Arts & Sciences

Seek to Invest: James Byrd

Molly Grace WatkinsNews

Seek to Invest: James Byrd

James Byrd 
High School Guidance Counselor
Curriculum Director
Varsity Coach
Sherwood Christian Academy
Bachelor of Arts in History ’10
Bachelor of Arts in Political Science ’10

I wanted a career where I felt I could make a difference for God’s kingdom. I was searching for what the Lord would have me do to invest in others and find meaningful Kingdom work. I began my career in education by teaching students in a Christian environment about how God orchestrated history to reveal His truths. I was given the opportunity to invest and share my passion with others and do it in a way that goes far beyond imparting academic knowledge and facts.
-James Byrd ’10

At the University of Mobile, James Byrd not only learned academically; he also grew as an individual. He attributes that growth to the fact that, at UM, his professors knew him and were invested in his future. Today, this UM graduate pursues his own passion for investing in others through his calling as an educator, guidance counselor and coach.

“I can’t begin to recognize and thank every professor I had that poured into me, but it was those kinds of personal investments that meant so much to me!” Byrd says.

Byrd’s professors challenged him to think for himself through a Biblical worldview. By the time he graduated with bachelor’s degrees in history and political science from the College of Arts & Sciences, Byrd says he was equipped for life. 

As a high school guidance counselor at Sherwood Christian Academy in Albany, Georgia, Byrd says the best part of his job is being able to sit down one-on-one with seniors and give them a place to share their hearts and pray through their next steps in life. He enjoys partnering with students and parents in helping them find God’s purpose for their lives.

Q. What have you been up to since leaving UM? 

A. After leaving the University of Mobile, I pursued a career as a high school history teacher and coach at Sherwood Christian Academy, a private Christian school in Albany, Georgia. I have spent the past 10 years teaching high school history courses, and I have also coached several varsity sports and various clubs while also earning a master’s degree in secondary education. I have been blessed to be the coach of six state championship teams at Sherwood Christian Academy. In my time as an AP U.S. History teacher, I averaged above an 85% pass rate on the College Board AP U.S. History Exam. I was also selected as the STAR Teacher for our school in consecutive years in 2021 and 2022. In May of 2022, I accepted the position of high school guidance counselor here at Sherwood in addition to maintaining the role of curriculum director and my current coaching responsibilities.

Q. What inspired you to be an educator and coach?

A. I have always had a great love for history. That love was certainly further fostered at the University of Mobile where I had an amazing experience with incredible professors. Dr. Lonnie Burnett, now president of UM, was my academic advisor, and I made sure to take every Dr. B class that I could register for! I knew every one of my professors and they all knew me! It was those kinds of relationships that made me want to pursue a calling that would also allow me to invest in the next generation.

Q. What are some of the most important things you gained from your UM experience? 

A. I was challenged to think for myself in a way that many don’t often do. My professors at UM immediately challenged me to take what they had presented and to synthesize my own conclusions. But where UM truly distinguishes itself from any other university is that the faculty at Mobile would teach us to frame our thinking from a biblical worldview. To find Truth and to defend it. I think it is so important for students to be equipped on the collegiate level for life – and what better place to do that than an amazing Christian university with a faculty and staff that love and support you?

Q. What advice would you give to prospective UM students?

A. There are many things that I would encourage students at UM to do, the first being to find a local church to plug in to, and once you do – be fully committed to it! Go find peers in your major/department both in your class but also ahead of you to learn from. But I would be sure to say to current and prospective students at UM: Go spend time with your professors – especially the ones in your major!