Greg Huberty’s ties to Clarke County public schools, run deep, especially at Cedar Shoals High School.
Recently named Clarke County Teacher of the Year, Huberty not only brings algebra and calculus alive for students at Cedar Shoals, but he’s a 1985 graduate of the school. Also Cedar Shoals alumni are his two children — Alyssa, Cedar’s 2015 salutatorian, and Zack, a 2015 graduate who’s now a producer for Augusta’s CBS TV affiliate. His wife teaches at Clarke County’s J.J. Harris Elementary School.
In his nearly 30 years at Cedar, Huberty has changed student lives not only as a teacher, but in other roles as well, including coaching soccer, basketball, football and golf at the school.
Huberty became a teacher so he could be a coach, but as his career progressed, the coaching became secondary to teaching, he said.
But coaching sports made him a better teacher, because of the different perspective and different way of relating in coaching.
“Coaching helped me a lot,” he said.
Teaching math is a challenging task, maybe more because of popular attitudes than difficulty.
“It’s socially acceptable to be bad at math,” he said.
State education officials several times mandated changes in how math is taught in recent years, and that’s been a challenge, too. But now the curriculum seems to be settled for the foreseeable future.
“The more we are into stability, the easier it is to become a better teacher. When we’ve had stability, we’ve seen test scores rise,” he said.
Education is now more data-driven, and more structured, which is good, but has negative impacts as well, he said.
“What’s getting lost a little bit is the art of teaching,” he said.
Huberty gets students to relate math to things they care about, like time and money.
Students always ask, he said, “When am I ever going to use this?”
“My stock answer is, ‘Mathematics teaches you how to think,’” Huberty said. “It’s useful wherever you go.”
Math helps baseball managers evaluate players; how much of a tip you should leave at a restaurant; math lets you figure out whether you need 3 gallons of paint or 10 gallons.
“You understand how to solve things, and solve by doing,” he said.
Like any teacher, Huberty is in it for his love of children, and a belief that what he’s doing makes a difference.
“You want to say, ‘I’m inspiring kids,’ but you don’t necessarily see the end product,” he said. “When you do, it’s wonderful.”
A former student came up to him recently at a basketball tournament.
“I want to thank you for pushing me,” said the student, now in college. “I’m the only one on my hall not on academic probation.”
The Clarke County School District also honored each school’s Teacher of the Year at a recent luncheon:
- Alps Road Elementary School - Joycette Bell
- Barnett Shoals Elementary School - Leigh Ann Emrick
- Barrow Elementary School - Fonda Slongo
- Burney-Harris-Lyons Middle School - Annie Turman
- Cedar Shoals High School - Greg Huberty
- Chase Street Elementary School - Janet Fielding
- Clarke Central High School - Alexandra Szatkowski Henson
- Clarke Middle School - Brian Parido
- Classic City High School - Tiffani Knight
- Cleveland Road Elementary School - Joe Weinmeister
- Coile Middle School - Fredric Rushing
- Fowler Drive Elementary School - Pauly Shenton
- Gaines Elementary School - Sarah Walls
- Hilsman Middle School - Meganne Skinner
- J.J. Harris Elementary School - Lindsey Arinze
- Oglethorpe Avenue Elementary School - Leigh Anne Lindsey
- Stroud Elementary School - Jaime Marshall
- Timothy Road Elementary School - Monique Pumphrey
- Whit Davis Elementary School - Andrea Rowe
- Whitehead Road Elementary - Kira Graves
- Winterville Elementary School - Cedric Payne