Getting Personal: Michael Chitty

Getting Personal: Michael Chitty

Each week, we offer a Q&A with a local personality. Today, Michael Chitty, the superintendent at Judah Christian School, chats with staff writer Paul Wood. He goes to church in Mahomet, has been a coach and archery is among his many hobbies.

What interests you the most right now?

Growing in my relationships with the Lord and others; growing Judah Christian School.

You have 25 years of experience in Christian education and have served as school administrator, teacher, coach, athletic director and principal at all levels from elementary through high school. Was one of those roles your favorite?

My current role as superintendent since it is a culmination of all my other experiences/positions. I truly believe that God has called me to serve in this current capacity.

What do you think is the advantage of a faith-based school relative to a secular one?

Being able to speak freely of our faith in Jesus Christ and seeing how God’s truth permeates all learning and all things. We believe that an acknowledgement of God is the beginning of all learning (Proverbs 1:7).

Where are you from originally?

Born in Nashville, Ill., and raised in Salem (two hours south of C-U).

What influenced you to become a Christian?

I was brought up in a Christian home and recognized at the age of 8 that I was a sinner and needed a savior. God sent his son to make payment for my sin — it is the most wonderful gift in human history.

What made you decide to go to Texas for your undergraduate degree? Wide open spaces?

I received a full basketball scholarship to then NCAA Division I Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene.

Then you moved on to Illinois schools. Did you get your master of science degree from Illinois State University and a master of arts degree in education from the University of Illinois while working at Judah? How did you find the time?

I came back to Illinois in 1992 to pursue a master of science degree from Illinois State University in criminal justice — I had plans of going on to the FBI. While in graduate school, I was able to coach/teach part-time at a Christian school in Normal. I fell in love with teaching/coaching and began to purse education full-time. I received my master of arts in education from the University of Illinois-Springfield (online) in 2010 while working in Ohio.

Tell us about your wife and how you met.

My wife, Shelley, and I met at Hardin-Simmons University while in college. She was on a volleyball scholarship, and I was on a basketball scholarship. We met and first talked in between practices in the gym … love at first sight.

You have five children. Hannah, Ethan and Logan have all graduated from Judah Christian, and Cade and Luke are current students. What’s it like to run into them in the halls?

It’s a true blessing to be able to work at the same place that your children go to school. They think it is pretty cool, too — at least up through elementary school.

Tell us how you got into archery and bow hunting.

I was brought up in a hunting family. It is all I have ever known. My passion for archery really sparked about 15 years ago. Plus, raising five children, including four big boys, has produced some significant grocery bills — the extra meat from the hunts has truly allowed us to survive.

You’re a fan of the Fighting Illini and St. Louis Cardinals. Do you get many chances to get to their games?

I get to as many games as possible. I am passionate about the Illini and Cardinals. I am especially interested in checking out the Illini men’s basketball team this year. Coach Underwood was a graduate assistant for me when I was at Hardin-Simmons University many years ago.

You enjoy cooking. Is that a family tradition?

The family tradition is that we enjoy eating — enjoying cooking is pretty easy.

What do you like to cook, and what does your family like to eat?

I love to create new dishes, sometimes with whatever is in the fridge. I think grilling and tacos may be the family’s all-time favorites.

What have you learned from your interest in genealogy?

I have learned that there are both wonderful and tragic stories that make up all of our pasts. Those stories/people are instrumental in shaping who we have become.

What’s something almost nobody knows about you?

My uncle, Scotty Bowman, is the winningest coach in National Hockey League history.

Where on Earth are you dying to go? Why?

I would love to go to Gettysburg and the sights of the Revolutionary War – I am a real history fan.

Tell me about your favorite pet.

Our current yellow Lab, Maggie — nothing but love and energy.

What’s your favorite sports team?

St. Louis Cardinals.

What would you order for your last meal?

Steak and lobster.

Which historical figure do you admire the most?

Jesus Christ and Abraham Lincoln.

What’s your best piece of advice?

All that will matter 100 years from now is what you have done with God and his people.

What was your first job and how much did you make an hour?

Pizza Man cook — $3.35 an hour.

Do you have any regrets in your life? What are they?

Too many to mention.

How do you handle a stressful situation?

Seek the Lord’s counsel.

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