Choosing to become a teacher is one of the most selfless and perhaps most daring decisions an individual can make. But choosing to take on a floundering program fraught with staff turnover and lack of school support with no guarantee of a salary has to be either insanity or the mark of an educator with a passion.
Brent Friess is such an educator. In 2011, Brent took over the Timpview High School Ballroom team coaching position. Previously a state and national placing program, the team had suffered from coaching staff turnovers resulting in many of its top performers moving on to private programs. Brent not only inherited these problems but a bankrupt bankrupt budget. All FTE funding for the team had been shifted to other programs but Brent took on the position without any guarantee of a salary except for what could be fundraised.
Brent also worked tirelessly with administration to bring his teaching salary back under the school FTE funding so that future fundraisers could be used to benefit the program (replacing and repairing costumes, paying for tours and competitions). This week we learned that the school administration had decided to cover Brent’s salary but at .4 of his work load as this year. While this is a big step towards having his salary properly covered through school funds and not fund raised dollars, it was also a huge set back in that it meant he was teaching 7 less classes and would have to either cut one team or combine the teams. It also meant he would have to coach the two remaining teams in one hour. Finally, it meant he would receive less than half his current pay.
No one would have blamed Brent for quitting, but that’s just not Brent. He sent an email to the parents pointing out the positive aspects of this new arrangement and thanked the administration for its support.
Despite these obstacles, Brent successfully taught 12 courses this year and coached 3 teams bringing home 3 1st Place and 2 3rd place national titles home to Timpview High School. Every dance number placed in the top 10 and the ballroom team is ranked 2nd in the nation.
Brent is a man with a passion not only for the dance he teaches, but for the students whose lives he influences and for the program he is building.
Teacher Feature would be just a small thank you for the many sacrifices and achievements Brent and his wife, Kim, have made this year.