Mr. Scotty Person
Springdale High School 2020-21 Teacher of the Year!
Comments from his peers...
Scotty Person has all that makes up a great teacher. First, he is just always a kind and caring person. He makes all students feel seen, creates relevant, fun assignments, works hard to create the fun, and advocates for his colleagues. He celebrates all his students. One student, in particular, had a difficult time making connections with his classmates, and by the end of the semester, Mr. Person had him MC’ing a fun classroom activity and he was the star! His assignments are relevant and fun for the students. It takes a lot to motivate kids to do their best, but Mr. Person had a group of students create a near-life-size version of the Trojan Horse. He works hard to make the fun also look easy. He pokes fun at himself for laughs, but also creates a level playing field to make all students feel safe. He takes the fun up several notches by making the walk through the Blatt building at SHS an experience. Fridays are filled with music and lights. Valentine’s Day is turned into a full-on celebration of singles with a red carpet, candy, and just all-around silliness that I bet all remember. The holiday season turns the Blatt Building into a hall of fun festivities and memories.
- Even after 20+ years of teaching, Mr. Person continues to better his craft. Mr. Person has created a brand new, modern podcast class (Podclass Omni) that meets the needs of our students and instills a lifelong love of learning. His class has been recognized nationally where he and (co-creator) Mr. Waldren were interviewed on the popular Freakonomics podcast. He spends hours listening to new podcasts in search of fresh new topics to inspire today’s students. He has also been contacted by educators in 10 states and 4 countries about strategies used in teaching this class. After listening to a speaker on 21st-century classroom design, he cleaned out local garage sales to provide flexible seating for his students. During the pandemic, he supported our department, encouraged teamwork, and facilitated the creation of many cool virtual learning slide decks.
- Every good teacher reflects on their practice, but Mr. Person does so with fun & flair. He humorously shares his reflections with his colleagues and sometimes with the world. If you haven’t seen his Dear Mother Facebook posts, you have missed out. Not only do they provide belly laughs, but his honesty and good-naturedness create a safe atmosphere and great camaraderie among colleagues. Mr. Person’s intelligence shines, but his emotional quotient ranks in the top percentile as evidenced by his understanding of when to listen and when to boldly speak up. His sharp wit cuts through the politics of the moment to highlight a poignant reminder of what is important. The moments he inspires create memories for a lifetime.
Words from Scotty...What do you consider to be a major public education issue today?
I think the biggest educational issue we are facing is the external factors that affect our students outside of the classroom.
Several years ago when I started to become more aware of these external stressors in our kids’ lives, I took a day and told them about a very pivotal moment in my life. It was, to this day, the hardest thing I have ever had to deal with. I tie it to social studies by talking about the cause and effect that is involved, just like we see with any world event we cover in class. The cause and effect, of what I thought was the worst thing I could ever experience, was necessary to lead me to where I am today.
I quit doing this for a couple of years, but one year a former student came back to see me one day. He asked if I still told “The Story” and I said no, that I was afraid maybe it was too much information and I didn’t want the kids to feel uncomfortable. He told me I should tell it because he heard the story at a time when he needed to hear it, and it had a great impact on him, his voice cracking and his eyes getting misty. I have told it every year since, and without fail, I will have a student linger to be the last one to leave the room. Just like my former student, I will typically get a thank you through a cracking voice and teary eyes.”