River Wylie Teacher Profile


Maleen Smith

Government teacher River Wylie gives a presentation for his class.

Nicholas Scoggins, Staff Reporter

Sometimes, it’s hard to find facts within opinions. But for a society that many believe is becoming ever more politicized, having proper knowledge of both how the government works and the issues at hand can be very helpful in staying an informed citizen. As a result, Vandegrift requires that students take both a semester of economics and a semester of government. This is where one of Vandegrift’s newest teachers has arrived.

I have always enjoyed learning about government,” government teacher River Wylie said. “My collegiate focus was split between two interests within government–Supreme Court design and political campaigns.”

Originally he did not wish to major in government, but rather in the business field at the University of Texas, Austin.

I was studying MIS (a Computer Science course for business students), and wanted to go into data analytics,” Wylie said. “An internship in that field convinced me that it wasn’t my path, so I reassessed what I wanted to do.”

Through one of his classes, Wylie  learned that to him, majoring in government would be more interesting.

I think the factor that led me to study the subject in college was a class I took my sophomore year: Contemporary Moral Problems,” Wylie said. “Hearing about global perspectives on issues that often dominate U.S. politics piqued my interest, and the next year I switched from business school to study Government full time”

He eventually decided he wanted to become a teacher when he participated in an educational program offered by UT.

I enjoy working with young people and helping others learn, so I tried out education through a program offered at UT and fell in love with it,” Wylie said. “I ended up at Vandegrift partially by circumstance; I interned and student-taught here last year (with Ms. Patteson), and really enjoyed working with both the other teachers and the students.”

Now that he is employed full time, Wylie said he has a busy work day, often moving around the classroom in order to stay engaged and energetic.

The beginning of my day is mostly prep: either making adjustments to lessons or grading/completing administrative tasks or building new pieces to put in future lessons,” Wylie said. “At the end of the day I wrap up whatever needs to be finished, often some grading or cleanup from a lesson, then go home to walk my dogs”

Teaching a field that can get highly opinionated doesn’t deter Wylie. In fact, he said that the part of his job that he enjoys the most is getting to interact with students and learning about their lives and interests.

Working with students is by far the best part,” Wylie said. “Y’all have innovative ideas, your own interests and passions, and your own niches of knowledge in topics I may have never heard of before.”