In 2000, I was teaching at Niles North High School in Skokie, Illinois. The Director of the English Department, Kole Knueppel, intercepted my misguided attempt to resign from the school. From that incident, we realized that we shared a common commitment to Christ and to central city children. A year later, Kole became the Principal at St. Marcus. The following year, 2002-2003, I followed him and I became the Assistant Principal, also teaching social studies to 5th, 7th, and 8th grades.
I love seeing happy, safe, successful children. I especially love to see the transformation of our KWLMs (Kids We Love the Most) . . . these are the children who arrive furthest behind academically, angry at the world, and with a whole bunch of baggage. As they come to understand that they are special - made in the very image of God - and that they are stacked with gifts and talents, they start to relax, and change. I like to watch children grow in faith and build up character traits like GRIT (where perseverance meets passion), so that they can be successful in the world.
I love a lot of scripture, but right now 2 Chronicles 7:14 has my heart. "If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then will hear from heaven, and forgive their sin, and heal their land."
It's such a gift to be walking alongside so many people committed to this "doing" so that we can be blessed to see the healing of our land. Our God is doing something quite remarkable in this city and I'm excited to be just a little part of it.
Over the years, I have helped to raise 9 boys, all of whom are now out of the house but remain near and dear to my heart. I married my wonderful wife, Laura, on July 3, 2016. The next chapter has yet to be written . . . . I have five siblings: three in England, one in Nashville, and one in Florida. My mother lives in St. Augustine, Florida.
Working like a Hebrew slave rehabbing a house. I think I'm on my last one because I have no business doing anything beyond St. Marcus, but it's addicting. I finish a house and it looks so good that even though it nearly killed me, I find myself doing another one! When I'm not at school or rehabbing houses you might find me road-tripping out west, climbing mountains in national parks, or hanging out on a beach somewhere warm.
My favorite vacation spot is either Antigua (where my Dad owned a house for 20 years), or the Badlands and Black Hills of South Dakota.
When I was 13 years old I attempted to climb Mount Kilimanjaro (19,600ft) in Tanzania, but I failed for lack of GRIT. That always bothered me. I went back in 2008 and conquered the mountain. It was an astonishing moment. I have a sign in my office that reads, "If you don't climb the mountain, you can't see the view."