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The Sun-Times - Heber Springs, AR
  • Community School -- 30 years and counting

  • The Community School of Cleburne County celebrated their 30 year anniversary last Tuesday night.
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  • The Community School of Cleburne County celebrated their 30 year anniversary last Tuesday night.   In attendance were Judge Jerry Holmes, Dara Samuels, Marty Moss, Jackie McPherson, and Judge Steve Choate.  Executive Director, Teri Renner, was recognized by Judge Jerry Holmes and Dara Samuels of the Cleburne County Office of Economic Development, for her leadership as Executive Director of the Community School of Cleburne County and enriching the lives of students and teachers for thirty years.  The Community School Board of Directors Treasurer, Richard Nordskog, provided a history of the Community School of Cleburne County and Teri Renner’s years with the school.  The President of the Board of Directors, Cay Jones, announced that the new group home that the Community School is building will be dedicated as the Teri Renner Adult Home in honor of her 30 years dedicated to improving the lives of the developmentally delayed and disabled. 
    The School began providing services in an old building that was a renovated Laundromat, on 11th street, for six adults and four children with developmental disabilities. Through the years, the Community School has needed to expand to be able to accommodate the increased demand for services – moving to a small house on Front Street, then to the location on Hwy 110 and then purchasing the old Cleburne County Baptist Church building exclusively for Adults with Developmental Disabilities, or Project Independence.  In 2005, the Community School was hit by tragedy when the Preschool building on Hwy 110 was burglarized and burned down by arson. Unwilling to have their students and families miss any services due to this loss, Executive Director, Teri Renner moved the program – with very little supplies or resources – into space donated by the United Methodist Church.  The Community School was only closed for three days after the fire before families were able to resume services. Several months later, the Community School was able to move back to its own property to provide services in temporary trailers while plans were made for a new permanent facility to house both the Adult and Preschool program. In just two short years, with the outpouring of community support and the commitment of Teri Renner and Community School employees the Community School was able to open the doors of their new facility in August 2007. Today, the Community School not only serves close to 100 infants & children and 30 Developmentally Disabled Adults in the center - but also provides Assisted Living Support Services to ten developmentally disabled Adults who live in a group home setting or in their own apartments.  Plans are currently underway to build a second group home to assist these individuals with living more independently. The Community School and Executive Director, Teri Renner, who has dedicated 30 years of her life to the Community School, have played a vital role in helping to build a brighter future for children and adults with developmental disabilities in Cleburne and surrounding counties. 
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