When I became interim dean about 10 months ago, one of my first meetings was with Lynda and Robert Copple. I learned then that the Copples had a passion for Christian schooling and for “empowering Christian leaders to excel,” in Robert Copple’s words. They were interested in making an initial gift to the School of Education that would refuel our Center for Christian Education and form it into the premier center of its kind.
The Copples had been discussing for some time how to enhance the Center’s preeminence by endowing a Chair of Christian School Leadership that would attract a nationally renowned scholar. The Center for Christian Education also would hire an Executive Director to help re-envision the Center with a broader scope and begin to develop and offer leadership academies for Christian school leaders and educators.
Despite there being more than 35,000 private schools in the US — 2,300 in Texas alone — and with around 78 percent of private school students attending religiously affiliated schools, there is not enough research-based professional development for Christian school leaders
Now that the Copples’ generous gift to the School has become a reality, we have begun to bring their vision to life. The search for an Executive Director for the Center is now underway, and we are looking toward attracting the Endowed Chair that will provide the intellectual and scholarly energy needed to make this Center one of a kind.
You will find news of their generous gift on page 8 of this issue, and we know you will share our excitement about this new and challenging venture. The Copples’ vision includes preparing Christian leaders for excellence in all venues of education, and this has long been a commitment of the School of Education.
Their vision meshes perfectly with the mission of our School “to prepare, within a Christian environment, individuals who improve society through leadership, teaching, research and service within their professions and communities.”
Throughout this issue, you will see many more examples of our students, graduates and faculty living out this mission.