Christian Curriculum

Andrew Hay, Executive Director of the Cultural Foundation of Texas Panhandle


What is the best advice you received at the start of your career?

There is nothing more unnecessary than effectively doing what should not be done at all.

How do you keep your balance?

It’s easy to let a job “follow you home” at the end of the day. I tell myself that I have the courage to go home to keep thinking about the day’s events at work. But, once home, the professional care of the day should stay in the vehicle until the next morning. After all, the most important change is the one at home.

What was your wisest investment?

Any time spent with my wife and children; all mental energy spent thinking of my wife and children.

How has your past professional experience made you become a leader?

Much of my past work has been in higher education, here and abroad. I had wonderful times and also times that weren’t as positive as in any job. But I think the universe of letters (and nonprofits in general) is a great melting pot for learning to engage in civil discourse and disagreement while remaining colleagues with diverse people, while serving a common mission. Such lessons accompany me daily.

What’s the best part of your job?

At this precise moment, I am actually a few weeks away from taking my new position with the Cultural Foundation of the Texas Panhandle at West Texas A&M University. But I can already understand that just like my previous job, the staff, board and bosses are the best parts of the job.

How has mentoring made a difference in your professional and private life?

Being a mentee has made a huge difference in my life. I have several professional mentors, a handful of casual mentors (whether they know it or not), and even mentors who have been dead for hundreds of years. Mentoring is a lot like friendship, in a way, and the benefits coincide: mentoring is given freely, it’s a partnership, it’s not jealous, and it’s necessarily exclusive. But mentors have also told me that mentoring (like friendship) is never enough, is never an end in itself. The best mentors and friends point us to something higher and infinitely better.

Which living person do you admire the most and why?

My wife. She is the most talented, patient and loving person I know.

What overused word or phrase makes you cringe?

“Is not it?” Let it be known: I am guilty of having used this sentence and then backing down.

What is your philosophy in your position?

My leadership “philosophy” usually revolves around several touchstones: a strategy is as good as the culture behind it; trust the team; organize the mission; perpetuate the organization; never stop learning or listening.

What quality do you value most in someone you work with?

I have had the privilege of working with and for many talented and brilliant people. I think humility is the best quality that I have observed in colleagues and superiors over the years. Humility allows you to identify and admit your weaknesses and trust others to supplement your weaknesses with their strengths.

What personality trait has helped you the most to be successful?

I will have to defer to others to see if I succeeded or not, at least in a professional sense. But I would say that the long term view is a key ingredient in achieving goals. It seems to help cultivate patience.

What are you doing to relax and escape the real world?

Beyond spending time with my family, I enjoy gardening, climbing / mountaineering in Colorado, exploring the Panhandle, hunting and reading.

What have you learned from your best boss? Your worst?

I don’t think I had the “worst boss”. There have been bosses who exhibit greater or lesser leadership abilities at one point in time. But above all, I learned from my thesis supervisor, who was like a boss during our four years of working relationship. He was interested in what I had to say. He didn’t have to be; he was, after all, a very accomplished scholar. But he listened, and he brought out all that was best in me (as there was) to accomplish the task at hand. And he had faith, not only as a man of God, but in my foolish abilities. I try to imitate these qualities as best I can.

How can Amarillo improve his educational environment?

I have three children (11, 9, 6) and I recognize that education in Amarillo / Canyon is quite varied, both in public and private settings, and presents great opportunities. I would say “improving” compulsory education in this region involves having in-depth conversations about the future of the curriculum and the educational model itself, especially between school boards, teachers, parents and students. I know there are wonderful leaders in each of these parties, and I hope communication is a priority right now.

When it comes to higher education, I think the institutions in this area – WTAMU and AC – have a talented pool of administrators and faculty members. It’s incredibly rare for universities and higher education institutions. “Improving” the educational environment here implies that the people of Panhandle recognize that these institutions present an incredible local opportunity for their students.

The most important tool for your job:

Time, which is a frightening resource. Praying for wisdom is also essential.

Best time management tool:

I have found that keeping a physical calendar (or “journal”) and writing my schedule by hand helps me internalize the rhythm of a day, a week, a month and a year. .

I can not live without:

Relationships: God, family, friends.

What is the most recent thing you read, heard or watched that inspired you and why?

I recently finished reading three books that have inspired me. The first is FJ Turner’s classic essay “The Significance of the Border in American History”: speaking of the cultural diversity that included (and continues to understand) the “American border,” Turner notes, “The border has fostered the formation of a nationality for the American people.

The second book is the recent “Killers of the Flower Moon” by David Grann, which chronicles a plot in the 1920s to assassinate members of the oil-rich nation of Osage and the subsequent birth of the FBI. Given the plot and the investigation, Grann forcefully concludes: is a ruthless judge. He lays bare our tragic blunders and senseless faux pas and exposes our innermost secrets, wielding the power of hindsight like an arrogant sleuth who seems to know the end of the mystery from the get-go.

The third is “That Hideous Strength” by CS Lewis, which is a (Christian) science fiction work and an ancestor of Orwell’s “1984”. It presents all the technocratic and dystopian themes that are common today. Relevant quotes abound: “Isn’t it absolutely essential to keep a fierce left and a fierce right, both on their guard and terrified of each other?” This is how we get things done.

My favorite thing about Amarillo is:

An overused cliché – although true -: “people”. Oddly, I also revel in the apparent geographical isolation of this region, its lack of humidity, its strange beauty, its stubborn attitude, its history and its totally unpredictable weather.

The most unusual job or task you’ve ever had:

Euthanize sick and lame horses. It was a dark affair.


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