When middle schoolers return to TCS on September 7th, they’ll be sure to regale their teachers with stories of their summer. Getting them to open up each Monday about their weekend may take more coaxing, but that’s just one hope and goal for their new principal Dr. Shalen Bishop.
“I want them to come in on Monday and tell their teachers what they did over the weekend. Tell me what they did over the weekend and be excited they’re going to see their friends.”
Dr. Bishop is up for the task of harnessing that excitement in middle schoolers. One initiative that’s near to his heart – a new leadership elective course that he’s introducing and teaching to 8th graders. The course is one way that Bishop hopes extraverts and introverts alike will realize who they are in Christ and their unique talents and abilities.
“Leadership really starts with a core group of students who are willing to step up their game and know they can really impact the school culture and other students. The leadership course will help students realize they can make a difference within their school, their communities and within themselves.”
Bishop’s career spans more than 12 years in administrative and faculty roles. He most recently joined TCS from The Oliverian School in Pike, New Hampshire where he served as Associate Headmaster.
One thing parents may notice immediately… his youthful appearance.
“I take vitamins but the grey hairs are starting to come in now that I’m working with middle school,” jokes Bishop. “In all seriousness, I knew what I wanted and I went for it and started administration early on in my career. Age has nothing to do with it, it’s the heart behind it.”
The new head of middle school will be putting his heart into this academic year. Heading a middle school is no small task, but it’s a passion for this administrator who sees the joy and innocence in these wonder years.
“I feel like it’s the age where they’re trying to figure out the world. I love their curiosity, I love that they still enjoy school but they also test the boundaries a little bit too. As adults we have to remember that we were there before. They’re figuring themselves out emotionally, socially, spiritually,” explains Bishop. “They’re not in elementary school anymore, they’re about to go into high school and so if we can help them find out who they are in Christ and who they are as a person as well, then we can really prepare them for that high school world but also the real-world.”
His motto: Be in the world but not of it.
As for his world at Timothy, he’s not looking for major changes. For him, it’s seek to understand first.
“I really want to be part of the community first before we shift in possible new directions. I do want to strengthen communication within the middle school and its families. I want parents to really feel like they’re part of the community whether they’re here or not and I want my staff to feel supported.”
Student accountability is also top of mind. Bishop says students want to be held accountable and their teachers want them to be held accountable.
“You can’t have fun unless there is accountability or it will just be chaotic. And if it’s not fun, I’m bored. “
Born and raised in Washington State, Bishop met his wife of 4 years, Bethany, during grad school in California. They’re new parents to 18 month old, Bradley. He’s is a lover of movies, running and Disney theme parks and a self-described “goofy person” who insists he can have a serious conversation.
Be sure to welcome our new leader and you will probably get a mixture of both his humor and passion.