Doug Potter, NHES Teacher of the Year

NHES 2013-2014 Teacher of the Year, Doug Potter

“Reading is cool, intelligence desirable, kindness paramount. I need to possess and display all of the values that I want my own children to have. Then I need to instill those in the students, all the while getting them prepared to achieve academic excellence.”

Doug Potter, 2014 Teacher of the Year at Nags Head Elementary School, does this innately.

It’s his 18th year as an educator, 16 of which have been in Dare County at Kitty Hawk and Nags Head Elementary schools. He earned a BA in Business Administration/Marketing from Westminster College; his teaching certificate from Elizabeth City State University, and his Masters of Elementary Education from East Carolina University.

He says getting his masters was a continuation of one of many learning experiences that makes one a better teacher. The Response to Intervention (RTI) team (of which he has been a member since 2009) has made a big impact on the school environment, but in all he asserts that there is no single accomplishment of which he is most proud other than to have a positive effect on the children that he teaches.

Among his many volunteer services, he has been a wrestling coach for Parks and Rec, an interpreter at Roanoke Island Festival Park, he’s enjoyed cataloging dolphins for Dolphin Research, and he has worked with animal rescue as a raptor rehabilitator with the Carolina Raptor Center.

Potter says, "My classroom is a dynamic environment that keeps children involved and engaged, where children feel free to actively learn.  My classroom isn't just about the curriculum, my classroom is learning about life, how to live, and how to try."

Colleagues say of Potter that, "His lessons are so relevant that it is easy for his students to make connections." "His sense of humor and dramatic interpretation of material keeps his students on task and interested in what he is presenting." "Doug brings so much enrichment from his own life into the classroom. The students love him and want to please. His humor makes students laugh and learning fun."

Dynamic, active classrooms keep the students engaged on learning. Kids want to come to class, they want to be in school, and they grow a love of discovery.Of course, that love is infectious.

"In truth, I am encouraged to learn more, discover more, and then the kids do the same. It is my desire," says Potter, "to bring that type of classroom to each child. My philosophy of teaching boils down to the fact that every child deserves the opportunity to love school, to love learning, and to want to come back every single day as a better person than the day before.”

"It is a participation sport that everyone has the ability to win and everybody has the ability to excel. That is my greatest accomplishment as a teacher, fostering a love of learning.”