Careers

Careers

Imagine a school where the love of Christ is lived every day, even among the faculty and staff…

High School Math Teacher

Grace Community School is looking for its next great high school math teacher.

Grace Community School is a National Blue Ribbon Exemplary School, a charter member of the Council on Educational Standards and Accountability (CESA) and has Exemplary Accreditation through the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI). At Grace, our mission is to assist Christian parents in educating, equipping, and encouraging their children to influence the world for Christ, or, as we say, to “teach Jesus.”  At this beautiful K-12 school of 1,000 students located in the flourishing community of Tyler, Texas 1 ½ hours east of Dallas,  we accomplish our mission by recognizing and promoting several core values, including:

Redemptive community. We serve a God who exists in eternal relationship. The Triune God has always existed in community-as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. As image-bearers of God, we are also made for community. We thrive in it; we can only function to the truest extent of who we are when we live together, work together, and do life together. Education is an inherently relational process. It is a form of discipleship, and like all discipleship, the closer and more trusting the relationship, the more effective the educational process. At Grace, we believe that teachers must love and care for their students. When students sense that caring and concern, they respond to it and genuine learning can take place. Teachers work best in an environment where there are strong relationships among the adults in the building.

Educational sanctification. “Sanctification” captures the idea of holiness, to be set apart, completely other from the world. It also connotes the idea of a Holy Spirit-led, continuous process of moving forward, of becoming more in the image of Christ: better, purer, more holy, than we once were.   Educational sanctification is the idea that God’s Word- the written, revealed Word and the Word made flesh through Jesus Christ- is the foundation of everything that we do as a school. Our policies, our procedures, our practices, our curriculum, our ways of dealing with each other, and everything must proceed from the gospel.

Educational sanctification is also the idea that we will be continually seeking to be better than we once were, by the power and wisdom of the Holy Spirit. We will ask ourselves the hard questions, challenge the status quo, and be lifetime learners. Educational sanctification means offering an outstanding academic course of study. While the course is challenging, the school works to provide the support necessary so that students can be successful to the greatest extent that God has wired their minds.

 “Life as worship.”  This value captures the idea set forth by Paul in Romans 12:1, when he encourages Christians to “present your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to God; because this is your spiritual act of worship.” As followers of Christ, we are called to be God-worshippers, to be restored to that rightful state of being in pure, good and holy relationship with God. As a school, we will continuously and constantly submit everything that we do- whether it be a student’s performance on the field, a teacher’s lesson in the classroom, or a difficult conversation between principal and parent- to our God as an act of worship. As a school, we will declare the worthiness of God to be praised, and acknowledge His place as the Lord of our lives and the center of the universe.  This school, our studies, our performances, our gifts, talents, and resources, are our sacrifices that we will lay daily before Him, for His use and His purposes. Our entire lives and this entire school are entirely at His disposal.

Job Description

Grace Community School is looking for an outstanding, experienced, high school math teacher who is eager to integrate biblical truth into the content and methods of teaching. This position requires the ability to collaborate with a team and willingness to embrace the core values of the school.

We need passionate people with:

  • Professing and active Christian faith
  • Bachelor’s degree – mathematics background and masters degree preferred
  • Previous experience teaching mathematics at the high school level
  • Prior work with students in a high school environment, and a shepherd’s heart for high school students
  • A growth mindset and a commitment to lifetime learning
  • Some proficiency with technology, including Google and Apple.

The job entails:

  • Outstanding instruction in mathematics, including:
    • Working with the department chair and principal to create an annual curriculum calendar for all courses
    • Designing comprehensive unit plans for each course
    • Creating weekly lesson plans based on well researched best practices
    • Employing effective classroom management skills
    • Differentiating instruction as appropriate
    • Effectively facilitating student collaboration
    • Implement strategies that develop critical thinking skills
    • Employing a learning-centered approach to instruction
  • Communicating effectively with parents
  • Attending faculty events and activities as required

If you are interested in becoming a part of the Grace family, we would love for you to send your C.V. and cover letter to our high school principal, Lanny Witt, lanny.witt@gracetyler.org.

Middle School English Teacher

Grace Community School is looking for its next great middle school English teacher.

Grace Community School is a National Blue Ribbon Exemplary School, a charter member of the Council on Educational Standards and Accountability (CESA) and has Exemplary Accreditation through the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI). At Grace, our mission is to assist Christian parents in educating, equipping, and encouraging their children to influence the world for Christ, or, as we say, to “teach Jesus.”  At this beautiful K-12 school of 1,000 students located in the flourishing community of Tyler, Texas 1 ½ hours east of Dallas,  we accomplish our mission by recognizing and promoting several core values, including:

Redemptive community. We serve a God who exists in eternal relationship. The Triune God has always existed in community-as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. As image-bearers of God, we are also made for community. We thrive in it; we can only function to the truest extent of who we are when we live together, work together, and do life together. Education is an inherently relational process. It is a form of discipleship, and like all discipleship, the closer and more trusting the relationship, the more effective the educational process. At Grace, we believe that teachers must love and care for their students. When students sense that caring and concern, they respond to it and genuine learning can take place. Teachers work best in an environment where there are strong relationships among the adults in the building.

Educational sanctification. “Sanctification” captures the idea of holiness, to be set apart, completely other from the world. It also connotes the idea of a Holy Spirit-led, continuous process of moving forward, of becoming more in the image of Christ: better, purer, more holy, than we once were.   Educational sanctification is the idea that God’s Word- the written, revealed Word and the Word made flesh through Jesus Christ- is the foundation of everything that we do as a school. Our policies, our procedures, our practices, our curriculum, our ways of dealing with each other, and everything must proceed from the gospel.

Educational sanctification is also the idea that we will be continually seeking to be better than we once were, by the power and wisdom of the Holy Spirit. We will ask ourselves the hard questions, challenge the status quo, and be lifetime learners. Educational sanctification means offering an outstanding academic course of study. While the course is challenging, the school works to provide the support necessary so that students can be successful to the greatest extent that God has wired their minds.

 “Life as worship.”  This value captures the idea set forth by Paul in Romans 12:1, when he encourages Christians to “present your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to God; because this is your spiritual act of worship.” As followers of Christ, we are called to be God-worshippers, to be restored to that rightful state of being in pure, good and holy relationship with God. As a school, we will continuously and constantly submit everything that we do- whether it be a student’s performance on the field, a teacher’s lesson in the classroom, or a difficult conversation between principal and parent- to our God as an act of worship. As a school, we will declare the worthiness of God to be praised, and acknowledge His place as the Lord of our lives and the center of the universe.  This school, our studies, our performances, our gifts, talents, and resources, are our sacrifices that we will lay daily before Him, for His use and His purposes. Our entire lives and this entire school are entirely at His disposal.

Job Description

Grace Community School is looking for an outstanding, experienced, Middle School English Teacher, who is eager to integrate biblical truth into the content and methods of teaching. This position requires the ability to collaborate with a team and willingness to embrace the core values of the school.

We need passionate people with:

  • Professing and active Christian faith
  • Bachelor’s degree – liberal arts background and masters degree preferred
  • Previous experience teaching English in grades 5th, 6th, 7th, and/or 8th
  • Prior work with students in a middle school environment, and a shepherd’s heart for middle school students
  • A growth mindset and a commitment to lifetime learning
  • Some proficiency with technology, including Google and Smartboards.
  • Experience teaching Latin in the framework of understanding words preferred
  • Experience using Foundations and Frameworks reading curriculum preferred

If you are interested in becoming a part of the Grace family, we would love for you to send your C.V. and cover letter to our middle school principal, Tandy Hicks, tandy.hicks@gracetyler.org.

Director of Alumni Relations

Grace Community School is seeking candidates for to serve as the Director of Alumni Relations. The Director of Alumni Relations is responsible for the planning and implementation of programs and projects that strategically engage alumni in strengthening programs and provide tangible benefits to alumni and current students.

Serving as an ambassador, the Director of Alumni Relations is charged with developing, strengthening, and fostering relations with Grace Community School graduates and their immediate families; securing commitments from alumni to provide professional expertise and volunteer service; collaborating with colleagues in the administrative offices (including, but not limited to Admissions, Development, and Marketing) and in the school to create and maintain pathways for ongoing alumni participation that advance the goals of the Grace Community School; partnering with Development colleagues to identify, cultivate, solicit and steward alumni giving.

The Director of Alumni Relations reports to the Director of Advancement and is a critical member of Grace’s Advancement team.

The alumni community is nearly 1,400 as of May 2019.

RESPONSIBILITIES:

  • Plan, implement and promote alumni programs that support the school’s Christ-centered mission and strategic plan, as well as the goals of its campaigns, in collaboration with colleagues within the Office of Advancement, the Admissions Office, and throughout the school; develop and submit for approval by the Director of Advancement strategic and operating plans
  • Plan, coordinate, and oversee annual events involving alumni and their families including, but not limited to, alumni chapels, high school reunions, Homecoming activities, class dinners, service opportunities, etc.
  • Ensure accurate and complete alumni database records; capture contact, biographical, and career information of alumni via surveys, projects (e.g., alumni directory), correspondence, website, postal returns, etc.
  • Establish and build relationships with a wide range of alumni locally, regionally, nationally and internationally; maintain regular communication with alumni via direct contact, email blasts, alumni web pages, and print publications
  • Educate graduating students about alumni benefits and engage them in programs
  • Partner with Director of Admissions to spearhead the introduction of alumni involvement in the admissions process; partner with the guidance counselor’s office to plan the growth and accessibility of career networking services for students and alumni
  • Collaborate closely with development colleagues in increasing support from alumni; routinely identify and qualify alumni prospects for gifts; communicate development-related activities via written contact reports filed in SalesForce and periodic attendance at prospect management meetings
  • Oversee and balance the budget for Alumni Relations; within the annual program budget, manage existing and/or additional alumni programs, services, and communications
  • Raise funds for select special projects and events in collaboration with Development colleagues
  • Provide guidance and instruction to alumni volunteers

SKILLS:

  • A deep-rooted passion for growing God’s Kingdom through Christ-centered education at Grace Community School
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills, together with the ability to work collaboratively and courteously with colleagues throughout the school, alumni, other constituents, and the public
  • The demonstrated ability to strategize, implement, and build constituency programs and activities, along with a talent for motivating volunteers
  • Creativity, authenticity, honesty, and dependability in vision casting and building lasting programs and strong relationships
  • Demonstrably strong writing, planning, and organizational skills
  • Flexibility and initiative, as well as the ability to work independently, combined with the skills for thriving in a team environment to achieve institutional goals
  • High professional and ethical standards for handling confidential information
  • Ability to organize and complete multiple tasks simultaneously with close attention to detail and prioritization to meet deadlines
  • Experience and willingness to familiarize self with Salesforce or a similar constituent database (i.e., Renweb)
  • Bachelor’s degree required; Master’s degree desired

Please submit resume by email to Tim Connor, Director of Advancement, Grace Community School, at tim.connor@gracetyler.org.

Therapy & Intervention Teacher

Grace Community School is seeking candidates for to serve as a Therapy and Intervention Teacher. Grace strives to partner with parents and students to support their learning needs. Our teachers and curriculum are rigorous and thorough. Each classroom emphasizes differentiated instruction to meet learning needs. However, some students benefit from services beyond the classroom.

Therapy and Intervention is a pull-out program for students with a diagnosed learning disability. Therapy generally takes place before school, during study hall, or in place of a course that the student is exempt from, due to his or her learning difference. A dyslexia teacher implements instruction based on skill development for assigned students. We guide students through individualized, multisensory instruction that is supported by the latest research.

Therapy and Intervention Teacher Duties and Responsibilities:
Essential For Students:

Dyslexia Teacher Responsibilities:

  • Collaborate with students, parents and other members of staff to develop academic goals for each assigned student.
  • Plan and use appropriate instructional and learning strategies, activities, materials and equipment that reflect understanding of the learning styles and needs of the students assigned.
  • Work cooperatively with classroom teachers to accommodate regular curricula.
  • Participate in Grace Plan (accommodation plan) meetings.
  • Conduct assessments to determine students’ instructional goals and activities.
  • Demonstrates an understanding of literacy development of children with dyslexia
  • Plans and uses adequate and appropriate instructional methods, including effective lesson design, providing intensive interventions as appropriate for dyslexic children
  • Use a variety of instructional strategies to meet the needs of dyslexic students, including use of current technology and small-group and individual learning
  • Collaborates with classroom teachers to integrate literacy instruction across the curriculum while maintaining an emphasis on language processing skill development
  • Assesses the progress of students as according to the assessment calendar
  • Provides progress reports as required to administrators, teachers, and parents
  • Communicates instructional expectations to students and keeps them informed (i.e., provide timely and specific feedback) of their progress to improve learning.
  • Administers literacy assessments and in-depth diagnostic and progress monitoring assessments
  • Uses diagnostic, prescriptive multisensory instruction to meet the needs of all students
  • Uses a variety of materials that are optimal for the achievement of the lesson objectives
  • Utilizes effective questioning techniques to incorporate higher level thinking
  • Communicates the lesson objective to all students and references the objective throughout the lesson

School and Staff Responsibilities:

  • Provide intervention instruction through study strategies and additional instruction with teacher provided resources.
  • Work in conjunction with principal and teachers to enhance student achievement.
  • Communicate about level two and Grace Plan students with Director of Academic Support, teachers, parents of students who are served
  • Guide the work in Learning Lab
  • Attend grade level meetings, staff meetings, and/or parent meetings
  • Collaborate with staff members regarding effective instruction and intervention
  • Proctor as needed

Qualifications:
Teaching License
Experience working in special education or learning support
Effective communication, planning, organization, presentation, and leadership skills, able to work with and motivate others
Understands the purpose of interventions, accommodations and modifications
Models direct, explicit, systematic instruction including effective teaching techniques and strategies
Enhances own professional knowledge, skills and expertise about effective instruction and school improvement
Exhibits professional relationships with teachers, administration, parents, and students
Strong commitment to student achievement and improvement
Knowledge of reading instructional strategies
Knowledge of dyslexia
Knowledge of accommodations, 504 process and academic plan goal setting process and implementation
General knowledge of curriculum and instruction
Training in the use of the NEUHAUS Curriculum, NILD or an equivalent Orton Gillingham Program, and certification as an Academic Language Therapist (CALT) or NILD is preferable.

Please submit resume by email to Sarah Hecht, Director of Academic Support, Grace Community School, at sarah.hecht@gracetyler.org

Learning Lab Teacher

Grace Community School is seeking candidates for to serve as a Learning Lab Teacher. Grace strives to partner with parents and students to support their learning needs. Our teachers and curriculum are rigorous and thorough. Each classroom emphasizes differentiated instruction to meet learning needs. However, some students benefit from services beyond the classroom.

Learning Lab offers the next step through academic support services without lowering the academic excellence provided at GCS. Our program provides support through monitoring progress, academic coaching, learning strategies, and teaching of skills.

The Learning Lab provides instructional intervention that supports level one and level two interventions. The goal of Learning Lab is to provide guided homework and study time, introduce students to study skills, time management and other skills required of a successful learner, as well as academic coaching.  Emphasis focuses on the curriculum areas of reading, writing, mathematics, science, and bible to support student success and academic achievement.

Learning Lab Duties and Responsibilities:

Essential For Students:

The Learning Lab Teacher will:

  • Establish and maintain a safe, functional learning environment.
  • Assist students, individually, or in groups, with lesson assignments.
  • Tutors and supervises students working towards completion of classroom assignments/projects.
  • Motivates reluctant learners to complete assignments and strive for academic success.
  • Identify students’ needs and cooperate with other professional staff members in data assessment, intervention strategies, and accommodation needs.
  • For students on Academic Achievement and Grace Plans, assess and progress monitor Learning Lab student’s academic growth and academic progress in collaboration with Director of Academic Support, principals and teachers, parents, and other staff.

School and Staff Responsibilities:

  • Provide intervention instruction through study strategies and additional instruction with teacher provided resources.
  • Work in conjunction with principal and teachers to enhance student achievement.
  • Communicate about level two and Grace Plan students with Director of Academic Support, teachers, parents of students who are served
  • Guide the work in Learning Lab
  • Attend grade level meetings, staff meetings, and/or parent meetings
  • Collaborate with staff members regarding effective instruction and intervention
  • Proctor as needed

Qualifications:
Teaching License 
Experience working in special education or learning support
Effective communication, planning, organization, presentation, and leadership skills, able to work with and motivate others
Understands the purpose of interventions, accommodations and modifications
Models direct, explicit, systematic instruction including effective teaching techniques and strategies
Enhances own professional knowledge, skills and expertise about effective instruction and school improvement
Exhibits professional relationships with teachers, administration, parents, and students
Strong commitment to student achievement and improvement

Please submit resume by email to Sarah Hecht, Director of Academic Support, Grace Community School, at sarah.hecht@gracetyler.org

ACSI Association of Christian Schools International

In 2018, Grace Community School was honored to receive certification from the Best Christian Workplace Institute (BCWI). BCWI believes that Christian workplaces should set the standard as the best, most effective places to work in the world. Achieving this high standard involves proactive planning and hard work to attain a healthy workplace culture. Colleagues and employees desire authenticity, accountability, collaboration, and innovation from each other and their leaders. BCWI recognized Grace Community School for demonstrating Christ-centered servant leadership (Mark 10:42-45) and our commitment to be a flourishing organization, knowing we are Christ’s hands, feet, and witness to our employees and those we serve. 

Grace Community School Employment
Grace Community School Employment Application
Apply to Work at Grace Community School

A Culture of Grace

School culture is both internal and external. As Stephen Gessner has said,

Internal culture is less explicit, more felt than articulated, and functions through implicit understandings, underlying and taken-for-granted beliefs, worldviews, unspoken priorities, and shared assumptions. Organizational culture is like the proverbial iceberg: what is seen and apparent- the external, explicit, and overt aspects- make up a small part of the whole. Below the surface are the internal, implicit, and covert aspects of culture, which can be much stronger and more influential. Leaders need to understand these different aspects of culture and how they have a crucial and critical role in influencing, changing, and maintaining their organization’s culture.

Gessner, S. “Leadership and Culture: Lessons Learned from Bear Stearns”. Message given at the ERB 81st Annual Conference, October 22-24, 2008.

The following is an attempt to identify and set forth many (if not all) of the major components by which we lead and make decisions at Grace Community School.

1. Problem-solving is primarily relational, rather than policy-driven.

It is very important to have policies in place to provide structure, guidance, and consistency. Nonetheless, policy is not and cannot be the sole driving force of decision-making in a community of grace like GCS. Therefore, we will typically deal with major disciplinary problems and difficult issues through personal relationships and solutions that take into mind the individual situation and needs of the student, family, or staff member. 

Decisions will inevitably be more messy and complex than would reference to hard-and-fast, bright line standards; however, God looks at and tends to work with the heart of the individual believer, and so should we. We will listen carefully, try to get as much information as possible, bathe the decision or solution in prayer, and apply God’s Word and wisdom given by Him to the particular situation.

This does not mean that we will ignore or discount policies and processes; they are important to providing structure and guidance. It simply means that we will not be policy-driven where doing so would work an injustice or fail to model biblical grace, wisdom, and mercy. At times, this will result in criticism from those who don’t have all the facts that we are acting inconsistently or arbitrarily. We are leaky vessels, and despite prayerful efforts, will sometimes get it wrong. At the end of the day, however, we must make decisions that reflect God’s character, and give the Holy Spirit a chance to work in the situation.

2. High level of trust.

Roland Barth identifies the importance of trust within a school’s culture:

The nature of relationships among the adults within a school has a greater influence on the character and quality of that school and on student accomplishment than anything else. If the relationships between administrators and teachers are trusting, generous, helpful, and cooperative, then the relationships between teachers and students, between students and students, and between teachers and parents are likely to be trusting, generous, helpful and cooperative. If, on the other hand, relationships between administrators and teachers are fearful, competitive, suspicious, and corrosive, then these qualities will disseminate throughout the school community.

Barth, R. “Improving Relationships Within the Schoolhouse”, Educational Leadership, Vol. 63, No. 6 (March 2006), p. 9.

grace-community-school-career-tyler-txOur first inclination is to trust people to do the right thing, to act as a follower of Christ and as a professional. When dealing with families, we will strive to treat them with love, as brothers and sisters in Christ. This means appealing to the presence of the Holy Spirit in everyone, rather than jumping to conclusions that those with whom we deal are operating from foolish or impure motives (while, of course, allowing for the reality that most of us operate from mixed motives most of the time, and completely impure motives sometimes).

Our faculty, staff and administrators are called by God to serve at GCS, and we will believe that they will step up and perform at a level and with a heart that glorifies God and represents GCS well. This also means that we will quickly forgive when those within the community fail to live up to those standards, and to seek forgiveness quickly when we fail. Finally, it means that we will tend to support ideas and requests from faculty and staff (professional development, resource requests) with minimal “red tape” or bureaucracy whenever possible, trusting that providing them with resources will allow us to become better than we once were.

3. Empowerment and support.

Everyone called to leadership at GCS has, by gifting, experience, and education, developed areas of competency that are unique and essential for their particular area of influence. Those called to leadership were so called because of their abilities as intrinsically motivated self-starters.

We will assume that these people know their area of influence better than those at other levels in the school. This means that we will recognize and respect the unique leadership roles of each member of the various leadership teams within the school. My role, and that of other leaders within the organization, is to equip and empower their team members, and let them lead. I will not micromanage, nor will others within the leadership structure.

We will expect them to use good, prayerful judgment and initiative, and we will support them in their decisions. We will understand and respect the fact that those closest to the decision are usually those best able and equipped to decide what to do; typically, we will make decisions based upon the best judgment of that person. There are many different ways to do a task or accomplish a goal well, and we will not quibble with the means by which the task or goal was completed, even if it is different from the way we would have done it (so long as the means are consistent with godly character).

4. A Body of Christ Approach to Leadership.

We believe in a shared governance approach to leadership that is consistent with the model Christ gave us through the Body. No leader’s role is more important than any others; this includes the Headmaster.

There is no hierarchy of importance on the Leadership Team, or in any other teams. We all bring complementary gifts, talents, and perspectives to the table, and we all need each other to carry out the mission, vision, and core values of the school. “Protecting one’s turf,” or “operating as silos or fiefdoms” is not welcome at GCS. 

All of the members of the Leadership Team, and all of their teams, should feel free to raise ideas, suggestions, and innovations regarding any area of the school. They should feel free, and have the responsibility, to lovingly and appropriately but honestly critique or make recommendations that impact any area of the school. Once a team makes a decision, we all stand behind it.

In short, there’s no place for silent dissent before a decision is made, and no place for vocal dissent after one is made. We must be willing to submit to the other members in their respective areas of expertise when appropriate, and to communicate with respect and gentleness when decisions have implications that impact other members of the team and their areas of responsibility. While engaging and inviting the perspectives of others may run the risk of looking like indecisiveness, leaders at GCS are willing to take that risk in order to give as many stakeholders as possible a “seat at the table.”

5. Grass Roots Idea Formation and Implementation.

grrace-community-school-tyler-tx-teamworkWe have a bias towards letting team members and others throughout the Grace Community develop and implement new ideas that will result in the overall betterment of the school. Whenever possible, we will give teachers and administrators the green light to explore, design, and implement new ideas and innovations (the learning differences program at the elementary school, developing the Toastmasters program, our current drop schedule, the Praying Parents of Grace, Cougar Backers, the Drum Line, Spirit Squad, and one-act play festival are notable examples).

When anyone within the community has an idea they would like to implement, leaders should tend to be an advocate and to say “yes”, unless there are strong reasons not to do so. At Grace, it doesn’t really matter where a good idea comes from, if it’s good. This “grass roots”, as opposed to “top down”, environment encourages the pursuit of excellence, becoming better than we once were.

6. A Willingness to Give, Rather than Take Credit.

A wise man said that there’s no end to what one can accomplish if one doesn’t care who takes the credit. We must nurture an environment in which all ideas are valid and important (although, obviously, not all are great ideas or ones that should be implemented). This is true no matter where the ideas come from. 

When great ideas and innovations are generated at the grass roots level, we will make sure to give credit to the originator of those ideas. When things go wrong, it is incumbent on the leader to shoulder that responsibility, to assess what he or she would do differently to mitigate the likelihood of future problems, and come alongside those who contributed to the problem, mentoring them privately and constructively. As Jim Collins says in Good to Great, a Level 5 (highest level) leader looks out the window when things go well, and in the mirror when things do not go well.

7. Risk taking.

We are a community that realizes that growth and development, striving towards excellence requires taking appropriate steps of faith. Not all ideas are good ideas; however, we have a bias towards allowing one to pursue ideas, even if they carry with them some degree of risk.

Grass roots development, trusting people to do the right thing, and assigning time and resources to develop and implement ideas are often leaps of faith. Some ideas might end in failure, some ideas might seem to lead to unwanted precedents, and some might require unbudgeted financial resources. A school that is truly committed to excellence, becoming better than it once was and strives to make an impact in the 21st century must be willing to take risks, be unafraid of failure, and willing to grapple with unintended consequences.

8. A Learning Community.

In Romans 12: 2, the Apostle Paul encourages us to “not be conformed by this world, but be transformed by the renewing of” our minds. This renewal is not a one-time event, but an ongoing process.

In this 21st century economy, more than ever before our students will be expected to be lifetime learners, constantly learning new skills, concepts and ideas that will leave them equipped for a constantly changing environment. As teachers and administrators, we need to be modeling lifetime learning not only for the sake of our students, but also for our own benefit and professional development. Accordingly, we are a learning community.

We will be constantly reading, studying, and exposing ourselves to new ideas and technologies. We will constantly be honing our craft as teachers and as leaders. We will be constantly refining our lesson plans and materials that we present our students. Leadership is a gift, like teaching, but one that must be developed and sustained. Leaders at Grace are students of leadership, as well as in their fields of instruction. Excellence is the process of becoming better than we once were, and we will constantly strive towards excellence.

9. Striving toward Excellence.

grace-community-school-blue-ribbon-tyler-txExcellence is the process of becoming better than we once were. We will never abandon our commitment to Grace’s mission and to our desire to see Christ glorified and worshipped in our hallways, classrooms, and meeting rooms.

We must be willing to change nearly everything else over time. Not all change is good, but a commitment to the process of change is essential for us to continue to strive toward excellence.

As leaders, we must be willing to lead the way for those who struggle with change, being loving, understanding, and patient, while at the same time being firm in our progress. We must also be willing to examine our own biases and prejudices, and be willing to set those aside when prudence and wisdom dictates that change is necessary.

10. A Community of Grace.

The defining characteristic of a Christian community like ours should be the way we love each other. For centuries, non-Christians and those outside the community have been attracted to and impacted by that love. The GCS community is no different.

Love for Christ and for each other should be evident the minute parents, students, staff members and strangers enter our buildings. Leaders do more to set this tone than anyone else. Accordingly, leaders should have a bias towards thinking the best of those they lead, not to be quick to ascribe sinister motives. They should acknowledge that every member of the community has value, and that no faculty member or administrator is more important to the success of the community than any other.

Leaders should be characterized by kindness, respect, and love. We will be inclined to give students and those we lead a second chance, open our doors to “one more” student, and give prospective families the benefit of the doubt if there is even a slight grace-filled reason to do so.

This will inevitably result in the perception that some students or staff members stay with us “too long”, that some students enrolled are not “Grace material”, and a predisposition to finding ways for members of our community to stay members. This will result in complicated admissions and complex relationships with students and families. The “tares” will always be among us, as Christ promised they would. But, our mission requires us to have such an attitude and position toward the one “lost sheep”, the “prodigal son”.

The points above are neither an edict nor a proclamation. They are really not a statement of anything new. It is merely an attempt to articulate what it is about our leadership culture that makes GCS different, what it is that makes people notice that we’re different when they come here for the first time. It is our hope that articulating some of the things that makes Grace special will attract others willing to join with us with their unique gifts and talents to make Grace even better. Is that you?

Virtual LearningLearn More