Despite spending one hour every day, five days a week for nine months out of the year with their teachers, many students do not have an opportunity to really get to know them. With the addition of Teacher Spotlight to the Green and Gold, students are able to learn more about their teachers within a matter of minutes.
In this edition of Teacher Spotlight, dive deeper into the life of A.P. U.S. History teacher and high school swim coach, Kevin Kadzis. Get to know more about his teenage years, experience as a Wesleyan faculty member and hypothetical book-writing endeavors.
As a student, Kadzis attended Dunwoody High School, from which he graduated and moved onto the University of Georgia, where he majored in Human and Cultural Geography, with a history minor. For graduate school, Kadzis went to Georgia State and received his master’s degree in education, its concentration being in history.
For the first four years of his teaching career, Kadzis taught at Tucker High School in DeKalb County. He then decided to apply for a job at Wesleyan, a school that he was fairly familiar with due to his experiences at Dunwoody High School.
“Growing up in Dunwoody, when Wesleyan had just moved to this campus, I had friends in high school that were going to Dunwoody and then left to go to Wesleyan when it started. Also, Wesleyan had such a great athletic program, and I had always just heard about Wesleyan,” said Kadzis.
Kadzis was drawn to Wesleyan by not only his familiarity with the school, but also because of the community, religious and athletic aspects.
“[I] knew it was a great school, knew it was a wonderful community, and I just wanted to see if I could be hired here. It was attractive to work at a Christian school, number one. I thought that it would be amazing to be a swim coach at a school with a pool, as well, and it [did not] hurt that I knew a few people that worked here, including [Chris] Yoder and [Ann Marie] Hanlon in the middle school,” said Kadzis.
When Kadzis applied for a job at Wesleyan, not only was there an opening for an APUSH teacher, but also for a head swimming coach.
“[T]he stars kind of aligned for that. I think that God wanted me to teach APUSH here; I really do. It’s a hard class to teach and not everybody gets a chance to teach it,” said Kadzis.
As a result of Kadzis’ passion for U.S. History, his students are able to enjoy what they are learning and gain a genuine understanding of historical topics.
“He makes it enjoyable and brings a fun atmosphere to the class,” said sophomore Daniel Woods.
As a high schooler, Kadzis swam for Dunwoody and Dynamo Swim Club and has been coaching swimming on-and-off since he was a teenager. He also gained coaching experience during his time at Tucker.
Though swimming is a large part of Kadzis’s life now, he dabbled in many other sports in his childhood, including football, baseball, basketball and wrestling.
“My parents signed me up for a swim team when I was like 10 years old…[Since then,] I have been involved with swimming one way or the other. It just stuck.”
Kadzis also picked up the position of water polo coach when he came to Wesleyan, as it came along with being the head swim coach.
However, besides being the high school APUSH teacher, head swim coach and water polo coach, Kadzis is also Wesleyan’s Critical Thinking Coordinator.
“That means I am responsible for working with faculty…to help facilitate lessons that promote critical thinking. That is something that a lot of students probably [do not] realize I do because it is more behind the scenes,” said Kadzis.
While his favorite part about his job is working with the students, Wesleyan has had a large impact on Kadzis’ life as well.
“The Wesleyan community has been a great blessing to me and my family in lots of different ways [with] different kinds of support over the years; my mom had cancer when I first started, and just when Callie [his youngest daughter] was born. The Wesleyan community was just very supportive during all of that. It is a place I enjoy coming to every day. I do [not] not look forward to coming to work, and that [is] an issue for lots of people. I feel blessed that I am happy to come to work every day.”
Kadzis is married to his wife, Erin, and has three children: Anna Claire, who is seven and in first grade, Bradley, who is five and in Pre-K and Callie, who is two-and-a-half.
To wrap up the interview, Kadzis has provided the Wesleyan community with additional information regarding his best student memories, encounters with historical figures and his autobiography.
Upon contemplating his favorite memory with a student, Kadzis came to the conclusion that “every single moment with Ethan Moon” was easily the most memorable moment.
Being a high school history teacher, Kadzis is well-rounded in his knowledge of prominent men and women in American history.
Given the opportunity to spend a day with any historical figure, Kadzis would get to know former president, Andrew Jackson. “[H]e is a significant president, but he’s also really controversial and I would want to see what all the fuss is about, if he really was that controversial in person,” said Kadzis.
If he could write a book on anything, Kadzis would write an autobiography about “[his] life, [his] awesome life… [his] unique sense of humor.”
Even after six years, Kadzis continues to make an impression on the lives of his students and athletes. The Wesleyan community has benefitted from his dedication, as well as his genuine appreciation of his positions at Wesleyan.
“He is really positive and is always energetic about practices and meets (even the really long ones!) Kadzis also has the team’s best interest in mind and cares about all of us,” said Nicole Fasciana, senior swim captain.