2015 Tillman Scholar

Joseph Wheaton

Arizona State University
M.Ed, Secondary Education

“Whether it is developing a positive community spirit, or fostering a positive attitude towards education, I’ve learned that success is rooted in the details.”

Stoic and a man of few words, Joseph Wheaton grew up in rural Maine where people understood one another with few words. After serving six deployments to the Middle East in five years, Joseph turned his attention to new challenges. After completing a law degree, Joseph determined that the lack of access to quality education for young children was the greatest threat to our nation. Believing that classrooms need leaders as teachers, Joseph embarked on a two-year Teach for America journey, where he realized that his experiences as a squad leader—including attention to detail, ability to overcome obstacles, and ability to direct focus and motivation to the end goal–prepared him well for leading a classroom.

Joseph has decided to further his teaching experience by pursuing a Master of Education while working full-time as a teacher, in order to address education policy issues and continue to bring education leadership to those who need it most. It is his hope that a greater understanding of education policy, combined with his law degree, will enable him to affect change on the policy level. Joseph believes it is his duty, as a leader in the classroom, to foster a culture of high expectations. This is step one in his mission to close the opportunity gap in our education system.