Southeast Christian Church member Joe Burks founded LACES (Louisville Area Christian Educator Support) last May to encourage Christian educators, provide information about religious rights, instructional strategies and give support.
As the retired assistant superintendent of Jefferson County Public Schools, Burks has always believed that teachers, principals and support staff have a powerful impact on the more than 100,000 students who attend public schools in the Louisville area. He’s seen it time and time again in 37 years of teaching and leading within the public school system.
Since LACES launched, 633 educators have signed up to receive weekly emails. They gathered for two legal seminars and another with special guest speaker Dr. Doug Borchman on the complexity of the human eye. Many have formed Bible study groups that meet within their schools.
LACES also launched a website and Facebook page where Burks posts stories, trends, legal cases, interesting facts and videos of interviews with teachers and administrators.
Burks said he is both encouraged and challenged by the educational world.
“I’m encouraged with the character of teachers in schools, but I’m also challenged to go deeper into God’s Word and understand His plan,” Burks said. “We must find ways to support and encourage Christian educators. Not a day goes by without an educator thanking me for posting something on the website. We want to do more.”
Burks said the reach of the website helps teachers who cannot attend meetings due to packed schedules, extracurricular activities, lesson preparation and grading of assignments.
Burks believes networking and unity will make a difference.
“Our goal is to unify Christian educators and clarify what they can and cannot do in their schools,” he said. “Cultural challenges, legal precedents and unclear guidelines have discouraged, confused and isolated teachers, often diminishing their Christian witness.”