ARDMORE, Ala. (WHNT) - Mike DeFiore, a 7th and 8th grade science teacher at Ardmore School, is this week's Tools for Teachers honoree and recipient of $319 to use as he sees fit in the classroom. He was nominated by Alexander McMahon, an appreciative student who says Mr. DeFiore makes science fun and spends a lot of money out of his own pocket for classroom materials.
Mr. DeFiore spent three decades as a chemist in industry before before making the leap to teaching. He says it was well worth going back to school to have the opportunity to work in a uniquely rewarding career.
"I spent almost 30 years in industry. Maybe that's why I enjoy teaching so much. This is a lot more challenging but a lot more rewarding," DeFiore told us during our surprise visit.
While many science and math teachers prefer to teach older students and more advanced subjects, Mr. DeFiore deliberately sought to teach middle school. He says this is the age group where he can have the most impact.
"I love the age group - it's a special special age group. It's the last chance to reach a child," DeFiore says.
If you know a worthy teacher, coach, principal, or aide, tell us about them through the Tools for Teachers nomination form.