New AACS Superintendent Prepares to Move East
Rick Kempton was selected to head the Christian school in Severn after a long career in California.
When the Annapolis Area Christian School (AACS) began its search for a new superintendent, it turned to Rick Kempton.
The school did not see Kempton as a candidate for the job, but leaned on him for advice on who to recruit and where to look due to his experience as a Christian school administrator.
It was Kempton's wife, Barbara, who saw him filling the role.
"She said 'Rick, this is you. The candidate profile is you,'" Kempton said in a phone interview with Patch from his current home in Southern California. "We thought 'this is something that God is putting in front of us.'"
After an extensive interview and evaluation process, the AACS board of directors chose Kempton as its next superintendent. He will officially start work in July, but plans to visit the school next week.
"It is entirely exciting," he said. "It is filled with opportunity and challenge."
Kempton, who has two grown daughters and a granddaughter, will come to AACS after serving as superintendent for Friends Christian School in Yorba Lina, CA. He has also served as a board member and chairman of the Association of Christian Schools International.
"The fact that he was very involved in that was of particular interest because it demonstrated his desire to continue to develop himself as an educator and a leader," said AACS board chairman Michael Edmonds.
Kempton holds a Master of Science degree in School Management and Administration from Pepperdine University and a Bachelor of Arts in English from California State University Fullerton.
He takes over as superintendent following a challenging time for the school. His predecessor, George J.W. Lawrence, retired in January in the wake of a lawsuit from former employees accusing him and the school of fostering a hostile work environment. The case remains unresolved, and Edmonds said the school made sure Kempton was aware of the situation.
"It was part of the discussion and we wanted to make sure he was aware of some of that information," Edmonds said. "And there were different groups at different times that asked 'how are you going to handle that?' What I heard him say was that we need to work through the challenging things that have happened in the past, but then begin the process of moving forward."
Said Kempton: "I’m concerned about anything that’s disruptive to the school culture. An event of that nature is disruptive. But my focus is to draw a line in the sand and say 'let’s heal and let’s move forward together.’"
AACS operates three campuses, including a lower and middle school in Annapolis and an upper school in Severn. School officials said it is on track to exceed last year's enrollment. The school reported 847 students for the 2011-12 school year.