Major staff reshuffle at Briarwood, superintendent and manager out
A newly formed transition team for Briarwood Christian School confirmed on Saturday that high school principal Shawn Brower’s contract will not be renewed.
The news of Brower’s departure follows Superintendent Stephen Steiner’s announcement on Jan. 25 that he would step down, effective June 30.
Brower has been the graduate school principal (grades 7-12) since 2015 and is also the men’s varsity football coach, and Steiner has served as superintendent since 2018.
Briarwood Christian School operates as a ministry of Briarwood Presbyterian Church, and governance of the school rests with the church.
In a letter to parents and students published Jan. 25, Steiner said his decision to quit “was one of the most difficult his family has ever experienced, but he is confident in God’s guidance.”
His resignation will come at the end of his fourth year in the role, and he said he will continue God’s call for his life and his family.
“Ginger and I prayed frequently and abundantly, sought discernment and the application of biblical principles, and gathered wise counsel from godly men and women,” he said.
Steiner said serving as superintendent of Briarwood since 2018 has been a “huge responsibility and an even greater privilege, one that he has enjoyed and never taken for granted.
“BCS has been more than a job; it was and remains a calling,” Steiner said. “I thank the Lord for giving me this opportunity to lead and serve here.”
He said the school will always hold a special place in his family’s heart.
“I praise the Lord that BCS is in a good position – now fully accredited K-12; with a curriculum that has been mapped out and is carefully and carefully aligned with our graduate profile; with a dedicated faculty and administrative team; with high enrollment, community interest and finances; with a growing financial aid budget aimed at making a Christian education accessible and affordable for our city, and with over $500,000 in school improvements,” he said. “With God’s continued blessing, I am confident that Briarwood’s best days lie ahead.”
Steiner said he looks forward to serving over the next five months to better position the school for even greater success.
“God has been faithful to guide us in the past, and I remain confident in him as he guides us into the future,” he said. “A transition team made up of church and school leaders is already in place and has started to meet. Please pray for them as they guide us in the days ahead. »
He ended his letter by thanking students and parents for their kindness, support and prayers and said he had peace knowing he can embark on a new journey, confident that God will continue to provide. to the needs of the school.
On Saturday afternoon, the church board held a meeting, and afterwards Jim Alexander, pastor of church board-led ministries, sent an email to parents announcing the formation of a transition team that will be responsible for providing the necessary leadership during this transition. The team is made up of pastors and elders from Briarwood Presbyterian Church and includes alumni Dr Jon Adcock, Billy Ball, Christopher Frost, David Harris and Dave Proctor, as well as Pastor Jim Alexander and Executive Pastor Bruce Stallings .
The board also announced that Niel Nielson, professional consultant and former president of Covenant College, will provide assistance throughout the process.
The stated intent of the email was to “provide clarifying and encouraging information in light of the recent receipt of our Superintendent Steiner’s unexpected letter of resignation.”
The email said Brower had not been fired nor had he been placed under gag order.
“Dr. Brower was informed at the earliest opportunity that he would not be offered a contract for the 2022-23 academic year,” the letter reads. “In academic circles, there is a distinction of importance here , and educators appreciate and understand this distinction. Someone who is terminated would be immediately removed from their position. However, someone who is not renewed has the opportunity to complete their duties, work out the rest of the contract and to have time to consider in prayer where God is calling him next.Early notice of his non-renewal was given with the full intention of honoring and helping Dr. Brower.
Briarwood’s board said the decision was “not made harshly or in a vacuum” and that its staff charged with these responsibilities “have prayerfully asked for wise counsel and commitment from our chairmen of board and others over an extended period of time and this was done with full knowledge that Dr Brower had not returned his form stating that he intended to return to Briarwood for the next academic year .
The letter noted that “the decision was extremely difficult in light of the many positive things Dr. Brower has done at our school over the past seven years.
“We commend Dr. Brower as a man of great leadership, giving, tireless diligence, and tireless pursuit of the school’s mission as principal of our graduate school,” it read. “We are all very grateful to the Lord for Dr. Brower’s ministry and to emphasize that his heart has touched and encouraged countless lives. These enormous contributions to BCS have been fully considered in this decision, and we have nothing but praise for Dr. Brower in these areas.
A petition to bring Brower back was created on change.org and garnered over 2,000 signatures.
The petition, created by the “Briarwood Student Body,” states “it is time to stand up for someone who has stood up for us so many times. Dr. Brower revitalized Briarwood and made it a place of joy, faith and adventure. He implemented real and meaningful change. He is arguably the most important factor in the success of Briarwood Christian School. He is able to sympathize with the student body and encourage them to become better Christians and human beings. Dr. Brower truly cares about his students which cannot be taken for granted. As a student body, we need to show our love and support for all the ways he has positively impacted our lives. By signing this petition, you endorse Dr. Brower as Director and acknowledge his positive influence on you or your child.
The letter from the transition team ended with a look to the future.
“While God’s timing to redirect leadership within the school has caused some to wonder where we are headed, we want to assure you that current Briarwood management and those overseeing the Christian school ministry of Briarwood are as committed as our founding fathers were to prayerfully pursuing leaders who can implement the mission and vision of Briarwood Christian School under the supervision of the Briarwood Presbyterian Church Session” , indicates the letter.
A rally was held in support of Brower at 3 p.m. on Sunday, January 30 at Veterans Park on Valleydale Road. The rally agenda includes a moment of testimony, a call to action and a collective prayer.
Efforts to obtain further comment from several church and school representatives were unsuccessful.