Meridian Star

January 10, 2013

UPDATE : Russell Christian will make switch to AISA for 2013/14

Tony Tsoukalas
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN —  Reigning 8-man state champion Russell Christian Academy will depart from the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools and join the Alabama Independent School Association starting May, 31, Russell Christian Director of Business and Administration Kris Booker said in an email to parents on Wednesday.    

    The email stated Russell Christian's decision to go with a CEO model for the organizational chart of its school as the main cause for its departure from the MAIS. Russell Christian and the MAIS failed to reach an agreement on the CEO guidelines earlier in the year.    

    Booker told parents there will be no difference in the day-to-day operations at Russell Christian and that the school will continue to remain committed to academic excellence and the spiritual growth and development of its students.    

    "Russell Christian Academy’s purpose is to provide not only a high quality education in a safe environment, but to intentionally teach our students about Christ and the valued principles of a truly Christian education,” the RCA School Board said in a statement released Wednesday. “We want the ability to hire a Christian Administrator who understands our purpose and will be committed to our school and our community for the long term. While our association with the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools (MAIS) has been a rewarding and exceptional experience, we feel that a partnership with the Alabama Independent School Association (AISA) affords us the best opportunity and freedom to serve our students and their families in the East Mississippi and West Alabama area."   

    While Booker said the move was not based on athletics, the switch in leagues will have an effect on the Warriors in the upcoming season.    

    Russell Christian was recently moved up to 2A in the new MAIS classifications after winning the MAIS 8-man state championship in football in 2012.

    The Warriors previously reached mutual agreements with Lamar, Newton County Academy, Heidelberg Academy and Wayne Academy to schedule games during the 2013 season. However, it is unknown whether or not the MAIS will allow the games to take place. Russell Christian's Sept. 6 game against Clarkdale is the only game confirmed on the 2013 schedule.

    “We reached agreements with all those teams and it's up to the MAIS to allow us to play them,” head football coach Nate Ballard said. “We were ecstatic and excited to be able to play them. They are local schools, good programs and good football teams. It would be a good measuring point of where we are as a football team. It's all on the MAIS now. If they let us play them, then we will play them.”

    Ballard is familiar with the AISA, coaching as an assistant at Clarke Prep. (Ala.) before joining the Warriors as an offensive coordinator in 2010. While he is sad to leave the MAIS behind, Ballard looks forward to playing and competing in the AISA

    “There are a lot of good football teams and coaches over there,” Ballard said. “We are excited to go over there and compete against some of the powerhouses like Patrician Academy, Clarke Prep and Tuscaloosa Academy. It's going to be a challenge, but it is also going to be an exciting time for us.”