Dr. Niblett joins Concordia

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 7, 2004

Dr. John Niblett, founding headmaster of Central Christian Academy, has joined the staff of Concordia College as associate dean of development and coach of the male and female basketball teams.

The appointment was effective July 1. Niblett announced his decision to the Central Christian Academy board on June 13.

Dr. Julius Jenkins, Concordia’s president, said that the discussion began at the first gathering of the Men’s Conference held earlier this year on the Concordia campus.

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“We were sitting by each other on that Thursday night during the family worship service,” he said. “I talked about the plans here (at Concordia) and especially the athletic department, and heard about his (Niblett’s) interest and experience in athletics.”

“The conversations continued,” Jenkins said, “and we determined that he would be an asset to our staff, and he saw it as a challenge to be here to help us develop the institution. It was a nice connection.”

Niblett, who grew up in the Birmingham area and who has been in education for 35-and-a-half years, came to Meadowview Christian School in the 1970s, left to take another position and returned to Meadowview in the same capacity in 1995.

In 1998 Niblett founded a new school, Central Christian Academy.

“A handful of us got lots of credit (for starting the school),” Niblett said, “but it was God’s plan that a school would be established there. And it is God’s will for me to be here at Concordia.”

“Dr. Jenkins has a great vision. It is a privilege and a blessing for him to give me an opportunity to be a part of a special team to fulfill the vision,” he said.

Niblett said that he was looking forward to recruiting for the school, one of the responsibilities of his position. “I enjoy visiting prospective students and their families…I’m ecstatic to be here….I believe in hard work and dedication and so does everyone here. We’re going to be a success. We have an environment that is conducive not only to good learning but to good living. The various facets of this school’s programs are very well structured. That’s positive, because all young people need direction in order to fulfill their potential and to be committed.”

Niblett has always been associated with Christian schools and finds that appealing about Concordia.

Speaking of teaching and coaching, he said, “They are a calling, not a profession, not a job. If you don’t have compassion and display the love God has given us – that’s the bottom line.”

Concordia is involved in a multiyear program of expansion, including facilities, faculty, staff and student enrollment, with the goal of a 1,000-member student body by the fall of 2005, according to Jenkins, who will begin his 25th year as president on Aug. 1 and his 33rd year on the staff of the college. He also spent four years as a student on the campus.

Jenkins said he is enthusiastic about several staff members added this summer, including Niblett, who together are going to provide the school with the talent to expand in all areas of the college’s mission in future years.

A $12 million campaign – “Expanding the Circle” – will be launched in January 2005, he said.

The purpose of the campaign is to increase scholarships, construct a dormitory and a classroom/administrative building, to continue purchasing lots in the neighborhood for future expansion of the campus, and to increase the college’s endowment.

Niblett will join Jenkins, Dr. McNair Ramsey, dean of development, and Major Madison, associate dean of development as a second associate dean of development. A spokesperson at Central Christian Academy said that the school expects to name a new headmaster soon.