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Meet Our Board

Cornerstone Prep is blessed to have the following individuals serve on our University-Model® school board. They give of their time, talents, and service to see Cornerstone Prep stand true to its mission of partnering with parents to build within their children a firm foundation of academic excellence and Christian discipleship.

Cornerstone Preparatory Academy by-laws establish the board and grant it the responsibility for the governing policies for the academy. The authority of the board is invested in the board as a corporate whole rather than in the members individually.
 

Founding Board

The following individuals made up the original Founding Families Academy Board. Without their leadership and sacrifice, Cornerstone Prep would not exist today.
  • Jeanne & Fred Borders
  • Pat Franklin
  • Cindy and John Gurniewicz
  • Tamara Hasbrouck
  • Alison and Jeff Luke
  • Tonya and Jay Westbrook

 

Current Board

Board Member Andrew Baines

Andrew Baines

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About Andrew

Years on the Board: Since 2013

About my family...
Anne and I have three children: Hannah, David, and Jonathan. Hannah is a Cornerstone alumna, and the other two are current Cornerstone students. All enjoy hiking, fishing, swimming, archery, and exploring God's creation.

Why I do this...
Serving on the board is a small contribution I can make and allows me to see all the great things that are going on and encourage the wonderful team who have invested so much into my family.

Why UM schooling is important to me...
At work I lead a large team of IT professionals. Finding staff who take responsibility for their own actions is becoming difficult. I wanted to prepare my children not only for college, but for life, which comes with many responsibilities.

What I wish other people knew about Cornerstone Prep...
It will not be the same this time next year. Even if something seemed to work really well, the amazing team of dedicated professionals at Cornerstone will seek to improve it. Over 10+ years, we have seen significant improvements in all aspects of the academic, social, and athletic offerings.

And if you have a question or a concern about something, all you need do is humbly ask, and the gracious and kind team will explain the options available to help you move forward.

Board Member Benita Brisco

Benita Brisco

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About Benita

Years on the Board: Since 2014

About my family...
I am blessed to be married to Ken since 2001. Our sweet daughter, Kendall, and our witty son, Jackson, have both attended Cornerstone since they were in kindergarten.

Why I do this...
From the time that we had our initial family interview with Cindy Gurniewicz in 2011, I knew that Cornerstone was special. I was eager to find ways to actively support a school that so seamlessly engages students with an exceptional education taught through the lens of Christianity.

I serve on the board because I see Cornerstone and UM schooling as a viable and growing option for Christian education. I want to do everything I can to make sure that a Cornerstone education is available for generations to come.

What inspires me...
I am inspired by God's unwavering presence in my life. Although I am sometimes mindful of things that cause me to worry, I am always brought back to the knowledge that God has everything within his control. I recognize Him in the littlest details in nature, and I see His hand all over the world. I see His spirit working in others around me. I am inspired and humbled that He allows me to take notice.

What I wish other people knew about Cornerstone Prep...
Cornerstone Prep not only provides a collaborative and top-notch educational environment for students, but it also provides a supportive community for parents.

As a Cornerstone mom, my relationships with other moms have been encouraging and invaluable as we strive together to raise, teach, and support our children. My family has been blessed by relationships that have been forged through our common experiences at Cornerstone.

Board Member Steve DeFrancesco

Steve DeFrancesco

Board President

Email

About Steve

Years on the Board: Since 2013

About my family...
Michelle and I were high school sweethearts and have been married for 26 years. We have two children, Stephen and Mary Grace, who graduated from Cornerstone in 2016 and attend Samford University.

Why I do this...
I serve on the board because I love the students, parents, and staff of Cornerstone and want to support the vision and mission of our school.

What inspires me...
I'm inspired when I see young people succeed in pursuing their dreams.

Why UM schooling is important to me...
Being involved in Cornerstone has been a huge blessing to our family. Because I travel often, the UM model of education has allowed our family to spend much more time together than having been part of a traditional school.

Board Member Bryan Galat

Bryan Galat

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About Bryan

Years on the Board: Since 2014

About my family...
My wife, Kate, and I have been married since 2000, and our family has been a Cornerstone family since 2010. We have five children, four of whom currently attend Cornerstone.

Why UM Schooling is important to me...
University-Model® schooling has allowed us to tailor each of our children's education to his or her specific strengths. It's the furthest thing from the one-size-fits-all educational approach that so many schools apply.

My heroes are...
Those who hear God's call on their life and answer it. They are the ones whose lives make an eternal difference in the world. And Derek Jeter.

Board Member Holly Guice

Holly Guice

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About Holly

Years on the Board: Since 2013

About my family...
My husband, Merril, and I have been married for 21 years. We are blessed with four children, Caleb, Laura Grace, Benjamin, and Isabel. Our oldest two are Cornerstone alumni, and our younger two currently attend Cornerstone.

Why I do this...
I have enjoyed serving on the board during such an exciting time of growth in our school's history. I have a desire to see the school continue its vision and passion. Board members can give direction that will impact the school, students, parents, and staff today and into the future.

Why UM schooling is important to me...
University-Model® schooling is important to our family because we can guide our children's education with confidence while partnering with teachers. Our children are being taught through a biblical worldview, are challenged academically, become independent learners, and are confidently prepared for college.

Board Member Christian Pitts

Christian Pitts

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About Christian

Years on the Board: Since 2019

About my family...
My wife, Meredith, and I have been married for 18 years, and we have three kids at Cornerstone: Jackson, Natalie, and Davis. We also have a fourth child, George, who is a Yorkie.

Why I do this... 
We have a love for Cornerstone and for the lifestyle and environment it provides for our kids. We love the University-Model school and the interaction and control we have in educating our children. We want Cornerstone to continue to be a success and allow others to find the same love for this school.

Why University-Model schooling is important to me...
University-Model schooling paired with a Christian worldview allows our children to be taught in a God-centered environment with morals and character traits that are important to us as Christians. We love the interaction it allows with us and our children and how we are a part of their education.

What I wish other people knew about Cornerstone Prep...
How awesome it is! I wish people knew that you don't have to be an educator to teach your children at home the two or three days they aren't on campus. The lesson plans are laid out and the teachers are great about helping parents as well as students. I also wish people knew how much flexibility it allows in our lives outside of school, not only choosing the hours in a day that we are "in school" but also freeing up hours a day that we are not in school. This gives us so much flexibility in extracurricular activities and spending time together as a family.

Board Member Erik Speer

Erik Speer

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About Erik

Years on the Board: Since 2016

About my family...
I am blessed with a wonderful wife of 17 years and four great kids: Blythe, William, Henry, and Emma.

Why I do this...
I was raised by educators, and they instilled a deep love of lifelong learning and service to our community.

What inspires me...
God's love and the free market. Funny mix I know, but I enjoy seeing them at work in the lives of people. God's love is so transformative, and it transcends differences in all matter of things. The free market is the work of people all over the world adding value to society by using limited resources wisely. It is very powerful and inspiring.

Why UM schooling is important to me...
When our children hit school age, we began to plan and set goals for their education. Through that process, we realized that we wanted to take a more active role and try our best to free up more minutes to enjoy with our children.

What do you wish other people knew about Cornerstone Prep...
Cornerstone is one of the more established UM schools in the nation. People are working very hard all over our great country to start and develop schools like Cornerstone from the ground up.

We are very lucky to have such a great institution in our community. When you walk into the school and when you see your children flourish, you know and you feel a part of something very special.