What Others Are Saying about
Wayne Jacobsen and BridgeBuilders

Communities and school districts should seek common ground on religious liberty issues as illustrated by the Three Rs Projects (“Rights, Responsibility, and Respect”) of the Freedom Forum First Amendment Center and by the BridgeBuilders program.

Matters of Faith: Religion in American Public Life · The American Assembly at Columbia University

“Organizations like the First Amendment Center and BridgeBuilders are not belligerents but are peacemakers in the culture wars. They specialize in helping communities work toward common ground on polarizing issues, and they have strong, even-handed track records of helping school boards and communities.”

Tom Hutton, Staff Attorney • National School Boards Assocation

“Your efforts to help school districts and communities find common ground on issues concerning religion in the public schools is of vital importance to the future of public education and our nation.

“All that we have heard from those who have benefited from your services confirms the excellence and significance of your work. You bring a deep commitment to civil dialogue and a clear understanding of the First Amendment to very complex and controversial issues.

“We are especially pleased that someone with both religious conviction and civic understanding is available to facilitate dialogue between parents and schools we look forward to many opportunities to work with you in our shared mission of creating a common vision of the common good in public education.”

Charles Haynes, Ph.D., Senior Scholar
The Freedom Forum First Amendment Center · Arlington, VA

“Some board members were sure that we would find no resolution to the conflict. They expected all-out confrontation. You proved them wrong. Your uncommon mix of information, interaction skills and level head was just what this community required. We have the ugly events behind us. We now count several former protesters among our most eager supporters.

Gary Knox, Superintendent · Yuma, Arizona

You helped us to understand better the perspective of parents and community members who question much of what we believe to be appropriate and necessary for students. You suggested strategies to help us find common ground from which to build trust and begin dialogue. You gave us confidence in our ability to speak with both sensitivity and information.”

Judy Maurice, Director of Instructional Services · Orange County Department of Education · Costa Mesa, CA

“Our office services as legal counsel to the school districts in Tulare County. I attended a recent BridgeBuilder Seminar entitled ‘Disarming the Fears of the Religious Parent,’ co-sponsored by The Tulare County Office of Education and the Visalia Unified School District. Wayne Jacobsen is well-informed about issues involving the religious parent and the public schools. He also has a good understanding of what is legally permissible and impermissible when it comes to matters of religion and the public schools. This information can help to avoid conflicts with religious parents and the litigation which sometimes results from such conflicts.”

Gary S. de Malignon, Supervising Attorney/Schools · County Counsel of the County of Tulare · Visalia, CA

“Many communities are experiencing problems with a clash between the will of some religious groups and the mission of the public schools. Wayne (brings) valuable insight to the situation and provides dedicated service to schools and communities. “Wayne’s faith is at the core of all his endeavors. He knows what a critical role public schools play in our society and he is an active supporter of them. He sees both sides of the contentious issues that we in the schools often face. He is a fair person, articulate and well-educated and highly intelligent.

“The pitfalls that he helps Visalia Unified avoid are countless. He has also successfully mediated several controversies over the years. Visalia is a religiously conservative community and the school district has a positive and fruitful relationship with the churches. Wayne deserves a great deal of credit for that relationship.”

Dr. Sharon Tucker, Superintendent · Fairfield Unified School District · Fairfield, CA

“With first-hand experience of Mr. Jacobsen’s content and his substances, as well as his superior style in delivering a thought-provoking message, I began to seek an opportunity to bring him to Kern County. Successfully, such a meeting was recently facilitated by Mr. Jacobsen. Without exception, each person that spoke with me (a majority of those in attendance) said that the information was useful and worthy of their time (a Saturday).

“Mr. Jacobsen’s presentation clarifies misperceptions about the opportunities for religious children in the public schools. It carries details of misrepresentations that are sometimes stated or acted out by school personnel or a religious community, and it seeks to clarify consensus building strategies that dignify people’s beliefs, however varied. I commend Mr. Jacobsen for his excellence. And, I recommend him to any public school official that may be considering opportunities to build bridges.”

Dr. Marty Butt, Superintendent · Standard School District · Bakersfield, CA

“Wayne’s subject matter is relevant and important to everyone who cares about public education for all children. ‘Disarming the Fears of the Religious Parent’ is offered in a thoughtful, constructive way that truly reflects the BridgeBuilders concept. Wayne’s background as a minister of the gospel, his own experience as a dedicated volunteer in his own children’s public school classrooms make him an ideal presenter for audiences who have sincere concerns about religious/education issues in their own schools and districts.”

Maxine Frost, Board of Education · Riverside Unified School District · Riverside, CA

“Numerous times I have counted myself fortunate to have a person like Wayne Jacobsen on call regarding those “touchy” areas in curriculum and instruction. His knowledge of the conservative viewpoint, and understanding of its strengths and shortcomings in relation to public school education, was very helpful in these days of complex social issues. His expertise in assessing specific programs and working as a liaison with individuals and groups pursuing ‘different’ agendas can be invaluable to the typical school district, already facing a multiplicity of problems.

“His calm, objective approach to dealing with problems was often a stabilizing influence. He upheld Christian principles, but understood and worked within the legal and ethical parameters of the District.”

Dr. Dick Ehrgott, Assistant Superintendent, retired · Moro Bay, CA

You can read more about BridgeBuilders in articles by the Ventura County Star and the Fresno Bee.