Todd Wyrick teaches English at The Priory at St. Andrew's Schools (SAS). Mr. Wyrick has been teaching for 27 years and has been at The Priory for eight. Prior to joining SAS, Mr. Wyrick taught gifted and talented classes for grades 7-8 at Assets School, and taught grades 7-12 at Palama Settlement's In-Community Treatment Center. Prior to teaching in Hawai'i, Mr. Wyrick worked in Richmond, California, as a teacher; principal at the Contra Costa County Department of Education; and taught 5th grade at Vista Christian School. He also coached The Priory's sailing team for four years before joining the faculty and directed Christian education programs for children, youth and adults for a decade.
Originally from Pleasant Hill, California, Mr. Wyrick earned his bachelor's in History from Pacific University, his Master of Divinity from the Iliff School of Theology and a certificate in Educational Administration from California State University, Hayward.
How did you get into teaching? What made you want to pursue the career?
"After I made the difficult decision to leave pastoral ministry (I served churches in Colorado and Washington State), I realized that what I most enjoy is creating an environment in which people grow their understanding of themselves and the world."
What is your favorite part about teaching?
"The 'ah-ha' moment, when students' synapses are firing and creating connections and meaning, is priceless. That, and I love learning, which means I receive a double advantage – I get to learn what I teach and teach what I learn."
What do you currently teach?
"Currently, I am teaching grades 7-9 English, along with Reading and Writing Lab and Creative Writing."
What have you previously taught?
"How much space do I have? I have taught subjects including ESL, English/Language Arts, Social Studies, Math, Science, Sailing, Tennis – the list goes on and on... there isn't enough room!"
What is a current goal and/or project you are working on?
"My goal every year is to learn how to be the best teacher I can be for the students I currently have. I am constantly reinventing what I do and how I do it."
What is the best part about teaching at The Priory?
"Working at the Priory is the apex of my career. Like Odysseus, who took twenty years getting home from the Trojan War, it took me over twenty years to attain the skills, knowledge and ability to be an effective teacher here. The best part about The Priory is what attracted me in the first place. It's the character of our students, who are passionate about the needs facing Hawai'i and the world."
Who or What Inspires You?
"My greatest source of inspiration is the Robin Williams' movie, "The Dead Poet's Society." His character, Mr. Keating, was bold, innovative and knew how to capture his students' interest. Likewise, he challenged them to be not just better students, but to be better people."
What is the best advice someone has given to you? Who was that person?
"When Jen Grems was here, she kept reminding us that while we can't reach every student every time, we can take solace and comfort in the fact that there will be another teacher down the road who will provide the pieces of knowledge we were unable to instill."
What is your wish for your students?
"Walt Whitman wrote: 'That the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse.' My wish for is that students will discover what their verse will be. Isn't figuring out who we are the point of education?"
What is one interesting thing people may not know about you?
"My wife and I have spent years successfully competing together in sailboat racing, both here and on the mainland."
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
"Besides sailing and being on the water, I love to write and read the works of other writers."
Tell us about your family.
"My wife and I have one child, Nicole, who lives with her husband and two young daughters in Brisbane, Australia. To the girls, we're the grandparents with funny accents. Also, we're dog people, but right now we live in a condo and instead have a cheeky, tubby, tabby cat rescued from the streets of Kalihi."