This year’s Distinguished Adjunct Faculty Award recipient is the only educator in Laurel Ridge Community College’s service region credentialed to teach computer science at the K-12 level.
John Faircloth is in his fourth year of teaching at Laurel Ridge. Before coming here, he spent 19 years as a computer science adjunct instructor at Northern Virginia Community College.
During the day, he teaches computer science at Mountain Vista Governor’s School (MVGS) – which is located on both Laurel Ridge campuses. He is an adjunct instructor as well at the Fauquier Campus.
“I just really enjoy doing it,” Faircloth says of teaching. “I knew I was going to be a teacher at some point. I come from a family of teachers. My grandfather was a college professor. I had some really good teachers when I went to community college.”
He first went to Pensacola Junior College, now Pensacola State College, before earning a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Ohio State University and a master’s degree in computer science from Johns Hopkins University.
Faircloth, who lives in Warrenton, spent 34 years in the software development and IT industries, both in the private sector and the government, including roles at IBM, Northrop Grumman, AOL, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Education.
“John worked with the program lead and dean at Laurel Ridge to make curriculum changes to ensure that both the associate degree in science with a computer science specialization and the computer science generalist career studies certificate credentials were more obtainable by MVGS students,” Computer Science Professor Melissa Stange wrote in her nomination of him for the faculty award. “With these changes, more than 30 additional computer science credentials have been awarded to MVGS students. MVGS is the only K-12 setting in our service region that has an educator credentialed to teach computer science.
“John is constantly trying to ensure his MVGS students are aware of the opportunities the college offers and finding ways to ensure they get the same level of experiences as our adult learners. When he learns of opportunities, such as machine learning, quantum computing, technology competitions and summer internships, he has encouraged MVGS clubs to pair up with Laurel Ridge clubs.”
In addition to computer science, Faircloth has also taught cybersecurity at the college. He has plenty of hope for the future of IT, computer science and cybersecurity.
“I think with some of the AI technologies, we’re going to see quite a bit of growth,” he said. “Cybersecurity is going to continue to be a big field.”
Laurel Ridge Community College was known as Lord Fairfax Community College until June 2022. For consistency purposes, the college will be referenced as Laurel Ridge going forward.