“Celebrate what you want to see more of.”
– Thomas J. Peters
I am a parent of three children currently twelve, ten and eight years of age. We were homeschooling them seven years ago. It was challenging but we were not satisfied with our other school options. We couldn’t afford private school and we felt our local public schools could be better. At the same time a group of clergy approached me with the idea of starting a new private
Christian School but I thought to myself, “We don’t need another private school.” Later I was speaking to a good friend and educator, Dr. Jim Barr, and he asked a powerful question, “Bill, why not a charter school?” Seven years later Bayou Community Academy is in its third year of operation in large part because of that conversation and my desire to have affordable school choice.
Why did you go to all the effort to gather a team who designed BCA and why are you still involved seven years later?
I am involved because of the children. I’m involved not just because of my children anymore but all the children out there in our community; especially those who are less fortunate, who had no hope of a truly rigorous college prep education, who could not afford a school of their choice. I am convinced that often school choice is a matter of finances, even homeschooling is expensive, but with a public charter school we provide school choice to every child regardless of their financial situation. That’s a powerful motivator; that’s changing lives one school year at a time.
Changing lives. Every time I walk the halls, enter a classroom, attend an event and I look at those young faces, I see our future. I truly believe we are making a difference. We are shaping the future of our community, providing its future leaders, and that knowledge is one of the most deeply satisfying feelings of my life.
What leadership roles have you had while serving on the board?
I am the first President of the Board. It’s a humbling responsibility but with our incredible team of board members, administrative leaders, and staff we are working together to lead our school.
Is there anything you know now that you wished you had known before?
How much time do we have? I am constantly learning what I don’t know, however, we always seem to learn what we need to know in time. For us the incredible unknown was our relationship with our local parish school board. As a Type 1 Charter we are partnered with the Lafourche Parish School District and I wish that everyone could experience the type of positive relationship that we have encountered. We had no idea that this would happen. I wish everyone could have the relationship we have with our local district Superintendent, JoAnn Matthews. We are empowered and supported to reach our goals and our partner is literally right across the street. So the short answer is: I didn’t know how much support would be available. For years we seemed to be all alone in our work.
Another thing is that I had no idea how fast the time would pass. In one manner we are relatively new, but on the other hand we’ve already begun to look at our next five years of planning. The board of a charter school needs to constantly be looking to the future.
“Bill Crawford had a vision and mission of an educational institution where scholars would “Come to Learn-Learn to Serve.” His dream, leadership and persistence helped build a college preparatory community school that provides the opportunity for scholars, teachers, parents, and stakeholders to learn, lead, and serve society. Mr. Crawford’s governance guides our Board, administrative staff, and professionals and staff to a high level of accountability for the educational outcomes of scholars.” - Sandy Holloway, Director, Bayou Community Academy
“Bill is a determined and focused leader with a “can do” attitude.” He has courage and does not take the ordinary “no” as the final answer. He seeks counsel in making decisions, admits his faults, seeks forgiveness, and takes action. He likes consensus, but is not afraid to confront, and then agree with the best idea when it is not his own. He is not stubborn and is willing to listen. His healthy pride is necessary and he knows how to share success with others.” – Jim Barr, Vice President, Bayou Community Academy
A Type 1 charter school located in Thibodaux, Bayou Community Academy (BCA) is a place where children "Come to Learn and Learn to Serve.” As a college preparatory school, Pre-K to sixth grade (and adding a grade every year until eighth grade), the mission of BCA is to focus on scholars' achievements. The academic program is rigorous and character development is embedded in the educational environment.
The Top Shelf
The success of a charter school hinges largely on the decisions of its governing board. The Top Shelf enhances the capacity of charter school boards through professional development, board recruitment and community engagement.