Rick Towle is known as a true Renaissance Man. He is a former recipient of the Eli Lily Creativity Grant in 1995. Towle’s grant project afforded him the opportunity to travel to all of the National Parks and create a photographic tour. He was instrumental in creating the outdoor education space Chinquapin Ridge near White River Elementary. This space includes 17 acres of wetlands and green space. Every two years, Towle sponsors the middle school Rainforest Trip. This has afforded him the opportunity to present at state and national conferences with colleague Tanya Mueller.
Grade/school: Seventh-grade science teacher, science department chairman, assistant athletic director and FCA sponsor at Noblesville East Middle School.
Number of years teaching: 36 of which 31 have been in Noblesville Schools. Prior to Noblesville, he taught high school students.
Why he became teacher? I really enjoyed science and wanted to share my passion with others. I have a definite affinity for the outdoors – love nature and wanted to teach things about the environment that are important.
What are goals for your students? My No. 1 goal for students is for them to work to the best of their ability, whatever that is. I love kids that try things even when they don’t know how to do them because, eventually if they keep working, they will get it. It’s important to at least try and give it a shot.
What advice would you give for parents? Get your kids outdoors. Let them experience the world outside not just through Discovery Channel on TV or online. Go to parks, experience the outdoors. I know everyone is busy, but make time to get outside and experience life. It will help your kids develop an appreciation for it.
What do you do outside the classroom? I am a former girls basketball head coach of 20 years and former football coach. As the assistant AD, I am able to stay in touch with kids and sports, which is of interest to me. I also am the current president of the Blatchley Nature Study Club. This club has been in existence since 1922. It is a club for nature enthusiasts who meet monthly at their clubhouse on 20 acres, north of Potter’s Bridge.
What is something others might not know about you? I love to cook. My passion for taking risks carries over into experimenting with food.
What makes Noblesville Schools special? The willingness of administration and staff to let you try new things and take risks. A lot of things I’ve done are because I was supported to take risks, for example the rainforest trip. There are not a lot of public school systems that would support taking middle school students out of the country. Risk-taking is good for you.