01 Oct Christian Schools – We’ve Been There …
We’ve been there. And can show you how as well.
The private Christian School market is sometimes complex, with all the competing issues you will
face. Choosing curriculum, recruiting and retaining top-notch faculty, weighing athletics versus
education, maintaining legal compliance, satisfying target audiences, and managing annual and
Kent Vanderwood, Vice President at The Timothy Group, heads up our Christian School division and
can help you navigate these issues and more. As a partner here at The Timothy Group, he has been
there and done that. His non-profit stewardship journey has prepared him well.
Kent felt the call to be an educator while pursuing his undergraduate studies at Grand Valley State
University in Michigan. After beginning as a special education teacher in a public school system,
Kent went through a personal philosophical search for the best way to educate his own children. He concluded
that a Christ-centered education was imperative for his family and he headed up a
steering committee of interested parents to explore opportunities. In 1980, a private Christian
school was formed from scratch.
In addition to serving as a key member of the organizing committee, Kent was one of the first
faculty members, a coach, janitor, headmaster, fundraiser, compliance officer, curriculum director
and even a member of the founding board of directors. Starting with 43 students in grades K-6,
Tri-unity Christian School in Grand Rapids, Michigan grew to over 700 K-12 students under Kent’s
During his time at TCS, Kent was heavily involved in both the Association of Christian Schools
International (ACSI) and Christian Schools International (CSI). He served as the Michigan
representative on the ACSI regional council for eight years. He led his school through initial
accreditation with ACSI in 1987 and the renewal process in 2004. He was a regular conference and
Kent learned development and fund raising the hard way – by getting in the trenches and digging. He
hired his first development director in 1990, 10 years after the school was founded, and in 1998
launched the school’s first ever capital campaign for $1.5 million. The campaign reached its goal before Kent
left the school after 20 years in 2000.
Kent has personally served hundreds of K-8 and K-12 private Christian schools in the areas of
strategic planning, board development, development assessments, executive searches, pre-campaign
studies and capital campaigns. He has personally assisted on campaigns ranging from $500,000 to
over $40 million. He has served on various non-profit boards including Christian schools. Kent
brings a wealth of real life experiences to every project.
As a VP of development at a rescue mission, a large international para-church ministry, and another
Christian school, Kent not only understands the principles from a consulting perspective, but he
has been in the trenches “doing” development.
Can we put this experience to work for you?