news-category: Alumni Celebrating Alumni – Victoria Ahearn, Principal of Gaston Christian School – Shelby Campus By Office of University Communications On September 27, 2023 Alumna Grateful to Education and Psychology Professors who Equipped Her with Skills to Succeed BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—Students are the focus of Gardner-Webb University’s mission. Faculty members seek to engage students with unique, experiential learning opportunities to prepare them for their next steps as GWU alumni. Whether they choose to begin a career or accept the academic challenges of graduate school, they are equipped with knowledge and skills to lead, and inspired to serve and impact their communities. Gardner-Webb celebrates these alumni who are making a positive and lasting difference in the lives of others. Victoria Lee Ahearn, a native of Boiling Springs, N.C., is the principal at Gaston Christian School—Shelby Campus, which is in its second year. The school is for 3-year-olds through fifth-graders and enrollment has doubled since last year. Ahearn graduated from GWU with degrees in elementary education and psychology and is in her 16th year in education. She praises the professors at Gardner-Webb for giving her the foundation she needed to succeed. “I feel like my education adequately prepared me for what I would encounter as a teacher,” she affirmed. “My professors were always available and answered any questions that I had. My education professors at GWU did a great job of exposing me to the various aspects of teaching that can happen outside of general classroom instruction. I had a very diverse group of students my first of year teaching, and I know I would not have been able to be as successful without the wisdom that I gained from the education program at GWU.” She received her master’s degree from Charleston Southern in school administration and supervision. She worked nine years in public school (Cleveland County Schools and Charleston County School District) and five years in virtual charter with the North Carolina Virtual Academy, which included serves as assistant principal. Ahearn attributes the successful first year of Gaston’s Shelby Campus to the generous support of the community and parents. Volunteers have given their time to help in various ways around the campus. “Our number one priority is looking at the child as a whole and loving the many gifts that God has given our students,” she informed. “As their principal, I have been blessed with teachers and staff from a variety of backgrounds including vast public, charter, and private Christian educational experience. They go above and beyond to meet the needs of their students.” She is married to GWU assistant professor of exercise science, Dr. Jonathan Ahearn. They met at Gardner-Webb and have three children: Rylie, Sydney and Christian. Stay connected Gardner-Webb’s faculty and staff are eager to hear about and celebrate alumni news and success. There are three ways to share your story with us: Contact a faculty member. Touch base with Alumni Relations. Submit a class note here. Gardner-Webb University is North Carolina’s recognized leader in private, Christian higher education. A Carnegie-Classified Doctoral/Professional University, GWU is home to nine colleges and schools, more than 80 undergraduate and graduate majors, and a world-class faculty. Located on a beautiful 225-acre campus in Boiling Springs, N.C., Gardner-Webb prepares graduates to impact their chosen professions, equips them with the skills to advance the frontiers of knowledge, and inspires them to make a positive and lasting difference in the lives of others. Ignite your future at Gardner-Webb.edu.