Cornerstone Christian names new leader

Published 12:26 pm Monday, April 26, 2010

Cornerstone Christian School recently named Jay Adams, formerly the school’s dean of high school students, as its new director of school operations.

The former headmaster, Laurie Porter, has been offered a job as the school’s director of development. Adams’ duties will be the same as Porter’s were, he said.

“Different people are just differently skilled. I think the board felt her skills lay more in development and organization,” Adams said.

Adams said the school is about to see its largest-ever senior class, with 30 seniors, graduate, which may immediately lead to a drop in enrollment. Currently, the school has 240 students.

“We’re about to graduate more than 10 percent of our student population, which is quite a blow to us,” he said.

That makes raising enrollment numbers job No. 1 for Adams. Right now, Cornerstone is built to handle up to 317 students.

“The ideal number of students for us is exactly 317, because I don’t have to buy another chair for that,” Adams said.

However, enrollment won’t go up until Adams and his staff can communicate effectively with parents. Surveys filled out by parents seem to show a lack of communication between school administration and families, Adams said.

It’s understandable for parents to be fearful, especially in a time when private schools are struggling to stay open, he said.

“We have the very real difficulty of establishing confidence that we are going to be here,” Adams said. “It’s not trusting a person, or a board, it’s trusting an organization. With that trust comes buying in. Without trust, there’s not going to be enrollment.”

He said Cornerstone’s greatest challenge right now, as with schools across the country, is financial stability.

“It’s a challenge to get a budget in place. How do you begin to look at the tuition structure of your school and generate funds that weren’t there before?” he said. “How do you generate excitement and a sense of ownership in the community?”

Adams said he plans to continue the school’s family feeling while continually reaching to improve education.

“I’m not going to ever be content with being a public school plus Bible classes. That’s how a lot of people see private schools,” he said. “I absolutely love teaching kids. I don’t know that I would be happy with another job. I’ve been here a decade now. There’s a sense of family here you don’t find much in life.”

Adams teaches English, chemistry and Bible and has coached different sports at the school. He and his wife, Laura, have three kids: Macy, 7, Jack Tyler, 4 and Ellie, 4 months.