After 15 years, the Payson Community Christian School has a new administrator at the helm.
Patricia Fleeger took over for Teresa Purtee on Oct. 16.
Fleeger has a list of things she hopes to accomplish, the biggest being getting the school accredited.
While the school, at 213 S. Colcord Road, was established 23 years ago and is a member of the Association for Christian Schools International, it never earned accreditation. Because accreditation could take three years, it is on the top of Fleeger’s to do list.
Fleeger brings with her years of experience obtained as a director of special services at a Valley school district, Liberty, and missionary work completed throughout the world.
At Liberty, Fleeger worked with students of all ages and skill levels, from English language learners to gifted. As a missionary, Fleeger worked at a vocational Bible school in the Philippines.
Earlier in her career, she set up a school on the Navajo reservation in Chinle, Ariz. and worked at a charter school.
So what would make a successful administrator change districts and settle in Payson? For Fleeger, it was her family.
Her husband, Harold Fleeger, runs U-Turn for Christ, a rehabilitation facility for men overcoming various sins.
When Fleeger’s contract ended in the Valley, she decided to take a chance and move to Payson, believing a job would surface.
“I knew something would come up,” she said.
After moving to Payson in July, Fleeger kept busy in the community, volunteering at church and finishing up her doctorate in educational leadership through the University of Phoenix. Fleeger has her master’s in special education.
Although she was busy with church and school, several people suggested she try working at Payson Community Christian School.
Fleeger sent her resume to the school board and after receiving it; they quickly asked if she would be interested in a part-time position at the school.
“I said sure,” she said. “I was hired rather quickly.”
When Purtee decided to leave the school, Fleeger took over as administrator.
Coming from a district of 4,500 students to PCCS, which has around 116, has been a dramatic change.
“It has been different working here,” she said. “I find with this being a small town, in Phoenix we were super prepared for any bad situation, but coming up here my first disciplinary issue was a student not tucking in their shirt.”
While discipline is obviously not a major concern for Fleeger, supporting teachers is.
“I tell teachers my major job is to support them because they are on the front lines,” she said. “I ask them, ‘How can I help you?’”
Besides working closely with teachers, Fleeger plans to work on revamping the current facilities.
The school is in the process of moving office staff around to better accommodate the nurse, receptionist and accountant. The school’s ultimate goal is to build a new facility on Mud Springs Road, where they own eight acres of land.
According to its Web site, Payson Community Christian School is an independent, interdenominational Christian school not affiliated with any church or denomination. Within its student body and staff, over 20 local churches and assemblies are represented.