Principals of two LCMS elementary schools received this year’s Rosa J. Young Leadership Award for “outstanding service in Black ministry.”
The award is given annually by the Synod’s Board for Black Ministry Services to “individuals who, in spite of challenging situations, are able to foster and forge an effective outreach school,” according to Willie Stallworth, the board’s associate executive director.
This year’s award winners are:
- Bettye Brown, principal of Trinity Lutheran Church School in Mobile, Ala. Brown is in her 10th year as principal of the school and has been an educator for 40 years. “I just can’t give the kids up, I guess,” she told Reporter.
Trinity has 162 students in Grades Preschool through 8, is “continuing to grow,” and the “plans are in place” to open a high school in a couple of years, Brown said.
Trinity is one of only two private schools selected by the state of Alabama to take part in a three-year reading program, which has been a blessing, according to Brown.
“My kindergarteners all know how to read by the middle of the year,” she said.
Her advice to other administrators is to get out into the community and make yourself — and your school — known for a quality program and a caring attitude toward students. And encourage your teachers to always do their best. “And you can easily sell your school,” she says.
- Paul Miller, principal of Unity Lutheran Christian Elementary School in East St. Louis, Ill. Miller, who has served as the school’s principal since it was established four years ago, oversees 66 students in Grades Pre-kindergarten through 3.
The school, a “mission project” of the Synod’s Southern Illinois District, opened in fall 2003 with 17 students in pre-kindergarten and kindergarten, and it has grown steadily since.
“The next year, we added Grade 1 and enrollment went to 35,” Miller told Reporter. “Last year, we added Grade 2, and we went to 49 students. This year, we added Grade 3. We prayed for 65, and we have 66 — praise the Lord!”
Miller said the school receives financial and prayer support from the district office, most of the district’s congregations, “and individuals all over.”
“We’re very active in developing friends and partners who want to support our mission,” he said. “We have over 300 individual donors, [and] many congregations …. Of course, we rely on the promises of God, first of all.”
The school also has a two-part “tuition philosophy”: every family pays tuition, based on their income, and every family also receives financial aid. Most students come from low-income families.
His advice for other Lutheran school administrators is “know your mission. Stay faithful to the mission of your school. Be active, creative, and hard-working. Ultimately, the trust is in God and the honor goes to Him also.”
Both Brown and Miller are among a select group of educators who will speak at the Center for Urban Education Ministries’ “Flock of Eagles” gathering, to be held Nov. 17-19 in New Orleans.
Both also share “a great passion for mission outreach,” according to Stallworth. “Paul and Betty have, by their commitment and dedication, shown great love for reaching and leading children and their parents to Jesus,” he said.
In addition to the two leadership awards, 19 Rosa J. Young Service Awards have been given to educators with 30 or more years of service. Most of those awards were presented during the Black Ministry Family Convocation in mid-July in Selma, Ala.
The leadership and service awards are named for Dr. Rosa Young, an LCMS African American educator who founded 30 rural elementary schools, a high school, and a junior college in Alabama in the early- to mid-1900s. Young died in 1970 at the age of 96.
Posted Oct. 24, 2006