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Nathan Wyatt comes home to Salisbury Academy: Journey from student to teacher

Salisbury Academy

SALISBURY For third grade teacher Nathan Wyatt, a walk through the halls of Salisbury Academy inspires much more than thoughts of lesson plans and upcoming class activities. A Salisbury Academy student for 10 years before graduating in 2009, Nathan shares that each day brings with it “full-circle” connections.

“When I take my students into the gym, I can always remember walking in as a student and excitedly getting ready for PE,” says Nathan. “Even 10 years after graduating, the experiences I had at Salisbury Academy come back to me.”

For Nathan, the science room conjures memories of launching rockets and “Steve” the pet snake, and teaching social studies brings back memories of experiencing history as a student – of dressing up as historic people and reliving worlds of the past.

“My teachers at Salisbury Academy always showed energy and passion to teach. Those experiences inspired me to go into this field, and today they inform my everyday decisions in how to best engage my students.”

Nathan’s journey from student to teacher was also heavily influenced by his father, a teacher and assistant school principal of 30 years. After hearing his father’s stories and experiences at the dinner table each night, Nathan knew he wanted to pursue a career in education.

In May 2017, Nathan graduated from Catawba College with a double major in elementary and special education.

Dr. Kim Creamer, professor of education at Catawba, shares that teaching Nathan was a great pleasure.

“Nathan is an exemplary person as well as an exemplary student,” Kim says. “As well as he did in college, that begins in his experiences at Salisbury Academy. I’m delighted that now he has the opportunity to pay it forward – to give that gift back to his current students.”

In his time at Catawba, Nathan discovered through student teaching that the upper elementary grades – third, fourth and fifth – are the grades that he most enjoys teaching. As if by fate, just as he began his search for a teaching position, Nathan learned that Salisbury Academy was holding interviews for an open third grade position.

“I immediately thought back to all the moments that I had at Salisbury Academy – to the hands-on experiences, the fun field trips and the awesome community that Salisbury Academy has,” says Nathan. “Naturally, I wanted to provide students with those same experiences that I had.”

Adding yet another full-circle connection to Nathan’s return, Heather Coulter, now curriculum director for the school, happily recalls having Nathan as a language arts student from his third through eighth grade years.

“Talking with and observing Nathan in his interview process, it is clear that he is an excellent fit for our school culture and has tremendous talent to offer,” says Heather.

The fact that Nathan brings with him a deep appreciation of the school’s 25-year legacy of experiential learning and a loving school community is a wonderful added bonus, Heather shares.

Today, half a school year into his teaching career at Salisbury Academy, Nathan says that the past four months have gone about as he expected and hoped that they would go: the children are well-behaved, they are respectful and they want to learn.

Perhaps the biggest surprise, Nathan says, is the enveloping support that he immediately felt and has continued to feel from his fellow Salisbury Academy faculty members, parents of his students, and the school administration.

For Nathan, coming back to Salisbury Academy as a teacher is a lot like coming home.

“To me, home is a place where you feel safe, secure, a place you want to go to,” says Nathan. “Salisbury Academy is all of those things.”

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