About Mr. Dittes

The 2015-16 school year is Mr. Dittes's seventeeth year in teaching and his twelfth year at SCHS. Prior to teaching here, he taught four years at Superior High School in Superior, Arizona, one semester at Wilson High School in Florence, South Carolina, and two years at his alma mater, Highland Academy in Portland, Tennessee.

Besides teaching English 11, German, and creative writing, Mr. Dittes sponsors Writers' Club and the school's Model UN club

When he's not teaching kids how to write, Mr. Dittes likes to spend time with his three kids, Ellie (18), Owen (14) and Jonah (11), as well as his beautiful bride, Jenny (ageless).

In his free time he writes novels, blog entries, magazine articles, songs, and just about anything else he thinks might get published. He has completed a manuscript entitled Hawk, Sandal, Obelisk, but he has yet to find a publisher. Next, he hopes to publish some travel writing. He is also working on a second young-adult novel set in the ancient Minoan civilization.

Teaching isn't the only job Mr. Dittes has held since graduating from Southern Adventist University in 1993. He worked as a journalist in Arizona, a United Nations aid worker in Albania during the NATO-Serb War (1999), a grant program administrator in Nashville, and even a full-time dad. He has traveled throughout Europe, and he speaks German and Albanian.


Mr. Dittes: The Skinny

Teaching Experience

  • Station Camp High School, Gallatin, Tennessee: 2004 to present
  • Highland Academy, Portland, Tennessee: 1998, 2000-2001
  • Wilson High School, Florence, South Carolina: 1999
  • Superior High School, Superior, Arizona: 1994-1998

Relevant Work Experience

  • Full-time Dad: 2000-2004
  • Grant Administrator, Nashville, Tennessee: 2002-03
  • UN food distribution manager, Berat, Albania: 1999
  • Journalist, Superior Sun, Superior, Arizona: 1995-1998

Education

  • MA Public Administration: Western Kentucky University, 2003.
  • To grow as a teacher and as a person, he has taken courses from a variety of other colleges, including Newbold College, Bracknell, England; Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona; University of Pittsburgh, and Goethe Institute, Schwäbisch Gmünd, Germany).
  • BA English: Southern Adventist University, Collegedale, Tennessee, 1993 (minors in journalism and religion)
  • College Prep Diploma: Highland Academy, Portland, Tennessee, 1989.
    (This is me and a lucky girl at a dance when I was in 11th grade.)

Interests

  •  Literature of the Ancients, including Homer, the Bible, and hieroglyphics.
  •  Religion. He has published a dozen articles in religious magazines and Sunday-school journals. He and his family attend McKendree United Methodist Church in Portland.
  •  Building trails for hiking or mountain biking.
  •  Travel. Favorite places include Albania, western Turkey; central Europe; the American Southwest; New Orleans; Germany and France. He and his sister take a road trip with their kids every summer. He visited Quebec, Canada and Northern New England in 2010.
  •  Music, played either on the piano or mandolin.
  •  Graphics and web design
  •  Administration, writing grants and developing plans to help organizations meet needs within the community.

Five Most Influential Books

  • The Bible. Mr. Dittes's father was a preacher, and this book has served as a lifelong guide. His favorite books are Job and Galatians.
  • The Iliad by Homer. The ideal father, citizen and warrior is the character, Hektor--even his death is inspirational. But the ultimate demonstration of carpe diem in all of literature belongs to Patroklos.
  • The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. This book, which he read in 8th grade, taught him that revenge is pointless. Those who are cruel will get what they deserve eventually, with or without their victims' wrath.
  • The Pastures of Heaven by John Steinbeck. Steinbeck is Mr. Dittes's favorite author, and this collection of short stories is the best of his books. Mr. Dittes's ideal teacher is Molly Morgan; Junius Maltby is the father he secretly wishes he could be.
  • A History of War by John Keegan. It tells the history of war and the technological and political developments that went along with it. It contains three college classes worth of information in one book. Keegan's Mask of Command is a brilliant study in how the greatest generals in history, Alexander, Wellington, Grant and Hitler, got to be that way.
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