NEWARK – His life’s work is helping people succeed. And as he says, “I can’t beat that.”
“Growing up,” Troy King began, “I don’t know if I ever held onto a specific dream. I was vaguely thinking about something in business, maybe something in farming, and later embraced my love of reading and writing thanks to my mother. She wrote stories about simple Appalachian life. The one that always stood out was a dulcimer that had become a family heirloom. My dream was simply to be happy and to make those around me happy. Never as a child would I have imagined doing what I do now.
Today, King is director of student success at Central Ohio Technical College (COTC).
“There is a specific moment,” he recalls, “that sticks in my mind when my love for teaching became a love for student success. During a review process for all Composition II papers at the end of the semester, I asked one of the full-time professors to come to me with a paper. The paper belonged to one of my students who I had worked closely with throughout the semester. He and I had talked about all kinds of things even beyond writing.
“When he had trouble getting to class because of transportation,” he continued, “we got him a carpool with another student. That kind of thing. But that teacher took me except with this student’s paper to tell me that it was the third time he took the course, and I was the third teacher he took it with.
“Something about that moment really clicked a switch for me,” he noted. “On the one hand, it began to enlighten me about students’ lives beyond the classroom – that they have so many things to do, obstacles and struggles they face, and that sometimes all they need is help. My interest in the broader aspect of student aid grew.
Now 28, King grew up in Ripley, West Virginia, just across the Ohio River. He graduated from Ripley High School in 2012, Capital University with a BA in Creative Writing in 2016, and the University of Findlay with an MA in Rhetoric and Writing in 2019. He came to COTC in the summer of 2019 .
“I was a very easy-going kid,” he recalls. “Nothing really bothered me too much, and I was always willing to go with the flow, which meant I ended up trying a ton of things. During my first year of masters, I was immersed in the world of composition teaching and my ease of living became my teaching style. When I went to school, my teachers were very nice to me. I was falling behind and always had the opportunity to catch up if I met them and went the extra mile. I have always wanted to give my students this opportunity.
“My master’s program emphasized teaching,” he added, “so that was always the goal – to become a teacher. I still teach English occasionally, but what I do now allows me to work with students from across the college. Now I’m the director of student success. I help our students overcome academic and personal obstacles. Whether it’s difficulties in a classroom or something happening outside that makes it difficult to focus on school, my role is to identify resources at the COTC and in the community to help our students. to overcome these obstacles.
It’s a talent that people notice.
“I can really sing Troy’s praises,” said COTC Admissions Director Melanie Garrabrant. “He’s a pleasure to work with and he goes above and beyond in everything he does. He has a way of relating to students, supporting them and putting them at ease.
“To be honest,” King replied, “what I do doesn’t work at all without the collaboration and hard work of our great staff dedicated to the success of students, faculty, campus, and the community as a whole. “
“I don’t think you can work with students unless it comes from the heart to some degree,” he concluded. “Every time an instructor tells me a student’s grade has improved or a student tells me they feel a lot better about going back to school, that’s a win . And given the uncertainty and stress of everything in the world, those small victories matter.
Central Ohio Technical College is located at 1179 University Dr. in Newark. For more information, log on to www.cotc.edu.
Aces of Trades is a weekly series about people and their jobs – whether it’s unusual jobs, fun jobs, or people who take ordinary jobs and make them extraordinary. If you have a suggestion for a future profile, let us know at [email protected] or 740-328-8821.