NorthFork Center for Servant Leadership
The NorthFork Center for Servant Leadership is a non-profit startup organization which proposes to imbue leaders, present and future, with a humble spirit and the good courage to lead with the heart of a servant. Our aim is to cultivate a servant’s heart as the basis for lasting and effective way to prepare men and women for lives of public service, cultural influence, advocacy, and civic leadership in harmony with timeless biblical values and fidelity to the spirit of the American founding.
Spheres of Influence
NorthFork is much more than a nice secondary school with state-of-the-art technology; it is the first of its kind to integrate three distinct spheres of prominent influence: 1) a private day school designed specifically to help juniors and seniors, many of them homeschooled and unschooled, learn how to change the world: indeed, to lead the world, 2) a premier Leadership Education & Conference Center dedicated to becoming the most advanced leadership learning center built in Central Virginia, and 3) a blend of leadership research, consultancy, education, and training that offers dynamic mentored environments for educational, corporate, or business meetings, seminars, retreats, and experiential learning opportunities on campus or in corporate board rooms around the world.
Partnerships and consortiums with preeminent servant leadership organizations are certain to up the ante as we venture to inspire, nurture, and train young men and women "who will lead our nation and shape our culture with timeless biblical values." Of consequence is not the religious foundation of NorthFork’s education but, rather, its emphasis on the political dimension of its programs and projects that makes NorthFork unique in its quest to help reshape leadership "of the people, by the people, and for the people."
Leadership & Learning
As we hear the desperate cries for genuine leadership, NorthFork holds to President Kennedy’s proposition, “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each another.” Leadership principles hold worldwide application and appeal. The world yearns for leadership; not the glitzy, glossy, gives-good-press veneer that often passes for leadership in the public eye but, rather, the humble, soft-spoken kind of leadership that invites folks to listen, to trust, … and to follow. True leadership is always undertaken as a service to the greater good. For more than a quarter century, the problem of our age has been described as “a crisis in leadership.” The W.K. Kellogg Foundation, for example, reports “the American public perceives a crisis of leadership in our nation. Major public and private institutions increasingly appear incapable of dealing constructively with an ever-expanding list of social and economic problems, and individuals are becoming more cynical about government. We need a new generation of leaders who can bring about positive change in local, national, and international affairs.”
We need servant leaders. “One of the most universal cravings of our time,” suggests James McGregor Burns, “is a hunger for compelling and creative leadership.” Leading is not something one does; it is something one becomes. True leadership is about people, not power. It is the outward manifestation of a caring heart, passionately concerned for the preservation of justice, equity, and the universal good of the people. True leaders gently, yet decisively, move the masses through inspiration and vision. “The signs of outstanding leadership,” Max DePree asserts, “are found among the followers.”
NorthFork will nurture people who are preparing themselves to venture out in public life making a difference among those who shall follow. It will bring “ancient paths” (Jeremiah 6:16) within reach of those whose hearts seek to walk in the steps of the greatest leadership role model of all time. Like “standing stones” erected by the people of ancient Israel to commemorate God’s supernatural actions on their behalf, NorthFork students will quickly find themselves integrating faith and action, growing in their depth of understanding of what the Bible reveals about how Jesus would have us lead others and, by extension, draw others to God through their “flavoring influence” on our culture.
The NorthFork School
NorthFork is a premier institution of leadership & learning — a nonprofit organization built around the premise of servant leadership. At its center is The NorthFork School, a private school with a deliberate outreach to high school juniors, many of them homeschooled. To be admitted, each student has demonstrated their propensity to serve … and lead! But their leadership skills need to be further developed, nurtured, and groomed.
NorthFork is modeled after Patrick Henry College (http://www.phc.edu/); at NorthFork the classical Christian education will be generously complemented with practical and committed mentoring, leadership awareness and self-assessments, and community service. The rigorous college-preparatory curriculum is taught at the college/university 100-series level. Each graduate can expect to place out of their first year—and then some—at any college or university in the country. Music, drama, and debate round out a comprehensive education in liberal arts. Mentors, a key component of the experience at NorthFork … and beyond, purposefully help prepare students for lives of public service, advocacy, and civic leadership. Not only will each student seek out mentors but they also will be required to mentor others. As a class, they will be required to identify and resolve a major concern in the community of their choosing. A senior thesis outlining their role in the project as well as what they have learned about leadership is required for graduation. NorthFork nurtures a community service life that promotes virtue, hones leadership, and perpetuates enduring commitments to God, family, and fellow sojourners. For those students not yet ready for full-time leadership and learning experience offered at NorthFork, local homeschool families are encouraged to sign their children up for robust dual enrollment classes offered twice a week. NorthFork is here for you, the young men and women of our community who want to learn how to become authentic leaders—servant leaders!
A word of caution to prospective students and their parents is in order. Nothing about NorthFork will be easy. Transformation never is. But at the end of the day, hordes of people — the masses from all walks in life, each created in His very image — are looking for someone to follow. Joshua's generation — young and emerging leaders comprised of our sons and daughters — are obliged to do more than stand at the water’s edge; they must take that first step into the rushing river and help the others find the God-honoring spirit within to "take the land." Drop forged, tempered, tried, and tested, NorthFork graduates are certain to find themselves at the end of the beginning of a promising journey as they discern how to wield influence on the future by helping others open the doors that lead to truth. NorthFork, on the one hand, will require good courage (Joshua 1:9) and determination; on the other, it will prove enlightening, challenging, and convicting as it moves her students to new levels of authentic leadership — servant leadership.
What is this thing called Servant Leadership? Robert Greenleaf captured the essence of such leadership in his affirmation of servant leadership. Servant-leadership is a practical philosophy which supports people who choose to serve first, and then lead as a way of expanding service to individuals and institutions. Servant-leaders encourage collaboration, trust, foresight, listening, and the ethical use of power and empowerment. Servant-leadership is, in essence, written in our hearts as a natural law, a changeless principle; it is not imposed from without. Servant-Leadership, as Mike Parry points out, “is all about recognizing the strengths in others and building on those strengths.” Servant leadership seeks opportunities to help every member of the team learn new skills, build their confidence levels, and grow. They are carefully and purposefully nurtured, coached, and mentored as they, in turn, become leaders in the service of others. Larry Spears, former CEO of the Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership (http://www.greenleaf.org/), acknowledges, “Servant leadership offers great hope for the future in creating better, more caring institutions.”
NorthFork is destined to become the premier leadership development and education center in the country, best known and most respected for nurturing and encouraging hearts and minds to answer the ever-pressing call of public service; a place where the curriculum, campus, and community come together to uniquely prepare men and women for lives of public service and positions of citizen leadership/advocacy that deeply and genuinely value the human spirit, discern greatness by virtue of service, and lead by lifting the meek. I do hope you will join us!
A Note on Financial Independence
NorthFork will operate without debt to maintain our financial independence; as such, we recognize tuition revenue alone can not cover the costs of building and operating NorthFork. Consequently, we will expand to meet a growing and urgent need to the extent funds become available. Because we do not accept government funding, we will rely on the generous giving of friends and partners across the country, endowments and, over time, alumni gifts to bring NorthFork to life and to help us meet our financial obligations. As a startup nonprofit seeking to serve God and our country, NorthFork is in great need for others to help bring life to the vision. Chief among NorthFork’s needs is a sponsor(s) (with a gracious spirit and a generous heart), an awesome lawyer, and great Americans with a penchant to teach tomorrow’s heart-centered leaders.
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