It has not been long since Edward DeShazer put on his father’s old robes and became the new Executive Director at Greater Holy Temple Christian Academy (GHTCA). The academy is a private K-8 school that educates more than six hundred students a year, serving a 98% economically disadvantaged population. Since he was named Executive Director, Edward has driven GHTCA to excellence, making it one of the higher-performing schools in Milwaukee.
Built-in 2003, GHTCA was the vision of the late Elder Joe R. DeShazer, which was realized by his brother, Pastor James E. DeShazer. Pastor James became the founder and heartbeat of the academy, working hard until his death on June 6, 2020, serving Milwaukee’s less fortunate through education. His efforts made Greater Holy Temple Christian Academy a center point of the northwest side of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Edward, working at the academy since 2006, witnessed his father’s dedication to the children of Milwaukee. Late Pastor James started GHTCA with his own money and inspired Edward to work hard by climbing the rungs of the academy’s promotional ladder. Starting as a gym teacher, the current Executive Director experienced 7th-grade teaching, IT work, and Admissions and Event Coordinations until he was named Assistant Executive Director in 2013 and Executive Director in 2015.
His father’s commitment and Edward’s personal experience as a student fuel his drive to further education for the needy. As a student, Edward was suspended from school over thirty times; he was expelled from middle school two days before graduation and high school within the first month of his freshman year. He was an intelligent but challenging student and, yet, he had teachers who never gave up on him. These teachers who believed in him and cared for him awakened Edward’s passion for education. When he was allowed to return for his sophomore year, he worked hard, graduated on the honor roll, and earned an athletic and academic scholarship to St. Cloud State.
His commitment to furthering education has led to a seat on the Executive Committee for The Closing the Achievement Gap Consortium (CAGC). CAGC is a collection of public and private school systems in southeastern Wisconsin focused on creating greater equity in their schools. Edward is also a certified trainer and presenter for Restorative Practices and teacher motivation. These practice programs reduce punitive disciplinary practices in schools and improve academic performance while narrowing racial gaps in school systems. To reach a wider audience and share motivational tips and techniques to teachers, Edward has a weekly podcast called ‘Teacher’s Ed Podcast.’
Executive Director Edward DeShazer’s undeniable passion for real education has translated into a positive impact in his community. In his five years as Executive Director, GHTCA’s Report Card score has risen by over 16% and will only continue to improve under Edward’s service. Spending the last 15 years working with students from the most incarcerated zip code in the country, he shows no signs of stopping anytime soon.
It wasn’t easy stepping into his father’s shoes, but Edward has walked a mile and is still walking. In the fulfillment of his father and uncle’s vision and mission, he is determined to help strengthen school communities with restorative and motivational practices. He hopes to help build meaningful relationships between staff and students, not just in GHTCA but in other school systems as well. It has become his purpose to provide motivational tools to teachers so they can change the lives of their students just as his teachers changed his.
Updates on Edward’s path towards the implementation of better education may be viewed on his Instagram and Twitter accounts. Greater Holy Temple Christian Academy may be reached through their website and Facebook.