God brought together two families to start Commission Leadership Academy.
Within days of initially discussing this unique school model at a Women’s Conference hosted by their church, the two moms, Natascha and Diane decided to meet and explore this concept further. Their first meetings were exciting and overwhelming at the same time. What did God have in mind for them, for their children, and their community? Each agreed that this model represented a noteworthy alternative to the educational choices available in Raleigh, but much prayer and diligent investigation was required to discover God’s will for their individual families.
In October of 2013, the moms decided to make phone calls to the pioneering University-Model® Schools in Texas, an area that had several established UM Schools. The ladies were immediately impressed with the administrators of these schools and with the results they had obtained. They were also impressed and inspired by their conversation with the executive director of the National Association of University-Model Schools, Barbara Freeman.
The fast friends met with one another again and it was a wonderfully exciting time as they prayed, shared, and reflected on all that they had experienced in just a few days of that first conversation. In meeting this time, they became overwhelmed with the sense that God was asking them to do more than just seek out an educational alternative like this for their own children, but to perhaps be instrumental in starting such a school for their community! Now the challenging part … convincing their husbands!
The initial reactions from the men ranged from “Hmmm, interesting” to “What! … are you crazy?” But soon thereafter, a conference call took place with the two wives and their two husbands, and the founding families of both Hope Academy in Charlotte and Christian Life Preparatory School in Fort Worth, TX to explore just how crazy this idea was. Much talk and more prayer convinced them to move forward.
Together the two families scoured the internet for examples of leadership and implementation of the vision of the University Model School at locations too far to visit. The ladies visited Hope Academy in Charlotte and Providence Academy in Wilmington, and were again amazed at the strength of this type of school. God was clearly at work in the midst of these schools and directing the paths of their leaders. Parents were actively involved and students were flourishing.
During those trips and weekly meetings, they began to recognize God’s manifest blessing on their time together, bringing them closer, and slowly but surely revealing His plan. The ladies began to host information sessions. The very first one was attended by just one family! But as the word got around, more and more families began to attend. By January 2014, it became clear that the plan to start the following school year would need to be moved up. There was interest and need for a University Model School then. In March, a group of families met in the home of Diane, and by that weekend two of the parents had not only sent in applications for their own children to attend the school, but resumes and cover letters to teach at the school. A month later, a friend approached Natascha to say that she too was interested in teaching in this unique Christ-centered academic partnership. God had brought the teachers the women had prayed for—degreed educators who loved the Lord with expertise and experience in the grade levels they would be teaching! Together, they committed themselves to bringing a Christian school to Raleigh that would promote academic excellence and character development within a schedule that promoted family togetherness and spiritual growth.
After almost a full year of regular meetings, purposeful planning, diligent training, and an abundance of passionate prayer, Commission Leadership Academy opened its doors on the campus of Wake Cross Roads Church in Raleigh in August of 2014. Offering grades K-5 in that inaugural year, 21 students arrived for the first day! By the next year, Commission served 75 students from over 50 families in Raleigh and surrounding towns and has grown in each and every year of its existence.