Christy Clouse – Teacher and Avid Community Member

by | Mar 2023

NINTH GRADE Raider Academy teacher Christy Clouse was born and raised in Manchester and is a proud, lifelong resident of a charming town many call “home.” The honors physics and physical science teacher, who also spent time teaching psychology for a while, has always been a Raider and moved with the ninth-grade students to Coffee County Raider Academy when it opened. She is also a children’s teacher at her church and a leader for many in the community. 

Clouse earned her undergraduate degree in physics at Middle Tennessee State University. Clouse said watching a few Olympics games intrigued her and made her even more interested in physics. 

“Watching that and some of the stories they had about the scientists that worked with athletes really got me interested. And I also got into a couple of aerospace courses. That made me interested in flight. I spent a little time in graduate school at the University of Tennessee Space Institute, so I became a physics major,” said the science enthusiast. 

After graduating undergrad, she attended Tennessee Tech and received her master’s degree. 

Photographed by Ashleigh Newnes.

Aside from teaching STEM-related courses at Coffee County Raider Academy, Clouse is the head cheerleading coach at Coffee County Central High School. She decided to make a life for herself in Manchester because living here gives her a familial connection. 

Last year, the high school basketball team made it to the state tournament. This year, the football team celebrated it’s 100th year of Red Raider football with a region championship, which was their first playoff win and best record since 1969. Witnessing how close the community became through watching sports reminded Clouse why she decided to stay and be a part of the school and community. 

Raider Academy has a tightly-knit group of faculty and staff, which allows the students and staff to experience a closeness and collaborative effort that might be more challenging to cultivate at a regular high school. 

Clouse’s father was an elementary principal, so working in a school system was second nature for her. Her most important moments as a teacher come from watching students learn something new. 

Photographed by Ashleigh Newnes.

She said, “A lot of scientific principles are things that maybe they haven’t thought about or experienced hands-on. And seeing [the] ‘Aha!’ moments [is] one of my favorite things.” 

One of the biggest challenges Clouse faces as a teacher is keeping the students engaged and helping them understand the importance of academics. Another is time management, which can seem daunting for educators teaching a subject with concepts with which students are unfamiliar. 

One skill Clouse tries to instill in her students is problem-solving. 

“Learning how to problem-solve will carry you through with whatever it looks like when you graduate. And being a close-knit community, we hear a lot about those that go into STEM-related careers. Some go to technical school, which can also be very STEM-related.” 

Photographed by Ashleigh Newnes.

Aside from problem-solving, critical thinking skills are among many values students learn in the Raider Academy’s physics department. Clouse recently introduced her physics students to one of their larger projects, which is a catapult project. 

Clouse explained that taking ideas and coming up with a plan, following that scientific method or the engineering design process, and working together helps the students learn important concepts like collaboration that will carry them after their high school career ends. 

The physics and science teacher plans to continue seeking innovative ways to help improve the science courses at Raider Academy. 

“My goals are to continue building on what I’m doing, add new ideas to the classroom, and constantly look for nice things that I can add to the classroom, as well as making time for other activities I’m involved with and being involved with family.” 

Students at Raider Academy learn real-world scientific techniques through hands-on experiences. 

Each year, in May, Clouse takes her students to Lake Winnepesaukah (Lake Winnie), a small amusement park outside of Chattanooga, where they hold their annual “Physics Day.” At the amusement park, the rising physicists measure concepts like time and height for different rides, calculating the physics and specific aspects of the rides. 

“That’s something we all look forward to — catapults and Lake Winnie.” 

Clouse is a Coffee County Fair board member who serves as chairman of the pageant and scholarship committees. The board recently attended the state fair convention, where it won “Most Improved Fair” in AAA divisions, the highest division. She is also the president of the Tennessee Cheerleading Coaches Association. She manages events like the All-State Cheerleading selection process and coaches the cheerleaders at the East-West All-Star football game each year in December. GN 

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