LUBBOCK, TX (PRESS RELEASE) - After 52 years in public and private education, All Saints Episcopal School Headmaster Dr. Mike Bennett will retire at the end of the May. To celebrate his 12 years of dedicated service to All Saints, the school’s Board of Trustees named the high school building the “Bennett Academic Center” in his honor on Wednesday.
Dr. Mike Bennett was honored at a dinner hosted by the Board of Trustees on May 17 and was recognized for his 12 years of service to the school with the naming of the high school academic building. The Trustees announced that the academic building will now bear the name "BENNETT ACADEMIC CENTER". This honor is meaningful in the All Saints community as Dr. Bennett worked alongside trustees, parents, and donors to create a high school program during his tenure. All Saints High School is now in its fifth year and will graduate its second senior class on May 19.
Dr. Bennett has served children as an educator for 52 consecutive years. He began his career with Wylie ISD in 1965 as a Middle School English teacher, coach, bus driver, and high school One-Act Play coach. From 1965 to today, Dr. Bennett has dedicated a lifetime to educating students on the South Plains in a variety of capacities ranging from teacher, coach, principal, bus driver, district administrator, and college professor.
“It is an honor and a privilege to serve the families of the South Plains of Texas,” Dr. Bennett said.
Dr. Bennett began his tenure at All Saints in 2005 after retiring as principal at Lubbock’s Monterey High School. In his 12 years as the Headmaster of All Saints he has overseen a rapid growth in the school’s enrollment from 296 students to today’s all-time high of 488 students and from 62 staff members in 2005 to 102 in 2017. Under his leadership, an Office of Institutional Advancement was created. An endowment campaign was conducted to create an endowment fund, which is now over $4.3 million. An active grant writing program has raised over $2.5 million in partnership with 15 foundations.
He has overseen two capital campaigns for building growth, which included the construction of the Patriot Learning Center for preschool children and a campus-wide expansion serving all the students. The most recent expansion included high school classrooms, middle school classrooms, administrative offices, a high school gym with locker rooms and training room, three science labs, the Kirby Commons with presentation stage, kitchen, fine arts center (which houses three art studios, black box theater, music room, and band / orchestra hall with practice rooms), and two outdoor playgrounds.
The staff has almost doubled since 2005 with the addition of classroom teachers, two full-time nurses, two business managers, an assistant head of school, four full-time Institutional Advancement personnel, a full-time counselor, and five part-time music teachers.
Dr. Bennett has been instrumental in ensuring All Saints remains an inclusive, Christian, faith-based, and academically-challenging school. For 60 years the school has held daily chapel services. He has instituted school pride with the slogans of “Patriot Pride” and “Once a Patriot, Always a Patriot.” Last year, he encouraged the staff to begin an alumni association with the hopes of staying in touch with all former students.
He is highly-credited for being a key player in the creation of the high school in 2012 and its continuing success. All Saints programs at every grade level have been recognized for excellence in academics, fine arts, and athletics with many district, regional, and state championships. The high school was named as the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools (TAPPS) recipient of the Henderson Championship Cup as the top 1A high school in Texas in 2016 and is currently ranked in the top three 2A schools to win the Henderson Championship Cup for the 2016-2017 school year.
The high school has won several state championships in fine arts, athletics, and academics in its short five- year history. These include one act play, choir, volleyball, debate, math, science, yearbook, golf, cross country, and tennis. In addition, state runner-up championships have been achieved in numerous academic competitions as well as basketball, track and Ocean Bowl. Mock Trial won the regional contest competing against 5A and 6A schools to advance to the state contest where they were the smallest school to ever compete at that level.
The high school’s first graduation was in May 2016, with 12 seniors awarded $1,068,000 in scholarships. All Saints second graduating class will participate in Dr. Bennett’s 18th commencement exercise with him as the head of the school. The 11 seniors will graduate on May 19. The scholarship total for the Class of 2017 will be announced at graduation.
The Middle School has climbed from an 8th place state ranking to second place in the State Private Schools Interscholastic Association (PSIA) academic competitions. The middle school cross country, football, basketball, golf, tennis, and track teams have consistently won the West Texas Christian Athletic Association (WTCAA) district championships. The Lower School won the 2017 PSIA Elementary School State Championship while the Middle School finished third in the state contest.
Before joining All Saints in 2005, Dr. Bennett served for 40 years in public education. During those years he taught speech and English, and served in many different capacities throughout Lubbock ISD. From 1970-1973 he served both as a school counselor and as a part-time principal at Mackenzie Junior High. He was Mackenzie’s assistant principal from 1974-1979 and then principal from 1986-1989. He was Lubbock ISD’s Director of School Public Relations from 1979-1986. Dr. Bennett served as the principal for Monterey High School from 1989-2005.
Dr. Bennett taught undergraduate and graduate courses at Texas Tech University, Wayland Baptist University, and McMurry University. While at All Saints, he has taught a Comparative Religion course to eighth grade students.
He received his Doctorate of Education in Curriculum and Instruction with a minor in English from Texas Tech University and his Masters of Secondary Education with a minor in English from Abilene Christian University. Dr. Bennett earned his Bachelor of Science degree in English and Speech from McMurry University. He earned the Texas All Level Administrator Certification and Teacher Certification in English and Speech.
Dr. Bennett and his wife, Sharon, are in their 52nd year of marriage. They have a son, Jeff Bennett, and a daughter, Whitney Donaldson, and six grandchildren.
(Press release from All Saints Episcopal School)
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