School Success Podcast Episode of the Week: #049, Greg Forrest on the Importance of School Leadership in Upholding the Mission and Vision

In an episode of the School Success podcast, aired on January 9, 2023, the host, Mitchell Slater, had the privilege of interviewing Greg Forrest, an experienced educator and school leader. The conversation centered on “The Importance of School Leadership in Upholding the Mission and Vision.” Forrest shared his journey into education and leadership, emphasizing the pivotal role of school leaders in shaping the educational landscape. This article highlights the key insights from the podcast episode and explores the significance of school leadership in upholding a school’s mission and vision.

Greg Forrest: A Journey into Education and Leadership

Greg Forrest’s journey into education was initially met with some resistance. Despite his initial aspirations of becoming a dentist, Greg’s passion for working with children and the realization that education could profoundly impact lives led him to pursue a career in teaching. Over the years, he gained valuable experience as a classroom teacher and administrator in public schools. Eventually, he felt called to join a church plant and became part of Summit Classical School in Bellevue, Washington.

Embracing Classical Christian Education

Summit Classical School follows the classical Christian education model, which harkens back to the historical roots of education. Forrest explains that this approach focuses on students’ spiritual and intellectual development, rejecting the notion of value-neutral education. Classical Christian education encompasses three phases: grammar, logic, and rhetoric. Each phase aligns with different age groups and emphasizes specific learning strategies tailored to the student’s developmental needs.

In the grammar phase, which corresponds to elementary years, students memorize vast amounts of information through engaging techniques like jingles and chants. The logic phase, occurring during middle school years, helps students develop critical thinking skills and discern truth claims. Finally, the rhetoric phase in high school emphasizes effective written and oral communication as a culmination of the student’s learning journey.

The Transition and Challenges

Transitioning from public schools to a classical Christian school presented Forrest with new challenges and opportunities for growth. It felt like a career change, allowing him to be true to his convictions and beliefs. However, navigating the growth of a school and ensuring it meets the increasing demand posed logistical challenges. Summit Classical School aims to provide a quality education while seeking permanence in terms of facilities and partnerships.

Moreover, being a classical Christian school in a progressive city like Seattle presents its challenges. Forrest acknowledges the tension between religious freedom and the potential legal implications surrounding discrimination in the current legal system. The school leadership is committed to being clear and articulate about its policies to protect against litigation while staying true to its mission and vision.

The Role of School Leaders in Upholding the Mission and Vision

School leaders like Forrest are crucial in upholding a school’s mission and vision. They set the tone for the school’s culture and ensure that the core values are integrated into all aspects of education. Leaders must navigate challenges, address the demands of a growing school, and maintain a clear focus on educational goals.

Furthermore, school leaders must create an environment where students, parents, and staff feel supported and aligned with the school’s mission. They collaborate with teachers and mentorship programs and seek guidance from experienced educators to enhance their leadership skills and knowledge.

Conclusion: Embrace the Importance of School Leadership

Forrest’s journey in education and leadership underscores the significance of school leaders in upholding a school’s mission and vision. Whether embracing a particular educational model or navigating growth and challenges, leaders like Forrest demonstrate the dedication and passion required to provide a quality education rooted in a strong foundation.

To gain further insights from the conversation, we encourage you to listen to the full episode of the School Success Podcast.