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Archive for the ‘Headmaster Messages’ Section

A Word From Mr. Satterly—May 25, 2017

May 25, 2017 Posted in: Headmaster Messages

Ready. Fire. Aim.

Clearly, this is not the correct sequence, and it is not an earth-shattering revelation to recognize that aiming before firing produces a much higher likelihood of hitting the target than not. All too often, that is how an organization tends to function. The remedy for this tendency is strategic planning. Focusing on mission priorities and reflecting on core values in practice are key elements as we have already examined in recent weeks.

In addition to articulating Westminster Academy’s core values, five guiding principles have also been identified to support and clarify those values. The principles serve as guard rails to help maintain focus and forward momentum.

They are:

  • Authentic relationships—The gospel frees us to engage one another as broken image-bearers
  • Excellence as our standard—Uncompromising pursuit of demonstrated performance
  • Extensive program—Westminster Academy is an educational institution committed to providing a superior experience that embraces academics, arts, athletics, and spiritual formation
  • Integrity in practice—Our activity is marked by professionalism, exemplary service, and trustworthy operations
  • People matter—Students are our priority, and a great staff delivers a great product

These principles have a broad application throughout the entire school community. For example, our commitment to an extensive program impacts decisions regarding course offerings, athletic opportunities, and allocation of resources. Excellence as our standard means that not everyone can win or get a trophy. Excellent outcomes are celebrated and commended. Authentic relationships remind us that community is messy and that conflict is to be expected and resolved, not ignored.

Our mission statement establishes our purpose and our core values are statements of unchanging convictions. They define Westminster Academy in terms of why and how. Guiding principles further clarify and expand the scope of those values statements. Taken together—mission, core values, and guiding principles—they represent the correct sequence—ready, aim, fire—that is necessary to hit the target.

Blessings,

Joel-Signature

Joel T. Satterly
Headmaster

A Word From Mr. Satterly—May 18, 2017

May 18, 2017 Posted in: Headmaster Messages

Dear WA Community,

In February, the school board approved a new strategic plan for Westminster Academy, entitled—Begin with the End in Mind. The name of our plan is significant for several reasons. It gives assent to our legacy as this was a favorite saying of our Headmaster Emeritus. It also signals a purposeful approach to action—it is much easier to hit an aimed target. Lastly, it reminds us that the role of Westminster Academy has a beginning and an end—this is, in effect, the 16,000-hour proposition (the total time spent in school).

Among the first steps in developing this plan has been the articulation of core values. These can be defined as the handful of distinct convictions that shape the institution. They provide the foundation for everything else. Westminster Academy’s core values are mission driven, Christian scholarship, and kingdom impact.

  • Mission Driven—Decisions and actions are determined by our mission. The mission compels some action and limits other. It is the lens and filter that guides practice. Simply put, no matter how good an idea or action it will only be considered if it fits within our mission.
  • Christian Scholarship—The word “scholarship” identifies Westminster Academy as an academic institution and one that is serious about those pursuits. It seeks to provide a challenging academic program. “Christian” signifies the specific focus of that scholarship. It suggests that learning best occurs in a community, in accordance with biblical principles, and acknowledges God as the center, not man.
  • Kingdom Impact—The aim and focus of Westminster Academy is to prepare students to engage the world by using their gifts and experiences to restore and be part of “making all things new.” God has called us to certain works that have been prepared in advance for us to do and a student’s time at Westminster Academy is laying the foundation to accomplish that work.

Please allow me to share a scene from this afternoon that illustrates what it means to be part of Westminster Academy and demonstrates the sum of our core values. A group of senior moms met to pray over Bibles that are given to students at Commencement, in addition to a diploma. These personally engraved Bibles are provided by the Parent Teacher Fellowship, and as they are prepared and wrapped, each student is covered in prayer. They began with prayer—thanksgiving, adoration, and supplication. They asked God to work in the lives of seniors, to go with and before them as they leave, and to hold them close to His word.

Such a sweet scene, and one that demonstrates our values better than any written word!

Blessings,

Joel-Signature

Joel T. Satterly
Headmaster

A Word From Mr. Satterly—May 11, 2017

May 11, 2017 Posted in: Headmaster Messages

“Westminster Academy is a Christ-centered, biblically-based college preparatory school dedicated to equipping covenant students to excel by using their gifts and talents for God’s glory.”—Westminster Academy Mission Statement

Dear WA Community,

A few weeks ago, in a brief video, we introduced a new strategic plan for Westminster Academy. As part of this process, it became necessary to develop and define our core values. While periodic videos will remain a medium of our communication, certain matters, such as core values, are often better unpacked in writing. Core values are those very few elements that define the institution. They should not change as they reflect fundamental convictions. As immutable commitments, they address the “why” question and at the same time allow flexibility in the “how.”

A good strategic plan must rest upon the institution’s mission and be anchored in its core values. Remaining fixed on these enables us to begin with the end in mind.

Westminster Academy has as a well-defined mission statement. Westminster Academy also has deeply rooted core values that throughout its history, have been evident but not always articulated.

As a prerequisite to strategic planning, it was necessary to first mine those values and then to articulate them. The following three core values have been identified and confirmed by the Westminster Academy School Board:

  • Mission Driven
  • Christian Scholarship
  • Kingdom Impact

By design, core values are wordsmithed to a couple of words that communicate a bigger idea. In the next two weeks, we will discuss each one as well as consider the five guiding principles that support these core values: authentic relationships, excellence as our standard, extensive program, integrity in practice, and people matter.

Blessings,

Joel-Signature

Joel T. Satterly
Headmaster

A Word From Mr. Satterly—May 4, 2017

May 4, 2017 Posted in: Headmaster Messages

Dear WA Community,

In 1952, Democratic President Harry S. Truman signed a bill into law, originally proposed by Conrad Hilton (yes, of hotel fame and I presume Paris’s great-grandfather). That law established a National Day of Prayer for the United States. The law only cemented what had been practiced since the days of the Continental Congress in 1775—that is our government regularly calling upon the nation to fast and to pray.

Why the brief history lesson? One reason is that like many others across our nation today, we joined together in prayer. Secondly, in this age of smart phones, instant access, and a focus on the immediate, it is noteworthy to recognize that some things must not change. It is an immutable truth that God exists and is not silent, no matter what the pundits may suggest. Lastly, when taken in our current context, the origination of this law or even its historical practice may seem rather ironic or even old-fashioned. However, when considered in terms of a sovereign God, we should be encouraged that prayer not only matters, it is our heritage.

Thanks be to God!

Blessings,

Joel-Signature

Joel T. Satterly
Headmaster

A Word From Mr. Satterly—April 20, 2017

April 20, 2017 Posted in: Headmaster Messages

A Word From Mr. Satterly—April 13, 2017

April 13, 2017 Posted in: Headmaster Messages

Dear WA Community,

Earlier this week I saw the Hollywood production of The Case for Christ, which is based on Lee Strobel’s journey from an atheist Chicago Tribune reporter to a Christian author and pastor. As a footnote, I recommend the movie. Certainly, its release was timed to correspond with Holy Week and hopefully, it brings renewed attention to Easter. At one point in the movie, Strobel turns to a colleague in frustration as he was being confronted with the reality of the gospel. This colleague was also a reporter and a believer. He simply pointed Strobel to the resurrection saying, “it all hinges on that…if the resurrection didn’t happen, the rest is a house of cards.”

You’ll have to go see the movie to see the rest of the story but this Sunday we celebrate the most significant event in history—the day in where perfect justice and mercy were on display; the day when death lost; and when we were restored to our Father. As we approach this great celebration, let us be confronted anew by the profound nature of Easter, of the many amazing things that transpired as Jesus went to the cross and ultimately to his resurrection.

Thanks be to God!

Blessings,

Joel-Signature

Joel T. Satterly
Headmaster

A Word From Mr. Satterly—March 30, 2017

March 30, 2017 Posted in: Headmaster Messages

Dear WA Community,

In recent weeks, we have celebrated a State Championship in basketball, unveiled plans for a new look to the media center, honored Dr. Wackes as Headmaster Emeritus, and watched our Robotics Team qualify for the World Championship in Houston. Just last night, our men’s Water Polo team clinched the District Championship securing their spot in State Competition. These are heady things and remarkable indicators of our pursuit of excellence.

This Friday and Saturday night we look forward to our students using their gifts and talents as they perform Into The Woods. You will not want to miss this.

At our most recent meeting, the School Board adopted a new strategic plan called Begin with the End in Mind. A focus on strengthening our program—academics, athletics, and the arts—is a primary target of this initiative. Ultimately the aim of this plan is to ensure a firm foundation for everything else by establishing core values and setting goals and targets. I look forward to sharing more about that in the coming weeks and months.

We also look forward to sharing some exciting news regarding our search for an Athletic Director early next week.

Blessings,

Joel-Signature

Joel T. Satterly
Headmaster