John Nelson

Head of School

Administrator / Faculty

  • M.A. University of South Dakota
  • B.S. Tennessee Temple College

In addition to the influence of the grace and truth of Jesus Christ and holy scripture, the modeling, thinking, and writing of others under a variety of topics has shaped me as a person and an educator. My professional interests over the course of 40 years have included Christian apologetics, educational facilities design, servant leadership, human motivation, the concept of flow, leadership theory, psychomotor learning and development, biblical worldview integration, organizational management, and, more recently, the principles of governing boards.

I am called as an educator not only because I enjoy having a part in others’ learning but also because I enjoy young people. In my most lucid moments, I acknowledge Christ’s command to make disciples as the core of my existence. One of the central challenges of discipleship, for me, is whether I am allowing those I mentor adequate space to imagine, to make the leap from my words to their experience, thereby facilitating growth.

More recently, especially over the past 15 years, I have been challenged to be a reflective leader by practicing what Robert K. Greenleaf termed “the art of withdrawal” – the occasional systematic neglect of duty that allows needed time and space for separating the more important from the less important.

Finally, I am challenged to demonstrate and otherwise encourage a growth mindset by accepting persons, building a team by lifting people up to grow taller than they otherwise would be. This involves attentiveness and mindfulness to the rhythms of leadership – the intuitive insight gleaned from the indefinite past, the present moment, and the indefinite future, described by the simultaneous roles of historian, analyst, and prophet.

I invite your specific prayer for Houghton Academy’s faculty and staff, leadership team, and governing board to continue to establish a shared vision – grounded in the past, aware of the present, adapting to the future.

The Vision Statement of Houghton Academy

Houghton Academy prepares students to live authentically, learn deeply, lead globally, and love boldly for the glory of God.

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