John Fahey

Dr. John Fahey, Ed.D. was our guest speaker this past Tuesday morning. Dr. John started off college with a major in Russian language as an undergrad. A skill set he use to help our government during the old Cold War days. Dr. John’s real passion though became education and helping kids learn. After teaching 8th grade science, he knew education was his future. He taught many grade levels and courses in the next few years. At the same time, however, he was continuing his education obtaining a Masters degree then a few years later the Doctor of Education.

As he became more experienced in the classroom, he realized that he had a knack for school leadership and thus applied for and became principal of his school. Over the years he moved from school system to school system first as a principal and then, later as a superintendent in both Virginia and North Carolina school systems. While his daughter was a student at James Madison University he took on an instructor role there so the family could remain close.

Dr. John developed a list of what he consider five basic human needs from his long involvement in education: a physiological need to satisfy nutrition and comfort; a power need to do what you are capable of doing; a love need to love one another; a freedom need to what you want; and a fun need well to have fun in life. Whenever he counseled his students he would always keep these needs in mind. As a principal and superintendent he would be sure all the kids had enough to eat in the cafeteria. Students that became problem kids for teachers in the classroom would be sent to his office. He would figure out how to help the kid by figuring out what need or needs the kid was lacking in self-confidence. Even kids he suspended were welcomed back to school with a clean slate in his mind.

Now, Dr. John did brag a bit about the high school basketball team in Staunton, VA where he was superintendent. But hey with 85 straight wins and three state division championships who wouldn’t brag. The b-ball team was the most popular out of class thing for both students and parents. Often times at away games Staunton had more supporters than the local team.

Dr. John is a multi-talented person, so he had to show some of his magic talent with a device that could defy gravity. The gravity defying device consisted of a metal ring with 5-6 beads. Once the beads were spinning, Dr. John could keep them spinning indefinitely! He even made the machine disappear by ‘turning his back’ to the audience. To show that others could also operate a gravity defying machine, Dr. John invited our fellow Kiwanian, Roger Morton up front to continue ‘operation’ of the machine since it does wear one a bit when you are controlling a gravity defying machine. Roger, however, had trouble handling the machine as it really is not as simple as Dr. John implied to his audience. Eventually, Roger got the hang of it, but didn’t attempt the ‘make it disappear’ act!

From time to time throughout his presentation, Dr. John would mention his hobby of jewelry making. He brought along some displays of his work in sterling silver that resemble various animals from sea creatures to mountain animals and that can be pinned to one’s collar or coat. He is also ‘Sargent at Arms’ for the Topsail Longboard Association, a youth group that Cory Sydes started and has talked to our club about in the past. From his connections with surf board makers, Dr. John expanded his jewelry hobby into surf board resin and the fascinating layering of colors you can achieve with the left over resin from surf board making.

The club was appreciative of Dr. John and his message, so he got several questions from the audience that he was able to answer and extend his message.