Dr. Daryush Sattari, Chamblee Charter High School’s new chemistry teacher, has survived war, adapted to life in the U.S., and prevailed over blindness to join the faculty for the new school year.
Before Sattari lost his vision, he received a bachelor’s degree and Ph.D in chemistry, taught in an Iranian university, and did scientific research. He has always enjoyed being in an academic environment.
“I just like teaching,” said Sattari. “I like learning as much as I can and having others learn from me.”
Sattari was born in Tehran, Iran into a wealthy family. He had a typical childhood; he went to school and had a regular routine. During high school, especially in his senior year, Sattari discovered his passion for chemistry.
“My twelfth grade chemistry teacher was a great teacher, and I became interested in chemistry more than other subjects,” said Sattari. “That teacher had an affect on my career, and I chose to become a chemist.”
After finishing high school, Sattari attended a teacher’s training university in Tehran, where he got his bachelor’s degree in chemistry. He taught chemistry in high school for three years and then went on to get his PhD at Surrey University in Guildford, England, where he worked with anti-rheumatoid arthritis drugs. After completing his PhD in bioinorganic chemistry, Sattari went back to Tehran and taught chemistry at Isfahan University.
In 1988, Sattari received an opportunity to do more training and learning with a professor at Emory University, so he, his wife, and his three children moved to the U.S.
“I joined Professor Hill at Emory University here in Atlanta,” said Sattari. “I was working with Dr. Hill for four years, and I was working on anti-AIDS drugs and also neutralizing mustard gas.”
Sattari had personal reasons to work on the neutralization of this dangerous gas.
“During the war between Iran and Iraq, they were using mustard gas in the field,” said Sattari. “So many people have suffered from that mustard gas. I have seen so many of my own students who were in the battlefield… mustard gas affected them, too.”
While the war between Iran and Iraq was occurring, Sattari was working at Isfahan University in Tehran.
“It was not safe or peaceful for anyone, because sometimes airplanes would come and bombard the other side of the road you were living on,” said Sattari. “It was so scary because when the airplanes came in the air, everyone worried that ‘it could be me.’”
Such an incident never occurred very close to Sattari, but it was still nerve-racking for him and his family.
Sattari was able to see during his childhood and for most of his adult life, but over the past ten years, he has gradually lost his vision. Despite not being able to see, Sattari effectively carries out his duties as a Chamblee teacher. His assistant, ADA Paraprofessional Clifford Edge, acts as Sattari’s eyes and helps him run the classroom. While Sattari creates the lesson plans for the class and teaches the material, Edge assists with the visual aspects of the class, such as supervising the students, entering grades, and answering emails.
“Dr. Sattari has a great education and teaching experience in three countries,” said Edge. “I learn something new from him every day, and I respect his desire to make sure all students are learning at all times.”
Sattari has only been at Chamblee for a little while but is already impressed with the school.
“This school is one of the best schools,” said Sattari. “My goal is to do my job in the best way that I can to promote [Chamblee].”
Students are also enjoying the new experience of having Sattari as their teacher.
“I didn’t really know what to expect in his class because I had never heard of him before,” said sophomore Ivy Catherine Rogers. “He comes from a different country, so it was really interesting seeing his way of teaching. He does it a little bit different than the average American school would.”
Sophomore Samantha Huggins was switched into Dr. Sattari’s class and is already enjoying her year with him.
“Dr. Sattari is great,” said Huggins. “He is very knowledgeable and knows exactly what he’s talking about when you ask him a question.”
It has taken some time, however, for the students to adjust to Sattari’s teaching methods and the classroom environment. Sophomore Joseph Feagle believes that he and his fellow students are beginning to understand how the class works and how they should act in his classroom.
“We’re able to learn with him now that we’ve really gotten to know him a little bit better and we’re able to handle his disability,” said Feagle.
Sattari is adjusting to this new environment as well and deals with his blindness in a positive way.
“I am ok,” said Sattari. “I have no problems with this.”
Sattari’s qualifications, experiences, and positive attitude will help him teach his students to the best of his ability this year.
“My major goal is that my students, when they go into society, all of them, will be ready for their own life, and they’ll be in a higher place, where they’ll be happy and proud of themselves,” said Sattari.