Editor’s note: This is part of a series of Teacher Spotlight articles on educators nominated by Kingsport and area principals.
BLOUNTVILLE — A West Ridge High School social studies teacher is the first Kingsport Times News Teacher Spotlight recipient for 2022.
“Mr. Thomas Gilbert has gone above and beyond the expectations of the student body by being involved in many community activities,” West Ridge Principal Josh Davis said in nominating Gilbert for the honor.
(Update: Since this article was first published, Gilbert has been named West Ridge Teacher of the Year for 2022.)
Gilbert teaches American government at West Ridge, which opened August 9, 2021, as a merger of Sullivan North, South, and Central High Schools. It is the first new high school in the county since the North and South opened for the fall term of 1980.
Gilbert received his Bachelor of Education from East Tennessee State University. Gilbert is also active in service projects, including work with his church, Lynn Garden Baptist.
“I love teaching in the US government,” Gilbert said.
“I hope to lead my students to understand the importance of being informed and aware of how our government works and how they, as citizens, have a civic responsibility to be educated, informed and to participate in the process democratic,” Gilbert said. “But more importantly, I hope to teach my students to be responsible adults who know how to set goals and work hard to do their best in everything they do. If they can learn to do this, they will be successful wherever their journey in life takes them.
Gilbert has 28 years of teaching experience, being a history and government teacher at Sullivan North from 1992 to 2021, then teaching the same subjects at West Ridge starting in the fall of 2021.
When Gilbert was asked how he felt about being named headteacher, he said he was honored to be named “pack leader.”
“I am fortunate to be surrounded by excellent teachers and staff more deserving than me. … I am just a tiny cog in a very big machine. When all the gears in the machine are working as they should, the machine is working efficiently and properly.As all of us (students, staff, faculty and administration) continue to strive together to “solve the problems”, we must continue to strive for excellence in all that we do “We are laying the foundation for the future. We must do our best to create a solid foundation on which to build an incredible future.”
Gilbert loves school and isn’t afraid to show off his wolf pride.
“I’m so proud of ‘The Ridge’. I’m so excited to be here and to be part of something so amazing. I am proud of our incredible campus. I’m proud to be part of an incredible staff. I am proud of our fantastic, hardworking and energetic students. I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished in just nine weeks, and more importantly, I’m optimistic about all the great things we’re going to do in the future.
Gilbert said he wants everyone to know that West Ridge faculty, staff and administration are working toward an important goal.
“We are building a legacy,” Gilbert said. “The definition of legacy is something that is passed down or passed down into the future from those who came before them, including reputation. We must build a legacy of excellence for all who will one day be proud members of ” the pack “. “
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