Anderson Issues

Commentary on the Zeitgeist

About Mr. Earhart

As we discussed in class, it’s important for us to get to know each other.  It will help the learning of our class.

It’s important for y’all to know who I am and why I teach.  I’ve always loved the ESPY speech of Jim Valvano.  In accepting the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage, Valvano established a framing of…

  • Where you come from
  • Where you are
  • Where you want to be

It’s a simple framing, but it’s one that I’ll attempt to utilize in this post.  Hopefully it’ll be somewhat sensical.  :)

First watch this video for some visual context…

Where I come from is inextricably linked to my involvement with the Students as Teachers Program.  I grew-up in St. James, Missouri; a town of 3,500 people.  For the most part, I had a wonderful childhood.

My mom is the rock of our family.  There were some dark days in our family’s past, but I was too young to be overly impacted by them.  My childhood was full of encouragement, support, and opportunity.  Mom read to me every night before I went to bed, and some of my first memories are of practicing math flashcards with her.  My privilege continued with the addition of my step-father, Ron, at the age of 6.  Ron is one of the most sweet and gentle men you will ever meet.  His willingness to unconditionally love a child that was not his own provided me with a level of support that all children deserve.

Ron and Mom are as blue collar as it gets.  Mom has worked as a dental assistant in our hometown for nearly her entire career.  When I was in elementary school, Ron worked two jobs.  By day he was the maintenance man for a local hotel, and by night he was the janitor of a nearby middle school.  Ron eventually became the head custodian of a high school.  He worked from 7 AM until 11 PM so that I could have basketball shoes, attend camps, and so that my elder brother, Jeremy could attend college.  Mom and Ron gave all they had to ensure that Jeremy and I were successful.  They never missed a football game, choir concert, art show, etc.  Mom even volunteered on Wednesday afternoons at the library of our elementary school.  She continued to do such for over a decade after I graduated.  Talk about role models.  Child please!

Then there’s Jeremy.  Earhart the Elder (by 8 years) was the first in our extended family to graduate from college.  With a degree in painting from the Memphis College of Art, Jeremy moved to New York after graduation and lived in Brooklyn for 11 years.  It’s not always easy for Earhart the Elder; life as an artist is a roller coaster.  He’s sold sculptures for $40,000 and he’s been homeless.  But he’s never sacrificed his integrity as an artist.  Jeremy is committed to creative expression, and his ability to take risks has inspired me to continually expand my comfort zone.  Jeremy was directly involved with the dark days of our family’s past; his story is one of what is possible.  He’s the most influential person in my life and my best friend.  He is the person who always tells me what I need to hear, not necessarily what I want to hear.  And he know lives in Austin.  If you ever venture across the street to Galaxy Cafe, Jeremy is responsible for the art on the walls. :)

I tell you all of the above not with the purpose of tugging at heartstrings.  The above is evidence of the extreme amount of encouragement, support and love I’ve received in my life.  I would not be where I am today without the endless number of people who have helped me along the way.  Why do I teach social studies?  It might have something to do with Barb Smith, my high school history teacher.  Why did I teach AVID (more on that later)?  It might have something to do with Bob Smith (Barb’s main squeeze) who served as my counselor and coach.  These people, and many others, cared for me in way that I have spent a decade of my career trying to repay.  And, if ye’ are honest with yourselves, you’ll probably find a long list of folks that have supported y’all in your respective journeys up to this point.

Where I am… well… sometimes I feel like I have to pinch myself just to make sure that life is real.  Having taken my first flight at the age of 19, in which I saw the ocean for the first time, I have somehow managed to travel throughout Europe, Mexico, and South America, meet the President, buy a house, be named Teacher of the Year for all of Austin ISD, and star as Mother Ginger in the Nutcracker.  It’s been a crazy ride.  For the most part, AVID is responsible.

A.V.I.D. Advancement via Individual Determination.  Life changing.

In the Spring of 2008 my educational mama, Donna Houser, called me into her office to speak with me about a program called Advancement Via Individual Determination. Ms.Houser told me that this program was designed to help students go to college; she explained that someone was needed to revamp and reinvigorate a program that had fallen into disarray.  I recruited a single section of 20 students from a feeder middle school. I promised these students that if they wanted to be the first in their family to graduate from college that AVID was the program, and I the teacher, for them. I hadn’t a clue of how I was going to deliver on this promise. I just kept telling these students that they were going to graduate from college; that they belonged in the advanced classes with their more affluent peers. “Keep working; keep your head up. Be proud of yourself. You will make it. I promise.” At best I was a naive optimist; at worst, a flat-out liar. But the more I said it, the more I believed it. I became increasingly committed to ensuring that these students defied the odds.

And, for the most part, it worked. Last year’s cohort of 34 AVID graduates obtained over $1.7 million in scholarships and financial aid. The Class of 2015 was the first AVID class that I did not directly instruct.  The previous class of 2014 was the third group of AVID students for which I had the honor of teaching for all 4 years of high school.  They are, and may forever be, my greatest achievement in education.

My AVID students are family; words will never accurately express the bond that we share. Nearly everything I know about education I have learned from these students.  Our AVID Program now serves over 175 students across 9 sections. Most of my accomplishments in education are a result of advocating for my AVID babies.

The Anderson Tutoring Center was born out of a group of AVID students and their friends who would stay in my room after school to complete homework. I decided that if I was going to stay at school until Dulce could catch the #19 Southbound at 6:32, I might as well invite other students to join us. I found out where most of the students that attended our school via transfer lived, made a bus route on Google Maps, and then begged my educational mama for funding. Like a good mama, Donna Houser delivered. All of a sudden there were 45 kids trying to cram into my room after school. It was chaos! So we moved to the library, and mama delivered on some funds for tutors. The Anderson Tutoring Center now serves over 80 students each afternoon; it’s staffed with 10 tutors, 2 supervising teachers, and is served by two buses to ensure more equitable access for students who live far from 78759.

Many of our students struggle as they transition to high school, especially our students that attend Anderson via transfer. Without systematic supports, the rigors of Anderson can quickly overwhelm these students. The model of one teacher for every thirty students is a failed model; students need more individualized supports in order to succeed. Our Students as Teachers Program exists to provide these supports. SATs are upper-level students trained to provide classroom supports in core content areas for freshmen and sophomores. Again, my educational mama asked me if I was interested in creating and managing this program. I said yes. This year we have over 115 SATs providing assistance to our students in a similar capacity to that of an inclusion support specialist. This program also offers SATs the opportunity to view education through a different lens, through the eyes of the teacher.  Some SATs will pursue a career in education and it thrills to me to be associated with the development of educators. I presented the benefits of our Students as Teacher Program at the Texas Career Education Conference last February; many schools are interested in adopting this model.

I serve as the Chair for a Social Studies Department of twenty teachers. I’m in charge of hiring, assigning sections, professional development, and student supports for our team. I’ve initiated collaboration with several nonprofits such as Austin Bat Cave, UT Outreach, Breakthrough Austin, and Attendance Records. For two summers I served as an Instructional Coach for Breakthrough Austin, an organization that taught me the true meaning of the word “community.” And I’m a founding board member of Attendance Records, an organization that promotes creative expression through a do-it-yourself approach to creating an album. Our mission is to expose traditionally underserved students to the arts; we currently serve AVID students at Reagan, Kealing, LBJ and L.C. Anderson.

Most of these collaborative endeavors have developed organically, founded on strong relationships with people who care about our youth. They’ve taught me a simple and core educational philosophy: “the more caring adults in the lives of our students, the better.”

Never underestimate the power of being someone who cares

Where I want to be…  I want to run a school.  You may have even noticed a bit of a change in tone/flow in the last section, as I stole most of the phrasing from my application to the University of Texas at Austin Principalship Program.  I’m currently in graduate school to become a principal.  Sadly, this school year might be my last in the classroom.  If all goes according to plan, I’ll be an assistant principal at this time next year.  I will miss teaching, but I have a burning desire to create systems of support for traditionally marginalized students.  My own story and the stories of my AVID students have taught me that all students can be successful if the right systems are put into place.  I’m not sure what the future holds, but I know that I’ll be an educator for life.

The solutions to the woes of our educational system are not complicated; they merely require the dedication of time and resources and a rejection of the status quo.

Your assignment:  Tell us where you come from, where you are, and where you want to be.  You do not need to be as detailed as the above.  The better we know each other, the better we’ll be able to collaborate and learn.  And feel free to ask questions about me and our course; I look forward to interacting with y’all and learning what makes each of y’all tick.

Much love!

Mr. Earhart

116 Responses to “About Mr. Earhart”

  1. rachelkay11 said

    What is your email for the campaign assignment?

  2. Shabbur said

    Manage your website, it is getting very out of hand down here.

  3. […] About Mr. Earhart […]

  4. Ryan 1st said


  5. Audrey 1st said

    Sounds like a lot to do!

  6. Deanna 1st said

    Being an SAT is really fun!

  7. Jake 1st said

    Timmons is my homie

  8. Ned (Samuel) 1st said

    Very interesting!

  9. Farid 1st said

    Can’t wait to start helping

  10. bowen rechner (1st) said

    i like dogs too

  11. Cecie Suknaic (1st) said

    I like the flowers in your picture.

  12. Yesenia 1st said

    good job!!

  13. Skye 1st said

    Hopefully it’ll be fun! Fingers crossed!

  14. Megan 2nd Period said

    Yay! Im excited to be a student as teacher. This should be fun!

  15. Madeleine 2nd said


  16. Lucy 2nd said

    The new librarian is a nice woman.

  17. Aliyah 3rd said

    Student as teacher day 1!

  18. Christy 3rd said

    Yay SAT!

  19. Alex 3rd said

    Very excited to be a part of this program!

  20. JonEric said

    Glad to be able to help!

  21. Garrett 3rd said

    cool class

  22. Claire 4th said

    I’m excited!

  23. Michelle 4th said

    Can’t wait for this year!

  24. Melissa Wisian 4th said

    Who all do you play DnD with? Like do you actually play with Mr. Timmons and Mr. Uhler?

    • Just our fantasy baseball version of DnD. Mr. Uhler and I are currently in quite a fight for 2nd and 3rd place. Anything you all can do to distract him (thereby ensuring an Earhart victory) for the next few weeks is appreciated.

  25. Otto 4th said

    I am excited for this year

  26. Garrett 4th said

    Missourah? niice

  27. Shelby 4th said

    I’m looking forward to helping other students

  28. Courtney 4th said

    Can’t wait for this class!

  29. Garrett Bishop 4th said

    interesting class

  30. Marya 4th said

    This sounds super fun!

  31. Isabel 4th said

    I’m excited for this school year in SAT!

  32. Matt said

    I really like kids

  33. Kimmie Riggs 4th said

    Can’t Wait!!!!

  34. josh kolditz 4th said

    gonna be great!!

  35. Nicole 5th said


  36. Sue Hong said

    Sounds FUN!

  37. Nidia Cisneros 5th said

    Cant wait for a great year!

  38. Kendall 5th said


  39. Madeline5 said

    Why AVID is such an amazing program!

  40. Natalie 5th said

    Yay SAT!!

  41. Kaitlyn Beckham 5th said

    Sounds exciting, cant wait

  42. Mary Grace 5th said

    im excited!!

  43. Abby 5th said

    Im Excited!!

  44. Saundra 5th said

    I look forward to being in the SAT program. Helping younger students should be very fun and rewarding!

  45. Riley Koenig 5th said

    i cant wait to be a student as teacher this coming year!

  46. Hallie 5th said

    kendalls foot is cramping. I hope that she can recover quickly.

  47. Ashley 6th said

    Peru and Columbia sound amazing!

  48. Eryn Hodges 6th said

    I enjoyed being a SAT last year so I’m sure I will this year!

  49. Sarah Sparkman 6th said

    Can’t wait to be a SAT!

  50. Sydney Panter 6th said

    Can’t wait!

  51. sarah 6th said

    Hopefully i get to have Mrs. Taylor’s class because her SAT’s that she had my freshman year inspired me to want to be a SAT

  52. Madeleine Calvin said

    I am really looking forward to being in this program and helping other students!

  53. Ivan 6th said

    I’m very exicted to teach others some of my experience and skills.

  54. Kevin 6th said

    Excited to be a SaT for the semester!

  55. Byung Ki 6th said

    My science teachers told me to sign up for this class if I wanted to be a lab-assisstant for one of the science teacher. Is that okay?

  56. Meagan Hagman said

    Meagan 7th
    Im excited to be a student as teacher!

  57. Celena Lathrop said

    I would really love to help with English or French if possible! So excited for this opportunity :)

  58. Lauren 7th said

    I’m good with teaching anything but geometry- otherwise the students would end up having to teach me then!

  59. Yuval 7th said

    I’m excited to have this class this year! I would like to possibly work with a science teacher this year if that would work ;-) thanks!

  60. Madeline 8th said

    I’m really excited to get to meet new people and help out a teacher

  61. Michael Brode 8th said

    Looking forward to this course. And being a senior.

  62. James Breed said

    Can’t wait, this sounds really fun!

  63. Emily Mcphaul 8th said

    Can’t wait for this year!

  64. Haley 8th said

    My dad is also a fan of fantasy league sports, his favorite is baseball.

  65. Zongpeng Chen said

    Hello! Nice to meet you

  66. Rhiannon 8th said

    I love Mr. Earhart! He is one of my favoirte teachers and is always there for his students!

  67. Zoe 5th said

    I’m excited to be involved in SAT’s!

  68. Aidan 8th said

    Looking forward to being in your class.

  69. Alex Pearson 2nd said

    I’m so glad I took this class, It’s going to be an amazing experience!

  70. Keita 2nd said

    I enjoyed reading your “About” page.

  71. Kia p8 said

    I liked the video

  72. Sarah Nielsen 2nd said

    So excited!

  73. Elly Smith 7th said


  74. Hannah 3rd said

    So excited to start helping out!

  75. Ellen 3rd said

    Looking forward to a great semester!

  76. Britta 3rd said

    Looking forward to the year!

  77. Logan 5th said

    I’ve heard good things about SAT, and I’m glad to be a part of it!

  78. Olivia 7th said

    Looking forward to finishing high school as an SAT!

  79. Neetika 4th said

    YAY for the SAT program!

  80. Gabbie Dinglasan 4th said

    So glad I’m an SAT for my last semester!

  81. Milan 4th said

    WWII is certainly the most interesting period of history.

  82. Mina 4th said

    Can’t wait to start helping!

  83. Aaronique 6th said

    Excited to be a SAT!

  84. Aivy (6th) said

    Katrina says hi
    And YAY SAT!

  85. Katrina (6th) said

    Only 3 people in this class, glad I have Aivy. Yay SAT!

  86. Nadia 8th said

    Yay SAT!

  87. Hannah 1st said

    Can’t wait to start helping

  88. Tyson 2nd said

    Can’t wait be a SAT!

  89. Ariana 4th said

    Woo! This is going to be a fun semester. What’s your favorite section in US history to teach?

  90. Jimmy 6th said

    This is going to be very interesting!

  91. Carlos 8th said

    The link after your brother’s name did not work…

  92. Addysen 1st said

    Learned about AVID that I was unaware of! Excited to be an SAT!

  93. O'Ryah 2nd said

    I’m super excited to be an SAT this semester! Can’t wait to start. By the way what is your school email?

  94. Kedra said

    Kedra 4th

  95. Kedra 4th said

    Im so excited to be an SAT and love being in avid with my avid family

  96. Jacob said

    Candace Shaw 7th
    This will be fun!!

  97. domain said

    We stumbled over here by a different website and thought I should check things out.

    I like what I see so i am just following you. Look forward to looking
    at your web page for a second time.

  98. Bailey Tribble said

    Can’t wait to be an SAT!

  99. Braden Buckman said

    This sounds awesome and can’t wait to become a part of this group. Are you a Big Mavs fan like Mr. Jones?

  100. Reece Fish said

    Interesting Background. Looking forward to this semester!

  101. Taylor Short said

    Sounds great! Looking forward to being an SAT

  102. Megan said

    Can’t wait to help people!

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