As we enter the final stretch of the 2014-2015 school year, I spent my spring break reflecting about my five years as Darlington’s math department chair. I thought about all the great students that I have taught and what those students have taught me. Those students are too numerous to list on this blog, but their memories live forever with me. I also thought about the teachers that make and have made the math department so great. I want to recognize them here because they have each been instrumental in making me a better teacher and a better leader.
Jessie Weaver, while only being at Darlington for one year, has reminded me what being hungry to be great looks like. Sometimes as a veteran teacher, you get complacent and into a routine. Jessie has brought a fiery hunger to be great and that has rejuvenated me.
Joe Pieroni continues to teach me that organization is everything. The way he organizes the seating for exams is beyond belief and makes the beginning of the math exam for the students smooth and stress free. I am envious of his filing system and his somehow constant clean desk. Joe has also taught me that there is a lighter side to every situation.
Although Lynn Cox has retired, her presence on the math hall continues. Not a week goes by without me being in a situation thinking, “What would Lynn tell me to do here?” She taught me so many things (and sayings). There have been many times I have awoken not feeling great, but I hear Lynn saying, “A 50% teacher is better than a 100% substitute.” She has a way with words.
Kent Harrison ('01) has taught me that it is okay to speak the truth. Although it may not be what the student, parent, or teacher wants to hear, they need to know the truth. He has also taught me that it is okay show your competitive side. I am a competitor by nature, but I have always held back that trait. He brings it out of me.
Al Shorey has taught me that preparation and hard work wins every time. The preparation he puts into his lessons and the work he puts in to prepare for them is commendable and beyond the call of duty. By me trying to keep up with his standards, he makes me better every day.
Dana Peek has taught me to pay closer attention to the math curriculum taught to the underclassmen. Teaching the AP classes, I sometimes forget the capabilities of the younger students. She helps me in making the decisions of what those students can handle and at what level.
Former colleague Fran Buice ('76) taught me that no matter how much students may resist initially, students want to be held accountable. By holding students accountable, you show them you care and you are making them better people.
IT Director Stefan Eady has taught me to sit back and listen to everyone before forming any opinions, especially opinions out loud. He somehow processes all the information and comes up with the best solution. I am still trying to find his secret formula.
Christie Atkins has taught me that pouring in extra work with students and pouring in love to students are worth the effort when that student succeeds. The smiles and the high fives I have received in celebration of a job well done are magical and remind me why I do what I do.
Josh Hembree has taught me what teaching with passion looks like. If you walk into his room, then you will see passion for math and passion for wanting to teach math to students. He not only has taught me to better teacher and leader, but he has taught me how follow the plan God has paved for me and does his best to keep me on that path. The things he has taught me are priceless!
Thank you to these teachers/friends. You have all shown up and worked very hard for the Darlington students and for me. You ARE the best!