Jason Rhodes ’98 ’00, a former teacher in Henderson County and currently the assistant communications director for Buncombe County Schools, said his experience in the English, Secondary Education (BS) degree program provided the preparation he needed to pursue his education and career opportunities.
“A degree in English broadens your horizons while giving you the necessary tools to communicate and consume information.
“I may be biased,” said the former award-winning teacher, “but I believe English is the most important subject for creating well-rounded, critical thinkers and communicators.”
After completing a BS in Communication at Appalachian in 1998, Rhodes decided he wanted to be a teacher. He came back to Appalachian for the Secondary Education major, which he finished in 2000.
“I had every intention of using my degree to teach. However, the conversations I had with my professors and the literature I read inspired the budding intellectual in me,” said Rhodes. He ended up in New York City where he applied and was accepted to Columbia University for a master’s degree in English Education.
“I owe so much to my English professors at Appalachian for engaging with me both in and outside of the classroom. They helped me feel comfortable exploring new ideas in my career as a teacher,” he said.
“That foundation played a major role in me being named the 2010 Henderson County Teacher of the Year.”
In his current role, Rhodes is responsible for all aspects of communication for Buncombe County Schools. He oversees websites for the district office and the county’s 44 schools, and works closely with each school to highlight stories of their teachers, students and activities internally and with local media.
“We live in a wonderful age of technology. Information is literally at our fingertips, whether on our phones, tablets and even our watches,” he said. “Because of this, now more than ever people need to be discerning readers. A degree in English education is great for cultivating both critical thinking and an open mind.”