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Archive for the ‘Headmaster Messages’ Section

A Word From Mr. Satterly—March 23, 2017

March 23, 2017 Posted in: Headmaster Messages

Dear WA Community,

Lifelong learner. I often see that term on resumes and hear it mentioned in education circles, usually as part of a mission statement or other such school outcome. God created us to learn about His creation—to uncover what He established is part of what it meant to be human. It is the essence of Ecclesiastes 3:11, “…he has set eternity in the hearts of men…” According to the Westminster Catechism, the chief end of man is to know God and enjoy Him forever. Knowing God is indeed a lifelong quest. This is one of the reasons why we desire a Christian education for our children, that is, to start them on this quest equipped and with a firm foundation.

The role of the school is to primarily tend toward the educational part of that quest. Discipline and focus are required to keep that responsibility in view. Providing a high-quality educational program, grounded in a biblical worldview, is right at the core of our mission. In the last few months, our team has been exploring ways to more effectively engage pursuit of our mission. While I will look forward to sharing more about this in the coming days, two areas that have emerged is a need for leadership in curriculum and instruction as well as our athletic program.

Tomorrow, our faculty will gather for an afternoon training session. They will also meet our new director of curriculum and instruction—Mary Lou Capan. Mrs. Capan currently serves in a similar role at Covenant Day School just outside Charlotte, North Carolina, and is a Christian Schools International board member. She has a Master’s of Education from Covenant College in Educational Leadership and has served as head of school in Pennsylvania and Florida. Mary Lou joins our team to focus on curriculum design, teacher evaluation, and professional development. She is a gifted school leader and has a robust faith. I am absolutely thrilled to have her join our team.

In addition to a strong academic history, Westminster Academy enjoys a rich athletic tradition as well. I am pleased to report that the national search for our next athletic director is nearing completion. God blessed us with some very strong candidates, and we anticipate concluding this process by the end of March as we are in the process of hosting on-site visits for our candidates. At the same time, we started a search for our next football coach as Coach Tillman resigned to accept a position at Valdosta State University. We are very encouraged by that response and expect to have a coach in place very soon.

Blessings,

Joel-Signature

Joel T. Satterly
Headmaster

A Word From Mr. Satterly—March 2, 2017

March 2, 2017 Posted in: Headmaster Messages

Dear WA Community,

Yesterday I joined a busload of fans cheering on the men’s basketball team in the State semi-finals. Yet, being in Lakeland may not have been the most exciting way to watch the game. It seems that the watch party over in the fellowship hall was rocking with students. Another watch party is scheduled for Friday at 8:00 p.m. in the Upper School Media Center for those not able to make it to Lakeland. Go Lions!

It is my pleasure, on behalf of the school board, to share that Dr. Ken Wackes was named Headmaster Emeritus of Westminster Academy. This news was first shared last week at the annual auction. As many of you know, Dr. Wackes served as Headmaster of our school for thirty-two years. Under his leadership and guidance, Westminster Academy emerged as one of the leading Christian schools in the southeast. We are thankful for his legacy and look forward to building upon his work.

The annual reporting of pitchers and catchers (that’s baseball talk) seems to announce the coming of spring, although in adjusting to South Florida, it is difficult to discern the changing of seasons. It does, however, mark a shift in the school calendar as enrollment for 2017–2018 begins, seniors look toward commencement, and we all eye spring break. I pray that next week serves as a time with family and friends and affords an opportunity to rest.

Blessings,

Joel-Signature

Joel T. Satterly
Headmaster

A Word From Mr. Satterly—February 23, 2017

February 23, 2017 Posted in: Headmaster Messages

Dear WA Community,

Westminster Academy has a rich heritage, which we will celebrate at our annual auction—hard to image that we began at an old race track in 1971. Now, we have the opportunity to build upon that legacy, to enhance what it means to be a part of this community and to participate in a Westminster education.

The old adage, “…if you want to know about the water, don’t ask a fish…” seems very pertinent in recent days. Our team is fast at hand, looking for ways to improve, for opportunities to pursue, and certainly, there is no shortage of challenges. Engaged in all of this, it is easy to become immersed in the work and to ignore sharing the progress. Some of that is more evident, such as locked gates and printed visitors passes or a near sellout for the annual auction. Less apparent are some of the behind the scenes activity aimed specifically at improving our program. Here are some examples:

  • Our national search for the next athletic director brought more than 70 applicants from both coasts, the far north, and even close to home. The search committee is very encouraged by this response and is moving quickly to select finalists.
  • Within the next several weeks we will announce the addition of a Director of Curriculum and Instruction to our faculty team for the 2017–2018 school year.
  • Organizational restructuring around the core functions of operations, program, and advancement near completion which affords the opportunity to focus on mission priorities.
  • Exploration and planning of a range of facilities improvements on both the east and west campus. One such project, the transformation of the Dr. Kenneth P. Wackes Media Center will be revealed at the auction this Friday night.

Developing institutional culture takes time, as does building a team, and establishing mission targets. In a few months, we will be reminded again of the significance of all of this as we gather for commencement and consider well all that God has done.

Blessings,

Joel-Signature

Joel T. Satterly
Headmaster

A Word From Mr. Satterly—February 16, 2017

February 16, 2017 Posted in: Headmaster Messages

Dear WA Community,

“…And down the stretch they come…”

The Kentucky Derby has been dubbed the “fastest two minutes in sports.” Seeing powerful and majestic thoroughbreds thundering toward the finish line is an exhilarating experience. While I do not think this year’s auction will include actual horses, I do hope that it will include some unbridled excitement and pageantry.

The theme to one side, there are three primary goals for the evening—celebration, recognition, and fundraising. As we gather together, we will celebrate community and enjoy what God is doing in our midst. Secondly, we will recognize and honor Dr. Ken Wackes, our beloved former Headmaster of 32 years. Regarding the financial part of the evening, we will be revealing renderings for renovations to the Wackes Media Center that will serve as a model for how we envision our campus to look in the coming years.

Blessings,

Joel-Signature

Joel T. Satterly
Headmaster

A Word From Mr. Satterly—February 9, 2017

February 9, 2017 Posted in: Headmaster Messages

Dear WA Community,

Last week I attended the Global Christian School Leadership Conference in Orlando. Twenty-three other nations were represented. I even had lunch with a man leading a Hungarian Christian school that first opened in the 1560s as part of the Reformation—amazing to think about God’s provision for that community. It was good to reconnect with colleagues, exchange ideas, and hear how God is working all over the globe.

One of the keynote speakers was Christian apologist and author Lee Strobel. His most recognized work is The Case for Christ. For more on his journey from an atheist to an apologist, I suggest checking out the movie about his life debuting next month. The title of his address was The Case for Christian Education. He posed the following two rhetorical questions as the framework of his remarks:

  • In what ways can a Christian school encourage students to understand and embrace their current, temporary stage of life?
  • How can a school get students thinking about their future stages of life and a faith that translates and endures through those stages?

I think these are very helpful questions for all of us to consider, particularly as we work through issues with our students. As they get older, students begin to wrestle with belonging, acceptance, and value. They can pursue worldly ways of responding to these issues such as destructive behavior, peer pressure, and posts on social media, or they can respond in ways more reflective of the gospel. Often they pursue both paths for a season. Our charge and opportunity is to help led them to a place more reflective of gospel-maturity with a well-developed mind and a tender heart.

Blessings,

Joel-Signature

Joel T. Satterly
Headmaster

A Word From Mr. Satterly—January 26, 2017

January 26, 2017 Posted in: Headmaster Messages

Dear WA Community,

Christian schools, Westminster Academy included, often speak of community. Some define community as a place of belonging. Others see it as a collection of like-minded people or define it by geography, and even ethnicity. Another way to think of community is the place where complimentary roles and interests meet.

God made us to live and work in community—“It is not good for man to be alone.” But community can be really hard. One of the challenges with community lies in the tension between the collective good and the needs of the individual; and another in the tendency of those competing, yet complimentary interests to collide.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the martyred German theologian, wrote extensively about this subject. His book, Life Together, chronicles the collective experiences at Finkenwalde Seminary in northern Germany during the mid-1930s. Reflecting on community, he wrote: “Our community with one another consists only in what Christ has done for both of us.” I love that description as it cuts across all other boundaries and barriers. Bonhoeffer reminds us that our community is not defined by what we do or even what we believe. It is, rather, defined by what Jesus did for us; and that is a firm foundation indeed.

Blessings,

Joel-Signature

Joel T. Satterly
Headmaster

A Word From Mr. Satterly—January 19, 2017

January 19, 2017 Posted in: Headmaster Messages

Dear WA Community,

Once I heard a story about a New Jersey man traveling in the South for the first time. Being from Kentucky, I tend to be interested in such anecdotes. At any rate, part of the story includes an account of his first attempt to order breakfast at a local restaurant. After noting that several menu options included grits, he asked the waitress, “Miss, what is a grit?” Smiling she replied, “Honey, they don’t come by themselves.” Such is what it means to be a Christian, being Christian is a plural thing not singular. To be a Jesus follower is to be a part of a community as that is how God made us. Remember His pronouncement in the garden, “it is not good for man to be alone” or the impetus for creation—“let Us, make man in our image.”

Interestingly, this has been confirmed by social scientists in identifying that people need: a creed to hold on to, a calling to respond to, a hope to believe in, and a community to belong to. The modern church wrestles with this deeply felt longing by looking how to facilitate the link between belonging and believing. We need community. The problem with community, however, is that we are in it. Or to put another way, our communities are naturally imperfect because they consist of imperfect people whose actions violate the very community so desperately needed.

In recent days I’ve been profoundly reminded about this vexing problem. Our longing for community sometimes does not trump our natural inclination toward sin. Circumstances impact community as well—a sudden illness or loss, hardship or tragedy—can often change the nature of community. When these things encroach on community, our response should be framed by the Gospel as it compels us to engage the brokenness and mess with the intent on community restoration. Sometimes restoration requires a rearrangement or renegotiation of membership in the community, and it usually takes time. It always requires repentance and forgiveness. At the very least, Christian community has the responsibility to bear well one another’s burdens.

Why does this matter for school? Education is relational by nature. Learning happens best as people exchange information and ideas with one another. Christian education, as it reflects God’s nature, is even more dependent on community. The question, then, is how do we respond when community is violated and broken? That answer, I think, lies in the manner in which God responded to us. There are natural consequences and a pathway to redemption. This is the story of the Bible—creation, fall, redemption, restoration. So it should be with us.

Blessings,

Joel-Signature

Joel T. Satterly
Headmaster