Tempe Prep Welcomes New Athletic Director

Tempe Prep Welcomes New Athletic Director

By Sayellor Taylor


Truth, Beauty, and Goodness.


This is the well-known motto for Tempe Preparatory Academy, one of the most well-known public charter schools in Arizona. Recited at pep rallies and discussed in Socratic seminars, the motto circulates frequently throughout the school. Tempe Prep’s new athletic director, Mr. Rafik Henderson, wants to boost its use off-campus in sports, too.


“I am aligned with (Tempe Prep’s) mission of truth, beauty, and goodness, and I think that in Tempe Prep’s athletic department it reflects that, as well,” he said. The tight-knit community fostered within the school is perfect for the amplification of this mission in all areas, and was one of the reasons he was drawn to TPA.


Coming from an athletics background, Mr. Henderson played for his high school’s football and basketball teams in California. Leading his team to the state championships in both his junior and senior years, he was awarded a scholarship at an NCAA Division II college where he played collegiate basketball. Having a deep love for sports, Mr. Henderson is familiar with many Arizona athletic departments at other schools, including Scottsdale Christian and Cicero Prep.


His enthusiasm for manager roles is enhanced by the love he has for being a “part of and seeing athletes’ journeys, sharing passion with coaches, and helping them develop skills and achieve goals,” he said.


Mr. Henderson also notes that athletics is a tool for life. It ingrains numerous benefits into its participants, including perseverance, hard work and commitment, all of which roll over into everyday life.


During his short time at Tempe Prep, Mr. Henderson has already noticed the increase in participation in some sports. From only a few middle school wrestlers in the past, this year’s team has increased to 23 participants. With a smaller team in previous years, cross country has had full rosters for its teams. The middle school flag football has many new, dedicated players. He is even looking forward to the inclusion of a brand new program in the spring: beach volleyball.


Though his time with Tempe Prep has just started, the improvements made are numerous and exciting. Mr. Henderson said he looks forward to seeing the learning environment and athletic department continue their bond. Whether in the classroom or on the field, court, pool, mat, pitch, beach or track, it is important to represent the motto of TPA.


Article by Sayellor Taylor, a student staff writer for De Equitibus, Tempe Preparatory Academy’s student newspaper.


Tempe Prep is currently accepting applications for Fall 2024.


About Tempe Prep: Tempe Preparatory Academy is a tuition-free public charter school in Tempe for students in grades 6-12 that provides a nationally acclaimed liberal arts education based on the Great Books of Western Civilization with an exceptional math, science, foreign language, humanities, and fine arts curriculum. Tempe Prep has been recognized by the Arizona Board of Regents as having the highest percentage of college graduates in the state and has been named the #1 high school in Arizona by Newsweek (America’s Top High Schools 2016).

Over half of Tempe Prep’s graduates pursue majors and careers in engineering and STEM fields. Tempe Prep’s Class of 2021 students received over $16.5 million in scholarship offers and TPA graduates attend undergraduate and graduate school programs all over the country, including Stanford, Harvard, Princeton, University of Pennsylvania and the Wharton School of Business, Dartmouth, UCLA, Boston University, Northwestern University, and all of the Arizona universities and their Honors Colleges.

For more information about enrolling at Tempe Prep, visit the school’s website at tempeprep.org.



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