The school calendar, with its beginning and ending, marks milestones in almost everyone’s life. Gary Herring has been a key figure in those milestones for a few thousand families who have watched their children come through the ranks at First Presbyterian Day School in Jackson. This particular year-end holds special meaning, his very own milestone, as he closes a 31-year chapter as Head of School.
It is rare these days to spend an entire career in one organization within the four walls of a single institution. Gary certainly had no intention of doing so when he accepted the job in 1987. He was, after all, the son of two educators, and he was not that person who would follow in those parental footsteps—except that he was and he did! What he could not have seen in the beginning is that this was not a job, but rather, a calling. He would fall in love with the people whose lives intersected his in this common mission that did so much more than educate young minds. The goal of Christian education involves a foundation upon which lives are built and the future is shaped.
It did not take him long to realize that the stakes were higher than skinned knees and lost lunchboxes. He has watched an entire generation grow up right before his eyes. The parents who walk through the heavy double doors of the Day School on “Meet the Teacher Day” now were once the little bitty students who sat at the tiny desks in the first-grade classrooms in Gary’s first years there. It is one of his great joys to greet them and to hear from them that they have chosen First Pres for the very same reasons their parents chose it for them.
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