Position: Special Education Teacher / Archery Coach
School: Chandler High Junior /High School
School District: Chandler Public
City, State: Chandler, OK
Tyrell Rhoades was nominated by his wife, Aleisa Rhoades.
"My husband and I have taught together in Chandler, OK for 11 years. We are in charge of all of the high school students with special needs. We deal with all categories of disabilities and all varying degrees of them as well," said Aleisa. "Ty has been here for 15 years, and when I joined him, we decided to put together an archery program. Ty has extensive knowledge from the military and FAA, and he is an avid sportsman and hunter. He felt he could reach many more children who were uninvolved or disenchanted with traditional sports, could not afford it, or were more interested in outdoor activities."
Mr. Rhoades and his wife began with five targets and 15 high schoolers. They now see 130+ kids from 3rd through 12th grade. He has won consistently from division to district to state to national and even world tournaments for ten years. A few years ago, Mr. Rhoades and his wife gutted and remodeled a 42-year old school woodshop facility when enrollment grew too large for the old gym. They raise all of their own money and now produce champions, yearly, in their organization. He now has three part time assistant coaches, as well.
"Ty's season runs 10 months total and costs $40 per student. The students are almost famous in our community and the State Archery community," said Aleisa. "In the afternoon, Ty teaches Outdoor Skills to junior high and high school students. They have many activities: fishing, tying knots, even wandering around the local cemetery blindfolded. He teaches Hunter Safety, as well. In the morning, he teaches math to all ninth grade special education students. Those levels range from severe profound to algebra. When they are "ready", they come to me for upper level math, Votech or the regular mainstream."
The most impressive part of all of this is Mr. Rhoades' history. He grew up in rural Arkansas with a very poor logging family. He was a football star who never really learned to read until he was older. Mr. Rhoades immediately went into the Army, when his family couldn't afford the college fees for the football scholarship he had earned to Arkansas State University. He had made an 'A" in Football! He was in the military for 13 years, served in several occupations, and was wounded twice.
"Ty went to work for the FAA in Alaska after an Honorable Discharge. We met when he came here twice for training for the FAA," said Aleisa. "He ran generators for Air Traffic Controllers there in Alaska for four years and then moved here. He returned to school and became a special educator within three years. Ty just recently earned his Masters' Degree in Educational Leadership, which is exactly what he does! I believe he's a leader, a pillar of this community, and the epitome of what a teacher and life-long learner should be. He is a wonderful father to our daughter in college, as well as my older two daughters, who call him their bonus dad. Around here, he is called 'Coach'."