Founder's Welcome -- Richard N. Rickey
Thank you for your interest in Orenda Education and Nolan Creek School. I am the founder and C.E.O. of Orenda Education, the not-for-profit sponsoring entity for Nolan Creek School. For almost 20 years I was employed in the healthcare field as a hospital C.E.O. and most recently as a multi-facility executive overseeing hospitals and clinics in multiple states. Prior to my healthcare career, I was in the education field developing and delivering public health curriculum and programs to several school districts in Oklahoma. I come from a family of educators and have also been a volunteer in the classroom and coach youth sports. In the mid-1990’s I began to research public charter schools, and while a hospital C.E.O., I formed Orenda Education in 1995.
Here in Central Texas, we have some good but very large public schools. We all know that one school size does not fit all students. Some of our children do not feel a sense of belonging in a large school. There may be too many students in the school and classroom who are not serious about their studies. It may feel unsafe. For many boys, in particular, while a large school may offer a great sports program, the culture of the school may not be conducive to creating an atmosphere that produces what we at Kingsland refer to as a Citizen, Scholar, Athlete. Some students are not reaching their academic and human potential in these settings. Private school choices in the area are limited, and for some families unaffordable.
In 2016, under our Orenda Education umbrella, we opened Nolan Creek School to meet this need. The idea behind the school is to offer another public school choice for those students who want a smaller school experience that may be a better fit for their academic, social, physical, and moral development. Nolan Creek School is designed to serve 250 students in Grades K-5 and eventually, 150 students in Grades 6-8.
All of our schools offer what I call the “Essential R’s”:
With a K-8 school enrollment capped at 300 students, we offer a smaller public school experience for students in Bell County and surrounding areas. A small school allows our students the opportunity to feel like they really “belong”, can get the help they need, and grow their love of learning especially in the science areas. It is more difficult to get “lost” in our school. Everybody knows your name and how you are doing.
We employ a STEAM learning environment that incorporates on-site teacher-led instruction with off-site e-learning that is available to our students twenty-four (24) hours a day. In this model we have groups of students working together with the teacher as coach, not just a lecturer. Blended learning also allows us to use the latest technology to match the instructional content and delivery tools to the unique learning styles and interests of each student.
Whether you are a potential student family member or an interested community citizen that cares about quality education, I encourage you to attend one of our periodic informational sessions to meet us and to learn more.