CAMP VERDE – It’s been 10 years since Brian Tankesley changed careers and became a teacher.
Despite the inherent politicking of education that he lacks fondness for, Tankesley is a “relationship builder,” says Danny Howe, administrator-in-charge at Camp Verde Unified School District.
“I realized he was special when he volunteered to supervise many projects that others did not,” says Howe, who also serves as principal of Camp Verde Middle School. “He makes a difference in that he gets students to perform because they like him. They know they can count on him.”
It wasn’t until he began volunteering in his children’s classes when they were in grade school that Tankesley first thought of teaching.
“Their teachers were so caring and eager to support my children that I felt I too could be an integral component in a child’s development,” says Tankesley, principal at South Verde High School and Career and Technology Education director at Camp Verde High School.
For Tankesley, the most interesting element in teaching is that each day poses a new challenge.
“Each child is unique and requires individual attention thus, driving us to think critically while identifying ways to meet their needs,” Tankesley says.
The way Howe sees it, Tankesley’s strength is ‘his ability to relate to and get down on the same level as his students.”
Tankesley says that his teaching style begins by creating relationships with his students.
“I am firm, fair and honest and ensure each student is held accountable,” he says.
Tankesley says that his goal is to “keep my students safe, always be prepared with the most meaningful lesson and to create connections with all stakeholders that will ready them academically, socially and emotionally for the next stage in their life.”
Some of the most notable moments in Tankesley’s teaching career involve his students.
“As a career and technical education instructor, many of my students have gained much practical experience,” he says. “They have competed regionally and nationally winning many awards and scholarships. These accomplishments have opened the doors to career readiness prior to graduating high school.”
“Over the years I have learned that every day is a new day and what you failed to accomplish today, you can take another shot at tomorrow.”
DID YOU KNOW?
Teaching is Tankesley’s third career.
“When I graduated from high school, I attended Universal Technical Institute which is an automotive tech school,” he says. “At age 23 my wife and I owned and operated an auto and truck repair business until we closed our shop down and I became a truck driver. Truck driving consumed my life as the road was my home for months on end.
“Once my wife graduated college and became a teacher, I enrolled into Yavapai College and never looked back,” Tankesley says. “I am now in my third year in a doctoral program at Grand Canyon University seeking a degree in organizational leadership. I am due to graduate in November of 2018.”