By Charlotte Underwood
LAFOLLETTE, TN (WLAF) – Teachers make a difference in their students lives each and every day. For many students, having a teacher who cares and goes that extra mile can be the difference in a successful education and graduation. We’ve all had that teacher who inspired us or helped in some way. That’s why WLAF and Eagle Tire Pros salute all of our hard working educators with a weekly feature.11
This week’s featured teacher is LaFollette Elementary School’s Michael Roark. He has been an educator for eight years in Campbell County and prior to that taught for 27 years in Kentucky.
Roark was raised in Caryville and graduated from Campbell County High School in 1983. This September, he will be celebrating his 40th class reunion.
Roark attended Cumberland College, now known as the University of the Cumberlands. He stayed in Kentucky and spent 27 years teaching, before retiring in 2016.
In 2013, Roark married Diane Claiborne Fowler and the couple moved back to Jacksboro in 2016 after he retired from teaching in Kentucky. In 2017, Roark began teaching again. That August found him at Jellico Elementary where he taught for five years. He is in his third year at LaFollette Elementary School.
Over the course of his 35 year teaching career, Roark has taught all grades 2nd through eighth and six years as a PE teacher. Most of his career has been teaching Math, and he currently teaches fifth grade math at LaFollette Elementary School.
When he’s not teaching, Roark enjoys spending time outdoors running, cycling and fishing. He also enjoys woodworking, “especially making canes.”
According to Roark, it was Campbell County Coach John Faulkner who had a huge influence on his life.
“Coach John Faulkner is the main reason I got into and went to college, especially Cumberland. While at CC, my Geology professor encouraged me to go into teaching,” Roark said.
His favorite part about his job is “turning kids onto math,” which he finds “very rewarding.”
“However, seeing those “a-ha” moments when they fully grasp the concept is what keeps me teaching,” Roark said.
Roark has taught at several schools under numerous administrators.
“Working for Bob Walden and Ashley Spade has been the very best experience of my career. They truly motivate me to be the best I can for my kids. Also Jessica Housely and Amy Davis are my rock. I would not be as successful as I am without these two wonderful, inspiring friends, coworkers and colleagues,” Roark said.
Every Thursday, WLAF’s Charlotte Underwood features the WLAF – Eagle Tire Pros teacher of the week. That educator also receives a free oil change from Eagle Tire Pros. To nominate a teacher for teacher of the week honors, please send your nomination to email@example.com (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 08/31/2023-6AM)