Middle School English and Social Studies Teacher
BA in Psychology
MA in Special Education
AZ Teaching Certified in Social Studies and ELL
Derek Stooks earned his BA in Psychology from Northern Arizona University in 1994 before returning to college in 2008 to earn his M.A. in Special Education. Immediately after college Derek worked in various group homes and hospital settings for children and teens with emotional disabilities. Derek also worked in several customer service industries before earning his degree in Education. These included a tour company that he helped to start in Maui, Hawaii, and a hotel that he helped to run in Bend, Oregon. It was during his employment with the hotel that Derek became interested in training and motivating his fellow employees.
Derek was certified as a trainer in customer service for Premier Resorts and traveled the West Coast; training new and existing staff members in the art of providing excellent customer service to the hotel guest. In 2008, after the economy took a downward turn, Derek decided it was time to leave the hospitality industry and return to Arizona to pursue a passion for teaching. He received his Master's in 2009 and begin employment as a Special Education teacher; specializing in teenagers with emotional disabilities. After five years in the special education field, Derek pursued his dream of teaching social studies for 7th and 8th graders.
Why Metro Arts?
I had taken the last couple of years off from teaching to write and travel abroad. I enjoyed myself very much but I always ached to return to the classroom. When I fully committed myself to search for a new school to teach at, Metropolitan Arts Institute was high on my list. My step-daughter was a student here and spoke very highly of the teachers and staff. I decided to put in my resume for any future positions as a teacher. It so happened that fate intervened as the school was beginning their search for a new teacher in Humanities. Although I have been here only a short time, I can already tell what a special place this community is. From the overwhelming support and friendliness of the staff to the immediate respect and rapport with the students; I feel very fortunate and welcome by all. I love the focus on smaller class sizes and the arts curriculum. I feel it will enhance the overall education of the students in ways a traditional school is unable to achieve.