"Exactly Where He Is Supposed to Be!"
By Kim Underwood
Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools
JANUARY 19, 2021 – As the second-graders in Sandra Bright’s class at North Hills Elementary hopped, skipped, galloped like horses, and crawled like bears, they laughed and laughed and laughed.
“It feels wonderful to hear them laugh,” Bright said as she watched Joshua Everhart, the health and physical education teacher, work with the students.
She also enjoyed seeing them move around with such glee.
“It does my heart good to see that,” Bright said.
All the laughter and joyful movements came thanks to Everhart, who had come into Bright’s classroom to lead a physical education class on the first week that second-graders throughout the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County school system had the option to come to school for in-person learning.
Six of Bright’s students were there in person. Her other students were still learning remotely.
From teaching them remotely, Everhart already knew the six students on hand. When Everhart came into the classroom, he said hello to each of them and, next to each student’s desk, he put down a plastic ring that would serve as home base as they worked on locomotor skills, a fancy term, he told them for doing such things as skipping and hopping.
Everhart had excellent rapport with the students and had fun playing with them by doing such things as telling them not to move until he started the music, then counting down 3-2-1 and not starting the music when they expected him to.
Of course, excited students had already started doing whatever the movement of the moment was, which gave him the opportunity to say with mock seriousness, “I don’t think the music started.”
As the 40-minute class continued, all the laughter became punctuated with the sounds of the breathing that comes from extended exertion.
The students continued to have big fun, though, and, as the class wound down, one student said, “I don’t want the class to end.”
This is Everhart’s first year as a teacher. Although he’s new to North Hills, his principal and colleagues have had plenty of time to come to appreciate him both as a teacher and as a person.
“He's been a fantastic addition to Panther Nation,” said Principal Tiffany Krafft.
“Mr. Everhart is a born educator and team player. It's hard for first-year teachers, let alone starting in the middle of a pandemic and having to do everything virtual.”
“I actually felt really badly about having to do his first observation because I had no idea how he'd do PE virtually....Boy, was I impressed! Mr. Everhart is a natural and really makes you feel like you are all in the gym together. He works with what the students have in their homes and is extremely accommodating.”
“In addition, he's quickly formed relationships with staff and is always in the mix. He has been a key player in making sure all of our students had the technology needed to be successful during remote instruction. He participated in our supply pick up drive-through and collaborated with his team to make the virtual holiday sing-along a success!”
“Mr. Everhart has never met a stranger and we couldn't be happier to have him on our team!”
Everhart grew up in Pfafftown. He joked that, unless you count the two dogs he and his parents Daniel and Heidi Everhart had, he was the only child.
They lived near Gibson Elementary – it was only a 5-minute drive for one of his parents to drop him off – and that’s where he started school. His grandmother, Patti Clerico, lived even closer to school, and, after school, he would just walk across the field behind the school to her house.
His mother was a teacher, and his father was a firefighter, and he would stay with his grandmother until one of his parents got off work. His grandmother was also a career educator. Over the years, she taught all the way from kindergarten through community college.
One of the bonuses of starting his teaching career at North Hills was discovering that he was working in the same school as Tarsha Shore, a long-time friend and colleague of his mother.
“I have known Joshua ever since he was about 3 years old,” Shore said.
“His mom and I worked together at Ibraham Elementary for 7 years. She used to bring Joshua to school with her when we had afterschool activities – PTA: School Curriculum Night, Talent Show, Black History Celebration, Food Tasting Around the World, March (Math) Madness, Annual School Carnival, just to name a few.”
“He would participate in the activities by helping us set up/take down, pass out programs and dress up in customs for the special events. He even has the same hair cut as he did as a child. When I saw him walking across campus at North Hills Elementary School, I asked myself ‘I wonder is that Heidi's son?’" Then, when he came to me in the hallway, he asked me, ‘Do you remember me?’ I screamed and said ‘Stop, I knew that was you...how is your mom?’ I told him he had not changed a bit."
“It was a pleasure to see how he has grown into such a handsome young man. However, he was always cute as a button. I call him my son and I told him if he needed anything, just let me know. I would look out for him. I know he could have chosen any profession...even if he wanted to be a fireman like his dad, but he chose education.”
“It makes my heart feel good to see him as a teacher, inspiring and molding young minds.”
When Everhart was growing up, his main sport was baseball. He played first base.
Today, he is 6 feet, 7 inches. He was always tall, and, if someone threw a ball to him and he couldn’t catch it, teammates didn’t give him grief. They gave a hard time to the player who couldn’t get the ball close enough for such a tall first baseman to catch.
There was a time when Everhart was student at Northwest Middle that he envisioned becoming a professional baseball player. By the time he graduated from North Forsyth High in 2016, he planned on a career as an athletic trainer.
He headed to Appalachian State University in part because it had a strong program in his field and in part because he felt comfortable on visits there. Everhart refers to himself as stubborn, and, one way that stubbornness manifested, he said, was Appalachian was the only college to which he applied.
“I knew that was where I needed to go,” he said.
While he was at Appalachian, he attended every single home football game and switched his focus a bit. He decided to become a physical education teacher. Because he also wanted to coach, he planned to teach at a middle or high school.
As it worked out, an elementary school is where he found a job after graduating in May. He soon discovered that elementary school was just right for him.
“I absolutely love it,” Everhart said. “The kids are laughing and excited. It’s there every day and I don’t have to pull it out of them.”
“I feel like I am doing my job right.”
As some grades have returned to in-person learning, he has enjoyed meeting the students in person.
“The kids here are the sweetest. They are so excited to be back in school.”
These days his mother is the children’s leader at Friedberg Moravian Church, which has been the family’s church since his grandparents started going there.
The Moravian Church operates a camp and retreat center called Laurel Ridge, and, as soon as he was old enough, Everhart started working there during the summer as one of the staff members who took care of such responsibilities as mowing grass and cleaning.
Once he was old enough, he became a camp counselor and he met his girlfriend, Shannon Anderson, when both were counselors there in college. She, too, became a teacher and teaches fourth grade at Midway Elementary in Davidson County.
They enjoy swapping entertaining stories from their workday.
If Everhart has a project that needs doing, he gets it done right away. On his own time, Everhart enjoys spending time with his friends and family, playing golf, and watching sports on television. He is definitely not someone who always has to be doing something.
“I am perfectly OK with doing nothing,” he said.
Other colleagues at North Hills also spoke highly of Everhart.
Donte Dykes is the Custodian at North Hills.
“He is a great man,” Dykes said. “He is there when you need him. He is always respectful. He is great with the kids.”
Caleb Kiger is the Music Specialist at North Hills.
“Josh is an excellent co-worker and friend,” Kiger said.
“Mr. Everhart and I are the sports junkies in our school, so baseball, basketball, football and anything in between is usually our 'water cooler talk.' His only fault is that he is a North Forsyth Viking and not a West Forsyth Titan, like me.”
“He takes a very straight forward approach to things and shoots from the hip. When he has a question or concern, he goes to the source and finds what he needs immediately.”
“Few first-year teachers are as resourceful and quick witted as he is. Along with his wit, he is a very personable teacher. Elementary wasn't his first choice or even what he saw himself doing at all, but his interactions with the little ones is very organic and second nature. He may not see it but teaching elementary aged students at North Hills is exactly where he is supposed to be.”
336.727.2696 Ext. 70114