By Rick Kern
Lima Christian School (LCS) recently appointed Mr. John Reese as their acting principal. Reese, who has been at LCS for the past year-and-a-half, takes the helm after serving as Director of Development and Director of their International Student Program. “In a very short amount of time I’ve worn a lot of hats in a lot of organizations and I’m pretty new still to Lima Christian let alone to my latest role,” he admits. While his tenure may be brief, there is nothing brief about his passion or vision. “I consider it a privilege every day that I step over the threshold of our building here to serve the Lord,” says Reese thoughtfully. “It has given me a higher purpose and I have so much to give professionally and so much to learn in many ways — but because I try to hear His higher call, I know He will equip me for whichever way He wants me to serve the school.”
Among his inaugural pursuits is the development of a guiding proposal to help LCS achieve to its goals — academic, spiritual, and social. “We are just completing a strategic plan and we have worked hard and continued to work; to ask teachers for input in the plan,” Reese notes. The fact that he holds the insight of those who are “on the ground” in such esteem says a lot about his leadership. He continues, “Especially teachers because ultimately no matter what direction the school will be going, we have a vision for that through the plan and they are really going to be the folks who will be implementing that plan. So, helping them understand the vision of the school, seeing how they play a really crucial part in the future of the school, and see how they carry out that vision is critical.” With respect to leadership he adds, “So, to be the principal you have to really be the leader to help people see the vision and also understand the vision and to strive to move the school forward.”
Founded in the mid-1970s by then pastor of Lima Baptist Church, Noah Stoltzfus, Lima Christian School has spent 40-plus years providing academic excellence, a nurturing environment, and a strong community to help students discover their God-given talents and prepare them for a life honoring the Lord. Throughout that time multiple generations have not only been afforded an exceptional education, but they have also become a force for the Kingdom of God under the guidance of LCS.
“We have 173 students currently, from kindergarten through 12th grade, and we also have an international student program,” says Reese. It is one of the more unique programs (perhaps “ministries” or “outreaches” are a better words) offered by the school. “The international students we have stay with host families and we think it is important that they are housed with Christian families,” Reese adds. “We are a discipleship school so we exist to teach within the body of Christ, but as you know with Chinese or International students we are like an evangelistic school. So, we do not need international students to come from Christian families. We’ve had students from Korea, China, Spain, and Vietnam.”
Like many Christian schools, the size of the LCS’s classes is modest which offers an academic advantage. It is no secret that smaller class sizes provide students with a more effective learning environment. “For curriculum, everything that we do here is rooted in Christ and every course is taught through a biblical worldview instead of a public-school setting. We have to teach the biblical worldview in a secular world in science to give students a deeper understanding so they can defend their own faith,” Reese observes. “All of our students receive a Bible class as well, enabling them to understand Scripture, and we also have a biblical worldview class and an apologetics class.” He adds forcefully, “We want to build kids in their faith and give them a deep understanding of the Bible but we also want to equip them in the secular world so they can focus on serving the Lord while knowing that they can defend their faith.”
Additionally, LCS partners with Genesee Community College to offer courses providing both high school and college credits, and they offer several AP courses as well. The school enhances its academic depth with an educational breadth providing specialized classes in disciplines such as computer technology, library, art, drama, yearbook, chorus, music, media, band, student council, National Honor Society, and of course, physical education. As you might expect LCS has weekly chapel services and they also provide a mentoring program to support their students’ learning skills. In addition to their academics and extracurricular offerings, LCS has an athletic program that includes Section V Varsity and Junior Varsity soccer, basketball, baseball, and softball.
Unlike the public-school system, teaching requirements for private schools have more flexibility. “In all private Christian schools’ teachers don’t necessarily need to be certified teachers,” Reese explains. “We have nineteen teachers and only five of those teachers don’t have a teaching certificate. However, we also have teachers who have PhD’s in the subject matter that they teach, so they may not be certified teachers or have an education degree, but they sure are experts in physics or chemistry, or whatever expertise they need to teach their class.”
To better reach out to the community, LCS has an open enrollment policy and accepts students and applications throughout the entire school year. If you are interested in learning more about Lima Christian School, you can contact John Reese by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit their website at www.limachristian.org. In addition, you may call the school at (585) 624-3841.