Teacher Profile: Mr. Saxton


David Leung, Campus Reporter

This year is Mr. Saxton’s 19th at Kent, teaching math and computer science while also serving as the assistant Football coach in the fall and the head coach for Boys Swimming in the winter. He also serves as an Associate in Middle Dorm South, and can be seen there during study hall on Monday nights. 

When asked about his choice to teach high school mathematics, Saxton responded: “I would say that I didn’t choose math necessarily, it sort of chose me.” He has always felt a connection with math since his high school years, but he also has a passion for computer science, something he discovered in college. He loves the problem-solving aspect of the STEM subject and its challenges: “Once you get things to work, you can see your results. It’s a rush when you get it to work after all the trials and everything, you really feel good about it.”

Of instructing his students, Saxton says that he thinks that there isn’t one best way for it. “Teachers have strengths and they need to play to their own strengths, but they also have to recognize that the students also have different strengths, and they have to play the best you can to that.” Mentioning how a student-powered model may sometimes work better than a teacher-powered one, he hopes that students can actively learn and explore and enjoy the joys and struggles in solving problems. 

Saxton’s interest in working with students extends far beyond the classroom. As an advisor, he values giving his advisees a space to talk, “to explore how they feel and have an outlet,” and helping them arrive at their own solutions. Saxton also mentions hopes for his football players to grow and to get better as individuals, “to learn to overcome challenges, build relationships, rely on teammates, and help themselves and their teammates get better.”

Having recently stepped down from his position as the head of the Math Department, Saxton mentions the positive outcome of change. “It’s healthy for the Math department to have new leadership: different leadership, different ideas, different approach.” He mentions his personal desire to do something different and looks forward to having “a different focus in my day to day.” Replacing him as the Math Department head is Mr. Tolfree, for whom Saxton is very excited, commenting on Tolfree’s interest in curriculum development. 

Saxton describes the community’s return to campus as “overwhelmingly positive,” commenting on how much is taken for granted at a boarding school. “This makes me realize how important that is and how special an environment that we have here and we have to make sure we take advantage of it at every opportunity.”

On a more personal note, Mr. Saxton says that his favorite event on campus is the Spring Festival when people get to be themselves for a while, without the worries about classrooms and homework. “I love when the weather turns warm and everyone gets outside and throws frisbees, has hamburgers, and there’s music.” Sporting events are also one of Mr. Saxtons other favorite events, where he can just “be a fan and just cheer for [his] students and advisees.” 

When asked if he had any messages for the students reading this article, he advised: “Embrace hard work. It’s ok if your hard work doesn’t result in a 6.0 or a win on the field; it’s ok for the work itself to be a reward. Work to do better in your classes, to be better as a person, to be better in everything that you do.”