Teachers plan, assess, network, collaborate, tweet, differentiate, and study the testing bar graphs to measure if what they’re doing in the classroom is actually making a positive difference for students. But there are critical data points, beyond the right clicks and test scores, that make the difference between an effective teacher and a truly inspiring educator. This critical difference has been dubbed the “teacher effect.”
Dr. Wiley Dobbs, superintendent of Twin Falls School District, is among this elite league of educators, and his “effect” is remembered by one of his students, who is now a teacher herself.
“The teacher who inspired me the most was Mr. Wiley Dobbs in 7th grade at O’Leary Junior High. His class was so much fun. We did hands-on projects,” explained Heidi Beezley, who teaches 1st grade at Richfield Elementary School.
“I remember that it was the first time I ever had to use a binder, and it was an ongoing binder that we used throughout the year. Everything we did in class went into the binder and I was able to go through and revisit each lesson…writing, drawing, worksheets…it was just exciting to me.”
Heidi Beezley carries on the “Dobbs Effect” so that her students feel excited to come to school and learn, just like Dr. Dobbs made her feel in 7th grade. “He made history and coming to school fun for me that year.”
“I remember Heidi and didn’t know she went into teaching,” said Dobbs. “She was a wonderful student…I can still remember where she sat in my classroom. She was a part of a group of kids that were special. I can’t say they were my favorites because I never had a group I didn’t like.”
Dobbs reflected on his career in education, “I’m one of the lucky ones because I’ve loved all the jobs I’ve ever had as an educator. I was a teacher, a coach, a principal, a director of operations, and even a substitute. But every change has been hard. I agonized over going from a teacher and coach to a principal, and from a director of operations to a superintendent. It’s going to be hard for me to retire. I’ve adored this career.”
Many believe “change happens” but Dobbs stands firm. “Kids are kids. The secret to good teaching is and has always been building relationships.”
Dobbs added, “Whether you’re a cook, a secretary, a bus driver…building relationships with kids and parents and stakeholders makes a transformational difference in a school. And when those relationships are solid you have school synergy, and that’s magical.”
Dr. Dobbs has been the superintendent of Twin Falls School District since July of 2003. He joined the TFSD in 1983, serving as a teacher, alternative high school principal, junior high principal, and Director of Operations of the District. Dr. Dobbs received his Ph.D. from the University of Idaho in 2004. He received the Secondary Principal of the Year award in 1998-99, the Idaho Middle Level Association’s 2001-02 State Middle Level Educator of the Year Award, and Idaho Superintendent of the Year in 2013. He has served on the National Congressional Award Foundation Board of Directors since 2009.
Hats off to you Dr. Dobbs, for paying it forward and passing the “teacher effect” on to Idaho’s students and teachers.