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FHS teacher, ex-cop talks shop

From the streets of New York City to the hallways of Farragut High School, FHS teacher Guy DeMarco meets life head on.

DeMarco, who teaches dynamics of leadership and criminal justice, is uniquely qualified to teach both classes.

Before becoming an elementary teacher in Florida, then moving to Farragut in 2007 to begin his inaugural year as a high school teacher, DeMarco was on quite a different career path.

“I was a police lieutenant in New York,” he said.

Eventually DeMarco decided he did not want to retire as a police officer and started looking toward other interests.

“When I had about 10 years on the job, I started thinking ‘O-K what do I want to do when I retire?’ I had done some teaching in the police academy and I really enjoyed it. So I went back to school and I decided to get my master’s in education.

“I did some teaching in my church, just to make sure that is what I wanted to do, and l loved it.

“So after I got my master’s in education I retired in 2002 and I went to Florida initially. I taught elementary school and I loved it,” added.

DeMarco became the principal’s go-to “Guy.”

“I started off teaching fourth grade. Then the principal asked me if I would get into the technology portion, so I was the instructional technology coach and I worked with teachers and students, helping them to integrate technology into their lessons,” he said.

From there, he accepted a position teaching kindergarten through fifth grade in the school’s science lab, until the principal needed him to step up again.

“The writing scores in fourth grade started to falter a bit, so he said, ‘listen, I need you to go back to fourth grade.’ The process with which I teach writing really helped the students. They were a title one school, so they did not have a lot of experience, so I would bring a lot of things into the classroom.

“I went back into fourth grade and taught writing and the school went up a letter grade to an A school,” he said.

Though DeMarco loved his job, he and his wife, Anita, began looking to relocate.

“Florida is a great place … to visit,” he said.

“I missed the seasons. My wife had a family friend who lives here in Tennessee and he had been trying to get us to come here, so we came here, we visited, and I fell in love with the place, in particular with Farragut. It is just a wonderful community.

When I saw Online that the position became available for a criminal justice teacher, I said, ‘that is right in line with what I want to do.’ I get to teach, which I love to do, and I get to stay in touch with all my criminal justice training. It worked out well and I have had a great year.”

In addition to teaching criminal justice, DeMarco also teaches dynamics of leadership, which was previously known as the Leadership Initiative Club.

“That has been a fabulous class,” he said.

“The students in there are amazing.

“The things they do, the projects they come up with and their desire to serve the community and do all these community service projects, it is amazing what they accomplish.

“One of the textbooks that we use is “The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader” by John Maxwell.

“We go over and we learn that leaders are not born, they are made. A lot of qualities that people see in other leaders and people they consider leaders, and what exactly makes them a leader.

“We learn about the traits, we learn about the qualities and then the students put those qualities into action in the class. They take responsibility and they apply it not only in their lives and in the classroom, but they go out and apply it in the community.

“They are required to do two small service projects and one large project that lasts all year.

“They choose service projects based on what they want to do and what they want to give back to the community,” he added.

When asked if he thought his time as a police officer helped prepare him for his teaching career, DeMarco said, “Absolutely.”

“A lot of the kids ask me, ‘what’s it like being a cop?’

“It is no different than any other profession. You go out, you talk to people. Sometimes you see people in a good light, sometimes you see people when they are in need. It is all about being a person and how you approach that.

“Being a teacher is not that much different than being a police officer, it is just a different job. It is interacting with people and trying to make people successful.

“They are both rewarding positions and they are both stressful positions, it is just different rewards and different stresses, that’s all,” he added.

“I love both of the professions. That’s why being a criminal justice teacher I get the best of both worlds right now.”


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