Andy Justice has always had a passion for two things – baseball and teaching. Fast forward a few decades and he has added family to this list.
Andy began playing baseball when he was three years old and it was the beginning of a lifelong passion. He grew up in Randall and graduated from Morton/White Pass High School. He played several sports throughout his school years including football, basketball and baseball. “I had offers to go to school for each of those sports on scholarship, but baseball was what I loved since I was a kid,” Andy shares.
Andy later accepted an offer from Pacific Lutheran University. After his first season at PLU Andy suffered a sports-related injury that completely changed the course of his future. “I blew out my arm. I thought my dreams were dying.” A series of events, and inspiration from a close friend, led Andy to research the possibility of playing baseball overseas. After some networking, Andy received the opportunity of a lifetime.
“I had offers from two teams in France and one team in Germany,” shares Andy. He accepted an offer to play in Rouen, France. “I took a leap of faith. I didn’t speak French. I had not traveled out of the country before. I just wanted to play baseball.”
Andy pitched and played outfield positions over the course of three seasons. He spent two seasons with the Rouen Huskies and one season with the Cavigal Nice Baseball Club. “Baseball is a growing sport in Europe. The seasons, games, and practices are scheduled around players who have full-time jobs and holidays,” Andy explains.
Part of the job with the teams overseas was to help grow the sport of baseball through coaching kids at baseball camps. “It was a challenge because of the language barrier,” says Andy. “I had to learn to be a good teacher through modeling.”
In his downtime between practices, games and seasons, Andy had the opportunity to explore France and other places in Europe. Andy says, “We hopped trains crossing all over Europe, Egypt, andy Turkey – places that I never imagined that I’d get to go. That’s when the travel bug hit me.”
After his time in France, Andy returned home to attended Central Washington University to pursue a degree in education. He completed his student teaching at Washington Elementary School in Centralia and was later hired as a sixth grade teacher at Oakview Elementary School in Centralia. Last year, Andy completed his administrative credentials at Saint Martin’s University in Lacey. Currently, Andy is the principal at Edison Elementary School in Centralia.
“I know Mr. Justice! He wasn’t my teacher, but I see him all the time when we drop off my little sister at Edison. He’s always on the sidewalk waving to kids and smiling,” says a Centralia student.
Andy says, “When I was little I knew I wanted to be a teacher. When I was a teacher I knew that I wanted to be an administrator.” Also, travelling abroad has had a significant impact on Andy and his approach to his job as an educator and administrator. He shares, “Traveling abroad, especially when I was in Cambodia, made me want to help someone else.”
Andy’s philosophy as a teacher and principal center around one major idea—kids need to know that someone cares about them. “They need to know that no matter what the consequences are, that you care about them. And that you care about them enough to help them work through whatever problem they are facing.”
One of his favorite parts of his role as administrator is the staff. “I feel fortunate to work in a building where all staff truly love kids and love working with kids.” Andy’s gratitude doesn’t stop at the walls of Edison. He shares, “I couldn’t imagine not working for Centralia School District. Everybody is working to make a positive impact on our kids.”
Andy and his wife, Rana, live in Chehalis with their three sons Cael, Cason and Kellen. His love for traveling, discovering the world, and an appreciation for world culture is something that Andy hopes to pass on to his boys. So far, the Justice family has taken several trips around the state and to Wyoming, where Rana’s family lives. Andy says, “I want my kids to experience the world sooner than I did. I was in my twenties when I first went abroad. I’d like to travel as a family and explore together.”