08 Apr A Word From Mr. Satterly—April 8, 2021
Dear WA Community,
Westminster Academy fully embraces the 16,000 hours that a student spends in school. It is within that space of time that we seek to develop each student spiritually, socially, and academically. Each of those hours is important. As you can imagine, what occurs in those hours differs dramatically depending on the student’s age.
With that in mind, we are excited to announce a new, distinct academic division in our school—the Purposeful Rigorous Experiential Program, or PREP. Beginning next fall, Westminster Academy will shift from two academic divisions—Lower School and Upper School—to three. Each division will be led by a principal, include necessary and appropriate faculty and staff to meet established mission priorities, and have the capacity for growth. These divisions afford the opportunity for distinct scheduling to meet the developmental needs of students, build academic models reflective of age-appropriate standards, maximize teacher gifting and training, include intentionally cultivating school culture, embrace flexibility, and provide a platform for specific division goals.
The three academic divisions will be:
- Lower School—PK2 through Grade 2: Provides a developmentally appropriate curriculum with an emphasis on critical thinking and problem-solving skills all while focusing on building community
- PREP—Grade 3 through Grade 6: Provides a heavy emphasis on reading and math development with a specific focus on the sixth grade as transitional to upper school (6th-grade extracurricular participation remains unchanged)
- Upper School—Grade 7 through Grade 12: Strengthens academic discipline and spiritual development
With this new academic division, we are pleased to announce new leadership as well. Mrs. Jenn Thompson will be joining us as principal of our PREP division. She will serve alongside Mrs. Tracey Wood in Lower School and Dr. Ron Farrar in Upper School.
Mrs. Thompson currently serves as the Superintendent of Ontario Christian School in California, just east of Los Angeles, where she serves more than 1,100 students and 150 faculty and staff. She has provided strong leadership throughout a major building project and a pandemic—building leadership, supporting teachers, and casting a vision for the future of Ontario Christian through strategic planning. Prior to her current position, she served as the Head of School at San Jose Christian School in Campbell, California.
No stranger to South Florida, Mrs. Thompson also served at Westminster Christian School in Miami for 15 years, where she started her career in Christian education.
“Quite honestly, it was never my intention to pursue Christian education, but God often leads where we don’t expect. My journey into Christian education began when I became a basketball coach at Westminster Christian School in Miami. In my first ten years there, I moved from coach to middle school teacher to middle school Assistant Principal to Elementary Principal, getting a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership along the way. I stayed at Westminster for 15 great years, where God stretched me and confirmed my calling and passion for Christian education.”
Mrs. Thompson has served in Christian education for 20 years in roles that include math and science teacher, coach, assistant principal, principal, head of school, and mom. She has an undergraduate degree in Sociology/Biology from Wheaton College and a Master in Science in Educational Leadership from Florida International University. She serves on the Pension Board of Trustees of Christian Schools International (CSI), is a Van Lunen Fellow, and coordinates the Emerging Leaders Development Institute for CSI. She is also a contributing blogger for Women Leaders in Christian Education.
In her spare time, she enjoys traveling to visit her family who is spread all over the globe—son Matt (his wife Laura and grandson Nolan) in California, daughter Abby (her husband Alex and grandsons Hayden and Luca) in Australia, and son David (his wife Allison) in West Palm Beach.
Please pray for Mrs. Thompson as she concludes her tenure at Ontario Christian and completes the leadership transition there. She will be joining our team this summer but is already working with her new WA colleagues as we prepare for 2021–2022. There will be an opportunity to welcome her to our community this fall. We are incredibly grateful and blessed to have someone with this experience join what God is doing at Westminster Academy.