Xavier Manuel Wins The Valley's Top Teacher

Congrats to the middle school coach and teacher!

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Xavier Manuel traded in his football cleats for a chalkboard so he could teach students to be champions in the classroom.

Former Arena Football player Xavier Manuel of Chapman Middle School says helping students succeed is all a part of his bigger purpose in life.

The math teacher comes to class with a simple game plan: make learning fun.

He nicknames his students his mathletes.

"Yeah, my mathletes! I try to incorporate sports a long with math," said Coach Manuel. "Try to get them motivated. A lot of kids get energized about sports, so why not get them energized about sports? And then they become mathletes." 

Although the head football coach and women's basketball coach is known for setting strict standards and raising the bar, he's also known for adding a little laughter to the mix.

"It's always important to laugh... learning doesn't have to be strict. A lot of kids lose interest once they realize it can't be fun," said Mr. Manuel.

Students say he's the type of teacher that truly cares.

"He's always nice to us. He never yells at us. He always helps us with our work," said student, Andrew Williams.

"He's a great role model to a lot of students," said student, J'myca Arnold.

Mr. Manuel hopes students remember him as the silly, fun math teacher who just wants the best for his students.

"He gives us a second chance," said student, Tamyra Dowdell. "If we don't have our homework done, he gives us an extra day or an extra week to turn it in."

Coach Manuel says he strives to teach life lessons both inside and outside the classroom, hoping to add light to their bright futures.

"That's what we try to instill," said Coach Manuel. "Life lessons within school and sports. They realize it all helps them. If you can't work together as a team, then you're going to have a hard time working with others in the real world."

To nominate a teacher you admire, click here.

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