Tennessee Education Lottery Educator of the Week: Dan Ridley

McKENZIE, Tenn. — This week’s Educator of the Week presented by the Tennessee Education Lottery teaches in McKenzie.

McKenzie High School teacher Dan Ridley says he felt that teaching was his destiny.

“I love being able to impact kids,” Ridley said. “I feel like that’s what I’m called to do, have an impact on kids.”

After working in the mental health field, he went into teaching. Now, 21 years later, he has no plans on stopping.

“I’ve thought about in the past getting into administration, doing that, but that’s not what I’m called to do. I’m called to be in the classroom and impact kids, and this is where I’ll finish out,” Ridley said.

His high energy is what he uses to keep his students engaged.

“So if I come in and approach it with high energy, it’s a little bit easier to keep the kids engaged, and I think they respond more positively,” he said.

He says what’s more important though is how he feels he is influencing them on a daily basis.

“Sometimes it’s just a matter of being a positive impact, being an influence on those kids, because there’s so many of our kids don’t have a lot of particular male role models in their lives,” Ridley said. “So I think my job is to influence and impact kids.”

Ridley says he didn’t feel he was a great student back in his school days, so he uses that to try to relate to his students and the struggles they may face.

“I think I kind of give them someone to relate to,” he said. “I can get on their level, and I think that probably makes it a little more effective.”

Ridley says when the job feels rewarding there is never a hard day at work.

“When you’re where you’re supposed to be, those kinds of good things are byproducts of that, and it makes it fun,” Ridley said. “I enjoy coming to work every day.”

Ridley will now be eligible for the statewide Tennessee Education Lottery Educator of the Month award. Starting in March, to vote for him or any of the other nominees, visit www.seehowitaddsup.com.

To nominate a teacher for our weekly award, email us at educator@wbbjtv.com.

Categories: Educator of the Week