Dr. Mike Sligh

50 Years of Dedication to the Call

Written by Victoria Bardega

When the word “legacy” comes to mind, oftentimes we think of someone who has deeply affected our lives for the better. This person has plowed and sowed faithfully, and thanks to their impact there is a harvest of good

fruit for years to come through the people they influenced. For nearly three decades Lakeland Christian School has

experienced remarkable transformation under the strong leadership of our head of school, Dr. Mike Sligh, from
the building of our new buildings to the comprehensive development of our educational offerings. While facilities like our football field may be the shiny things that have not always existed, Dr. Sligh notes the “cross-generational impact” is what continues to shine the most.

Having first arrived as a fourth grader to LCS, he vividly remembers his roots as a student, which proved to be only the beginning of his astounding tenure with the Viking family.

“My call to Christian schooling stems from my family’s deep involvement [with our school],” he shares. His father served on the Lakeland Christian School board for many years, in addition to his older brother working in the advancement office. After pursuing education at the University of Florida, Sligh recalls discovering his calling––a true fervor for Christian schooling.

“As a student here, I had teachers who had influenced my life spiritually and academically,” he marvels. This impact from his youth would be the catalyst that led him to join LCS faculty in 1972, as he was motivated by the challenge of learning how to minister as an educator for the Great Commission.

For the last 50 years, our school has reaped so much blessing from the various roles Dr. Sligh––or “Coach Sligh” as some like to refer to him––has fulfilled. Whether serving as our social studies and Bible teacher and athletic director (1973-1988) or our head boys basketball coach (1975-1988) or our Head of School, these roles each played a crucial part in the DNA of LCS.

“Every single one of those roles shaped me,” recalls Dr. Sligh. “I’ve learned more than I’ve taught, and that’s one of the greatest opportunities of serving [LCS].”

In addition to his love for serving our students and their families, the relationships he’s built over the years have
been plentiful. He has not only remained connected to
former classmates, but he has also taught the children and grandchildren of many LCS alumni whom he served during his time with us.

“I’ve never given too much thought into [legacy]. Some people look at all the changes of the campus, and those are wonderful. But they’re tools…to influence people for eternity,” shares Dr. Sligh.

Living with eternity in mind is a concept Dr. Sligh has continuously lived out as a leader, but it also echoes the mission and heart of our school.

“Education in light of God’s Word––this is key to who we are. My prayer is that we never lose sight of that, and I pray we uphold our uncompromising commitment to the truth of Scripture,” he says.

With his time at LCS coming to a close, Dr. Sligh and his wife, Mary, are hopeful and excited for the future as they step into a new season.

“We look foward to seeing our children and grandchildren more often (and) travelling to some places we have looked forward to,” Mary said. “Also seeking the Lord in how we can be involved in the Great Commission, right to the end.”

Dr. and Mrs. Sligh plan to maintain ongoing relationships with LCS alumni and friends of the school to help extend the mission of LCS into the future. They are exploring other options to engage in consulting with those on the front lines of Christian schooling to offer guidance and training for those involved in shaping the next generation.

As for the LCS Family, Dr. Sligh encourages us all to keep pressing on.

“I think of Psalm 16:8 where it says, ‘I have set the LORD always before me, because he is my right hand, I will not be shaken.’ The challenge for any generation will be to keep the Lord in His rightful place to have a high view of God,” he notes.

We’re so thankful to Dr. Sligh and Mary for their years of investment in our students.

Their intentional leadership, academic support and vigor for education will undoubtedly continue to impact the future generations to come.