A Teacher On and Off the Field

When asked which he enjoys more, being in the classroom or being on the field, POE Board President Tim Whaley answers with ease, “I love being in the classroom.” Whaley began his teaching career 14 years ago in Texas. He first stepped into the classroom at Bray-Doyle, then Duncan. Whaley now works at Rush Springs where he teaches high school economics and history, middle school history, and is the head coach for track and cross-country.

Whaley says he was meant to teach. In high school Whaley had two teachers who had a major impact on his trajectory. “Those teachers were the sole reason I went to college,” he says. “They were able to identify my strengths. They encouraged me and pushed me to think of my future as more than what I knew. ” As a first-generation college student, those teachers made college seem like a real option for him. Today he is able to pay it back. “My favorite part of teaching is seeing the growth in students.”

As a lifelong learner, Whaley likes studying learning styles. “I enjoy putting organization to learning.” Whaley uses several strategies in his classroom like Cornell Notes and daily ‘I Can’ statements. The ‘I Can’ statement for today’s lesson was: I can list and discuss the 3 dictators in Europe during WWII. “We start the class reading the ‘I Can’ statement, and we will end the class by going around and giving everyone the opportunity to answer it.”

In addition to teaching and coaching, Whaley spends his free time as a high school football referee. During his 21 years wearing the black and white stripes, he has had the opportunity to ref two semi-final games and two state championships. “I view coaching as another vehicle to reach kids and teach them.”

Beyond his teaching and coaching duties, Whaley serves as President of the POE Board of Directors. “I’m a partner with POE. It’s not just an association I’m in.” As a Board Member he appreciates how our employees are working for our members daily. During a convention last summer, Whaley was able to meet leaders from sister organizations across the nation, and learn how those coalitions are working for students and their families. He also sees behind-the-scenes of the POE Government Affairs Team and the continual process of working with the Legislature. “Education is fluid; it’s changing. Policy that is being written now is determining what those changes will look like.”

In June Whaley and his wife Kim will celebrate five years of marriage. “We met when we were 18. College sweethearts.” But the timing wasn’t right. “We remained friends, and I eventually had to make an appointment with her to ask her to take me out of the friend zone.” Now the couple has two beautiful children, Reese age 8 and Noelle age 5, who they adopted after a period of fostering. The family loves to travel and experience life to the fullest.

Whether it’s being a dad, teaching, coaching, being a ref, or serving on Boards, Whaley wants to return the favor and show gratitude for the opportunities shown to him by those teachers who impacted his life.