OAK HARBOR — Kelly Croy believes in leading through actions.
That’s why the Oak Harbor Middle School seventh-grade English teacher has written his first book. He respects science teachers who experiment outside of class, and math teachers who do calculus to help local businesses. He wanted to put his public speaking, English skills, and passion for leadership to use by writing a book.
It also proves to his students and four daughters that they can accomplish their goals, he believes.
“I had a wonderful student in my class last year that kept asking if [the book] was finished, and if she could get it,” Mr. Croy said. “If for no one else I showed her you can accomplish things you want to do.”
His book on leadership, Along Came a Leader, came out last month. Leadership has always been very important to him. He learned his own leadership skills from Boy Scouts, sports, school, and mostly his father. He’s carried those skills with him as a teacher, coach, husband, and father.
About 10 years ago Mr. Croy, 46, started speaking to groups on leadership. It started with churches and grew to schools and corporations. His talks led him in front of 8,000 people at the Breslin Center in East Lansing, Mich.
“That was the most awesome engagement I’ve ever had,” Mr. Croy said. “It hammered home that I needed to write a book.”
After his speeches, or through his blog, parents often asked if he wrote a book. So in 2009 he began outlining it. He wrote some chapters next to his late father’s hospital bed, and the book is dedicated to him.
“Not everyone has scouts, football, or a family to share with them leadership skills,” he said. “If it touches one life this will be a great accomplishment, I’m not looking for a best seller.”
One “humbling” aspect was having a former student edit it. Justin Tank, whose papers Mr. Croy used to cover with red ink, spent time helping his former coach and English teacher with the book.
Mr. Tank said without knowing it, Mr. Croy was a mentor to him. He was a teacher who didn’t just want to make better students, but better people. He also helped him get through a season-ending injury during his senior year of football.
“I wanted to help him out since he gave so much to me,” said Mr. Tank, now a veterinarian in Plain City, Ohio. “It was a lot of fun spending a couple of weeks on it. It is good for anyone who needs to figure out how to be a leader.”
Mr. Croy recently hit the 100-books-sold mark on Amazon. Walnut Street Publication published the book that has drawn interest from local bookstores. The Allen-Clay Joint Fire District ordered copies for leadership training for its firefighters.
If it’s not sold around the world, that’s fine with Mr. Croy, who is already working on a children’s book and novel next.
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