Gov. Bill Haslam listens Monday as Farragut High students in Wanda Lacy’s AP calculus class explain the steps they took to solve the math problem presented to them.

Gov. Bill Haslam jumped right in with questions on slope and functionality for the students in Wanda Lacy’s AP Calculus class when he visited Farragut High School Monday. Groups of students went to the white board to explain how they solved their calculus problems as the governor listened intently.

Wanda Lacy

The visit to FHS was part of the governor’s Capitol to Classroom series and was, in part, to thank Lacy, 2013 Tennessee Teacher of the Year, for her participation on the Governor’s Teacher Cabinet, which he began in 2015. The 18-member cabinet meets quarterly with Haslam and Education Commissioner Candice McQueen to share information from the classroom, advise on policy considerations and provide a line of communication to schools and communities.

After the presentations, Haslam asked the students, “What makes Mrs. Lacy a good teacher?”

One student answered, “She gives us a problem and explains how you would do such a problem, and you have to use your own mind to think. She is teaching you to think.” Another added, “One thing she always stresses to us is that it is about the learning and not about the grade.”

Farragut High juniors Eric Wang, Jake Strnad and Tyler Senter explain solving a mathematical function using a graphic derivative as Gov. Bill Haslam, who was visiting their AP calculus classroom, looks on.

“Do your parents feel that way?” Haslam asked, as the students laughed and quipped, “We wish they did.”

Haslam told the students that visiting schools was “one of the best parts of the job,” and that he uses what he learns in the classrooms in other areas, such as economic development. He told the students that while the state is heavily involved in the automotive industry from the manufacturing side, “They haven’t always trusted us to do the research and development side. That is changing. To do that, you have to have the skill sets you are learning from Mrs. Lacy.

“I don’t care what you do after college,” he told the calculus class, “as long as you do it in Tennessee.”

Haslam also met with key FHS personnel, visited a science lab and congratulated the FHS football team on winning the state title in Division 5A in December.

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Written by Sherri Gardner Howell