TCPS prepares for new era in education

By BRIAN GRAVES Staff Writer
Posted 9/13/17

Tennessee Christian Preparatory School is on the cusp of a new and exciting era in the school’s 20-year history.

The school, along with Cherokee Pharmacy, hosted the Cleveland/Bradley …

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TCPS prepares for new era in education

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Tennessee Christian Preparatory School is on the cusp of a new and exciting era in the school’s 20-year history.

The school, along with Cherokee Pharmacy, hosted the Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce’s monthly coffee Tuesday morning, and heard more about the future of the school while being inspired and entertained by its present.

Terry Forshee, owner of Cherokee Pharmacy and a co-sponsor of the coffee, is the longest serving TCPS board member.

The school’s Lower School Choir, under the direction of Jessica Divel, performed “Do Unto Others,” which brought sustained applause from those in attendance.

TCPS board of trustees President Brad Benton welcomed everyone, saying the search has begun for a new president following the retirement of Dr. Bill Balzano.

“It’s really exciting,” Benton said. “There are a lot of talented candidates we are taking to and we have an excellent, excellent program.”

Benton also noted the school has “a very strong board of directors.”

“I think this board is the best,” he said.

Don Holwerda of EduSource Inc., someone Benton called a “longtime friend of TCPS,” is helping lead the search for a new president.

“This school has really been a blessing, not just for the Christian school community, but TCPS has stepped forward as a model for others,” Holwerda said. “I commend all of the board members for hanging in there over the years, and the way they have grown this school.”

He said one of the things that sets the school apart is a strong administrative and leadership team.

“The other is the strong curriculum,” Howerda said. “People ask me, ‘Is it a Christian school or a preparatory school?’ I tell them it’s both, and without both we lose out. It’s that integration of faith and learning.”

“Christian education is the only greatest hope we have left if you look around the world today,” he said. “I see little ones like are in this choir and wonder which ones of them will be leaders in this community and around the world. What an opportunity we have and what a great blessing to see all these business leaders coming in to support this school.”

“This school is not just a private Christian school at the end of town,” Howerda said. “This is a school that is critical to the success of Cleveland and the whole community.”

Dan Chord, a member of the TCPS board of trustees who is serving as interim president, talked about the school’s campus and changes on the horizon.

He noted that even though the school rented the former Tomlimson College campus, the school was never a part of with the Church of God of Prophecy.

“We simply rented the property,” Chord said. “There were times we didn’t know if we were going to be able to stay here or not.”

That uncertainty, as well as a growing student population, set the wheels in motion to construct a campus TCPS could truly call its own.

“We purchased 89 acres near the golf course and started a capital campaign,” Chord said. “As soon as we did that, the church told us they would sell the campus to us. We finally got a contract to buy this campus at the first of this year, and we are so excited about that.”

“We have 93 acres of ground here, a football field, a track, a gymnasium, and 82,000 square feet of buildings,” he said. “It will cost one-third of building new buildings to renovate what is here already. We are encouraged and excited about finally having a home.”

“We just want you all to know, we have a home,” Chord said.

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