As president of the Tennessee Christian Preparatory School, Balzano knows that TCPS may not be as well known as he may like. Not yet, at any rate. But Balzano plans on changing that. He plans on not only having people get to know more about his school, he also plans on making sure the school and its students and faculty also become an important asset to the community, just like Rotary.
“In the same spirit,” he said, “I want my school to become an asset of service and pride.”
TCPS is a private, co-ed, Christian, interdenominational, state-certified college preparatory school on the north end of Cleveland.
“It’s a school to prepare students from all walks of life. We want diversity,” Balzano said. TCPS teaches “the old fashioned way.” In addition to traditional classes in areas such as logic, Latin, writing, dependence on technology is limited and used only when appropriate. “And faith is integrated into all areas of education.”
Its excellence in teaching has been recognized by being awarded the TIFF National Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence Award. Only 3.9 percent of schools in the entire nation have ever earned this award.
“We are working hard,” Balzano said.
It is the only accredited private college preparatory school in the area. It first opened its doors in 1997. The school offers grades Pre-K through 12th, with close to 250 students currently attend.
Natalie Calfee is a 10th-grader at TCPS. She is well aware of the many opportunities that have been available to her that she feels she wouldn’t have had elsewhere, such as the math competitions, the science fairs, the Duke TIFF program, spelling bees, etc.
“The opportunities have made a big impact on what I’ve been able to do,” she said. “There are limitless opportunities.”
“The environment is great,” said 10th-grader Logan Hall. “I’ve grown a lot.”
Neeley Benton, a ninth-grader, said, “There is always someone there to help, to talk with.”
The Cleveland/Bradley County area is “so blessed,” Balzano said, with high quality educational systems. But, in addition to public school and homeschoolers, two of the most popular forms of education, he believes that students and families should have another choice. The Cleveland/Bradley area doesn’t really offer residents a true preparatory experience.
“It’s not about competing with public schools. It’s just a choice. The area needs a strong preparatory school,” Balzano said as he addressed the Sunrise Rotary Thursday. Area families seem to be looking for a local preparatory school based on the many students who are attending private schools outside of Cleveland and Bradley County. And, as an added benefit, the cost of TCPS is less than most of the other private schools in the area. “Education is the backbone of American society. In education, we need a private school choice.”
Balzano is a graduate of Lee University, Middle Tennessee State University and the University of Alabama, where he received his Ph.D. in educational psychology and counseling research. He has extensive experience working with private schools on various levels, from enrollment and fundraising to marketing and employee training. He also directed the Calling and Ministry Studies Program for the Southern Ohio Churches, as well as conducted numerous church seminars on communications. He has also been asked to speak at various venues and seminaries, including ones in Guatemala, Taiwan, South Korea, Trinidad and Bulgaria. He also has earned the outstanding doctoral graduate award from the University of Alabama, the distinguished alumnus award from Lee University and the outstanding leadership award from the Ohio Association of Independent Schools.
For the Christmas season, TCPS is helping to gather new toys for children 1 to 16 years old for A Refuge Community Christmas. Donations should be received by Wednesday, Dec. 14.
TCPS is located at 4995 N. Lee Hwy. For more information, call 559-8939 or visit the website www.tcpsk12.org.
In other business:
— The Sunrise Rotary has 10 wheelchairs available to be donated. For more information, call Mark Rodgers, president of the Sunrise Rotary, at 310-3118.