07/30/14 — Former teacher back to run Faith Christian

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Former teacher back to run Faith Christian

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on July 30, 2014 1:46 PM

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Micah Conlon

An alumnus and former teacher at Faith Christian Academy has returned to the fold as its administrator.

Micah Conlon, who graduated from the school in 1997 and later taught math and science there for 10 years, said he was drawn to the opportunity at his alma mater.

"I think my heart's been knit to the school here," he said. "I think what made me love this place so much was it was the first school I ever attended (where), one, I was loved, and two, they really wanted me to be whatever God wanted me to be.

"Everybody wants to feel like they have a purpose and I think that was something that was cultivated here."

Conlon, whose father has since retired from the Air Force, spent all four years of high school at Faith. He did his undergraduate studies at Pensacola Christian College and then earned his master's degree in math. He also has an Educational Leadership degree and is currently pursuing his doctorate in curriculum and instruction.

He and wife, Jamie, both taught at Faith before moving to Chesapeake, Va., where Conlon was administrator at Great Bridge Christian Academy for two years. They have three children, ages 4, 8 and 10.

Part of the reason for his return to the area, he says, is his appreciation for the school, its children and their families.

His days of being in the classroom hold fond memories, he says, but moving into the administrative end is a way to "multiply myself."

"I enjoyed it, students enjoyed me. I hope I can instill some of those principles in the teachers to not only impact a class but I can impact a school," he said. "I think the primary reason to change the lectern for the desk, I don't know, I have a heart for teachers.

"My main focus is to help other teachers be able to reach that level."

Teaching is a challenge, he said, whether it be in the public arena or private school.

"Sometimes they just get burnt out. Our culture today is so demanding," he said. "My goal is to be there for them but on the other hand I'm also the advocate for the students and parents.

"I think the main way I can do that is to be out of this office as much as possible. I have got to be in the trenches with the teachers, to help them accomplish the same goal."

Faith Christian, which serves preschool through 12th grade, currently has about 276 students, Conlon said, but anticipates closer to 300 by the time preschool enrollments are tabulated at the start of school Aug. 25. There are also approximately 24 teachers, or a teacher/student ratio of 1 to 15.

"I plan on not doing anything different from how I taught, with how I deal with the teachers," he said of his new role. "It's all about relationships -- expressing my genuine concerns for them, not only professionally but personally."

Other endeavors for the coming year are the transition to e-books for students and adding technology in the classroom.

Conlon also has an eye on improving the school's image.

"I think the perception of the school is not accurate," he said. "We're not just a Christian school. We strive to be a school of excellence.

"Regardless, whether it's academics or athletics, I want the community to understand that our school, I think, it's one of the oldest schools in the area, our goal is to produce young people -- we want to change their hearts and their minds and understand the higher calling, whatever that might be."

One way to do that, he explained, is to provide more opportunities for students in the community, be it at the Soup Kitchen or a food drive, or another way to get them involved in service opportunities.

"I think the best way to change the perception is to let the community see our kids," Conlon said. "They're our greatest asset."