. . . a blessing for managing
A whirlwind of changes have swept through the halls of FVL over the past two years. Even before anyone had heard the dreaded rumors of pandemic, major changes were underway.
Much of that change was precipitated when then-principal Steve Granberg accepted a call in April of 2019. That ushered in a year of interim leadership as the Board of Regents chose to create an Ad Hoc Committee to study possible leadership structure for FVL’s future.
accepts a call
President Jeff Loberger
Principal Alan Nolte
From one to two . . .
The proposal was a “President-Principal” model to better distribute the leadership tasks that had fallen to the Principal alone in past years. Approved by the General Board in September 2019, Mr. Jeff Loberger—then serving as FVL’s Mission Advancement Director—was called to become FVL’s first President. That call was accepted in October, and then came the call for FVL’s new principal. In December, Mr. Alan Nolte accepted this role. Constitutional adjustments needed to be made to accommodate this new structure. Those were ratified by the General Board last June.
Dividing a growing list of duties
Behind the scenes, the work of finalizing job descriptions, duties, and responsibilities was going on. The role of the President was to look to FVL’s future and be responsible for the areas of finances, mission advancement, admissions, communications, and facilities. The Principal’s role was to focus on the everyday running of the school and overseeing curriculum, guidance, student activities, discipline, and other resources. A flow chart was developed to better picture how this new organizational model would work.
By late February, COVID concerns were growing.
The outbreaks in China and Asia worried many of FVL international students who were hearing stories from their families and loved ones. With spring break on the horizon, few suspected that these were the final face-to-face days of school for 2019-20. The recent structure changes provided the leadership team needed to manage the changes and challenges that were quickly approaching.
Mrs. Krista Davis
Mrs. Tammy Fick
Mrs. Jenny Koch
Aspects of this structure were complicated by the exit of other key personnel.
- Director of Operations Martha Baldwin stepped down in July 2019.
- The Business Office staff was reorganized with Mrs. Krista Davis becoming the Financial Controller and assisted by new hires Tammy Fick and Jenny Koch.
- The maintenance staff was restructured to better cover responsibilities across the campus.
- Enrollment Director Ben Priebe accepted a call to a sister school late in the school year.
President Loberger served as the MC for the online Foxfest event.
Mr. Nathan Nolte managed technology for the virtual Foxfest Auction.
Miss Deanna Kolell and Mrs. Megan Beyer were a part of the virtual Foxfest team.
Winning auction items were brought to cars to maintain social distancing.
Amid all this, the Lord’s guiding hand could be seen.
- New President Jeff Loberger’s gifts in financial management and future focus were vital as the school set its path ahead despite the obstacles posed by the pandemic.
- New Principal Alan Nolte’s expertise in curriculum and technology were greatly needed as the school moved from face-to-face instruction to totally online instruction with only a week’s notice due to the state closure order.
Throughout this challenging process, both leaders worked with department coordinators, faculty, and staff to steer a steady course as dates needed to be canceled, postponed, or moved online. First-ever virtual events like the FoxFest Dinner Auction, Prom Frolic, and Graduation were organized and held.
Summer . . . brought changes
Next came the summer decisions for the coming school year. Along the way, internal changes were in titles of department leaders. For example, Mr. Jeff Uhlenbrauck’s title has shifted from Assistant Principal to Dean of Student Life and Rev. David Wenzel’s title is now Administrative Pastor.
New year with flexible instruction
“Our FVL Back to School Plan was created as a way to safeguard the health and safety of students, staff, and families while offering face-to-face instruction,” said President Loberger, “with the flexibility to switch to distance learning if necessary.”
In August, FVL opened for the 2020-21 school year with full-day, face-to-face instruction, five days a week. Many thought it would not be long before the pandemic would close those doors, but the Lord’s hand has allowed us to remain open well into the first semester.
A survey of FVL parents showed 85 percent favored in-person learning. To make it possible, precautions were put in place: family pre-screenings at home, temperature checks entering the building, masks, and social distancing. A new block schedule was implemented to reduce hallway traffic. Any large group gatherings are restricted based on health directives. Plus, added hand sanitizer stations were installed. Desks are disinfected between classes and HVAC modifications were made for improved air quality.
In the end, 600 students chose to attend in-person, and another 60 decided to learn virtually. All classrooms were fitted with technology so teachers can teach face-to-face at the same time as they livestream their class for online students.
Please continue to remember FVL’s students, faculty and staff in your prayers. President Loberger concluded, “We are blessed to be in school. We’ll keep emphasizing healthy habits, as we encourage each other academically and spiritually. Most importantly, we need to give all glory to God!”