Derek Linn ’13

“I was exposed to disparate topics and teaching styles which have helped me in the classroom. Professors pushed me academically and personally.”

Derek Linn ’13 loves that no two workdays are identical as a teacher. He teaches Algebra II and Geometry at Whiteland Community High School, interacting with hundreds of students each day.

“You can have such positive impact as a teacher. I enjoy relating to students and care deeply about their lives. I want them to succeed in the world. It is satisfying to be part of a community working for the good of young people.”

Community is key for Linn, who lives and works in Franklin, Ind., close to where he was raised, and close to Franklin College, where he checks in on faculty and staff. In addition to teaching, he impacts students as a NCAA basketball and soccer official.

Linn double-majored in pure mathematics and secondary education. He originally learned about Franklin through his father, a high school guidance counselor, who exposed him to a variety of colleges and universities.

“Everyone in my family had attended a state university but when I visited this school, I found that I was not comfortable. I visited an economics class with over 300 students and wondered how I’d get individual help in that environment. I knew I’d thrive best in a smaller college.”

“At Franklin, faculty is resolved to truly know their students and connect with them.” Linn cites differences between his math and education professors: “I was exposed to disparate topics and teaching styles which have helped me in the classroom. Professors pushed me academically and personally.”

Associate professor of mathematics Justin Gash, Ph.D., was integral to Linn’s mathematics education as was professor of mathematics Dan Callon ’77, Ph.D., who ensured that teaching methods continually evolved with technology. Lecturer of mathematics Angie (Hughes) Walls ’88 helped bridge the gap for Linn between math and education.

Linn participated in a variety of student-teaching experiences, beginning with his sophomore year. “Franklin students have many opportunities to student-teach. I was fortunate to teach at six different places. My wife, who attended another school, only student taught at two. The exposure developed proficiencies I would not have gotten any other way, except through consistent practice.”

Although busy with his mathematics and education majors, Linn took advantage of the breadth of the liberal arts education Franklin offers. “My advice to students is to immerse yourself in the community and activities available. Initially I went home every other weekend but soon found that the more time I spent on campus, the more I benefitted from the college experience. I gained deep, lasting friendships and – and great memories – by being available for those moments.”

Linn and a friend traveled to Europe, visiting Spain and England, their senior year. “Despite Franklin’s many study-abroad programs, we felt like the college prepared us to go on our own. Our professors gave us the knowledge and advice we needed.”

Two classes outside Linn’s major were pivotal to him. Linn found associate professor of fine art David Cunningham’s Color and Design class his most challenging – and, surprisingly, his lowest grade.

“I learned to solve different kind of problems. Being a math major, I wanted to think literally, and Cunningham taught me to be less deliberate and see beyond my viewpoint.”

“The class was for art majors – and challenged me in a major way. If I’d attended a large university, I would not have had a chance to explore art on that pre-professional level. The class helped me think differently and relate to others who do.”

Linn also took astronomy. “It was a fascinating class, for me especially, because of the link historically between mathematics and astronomy.”

At Franklin, Linn’s activities extended to Math and Computing science Club and Education Club. He was the sports information student assistant for men’s soccer, football, basketball, baseball and softball. He tutored at the Math Studies Center and traveled to Atlanta, New York City and Washington, D.C., on mission trips with the religious life group.

“For me, the Franklin advantage is a community of learning that is deeply interested and involved in student needs. My professors addressed my needs and desires as a learner and soon-to-be professional.”