Getting To Know Our Community- Michael Kirkland

Published 9:00 am Friday, January 26, 2024

The Post-Searchlight is starting a new weekly column called Getting to Know Our Community. Each week, we will profile one person in our community, and hopefully, each reader will learn something about their community members and what makes our community so special. This week, we will get to know Michael Kirkland.

My name is Michael Kirkland and I currently serve as the Executive Director of the ABAC Bainbridge campus. My career in higher education started in 1998 at a small private college, but all I really wanted, like a kid wanting to play for the Braves, was to be at Bainbridge College. Many people both inspired and influenced me on this campus. They were passionate about their work and impacted generations of students. And so I consider myself extremely blessed to have been here now for over two decades, continuing the best I can the rich tradition started by giants such as Dr. Edward Mobley. The evolution of the campus over that time has witnessed growth, decline, and consolidation. But whether it’s Bainbridge College, Bainbridge State College, or ABAC Bainbridge, there are still students to serve.

As an educator, any profile about me must include the educators that inspired me. I am very proud to be a product of both the local high school and the local college. Mr. Tommie Howell was and still is a great encouragement. I especially enjoyed great teachers like Mr. Howell, Mrs. Beverly Pollock, Mrs. Sharon Smart, and Mrs. Virginia Bennett. At Bainbridge College, I had great professors and mentors such as Dr. Jim Young, Dr. Barbara Frieling, and Dr. Margaret Smith. Perhaps one of the most important people in my life at that time was Ernie Jones, the Dean of Students, who passed away on my wedding day. As we were leaving the church, my first question to my wife was, “Did you see Ernie?” It’s being that type of influence that I aspire to.

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Much of my professional time is consumed by teaching and by the administrative functions of college life. One of my other hats, though, includes being on the Seminole County Board of Education. It’s very rewarding. My wife, Katina, for the twenty-sixth time is a second grade teacher. We have three great children. Gracen is a senior biology major at ABAC. Landon will graduate this year and will start flight school in the fall. Firecracker Anna Kate is a freshman at Seminole County. We have chased them all over Georgia, watching them cheer or play golf, tennis, basketball, or softball. We are also members of Iron City Baptist Church.

A full calendar which includes work, school board, church, and family doesn’t leave much time for hobbies, but my version of hunting or fishing at the moment is spending time with five dogs. We have four labrador retrievers and one golden retriever. The whole family is involved with their care. They’re intelligent and beautiful and we just enjoy their friendship, love, and loyalty. Life is filled with much joy and satisfaction and, as you can see, I’m blessed!