Congratulations to Dr. Zachary Wakefield who, after being nominated by members of the community, was voted among the top 10 in Lynchburg Living’s Top Teacher Awards. These awards are given annually to recognize many of the best educators in the Lynchburg area.
Now in his fourth year of dedicated service, Dr. Wakefield joined VES for the 2015-2016 school year, teaching Global Cultures and AP U.S. History and serving as an advisor to students and dorm parent on Pendleton dorm. He also is the head coach of the VES wrestling team, a program that he has revitalized, and serves as an assistant coach for the VES football team. Dr. Wakefield received his B.A. in History from Juniata College where he played on the school’s football team. He went on to earn both his M.A. and Ph.D. in U.S. History from Auburn University. While at Auburn, he researched the history of the U.S. South, African American History and Political History. Dr. Wakefield has presented his research at national and international conferences, and his published work can be seen in the Pacific Northwest Quarterly, the History of News Network, the Sixties and other academic journals.
What is most impressive about Dr. Wakefield is his dedication to academics and to the students he serves. His teaching is often inquiry-driven—pushing students to make connections between their course content and the real world. Assistant Dean of Faculty Matt LaFreniere commented that “Zach is the kind of teacher who brings the content of the classroom into the lives of his students, transforming the material into relevant knowledge that makes sense in terms of understanding the importance of diligence, integrity and intellectual curiosity in students’ lives as they move outside his course. He is playful as he is academic; as compassionate as he is preparatory. When students complete his course, they are better for it.”
One such student is VES junior Daniel O’Brien. Of his experience and learning with Dr Wakefield, Daniel shared, “it is clear that Dr. Wakefield is truly passionate about history and wants each and every student to succeed. During lectures, Dr. Wakefield always keeps each student engaged by placing us in scenarios or using our names in historical events. These analogies and stories give classes a new perspective, entertain the students, and keep the interest level high. I have never been to a class in which Dr. Wakefield is not fired up and excited about the material we are about to cover. Dr. Wakefield is an outstanding teacher and mentor, and there is never an AP U.S. History class that I do not look forward to.”
Congratulations, Dr. Wakefield, and thank you for all that you do!