Dale Simmons’ life is characterized by sincerity and this is something he brought to Timothy Christian School throughout his 28 year career. He has genuine delight in being around people. The personal interaction with colleagues, students and parents were what inspired him to come to school each day. His sincere care for his colleagues was often demonstrated in his stopping by a classroom to say Hi or check in or pray with a teacher (although he was accused of being motivated to see if they had anything good to eat for lunch). He was known for passing along encouraging devotional thoughts with others from his daily tear off calendar which he loved to use. Dale Simmon’s care, encouraging spirit and upbeat attitude helped to perpetuate the sense of family among the staff. Timothy has been family to him and he has been family to us.
Dale Simmon’s love for his students was also very evident. He would take time to get to know their personal interests and likes. His open sharing with his students using teaching examples from his own life allowed them to feel comfortable in sharing with him. It was not uncommon over the years for his accounting or psychology class to be invited to his house for dinner; one time the class brought him a surprise new kitten when they found out his beloved cat had just died.
Mr. Simmons innocent trust in students would often leave him open to their pranks as they sabotaged his computer, or convinced him that he did not hear the bell ring and it really was time to change classes or played innocent when his podium went missing, only to find it days later up in the drop ceiling.
What made Mr. Simmons a great teacher was his genuine heart for the Lord and his love of a good story. He made his classes engaging through funny illustrations and stories which he relished to tell. With his background as a bookstore manager and his own love of reading, he made his classes come alive by having students put themselves in the character’s shoes and imagine what it would have been like to experience what they did. He used these skills to perfection during the many years he taught sixth grade reading and more recently in his Old Testament class. He would make the characters and plot jump off the page as he would tell his colorful versions to drive home the point of the lesson and quicken students’ hearts to the Scriptures. His creative side was also on display when he composed rap songs and parodies to help students remember the material. He was famous for his cartoon caricatures to illustrate his points and infamous for his illegible handwriting which made note-taking an adventure in hieroglyphics every class period.
Dale Simmons’ faithfulness in prayer is something I will always treasure. Over the past 28 years there have been countless times when we have had the privilege to lift up one another in prayer as we have walked through the stresses, trials, sicknesses and uncertainties of life. We have also celebrated together the good and wondrous things the Lord has done! He has called me to pray specifically at certain time for things he was going through and I have used him as a prayer warrior in the same way. Even without asking, however, I know he was and continues to be faithfully praying for me. Dale Simmons is a faithful man of God who modeled a sincere and authentic relationship with Christ for his students which has impacted many lives for eternity during his ministry at Timothy Christian School. Even though he will not be teaching here next year, he will always be part of the family.