Meet Special Ed Teachers Mr. McGrath and Mr. Wheatley

Brayden Cox | Reporter


Applied English teacher Mr. Kevin McGrath got his start here at Avon High School three years ago as an English teacher. That, however, was just a way to get his foot in the door.

“To put it simply, a special education job opened up last minute before I started,” said McGrath.

McGrath has been a special education teacher for five years now, with the majority of his career at Avon. While McGrath was hired on as an English teacher, his true passion is special education.

“There are a couple reasons. The main one being I wanted to help kids. Some kids a really smart, they just need a little extra help,” McGrath said. “I really wanted to level the playing field for those kids.”

McGrath, like anyone else, has had some difficulties throughout his career.

“I had a student that moved here who was a foster kid. I couldn’t get him interested in anything. He ended up at Harris [Academy] and ended up dropping out,” McGrath said.

Although his students deal with adversity, Mr. McGrath has enjoyed watching their success.

“Last year I had a couple kids who thought they were not going to graduate, and seeing them walk at graduation was amazing,” McGrath said.

Mr. Jacob Wheatley, an applied government teacher at Avon High School, began his career teaching government at Decatur Central.

“The one thing I enjoy about my class is I make them fun,” Wheatley said. “We like to joke around but within that there is always a core lesson.”

Wheatley, who is a first year teacher at Avon, has always been drawn to teaching special education.

“My wife always said that I would be better at being a special education teacher. My undergrad is in world history k-12 and my degree is in special education,” Wheatley said.

Taking on a new job has been different for Wheatley, but he still maintains the same philosophy.

“In my applied government classes the cognitive level isn’t the same. We do a lot of group work and a lot of things as a class,” Wheatley said. “While they may remember a few things about government, my goal is to make them better people.”

 

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