Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.” If you ask Director of Secondary Education Chip Southworth “How are you today?” in passing, this long-time educator will undoubtedly respond, “Best day of my life.” A very important day approaches. Southworth will retire effective November 17, 2014.
Southworth began his teaching career with Scott County Schools in 1987 teaching United States History, American Studies, and World Civilization. As a school administrator he served for eight years as both Assistant Principal and Principal of Scott County High School before beginning his service as Director of Secondary Schools for the district in 2007. This chronology could never demonstrate decades of leadership.
In perspective, the average student in Scott County will spend over 2000 days at school. When you found yourself in Mr. Southworth’s class, average school days took on a greater significance. Lessons in history were evenly balanced with the life lessons his classes always provided. Just ask any former student.
“In my experience, Chip Southworth was not only a great teacher, he was all that an educator should be. He listened, he involved students in discussions, and he cared about how each person grew and developed as a learner and a person.” Daniel Lowry, SCHS Class of 1994.
“Mr. Southworth is a truly exceptional teacher in so many ways. With his enthusiasm, he made history—and its importance—real for students. He challenged and pushed us to do better, but with a kindness that showed how much he cared about our success. Most importantly, he believed in me.” Carrie (Cutter) Abner, SCHS Class of 1995.
Southworth has helped remove boundaries for all students to take honors and Advanced Placement courses. He has also been instrumental in developing a great variety of course offerings for secondary students in Scott County. When asked about his legacy, Southworth stated that he hopes to see former students grow into honorable men and women. Students like SCHS French Teacher Julia Marshall.
“Mr. Southworth has contributed so much to my development, not only as a student, but throughout my life. He helped me grow as a reader, writer, and progressive thinker. As a young teacher he let me teach what I love and helped me grow as an educator. As a friend he has stressed the importance of teamwork, kindness, having a growth mindset, and embracing and thriving in change.”
A mark of a gifted educator, Chip Southworth inspires all he has encounters, including Michelle Nichols, Principal of Elkhorn Crossing School. “I consider it a privilege to have worked and learned from Chip Southworth throughout the past 11 years. He provides the right balance of trust and guidance, celebrates every success, and encourages the pursuit of personal and professional growth.”
Retirement will bring many new adventures for Chip Southworth which will undoubtedly include time with his sons Ben (Class of 2011) and Lucas (Class of 2013) as well as travel with wife Beth. Among so many sources, Southworth may have said it best himself. “It has been an honor to work as an educator in Scott County. A lot has changed in 27 years but if you build strong relationships with students and fellow employees, you can weather any storm.”
Best wishes, Mr. Southworth, in whatever awaits. Someone pretty special once told me, “If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.” Henry David Thoreau.
Renee Holmes, Director of Public Relations and Former Student