Staff Spotlight: Gibson
Gibson has been an incredible addition to our Heritage Academy staff. As headmaster at the primary school and the high school, his leadership and work ethic have really had a positive impact on so many.
Since he was young, Gibson always knew he wanted to work with children. He started out with the goal of becoming a pediatrician so that he could address the physical needs for kids to grow up healthy and strong. As he got older, he began to focus more on the mental needs of kids and turned his sights on becoming a teacher. He became a teacher, and began his work in an affluent school. He worked his way up to the role of headmaster at a school where students were afforded every opportunity and need was not very apparent. He said the students there often lacked drive or appreciation for their opportunities because they didn’t see incentives and took what they had for granted. He reached a certain point at that school that he was ready for a change. He heard a little about Heritage from a friend, and he felt it might offer the change he was seeking. He contacted Davis, and was waiting for him at the school within a matter of days.
Gibson began as a teacher in Class 7 in May 2015. What he found at Heritage was unlike anything he’d experienced before. He had no idea about the population at Heritage before he began, so he was surprised to discover that his students were on the opposite end of the socio-economic ladder from the students he served in his last school. Where the needs of students in his last job were few and far between, the needs of students at Heritage Academy were complex. Even just getting kids to school each day is a struggle. He said there is a great need for patience and love for students who live in poverty since their frame of reference is far different from other children. He knew he needed to show them compassion even though his expectations were high. Heritage “is more of a home—not a school. You are the teacher, yes, but the bigger role is that of a father.” Despite having never been in a position like this before, Gibson jumped, heart-and-soul, into both roles right away.
More differences became apparent between his past students and his current students as he spent more time working with and fostering the students in his classroom. “All children are equal in terms of potential. The difference is the willingness.” And Gibson found more willing students than he’d ever had before. “Kids here have a greater potential to do great because they have greater motivation for the future. They really know what they want in life. They are motivated,” Gibson observed. He brings up the example of Isaiah, a student he saw start at fifth grade with no base or early education. How could a kid so far behind catch up and excel? Drive. Isaiah saw this as a do-or-die situation. It was success or nothing, and he fully devoted himself to success. He saw the opportunity and saw his responsibility, and now he has graduated high school and is studying civil engineering at Kitale National Polytechnic school. He was so happy he cried when Gibson told him he had been accepted and that he had a sponsor so that he could attend. That’s a success story that underscores how important Gibson’s work really is.
The students remain his priority. Sit down to talk with him now, and he’ll always want to talk about the kids. He says he’ll talk about his pupils first, then himself. “I come second,” he says, and he means it. His hope in life is to see these kids become successful, to reach the goals and dreams they have. Gibson says he would love to see these kids be “big” and to see a current student take his job one day.
But don’t think that he’s already considering retirement. “I found my passion, my calling in life. I will stay here as long as my services are needed. It’s a matter of passion.” And passion and compassion is the gift that Gibson gives to each child at Heritage Academy. We are honored and proud to have a man with such devotion and vision at the helm of our school.