Richard Garland

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Position: Business and Careers Teacher

School: North Kingstown High School

School District:North Kingstown School Department

City, State: North Kingstown, Rhode Island

About the Nominee: Richard Garland was nominated by his superintendent, Dr. Michele Humbyrd.

Since his hiring, Mr. Garland has brought the North Kingstown High School to new levels with his work in financial literacy. He created the school's first Early Enrollment Program (EEP) courses, where students earn college credit while still in high school. Under his tutelage, over 300 total students have earned Rhode Island College credits prior to graduation.

Mr. Garland inspires students in the classroom. One student said, “it's his enthusiasm to see me succeed. Whether it's at a DECA competition or just in the classroom, he's always pushing us to fully put ourselves to the test. He always makes sure to praise us, even if we don't come out on top, and seeing him smiling at us with pride makes me want to live up to that. Finally, the fact that he made it to the top ranks of IBM inspires me to show that his teaching skills can do the same for me."

Additionally, a graduate said, "He taught us simple life tricks like believing we could do our best, which led us to win that Bryant Bulldog Challenge. He taught us how to do a S.W.O.T. Analysis on case studies, and in my major [at UMASS] I am still using many of those skills today."

Mr. Garland became the high school’s Webmaster and worked to update the site with current information. He began by redesigning the website and holding multiple sessions for teachers on how to build their site, transfer their materials and create links. Furthermore, he worked with other webmasters in the district to help them understand the new online software. When a new teacher is hired, Mr. Garland meets with them, creates a login for them and schedules a date to help with their page. He sent a new math teacher this email:

"Hi...you can send a mass email to parents alerting them to your website using ASPEN. I send an email to students and parents each Friday on the week's stock market performance."

Where Mr. Garland shines is his ability to leverage community/state support for his students and school. He began with the former state treasurer and current governor, Gina Raimondo, and has extended this invitation to his finance classes. The Bryant University Bulldog Challenge took place four years ago, and Mr. Garland was the first teacher at NKHS to involve the business students. His students earned first place for three years. He has brought his Business Club to DECA Club status, and together, they have won many individual and partner medals. His finance classroom students participated in two statewide financial challenges, and in both challenges, he had a student team that placed second overall. In his Leadership in Business class, Mr. Garland gives students the knowledge and skills to create their own business/product/service. There is a culminating project that involves a Shark Tank-style competition judged by companies such as Arpin, Drupal Connect, JWU and People's Credit Union.

Mr. Garland's relationships with professionals in the industry proved to be most valuable this past year; he was the co-author of a Governor's Workforce Grant for $250,000. Using the grant money, he was able to transform classrooms and jump start his bid for a CTE Program in Finance with “Fast Track” certification from NAF. Parallel to working on the CTE Finance application, he is also working to build the computer science components of the curriculum.

Fortunately for North Kingstown, Mr. Garland arrived with a pedigree from IBM. Long known for creating the world's best professionals, Mr. Garland brought the three key beliefs of Tom Watson’s IBM to his work at NKHS: respect for the individual, superlative customer service and the pursuit of excellence in all tasks.

There have been hundreds of emails written to parents from Mr. Garland on behalf of students. He provides inspiration and hope. In the first year of his Introduction to IT class, he encouraged and promoted every student, but there were only two female students in the classroom. Mr. Garland nominated one of them for a technology award at the Tech Collective in Providence, RI, and she won! She received accolades and was invited with her parents to the evening award presentation. The school received an award, as well.

Mr. Garland embraces a challenge, builds trust, works collaboratively, influences with expertise, continuously transforms and helps all stakeholders to succeed. His traits are also the characteristics of an IBMer, and fortunately for the school and district, he brings his best self everyday. He acknowledges others' contributions and champions their cause, which in turn, gives everyone a strong sense of purpose in an authentic environment. Mr. Garland makes NKHS a better place to learn and work!