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Master’s Student Believes in Becoming an Advocate for Students

Josh Ricks, a history and psychology teacher currently enrolled in the Executive School Leadership (ExSL) Program, returned to BYU to explore new ways he could help students.

Ricks has enjoyed the ExSL Program because of its focus on improvement. “One of the biggest things I’ve learned is the idea of the growth mindset, that regardless of where you are, as long as you’re pushing forward, there is always more to learn,” Ricks said.

Ricks recalled that he has always been interested in the administrative side of education, and he is excited for the opportunities it holds for him. He is especially looking forward to having more ways to positively influence students and teachers.

“I think everybody needs an advocate; all students need somebody who’s rooting for them,” Ricks said. “I think that’s something that you can accomplish on a larger scale as an administrator.”

Ricks was inspired to go into teaching by his parents. His mother taught fifth grade, and his father’s passion for history helped foster his own love for the subject. “My dad always says if he were to go back and start over, he would want to be a teacher,” Ricks said.

After returning from his mission in Boston, Massachusetts, Ricks felt even more certain he wanted to teach. “Teaching people and helping them and seeing the changes they made in their lives was something that I wanted to continue doing,” he said.

Ricks attended BYU for his undergraduate degree in teaching social sciences and enjoyed it so much that he decided to return for his master’s, despite being accepted to another university’s program. “I’ve always loved the BYU environment,” Ricks said. “I love the values; I love everything about this university.”

Ricks feels that, in addition to helping him become a better educator, his classes in the ExSL Program have strengthened him spiritually. “There’s a lot of relevance in education with aspects of the gospel,” said Ricks. “Of course Christ was the great teacher, and we’re always trying to tie things back into His life and how He helped people.”

Ricks has been teaching history at Bingham High School in South Jordan for four years; he is ready to transition into administration after receiving his master’s degree.

Writer: Kirsten Clancy

Contact: Cynthia Glad (801) 422-1922