As parents, we’d do anything for our kids. We stretch the budget to make birthdays special and stay up late to help with school projects. Our deepest gratitude often goes to others who care about our children to unexpected lengths.
This is where great teachers shine so brightly. They work tirelessly to inspire and stretch our kids. One of the best teachers in the greater Knoxville area is Nick Starkey. He is a rough and rowdy Texan who spends his days with fifth graders at Clayton-Bradley Academy.
Nick teaches because he has a relentless hope for tomorrow. His goal is to convert the nervous energy and curiosity of incoming students into confidence, joy, and belonging. He engages his whole being and soul into teaching his students. This is evident when they’re studying ecology at Tremont or learning about life in the 1800s by splitting logs.
His inspiration comes from his own seventh grade ELA teacher, Nancy Duncan. She was truly a mad scientist in the classroom! Her imagination and presence were so over-the-top every single day. They’d be learning about the Holocaust and she would string up barbed wire in the classroom. Her methods made history come to life—those doomed heroes and their battles of old. The bell would ring and the class would be equally disappointed it was over and in shock wondering, “How do we go about our day after that?”
Nick wants his students to have that same immersive, lost-the-moment feeling today. When he teaches history, he inspires students to think, “Man, we could have been those heroes!” because tomorrow may need them to be.