Professor celebrates his 53rd year of being in education, his 51st at Liberty
Everyone has those moments where they may question what they are supposed to do with their life or wonder where God wants them to go. During a late summer night at camp while he was pursuing his undergraduate degree, Harvey Klamm, Ed.D., asked the Lord these questions, and from that conversation, he realized that God wanted him to pursue teaching and coaching. This year marks Klamm’s 53rd year in education and 51st year teaching for Liberty’s education programs.
“(God) told me in my mind that I would be working with young people, but I would not be doing it in a camp ministry, I would be doing it as a teacher and as a coach,” Klamm said.
In a pivotal moment, Klamm changed his major’s emphasis to teaching and later graduated from Cedarville University in 1971. It was not long after graduation that Klamm began teaching at a public middle school for two years.
“God used me there to work with those kids and especially through my coaching experiences,” Klamm said.
He explained that middle school coaches are typically in charge of every sport from basketball, football, to track. After two years at the middle school, Klamm wanted to bring his coaching skills to the high school level, but he was unable to get the position due to the school district’s policy requiring coaches to teach simultaneously in the same building, and because there were no open teaching positions at the time.
Upon a recommendation by his father, who worked at the Liberty Christian Academy (LCA), Klamm applied and was accepted for a coaching position at LCA. He was the first varsity baseball coach at the academy.
“Originally, I coached soccer and junior varsity basketball and varsity baseball,” Klamm said about his time at the academy.
He coached at the school for 16 years before later becoming principal of LCA. Klamm studied at University of Virginia for his administration education while working as principal.
“It was a good process of learning on the job,” Klamm said, while explaining the process of attaining his master’s degree.
Klamm worked as principal of LCA for 12 years before feeling called to pursue a superintendent position for another six years, also at LCA.
“I was really struggling with what I wanted to do when I grew up,” Klamm said. “I had been a teacher, been a coach (and) I had been a school administrator. All of those areas had been very fulfilling, but I believed that the Lord was stirring my heart that we need to do something more.”
Klamm explained that one of his three children was an upcoming artist studying at the University of Arts in Philadelphia. While visiting his daughter’s church, Klamm was inspired by a statement that one of the speakers gave that night. The speaker’s statement was how one of the biggest reasons why missionaries were leaving the field was due to their children’s educational needs. He felt that the education style needed to change at Liberty to “take school to the missionary families” and make it more inclusive for those living all around the globe.
Klamm drew up a proposal for adding distance learning for K-12 students to send to the late Dr. Jerry Falwell Sr. and was appointed as the superintendent of Liberty Online Academy after Dr. Falwell passed away. Klamm had never heard of the online academy before. As it turns out, Dr. Falwell had signed off on Liberty Online Academy only two days before his passing in 2007.
In the fall of that year, the online academy began with 28 students and one primary teacher, who was Klamm. For the first year of the academy, they sent the curriculum to students via boxes of CDs then later switched to an online platform. Originally, the mission was to assist missionary families, and the results were there, with the parents of one of the first seniors able to return to the mission field before graduation because they could take school with them.
The student body of the online academy grew to encompass military kids, pre-Olympians, child actors, missionary kids and home school kids. The school continued to grow over the years and in February 2013, Klamm, who had attained his doctorate in educational leadership at Liberty University in 2012, was able to become a part of the resident faculty in the School of Education at Liberty University.
“I worked with middle school kids, public school, students in grades 7-12 in Christian school, students online, and now I am working on preparing the next generation of teachers and school administrators,” Klamm said.
Back when Klamm was working on his bachelor’s degree and working at a summer camp, he was trying to discern how his career could align with mission work when God had provided him with a new definition of what mission work could look like.
“I thought that (mission work) always had to be defined as full-time work in an international setting, (but) I came to the conclusion that no matter what it was that I did, I could do that to honor God,” Klamm said.
He discovered throughout his teaching career that missionary work is not just limited to the mission field or even just to missionaries. Instead, he discovered everyone has a calling to missions wherever they are planted, because Christ calls them to be the very hands and feet of Jesus, the ultimate form of humble servanthood.
“Having wrestled with the whole concept of God’s call for missions, I finally came to the conclusion that in my life God calls us all to be missionaries,” Klamm said.
Davis is a feature reporter for the Liberty Champion