Carson High teacher’s new effort a risk in itself
In his college years, Carson High School teacher Kyle Anderson quit playing football after four years even though he was eligible for one more year. Following an injury to his shoulder, his last season was 2003. Seventeen years later, he still plays that “what if…?” game, wondering what might have been.
It was one risk he refrained from taking but he still took something away from it.
“Taking risks is hard, and people aren’t willing to take risks,” he said.
Anderson has taught for 15 years, including 13 in Las Vegas and the past two in Carson City. He has specialized in social studies, economics, technology and physical education, and he says each of those subjects are his passions.
Now he’s adding “published author” to his credentials with a new book that comes out Saturday, “To the Edge: Successes & Failures Through Risk-Taking,” a new risk he’s taking himself to demonstrate to others that a little bravery into the unknown is OK, even healthy, to be a sharper learner and a better person.
Anderson’s book, released by Edumatch Publishing, examines his own life experiences, his decisions, ideas and ultimately how well they paid off, he said.
He recognizes his own failures from his educational experiences, incorporating pedagogical and technological skills he learned from life. He shared there will be one chapter in the book about certain struggles not even his family will have been aware of prior to reading “To the Edge.”
“You’re going to take risks and you’re going to fail, and it’s OK,” he said. “I know that’s cliché, but it’s your first attempt at learning.”
He grew up in Alpena, Mich., and said one of his own biggest personal risks was moving to Las Vegas before coming to Carson City.
“It could have blown up in my face, but it worked out,” he said. “And I have no intentions of going back to Michigan. But it will always be my home.”
Anderson, indeed, found his challenges in Northern Nevada, especially when it came to getting any kind of teaching position. Nearly the only way he could find a position as an educator was to get into special education, but he needed the endorsements. But rather than going for the minimum requirements, he earned his master’s degree at Western Governor’s University.
“I like to joke that I’m one of the most educated people I know without a doctorate,” he said. “People ask if I’m going to get a doctorate, and I say not right now, but maybe down the road.”
Doctorate or not, though, teaching has been fulfilling for him working with the school’s staff and students, he said.
“Carson High has some of the most caring, compassionate, amazing people,” he said. “It’s one of the best places I’ve ever worked.”
He enjoys the challenge of working with his students, especially the ones who might be harder to reach or are harder to motivate than most.
“I almost enjoy working with the tougher ones more just because I feel like working with them, the more impact I can have on a student that has struggles,” he said.
Principal Gavin Ward described Anderson’s multiple contributions to students and teachers at Carson, always pushing everyone to become better however he can. He currently leads Carson High’s economics Professional Learning Community group, Whiz Quiz games and sends formative lessons and materials using Google Docs to his colleagues, Ward added.
“He’ll bring to our staff a bunch of different ways to use technology in the classroom,” Ward said. “He also helps kids after school, kids that need extra support. He’s just a hard worker.”
Anderson said he’s already getting the word out about his book to his staff, and it will be available online at Amazon.com and through Barnes and Noble, where copies can be ordered in bulk for a 20 percent discount.
He rejected the original title, “Going All In,” which he thought might be too cliché with Nevada’s gaming reputation, and ultimately deciding on “To the Edge” to align with his message about successes and failures. The state’s winter sports, which the outdoor enthusiast quickly fell in love with as a skiing and snowboarding hobbyist, also provided better inspiration as he realized he’d still get “the butterflies” in his stomach standing on some of Homewood Mountain Resort’s hilltops nearby at Lake Tahoe.
He also is passionate about hockey and baseball and has a goal to visit every Major League team in the nation, especially the Detroit Tigers, the Oakland A’s and the Los Angeles Dodgers.
When he’s not actively taking risks outdoors, he said, he enjoys living in Reno with his wife, 8-year-old daughter and 4-year-old son.
Anderson says Nevada’s been good to him and has no regrets about taking one of the biggest risks he’s ever made moving to the Silver State.
“Too many people think of Nevada as bright lights and glamour,” he said. “It’s probably one of the best moves I ever made. If I can inspire even one person, I’ve done my job.”