James Hoggard was nominated by his spouse, Jiao Hoggard.
With over thirteen years of teaching experience in China and the United States, Mr. Hoggard is a proven asset to his students, his school, and his community. As an English teacher, he is constantly creating opportunities to help his students explore valuable life lessons, frequently crossing curriculums to incorporate and combine English Literature, current events, theater, and visual arts. Mr. Hoggards’ career achievements include rethinking the English IV Academic Research program to a World Changers Research Project, so that students can learn from the triumphs and tragedies of people who changed history. In addition, he provided resume writing and interview training for high school seniors’ mock interviews, working in collaboration with volunteers from the local Chamber of Commerce. He also organized a career fair for at-risk youth incarcerated at a youth development center in Nashville. Whenever possible, Mr. Hoggard goes beyond the typical worksheet lessons, challenging his students with engaging group activities such as “Escape Room” puzzlers, creative presentations, and classroom performances. He has always collaborated closely with his Professional Learning Communities both in middle, high school, and even during his five year of teaching in China. He regularly goes above and beyond his classroom work hours, volunteering with numerous school events, including graduation rehearsals, prom, bus and car duty, school socials, and selling tickets at school sporting events. And most recently has worked to acquire donated clothes for students in need while personally washing, folding, and packaging the clothing before distributing.
Most recently, Mr. Hoggard provided his eighth-grade ELA students with a book entitled “Sink or Swim” by Steven Watkins. The story was inspired by the real-life experiences of U.S. Navy Veteran, Calvin Graham, who is said to be the youngest U.S. recruit to serve during World War II, having enlisted in the Navy in 1942 at the age of 12. Drawing from the novel, he had his students create their own “Sink or Swim” word wall, decorating it with vocabulary and symbols found throughout the book and from WWII. The students’ word wall was fantastic and imaginative and included numerous types of sailor knots personally tied by the students from pieces of rope.
But it doesn’t stop there. Mr. Hoggard created a Veterans Living History Project to educate his students on what it means to be a U.S. Veteran. Modeled after the Library of Congress’ Veterans History Project created in 2000 to collect and preserve firsthand accounts of U.S. Military Veterans, his project is intended to help students gain awareness of the role of Veterans and their stories. In its first year (2018-2019), nearly 100 students were involved in the interviews of nearly fifty veterans, including over thirty-one veterans from the local Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), American Legion, and Disabled American Veterans who personally volunteered and come to the school to tell their stories and be videoed interviewed. Mr. Hoggard also had his eighth grade English students submit essays in support of the VFW’s Patriot’s Pen essay competition, of which three of his students took first, second, and third place. As a result, he was recognized by the Department of Tennessee Veterans of Foreign Wars as Citizen Education Teacher of the Year for the 2018-2019 school year.
Mr. Hoggard is an excellent role model outside of school as well, his volunteer work includes serving as an on-call volunteer with Hope Force International Disaster Recovery and he is a volunteer mentor to high school seniors through the TNAchieves Mentoring program. In the past, he has also served as a Make-A-Wish Foundation wish facilitator in Middle Tennessee and a sponsor for the Special Olympics and the Home for Children of Incarcerated Parents in Beijing, China.
"I believe James Hoggard embodies what it means to be a caring and nurturing teacher," said Jiao. His passion for teaching is reflected in how he lives –a LifeChanger whose positive example is a genuine blessing to his family, his students and his community."