“One of the reasons I love working in middle school is there’s really a focus on educating the whole child,” Tanner said. “It’s not just about academics. It’s also about supporting their emotional needs as they make that transition from childhood to the teenage years.”
An assistant principal at Simpson Middle School since 2008, Tanner said he will miss that community when he transitions to his new post.
“That’s what really makes a school: the people and the beliefs they prioritize,” he said. “And, of course, a big component of that are the kids.”
Tanner spent eight years in the classroom — six of them as a teacher at Lassiter High School — before stepping into administration. He said he misses the “daily connection with the students” and “getting to see that academic growth throughout the year.”
“That’s why I’m very visible in the halls and in the classroom,” Tanner said. “It helps me to stay connected to that.”
His new school is home to an International Baccalaureate program Simpson did not have.
Tanner said he is looking forward to working with the IB courses.
“I think the thing I’m most excited about is the IB program here, because the ultimate goal of IB is to create students who have a global perspective of the world, which prioritizes diversity and acceptance of others,” he said. “It instills high-level thinking, so they’re truly prepared for high school and the workforce beyond.”
Tanner said the IB program, which is entering its third year at Campbell, adheres to Common Core standards, while offering “a framework that the teacher uses to plan their lessons so that they provide international connections.”
Melodye Li, an eighth-grade language arts teacher at Simpson, said she worked with Tanner all three years he served at her school.
“He’s a very genuine person,” Li said. “He is a role model of integrity. And he has more patience than anybody I know.”
Li said Campbell is “so fortunate to have him” for the upcoming school year.
Marcie Donaldson, who teaches reading to seventh-graders at Simpson, said she has also worked with Tanner during his three-year tenure at Simpson, but knew him previously through his work with the county.
“He can motivate anybody — teachers, students, parents,” Donaldson said. “He provides opportunities for people to reach their potential, and he will never ask for more than what he’s willing to do.”
Both Li and Donaldson said they will miss Tanner this year.
Tanner said he will strive to “build on the success that has already been established” at Campbell, which he said was recognized by the state for its high growth rate.
He said he hopes to help students at his new school discover ways to reach new academic heights.
“My philosophy is definitely all about getting a sense of where the students are and then finding strategies that will help to push them to achieve at higher levels.”