Director of Academic Outreach
“When I think about the teachers who shaped me, who formed me, who made me who I am today, I don’t remember the grade they gave me, nor the marks on my conduct card… I remember the love they showed me. That love is the reason I am the person I am today. Mrs. Billy Apple; Mrs. Caroline Chumley; Mrs. Emily Pasquier; Mrs. Ann Harvey; Mr. Chris Huddleston; Mrs. Jackie Vaughn; Mr. Shaw Stokes; you know those moments, and I can’t thank you enough for them. Mr. Wayne Hogue, you, sir, were the one who showed my how to take that love and apply it to the real world and to always be remarkable.”
Curriculum Development Specialist focusing on STEM: Explore, Discover, & Apply and STEAM Fundamentals
“When asked about what teacher influenced me the most, I would have to say my sixth-grade teacher, Ms. Brantley. She taught me to teach with personality and that learning could be a creative, fun, and engaging experience for students. She allowed me to express my creativity and never took herself too seriously. Ms. Brantley’s style influenced my own teaching career and helped shape my teaching/learning philosophies and overall perspectives on education. She made learning fun, engaging, and personal. I am forever grateful to her and the influence she had on me and my subsequently my career.”
Curriculum Development Specialist focusing on STEM: Explore, Discover, & Apply and Computational Thinking
“Through the years, I have had the honor of knowing so many excellent teachers. Teachers continue to shape me to this day. The first teacher that made a truly lasting impact was my fourth-grade teacher, Ms. Broadnax, who encouraged me to be a storyteller. She gave me books from her personal collection, one of which I still own, “Little House in The Big Woods.” I was a student in Ms. Broadnax class in 1986 when the Challenger was set to take the first teacher, Christa McAuliffe, into space. Our small rural school only had one TV on campus, so an essay contest was held for your class to watch the shuttle launch live. Ms. Broadnax submitted my essay and our class won! We all gathered around the TV as the Challenger launched. The entire class was buzzing with excitement as the shuttle reached the atmosphere when the unthinkable happened. When the Challenger exploded, I looked to Ms. Broadnax for answers and immediately understood what we had just witnessed. That tragic moment sparked a new interest in me and thus began my lifelong pursuit of, “Why?”
As a science teacher, I had the opportunity to go to Space Camp. There I met Christa McAuliffe’s mother, Grace Corrigan, who had written a book about her daughter’s journey from the classroom to the shuttle. Ms. Corrigan gave me an inscribed copy of her book that is now a part of my book collection. “
Thanks, Ms. Broadnax!
Curriculum Development Specialist focusing on STEAM Fundamentals and Computational Thinking
“My favorite teacher was a pro at hands on learning. We would walk along the intercoastal canal in south Louisiana learning about the various plants and animals. We studied how the rain affected the water level in the canal and all about the shipping industry and the things that the barges were transporting. “
Teacher Engagement Specialist
“Mr. Pardue was my American History teacher in 11th grade. On the second day of school, he tested us to make sure we knew (and could correctly spell) the names of every other student in the class. We may have grumbled about it at the time, but it communicated to us that he cared about us as people, and that he expected us to get to know and work with each other. Throughout the year, he went out of his way to make sure that we had a broad, well-rounded knowledge base: not just of U.S. history (his subject matter) but also of art, music, world history, and geography. He weaved these subjects into his lectures, took us on field trips to museums, and tested us on obscure trivia facts. His deep knowledge and enthusiasm for learning was contagious.”
“Mrs. Weiss was my high school calculus teacher. Every day when we walked in, she handed us a worksheet full of warm up exercises using funny examples that made us giggle. She followed up with a handout of notes to accompany the lesson for the day, and we left with our homework in hand. These three handouts, in this order, happened everyday without fail. By mid-semester, I could just glance at a problem and see the graphs of derivatives and integrals forming in my mind as my brain approached a solution before a pencil was even put to paper. I felt mastery, and true success, in a classroom for the first time with Mrs. Weiss. I still haven’t figured out her magic recipe to this day.”
Marketing & Communications Specialist
“While I’ve had loads of wonderful teachers who’ve both influenced and invested in me over the years, I’ve got to say my favorite is my mom. She taught high school algebra while I was growing up, and at the high school I attended. She never taught me in a classroom setting, but she’ll always and forever be my favorite teacher. From teaching me to read, about virtues like kindness, a lot about patience, and grace, to instilling a love and respect for learning, she’s been a supporter and encourager my entire life. On top of that she was a wonderful teacher to thousands of students throughout the course of her professional life and would probably make this same list from some of her students if they were asked. I attribute a lot of my personal and professional successes to her and the mother she was and still is to me. Thanks for everything Mom, love you!”
Director of Curricula
“I took a lot of math in high school. By the time I got to college, I had already completed my first year of college calculus. During my high school years, I had the opportunity to learn from a whole host of math teachers. Little did I know at the time, that one would leave such a lasting impression.
Calculus isn’t fun. Missy purple will agree that just about any math isn’t fun. When you find that teacher that can take the mundane and transform it into the hilarious and engaging, you’ve found someone.
The math I learned was taught on chalk boards that were green or black with chalk that was white or yellow. There wasn’t colored chalk and there weren’t whiteboards with a rainbow of colored markers to choose from. In this day, classroom punishment was clapping the chalk dust out of the erasers (assuming your teacher used erasers).
So, when does it get fun and engaging? Soon…
Well, this teacher didn’t use erasers much. I can’t imagine what his laundry bill was, because if he made a mistake, he used his hands to erase. He would leave school each day with a yellow landing zone around each of his pants pockets (you see, he only used yellow chalk).
It got exciting though when he broke a piece of chalk. When you heard that distinctive split, all heads came up because the piece that remained in his hand was headed for the crowd! Look out! This man had eyes in the back of his head because invariably, it was headed towards the sleepers.
And then there’s his excitement. How do you make calculus interesting? Well, his secret was to get excited about it! Have you seen kids after eating too much sugar? This was my teacher, every day, every hour. I don’t know how he did it! But his energy was infectious, and it was key to identifying the teacher I would become.
Fast forward twenty years. I went on to study for my undergrad and worked almost a full career before I needed a change. All throughout my work though, folks I met said I had a unique way about how I went about explaining things and if I ever needed a change, to try teaching. Well, that time came and I needed a change.
So I taught… Algebra, geometry, and other things. But it wasn’t until I was a few years in that I realized the connection…i loved what I did and when I stopped to think about it, that love for teaching came from my own high school experience!
Did I throw markers at the occasional sleepy head? Maybe… Those who know me though will say that I never used my hands to erase! I was neurotic about my whiteboards (I learned in the age of chalk but taught in the age of ink and eventually transformed to digital ink). I didn’t even let my students mix colors.
But looking back, I owe my love and excitement for the teaching profession to my high school calculus teacher, Mr Gary Weeks. And in this teacher appreciation season, I’d like to say thanks Mr Weeks, for being a little bit crazy. You were an inspiration!”