NCA interim director expands learning experience
- Written by Kathy Pierce
Brad Baggett sampled his first taste of international travel while attending West Point. The former Kingwood High School student admits his passion for experiencing other cultures continues to lure him to distant lands. As an instructor – and interim director – at Northeast Christian Academy, Baggett has discovered a way to incorporate his global adventures into the classroom. Baggett joined the NCA faculty in the fall of 2005 and in April 2008, stepped into the role as interim director. Besides acting as the head of the school, he also teaches Introduction to Western Philosophy. According to Baggett, he is blessed and humbled that he is able to play such an important part in the lives of NCA students. The academic program at NCA encourages students to understand the value of a well-balanced education. Baggett said NCA provides students with opportunities to challenge themselves, respect views that are different from their own, and to look at life through many different lenses. To help stretch the world view of students, Baggett pitched a novel idea to the faculty in 2007. He proposed an innovative new way to expand the classroom and, thereby, expand the minds of students. He proposed taking students abroad to experience what they had only read about in their textbooks. The feedback from faculty, students, and parents was positive, opening a new pathway of learning. Acting as an expert travel guide, Baggett took a group of 25 students and parents to Rome, Florence and Athens. “It was a tremendous experience for all of us. Traveling sears on the minds of students what they are learning,” he said. “We take every learning opportunity to prepare them to succeed at the highest intellectual capacity.” Those returning from the journey shared their life-changing experiences with their peers, which resulted in successive trips springing up on the calendar. In 2008, the humanities chair escorted a group to London, Oxford and Cambridge. In 2009, they will explore more of the United Kingdom. Plans are already under way to visit Germany in 2010. Baggett is thrilled that students at NCA are eager to experience other cultures and world religions. “Yes, we want our students to be firm and grounded in their Christian faith, but they should also understand differences exist. They don’t have to agree with all the belief systems they encounter but, hopefully, they will broaden their perspectives about diversity, he said” While not all students are able to broaden their social horizons through international travel, Baggett said there are plenty of opportunities on the home front. “It’s essential to get them out of their comfort zone,” Baggett said. “Twice a year, we take one half-day off from the classrooms to participate in community involvement. To graduate from NCA, juniors and seniors must log a minimum of 20 service hours per year. We perform yard maintenance for elderly, widows, and shut-ins.” Additionally, NCA students sponsor canned-food drives. Donations are taken to The Door, a women’s shelter. Most recently, the student body collected 3,000 cans. All 204 students are active the Angel Tree toy drive. Baggett and his wife, Kimberly, are emphatic about instilling these values into their children. Incidentally, the number of children in their household recently doubled. In September, he and Kimberly flew to Ethiopia to adopt two biological first cousins. While NCA has a distinctive Christian environment, Baggett said it is also a college prep school. “Some of our alumni have enrolled in the military academies, Duke and Rice, he said” The school board will announce the new head of school this month. Baggett’s name is in the hat, but regardless of their decision, he plans to stay in some capacity. Baggett received his Masters of Divinity degree from Southwestern Theological Seminary in Fort Worth. He is also the pastor/teacher of Grace Reformed Baptist Church.