Good Talk: Mr. Hook

Meet the new phys ed teacher who practices what he preaches.

Deeksha Rachupalli, Staff Writer

When did you join North Allegheny?

I joined NA in November 2022, but I actually am an alum. I graduated from NA in 2011.

What and where was your employment before NA and what was your experience like?

I taught at Hampton at an elementary school called Poff Elementary. I also taught at Hampton Middle School for a year. I enjoyed teaching at Hampton, and because I was mostly at the elementary level my students loved coming to PE class and were always full of energy. It made it very easy to be excited to go to work every day. 

What do you do at NASH?

I teach Focus on Fitness as well as normal physical education. I also coach football for the varsity football team and help with the offseason strength and conditioning. 

What led you to teach at NA?

I always knew when I became a teacher that I wanted to come back and teach at NA. That was my main goal when I went back to Slippery Rock University to pursue my Health and Wellness degree. My journey went from graduating from John Carroll University with a degree in exercise science in 2015., then working as a physical therapy aide for about four years, and then going back to Slippery Rock University to get my physical education teaching certification in 2020. After that, I taught in the Hampton School District for about two years and then earned a position at NA in 2022. 

Have you always been in physical education?

I have always wanted to be a physical education teacher. I love physical activity and the way it makes me feel mentally, emotionally, and physically. I just feel happy when I am being active, and I have wanted to try to share that feeling with other students through different types of physical activity. 

What is an activity or activities you enjoy outside of work and why?

I love golf, and now that I am a full-time teacher I hope to get even more into golf this summer. I also love going to the gym — lifting weights is a great stress reliever for me and is something I enjoy. Lastly, I love hanging out with friends and family, but especially spending quality time with my wife and my little daughter. My daughter, Alina, is only about eight months old and full of energy, so she keeps me pretty busy. 

Is there anything you would change about your NA experience thus far?

I have been very happy with my NA experience thus far. The students and staff have been very welcoming and kind as I have gotten adjusted to everything going on at NASH. I am still adjusting to the difference between teaching elementary students to teaching high school students. That has been the biggest adjustment I have had to make since getting to NA, but I am getting used to it already. 

What do you hope for the new year? 

I hope to get an even better understanding of the NASH PE curriculum so that I can do the best job possible teaching students about the benefits and enjoyment that PE can bring to them. I also hope to continue to grow as a teacher and learn new ways to keep my students engaged and help them have fun in my classes while also learning important life skills. 

If you could live anywhere, where would it be and why? 

I would choose Greece. My wife’s family goes to Greece every summer and I have been lucky enough to go with them the past seven years. I have never enjoyed going anywhere more than I love going to Greece. The views are amazing, the food is out of this world, and the weather is phenomenal. I could live there for the rest of my life and be very happy.