LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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James Hoggard

Position: Eighth Grade ELA Teacher
School: Antioch Middle School
School District: Metro Nashville Public Schools
City, State: Antioch, TN

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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."

Comments (17)

Celia Conley Posted 9 months ago

It is a pleasure to work alongside Mr. Hoggard. From the moment I met him (interview), we talked for over an hour about family, life, and literature :). I think I sold him when I told him I studied Canterbury Tales in school lol. Beyond the books, he has a heart for people and wants to connect with his students, families, and co-workers. I can't wait to learn with him this year!

Kenneth Cooper Posted 9 months ago

Great job! Keep it up!

Jamie Dunlap Posted 9 months ago

Mr. Hoggard has the best interest of the students in mind and he seeks ways to make connections with his students. He also provides opportunities for students to apply what they are learning in relevant ways inside and outside of the classroom. I am very excited to see all the great experiences that he will provide for the eighth grade students at AMS this year.

Jennifer Shaw Posted 9 months ago

I teach with me Hoggard is amazing inspiration! He is the Papa bear to our House is amazing! Thank you what you do with 7th and 8th grade

Makeda Watson Posted 9 months ago

In just the short amount of time that I’ve worked with Mr. Hoggard, I’ve been extremely impressed with the creative ways he engages his students! Mr. Hoggard is a wonderful addition to our school.

Amanda Dardy Posted 9 months ago

Mr. Hoggard has a creative and passionate approach to teaching! Our 8th grade students at Antioch Middle are lucky to have him for ELA.

Rashuna Knuckles Posted 9 months ago

My first impression of Mr. Hoggard is that he has an amazing sense of humor. I can not wait to see what our Panda Papa Bear has in store for us at AMS!

Shauna Beene Posted 9 months ago

This is AWESOME!! You are doing amazing things in the building! Keep it up!

Kari Arias Posted 9 months ago

Mr. Hoggard has only been my colleague for a few weeks, but I've already seen several of his costume characters and a plethora of engaging stunts!

Robert Lamont Posted over a year ago

I have known James for over thirty years and had the honor of teaching with him for two years at South Central University of Finance and Economics in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. James is a dynamic teacher who is not only dedicated to every student’s academic development but also their growth in character. His love for his craft is evident in the time and enthusiasm he pours into every lesson. And his students work hard for him because they are keenly aware of his dedication and care for them. I am confident James is not only high qualified for this award, he is well deserving of the recognition for his work, integrity, and the professional manner in which he conducts himself both in and outside the classroom.

Michael Hoggard Posted over a year ago

My brother's eyes light up when he talks about his students.

Sherry Posted over a year ago

James has made the classroom fun again. Bringing life to the written word and filling the minds of our future leaders with hope and purpose!

Gina Cleek Posted over a year ago

Mr. Hoggard truly enjoys teaching his subject. He supplements his teaching with projects that provide his students with deeper understanding and connection to "the real world". He takes initiative to research better practices and to use those in his classroom. He shares his real life experiences with his students and uses those as resources to add depth and interest to whatever he is teaching. In particular this year he worked with his students on a project for Department of Tennessee Veterans of Foreign Wars. I feel that this project made a lasting and very meaningful impression on those students who were a part of it.

Nathan Watkins Posted over a year ago

If any teacher deserves a reward of this caliber, it is certainly James Hoggard. Mr. Hoggard’s zeal for literature is one that is unrivaled, and it is shown through his unique lessons. From his life-sized models of Gawain the Green Knight and the severed arm of Beowulf, his class was not only informative, but exciting at the same time. I was enrolled in Mr. Hoggard’s classical literature course in 2016, and his lessons had such a profound impact on me that I decided to obtain a minor in English upon my enrollment at Middle Tennessee State university. I believe that a teacher as passionate as Mr. Hoggard should be rewarded for his great work, and as a former student, I would absolutely recommend him for this honor.

Denise Didio Posted over a year ago

Jaime and I have been friends since high school. I have always known that he would do great things. He is an amazing person and teacher. I always look forward to his posts from school. His students are truly blessed to have a teacher that continues to make learning interesting and fun!

Jingsong Pan Posted over a year ago

Mr. Hoggard is one of the greatest school teachers I’ve ever met in my life.

Mary Vacek, Visual Arts Instructor Posted over a year ago

I have had the pleasure of knowing James for the past four years, two of which he was a colleague at Coffee County High School from 2015 to 2017. James taught English IV and Creative Writing classes and had a reputation for his enthusiasm and creativity in the classroom. He regularly challenged his students to think three-dimensionally when exploring any text, inspiring and encouraging student presentations and performances that incorporated art, original thought tied in with literary analysis. This is best seen in what he called his Literature Alive Student Film Project where students translated literary works from their curriculum into storyboards, then to script writing, audio performances, and eventually filmed performances with costumes, sets, and props made by the students themselves. James was able to do this because he reached out beyond his classroom and collaborated with my art department and the auto-visual media department of our school. As James now teaches eighth grade at Coffee County Middle School, I can see that he is already making a difference and positively affecting the students there. Earlier this year he was bestowed the Tennessee Citizen Education Teacher of the Year Award for the 2018-2019 by the Department of Tennessee Veterans of Foreign Wars for his work in organizing his students to facilitate their version of the Veterans History Project. James' enthusiasm for teaching is contagious, and his friendly and positive attitude goes a long way in contributing to a healthy learning environment.