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First Orientation Meeting of K-12 Board of Education »
The state of education in the Rocky Mountain Conference, its progress and challenges was on the agenda of the first meeting of the newly delegated RMC K-12 Board of Education. As this was the first assembly of this group, most of the meeting time, February 26, was spent in receiving reports from several conference institutions and departments. There are 23 schools operated throughout the Rocky Mountain Conference.
Setting the tone for the meeting, Eric Nelson, Rocky Mountain Conference vice-president of administration, emphasized “the benefits of the cooperative working by the school, church, and home in the [student's] development, and Adventist nurturing for our children and young people.”
As with each new board, Ed Barnett, RMC president and Board chair, provided a brief orientation as to the role and function of the committee, a primary feature of the new Board meeting. He stated “how blessed [he feels] that the number of students attending Adventist schools has increased in both RMC Conference and in Mid-American Union. “We can be proud of our schools, our students and teachers,” he said.
First in a series of reports, Campion Academy principal, Don Reeder presented the school’s master plan developed through a cooperative effort among Campion Academy, Campion Church, and HMS Richards Elementary School. His report included encouraging spiritual and outreach activities such as Wildfire, SWAT Teams, and various other programs. Reeder also presented information about the sale of the Industrial complex as well as the latest efforts in assisting in the transition of the L.E. program, necessitated by the upcoming retirement of Joe Martin who coordinated the program over the last 26 years.
Against the background of the RMC Education core values known as CHERISH, presented by Diane Harris, associate superintendent of education, Mile High Academy’s principal, Kase Vunileva, shared the advances MHA is making through different programs, among them 21st Century Learning, the 5 “C’s”, Real World Learning, and Project-based Learning. The MHA students are known for excelling in test scores, she said, also listing the community involvement through service projects by the students and teachers. Vunilleva also reported on the progress of Mile High Shunde campus in China and the blessing that endeavor involves.
Barnett informed the Board members about the potential cooperation between Adventist Hospital System and its Adventist University of Health Science (ADU), and Mile High Academy. A joint venture to provide further education on a combined campus at MHA is in the works, though nothing concrete has been decided. “It is exciting and healthy to dream of possibilities. More information about this will be forthcoming as opportunities are further explored," Barnett said.
Funding of Adventist Education and the blessing of a faithful, tithe-paying constituency was shared by George Crumley, RMC vice-president of finance. Crumley addressed the challenges of the funding of our school as well as all other programs taking place in the Conference. Against the background of the funding of education ministry for the church, the Board members heard many details of how the dollars are spent.
Presenting issues and challenges of hiring only Adventist employees, Danielle Toddy, director of human resources, and her team, addressed the legal ramifications that are involved on several levels with potential employment issues. “It was eye-opening to hear that over the course of a year, RMC employs upward of 1,000 individuals in the churches, schools, conference office, and camps, throughout the Conference,” said Lonnie Hetterle, RMC education superintendent.
The committee, whose membership includes individuals with unique connections to Adventist education and a passion for making a difference in the lives of students and their families in Rocky Mountain Conference, also received information from Gerry Ban, new associate director of education at the Mid-America Union Office about a variety of sources of information available to the committee members concerning Adventist Education. The business portion concluded with information presented by Diane Harris, about the quality of curriculum that is being provided for our students and teachers in RMC schools.
Commenting on the first meeting, Hetterle said that the Board’s agenda was planned “to mainly provide orientation. Hearing reports from both the educators and church administrators, the 22-member committee will now have a comprehensive background against which proposals and discussions will take place.”
According to Hetterle, future meetings will discuss a vision and explore the various issues that are facing Adventist education not only in Rocky Mountain Conference, but across the North-American Division. Examples of these issues are school safety, financial affordability, technology and 21st Century Learning that will enable our students to be successful in the world they inhabit.
Describing the meeting’s “great spirit,” he expressed his confidence that the “expertise represented by the Board members will benefit the schools, teachers and students throughout the conference in the coming months and years.”
--RMCNews with Lonnie Hetterle