Tim Rodman: 'The students are top priority for me'

Tim Rodman didn't expect to go viral. After Kevin Garay, Mallard Creek High principal, surprised Rodman with cupcakes and balloons to announce that Rodman is the 2018 North Learning Community Teacher Assistant of the Year, an Instagram photo of the celebration was shared far and wide across the internet.

"I was walking down the hallway and students kept saying, 'We saw you on the internet. Congratulations!'" said Rodman.

Rodman is a teacher assistant and driver's education teacher for the school. He works with Exceptional Children from different departments throughout the school, including science, English and Career and Technical Education. 

"The students are top priority for me," he said. "I enjoy motivating the students to do the best they can to stretch their brains in everything they do."

Rodman works closely with teachers on his team to review their lesson plans so he can help students prepare. 

"I enjoy working with students one-on-one and helping them with their Individualized Education Plans. I work hard to understand each student's individual needs."

He also volunteers to manage the school's parking lot during events. 

"I have parking-lot duty and I've been told that I make the traffic flow outstanding," he said. "We have events here like new employee orientation and I am outside greeting people to make sure that our employees have places to park while our visitors can get in and out smoothly."

Garay said Rodman's efforts are noticed and appreciated by everyone at Mallard Creek. 

"He has tremendous pride in his position and our school," he said. "He will do anything to promote our school and community and his input is always valuable as we consider ways to continuously improve our school."

Rodman is from Lakeland, Fla. and attended Florida A&M University. He was working at Bank of America while teaching driver's ed part-time for CMS when he was laid off from the bank in 2002. He applied for a full-time position and was hired immediately.

"Teaching driver's ed has taught me so many valuable lessons that are applicable to the classroom," said Rodman. "Everyone wants to drive, students on every level of the learning spectrum. So you have to cater how you teach to your strongest learner and your weakest learner. Being able to do that prepared me for the classroom."

Knowing that his peers have chosen him to represent the North Learning Community makes the recognition more special. 

"We have a great team here. Mr. Garay is a great principal who cares about students first and faculty a close second. We all follow his lead. I am so appreciative that this team noticed and recognized me."