For this George Ranch High School Teacher, Teaching is a Calling

HOUSTON – It is said that teaching is a calling. And, this is very much the case for Coach Isaac Fudge, who teaches, and coaches football, at George Ranch High School in Richmond. “I don’t really feel like I’m working. When you do something that you feel is purpose driven, you know, you don’t often feel like you’re doing a job. So whatever is needed by me for what’s best for our kids, is whatever I’ll end up doing,” he told Houston life. And this, is just one of the many reasons Coach Fudge is the Teachers of Tomorrow 2023 Teacher of the Year.

Teachers of Tomorrow is the nation’s largest alternative certification program. They recently announced Isaac Fudge as their 2023 Teacher of the Year. The notable award recognizes teachers for their hard work and dedication to the teaching profession. As the winner, Isaac received a $5,000 cash prize.

“Isaac is a go getter. That’s the bottom line. He’s very fun to work with. He talks well. He teaches very well,” said Bob Arena. As a Field Supervisor for Teachers of Tomorrow, Arena works closely with Coach Fudge offering guidance and support.

“Isaac just really kind of came to the surface because of what he does in the classroom. His passion his dedication, his focus, and the way he also interacts with students outside of the classroom. He is just a wonderful example of why we want to continue to offer opportunities for individuals like Isaac to come into this profession, they are desperately needed,” said Teachers of Tomorrow CEO, Dr. Heath Morrison.

As much as teaching with his calling. Coach Fudge came to the profession a little later. “I played football in college, but I went to school for business and specifically marketing, and I was working in marketing and social media marketing. I kept finding myself looking back at coaching and teaching jobs instead of what I had got my degree in and so I just knew right away that is what I needed to do. A lot of that too, is because of the influence that my coaches had on me when I was growing up,” explained Coach Fudge.

George Ranch High School Campus Coordinator and Head Football Coach, Nick Cavallo told Houston Life, “What makes Isaac so good is just how much he cares and how passionate he is for this profession. We were lucky that we were able to hire Isaac three years ago, and just what makes us so unique is how young he is but how much of an older soul and an older spirit he has that really not only relates to the kids, but also on a professional level, he is well ahead of his age. So we’ve just been fortunate that his passion and his care for kids and this profession has just bled into our community.”

Coach Fudge was one of nine finalists selected from across the country. “He was selected out of our group of amazing candidates. We’re very fortunate, that as we had this opportunity to honor our teachers, we had many, many great candidates. It goes to a very rigorous selection program where individuals, throughout all the areas that we offer our program in, have the ability to offer candidates up,” said Morrison.

In the classroom, it is obvious he has the respect of his students. “If I am struggling he’ll help me. And like, he’s just an amazing teacher,” said student Moses Obanla before yelling across the classroom, “I love you Coach Fudge!” And, the love appears to go both ways. “His heart. That’s the biggest thing about him. He builds relationships with kids and just gets kids to buy into him, and then he holds those expectations high,” explained George Ranch Principal Heather Patterson.

Teachers of Tomorrow is dedicated to providing those called to teaching a way into classrooms and support once in those classrooms.

Dave Saba is Chief Development Officer at Teachers of Tomorrow. “I’ve been working in teacher recruitment since 2004, and this is the most difficult that it has been for school districts to find the talent they need. There’s just so many more professions available that not as many people are going into teaching, especially in college. So they need an on ramp to teaching later in their career. And that’s what Teachers of Tomorrow provides.

For Principal Patterson, the support the school gets from Teachers of Tomorrow is valuable at a time when recruiting teachers is a challenge. “Lamar CISD is doing a really great job of having that connection with teachers of tomorrow and them having that relationship to where we can call and say, hey, we have this opening, like, hey, we have this new batch of teachers coming out and they connect us. So they’ve been really great bringing those people and then offering the support, because when you get in the classroom, it’s great and exciting. You get that first paycheck. But then once you get in that classroom and it gets hard and like kids aren’t maybe listening and things like that, they had the support of teachers said tomorrow and the field supervisor to come in and help with that,” she told Houston Life.

“Teachers of Tomorrow does a great job of support. They have coaches like me that are very experienced. I’ve been in this profession for 37 years. You also have a lot of support on the campus from their mentors from the administration,” said Arena

For someone who is called to teach, Teachers of Tomorrow provides a path to not only a rewarding career but also the roadmap to success, through support and mentorship. For someone on the fence, thinking maybe they do want to step into that teaching career they have always wondered about, Coach Fudge says this, ”Try it out. You don’t know until you try it. So, even if you don’t go into it full time, go in as a sub to start and see how you like it. A day in the life.”

For more information on acquiring teacher certification through Teachers of Tomorrow go to their website. CLICK HERE.

Take a trip to George Ranch High School in Richmond, TX and meet Coach Fudge in the video above.

About the Author

Melanie Camp is a correspondent on KPRC 2’s Houston Life. 

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