Crown of Life Christian Academy remains on schedule to open its doors at Fort Atkinson’s Bethany Evangelical Lutheran Church on Wednesday, Aug. 22, despite some recent administrative changes.
The school currently has approximately 123 students signed up for the 2018-19 school year, including approximately 78 in kindergarten through eighth grade and another 45 or more in pre-kindergarten.
“The excitement is still there and our mission to provide high-quality, Christ-centered education to the community of Fort Atkinson and surrounding area is still there,” Dean of Students Matthew Oppermann said.
Although being hosted by Bethany, Crown Academy is a separate entity from the church.
However, the Rev. Matthew DeNoyer, pastor at Bethany Lutheran, has served as president of Crown Academy until recently.
Oppermann said that at this time, DeNoyer has not been removed from his position. He described DeNoyer’s absence as the pastor “taking care of some personal things.”
“It is a matter he is taking care of,” the dean said. “Our thoughts and our prayers are with him. He will be involved with our mission going forward; at this point in time, he needed to take care of some things.”
Oppermann stated that DeNoyer’s absence is not being labeled as “administrative leave.”
“There is nothing scandalous or controversial about his personal matters that he needs to take care, especially in lieu of some other things occurring at different congregations and denominations around town,” he added, presumably referring to the removal of a pastor at one church and charges of assault against a former local priest.
Oppermann acknowledged that it has not been determined whether DeNoyer will be resuming his full-time duties.
“I can’t clearly indicate to say ‘yes, he is done’ or ‘no, he is not,’” he said. “He has taken a step back.”
Oppermann said DeNoyer remains passionate about the ministry and is providing insight to him. However, in relation to any day-to-day duties, DeNoyer has stepped aside.
“We still have our momentum moving forward,” he said. “We still want to reach out to the community with the Christ-centered education and partner with parents that are seeking that.”
The dean said the administrative staff will continue to build upon the foundation laid by DeNoyer to move forward with development of Crown Academy.
“Our mission, our vision is going on as planned and as scheduled,” he said. “We internally have adapted our administration team to cover all the duties that need to be taken care of. As far as the mission of the school, we are as zealous as ever to open our doors on Aug. 22.”
At Bethany, Oppermann noted, every classroom will be utilized, with one serving a dual purpose as an art room and room for specialized math instruction.
Pupils in all pre-kindergarten and kindergarten classes will have separate rooms. Each grade level — 2K, 3K, 4K — has its own teacher, and then an aide based off the criteria from the state with teacher-pupil ratios.
Classes for grades 1-8 will be divided into grades 1-2, 3-4, 5-6 and 7-8. Each will have one teacher, with some departmentalized teaching going on as well.
In a partnership with CrossFit Fort Atkinson, Crown of Life will be utilizing the fellowship space at Bethany to help the children get moving and have some physical education, despite the lack of a gymnasium.
Meanwhile, Oppermann said Crown Academy’s efforts in a potential land purchase also are continuing.
The site under consideration is 40 acres north of Montclair Place on the northwest side of the city. The State Highway 26 bypass is the western boundary of the site and the southern boundary is Montclair Place.
The property once was owned by the Allen and Doris Hetts family as Crescent Beauty Farm and portions remain under the CBF Investments Lexington Center ownership.
Crown of Life Academy has an offer to purchase the 40-acre parcel with no designated timeline currently in place.
Phase One would include the gymnasium, the initial set of classrooms, a baseball diamond and soccer field development. A second phase would include space for additional classrooms and further expansion of the facility to include a large commons/cafeteria area.
A capital campaign has raised approximately $1.7 million, allowing Crown of Life Academy likely to move forward with acquisition of property without borrowing any funds.
The process advanced in late June when the Fort Atkinson Planning Commission approved a preliminary certified survey map.
“We are doing our due diligence in that regard,” Oppermann said, regarding ongoing negotiations.
Anyone with questions is welcome to contact Crown Christian Academy at (920) 563-2278 and speak with Oppermann or Rev. Ethan Steinbrenner.