Private school principalship changes hands

September 13, 2007|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

with photo

with video



Heritage Academy is a school of principals: The new boss is working side-by-side with the man he replaced.

Carl W. Gibbs, who took over at the Christian private school last month, said that talking to his predecessor, Harold Miles, on the job has been "essential."

"I pick his brain pretty frequently," Gibbs said.

Miles has worked at Heritage Academy, west of Hagerstown, for 33 of the last 34 years. The past five years, he was the principal.


He's back in the classroom part time, teaching economics and business math.

Gibbs, 51, comes to Heritage Academy from Charlotte, N.C. His 29-year career in Christian education includes 15 years in Panama City, Fla., and 11 years in Columbus, Ohio.

Gibbs, who grew up in North Tonawanda, N.Y., near Buffalo, said he's glad that his new job moves him closer to the North.

He's living in an apartment in Hagerstown until his family settles in the Greencastle, Pa., area next month.

Miles described his successor as "confident but still cautious."

"I'm not afraid to make mistakes," Gibbs said, "but I try not to."

Miles, 65, a Clear Spring-area native, said he started teaching at Boonsboro Middle School in 1963.

After 5 1/2 years, he went to work for a mission school in Peru, where he stayed for five years.

Miles took a job at Heritage Academy in 1973. Except for another year in Peru, he has been at Heritage ever since.

Besides teacher and principal, Miles has been a coach, vice principal, supervisor for learning disabilities, custodian, transportation director and more.

He said he stuck to his promise to serve five years as principal, glad to give up the stress of administration when it was over.

"I enjoy being in the class," he said, adding that he'll stay as long as he's needed as a teacher.

Outside of school, Miles travels - he's been to all 50 states, plus Canada and Mexico. An ideal life, he said, would be splitting time between Alaska and Hawaii.

Heritage Academy has about 230 students from the Tri-State area in kindergarten through 12th grade.

It's a Christian school unaffiliated with any single church.

"As a private school, you get families that want to be here," Miles said. "They want solid academics, but also the biblical principle."

"We realize that all truth is God's truth," Gibbs said, "which is why the Bible is integral."

All other learning branches from that truth, he said.

Gibbs said Christian schooling is a partnership with parents.

"We try to supplement and enforce Christian values," Miles said.

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