Dean of Students, Victory Trade School
Kyle Kearbey manages to perfectly hold the balance between doing excellent work (practically speaking) and remaining focused on the big picture. Even before he became the Dean of Students at Victory Trade School (VTS), he was successfully managing this balance. He started out as a volunteer at Victory Trade School while finishing his degree. “I needed an internship in behavioral sciences,” Kearbey says. “I knew I didn’t want an internship that I wasn’t going to use in the future. I knew what the school was about and got to use it as my internship.”
Kearbey employs the same balancing act in his role today working with men at VTS, the majority of whom come from a recovery background and who are learning a trade in the culinary field while operating the Cook’s Kettle restaurant. “Primarily we’re a culinary arts school and GED prep program, but that’s not all of it,” Kearbey says. “Seeing the men in the school change in the period of time they’re there, seeing them mature and grow, even the quality of their work mature and grow in the culinary arts is what excites me.”
A 94 percent placement rate for graduates means that Kearbey is both changing lives and preparing graduates to keep it going long after the program.—J.H.
417 Magazine: What projects do you have on the horizon at your job that you’re excited about?
Kyle Kearbey: Recruiting for the school, I enjoy telling people, specifically prospective students, about VTS. I look forward to taking more recruiting trips and building up the student population; we already have some outstanding students from all over the nation.
417: How did you end up at your current job/profession?
K. K.: I was volunteering at Victory Trade School with Jackson Hunt, a 2011 20 under 30, and it was then I learned what the school was all about. I fell in love with the place. I ended up becoming good friends with Jackson and also another employee, Kris Wheeler who was the Department Chair of PREP. Sometime later, Kris decided to make a career change and he recommended me for his position. I came in and interviewed with VTS President Victoria Queen and she graciously invited me to take part in VTS. I served as Department Chair of Biblical Studies for nearly a year and a half when I accepted the Dean of Students position at the school.
417: Where do you find passion to do what you do?
K.K.: In and of myself I don’t think I really have the motivation or the drive to do what I do, but I believe whole heartedly that the gospel has changed me drastically and this gives me a passion to do what I do.
417: Are you single/married, and do you have any kids?
K.K.: I have been married to my gorgeous wife Katie for three years, a couple months into marriage we found out that she was pregnant and now our sweet little girl Elaina is 2 years old. She just turned 2 in February.
417: What are your hobbies (when you’re not working)?
K.K.: Reading, studying, ping pong, watching movies!
417: Are you involved in any charitable organizations?
K.K.: I currently serve as a bi-vocational Youth Director, so this takes up most of my time outside of family and VTS.
417: How would you define the secret to success?
K.K.: Honestly, I think it is a matter of working hard, upholding your character, and doing what God wants you to be doing in your life.
417: What’s your favorite thing about your career?
K.K.: To see students change throughout their time at the school. Lunchtime with co-workers is a close second!
417: What’s your favorite thing about working in 417-land?
K.K.: Being so close to the majority of my family members!
417: If you could go back and give the high school version of yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?
K.K.: Take advantage of all that free knowledge!
417: What was your “dream job” at age 5?
K.K.: Probably to be a full-time ninja.
417: List three traits that define a successful career:
K.K.: Character, commitment, satisfaction.
417: Why are you a 20 under 30?
K.K.: I would say because of the people God has graciously placed around me, my friends, family and co-workers.
417: What completed project are you most proud of?
K.K.: I am the most proud of the work I did in the Biblical Studies/Discipleship program at VTS. I was able to research, develop and implement a lot of great curricula that I believe really benefited the students academically and spiritually.
Fill in the following blanks with five words or less:
417: _____ makes life worth living.
417: A day at work wouldn’t be complete without _____
K.K.: Dave Myers laughing at lunch
417: Ten years from now, I hope I’m _____
K.K.: proud of where I am
417: If I won the lottery tomorrow, I _____
K.K.: would buy a Christian Culinary School.
417: The best part about being a 20 under 30 is _____
K.K.: the opportunities ahead.