05/28/13 — Longtime principal to take on church role

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Longtime principal to take on church role

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on May 28, 2013 1:46 PM

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Faith Christian Academy Principal Walter Sloan talks to Kevin Hill and his son Silas, a student at the school, during an awards ceremony. Sloan, who is retiring as principal to take on new responsibilities at Faith Free Will Baptist Church, was recognized for his 21 years of service at the ceremony.

After 21 years at Faith Christian Academy, Walter Sloan is stepping down as principal, but he's not going anywhere -- he's just moving across the campus.

On July 1, Sloan will become assistant pastor at Faith Free Will Baptist Church, which launched the Christian school as one of its ministries in January 1967.

Sloan said he has always been a teacher at heart. He started his career in that capacity, at Liberty Christian Academy in Alabama, going on to serve as principal for 15 years.

As Faith Christian principal, he got to wear a lot of hats, he said -- including teaching Sunday school, driving a bus on Sundays as part of the ministry at the church and serving as a problem-solver of sorts.

"People bring you all types of situations, issues and problems," he said of the job. "I don't solve them, but I try to help them solve them.

"I like the education goal, I like the education process. I love watching the progress of children learning and advancing. I really do enjoy the challenge and the opportunity of advancing, but I think the great reward is directly working with the children, the students."

The school boasts a rich history, he said, starting out with kindergarten through third grades, adding a grade a year until it reached 12 grades. On average, annual enrollment is between 300 and 350. FCA became accredited three years ago through the N.C. Christian School Association and the American Association of Christian Schools.

"In (my) 21 years, our church school has been through five building programs. This campus has just grown and expanded," he said. "I have been directly involved in every one of those. It's been fun watching the growth."

God doesn't necessarily call everyone into the ministry, Sloan said, but the school has had a large number who have gone on to become pastors, missionaries and Christian school teachers around the country and the world.

"Nine of our graduates are teachers at Faith, two are associate pastors," he said.

His own son, Stephen, graduated from the school in 2005 and is now a third-year medical student in New York. Wife, Peggy, is a first-grade teacher at Faith Christian.

Sloan said he was 29 years old when he answered the call to preach. He might not have ever pastored a church himself, but he has been an assistant pastor and said he looks forward to taking on that role again.

"This is sort of a dream come true for me," he said of the next chapter in his career. "I'm 62 and if the Lord tarries and my health holds out, I hope that I can do 10 years of what I'm about to do. It's a good change for me in the ministry and so I'm excited about it."

His new duties will be varied -- from visitation of shut-ins and those in the hospital and knocking on doors inviting people to church to being responsible for the church's fleet of vehicles, vans and buses, he will also supervise the grounds and facilities and work with the senior population, called the "Keenagers."

"It's going to be interesting because I have worked with kindergarten up through the 12th grade and very much involved in their activities ... now I'm going to work strictly with adults for the most part and some of the senior adults," he said. "I'm going from one extreme to the other."

But he's a "young 62," he said, thanks to the interaction with all those kids through the years. It's something he definitely will miss, he admits.

"It truly has been a joy," he said. "I tell people all the time, I absolutely love 85 percent of what I do as a principal. That (other) 15 percent is pretty tough and challenging, but everyone in a leadership role is going to have that."

Although his new job isn't one he was actively seeking, he said when Pastor Dann Patrick gave him the opportunity, he took it.

And until the principal position is filled, Sloan said he has no problem stepping back into the familiar role as needed, he said.