Thad Mathis ('10) has returned to his Darlington roots this fall to teach fourth grade, which is interestingly enough the grade in which he first enrolled as a student himself. A 2010 Tiger alum, he was highly involved as a student and won the Vincent Dooley J. Award his senior year.
“I am excited to serve the school that served me so well,” said Mathis. “I believe in the ‘Darlington way’ and will fit into the impressive world that is Darlington by providing the lifelong education that the school provided me. I cannot wait to begin the year and get to know my students. I am excited about watching them grow from the beginning of the school year until they graduate.”
The new fourth-grade teacher holds a B.S. in Early Childhood Education from Shorter University, where he was a member of the football team. Most recently, he served as a fourth-grade master math teacher and International Baccalaureate teacher at the Academy of Science and Foreign Language in Huntsville, Ala. While there, he also worked with the robotics team and coached football.
“I discovered my passion for working with children in the educational field when I participated in the 2010 Darlington senior project,” said Mathis. “We hosted the Floyd County Special Olympics at the Huffman Center and I realized the joy I had in seeing others succeed.
“As I made it through college I realized that working with elementary level children seemed to be calling me,” he continued. “I came to realize that this age group is just really experiencing the world for the first time. Their excitement about discovering things relevant to the world around them and seeing how things begin to tie in is what compelled me to the educational field.”
Mathis describes his philosophy for education as “relationship centered.”
“I believe that if an educator is able to build a strong relationship with his or her students, then he or she can truly influence students to care about their education,” he said. “By building strong relationships and taking the time to truly get to know the students, the educator can then find what works for each individual student in order to progress each and every student in his or her best learning styles.”
In his spare time, Mathis enjoys attending sporting events and being outdoors. He is a huge football and baseball fan and has started getting into basketball.