The Prudent Leader

This past weekend at the SCL Arete Retreat, our time together focused on prudent leadership. As leaders, being skilled and knowledgeable will only get you so far. The heart of leadership is being able to exercise thoughtful judgment in ambiguous, complex situations. However, the temptation for leaders is to minimize complexity by taking shortcuts, imposing rules or policies, or approaching issues in a reductionistic way. We would often rather hack our way to a solution rather than do the work that prudence requires.

The art of practical wisdom (prudence or phronesis), is doing the right thing in the right way for the right reason. A phronetic approach to leading and living gives full weight to the ethical tensions, past experiences, emotions, intuition, context, and relational dynamics at play in any given scenario. Prudent leaders do not apply overly rationalistic analyses to problems that are not conducive to formulaic solutions. 

The best leaders have what Kahneman calls a “heuristic gift” – the ability to first intuitively assess a situation and immediately discern the most salient issues involved. They can then imaginatively deliberate and find a path that is wise and prudent. In fact, some researchers argue the ability to synthesize Level 1 (intuitive, “fast”) with Level 2 (deliberative, “slow”) thinking is what comprises the essence of emotional intelligence.

Aristotle said, “Virtue makes us aim at the right mark, and practical wisdom makes us take the right means.” Prudent leaders are more like jazz musicians and less like brick layers. They know what they are aiming for, have the requisite skills to play the technical elements they encounter, but more importantly, they possess the sensibilities to adapt to a dynamic environment. This is prudent leadership.

The Ever-Changing Legal Landscape

Sherri Huston & Darren Keyes

Coaching Call Info

November 11, 12:00 PM CST

Join Alliance Defending Freedom’s Sherri Huston and Darren Keyes as they provide insight into the ever-changing legal landscape for schools today, especially as it relates to the changing status of Title IX. Among other topics, learn:

  • What is Title IX and why does it matter to you?
  • Is the definition of “federally funded schools” changing?
  • What terms will be redefined?
  • What can you do to make sure your religious exemptions still apply?

Come to this free coaching call, prepared with your questions you need answers to! 

If you are not a member of the ADF Ministry Alliance and want to learn more, including your SCL Member Discount, contact Sherri Huston at or schedule a call on her calendar here.

Alliance Defending Freedom

ADF is the world’s largest legal organization committed to protecting religious freedom, free speech, the sanctity of life, parental rights, and God’s design for marriage and family.

What we do:

  • ADF is firmly committed to the principle that religious freedom must extend to individuals of all faiths and no faith.
  • We work to ensure that public colleges and universities remain marketplaces of ideas, where all students are free to express their views and debate important issues.

  • ADF also defends the sanctity of human life and works to ensure that laws and courts protect women and their children while safeguarding life from conception to natural death.
  • ADF also works to guarantee the rights of parents to protect their children’s health and welfare, and direct their upbringing.
  • ADF International is a highly respected organization that engages in legal advocacy alongside numerous partners all over the world.
  • ADF is also one of the nation’s most respected and successful United States Supreme Court advocates.

Musing on G.K. Chesterton

In his famous article, All Things Considered, G.K. Chesterton wrote, “An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered.” Chesterton’s life was an adventure, rightly considered. He did not see life as an accident or an inconvenience, but an immeasurable gift. Because he lived his life with a profound gratitude, Chesterton knew how to laugh and engage the world with a humility and grace.

Ian Ker wrote, “The unfailing humor that was so significant an aspect of Chesterton’s personal life has its parallels in the enormous importance he attached in his writings to humor as a medium for comprehending and interpreting life… One can, without exaggeration, find in Chesterton a mini-philosophy, not to say a mini-theology, of laughter.” If you have read him at all, you know that his humor is a natural and winsome part of his personality. Our world is in desperate need of those who can imitate his example. We need to be able to take ideas seriously without taking ourselves too seriously.

A few insights and quips…
Chesterton said, “An art school is a place where about three people work with feverish energy and everybody else idles to a degree that I should have conceived unattainable by human nature.”

In regards to his size (6’4, 320 lbs.)
“I suppose I enjoy myself more than most other people, because there’s such a lot of me having a good time.”

Once, when walking down the street during WWI, Chesterton was confronted by a patriot who inquired as to why he was not out at the front. He wittily replied, “ma’m, if you will come around this way, you will see that I am.”

Question at a lecture:
“What are your thoughts on hell?” He quipped, “I regard it as a thing to be avoided.”

Other funny quotes:
“The modern world is a crowd of very rapid-racing cars all brought to a standstill and stuck in a block of traffic.”

“A good novel tells us the truth about its hero; but a bad novel tells us the truth about its author.”

“A woman uses her intelligence to find reasons to support her intuition.”

“Education is the period during which you are being instructed by somebody you do not know, about something you do not want to know.”

The Beauty of Culture Care

Dr. Justin Ariel Bailey

Coaching Call Info

As Christian leaders and educators, we have a powerful opportunity to offer a generative engagement of culture. Join us as we explore how to think about theology and culture as it relates to our teaching, our leading, and our own culture-creating. SCL President Eric Cook interviews Dr. Justin Ariel Bailey on his latest book, Interpreting Your World.

We tackle piercing, complex questions, such as:

How do we define culture? Are we out to win?

What could it mean to reimagine an apologetics of “culture care” rather than “culture war”?

How do we empower students to be rather than to appear?

About our Speaker

Dr. Justin Ariel Bailey, Dordt University

Justin Ariel Bailey is associate professor and chair of the theology department at Dordt University. He works at the intersection of theology, culture, and ministry, and his written work has appeared in publications such as Christianity Today, Christian Scholars Review, and the International Journal of Public Theology. He is the author of Reimagining Apologetics (IVP, 2020) and Interpreting Your World – 5 lenses for engaging theology and culture(Baker, 2022). He is an ordained minister in the Christian Reformed Church, and he has served as a pastor in Filipino-American, Korean-American, and Anglo-American settings.

Liberal Arts – What Does the Term Mean?

Coaching Call Info

Join SCL President, Eric Cook, as he discusses creating a workable definition of the liberal arts with Christopher Schlect, Ph.D., a long-time expert in classical education.

The term liberal arts is widely used but seldom defined. What are its distinctions? Join us as we discuss:

  • What is an art?
  • How are arts different from sciences?
  • How are liberal arts different from other arts?
  • How are liberal arts different from humanities?

About our Speaker

Christopher Schlect, New Saint Andrews College

Christopher Schlect, Ph.D., is a Senior Fellow of History at New Saint Andrews College, where he also serves as Chair of Humanities and Director of the Classical and Christian Studies graduate program. He has worked in classical and Christian education for 30 years.

How Do We Become Better People?

Friday, April 15, 2022
1:00pm ET / 12:00pm CT

How Do We Become Better People?: Battling Screens for Our Imaginations

How do we become better people? How do we, as educators, raise up a generation that deeply loves what God loves – creating a faith so dynamic that it tangibly governs our lives and the choices we make?

Reading great literature isn’t just for mental push-ups, it is to engage living stories with powerful, influential narratives that shape how we see ourselves and the world around us. If we are ever going to compete with the world of screens, it is through great literature. And it is ultimately through the renewal of our stories and our imaginations that we gain the perspective and encouragement we need to be more like Christ.

Join us for an engaging conversation with Dr. Jessica Hooten Wilson as she shares from her new book: The Scandal of Holiness-Renewing your Imagination in the Company of Literary Saints along with a book out in May: Learning the Good Life: Wisdom from the Great Hearts & Minds That Came Before.

Whether a school leader or a classroom teacher, join us to reignite your faith and catch a glimpse of what Jessica will offer at this summer’s conference.

Register Now

About our Speaker

Jessica Hooten Wilson, Scholar in Residence at the University of Dallas
Jessica Hooten Wilson is currently serving as the Scholar-in-Residence at the University of Dallas. She has been a teacher for almost two decades, starting at Covenant Classical School, and teaching in the Baylor Great Texts program. Along with a group of friends in Siloam Springs Arkansas, she founded a K-12 classical school. She is the author and editor of six books, including the award-winning Giving the Devil his Due: Flannery O’Connor and The Brothers Karamazov, and most recently The Scandal of Holiness: Renewing Your Imagination in the Company of Literary Saints.

Attention Deficit Crisis Disorder

Tuesday, April 5, 2022
1:00pm ET / 12:00pm CT

Coaching Call Info

The pain is real. ADCD is a plague to school leadership. One crisis gets resolved and then another pops up, so our plan for the day gets wrecked and we end up playing “Whack-a-Mole” trying to stay slightly ahead of the game.

But that’s no way to lead educators!

Our influence is too important to allow ourselves to burnout on a constant barrage of “emergencies.” In this coaching call, we will share some techniques to consider for overcoming ADCD and staying focused on what matters most.

Register Now

About our Speaker

Scott Barron, CRO of School Growth LLC
Scott Barron is an educator, entrepreneur, and author recognized as a leading voice advocating for and encouraging educators in their calling and influence. He serves as the Chief Reinvention Officer of School Growth LLC and the Executive Director of Educators Fellowship. Scott earned his M.Ed from Johns Hopkins University, along with a B.A. in Religion and a B.S. in Computer Science from Mars Hill University. His combination of experience as a school head, business leader, EdTech advisor, college instructor, author, and executive coach gives him a unique perspective to encourage and elevate those who educate.

Shepherding a Successful Leadership Transition

Coaching Call Info

All school leaders, every one of them, will serve in their roles for a finite period of time. Is your school prepared for this reality? Do you have a plan in place that ensures a successful transition of your Head of School? Division Heads? McKinsey consultant Scott Keller reports that “studies show that two years after executive transitions, anywhere between 27 and 46 percent of them are regarded as failures or disappointments.” However, when transitions are well planned, not only can it go well, but there can be an increase in morale, execution, and even employee retention. Every school can take some simple and practical steps to prepare for the inevitable reality of leadership transitions and do so with wisdom. This coaching call explored these topics and addressed attendees’ questions about leadership transition.  

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About our Speaker

Eric Cook, President of SCL
Eric previous served as the Executive Director and Board Chair, Eric has been formally associated with SCL for over a decade, and he will soon transition full-time in his role as SCL President. Eric has served for 12 years as the Head of School at Covenant Classical School in Fort Worth, TX. Prior to Covenant, Eric served as the Head of Upper School at Faith Christian School in Roanoke, VA.

A Lexington, KY native, Eric earned a bachelor’s degree in Secondary Social Studies Education from Transylvania University and a master’s degree in Instructional Leadership from Northern Kentucky University. Eric worked in schools in Ohio and Virginia before joining Covenant in 2009. He has taught history, political science, psychology, and philosophy in public schools, and served as an assistant principal for several years.

In 2006, Eric felt called to join the classical Christian school movement and became the Middle and Upper School Head at Faith Christian School in Roanoke, Virginia. In addition to his leadership roles, Eric has taught apologetics, theology, philosophy of religion, and served as a thesis director. Eric and his wife, Liz, have six children. Eric enjoys reading a good book and playing a round of golf in his free time.

Coaching Call with Leslie Moeller

February 11, 2022
1:00 pm ET / 12:00 pm CT

Leading a classical, Christian school is an increasingly complex endeavor requiring inspirational vision casting, sophisticated management skills, and careful risk management. If the unique business model of independent schools, the increasing cultural hostility to the basic tenants of Christianity and the Western Canon, and the challenge of identifying and attracting and retaining like-minded families were not challenge enough, the 21st Century classical, Christian school must also navigate the increasingly mercurial legal terrain involving contracts, torts, employment discrimination regulations, and gender issues.

In this Coaching Call, we will highlight the major sources of institutional risk which require regular review by your school’s leadership. You can also join us at the February Winter Symposium to explore in more depth these potential threats and your school’s best defenses.

Leslie Moeller

Leslie Moeller has been a member of the Board of the Society for Classical Learning for 14 of the last 16 years and Chair for 10. She also serves on the Board of New Covenant Schools in Lynchburg, Virginia, teaches a class on law and Governance for the Gordon College Masters in Educational Leadership program, and consults with Heads and Boards of classical, Christian schools around the country. She is a former Board Chair, Head of School, and Rhetoric teacher of the Geneva School of Boerne, Texas; a former Head of Upper School for The Covenant School in Charlottesville, Virginia; and a former board member of Prince of Peace Christian school in Carrollton, Texas. She received her J.D. from Boston College and her B.A. in Economics and English Literature from the University of Virginia. She and her husband Eric have three children, all of whom have attended classical, Christian schools.

Coaching Call with Kristin Cole & Kerri Ridenour

January 28, 2022
1:00 pm ET / 12:00 pm CT

More info coming soon, but go ahead and reserve your spot today!

Kristin Cole

As President, Kristin Cole provides strategic leadership to the agency account team, consults on crisis communications and reputation management projects, and leads the company’s vision and mission. She is constantly looking for cutting-edge ways the Agency can serve its clients.
Kristin joined ALRC in 2006 as an account executive. Her strong writing skills and strategic thinking enable her to serve high-profile clients garnering national media attention through creative strategies. During her time at the Agency, Kristin has managed a variety of film, book and ministry campaigns including working with high-profile leaders and clients such as Pastor Rick and Kay Warren and Saddleback Church; Anne Graham Lotz; Rev. Samuel Rodriguez and NHCLC; Christine Caine; and Dr. Albert R. Mohler, the Discovery Channel’s “Planet Earth” series, “Jesus Camp,” Jay Lowder Harvest Ministries and I Am Second.
Kristin’s leadership of the strategy and implementation on the public relations campaign for the release of Rosenberg’s novel, The Kremlin Conspiracy, resulted in the ALRC team winning the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Dallas’ 2018 Pegasus Awards for “Media Relations, Consumer” as well as “Projects Best in Show.”
Prior to joining the ALRC team, she acquired extensive experience working for an award-winning public relations and marketing firm in Nashville, Tenn. There, she served nationally-known clients such as The PGA of America, Durango Boot and Thomas Nelson Publishing.
Kristin is a graduate of Union University in Jackson, Tenn., where she earned a communication arts degree with an emphasis in public relations/advertising and was elected President of the Student Government Association.
She currently serves on the Union University Board of Regents and Religion Newswriters Association Membership Committee and co-chairs PRSA Dallas’ Honors and Awards Committee.

Kerri Ridenour

Kerri Ridenour, PHR, SHRM-CP, has worked with ALRC for over 15 years as a consultant specializing in the areas of operations, human resources and strategic planning. She permanently joined the Agency in May of 2006.
As Chief Operating Officer, she leads the Agency’s new business acquisitions and day-to-day operations as well as utilize her human resources expertise and certifications to consult on client crisis communications projects.
Kerri is a certified Professional in Human Resources (PHR) and also a SRHM Certified Personnel (SRHM-CP) Consultant who has been President of The Bask Group, Inc., a Dallas based consulting firm specializing in operations, personnel, strategic planning and compliance, started in 1983.
Her past clients with The Bask Group included TXU Energy, the Ronald McDonald House, A Pea in the Pod, CDC-USA, BGEM+D P.C., Murex N.A. Ltd and the Cosmetic & Maxillofacial Surgery Center.
She graduated Magna Cum Laude in 1979 with a Bachelors of Fine Arts degree from The University of South Dakota.