Head of School Retreat

Join us June 26–28, 2019 for fellowship and growth

Welcome!

Leading a Christian school is one of the most rewarding and the most challenging vocations in Christ’s kingdom. It can also be one of the loneliest. Like a university president, the headmaster engages every day with lots of constituents – students, parents, board members, donors, faculty, staff, community members and pastors – but it is difficult to find a colleague or two who understands the role, who can truly offer a listening ear, and who can offer a helpful, unbiased response.  Finding a peer group that can offer support and suggestions in a safe environment is essential to thriving in the role.

I am a product of Christian education. I attended Wheaton Christian High School and then Wheaton College for my undergraduate education. I went to Harvard Law School for a J.D., to Oxford University for a master’s degree and to the University of Virginia for a PhD in English literature. When I was finished with my education, I wanted to return to be a part of Christian education because it had given me such a strong academic and spiritual foundation.  I taught for seven years then served as the board president at Calvin College and also lead a capital campaign for Ada Christian School in Grand Rapids during that time. I am now in my tenth year as president of John Brown University.

As JBU president, it took me some time to recognize my need for a peer group. At the Christian university level, we have the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities that provides a forum to gather presidents from around the country to discuss our common challenges and interests. It has proven to be a wonderful venue for professional development and peer networking; indeed, I became so involved that I currently serve as the CCCU board chair. As I reflected on my CCCU experience, I wondered whether JBU might be able to provide a similar professional development and peer networking opportunity to Christian school headmasters in our region.

JBU has long been committed to partner with Christian schools to educate students to honor God and serve others. For instance, we have hosted professional development workshops for Christian school guidance counselors for many years. In addition, we have recently launched a concurrent program with 15 Christian schools in our region.

JBU has also been blessed by God with wonderful growth in our resources, facilities and student body over the last ten years, receiving over $150 million in gifts, constructing or renovating 11 buildings, and experiencing 30% growth in our student body. Yet, we still face many of the same challenges that all Christian schools face, challenges of affordability and financial sustainability, of improving academic excellence, of larger cultural changes in values, and of making the case for Christian education to prospective families. At JBU, we have learned lessons through those successes and challenges, and we believe some of those lessons might be helpful to Christian school headmasters, and we know that Christian school headmasters have experiences that would be helpful to their peers.

To meet this need, JBU hosts a two-day retreat for headmasters of Christian schools, and we are inviting you to participate. Your only investment would be the cost to travel to Siloam Springs. JBU will cover hotel, meals and all materials for the retreat.

Would you like to spend a couple of days talking with peers about best practices in fundraising, marketing, budgeting, legal issues or board relations? Would you look forward to trying out a few ideas with people that understand your job? Would you welcome the chance to fellowship and learn from others who are engaged in the same mission?

You may wonder what is in it for JBU. Certainly we would welcome the chance to introduce you to our campus and our people, and we would hope that some of your students might consider us as an option in the future.  However, more importantly, we know that whatever we can do to strengthen Christian schools will strengthen Christian higher education. We are in this together, and we want to share with you the burdens and the joys of this work.  I do hope you consider joining us in June.

All God’s blessings,

Chip

 

Retreat Presenters

President Chip Pollard
President Chip Pollard

John Brown University

Dr. Chip Pollard has been the president of John Brown University since July 2004. He received his undergraduate degree in English from Wheaton College in 1985, a law degree from Harvard Law School in 1988, a master's degree in English from Oxford University in 1990, and a Ph.D. in English from the University of Virginia in 1999. He also practiced law at Latham & Watkins for three years, and taught English literature at Calvin College for seven years before coming to JBU.

During his time at JBU, the university has been blessed to receive over $225 million in gifts, to grow its endowment from $50 million to over $115 million, and to complete 16 major building projects. JBU has also initiated new academic programs in renewable energy, play therapy, and nursing, and has seen its enrollment grow by 25% to over 2,300 students. Dr. Pollard also teaches regularly in the undergraduate program and speaks frequently in chapel and other venues. He has published two books, "New World Modernisms" (2005) and "May It Always Be True: Educating Students in Faith" (2011).

Dr. Pollard was elected to the board of the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities in 2009 and served as chair of the board from 2013-2018. He also serves on the boards of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, Arvest Bank in Siloam Springs, and Mercy Northwest Arkansas Community Board.

His wife, Carey, works in the Office of the President, and they have four children, Chad married to Anna, Benjamin (deceased), Emma married to David, and James married to Annika. They also have one granddaughter, Audrey. They are members at First Presbyterian Church of Siloam Springs.

Mrs. Carey Pollard
Mrs. Carey Pollard

John Brown University

Carey Pollard is in her fifteenth year serving as ‘first lady” of JBU. She partners with Chip in a variety of Advancement activities as well as hosting events in their home, typically over 40 different events a year for 1200-1400 people. She is actively involved in campus life, particularly in chapel, the arts and athletic events. She has taught early elementary age Sunday school classes at First Presbyterian Church for over 10 years. She received her BA in Art from Wheaton College. The first part of her life was as homemaker and mother of four children: Chad who is a lawyer married to Anna, and they are proud parents of Audrey, the Pollard’s first grandchild; Ben who passed away in 2011; Emma who is seventh grade English teacher married to David; and James who is senior, engineering major at JBU and married to Annika also a senior, engineering major at JBU. Carey and Chip have been married for 34 years.

Jasmine Bayless
Jasmine Bayless

Lucas Christian Academy – Lucas, TX

Jasmine’s family has been part of the Lucas Christian Academy community for eight years. She served on the board for the last five years, including two years spearheading the capital campaign. She never imagined that she would be a Head of School, but God in His love often calls us to where we think we do not want to go. In obedience she said “yes” because He is the path of life and the fullness of joy. She is honored to serve as the interim Head of School for Lucas Christian Academy.

Neil Childs
Neil Childs

Temple Christian School – Fort Worth, TX

Neil Childs is in his 6th year as headmaster at Fort Worth Temple Christian School.  He has been in Christian education for 22 years, all at TCS.  In that time he has been classroom teacher, coach, and principal.  He currently serves on the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools Leadership Advisory Council as well and as an associate pastor for Temple Baptist Church.

Bill McGee
Bill McGee

Legacy Christian Academy, Frisco, TX 

Bill McGee is in his second year as head of school for Legacy Christian Academy in Frisco, TX.  He joined the Legacy community after completing eight years as head of school at Hill Country Christian School of Austin, Texas.  He has 37 years of experience as a classroom teacher, coach, and administrator, including 27 years as head of four independent schools in Texas, Mississippi, and Tennessee and ten years as a teacher, coach, and principal in the Texas public school system.

Dr. Rod Reed
Dr. Rod Reed

John Brown University

Dr. Rod Reed has served as University Chaplain and Dean of Spiritual Formation at Fresno Pacific University in California from 1997-2008 and at John Brown University in Arkansas from 2008-present. He was also the Chair of the Campus Ministries Commission for the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities from 2005-2009, and has conducted assessments of spiritual formation programs at nearly 25 Christian universities across the country. Dr. Reed earned his PhD from the University of Bristol in England, and his research focused on culture of spiritual formation in American higher education. He is also one of the editors and contributors to the book, Building a Cultural of Faith: Campus-wide Partnership for Spiritual Formation (2012).

Testimonials

"John Brown University’s Head of School Retreat was absolutely fantastic! The dialogue was professionally invigorating, and personally insightful. I was especially impressed by the amount of time President Pollard and his key staff invested into our group of school leaders."

Larry Taylor, Head of School
Prestonwood Christian Academy – Plano, TX

"The opportunity to meet with heads of other Christian schools was immensely beneficial to me on both a personal and professional level.  JBU did a great job in providing valuable information on pertinent issues that Christian school leaders are facing, while also allowing time for collaboration between peers.  I highly recommend this retreat!”

Roger S. Gerstenberger, Headmaster
Metro Christian Academy – Tulsa, OK