Alumni Spotlight: Dan Worley

A lot can change in 41 years.   

This academic year alone has accelerated change in surprising ways.  But even before 2020, the world of education was constantly evolving and adapting.  From tweaks to the English language and writing styles, to drill protocols, to technology integration and playground safety rules, school practices are worlds different from what they were in 1978.  Dan Worley witnessed much of that change first-hand in his 41 years in education.

Dan Worley
Dan Worley (’78)

Born and raised in Miami, Florida, Dan Worley had every intention of becoming a lawyer.  He enrolled in Miami-Dade Community College, but during his freshman year God impressed upon him the need to shift gears.  That is when he began searching for a Christian college where he could earn his education degree.

“Most of the Christian college grads I knew came from Bob Jones or Tennessee Temple. But I heard about this new college right here in Florida that was in their second year of operation and I was intrigued.  I ended up transferring in as a junior and finished out my college education in 1978 as the first Education graduate from TBC.”

Back then TBC was located on the McDuff campus. 

Most of the classrooms were on the third floor of the four-floor educational building and the programs offered were much less varied. The primary options were pastoral and education. 

Dan Worley completed his bachelors in the spring of 1978, walking with the second graduating class of TBC. He was the first graduate from the education program and one of the few to complete a student teaching internship out of town.

“I did my student teaching in Miami-Dade, and Dr. Schaefer traveled back and forth a few times to observe me in the classroom.  I can’t imagine the hassle!”  It is understandable why the internship rules changed quite quickly after that!

After completing his student teaching, Dan immediately began looking for an opening in a Christian school. 

“I came back to Jacksonville for graduation that May and applied to teach at Trinity Christian Academy.  I was hired almost immediately and once I settled in, I was happy here and stayed on for 41 years!”

Dan began his career teaching junior high Bible, US History, Government, and Civics.  He also spent a few years teaching high school History before moving into the assistant principal position.   In 1991, Dan became the TCA high school principal.  He remained in this role for 28 years, helping to develop successful academics and enhancements such as dual enrollment, fine arts, and athletic programs.  Each of these programs have impacted the lives of dozens of TCA students in positive ways, helping them to develop skill sets and passions that now benefit many local and international communities.

In the early years of his career, his classrooms were simple: blackboards, chalk, and desks. 

By the time he retired, TCA classrooms were equipped with computers, digital projectors, WiFi, 3-D printers, robotics clubs… the list goes on! 

“When I was first starting out, you were high tech if you had an overhead projector in your classroom!  Most of what we used was blackboards and chalk. When I moved into the principal role, there were two computers for the whole high school!  The academy started a computer lab soon after that with a handful of Tandy 1000s.  Those were the days!”

While not a technology wiz, Dan recognized the need to stay abreast of what was available.  He made efforts to learn how to use technology as it rolled out and became available to the general public. Of course, with each passing year, computers and digital systems became more integral to the management and implementation of education.  These days, it is impossible to imagine running a large school like TCA without the aid of technology!  

In addition to his many years in the classroom and in administration, Dan also was actively involved with TCA athletics.  

A passionate Conquerors fan, he represented TCA to the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA). He also participated in various FHSAA committees from 1991-2019.  

In 2005, Dan began teaching part time for TBC in addition to his role as principal at TCA. 

Since then he has taught a variety of education and psychology courses, including Educational Psychology and Classroom Management.  Last year Dan retired from his role as high school principal. He is now taking on more responsibility as a member of TBC faculty.

Aside from his professional endeavors, Dan has volunteered in youth camps and children’s church ministry for decades. In nearly every area of his life, he has invested his time and skills to help educate, inspire, and encourage the next generation.

In his spare time, Dan Worley loves hiking and spending time outdoors. His favorite place to hike is the Smokey Mountains. 

This past May, Dan Worley accepted the honorary degree, Doctor of Humane Letters.  TBC awarded him this honorary degree in recognition of his many years of dedicated service to education and to the young people who seek to improve themselves through educational programs.

Dan Worley

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