Craig Conrad, Moffat County High School woodshop teacher, resigned from his teaching position Monday. Conrad taught at the high school for 26 years. At the school, he started "Unstoppable You," a motivational program that takes him to speaking engagements across the nation. Conrad plans to start developing the program fulltime at the end of the school year.

Photo by Hans Hallgren

Craig Conrad, Moffat County High School woodshop teacher, resigned from his teaching position Monday. Conrad taught at the high school for 26 years. At the school, he started "Unstoppable You," a motivational program that takes him to speaking engagements across the nation. Conrad plans to start developing the program fulltime at the end of the school year.

'Expanding my classroom'

High school teacher resigns to develop self-created inspirational speaking program

Craig Conrad, Moffat County High School woodshop teacher, is yearning for a larger classroom.

In addition to teaching woodcrafts at the high school, Conrad gives presentations to students across the nation in the "Unstoppable You" program, an inspirational speaking project he started in 1994.

When he started the program, Conrad set a goal to reach 1 million people. To date, he estimates he's spoken to about 100,000 people, or one-tenth of his target.

Conrad had a choice: Stay with the status quo, or develop his program and supplement his income by working on a ranch in northern Routt county.

He chose the latter.

After his last class is dismissed this year, he plans to take "Unstoppable You" on the road fulltime.

"I gave my resignation up here, but I'm not really retiring," he said, adding that he formally resigned from his position Monday. "I'm looking at it like I'm expanding my classroom.

"I love my job here. I love the kids. : I got paid for 26 years to teach my hobby."

Instead, Conrad said, he was compelled to extend the program to as many students as he could.

"I felt that more kids other than my kids needed to hear the lessons of 'Unstoppable You,'" he said.

Conrad includes a sampling of those lessons in his recently published book, "Unstoppable!"

Lifetime Chronicle Press, a company in Montrose, published the book, which contains 58 stories, or "lessons."

The stories in the book, such as the "Unstoppable You" program, originated in Conrad's classroom.

When he began teaching at the high school, school officials gave him a task.

"They gave me one year to turn the (woodshop) program around or they were going to shut it down," he said.

So, he began telling stories to his students at the end of each week.

And not just any stories - real-life tales that taught values, Conrad said, including honesty, integrity, and living drug- and alcohol-free.

Over time, the subject of Conrad's stories changed.

Where once the stories were parables of sorts, they later focused on the students themselves.

Keeping the stories fresh wasn't always easy.

"The hardest part for my senior (students) is trying to come up with a new and different Friday story," he said. "They've heard them all.

"To wow them with a story on a Friday - that was doing something."

In addition to the Friday story series, Conrad also started two other traditions at the high school.

A mass production class, allowing students to sell and manufacture wood crafts, earned needed funds for the program when it was in dire financial straits. "Santa's Workshop," an annual event, provides area children with hand-crafted toys made by students.

"I really appreciated through the years the support that the woodshop received from the town through the mass production and Santa's Workshop" programs, he said. "This program would never have been what it got to be without support from the community."

Conrad said he will miss his students when he leaves regular classroom teaching after this year, adding that he will especially miss telling his students weekly stories.

Still, he doesn't consider his resignation as an end to his career as a teacher.

"I'm not leaving teaching," he said. "I'm starting a new venture, and I'm not thinking it's going to be easy.

"It's cool at the same time, too."

Comments

buck523 5 years, 11 months ago

The school district is much better off without him. It is one thing to preach on ethics and being a good person....it is completely a whole different thing to actually practice what you preach. I once heard the phrase: "Are you a man of words, or do you have the words of a man" from him. Funny enough......all I can say here is he is a man of words.

0

trout2k 5 years, 11 months ago

Best of luck Mr. C. I know you surely inspired me...Thanks very much for giving me some hope and aiding me on my path toward following my ambitions and ethics! The world is a better place because of you!

0

Globe 5 years, 11 months ago

Proof that this country is not in a recession is when a shop teacher leaves a steady job to take the show on the road. Especially after 20 plus years of a steady paycheck. I hope he isn't walking away from a pension. My dream job would to be a highschool shop teacher. Summers off, all major holidays off, 6 hour work day. He's walking a way from the golden ticket. He's eaten the chocolate bar and Mr. Wonka is trying to usher him in the front gates, but he's giving away the ticket.

0

George Robertson 5 years, 11 months ago

You could only HOPE to be as successful and influential as Mr. Conrad is! That man has so positively contributed to the future of the youths whos lives he has touched with his relentless dedication to morals, principals and ethics. I am delighted that he is taking his "show on the road" so the others may also benefit! I must say Globe that your concept of his job is so completely erroneous that it is quite obvious you don't even know the man!

0

lonelyone 5 years, 11 months ago

Nimrod, I know many people like you who think Mr. Conrad is just great and I know some like Buck who don't care for the man. I think he left impressions with my kids that were for the better, but am not saying he did that with every kid he taught. I hope his good out weighs he's bad and If he helps even a small number of kids stay out of trouble, then he's done a good job, I think!

0

taxslave 5 years, 11 months ago

Someone quits a job and it's proof that this country is not in a recession?

0

grannyrett 5 years, 11 months ago

Mr. Conrad had all three of my kids in shop. What a great guy. He was their favorite teacher. It helps kids that respect their teacher to learn the ethic's he shows them. He has always led by example and many of our kids are better for it. Good luck Mr. C. I hope this is very successful for you.

0

Globe 5 years, 11 months ago

I think he did a good job too - I just made the comment that times must be good when people walk away from a good job. Heck McD's can't keep a full staff and they are paying like 12 bucks an hour and no one wants to work. I was just shocked that a shop teacher with so much job security, a pension, benefits, etc would just up and leave for so much uncertanty. We're not talking about Bill Gates walking away from Microsoft, cause I am sure he could get another gig. Were talking about a shop teacher leaving - So many schools are cutting these types of programs - Theres almost no going back - This is serious stuff. Any new school district could hire a shop teacher right out of college and pay them half what they would have to pay Conrad. I just hope he's good at what he does and there are a ton of school districts and other groups who have budgets that can afford to pay a shop teacher from Craig to come inspire their kids to greatness. That's all I am saying.

0

Requires free registration

Posting comments requires a free account and verification.