Philip Neely

Philip is a reading specialist at St. Marcus Lutheran School. Here he shares his ideas on bonding with students, believing in them and helping them change the course of their lives.

The best teachers know quite a bit about life lessons. Philip Neely learned a few of them himself back when he was a young student.

As a reading specialist at St. Marcus Lutheran School, he often reflects back to one of his teachers who helped him see things from a different viewpoint. After an argument with another student, Philip felt he was being unfairly disciplined. But his teacher helped him to see the situation differently – and to expect more of himself.

“I think she was definitely preparing me to change my mind and how I thought about things,” he recalls.

Philip also remembers not feeling challenged at times – and therefore, not prepared for what was coming. Now he has the chance to change things for his students. “I have something that I can offer to these kids to just make them a little more prepared for college,” he adds.

Part reading specialist, part life coach, Philip is all about building special bonds with his students. He believes in them – and believes he can keep them moving forward in our 21st century. Which includes sharing real-life skills for how to treat other human beings.

Philip gets tremendous satisfaction from “their ability to really learn and to comprehend their mistakes. When you see those things, you just appreciate who these kids are as people.”

He loves what he does and feels compassion for each of his students. “It doesn’t matter how much you’re getting paid,” Philip says. “You know that you’re having an impact on the future just by changing the course of some of these kids’ lives.”