Charter school welcomes top leaders

Published 12:01 am Saturday, June 9, 2012

ROD GUAJARDO/The Natchez Democrat — Delta Charter School administrator and director Clovis Christman, right, laughs as he’s introduced to speak at a meet-and-greet event at the school’s multi-purpose room. Behind Christman is the school’s curriculum coordinator, Rudy Hennigan. The school will have a math, science and technology focus and will open in 2013.

FERRIDAY — The local residents behind a new Ferriday charter school are preparing to release the dogs.

But before things get intense, the group took time Thursday night to simply meet and greet.

Administrator and director Clovis Christman of Monroe, La., and curriculum coordinator Rudy Hennigan of Robeline, La., met with community members in the multi-purpose room of the school’s facility.

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The charter school is located at the old Huntington School building on Lynwood Drive.

The Delta Charter group was organized to help push the school’s creation after Huntington closed in May 2010.

Delta Charter board president Michael Burley introduced the school’s new director, saying Christman was more than ready to lead the school.

“I always say he’s not our director, he’s our bulldog,” Burley said. “He’s just like a bulldog on a chain, once he gets to the end of the chain, he can’t get any farther, but we’re fixing to let him loose.

“And I’m going to get out of the way.”

Agreeing with the analogy for his passionate approach to education, Christman said that chain broke Monday, and he’s ready to start working to change the product of what the education system is currently producing.

“The business world is looking at the product that public education is producing and it’s inferior — it can’t think, it can’t read, it can’t write, it can’t function on a daily basis,” Christman said. “When a child leaves this school, they’re going to be ready to go.”

Delta Charter board member Craig Jackson, one of two founders of the board and owner of Cash Express in Vidalia, introduced Hennigan as someone who shares his vision of the importance of producing a well- rounded student.

“(The students) might not all bring home As, but what they will bring home is more knowledge,” Jackson said. “And when they do go to school or out into the workforce, they’ll be more ready, and (Hennigan) along with Mr. Christman will be the foundation for that.”

While grades are important during a student’s educational career, Hennigan said getting all As shouldn’t overshadow learning a useful skill or trade.

“As are not what school is all about. If you learn what you need to learn, you’ll be successful in life,” Hennigan said. “The important thing is that you learn something that you can use in life, and become a progressive, good individual that will be a useful cog in society.”

Approximately two-dozen community members packed the room to hear both administrators, and Christman said that he hopes to continue meeting future school parents.

“Without parental involvement, you won’t be successful,” Christman said after the meeting. “We all have to play our part equally, so seeing this many people here was excellent.”

Charter schools are publicly-funded, independently-operated public schools that do not charge tuition or fees, are open to all students who wish to attend and cannot discriminate when making enrollment decisions.

The charter school in Ferriday will have a math, science and technology curriculum and will initially open for students in kindergarten through ninth grade in 2013.