Whitt’s devotion to JetsPress earns Teacher of the Year honors
MADISON – Daniel Whitt has been named Teacher of the Year at James Clemens High School.
Whitt teaches JetsPress, a digital communications class and spends half-days as a media specialist “to promote digital content creation and technology integration for all teachers and students.”
Next school year, Whitt will oversee James Clemens’ new arts/audio-visual career tech pathway complete with a four-class sequence.
Last school year, Whitt felt great pride for “‘The October Project,’ a very successful horror film festival, and ‘The Johnnys,’ an Oscars-style film awards night,” he said.
Whitt feels most rewarded when watching students develop into confident communicators, both online and in life. “My major challenge is keeping all the chaos relatively manageable,” he said.
In other honors, Sci-Quest Hands-on Science Center presented him with the Sci-Quest Quest for Excellence Award for his work in technology-based education. Whitt is an Apple Distinguished Educator and was a featured speaker at the 2013 TEDxHuntsville event.
While at Liberty Middle School, he led 85 students and 26 teachers and staff members in producing the “I’m Human” video, an introspective fact-finding inspection for each person. The recording became a YouTube sensation.
In summer 2012, Whitt collaborated with other educators in the Youth Converts Culture group on “The Perry County Project” at Judson College in Marion. The experiment sought “to convert the school and town’s culture to a 21st-century learning environment.”
“I’ve been extremely bettered by so many students, but Zachary Layman, the original Johnny the Jet, will forever stick in my mind as someone who made me a better teacher,” Whitt said.
Whitt earned a bachelor’s degree at the University of Mississippi, a master’s degree from University of Phoenix and an audio engineering certificate from SAE in New York City. He taught ninth-grade English for two years at Liberty before transferring to James Clemens.
His wife Jennifer teaches at Athens Middle School. Their daughter Stella Whitt, 7, is a first-grader at Julian Newman Elementary School in Athens. Son Silas Whitt, 4, is “the resident awesome dude at his daycare.”