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West Memphis Christian names former Avondale principal new headmaster

Bryan ‘ looking forward to making new relationships’in new position

There is a familiar new face in the headmaster’s office at West Memphis Christian School. Longtime Avondale Principal Glenda Bryan came out of retirement to lead the private school. Bryan worked for 31 years altogether for the Marion School District and then answered the call to lead the academy at the start of the spring semester. Bryan talked about her new role and invited the public to the school’s open house March 2.

WMCS teaches 183 students from kindergarten through grade 12 with 29 on staff.

Bryan talked about the highlights at Avondale and looked forward to a great experience at WMCS. The new headmaster earned a bachelor degree with a double major in early childhood and elementary education plus a master’s degree in administration.

“At the time I went to school Kindergarten was not in all the schools, so their was a separate early childhood degree,” said Bryan. “I’m certified K-9 for administration.

“The best part of Avondale was having relationships with the kids, the parents and the staff and people in the community. We were meeting needs and making use of community resources and making all work for everybody.”

It was rewarding in both difficult times and good.

“I liked the day to day challenges that came along,” said Bryan. “I liked all the hugs from the little ones. Interactions with people was my most favorite part of the job.”

Prior to the new appointment, the oldest grade Bryan worked with was fifth and sixth graders as a teacher for three years but she had ideas for working with the junior high and high school aged students. The new headmaster believes in the golden rule.

“Treat them with respect; treat them as you would want to be treated,” said Bryan.

Mary Anne Pike had been the headmaster but the official titles were shuffled in mid-February. Bryan sees Pike’s continued role as an asset, a chance to learn all things WMCS.

“Miss Pike has always been headmaster,” said Bryan. “Now she is the Chancellor. She is the mentor and knows everything about West Memphis Christian because she has been here since the inception. She’s the go-to person.”

The headmaster makes all the day to day school decisions.

“Financials, curriculum, staffing, scheduling, the headmaster takes care of the operation of the school,” said Bryan.

The new headmaster expressed delight as she looked forward to working with a dedicated staff and faculty. All the teachers need the same certifications that a public school teacher would have. The school is accredited through the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools.

“I’m a people person, so I am looking forward to making new relationships with educators that are very passionate about teaching,” said Bryan. “Everybody that is here wants to be here. Salaries here aren’t near what they are in public schools.”

Teachers and students alike enjoy the small class sizes.

“We keep the class sizes down so there is more teacher time for the kids,” said Bryan. “We really want to get the word out about how good the West Memphis Christian School is without the caliber of teachers we have here and the curriculum we offer. We are a small school but we pack a lot into it. A big plus here is we have 45 minutes of Bible class everyday. We also have a 20 minute chapel time everyday to focus on Jesus. Some local churches come in to do that. Students are strengthened

not only academically

but also spiritually here with in depth Bible study. That is such a big difference I see where in public school you could barely mention the word Jesus.

Spiritual training will help make good adults.”

The academy clings to its Bible verse motto as a guide for student outcome, “And Jesus grew in Wisdom and stature, and favor with God and man,” Luke 2:52.

Students enjoy sports too. “There is a big sports emphasis here,” said Bryan.

“They have football, basketball, volleyball, softball, baseball, track tennis and golf. They play other private academies. Our football field here is new this year.

Bryan is set to host her first area-wide open house. Families with prospective students are invited for a campus tour in at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday March 2. A question and answer session and an opportunity to meet teachers, coaches and families follow. Information about curriculum, athletics and uniforms will be available with refreshments and door prizes.

“Come see why we love WMCS,” said Bryan.

By John Rech