Roger Gerstenberger Follows His Faith Back to Metro
By DAVID R. MILLION
IN CHARGE: Roger Gerstenberger returns to Metro Christian Academy as Headmaster. He previously served the school as chief financial officer.
DAVID R. MILLION for GTR Newspapers
Roger Gerstenberger accepted Christ when he was just five years old, and says he’s followed Him ever since.
That trek has included three several-year periods in Tulsa, including the most recent that started in early May as Metro Christian Academy’s new headmaster.
His faith first brought Gerstenberger to Tulsa where he graduated in 1990 with an from Oral Roberts University and later became chief financial officer at Metro. He and his wife Patty, whom he met at where she earned a business administration degree, moved back to their home state of Minnesota.
Gerstenberger’s faith most recently, he says, led him back to Metro Christian Academy where he follows Tim Cameron as headmaster. Cameron retired after 14 years in that position.
“I remember it like it was yesterday,” then five-year-old Gerstenberger says of his walk down the isle by himself to accept Christ at a Billy Graham rally before 80,000 people in Cleveland, Ohio.
“My parents were working the crusade. I listened to what Rev. Graham said, understood it and wanted to give my life to Jesus.”
Gerstenberger brings a variety of business and pastoral experience to Metro. His most recent position was administrative pastor for Substance Church in Minnesota, one of the fastest growing churches in the United States.
The Massachusetts native raised in Ohio was in the corporate business world after graduating for nearly a decade before taking the executive pastor position at Tulsa’s Open Bible Fellowship for five years.
He then founded the business-consulting firm The Acacia Group in Tulsa.
He left the corporate world in 2004 to return to the ministry for two years as a Christian school administrator in Marshfield, Wis. In 2006, he returned to Tulsa where he became Metro’s .
Gerstenberger brings with him an educational philosophy to the school at 6363 S. Trenton Ave., Tulsa Public School’s former Mason High School.
“My goal is to partner with parents in the training and education of their children,” he says.
To accomplish that, Gerstenberger has a formula: product divided by price.
“We will provide the highest level of educational value for our students and their families that we can for the tuition they pay,” he explains.
Gerstenberger defines product as consisting of five components:
1) College prepatory experience in a distinctive Christian environment.
2) Challenging curriculum to all learning levels from learning challenged to advance placement.
3) Varied and diverse offerings in academic, arts and athletics.
4) Certified and capable staff that offers compassionate care for each student.
5) Developing students who are articulate, emotionally and academically intelligent, confident and spiritually sound.
“Our goal is not just college preparation, but also life preparation to develop leaders in all walks of life,” he says.
The changes Gerstenberger foresees for Metro are based on his vision: “Metro already is a solid academic institution with all components in place. I want to create a regionally recognized Christian learning community,” he says.
Once Cameron’s retirement was made public, Gerstenberger began receiving calls and texts from friends and former coworkers at Metro.
“After Patty and I and our boys prayed about it, I decided to apply for headmaster. The school conducted a nation-wide search and offered me the position,” he says.
Their sons are Carlin, 17, Peter, 14, and Brady, 9, all born in Tulsa.
He began his new job May 7 at the 29-year-old school that has 1,018 students this school year. Metro has a student to teacher ratio of 18:1 in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade.
Gerstenberger says he balances his work life with family activities.
“Our family loves the outdoors. We camp, hike, bike, kayak and I still play soccer as do two of our three sons,” says Gerstenberger.
He had two comments about returning to Metro.
“I want to highlight the staff here and say it is a major privilege to work along side such a qualified and devoted group of people.”
He adds with a sense of humor that is part of his character: “This is the third time I’ve moved to Tulsa after twice leaving. My friends now refuse to give me a going away party.”
His wife stayed in Minnesota to finalize the sale of their home there and wait for their children to complete the school year before she brings the rest of the family to Tulsa.
“God’s obviously working in this,” Gerstenberger says. “He orchestrated the quick sale of our home in Minnesota and the closing of our new home here in a short time during a difficult national real estate market.”
That, he says, is reassuring that his and his family’s prayers about taking the headmaster position at Metro is in accordance with his faith and God’s will for him, his family and Metro.