Every week, Mark Youngs, chief financial officer for the Keller school district, goes to Hillwood Middle School to tutor several seventh grade boys in math.
For a lot of administrators, being in the classroom is nothing new because they started out as teachers.
Youngs spent more than 25 years in the corporate world before going to work in school district finance in 2001. He came to Keller six years ago.
Youngs started volunteering as a math tutor last year at Indian Springs Middle School after taking up a challenge he heard from an education speaker.
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The speaker criticized administrators who never set foot in schools and challenged them to go out and see “where the rubber meets the road.”
“I enjoy talking to kids and talking to teachers,” Youngs said. “It’s nice to see where the real activity happens. You remember this is what it’s all about.”
Hillwood Principal Kathleen Eckert said she was thrilled when Youngs asked about tutoring at the school.
“With 1,200 kids it’s hard to get that one-on-one or small group interaction,” Eckert said.
The students relate well to him because he’s there on a consistent basis. “It makes them feel important that somebody is coming from the administration building to work with them,” she said.
Math teacher Amy Montemayor agreed.
“They look forward to him coming. Every once in a while, he has to miss for a meeting so they come and ask me, ‘Is he here today?’” Montemayor said.
On a recent Thursday, Youngs worked with three seventh graders on proportions and ratios. He used a small whiteboard to draw diagrams and show how he came up with answers.
“What I’m trying to teach you today is there’s lots of different ways to solve something,” he told the boys.
After the session, seventh grader Tyler Waller said that Youngs makes the math problems easier to understand.
“It helps me a lot,” Tyler said. “He goes at the right pace.”