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Tim Scott’s NVMS farewell not goodbye forever

Tim Scott plans to say goodbye to his classroom at Nooksack Valley Middle School at the conclusion of the school year, but in no way will he say goodbye to the school or its students. Living just a mile from the building, Scott plans to remain a part of the community he lives in and hopes to return to the school in some capacity, whether an occasional substitute teacher or a mentor of students.

And with 35 years of history at the middle school, that comes as a welcome proposition to those involved.

“Some people hate change and some people love change,” Scott says. “I’m excited about the change and am anticipating the change. I see my students at the store every week and that will continue to be true. It will be more of a gradual departure in some ways because I live here.”

Scott, who has spent over 37 years in education, the last 35 of those at Nooksack Valley Middle School, already has a plan for the fall, shifting into work with the Light of the World Prayer Center, a 24/7, 365-days-per-year operation that will certainly change his routine and give him something different.

“I am sure there will be more changes than I can predict,” he says. “There are many things coming.” Whether his work with the prayer center, connections with the local Hispanic church, his time with the Band of Brothers for Christ, “there are a lot of things I have been doing that have been leading me in my direction anyhow.”

As Scott steps away from the middle school, he’ll simply have more time for those things he’s already involved in, plus spending time with his wife visiting a months-old granddaughter near Spokane and camping, riding bike and placing a focus on leading individuals in either mentorship or small groups all directed toward creating a “much greater intimacy in prayer.”

Scott has served as a constant for Nooksack Valley Schools, a teacher of eighth grade math for 35 years. While early on he bounced between the middle and high schools during his work day, he’s always taught math to eighth grade students, being drawn to the climate of a middle school building. He likes that middle school students don’t often have the same academic pressures as seen at the high school, opening them to new ideas and fresh ways of approaching issues.

Over the years, having taught a few thousand students, he’s seen a shift in both the way he teaches and the reason. Early on he was part of the “sage on a stage” idea of standing in the front and dispensing information, having students do work over and over again. Now, though, the focus has shifted to the big picture of learning how to think and use information.

“About 90 percent of my students have a $500 phone in their pocket, and they can look up anything anytime,” he says, “but being a good user and thinker is really important. Still, there are definitely some skills that go along with that, especially in math.”

Scott’s personal focus has shifted over the last decade too, trying to become more “missional” in his attitude of “how can I be a representative of Jesus Christ here even though I can’t preach or share openly in that manner, both for staff and students.”

With the changes coming, his routine thrown into uncertainty, Scott hopes to remain connected to the school, helping ease the separation that would happen if he left and never came back. Scott knows the relationships will be what he misses the most — certainly not the grading of papers, he says — and staying connected to the staff and the students will keep his goodbyes to a minimum. And that’s a lot easier proposition after 35 years.