Dr. Jim Christman is no stranger to the ever-changing education profession. When he started with the College of Education at Lipscomb in 2011, he had 20 years of experience as an adjunct professor at a local university. Prior to that he had been a teacher, principal and education specialist for the state of Tennessee.
Christman is currently working as an assistant professor in the graduate Educational Leadership program. More recently, he has been tirelessly working to help get the Ayers Leadership Fellows program started. The Ayers Leadership Fellows program will provide scholarships to aspiring principals along with a more intense selection process with a mentoring relationship in the field.
The program, designed to specifically appeal to those who have a desire to be a school principal, is somethingChristman strongly believes is necessary for the future of education. He says he enjoys helping teachers move into school leadership positions.
“The recent redesign of the Educational Leadership program is set up to assess the most important competencies a new leader should have and to be more hands-on and personal than any other program out there. The direct mentor relationship in the program gives students the chance to have weekly face-to-face meetings with the principals they work with and insight into what the job is really like.”
Christman’s previous work in state government and the central office gives him a unique perspective when guiding his students.
“It’s important for school leaders to work with politicians and those making the policies and procedures for education to help understand each other and work together.”
Christman actively demonstrates helping his students develop those vital understanding and unity skills. He is known around campus for the relationships he has with all of his students.
“My job is to help them in any way, whether that be personal issues, praying with them, giving them counsel on what courses they should take, even how to get a job. They know my door is always open.”
Christman believes a good school leader is constantly upgrading and learning new methods to become a more effective teacher and school leader.
“I like to make my sure my students are engaged and that we have solid content to work from that will bring ideas out to help them become effective leaders in their schools. Keeping up with the new technology that’s available and sharing ideas that brings new curriculum to their specific school needs is important. School leaders always need to be looking forward.”
Lipscomb’s spiritual component in education and the genuine care for the people who are here is one of the biggest reasons Christman says he loves his work here so much.
“There’s a deeper care here and people have the heart to get the job done and do it well,” said Christman. “People are not just a test score or a program. We have to keep a focus on why we help people.”
Outside of his work at Lipscomb, Christman enjoys teaching a Sunday School class at his church, mission work in east Tennessee and spending time with his 3 grandchildren.