Richard N. Rickey
Founder's Welcome Letter
Thank you for your interest in Orenda Education and our Gateway Schools. My name is Richard N. Rickey and I am the founder and C.E.O. of Orenda Education, the not-for-profit sponsoring entity for Gateway Schools. For 20 plus years I was employed in the healthcare field as a hospital C.E.O. and most recently a multi-facility executive overseeing hospitals and clinics in multiple states. Prior to my healthcare career I was in the education field developing public health curriculum and programs for several schools districts in Oklahoma. I come from a family of educators and have also been a volunteer in the classroom and coach youth sports. In the mid 1990’s I began to research public charter schools, and while a hospital C.E.O., I formed Orenda Education in 1995.
Here in Williamson County, where I have lived since 1988, we have some good but very large public schools. We all know that one school size does not fit all students. Some of our children do not feel a sense of belonging in a large school. The traditional system of schooling designed to process groups of students in standardized ways does not address the unique learning styles of many students. Some students are not reaching their academic and human potential in these settings. Private school choices in the area are limited and for some families unaffordable.
Under our Orenda Education umbrella, in 2009 we opened Gateway Tech School on Williams Drive and Gateway College Preparatory School on Westinghouse Road to meet this need. The idea behind these Gateway Schools is to offer another public school choice for those students who want a smaller school experience that may be a better fit for their academic, social, physical and moral development. Gateway Tech School offers a "student-centric" approach to instruction that works better for some students. The school enrolls about 200 students and graduates about 50 students each year who are taught using the "blended-learning" format explained in this web site.
Whether you are a potential student family member or an interested community citizen that cares about quality education, I encourage you to visit our Gateway Tech School campus and witness the difference.
Richard N. Rickey