Carley Datz didn’t know she wanted to be a teacher until high school. For most of her education, she was “painfully shy” and would physically shake when she had to speak in front of the class.
But one day in her junior year, when she had to give a lesson to her AP class, she broke through her fear and found — to her surprise — she enjoyed giving lessons. That was about the same time she acquired a strong interest in social studies. Those two discoveries coalesced in her senior year, when she realized her career path.
Now seven years into her career, the Marlton native was recently named Teacher of the Year by the Clearview Regional High School District.
“I think [world history] is a really, really important subject to study; to learn from the past so we don’t repeat those mistakes,” Datz noted. “Even the society we live in now, there is so much going on all the time and we can’t help but want to be a part of it and be informed.”
Datz studied Social Studies Education at Millersville University in Pennsylvania, about a two-hour drive west of Philadelphia. She grew up in Marlton and attended Cherokee High School. She’s always been familiar with Clearview; her father and two uncles were once Pioneers.
Her passion for history, Datz explained, started around the time she became more exposed, as a young adult, to the world around her. At the time, she was mostly interested in U.S. history, but throughout college, she became curious about what she hadn’t experienced. That led her to study world history, where she learned about other cultures and governments from around the world.
When Datz graduated, it just so happened Clearview Regional High School was looking for a social studies teacher to teach freshman-level world history. Seven years later, she’s now the AP world history teacher (a personal goal), co-adviser of the school’s Model United Nations Club (seeing it grow from 15 to 60 students) and Teacher of the Year.
“I just find it so interesting to see how other people lived and how other governments worked and then comparing that to our own,” Datz noted. “I felt it helped my world view and to be a more educated citizen. Keeping tabs on current events and knowing the background of other societies helps you understand what’s happening today.
“It’s so important to understand what’s going on around you so you can act in a positive way and not just be a better American citizen, but also a global citizen.”