they have seen, felt and heard will help those making the decision do so in as wise a manner as possible.
So let’s talk!
Next up will be an update on what I have been doing since I started and some notes on early observations.
Ok. I must now be a blog master. I kept one blog going for over a year as chairman of the board under a different vendor (blogspot), and now I have successfully started a new one as Superintendent-elect with a new vendor. People that know me well would be shocked that I have that much to say. Well, when you are passionate about something, a lot needs to be shared and heard.
So for those of you that read the posts from the www.maranathachairman.blogspot.com blog, thank you for reading and for your encouragement indicating that it was beneficial. With this new blog, my intent will be to share a perspective from the Superintendent vantage point. I hope that you will find it useful, and I encourage you to let me know of topics that you would like to hear more information about.