From Asbury to Harvard, and around the U.S. in between
January 31, 2023
At first, A.J. Stich ’06 thought he wanted to use his degree to enter the world of film and TV production in Los Angeles. But it wasn’t long before God called him to a new place.
“I realized that Los Angeles was not what I wanted, because it didn’t connect to my calling and purpose,” he said.
As an Asbury media communication graduate, Stich shifted his aspirations from California to Taiwan, teaching English as a second language for seven months. His journey didn’t end there, as he worked in education in Memphis City Schools with Teach for America, teaching in Charlotte, serving as a principal intern in Boston, and spending eight years in Chicago Public Schools where he worked his way up to a principal level.
Ultimately, Stich landed at Harvard University earning his Master of Education degree in School Leadership.
In fall of 2020, Stich joined the launch of the Greater Dayton School, a PreK-8th Grade private school for under-resourced students from the Dayton, Ohio, area. As founding principal for “Ohio’s first private non-religious elementary school exclusively dedicated to under-resourced students,” Stich oversees curriculum development, operations planning, and teacher recruitment and hiring. Construction for the new building is scheduled to finish this summer.
“Our students receive a world-class education, including wrap around services (e.g. medical, dental, mental health) in our in-house clinic, and once-in-a-lifetime curriculum experiences,” Stich said. “The Connor Group’s non-profit division funds nearly full scholarships for students.”
Stich reflects on the harsh realities for many students around the world.
“The mission field is right in our backyard,” Stich said. “There are children born into circumstances without access to excellent teachers, enrichment opportunities, and summer programming. There is so much poverty in America, which becomes a great opportunity for Christian educators to make a difference.”
Stich shares about his undergraduate years at Asbury.
“In her psychology of religion class, Dr. Gay Holcomb showed me that people who extend their faith and their moral compass often place themselves in situations outside their cultures, which struck me as something important that I wanted to do,” Stich said.
“I remember in countless chapels, where people in the mission field would say that the value of your education is not merely in your field of study,” Stich continued. “But it’s the moral compass that you develop which impacts your character for the rest of your life. Asbury prepared me to be a teacher and principal.”
Stich offers encouragement to Asbury undergraduate seniors entering the job market.
“There is no shortage of need for people who do the right thing and want to serve others,” Stich said. “You’re going to have so many good opportunities presented to you. Great attitude matters, and you get to impact people’s lives.”
Asbury University offers more than 130 areas of study ranging from media communication to teaching English as a second language. Learn more about these customizable majors: https://www.asbury.edu/academics/majors/.