College Education and Early Career
I received a B.A. in Mathematics and a minor in history from Southern Adventist University in December 2008. After graduating, I went to teach at Heritage Academy near Monterey, TN. In addition to teaching math, I taught history and economics and was the assistant boys’ dean.
Heritage Academy was a great school for a beginning teacher. The school featured small class sizes average between 10 and 20 students. We were also fortunate to have leadership that encouraged engaging the students through project based learning and emphasized education of the whole person. This school allowed me to hone my teaching ability in an environment that encouraged teacher growth.
Looking toward the future, I was interested in administration as a possible career path. My principal was understanding and wanted to mentor me in that possibility. Thus, I became the Vice Principal for Academics in 2011. This gave me invaluable experience at a practical level. I continued this path by completing two masters courses in education administration during summer 2012. These classes were Supervision of Instruction and Personnel Administration.
Teaching Math in Colorado
When an opportunity to move to Colorado opened, I was excited to explore new horizons and possibilities. I took a job as a math teacher at Vista Ridge Academy for the 2012-2013 school year. Moving away from friends and family was quite difficult, but I was excited to live “out west” and continue advancing in my teaching career. Vista Ridge Academy (VRA) seemed to offer both of those possibilities, but God often has other plans for us even when we do not realize it.
The first thing that I noticed upon moving to teach at VRA was that the academy portion of the school was quite small. That meant that teachers taught a lot of classes, but did not have many students in each class. For example, we only had one senior and 3 juniors. While it was immediately obvious to me that this was not fiscally responsible, the school board did not confront the financial issues facing the school that arose out of the low enrollment until the following school year. Just before Thanksgiving 2013, several teachers along with the junior and senior classes, were abruptly informed that there would be no place for them the following semester. I was obviously disappointed. However, my heart broke for students who had attended this school since first and second grade who were months from graduation being told they could not finish.
This difficult period in life led to a major change for me. After five years in the classroom, I realized that God was offering me another possibility. Teaching jobs are difficult to obtain in the middle of the school year. If ever I wanted to guide, I needed to be available starting at the beginning of the season. Normally, as a teacher, I was not available until half way through the guide season. This difficult moment proved to be a blessing in disguise. I decided to, with the support of friends and particularly family, strike out on my own as a fly fishing guide.
Continuing As a Teacher
Since then, I have kept my foot in the education door so to speak. For the past two and a half years, I have helped teach math at Inez Wrenn SDA School. That is the local church school here in Crossville, Tennessee and the one I attended quite a few years ago. For the first two years, I taught Algebra I and II as needed. During the current school year (2017-2018), the school did not have any ninth grade students. Thus, I have been teaching seventh and eight grade math. Teaching is still a joy for me, and I have recently been pursuing more education that will help me both as a teacher and as a guide.
I enrolled in the Masters in Outdoor Education program at Southern Adventist University beginning in January of 2017,. This unique program allows working professionals the opportunity to attend classes for a two week intensive and then do the rest of the work from home. Thus, I have been able to continue both teaching and working as a fly fishing guide. I am scheduled to graduate in May of 2018 and am excited to see what God has in store for me next.