More Than You'll Ever Want to Know Because It's 4:00 a.m., and I Have to Kill Some Time Before Going Outside and Making Noise in the Garden.
I was raised in Rockford, Ohio, a small farming community with a population less than that of Prairie View High School. I attended Georgetown College in Kentucky (not Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.) where I earned a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics and minored in computer science. I served as the co-editor of the college newspaper and president of my fraternity (Lambda Chi Alpha).
My first teaching job upon graduation was in Williamstown, Kentucky. A very small community, Williamstown Independent School was a K-12 school housed in a single building. For two years, I taught computer programming and math courses to students in 8th through 12th grades. I completed all but two courses toward my master's in Secondary Education Curriculum at Georgetown when my plans were suddenly derailed, and I found myself moving to Florida before being able to complete the master's work.
My mother's and grandfather's declining health dictated the move to Florida, where I owned and operated a small chain of three pet stores. For the record, I sold fish, reptiles, and supplies -- absolutely no dogs or cats were EVER sold through any of my stores (too many homeless ones on shelter death rows and available through local rescue societies to even think about doing commerce in dogs and cats). But after six years, PetSmart had other ideas, and their superstore right in the middle my three locations forced a "fire sale" and subsequent shut down of my business.
For the next three years I worked in the corporate world at Blockbuster Video, and then left Blockbuster for Rent-A-Center. One day, my fiancee and I decided we were just sick and tired of the incessant heat and humidity in Florida, pulled out an Atlas, and asked the question, "Where can we get transferred that is NOT Florida?" Denver sounded nice, so we rented out our townhouses, arranged for transfers, and two weeks after the decision was made, we loaded up a U-Haul and headed west.
That was in August of 1998, and although my fiancee moved back to Florida a couple of years later, I have never regretted coming to Colorado. I can't imagine a better place to live and work. In 2001, I left Rent-A-Center and began work at Aaron's Sales and Lease. Before leaving Aaron's in 2004, I held the position of Regional Director, and managed the ten Denver area stores for the franchise principal.
By this time I had met my current wife, Jennifer, who holds two master's degrees and works as an aerospace engineer in Space Systems at Lockheed Martin. In June of 2004, I casually asked Jennifer one day if she was okay with me taking a 65% pay cut so I could go back into teaching, which is what I had really wanted to do again for the past ten years, but I was always hesitant to give up the handsome corporate salary. To my surprise and joy, Jennifer wholeheartedly supported the idea, and by the following August I was back in the classroom, teaching at Westminster High School. Jennifer and I were married in November of that year.
I came to Prairie View in 2007, the second year the school was open. I earned my master's degree in Educational Equity and Cultural Diversity from CU Boulder in 2011. Jennifer and I also adopted a son that year.
I love it here -- Colorado, Denver, Prairie View -- all of it. I love what I do, and although I spent a good amount of my life doing other things, now I can't imagine doing anything else but teaching.
...and there you have it. If anyone is still reading at this point, you really might want to try to find a hobby. :)