My name is Scott Plaster and I'm an English teacher and Coach (Chess, the Quill, Poet Laureate, Poetry Out Loud, Cyberpatriots, and <CamelCoders/>) at Atkins High School, and also the school's Scholastic Director. I also host the Poetry Club at Atkins, am the Yearbook advisor, operate the school News site, and am the school's webmaster.It is hard for anyone to talk about the 2019-2020 school year without mentioning the COVID pandemic or the passing of principal Joe Childers, but regardless, our school soldiered on; it is the Atkins Way.Atkins had a large lead in the Joe Childers Cup scholastic race, but the cup was not awarded. It would have been the sixth year in a row winning the NCASA Scholastic Cup. I have won the NCASA Coach of the Year award and the NCASA Scholastic Director of the Year award, coached three overall state championships (one in Chess, two years in a row in Cyberpatriot, and Poetry Out Loud), and coached multiple individual state champions, five state finalists in Poetry Out Loud, and the two-time district champion in Poet Laureate.This is my sixteenth year as a public school teacher, and eighth year with WSFCS. I chose to come to Atkins, just as our students chose to come here, because it is one of the best schools in the region and state, and I greatly admire its diversity, environment, and academic culture. I cannot imagine a better place to teach. I like to teach where I can make a difference, so I hope to bring my experience and positive spirit to make Atkins an even better place to teach and learn. Even during this remote learning period, Atkins will still remain a strong, unique place to teach and learn.My first seven years at Atkins were significant and memorable; my Chess team is one of the strongest and now the largest high school chess team in the state; we even hosted a team from the Bahamas here in Winston a few years ago. We have won the state championship (U1600 division), gone all the way to the Supernationals tournament in Nashville, TN, and had the individual state champion last year, in William Odom. We also grew female participation in chess, were featured on Fox 8 news, and had the largest girls team in the state at the All Girls Championship two years ago.I also coach a number of other academic teams, including both Cyberpatriot teams (JROTC, the All-Girls team, and the non-JROTC team, which won the state championship two years in a row). Another related team is the Camel Coders programming team; that team three years ago won the Triad Programming Contest, even beating out four area universities, and the next year was the second place high school team. If you are a programmer and want to compete at the regional and state level, then you can apply to be a part of the team. I'm also the guy at Atkins to know for most of our poetry and writing competitions. I coach the Quill, Poetry Out Loud, the Twin City Youth poetry slam, and also seek out other opportunities for students at Atkins who write fiction.My previous teaching experience was at Ledford High School and Lexington High School, where I taught English and was Scholastic Director and academic coach. My background in literacy also came into play when I became the school's Reading Specialist.Before entering the teaching field, I had extensive work experience in the business world. At IBM, where I was the leader of the education function for the worldwide Retail Division, my team produced technology-based courses on CD-ROM and the internet for a worldwide audience that were translated into five languages. I also have experience teaching writing on the college level, and also have a background in ESL instruction and am a trained literacy instructor, with training in Reading Foundations and experience in Corrective Reading and Strategic Reading. I received my Master's degree in English Education from Appalachian State University. I'm also a published writer in non-fiction, mainly. I wrote for some reference works when I was in college and since then have done a number of feature articles for regional arts publications. Most of my writing now is done for our school's online magazine!I grew up in North Carolina and love it for its scenic beauty, diverse geography, and progressive artistic background (despite its somewhat traditional political climate). Like most people, I also have a life outside of school and schoolwork. I like reading nonfiction, creating art, listening to music, cooking, gardening, travel, fishing, and sports. My love of music has me dabbling as a singer and guitar player. I collect records (yes, real records) and over 5,000 (mostly records, but some CDs). I have everything from classical, jazz, country, pop, and rock, to jazz, blues, metal, and folk. My current favorites are sappy 70's music, early R&B, and psychedelic rock from the late 1960's. I catalogued my entire record collection last summer; you can view it here.I've been an artist my entire life. I mainly paint and am proficient in oil and watercolor. The summers give me more free time to do artwork, and so two summers ago I explored Chinese brush painting with ink. It is so much fun! I'll have to bring some of them to school to show everyone. Before the economic decline, my artwork was exhibited in sold in galleries and shops all across the state of North Carolina. One of my latest art project is a commissioned series of tropical fish for a scuba diving product line.Since my beginnings at IBM, I have also developed many websites, specializing in websites for artists and art galleries. You can check out my website work at my web development site. My latest websites include Vanity Flair, Artist Perry Boswell, my own art website, and a site for a non-profit organization, the NCASA. I am also a professional artist (you can read about it and see it at My Website and have also started two professional artists' organizations (cosmiccowsociety.com) and the Running Roosters.
At Atkins High School, I teach Newspaper, Yearbook, Life Skills, and the Social Injustice course. Before we becamse remote, I also worked in ISS. One of my greatest joys here is coaching the Chess Team. I also serve on the Board of Directors, and am Vice President of, the NC Association for Scholastic Activities, a group that promotes scholastic competitions in NC high schools. I was also on the board and was Secretary of the Winston-Salem Sister Cities organization, which is partnered with six cities from around the globe. My background and experience is diverse, so I think I'm a perfect fit for Atkins High School!My biggest news from last summer was that I was the program coordinator for the WSSU STARTALK Chinese language program. Several students from Atkins attended, and we all had so much fun! You can see pictures of it here. This spring and summer, I revived my interest in fly fishing for trout, and spent many hours on the creeks and streams of Wilkes and Surry County, and had a once-in-a-lifetime trip to fish at Cherokee over the summer. We bought a travel travel trailer over the summer, so it's great to be able to go pretty much anywhere we want (even during the pandemic).My beautiful wife and family and I live in a historic Victorian home near downtown Lexington, where we share our love of vintage and antique collections, music, gardening, and our backyard tropical paradise. I have a 16-year-old son in Lexington, and a twenty-one-year-old stepson.