• About Me
    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 HS, and also the school's Scholastic Director. I also host the Poetry Club and World Cultures Club at Atkins, am the Yearbook advisor, and am the school's webmaster.
    This is my nineteenth year as a public school teacher, and eleventh 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. 
    In addition to chess, I also coach a number of other academic teams, including all three Cyberpatriot teams (JROTC, the All-Girls team, and the non-JROTC team, which has won the state championship three years). Another related team is the CamelCoders programming 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, Poet Laureate.
    Last year was a great one. Finally, a year not impacted by a worldwide epidemic! As a school, Atkins won the NCASA Scholastic Cup again for the eighth year in a row. In the past few years, I've won several state championship and runner-up teams, including Chess, Cyberpatriots, the Quill, and Poetry Out Loud. In addition, I have also won the state Chess Coach of the Year award, the NCASA Coach of the Year award  and the NCASA Scholastic Director of the Year award, and coached multiple individual state champions, seven state finalists in Poetry Out Loud and a state champion, and three district champions in Poet Laureate. Last year, some of the teams I coached had off-seasons or rebuilding years, but my biggest highlight of the year was when my CamelCoders programming team finished as state champion runner-up in the Ready, Set, App competition, won free tablet computers, and got to stay overnight for free. The school even treated us to a great dinner at a Pan-Asian restaurant and we had Game Night with a deluxe version of the board game Risk. 
    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. 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. For two summers recently, I was also the Program Coordinator for a Chinese language program at WSSU.
    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 at 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. 
    I grew up in North Carolina and love it for its scenic beauty, diverse geography, and progressive artistic background. Like most people, I also have a life outside of school and schoolwork. I like reading nonfiction and historical fiction, creating art, listening to music, seeing live music and concerts, cooking, gardening, travel, fishing (for trout, mainly), and sports. My love of music has me dabbling as a singer and guitar player. I collect records (yes, real records) and had over 5,000 (mostly records, but some CDs) before I downsized to about 1,000 when I moved to Winston-Salem. I have everything from classical, jazz, country, pop, and rock, to jazz, blues, metal, and folk. Some of my recent listening favorites are Jason Isbell, Tyler Childers, Lana Del Rey, Taylor Swift, and Ray LaMontagne. 
    I've also 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 a few 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. My artwork used to be exhibited in and sold in galleries and shops all across the state of North Carolina and a few other states. One of my latest art projects was 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, and I've done a few more recently, including the NCASA website (a powerful Joomla-based database site), which has led me to manage the Atkins site. 
    I had the BEST summer, and travelled to so many places. I was fortunate enough to go with a group of teachers to Poland to study Holocaust sites, and that was probably the most powerful, emotional trip of my life. But after that, I took a personal solo, side trip to Budapest, Hungary; Vienna, Austria; Munich, Germany; a side trip to Nuremburg, and finally to Berlin. I saw so many great sites, architecture, history, ate fabulous foods, went to great museums, and even saw live music in several countries. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. During the rest of the summer, I went on a few camping trips to the mountains and the beach, and also spent most of a week at Cherry Grove Beach (north of North Myrtle).  
    I have a 19-year-old son who lives in Tennessee, but now I'm single and live in Winston-Salem north of downtown, and have completely remodelled a house built in 1950 from top to bottom (even new electric and plumbing). I like to collect vintage items and antiques, listen to music, garden, and enjoy my peaceful (usually) neighborhood, with walks at Reynolda Gardens, or going to the West End coffee shops, or downtown to restaurants or to hear live music. I love Winston-Salem! 
    At Atkins High School this year I teach Yearbook, Essentials of English, English III, and the Social Injustice course. In the past, I've taught English I, ACT Test Prep, Creative Writing, and Newspaper. I've also spent some time each year running ISS and the SMOD closet. 
    My background and experience is diverse, so I think I'm a perfect fit for Atkins High School!