Moving on up: LCS welcomes new headmaster, upper school principal

Published 7:21 pm Friday, August 3, 2018

Editor’s Note: This is the third part of a series of stories featuring new principals in Troup County.

With former Lafayette Christian School headmaster John Cipolla transitioning to school superintendent, upper school principal Rene Gomez is stepping into his place as headmaster. Upper school history and Bible teacher Vikki Stringham is taking Gomez’s place as the upper school principal. 

Gomez now oversees all of the school’s programs, from the Early Learning Center to the upper school. Gomez said the school’s management is in great shape and will still focus on serving the community with a Christian education.

“As the high school principal, I was primarily concentrating on that area, where now my role has expanded to all of the areas, from the little guys in the early learning center to the senior class that’s leaving,” Gomez said. “I wholeheartedly believe in Christian education and believe we can serve our community in the different areas and different programs that we offer, making an emphasis on relationships with the community while serving our parents, serving our students here.”

Stringham has taught history and Bible classes at LCS for 13 years. She said this year, the upper school will have a new curriculum for science and math classes and plans have been made to improve on what Gomez had in place.

Stringham said her favorite part of education is shaping students’ lives and helping them prepare for their futures.

“I’m looking forward to wrapping my mind around the curriculum as a whole,” Stringham said. “I’m very familiar with what we do in the Bible department and in the history department because I’ve taught there. But, I’m looking forward to seeing what our teachers are doing in the upper school areas of science and math and English, just to have a big picture of all that Lafayette can offer our middle and high school students.”

Gomez said he started working in education in 1992 as a coach and part-time athletic director at a school in Miami, Florida. Gomez and his wife Debra moved to LaGrange in 1999, at which point he coached volleyball and basketball at West Georgia Christian Academy.

Gomez joined LCS in 2004 as a coach, physical education teacher and athletic director. In 2011, he became the upper school’s principal.

Gomez said coaching is one of his greatest passions.

“I love to invest in kids and then use athletics as a platform to invest in them spiritually because there’s a lot of life lessons you can learn through athletics that build character and glorify God,” Gomez said. “It’s been a great experience to have the input in their lives and then to maintain those relationships even after graduation.”

Gomez said his favorite part of education is seeing students get excited about learning.

“When [students] smile, when they light up and they’re learning something, it just brings a joy and an affirmation that this my calling,” Gomez said. “This is what I am here to do.”

Both Gomez and Stringham enjoy being with their families outside of school. Gomez has three children, Clarissa, Jonathan and Daniel. Stringham is married to her husband Kevin and has two daughters, Kate and Emily.