Meet Tim Thompson: Director of Academic Services
June 05, 2012 | Harvesters
By Jesse Newman
In September 2010, the School Affairs Department of the NICS Home Office added a much-needed position, Director of Academic Services, to assist Vice-President, Steve Stark. Tim Thompson was just the man for the job, and Steve says of him, “The addition of Tim has been a tremendous blessing to the School Affairs department. His many years of experience in the field of educational leadership is allowing us to focus more specifically in several areas of field support especially as it relates to academic services, child protection issues, and school emergency preparedness. While these are critical areas of oversight that fall within NICS/OASIS School Affairs, he contributes to the continued development not only of the department, but also the overall vision and mission of the organization. On a personal level, his willingness to come alongside and help in tackling the tough jobs and issues that come with the department's oversight of schools spread across the globe has been a huge answer to my prayers over several years.”
Tim Thompson was born and raised in Burnsville, North Carolina. His wife, Deanna, was born and raised in Elizabethton, Tennessee. They both attended Free Will Baptist Bible College in Nashville, met in 1980, and were married in 1982 (this June they will celebrate their 30th anniversary!). Tim graduated with a BA in Bible with minors in Christian Education and Missions. Deanna graduated with an AA degree in Bible with minors in Missions and Christian Education. Tim also attended Bob Jones University and graduated with an MS degree in Educational Administration. The Thompsons have three children: Erin is married and she and her husband, Jeremy, live in Warner Robbins, GA. Erin and Jeremy have one son, Aiden (1½ years old). Lauren is married, and she and her husband, John David, live in Dallas, TX. Ethan lives at home and will be starting college next school year.
CORE: What are your favorite family activities and hobbies?
TT: Travel would have to be toward the top of this list. We’ve been so blessed to be able to travel to many wonderful places together as a family (24 countries visited together as a family, and 45 countries for Tim!) – and make many wonderful memories! Now that our kids are grown, we love opportunities when we can be together no matter where we are or what we’re doing! We have a family vacation to Hawaii planned for this October and can hardly wait! We both enjoy reading and do that a lot.
CORE: You came to NICS with a great background in Christian education….both in the USA and overseas. Tell us a little about your work and experience.
TT: I served as principal of Glennville Christian Academy, Glennville, GA from 1985-1993. We then moved to North Carolina where I served as school administrator at Trinity Christian School in Greenville from 1993 to 1999. From there, the Lord led our family to Russia to serve at Hinkson Christian Academy (HCA) in Moscow. I was the school director at Hinkson from 1999 – 2007. When our family returned to the USA in 2007, I served as the school director at Omaha Christian Academy in Omaha, NE until we joined NICS in 2010.
DT: I have worked as a medical transcriptionist since 1984, except for a couple of years when I was a legal secretary. During the eight years in Russia, I volunteered at school by working in the library, and even taught a couple of keyboarding classes, but my main focus was taking care of my family. Currently I am employed with Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare in Memphis, and I work at home as a medical transcriptionist (author’s note…she can type over 130 words per minute!).
CORE: RUSSIA! Please talk about your experience in Moscow. What was it like for your family? Tell us about Hinkson Christian Academy, also.
TT: Moving overseas was the most thrilling and terrifying time of our lives – all wrapped up together. In 1999, Moscow was still a bit of the “wild west” and was a HUGE change from living in Greenville, NC. Foods and goods were available - but inconsistently. We traveled around the city solely on public transportation. There were so many new things! We were there from the last of the Yeltsin era through Putin’s first presidency and saw Moscow change from being a third world city into a European capitol city. Today, Moscow is one of the most beautiful cities I have ever seen. We were there during an amazing and exciting time to be in that part of the world. Living in Russia was always a love/hate thing – and sometimes both in the same day! It was challenging every day, but also exciting. I never stood on Red Square that I didn’t pinch myself to be sure I wasn’t dreaming. For the most part, our kids had great experiences – growing up overseas certainly changed their lives forever and for the good. Erin and Lauren both graduated from Hinkson; Ethan finished 9th grade there. HCA has traditionally been an MK school, but slowly more non-MK students are being admitted. The top enrollment when I was there was about 225 students, Kindergarten – grade 12.
CORE: You went to Russian language school as part of your assignment at Hinkson. Can you share some of that experience with us?
TT: We spent the first year in full-time language study. One funny personal story that came from our language study involved some friends coming to visit from the USA. They were bringing 3 big boxes for us from the States (this was right after home assignment). The driver from the school was taking me to pick them up at the airport. I intended to tell him that these friends were bringing 3 big boxes for us and that we needed to drop them off at our apartment on the way back to school. The Russian word for boxes is “karobki” (transliterated). But, I told him that our friends were bringing us 3 big “karovi” – 3 big COWS! He didn’t even bat an eye – but when I realized what I had said I couldn’t stop laughing. I’m sure he must have thought I had lost my mind!
CORE: How did you first hear about NICS? What are your current duties at the Home Office (since you are in a relatively new position), and what aspects of the job do you most enjoy?
TT: We’ve known of NICS since 1998 when we attended ACSI’s PFO in Houghton, NY, and heard things of NICS over the years since then. Prior to my employment here, Joe Hale contacted me about considering a director’s position in one of our schools. God had His hand in conversations and circumstances, and I ended up accepting the position of Director of School Affairs in July of 2010. In my position I’m responsible to work with NICS school directors’ on academic issues (including accreditation), emergency preparedness planning, and other areas. I’m very thankful that God opened this door of service, and that I’m able to be involved in international Christian education once again.
CORE: What would you say is the greatest blessing you received because you served overseas?
TT: I probably have to give two answers here. The first greatest blessing was/is the incredible community of believers that God has allowed us to be a part of. It was a great community where we were a part of each other’s lives – both in the good times and in the hard times. God “grew” us more than we could have ever imagined. The second greatest blessing was/is the privilege of working with some incredible students. I remember so many times (especially during chapels) thinking and feeling that God had blessed me more than anyone on earth (not really true, of course – it’s just how I felt). It’s been so exciting to see how God is using some of those students today!
CORE: What has been the most challenging thing you faced as you served overseas?
TT: Leaving family and friends was so hard when we first moved overseas. Russia was never an easy place to live – lots of everyday challenges like traveling an hour on public transportation (buses & subway) carrying 50 pounds of groceries, and standing for an hour in minus 20 degree temperatures waiting on a bus. Russia is a “dark” place too – both in climate and spiritually. That was hard.
CORE: Any interesting story(ies) and/or event(s) that you would like to share with the readers?
TT: There were so many! One would be the first time we walked onto Red Square – a snowy April evening near midnight. The square was snow-covered with a light snow still falling. With the onion domes of St. Basil’s Cathedral and the towers of the Kremlin all lit up, it was like walking into a fairy tale. A never-to-be-forgotten moment! Another memory would be the time our faculty had gone out of Moscow for that year’s staff retreat. One of the Russian teachers took us on an excursion one afternoon to an old Orthodox church. Someone asked if we could sing. Just as we started singing “Amazing Grace”, a bright ray of sunlight came through the stained-glass windows and lit up a cross on the wall. It was as if God himself came down to join us! Amazing! Many of the best memories are of just every-day moments at school interacting with the students and with co-workers realizing that God was using us to impact the next generation for Christ!
CORE: What advice would you give to administrators/teachers just preparing to go overseas?
TT: “Be sure that you’re sure that you’re called!” When the hard days came (and they DO come), I always knew with absolute certainty that we were in the one place on earth that God wanted our family to be. We could face whatever difficulty the day held because we KNEW that we were in the very center of God’s will for our lives. Know that for sure before you go!
CORE: We are so thankful to have the Thompson family serving at the Home Office, and it has been great to see Tim make a difference at our schools since his first day on the job. The next time you visit the NICS Home Office, drop by Tim Thompson’s office and admire his collection of coffee mugs from around the world -- 184 mugs currently on display -- and twice that many in storage!