Published on December 20, 2019 by Bill Nunnelley  

Christy ChristianChristy Christian has said she was born to teach, but her experience in graduate school education at Samford University helped her broaden the concept of teaching to include administration. 

Christian started her career 19 years ago as a second-grade teacher at Chelsea Elementary and later became a second grade teacher at Brookwood Forest Elementary. She didn’t look for a position in administration nor push toward it, she said. 

But this summer, she was named principal of Crestline Elementary School in Mountain Brook, Alabama.

It was after entering graduate school in Samford’s Beeson School of Education, Christian said, that she “felt empowered” to go beyond the teaching level. “Some administrative traits emerged through the various experiences I found myself in,” she said. 

“Samford has a way of making a student feel like they are contributing to the learning platform,” she said.

Christian said her experience at Samford shaped her beliefs as an educator.

“I believe in strong content knowledge but that must be merged with heavy and relevant application. There’s must be a balance of passion and purpose,” she said. “In the classroom with kids and/or in the building with teachers, feedback, flexibility and reflection are crucial to growth.” 

Christian completed a master’s, education specialist degree and all coursework for the education doctorate degree at Samford. She hopes to finish the dissertation portion one day. She credits such professors as Carol Dean, Ruth Ash, Maurice Persall, Charlotte Freeman, David Little and Jeanie Box with having a positive impact on her studies.

She said it was Box who started her on her trajectory of teaching when she came back to Birmingham after undergraduate school at Converse College in South Carolina. She said Box impacted her as a first-grade student at McElwain Elementary School. “Who knew I would end up at Samford for graduate work and she would be dean of the School of Education?” 

Even though she has three degrees and almost two decades as a teacher, Christian said she has never stopped learning. “I love and crave learning,” she said, and sometimes joins classes “to learn with the kids.”

“No matter where these 19 years have taken me and continue to take me in education,” she said, “I still miss the classroom!  It’s where implementation and manifestation of all explicit and implicit learning takes place.”

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. The Wall Street Journal ranks Samford 1st nationally for student engagement and U.S. News & World Report ranks Samford 66th in the nation for best undergraduate teaching and 104th nationally for best value. Samford enrolls 5,683 students from 47 states and 19 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference, and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.