Mitchell recognizes Navy vet turned Colina teacher - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Topstory

default avatar
Welcome to the site! Login or Signup below.
|
||
Logout|My Dashboard

Mitchell recognizes Navy vet turned Colina teacher

Print
Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Wednesday, April 7, 2010 11:00 pm

Arlen Sykes used to direct airplanes in the Navy. Now, he directs a class of fifth-grade students.

Sykes, who has taught at Kyrene de la Colina Elementary School for the past 10 years after putting in 17 years as a Navy air traffic controller, is one of the approximately 13,000 teachers across the country who transitioned into the classroom after a military career through the Troops to Teachers program.

Sixty-five of those teachers are in Arizona’s 5th congressional district, which covers Ahwatukee Foothills, Tempe, Scottsdale and part of Mesa.

Rep. Harry Mitchell, (D-Ariz.), a former teacher himself, stopped by Colina Thursday to visit Sykes’ classroom and bring attention to the Troops to Teachers enhancement act making its way through Congress.

Troops to Teachers fills several needs, including supporting members of the military, attracting new teachers with backgrounds in math- and science-related fields and strengthening the workforce, Mitchell said.

Mitchell pointed to Sykes as just one example of someone successfully translating their service to the country into the classroom. Even the posters around Sykes’ classroom included tokens to his aviation background, Mitchell pointed out.

“It’s important to find people who have the tools and resources to become teachers,” Mitchell said.

That aviation knowledge also found its way into a lesson on Thursday. Sykes, his teacher’s ID swinging on a Navy lanyard around his neck, showed clips of a Web video displaying air traffic across the United States at different points in the morning. He paused the video frequently, asking the students things like why they could see more planes flying in over the East Coast early in the morning while the West Coast was relatively still.

Joining the military was a natural choice for Sykes, whose father had been in the Air Force.

As Sykes was getting ready to retire, it was a military career officer who suggested he would be a good fit as a teacher. Sykes had some experience teaching in Navy facilities and enjoyed it, so he went with the recommendation to get a teaching certificate.

Sykes was hesitant about getting a teaching job at first, thinking he should find a career that would let him make more money. But he ultimately entered the classroom and has become immersed in it.

“I look for a void and find a way to fill it,” Sykes said.

Which is how he ended up starting a student aviation club. Sykes also campaigned to get the whole staff at Colina CPR and first aid certified.

When some of his students said they were interested in learning first aid, too, he started a baby sitting club that helps teach students those life-saving skills.

Sykes enjoys the classroom, but the best part of teaching usually comes once his students have been out of his classroom for a few years and then come back to see him, he said.

Several former students have told Sykes about successes they’ve had. And when Sykes congratulates them, they turn that compliment around.

“They say, ‘I owe it to you,’” Sykes said. “You must be doing something right if you’re making a positive difference in a child’s life.”

The Troops to Teachers enhancement act would help put more retired service members into teaching positions, said John Scheuer, state program manager for Arizona. The current program includes a $5,000 stipend to help with certification expenses, job placement assistance and a possible $10,000 if new teachers commit at least three years to serving in a school that has a high number of low-income families.

The enhancements would reduce the amount of military service needed to be eligible for the program from six years to 90 days, expand the list of high-need schools former troops could teach in to receive the $10,000 bonus and create an advisory panel to recommend future changes to the program, Scheuer said.

Sykes said he hopes more veterans decide to take advantage of Troops to Teachers and join him in the classroom.

“I’m only one guy. I’m only one veteran,” Sykes said. “This is what I bring to the table.”

More about

More about

More about

  • Discuss

Leadpages’ Converted 2016 Set For October with Comedian Marc Maron, Others

Leadpages’ second annual conference Converted 2016 has just been added to the calendar for October 18 – 19. Star speakers will include comedia…

Published: July 23, 2016 - 11:05 am @ http://smallbiztrends.com/2016/07/leadpages-conver…

Hillary Clinton introduces running mate Tim Kaine

Democratic Hillary Clinton has formally introduced her presidential running mate, Virginia Senator Tim Kaine, highlighting his "lifelong commi…

Published: July 23, 2016 - 11:06 am @ http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/election-us-2016-3687625…

Money Saving Tips for Summer

We are in high savings mode at our house because we recently returned from a big vacation and it reminded me that I had not shared my money-sa…

Published: July 23, 2016 - 10:39 am @ http://www.organizedisland.com/money-saving-tips-f…

Trump's Border Wall Would Be a Disaster for Wildlife

California's border with Baja California is a complex region with unique environmental issues. Our Borderlands series takes a deeper look at t…

Published: July 23, 2016 - 10:03 am @ https://www.kcet.org/redefine/trumps-border-wall-w…

Faulty software is main reason for public service pay problems, union says

The pay problems affecting more than 80,000 public servants appear to be rooted in more than insufficient training, as users complain of probl…

Published: July 23, 2016 - 8:04 am @ http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/fault…

Praising Kaine: How Clinton's choice of a widely respected senator drives a deep wedge into the GOP

Hillary Clinton announced her selection of Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine as her running mate late on Friday evening, and something incredible has al…

Published: July 23, 2016 - 8:01 am @ http://www.dailykos.com/story/2016/7/22/1551229/-P…

Phoenix police: Remains likely weren't flushed down toilet

PHOENIX - Human remains found in a Phoenix wastewater sewer line included bones and likely were too large to have been flushed down a toilet, …

Published: July 23, 2016 - 8:01 am @ http://www.abc15.com/news/region-phoenix-metro/cen…

What Critics Are Saying About ‘Star Trek Beyond’

This week at the multiplex, we’ll pay a visit to the final frontier (“Star Trek Beyond,” starring Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto), prehistoric …

Published: July 23, 2016 - 7:02 am @ http://blogs.wsj.com/speakeasy/2016/07/22/what-cri…

The First-Ever Indigenous Comic Con Puts Native Artists in the Spotlight

It all started at the 2011 Phoenix Comicon. There, Native comic creators came together and built a support system by forming Indigenous Narrat…

Published: July 23, 2016 - 7:01 am @ http://remezcla.com/features/culture/this-comic-co…

Phoenix police: Workers find apparent human remains in sewer

PHOENIX (AP) — Police on Thursday said they searched a wastewater sewer system in a neighborhood where partial human remains were found after …

Published: July 23, 2016 - 7:00 am @ http://bigstory.ap.org/article/2bf5c625b5c74f8a9f0…

Facebook

ahwatukee.com on Facebook

Twitter

ahwatukee.com on Twitter

RSS

Subscribe to ahwatukee.com via RSS

RSS Feeds

Spacer4px

Most Popular

Online poll

Loading…