Mr. David Liebing has worn many hats during his many years at Mars Hill Academy, including Rhetoric and Grammar school teacher, facilities manager, volleyball coach, and father of five graduates. He currently teaches sixth grade and serves in the newly-created position of Rhetoric School Dean of Men.
Mr. Liebing's B.S. in Business Administration, background in the business world, and years of teaching experience in church, co-op, and homeschool settings gave him the expertise to manage MHA facilities on a part-time basis in 2008. He also taught seventh-grade Logic that same year. Because of his love for the school and its mission, he eventually left the business sector to join the faculty full time.
Mr. Liebing shares more about his unwavering love for the school's vision for its students.
Q: Why did you decide to become a teacher?
A: I have believed whole-heartedly in the mission of Mars Hill Academy, in what the school is trying to accomplish since the beginning. As the school has grown, keeping focused on our mission is a challenge I want to support.
Q: What do you enjoy most about teaching?
A: I love interacting with the students, especially in Bible, and helping them think of implications of what they know to be true but perhaps never thought about very seriously. We dig deep into Scripture, asking, "What does it really mean?" I love seeing light bulbs come on.
Q: What is your role as Dean of Men?
A: The Dean of Men exists to guide and counsel Rhetoric School men, ideally mentoring and assisting them with biblical solutions to teen-aged issues. I pray regularly with the senior men, semi-regularly with junior men, and have had a number of meetings with students in grades 7-10. As an elementary school teacher, I'm not yet organically connected to the Rhetoric students. We cross paths incidentally, or I may deliberately seek them out, keeping in mind their time commitments. I hope to be more personally involved in their lives as I grow in this position. By definition, this is a long-term initiative — one year is barely a start.
Q: With five graduates (Ben, '04; Anna, '07; Caleb, '09; Faith, '13; and Abby, '16) and your wife, Ellen, a former MHA teacher, how has the school impacted your family?
A: MHA has significantly influenced the Liebing family's worldview. MHA's goal for graduates is to think and speak clearly and precisely in order to communicate our hope in the Gospel. This applies in all areas of life. For example, as a physician's assistant, my son Caleb must communicate with patients and families and has been told by coworkers he is gifted in communicating in this difficult area. Caleb gives all the credit to his education, as it taught him to articulate his thoughts clearly.
Q: What is a favorite MHA memory?
A: My absolute favorite is Scripture memory. Having those Bible passages in my heart — and helping students "hide" them in their hearts — is so valuable. The time spent memorizing and thinking about the verses is precious. Some of my favorite memories as a family involve the commute to school. We recited Scripture together, memorizing each other's passages. Saying it out loud, together, was a great way to learn those verses. We still recite them together often.
Q: What is something most people may not know about you?
A: If I had no responsibilities in life, I would be in the mountains every day. I love to hike, especially unmarked trails where you never know what you'll find. I prefer deserted places – make that high, deserted places! One of my favorite nearby hikes is White Rocks of Cumberland Gap. The view from the top is an incredible panorama of lush green hills and valleys. The memories of those hikes keep me going back for more. I will never get tired of the mountains. (Eldest son, Ben, reports Mr. and Mrs. Liebing have been known to sing John Denver songs loudly – and in harmony — while driving to the mountains.)