Donovan A Strong New Teaching Force Within North Atlanta’s IB Ranks


Olivia Chewning

IB Believer: Veteran social studies teacher Bill Donovan is in his first year at North Atlanta in the school’s IB DP program.

As IB students prepare to face their second year in the IB program, seniors are often greeted by Bill Donovan, a new teaching force in the our IB DP program. Students describe his teaching as unique and something not offered by any other teacher in the school.

A 22-year teaching veteran, Donovan is in his first year at North Atlanta. For college, he studied at the University of Mississippi where he received his bachelor’s degree in business administration. He also studied at Southeast Missouri State University where he received his second bachelor’s degree in social studies education.  He also has a master’s degree from Kennesaw State University in educational leadership.

At the start of his teaching career in 1996, Donovan taught in schools in his home state of Missouri. In 2000 he moved to Georgia and started teaching at Marietta High School. He first started teaching IB in 2005 and now has 12 years under his belt within the curriculum.

After many years in the classroom, has developed a core philosophy about teaching. Donovan said he is a strong supporter of a student-focused learning and a lecture-free teaching environment. His biggest goal, he said, is keeping the classroom as engaging as possible. “I want my students to interact with each other,” said Donovan. “I want them to discuss historical topics with intellectual maturity and then be able to share what they think with the rest of the class.”

This practice requires both the preparation and participation of all students in the classroom setting. “He’s eager to interact with students and clear all confusion in class at all times,” said Asjah Johnson. “He’s always passionate and always energetic.”

In the course of any school year, Donovan said he remains focused on curricular ideas that compliment his students’ unique learning styles. “If things go well, they will learn something they didn’t know before class started,” said Donovan. “Hopefully they’ll have some fun at the same time.”

He always stresses the importance of the hard-work and preparedness of students in order to achieve academic success. As Donovan would say, “Hard work pays off, no matter what the goal may be.”

In the average school, the mindset of countless students is focused on the idea that grades and numbers are the most important aspect of a high-school career. In contrast, Donovan believes in the idea that education is a lifelong and never-ending process. “The world is an amazing place and I try to get my students to see that where we have been is just as important as where we are going,” he said. “Be curious!  Be interested! Be amazed!”

Donovan is enjoying making his North Atlanta teaching debut a memorable one. He describes teaching his senior students as an awesome experience. “Getting to know the amazing faculty and administration has been great,” he said.

He also cited one of the key advantages associated with North Atlanta’s unique and towering building. “Nothing can compare to watching the colors of the trees change from my ridiculously breathtaking tenth-floor view,” he said.

When the year comes to a close and students move on, Donovan hopes to leave students with a sense of accomplishment. The ongoing hope, he said, is that students take what they’ve learned in high school and put it to use down the road. “Never stop growing as a person and as a scholar,” he said. “Be happy and be yourself. Everyone else is taken.”

Donovan said he looks forward to teaching at North Atlanta for years to come. That means IB students here will be getting to know a lot more about what makes him so passionate about teaching.