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Schools of Distinction: Opportunities and Possibilities

Schools of Distinction: Opportunities and Possibilities

The first School of Distinction at Second Baptist School opened in the fall of 2023, with over 65 students in our upper school enrolling in the new School of Business classes.

We spoke with Upper School Head Jon Konzelman and Rice University Professor of Finance Dr. Jill Foote about the school's most notable accomplishments this year and its promising future plans. 

Thinking Critically: An Innovative and Immersive Curriculum

“Our students engaged through significant experiential learning across many business, leadership and finance topics,” described Dr. Foote, who led the school of business this year. The courses were challenging, incorporating dynamic real-world learning and critical thinking that are required to analyze reports, complete valuation models and discuss the ethical and moral obligations of business endeavors.

According to Jon Konzelman, students learned to apply critical thinking skills to specific areas of interest, to use quantitative reasoning to analyze financial models, and to enhance communication skills to articulate themselves in challenging situations. “We pushed students hard,” said Dr. Foote, “and they excelled all along the way, growing immensely.”

Business with a Biblical Worldview

“Students are exposed to future career interests in the context of a biblical worldview,” said Mr. Konzelman. Dr. Foote explained that each business school topic engaged and encouraged students by discussing relevant scripture from a spiritual, secular and practical perspective. Students were challenged to critically analyze difficult questions such as "How do Christians maintain their faith in the face of significant financial loss?" and "How can you be a biblical leader in a secular work setting?"

Community Involvement: Professionals, Networking and Alumni Involvement

Frequent interaction with professionals, many of whom are SBS alumni or parents, was one of the most impactful aspects of the School of Business and will remain an integral part of the Schools of Distinction. Speakers included CEOs from Crown Castle and Axiom Strategies, as well as recent post-MBA alumni working in investment banking, consulting and private equity.  

“Interacting with these professionals gave our students sophisticated tools, techniques, and knowledge applicable to many business situations. Additionally, our speakers opened our students’ eyes to new career possibilities and helped kick-start their life-long journey of business networking, an area we expect to expand in the future,” emphasized Dr. Foote.

Building upon connections within our SBS community, the SBS Dads Club recently launched the Eagle Career Network for our alumni, with plans to extend to our current student body in the 2025–2026 school year. 

What’s Next? 

Following a successful inaugural year, the Schools of Distinction will continue to grow and expand, providing increasingly robust opportunities for our students. Dr. Foote will join the SBS faculty full-time as dean of the Schools of Distinction in the fall of 2024. She will continue to teach in the business school while also enhancing future schools and developing an internship program aimed at "promoting deeper engagement of SBS alumni and families as we fulfill our mission of developing students who think critically, live biblically, and lead courageously."

School of Sciences

In addition, the School of Sciences will open this fall, with Dr. Robert Wegner, M.D., serving as an educational consultant. Dr. Wegner, a committed member of Second Baptist Church, is currently an associate professor in the Department of Anesthesiology at the University of Texas Health Science Center. He will assist in the planning and review of the medical curriculum for SBS students, serve as a guest speaker and provide a biblical perspective on the medical field

Continued Growth: State-of-the-Art Facilities 

The state-of-the-art renovation of the sixth floor of E Building will provide our students and faculty with optimal spaces to enhance learning and development. “Providing our students with spaces to flourish in their God-given talents and gifts is at the heart of our pursuit of excellence,” shared Konzelman. “A high-quality facility, combined with cutting-edge technology and modern amenities, will advance our mission in the hearts and minds of our students.”

SBS Upper School | E Building Renovations