Tuesday the Conway Christian School Board announced the hiring of Richard W. Henley, formerly of ERA Henley Real Estate, as Conway Christian School’s first president/CEO.

The school is in a state of transition, restructuring its administrative body to function more like a college than a K-12 school system, said Gloria Massey, head of school. For example, in a traditional K-12 school system, Henley’s title would most likely be superintendent instead of president/CEO, she said.

"CCS recognizes that we are in a position to see substantial growth and to move our school forward in an exciting and God honoring way" said Arnold Hameister, CCS board chairman. "As we considered the best way to make this happen, we came to understand that we needed to restructure our organization to better equip us for this growth. Mr. Henley has the leadership skills and business know-how to lead us in this new direction. His focus will be on improving the business of the school, even as we continue to strive to improve all areas of CCS."

Massey said, during a recent accreditation team visit, the accreditation chairman mentioned that the right person may very well be someone who is already part of the CCS family. It was also recommended that the person be someone that loves CCS, Christian education and knows the city of Conway, she said.

"God has provided just the right person that fits all of these recommendations for such a time as this," Massey said.

Henley has been on the CCS board for the past five years and the chairman of the board for the past two years. He and his wife, Amanda, have been an active part of the CCS family since 1999. They have three children; Will, a 2013 CCS graduate and Katie Jo and Caroline, CCS high school students. He was the owner and broker of ERA Henley Real Estate in Conway from 1995-2014.

Although Henley said he doesn’t think his real estate experience will be of much help, his business experience will help to make tuition more feasible, so more families can afford to send their children to CCS.

"We’re not in business to make money," he said. "We’re in the business of helping Christian families educate their children."

Massey said with Henley’s marketing and development skills, she hopes to be able to bring families from all over Faulkner County to CCS.

"A lot of people don’t know we’re here," she said, "even though we’ve been in Faulkner County since 1992."

Massey and the CCS school board met with several applicants before the Lord led them to Henley, she said.

With a strong academic team already in place, Henley said, the vast majority of his time will be spent working on the school’s vision and how to fulfill it.

The school’s mission is "To glorify God by assisting families in the Christ–centered, biblically-directed education of their children."

Henley is already working on plans to lower tuition and increase tuition assistance, so more Central Arkansas families can afford to send their children to CCS, he said. He also has plans to raise teachers’ salaries.

When Henley retired as owner of ERA Henley Real Estate at the first of the year, he originally had plans to open a real estate school. He ran into "a whole series of problems" when trying to start the school, but now realizes it was part of God’s plan, he said.

"This is where God meant for me to be," Henley said.

For more information visit www.conwaychristianschool.org.

(Staff writer Michelle Corbet can be reached by email at michelle.corbet@thecabin.net or by phone at 505-1215. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)