Public Educator

Despite being a rambunctious, tree-climbin’, free-range kind of kid, I was always a voracious reader. But when Mrs. Sullivan, my fourth grade teacher at Mae Richardson Elementary, read aloud Roald Dahl’s book, James & the Giant Peach, it sparked in me a love of literature that would eventually inspire me to become a teacher. I remember the moment exactly. I was coaching a t-ball team made up of a wild pack of rambunctious, tree-climbin’, free-range kind of kids. It was the last game of the season and I was kneeling down next to a kid named Greg and thinking about how much I’d miss all these little rotters when it suddenly hit me that I needed to become a teacher! The feeling was so strong that I likened it to being slapped upside the head! The next day I went to what was then Southern Oregon State College and started the process of re-enrolling.  A few years later I’d earned my degree in English (there’s that love of literature again) and my post-bac teacher certification.

I taught for 15 years at Sams Valley Elementary, most of it under the administration of a wonderful man named, Larry Shearer. Although I don’t know any kids out there anymore, it makes me happy that SVE kids still have a Sportsmanship Floor Hockey Tourney and a 5th Grade Baby Picture Program. Those are two events I started that have become a part of the school’s culture. In 2007 I also collaborated with then-CPE principal Brock Rowley, teacher Mark Elias, and fellow SVE teacher Charles Hadley to bring back the Sams Valley Mini-Marathon. Every Halloween the entire population of District 6’s fourth and fifth graders participate–seven hundred of ’em in all–making it one of the largest and longest-tenured running events in the region.

Beginning with the 2008-09 school year, I transferred to Central Point Elementary.  At CPE I spearheaded the Campus Tree Project, the 5th grade Outdoor Ed program, the Checkbook Project, and our own floor hockey tourney, and the 5th grade baby pic program.

In 2004 I became one of just four teachers in the Central Point School District to achieve National Board Certification, an honor extended to only a small percentage of the nation’s teaching force. I’ve also served as a member of the Teacher Advisory Board to Scholastic’s Storyworks Magazine, and I’ve been a frequent contributor to several of Scholastic’s classroom magazines such as Scope and Scholastic News. I’ve also contributed articles to Instructor Magazine and published three educational books through Scholastic Professional including Read Aloud Plays: Symbols of America (2003), Read-Aloud Plays: Classic Short Stories (2010), and Super Sentences and Perfect Paragraphs (2009), which is the basis of much of CPE’s intermediate writing program. My work appears on TeachersPayTeachers.com, Scribd, and Currclick. You can visit www.macklewis.com for more on my writing career.

In my spare time I play a lot of basketball, and I enjoy snowboarding and backpacking. In recent years I’ve circumnavigated the South Sister, hiked the Eagle Cap wilderness, braved the surf on the Lost Coast Trail, and crossed the Knife’s Edge in the Goat Rocks Wilderness. I also still have a love for baseball. After all those years coaching t-ball, Little League, and Babe Ruth, in 1994 I a baseball coach at Crater High School, contributing toward three state championships (in 2000, in 2007, and 2018).

But coaching on top of teaching on top of writing is demanding, so in 2017 I took a leave from baseball so I could focus on my family, on teaching, and my writing. I’ve been married for well over thirty years to Cathy Lewis, a former teacher and presently an aspiring textile artist. We have two grown sons and a couple of lovely granddaughters. Our eldest son, Darryl, is an RCC graduate and operates a structural steel drafting business in Medford, while our youngest, Dain, has a degree in media arts and animation from the Art Institute of Portland and presently works in the tech industry in the Portland area. Soon, I hope to be playing t-ball with and reading Roald Dahl to those granddaughters of mine.

Contact me at mack.lewis@district6.org or lewis@jeffnet.org.

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