Richard Lewis currently teaches chemistry at Wilson Central High School but has taught many science subjects throughout the years. He was also the department chair at the school for years.
Lewis is in his 25th year teaching. He previously taught at Mt. Juliet High School but moved to Wilson Central when it opened in 2001.
After working in his family’s business for years, he went back to Cumberland University and received his degree in secondary education.
Though hadn’t considered going into education, it was his sister, who is also a teacher, who helped persuade him.
“My sister told me for years and years ‘You’re a teacher, you just don’t know it,’” he said.
Lewis said he enjoys teaching chemistry because of his students.
“It’s the feeling you get when you explain something to a student and the student gets it,” he said. “It’s that moment when the light comes on. It’s a good feeling.”
Lewis said chemistry is important for students to learn because millions of chemical reactions are going on in their bodies at any point in time.
“The world that they live in is based in chemical reactions,” he said. “The more they can understand what’s going on with that the more they understand what’s going on with them and the world around them.”
“We have a lot of students going into the health field now which requires them to have at least one or two years of college chemistry, and I do what I can to help prep those students so they can be successful and on that level.”
He likes Wilson Central because of the people he works with and the mix of students from rural and urban areas of the county.
“We work together as a team here, especially the science department,” he said.
He was humbled to be chosen Wilson Central’s Teacher of the Year because of the many great teachers he works with at the school.
“I didn’t expect it, at all,” he said. “Just to be nominated is an honor, and the other teachers that were nominated with me are as good a teacher of better than I am.”