February 2012 – This first year of being a ‘head of school’ (superintendent) of a school has been filled with some familiar experiences and many new experiences for Stephen. It has been a year of growth and learning in his career that he will be able to use both here and in any school that we might relocate to in the future.
Stephen Meier is ready to give a work shop at the ACSI conference.
One of the things that he has been able to do is attend and speak at conferences. In early February, Stephen attended an ACSI conference in Galveston in which he gave his own workshop. He got to talk about a favorite subject of mine: the third culture kid.
Stephen had presented a couple of workshops while being a principal at the Alliance Academy in Quito, Ecuador. Still, this was the first time that he was able to do a workshop in his new role as the head of school at Brazosport Christian School (BCS). The conferences lasted two days, in which he traveled back and forth between Galveston and Lake Jackson so that he could still come home each evening.
One important achievement that Stephen reached at the end of his first year at BCS was receiving his ACSI certificate specifically for being a superintendent. With this certificate, he is becomes a licensed superintendent for the next five years. During that time, he can work toward getting a permanent certificate in that position which will allow him to be eligible for this position at any ACSI school in the world.
For the time being, he will continue to use his certification and experience at BCS until God opens a door elsewhere.
As the weeks of October began to fly by, Stephen came home announcing that he was planning on attending a conference at the end of the month that would help the school develop a HomeStay Boarding program. He was really excited about this concept, because it was something that he had a vision for since his years working at Shenandoah Valley Christian School in Virginia. A HomeStay program would open the door for international high school students to attend particular schools in the United States. The idea was not to use a dormitory to house these students, but to ask local families to take in one or more students into their home. Each family would be given a certain amount of compensation by the school for room and board and they would be responsible for making sure the student had transportation to and from school. This would all be included in the tuition charged to the students’ parents.
Stephen used Southwest to find an affordable one-stop flight to Chicago.
Therefore, Stephen was off to Chicago from Monday, October 24 to Wednesday, October 26. The conference was hosted by Wheaton Academy in West Chicago. Stephen was able to attend various workshops concerning all the logistics of bringing international students into a U.S. school system and finding host families to take care of them. He got to meet some of the international students who attend Wheaton Academy and talk to administrators from schools where the HomeStay Boarding program is working.
The keynote speaker of the symposium was none other than Dan Egler, who had once been a secondary principal and director of the Alliance Academy in Quito, Ecuador. Stephen had first met Dan Egler at various events held in Quito for ACSI.
Stephen returned to Lake Jackson very excited about starting this program at Brazosport Christian School as soon as possible. He has a vision for 15 international students to start attending the school as early as the second semester of this year. It took a few meetings to convince some of the teachers at BCS, but everyone is on board for this new project. The school currently has a handful of international students, but all of them live at home with their parents who have moved to Lake Jackson, as well. So, the biggest challenge right now would be finding the host families who would be willing to take on one or more students right after the Christmas holidays.
It’s an amibition plan. But those of you who know Stephen know that he doesn’t every dream little. Keep him in your prayers as he works to make this project a success that will help the school grow.