A Yadkin County Schools teacher was chosen as the subject of a Featured Teacher interview in the newest edition of the textbook, “Exceptional Children: An Introductory Survey of Special Education,” to be published by Pearson early this year.
The previous 10 editions of this work, written by Drs. William Heward, Sheila Alber-Morgan and Moira Konrad, have been adopted at more than 350 colleges/universities and translated into seven languages as of this writing.
In 2013 when Taylor Gaddis was chosen for this honor he was an exceptional children’s teacher at Starmount Middle School. Each chapter of the book begins with an article highlighting an exemplar special education teacher, who gives advice and tips for beginning educators in this field. Gaddis was selected to share his thoughts in the chapter on learning disabilities.
One quote from Gaddis in this text reads, “I would like to see all schools switch from a discrepancy model of identification to a properly run RTI model so students who need help can get it right away.”
In the book, Gaddis discusses the value of using a variety of direct, explicit instruction techniques, the importance of setting high expectations, and carefully tracking growth and progress with clear benchmarks. This important textbook emphasizes the value of using evidence-based curriculum and instruction with students. For more information about the textbook, visit http://www.pearsonhighered.com/educator/product/Exceptional-Children-An-Introduction-to-Special-Education/9780132626163.page.
Gaddis and Yadkin County Schools decided in the summer of 2014 he would best serve their students teaching seventh-grade math. Gaddis’ math certification in grades 6-12 and expertise in this area are essential in the implementation of the county’s new middle school strategic math plan.
In his new role as a seventh-grade math teacher at Starmount Middle School, Gaddis was instrumental in providing a new way to assess and differentiate the common core math curriculum via TenMarks, which is owned by Amazon.
In October of 2015, Gaddis was approached by Amazon to be an Education Fellow for the TenMarks math program. The Education Fellow program identifies several teachers across the country to champion TenMarks in their own local area, and train fellow educators in the proper use of it. He will lead math-related events throughout the region in order to support other teachers and administrators in their efforts to incorporate the program into the existing math curriculum.
Rick Swaim, principal at Starmount Middle School, said this about him: “Mr. Gaddis is an asset to our school and community. His attention to detail and his progressive growth mind-set, combined with his willingness and ability to lead others makes Taylor a teacher that all parents would want for their children. We are fortunate to have him at SMS.”
Additionally, Amazon will be sending Gaddis to the Amazon Education Fellows summit in Boston in late January. Gaddis will collaborate with other fellows in reviewing resources and training modules, and practice delivering and customizing trainings, as well as, he will be providing valued teacher feedback to the company.
He also created a Response Card Exchange website, where those interested can review some examples of his response cards. To view that website, go to https://sites.google.com/a/yadkin.k12.nc.us/responsecardexchange/letter.
Jill Logan, K-12 curriculum coordinator for Yadkin County Schools, worked with Gaddis when he served the special education population at the elementary level, and then again at the middle school level when he taught seventh-grade math.
“When I think of Taylor Gaddis, the first thing that comes to mind is this: He is always on the cutting edge of technology, is a lifelong learner, and constantly is learning to be a better teacher. While so many of our Yadkin County Schools teachers are this way, what sets him apart is his willingness to share everything he learns. He is a true teacher-leader. Mr. Gaddis is well respected by his colleagues because he is all of those things. He is very approachable and has the perfect personality to coach students and colleagues alike. He truly raises the level of professionalism at our schools.”
Tiiu Kai Garrett is employed with Yadkin County Schools.