The Choice Mission & Core Values: Personal Will and Humility

Dream. Hope. Opportunity.

Our mission gives purpose to encourage dreams, enliven and reinvigorate hope, and empower opportunity for every child, one child at a time. Our mission is deeply rooted in the core values so we can empower all children to pursue their American Dream. The American Dream. We still believe that every child can achieve a better life through hard work, determination, and initiative and a first class education. This is personal.

See, the germ for the mission statement was planted in the early 1950’s, before Brown vs. Board of Education, when I was 8 years old watching a young African American high school student, known in my life as Anna Boone’s daughter, walk past my all white elementary school for another mile to her all African-American school. I knew then that the disparity was morally and ethically wrong.   What I didn’t know was that Anna Boone’s daughter and I were not getting a very good education.

Our mission was given life in February 1964 sitting on the front porch of the Phi Kappa Sigma House at Randolph-Macon College when a fraternity brother, Bobo Bohannon, was tutoring me in freshman European History and in a troubled way, looked at me and said “you really don’t know this stuff do you?” That was the moment when I learned what research tells us: children who live in rural areas get a similar poor education to children who live in urban areas. Nobody meant to give Anna Boone’s daughter or me a less than an exceptional education. Poverty impoverishes no matter where you are and no matter how well meaning everyone is.

My first three jobs in education—high school American History teacher/coach, elementary principal in my home County, and high school assistant principal—were in schools in their first year of full integration. All were rural schools in the backwoods of VA. Anna Boone’s daughter and Sid Faucette were at school together. The mission for my career in public education, beginning in 1967, to the present has been singular. And always personal. All children have the birthright—“all men are created equal”—to excellence no matter where they live, who their parents are, or what they have.

Our mission is to empower every child with knowledge, skills, character, and work ethic to achieve the American Dream.

The mission is the enduring daffodil of my life’s work. This daffodil has roots. Those roots are our core values and our core values nourish our mission. We cannot allow the politics of education to compromise our core values or we fail to live our mission.

Our core values come right from our collective, all-inclusive heart and soul for the calling of Choice Schools and MIChoice…that our roots nourish our mission and our practices actualize the spirit and substance of our core values.

We value…

Children becoming responsible citizens

Learning as essence of the human experience

Fellowship through meaning, dignity, and sense of community

Leading with honor, integrity, respect, and trust

Ownership of excellence, service, and results

There never was a business plan for our journey to empower every child with the knowledge, skills, character, and work ethic to achieve the American Dream. But, there has always been a human plan to make sure that all children entrusted to us don’t get the lackluster education I received and do get their chance at the American Dream. Let me share our good luck.

Boards of Directors have allowed us to manage their charter schools since 1998. We have never failed when a Board wants its students to pursue their American Dreams. Our greatest successes happen when the Board, too, has a dream for their school that shines its gleaming light on creating the best possible learning environment for students. Shared dreams are productive and so much more fun.

More than a thousand school based employees—school leaders, teachers, and support staff—have bred life into the mission and core values in classrooms, on school buses, in cafeterias, at sports and arts events, during co-curricular competitions and events, and on playgrounds and at recess, and just as important, in homes around Michigan.

Here’s the irony of so many professionals living the mission and core values. I often walk into professional development meetings and offer $100 to anyone who can write the mission statement or the core values. I seldom pay my $100. Isn’t it interesting that so many people enliven what they can’t state? Highly effective, engaging educators light a fire each day in the soul of their students and give them hope for their opportunity to fulfill their dreams and expand even farther for bigger dreams. Our educators and our students live our mission every day.

Dream. Hope. Opportunity. That’s us.

Someone so special deserves the right Choice. That’s our tagline. Thank you for choosing Choice. We want to help you keep your dream alive. Excellence is Choice!