TPCS Welcomes New Headmaster Paul Williams
Writer // Janelle Morrison Photography // Laura Arick
Traders Point Christian Schools welcomed Paul Williams, the new head of school, last month. Williams received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Secondary Education Science from Tennessee Temple University and a Master of Arts degree in Educational Leadership from Georgia State University. Williams served as the head of school for 24 years at Killian Hill Christian School in Georgia and Freedom Christian Academy in North Carolina before joining the TPCS family.
Born in Colorado, 20 miles west of Steamboat Springs, Williams grew up on a cattle ranch. “We did really innovative things with genetic measurements and intentional breeding to produce high meat-producing cattle on low amounts of feed,” Williams shared. “So we did a lot of things that really pushed me towards the subject of science. I liked the science of what we were doing, so I went to college out in Chattanooga, Tennessee, to become a high school science teacher.”
Williams landed his first teaching job as a high school science teacher at a Christian school in Macon, GA.
“I’ve always wanted to be in Christian education for many reasons related to my background and belief system,” he said. “I want to be able to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with people, and I want to be able to teach science from a biblical worldview perspective. I was offered a job in metro Atlanta at Killian Hill Christian School. I had taught the whole gamut of sciences, but I taught chemistry and physics when I got there [Killian Hill].”
Three years later, Williams was offered an assistant administrative role along with teaching as director of student activities and student life. In 1994, he became the head of school at Killian Hill with a student body of 570 and maintained that until 2016.
Williams shared some of his successes as head of school at Killian Hill. “I was able to create a culture in our school where the average teacher stayed with us for 16 years,” Williams stated. “We had a workplace environment that was very positive, engaging and attractive to high-quality teachers.”
After 22 years, Williams was ready for the next chapter of his career and accepted the head of school position at Freedom Christian Academy in Fayetteville, NC.
“It [Freedom Christian Academy] was a young school that had just finished its seventh year at that point and had really rapid growth,” Williams said. “In seven years, they had gone from zero to 570 students. For a private school, that is really rapid.”
When the head of school position became available at TPCS, Williams felt that it was the right time and the right fit for him at this stage of his career. He and his wife, Phyllis, decided to make the move to Indiana. Their four children are grown, making the couple officially “empty nesters.”
“When I saw this opportunity, I thought, ‘This is a really exciting school,’” Williams shared. “What makes it exciting is the project-based learning model in the high school, the new facilities, the growth potential in this community, the church connection and a really strong biblical foundation. I have a great outlook on what can happen next.”
Williams addressed the growing student body and TPCS’ short-term and long-term plans for the impending growth.
“I think, realistically, we can grow another 50 percent without too much trouble,” Williams stated. “We are currently at 720 [on campus]. Here in the high school, we have unfinished space upstairs, and our goal is to be able to finish that out before the fall of 2019-20. We have some internal growth space available without any more footprint of buildings, and there is land space to be able to expand beyond that, should we need it.”
Williams continued, “That first growth spurt can happen at a relatively low cost within the walls that we have here, plus the existing seating space within the academy.”
TPCS’ high school building is just less than 40,000 square feet and has the potential to house up to 300 students.
Adding to the conversation about the academy’s growth, Ryan Gallagher, chief advancement officer at TPCS, spoke about not only the growing enrollment but also some of the contributing factors behind those numbers.
“Last year’s graduating class was at 36, and we are anticipating our largest freshman class that we’ve ever had this next year,” Gallagher said. “We’re in the enrollment and re-enrollment process for next year. We are retaining our 8th to 9th grade at a much higher level. More people are coming to the area. It’s a high growth area, and they want a different option for their children’s education.”
Williams closed the discussion with his thoughts on what he brings to TPCS and what his immediate focus will be as he and his staff prepare for the upcoming 2018-19 school year.
“I bring with me the ability to create a culture where people want to stay, not only students but faculty,” he said. “I want to create a culture and environment where people can have great professional success and feel empowered within this environment. I will look at strengthening the project-based learning, so that the academic program becomes even more rigorous and the outcomes more intentional and strong. We’re not only looking for our kids to become strong academically. We are a school, and that is a huge part of it, but we want them to become contributors and key leaders in their community, not just consumers.”
For more information on TPCS and enrollment, visit tpcs.org.