Superhero Teacher: Paul Warren
Fri, 2016-02-05 05:00 News Staff
By DAVID J. HARDIN
Family man, former United States Army soldier, musician, and dedicated teacher all can be used to describe Paul Warren.
Warren teaches music to students ranging from Kindergarten through fifth grade at Williams/Ledger Elementary School. He has been teaching for 23 years, all of them with CCISD. He taught for 20 years at Clements/Parsons Elementary School, and the last three years has been at Williams/Ledger Elementary.
Warren is the only music teacher at Williams/Ledger, and teaches for 45 minutes each day to grades 3-5, and 22 minutes each day to K-2. He has always had a love for music. His main musical influence is Led Zeppelin. Drummer Jon Bonham is the reason Warren wanted to play the drums. He can also play the guitar, which he did when he and his third grade choir sang for the CCISD board of trustees during their December 12 meeting.
Warren’s teaching philosophy is pretty simple. He said that in all the subjects he has taught over the years, social studies, science, U.S. history, and now music, “I have always approached it as if I were the student sitting in a class, how would I want to learn the material as a six-year-old or a 12-year-old, and then I turn that around and say would this be interesting or would this not be interesting.”
Keeping with this mentality of how would six or twelve-year-olds want to learn has helped him be successful in getting the attention of his students.
Warren and his wife have one daughter. She is a seventh grader at S.C. Lee Junior High School, and is in a rifle club, the 4-H Club, power lifting and volleyball teams.
Warren was born in South Weymouth, Mass., a small town just outside of Boston. He joined the Army in 1988 and served for five years, and upon leaving the military he decided to become a teacher. One reason Warren wanted to become a teacher was because his dad was a teacher as well. His father was the director of music for his hometown and retired from teaching after 37 years. Teaching runs in the family’s blood as well, because Warren’s wife has been a teacher for 25 years.
“I am the biggest kid in the class, and that is why I have been able to teach for 23 years,” Warren said.
Warren’s father was drafted in 1944 and served in Europe during World War II. A few years ago his father called and asked if he had ever heard of a program called The Honor Flight. The Honor Flight is a national organization that will pay for a veteran to make a one-day trip to Washington D.C. so they can tour the World War II memorial as well as the other memorials in the city. In order to make the trip, an able-bodied guardian would need to help escort the veteran to D.C. and throughout the day’s tour. There is a lot of paperwork involved in being approved to be a guardian. Warren applied and was accepted as his father’s guardian.
On Father’s Day 2015, Warren flew to New Hampshire and assisted his father to Washington D.C. The day started at 3:30 a.m. and they caught a flight from New Hampshire to Baltimore/Washington Airport. When they arrived in D.C., Warren and his father spent the entire day on a tour bus with a police escort going from memorial to memorial, beginning with the World War II Memorial, and visiting all of the others. His father brought along his coronet and played it for all of the other veterans on the tour. He played Taps for them at the WWII Memorial. At the end of the 25-hour day, they were both exhausted.
Before Warren and his father left for their trip to Washington D.C., Honor Flight New England sent Warren an email asking if he could have his and other teachers’ students write letters to the veterans. Warren asked the 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade teachers if they could have their students write short letters, thanking them for their service, or maybe draw some pictures for them. Then these letters will be given to each of the veterans to read, while they on tour in D.C.
In all, 82 letters were handed out to veterans on the tour. Warren and his father share a sense of patriotism and were both able to pass down to Warren’s students what it means to be an American, and how to appreciate the sacrifices made by military men and woman.
This act helped Warren receive a nomination for the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Elementary Teacher of the Year 2015, and on Saturday, January 23, Warren was recognized officially for the award. Warren said he was honored to be nominated and understands how important this award is, because it shows how committed he is to teaching his students about patriotism and what it means to honor the military