The Blue & Gold

The official newspaper of Chamblee High School, preserving the past for the future today!

The official newspaper of Chamblee High School, preserving the past for the future today!

The Blue & Gold

The official newspaper of Chamblee High School, preserving the past for the future today!

The Blue & Gold

Introducing New Teacher Stephen Fitzsimmons

Anna Kate Flood
Mr. Fitz-Simmons in his classroom

Recently hired teacher, Stephen Fitzsimmons, is starting his first year of teaching this year as an American literature teacher for juniors. Before becoming a teacher, he was pursuing his dream as a journalist and taking many jobs around the country.                             

“I was a newspaper reporter in New Jersey, New Mexico, West Georgia, and my last job was in Marietta,” said Fitzsimmons.

During his time as a newspaper reporter, Fitzsimmons had the opportunity to interview many interesting people.

“I interviewed Paul McCartney’s wife one time, Heather Mills, when he divorced. I was working for a healthcare magazine in Colorado, she was an amputee, and the healthcare magazine was for the prosthetics industry,” said Fitzsimmons.

He has also had jobs in courtrooms with criminal work.

“I was in the courtroom one time when a guy got let out of jail after 25 years for a crime he didn’t commit. That was really dramatic,” said Fitzsimmons.

He decided to change his profession to become a teacher due to the rise of online devices and a decline in need for newspaper reporters.

“Right around the time the Internet really started taking over everything in 2005 and 2006, all the newspapers started going out of business, even the big Atlanta paper. They let go a very high percentage of their reporters and writers, even people that had been there their whole lives. It was really, really bad during that time. So I knew that it was probably time to get out of the business, and I did some other jobs,” said Fitzsimmons.

After leaving the journalism field, Fitzsimmons chose to enter a teaching career with his wife.

“My wife wanted me to [teach] for years. She’s a teacher in DeKalb too, an elementary school special-ed teacher,” said Fitzsimmons.

Fitzsimmons has had some experience teaching in a classroom. He helped as a substitute teacher in previous years, specifically at Campbell High School in Cobb County. 

“There was some teaching involved with subbing, so I’m not completely cold in the classroom, but I haven’t had a full time teaching job before,” said Fitzsimmons.

Fitz-Simmons has had the opportunity to work at other schools, but Chamblee seemed like the right fit for him.

“Chamblee chose me, I applied to a few other schools too, but [the school principal] really liked my resume and my education background. The interview went really well and she started the process right away,” said Fitzsimmons.

Although he has only been teaching at Chamblee for a few days, he has already had a great experience so far and loves the community.

“I love it. I didn’t know what to expect. I’ve got to say that you’ve got a really great thing going on here. I know there’s a lot of trouble with high school sometimes, and this doesn’t seem to be the case here,” said Fitzsimmons.

He has always had a heart for reading and writing; during college, he studied many topics relating to English. 

“I graduated from Monmouth University in New Jersey and I majored in English, but I had two minors. I had one in journalism and one in writing,” said Fitzsimmons.

Since he has always been interested in literature, Fitzsimmons has accumulated many books and has kept them all throughout his life.

“I still have all my books from college even though I’ve moved God knows how many times. I’m still a literature nerd when it comes down to it,” said Fitzsimmons.

Fitzsimmons enjoys not only the genres of books one might read in his American literature class but also nonfiction books.

“It’s the way you put words together. It’s just a pretty amazing thing. I read a lot of nonfiction too, ideas and science and everything else. I really think it’s just this basic curiosity, and if I can evoke that in my students, that’s a good thing,” said Fitzsimmons.

Coincidentally, Fitzsimmons got assigned to teach American literature, the very subject he had been hoping to teach.

“It’s just a coincidence that I teach American lit. That would have been my choice, but that just happened to be what was available. I’m not opposed to world literature or English literature [though],” said Fitzsimmons.

Being a literature expert, Fitzsimmons has read many books in his lifetime. Although he can’t decide on a favorite book, his favorite authors include Mark Twain and Ernest Hemmingway.

“I have to say almost anything by Mark Twain [is my favorite]. I don’t think anybody should graduate high school in the United States unless they read Mark Twain and Ernest Hemingway,” said Fitzsimmons.

Since he is new to teaching and new to the school, Fitz-Simmons has goals to become more accustomed to the systems and routines of Chamblee High School.

“My goal for this year is to get acclimated as soon as possible and not have to lean so much on my colleagues. [I also want to] really start exploring different methods of teaching and different subject matter. I’m really excited to put together reading lists and pick books to read.”

This year, he hopes to grasp his students’ attention and help them become more interested in literature and applying it in places other than the classroom.

“I just hope I can engage people and spark a curiosity in them so that they are a little more enthusiastic about searching for answers and exploring the texts. My whole thing is that I want to be a catalyst for students to go out and bring [skills they learn in my class] to other classes, not just English,” said Fitzsimmons.

His advice for his students this year is to do their best to engage during class.

“Don’t try to hide or hide in the back of the room,” said Fitzsimmons. “Try to participate as much as you can and as much as you’re comfortable with.”

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About the Contributor
Anna Kate Flood, Staff Writer
Anna Kate Flood (‘26) is a sophomore and Staff Writer for the Blue & Gold. In five years, she hopes to be in college and studying to do something so she can be rich. Her 3 favorite things are food (especially Italian pasta dishes and matcha lattes), every Taylor Swift song ever, and Christmas.

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    Shireeta WilliamsOct 3, 2023 at 7:13 pm

    I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Fitzsimmons through his wife, Mrs. Fitzsimmons a few years ago and I must say, Chamblee High School has obtained a gem. With his extensive experience and background, Mr. Fitzsimmons will spark an even broader interest in American Literature that will have a lasting impact among all scholars of Chamblee High.

    • S

      Stephen FitzsimmonsOct 4, 2023 at 6:00 pm

      Thanks Shireeta! Hope all is well