Teachers are viewed as heroes. They dedicate their professional lives to educating and preparing our children for what awaits them in the real world.

Wayne Ashworth embodies that dedication. He's now focused on molding young minds after serving in the U.S. Air Force for 26 years.

"We're doing long division so you can see our work on the board here,” Ashworth explained, when KTVA stopped by his fifth grade class at Inlet View Elementary School. “We've been going over the problems this morning. We're going old school today…"

Be it old-school or new-school teaching methods, Ashworth finds different and creative ways to keep his students engaged. Teaching is something he thought about his entire military tenure.

“(The) whole time I was in the Air Force… (I) was getting out of the Air Force In 1988, was in England and they gave me orders to Alaska,” Ashworth said. "I couldn't turn it down. My sister lives in Soldotna so I had to take the assignment of course. Ten years here and [Alaska] had me for a lifetime."

The state beckoned Ashworth, just like he beckons his students to learn.

“He's really nice," one of Ashworth's students said. "Sometimes if you're on problems that are really hard, he'll help you and explain it to you."

Ashworth encourages inquiry and wonder, according to both former students and his colleagues. He's always working to make students feel special and confident as they prepare for middle school.

"You learn a lot,” said another student, who refers to Ashworth as ‘Mr. A”. "It's fun to be in his classroom. There are a bunch of subjects I really like; my favorite though is 'Drop everything and read.'"

"I'm right where I need to be and where I want to be,” Ashworth said.

Whether he’s serving our country or educating our youth, Wayne Ashworth is a living, breathing example of dedication.

If you'd like nominate an educator for Head of the Class, here's how to do so. 

Copyright 2018 KTVA. All rights reserved.

RELATED STORIES: