Urban Education Leaders Retreat
June 26 – 27
The Society for Classical Learning (SCL), the A.C.E. Student Success Center (ACSI), and the Spreading Hope Network (SHN) invite you, an influential urban educator, to join us from June 26–27 at the Springhill Suites Downtown UAB in Birmingham, Alabama for an Urban Education Leaders Retreat. This retreat has been designed for Heads of School, Principals, Development professionals, and new emerging leaders. The retreat will be a two-day gathering for fellowship, refreshment, and strategic consultation on issues you face in your school and community.
The theme for the retreat is Biblical Justice. Speakers and panelists will faciliate conversations around education policy as well as”Poverty & Economic Justice” and “Racial Justice & Education”.
In addition to engaging these issues, the heart of the time together will be small group “Consultancy Sessions” — where you will gather insight from fellow urban Christian school leaders on a practical or strategic issue you are facing in your school.
Our prayer is that each leader will leave with renewed zeal, deepened insights, and new peers to reach out to in the future. We look forward to seeing you there and invite you to join the conversation.
(NOTE: In order to maintain group size, we are limited registration to a max of 3 per school or organization)
SpringHill Suites Birmingham Downtown at UAB Hotel Room Reservations: Click here to reserve your room or call 205.322.8600 by the cut off date (June 5). You must reserve your hotel room no later than one week prior to check-in date.
Special Hotel Room Rates Available Until June 5:
We provided information about the Consultancy Sessions with this PDF.
Schedule of Events
Vernard Gant, Robert Enlow, and David Hardy will discuss the current state of education policy and reform.
For the Tuesday Dinner and Wednesday Consultancy Session, you will be paired with 3-4 other leaders from similar sized schools in a similar leadership role (Head of School, Principal, or Development professional). For one hour each you will have a strategic challenge in your school discussed, and have a chance to have wise counsel and discuss potential approaches. (NOTE: See the link above for more information on the "Consultancy Session" format)
The dynamics of education, economics, and poverty are complex. A visiting scholar will speak on community empowerment and education and facilitate a dialogue with heads of school including George Sanker and Russ Gregg on the connections between educational and economic opportunity in their respective schools serving such different student populations.
Understanding the context of racial justice and education in America is important. Vernard Gant, A.C.E. Student Success Center will facilitate a conversation with Ben Sciacca and DeSean Dyson on the role of prophet and advocate when leading urban Christ-centered schools. How do we use our platform wisely and still guard our hearts from sin, arrogance and partiality?
2018 Featured Speakers and Facilitators
Russ Gregg has served as Head of School since Hope Academy’s founding in 2000. He has been a resident of the Phillips neighborhood since 1994. In 1999, he was an administrator at Calvin Christian School in Edina, and quit his job to help lay the groundwork for a Christian school for his urban neighbors. Russ and his wife Phyllis, who teaches 3rd grade at Hope Academy, live four blocks away from the school. They have three grown children. Russ serves on the Board of Directors of the Society for Classical Learning.
Dr. Vernard Gant is the director of the A.C.E. Student Success Center with the Association of Christian Schools International. Dr. Gant’s department oversees over 700 Christian schools throughout the nation that target and serve academically disenfranchised, culturally diverse, and/or economically disadvantaged children (A.C.E. students). Dr. Gant is a graduate of Columbia International University, Birmingham Theological Seminary, and Trinity University. Dr. Gant has been the recipient of numerous awards including the prestigious Jeffersonian Award by the Jeffersonian Award Foundation in Washington, DC. And the Paul Harris Fellow Award presented by the Rotary Foundation of Rotary International. He helped develop two Christian schools in Birmingham, AL serving A.C.E. students and has assisted in the start-up of several similar schools across the nation. Dr. Gant has served on several boards including the Life Skills Alternative School, the National Association of Street Schools, the Black Alliance for Educational Options, the American Center for School Choice, and chaired the Colorado State Advisory Committee for the US Commission on Civil Rights. Dr. Gant has been involved in urban ministry for nearly forty years and in the parental choice movement for over 20 years. He currently resides in Colorado Springs, CO. with his wife, Cynthia.
Ben Sciacca serves as the Executive Director of Restoration Academy (www.restorationacademy.org) in Fairfield, Alabama. Restoration has been seeking to provide a quality and Christ-centered education to urban youth in Birmingham for the last 30 years. Ben received his BA in History from Wheaton College, and his Masters in Educational Leadership from Covenant College. Ben has served at Restoration Academy for 17 years. He has written two books, most recently Meals from Mars: a Parable of Prejudice and Providence. He, his wife Sara, and their four children live in the neighborhood where he serves.
George Sanker has served as Headmaster of The Covenant School since 2011. Working in education since 1996, George has served as principal of two charter schools in Washington, D.C. and Longmont, Colorado. He began his career in education in private Christian schools where he taught history and theology to middle and high school students. George graduated from Colgate University with a B.A. in Political Science. After college, he served his country as an officer in the Central Intelligence Agency where he specialized in data pertaining to Southeast Asia. He also received an M.A. in Religion from Reformed Theological Seminary. George is currently ABD in sociology at the University of Virginia. He and his wife, Jeannette, have six children.
DeSean Dyson is the inaugural Head of School of The Redeemer’s School (theredeemersschool.org) in Jackson, Mississippi, a Christ-centered elementary school. DeSean received his BA in History from Belhaven University, and his Masters in Educational Leadership from Mississippi College. He is a lifelong resident of Jackson, MS. He and his wife Alycia have three children.
Robert C. Enlow was an integral part of the Milton and Rose Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice from its founding in 1996. He served as fundraiser, projects coordinator, vice president and executive director prior to being named president and CEO of the Foundation in 2009. Under his leadership, EdChoice has become one of the nation’s most respected and successful advocates for educational choice, working in dozens of states to advance parental freedom in education by disseminating research, undertaking training, sponsoring seminars, conducting advertising campaigns and investing in and organizing community leaders.
Robert has authored numerous articles, book chapters and op-eds that have appeared in journals, books and papers across the country. He is also the co-editor of Liberty and Learning: Milton Friedman’s Voucher Idea at Fifty. Robert serves on numerous boards, including School Choice Ohio, Hoosiers for Quality Education, Institute for Quality Education, and the Economic Club of Indiana. Robert lives in Indianapolis and has two children, Jefferson and Charles.
David Hardy had a vision of starting an all-boys charter school to address the unique academic and social needs of urban boys. Two years later, his vision became a reality when Boys’ Latin of Philadelphia Charter School welcomed its inaugural class under Mr. Hardy’s leadership. By 2008, Mr. Hardy had led the total transformation of a former Catholic school and church into one of the most modern, state-of-the-art school facilities in the region.
Mr. Hardy served as CEO of Boy’s Latin for ten years before retiring last year. His experience also includes 19 years as a teacher and administrator at Community Academy of Philadelphia Charter School. Mr. Hardy is a nationally recognized authority on charter school education and school facility financing. He has been a presenter and advisor for multiple education and school facilities conferences and coalitions.