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Drs. David & Cheryl Gregory: Through Open Doors

David and Cheryl Gregory
Drs. David and Cheryl Gregory

Drs. David and Cheryl Gregory have been at Pensacola Christian College for 32 years, first arriving on campus as freshmen in 1989. Independently, David and Cheryl were drawn to the College for its affordable and reputable education programs. While each assumed they’d attend college and return home to teach, God had other plans.

Currently, David and Cheryl Gregory teach a variety of courses on the graduate and undergraduate levels. Over the years, the Gregorys have traversed a variety of jobs and positions during their time at PCC, offering them more understanding about the ministries they work with and instruct in. “[PCC] was a ministry where I could invest myself,” said Cheryl. “I tell my education students all the time, don’t hop around with ministries. Find one where you can invest yourself and do it.”

After graduating with bachelor’s degrees in 1993, both David and Cheryl began the Graduate Assistant (GA) Program. While they were friends as undergrads, they got to know each other more as GAs. David began teaching history courses early on. “I was teaching history from the start, good old History of Civ. (HI 101), and did that a whole ten years and rolled into full-time faculty, expanding to teaching different classes along the way,” he explained.

Through conversations with Denis McBride, who had taught at Pensacola Christian Academy for some time, David quickly understood the importance of being planted, especially as an educator. “He always talked about that idea of finding where the Lord wants you, planting yourself there, and letting Him call you away,” David said. “Those that have longevity sometimes have the greater opportunities; not just because you’ve been around for a while, but the first-year teacher doesn’t have quite the set of relationships that a ten-year teacher has.”

In her second year as a GA, Cheryl was approached about a teaching position. “I had no idea what I was getting into, but I wanted to get into the classroom,” said Cheryl. “Whenever a door opens, you just walk through it. That’s just how I’ve lived my whole life, and it’s made for some very exciting times.”

Having finished earning their second master’s degrees, David and Cheryl married in 1998. “[That summer,] I signed us up [to serve at] Camp o’ the Pines and Sports Center Day Camp,” David recalled. “That is what really showed me the true heart of this ministry. Not that you couldn’t find it elsewhere, but to live it out day after day, evangelizing the community with the children through camp, seeing that direct ministry more so than I had experienced at that point—this place is pretty cool.”

Taking on Administrative Roles

In 2003, David accepted a role as director of institutional relations, where he worked with undergraduate transfers, graduate admissions, professional licensure, and legislative lobbying. “One of the vice presidents of that time wanted someone to lend a hand. By that point, I’d already had a master’s in administration,” he said. “The opportunity to do administrative things, maybe not as a school administrator, but to work in administration, I thought that would be really nice.”

About that same time, Cheryl accepted the Registrar position. Since then, she’s used her experience to better inform her classes, especially when instructing administrators during summer graduate classes. “The Lord has a sense of humor,” she said. “I didn’t think I’d ever be an administrator. I’m just little Cheryl from Idaho. But God had other plans.”

Since administration was a year-round position, David and Cheryl Gregory weren’t able to serve in the summer camps. At the request of Jeff Redlin, who was youth pastor at the time, they began serving as adult volunteers with the Campus Church Youth. They enjoyed getting to see a different side of the ministry there. “We did that for ten years, and that enriched our lives and hopefully, Lord willing, enriched other’s lives,” said David.

They didn’t plan to earn doctorate’s degrees, but since they had eight degrees between them, it wasn’t surprising when they were asked to consider it. “When Dr. Horton calls you and says, ‘Hey, would you get your doctorate’s degree?’ You say, ‘yeah, we’ll do it,’” Cheryl explained.

“She finished her doctorate before me [in 2016], even though we started at the same time. She hung her diploma right in front of my desk. That was her motivation. ‘I got mine. You didn’t,’” David chuckled, who finished his in 2017. “We’ll never teach everything that we’ve ever learned, but it helps us with what we do get to teach in the classroom.”

Returning to the Classroom

After ten years in administration, David and Cheryl resumed teaching in 2015 and 2014, respectively. Currently, Cheryl teaches a variety of education and English classes on the graduate and undergraduate level, and David switched to teaching graduate and undergraduate education courses rather than history. Of course, sharing classes in the education department offers unique situations.

Mr. Gregory teaching a class.

“A lot of times when multiple teachers teach the same class, they have coordination meetings. We both teach Educational Psychology (ED 322), and we’re the only teachers for that. We always joke that our coordination meeting is whenever we want it,” David explained. “We so much enjoy doing what we did together, even though we would still be at the same place. That’s kind of why we both went into administration, and both came out of administration about the same time.”

David enjoys the newness of each semester, meeting new students and encouraging them to reach their potential. “Nothing good generally comes without effort. Pretty much all the good stuff comes with hard work, and sometimes we don’t know what we are capable of only because we’ve never done it before,” he said. “I’m sure that parenting is very similar, cheering on a son or daughter, but cheering on our students—just put a little extra effort in, break through, and then they look back and say, ‘Oh, that was easy.’”

Mrs. Gregory teaching a class.

Throughout the semester, Cheryl checks in with her students and offers a space to discuss class concepts and offer encouragement. “If I notice a student has been struggling and does well on a quiz, I’ll pull them aside and say something,” she explained. “Even my A students: they’ll walk in the class, and I’ll say, ‘Hey, John, good job on that test,’ so that they know that I know.”

Since first arriving at PCC, David and Cheryl Gregorys’ experiences have allowed them to grasp the different lives their students and administrators lead. With that built-up understanding, they continue to invest in the ministry and their classrooms. “I just look at it as an open door,” said Cheryl. “I stayed for the grad program and that was just a whim my junior year that summer. I never said that I’m going to be getting my doctorate and teach on a college level. I never thought about that until that opportunity came when I was in graduate school.”

“I get paid to do this,” David said. “When we’re doing what we enjoy, doing what God has called us to, it’s not a job. It’s a ministry. And that in and of itself is cool. It’s part of the tangible and intangible, of working alongside men and women who are called as well. We’re all working toward a common goal—equipping students so that they can fulfill their call. I’ve never really left, but I’ve always felt this is where the Lord wants me.”

Read more about how God is directing and working through PCC faculty and alumni.