To the Editor:
Thirty years or so ago, I was the principal of Jefferson Junior High School when we lost our art teacher. We typically interviewed five to 15 applicants for vacant teaching positions, and Jim Dodson was among those we talked to.
I had been interviewing for several years at that point and had realized that very occasionally someone would apply for a job who was so well qualified, so well spoken and convincingly knowledgeable, so all around good that just about anyone would have recognized him/her as the person to hire. Jim Dodson was that kind of applicant (his references saw him as we did).
The time I spent in his classroom observing him teach that year and in the years that followed only embellished what I had hoped was true when we first met him. He taught art techniques, coached students through their projects and pieces, discussed aesthetics, and taught the history of art with aplomb. My feeling was that he was so convinced of the value of what he taught and so capable of teaching it that he almost never had behavior problems despite the informal nature of art classes. He also became our assistant football coach and was the only coach I was ever aware of who spent some of his time in the summers in art museums as well as on the field. His interests and abilities are well-rounded.
Since then, Jim has expanded his interests into our community, serving on several boards and in various chairs and, with his appointment by the governor to the Tennessee Humanities Board, serving our state. Electing Mr. Dodson to City Council will give him the opportunity to apply his enthusiasm, knowledge, and abilities more directly to the welfare of our city.
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