Position: English Teacher
School: Balfour Education Center
School District: Henderson County Public Schools
City, State: Hendersonville, North Carolina
About the Nominee: Jason Rhodes was quoted in a recent alumni profile as saying, “I may be biased...but I believe English is the most important subject for creating well-rounded, critical thinkers and communicators.” For Mr. Rhodes' students, his influence reaches far beyond teaching English. Mr. Rhodes often talks about how you can't educate anybody until you love them first. For him, it's quite simple: he loves his students. He builds meaningful relationships with them, and they see him as someone who cares about them. His students know he truly cares, and as a result, they will work for him.
Mr. Rhodes started his career at a regular high school before leaving to pursue a career in professional development for teachers. Afterwards, he handled communications for a large school district. He missed the students, however, so he took on several odd jobs to support his family so that he could return to the classroom. He began teaching high school English at an alternative school where he knew he would make a difference. The students at this school often have a myriad of other personal challenges that make coming to school very difficult. More than anything, these students need to be shown care and compassion, and Mr. Rhodes is absolutely the right teacher for these students.