Bryan Yarrington joined the Navy so he could become a teacher.
“I joined the military out of high school as a way to afford college and used the GI bill to push myself through both my bachelor’s and my master’s,” Yarrington said. “My dream was always to be a teacher, and the military was the means of getting there.”
Yarrington is just one of thousands of NYSUT members who served in the military and count their time in the service as beneficial to their teaching experience. Whether our members serve in the Navy or Marines, teach social studies or math, their continued commitment to public service is essential to our democracy.
For Yarrington, the military was the first stop in a long career oriented toward public good. Yarrington, a history teacher at Dundee High School, said his education ambitions were motivated by another Dundee educator. “I had a teacher in 7th grade, Mr. Eldridge – Andy Eldridge – who was awesome. He inspired me to love history and to grow up and become a teacher,” Yarrington said.
Yarrington served in the U.S. Navy from 2002-2007, and during that time, he did two deployments. The military turned out to be a good proving ground for him. There, he said he learned how to assemble successful teams and how to lead. The military also fostered fortitude. “Your worst day as a teacher, is never even close to your worst day overseas,” he said.
Yarrington loves teaching in the school district where he grew up and working alongside the teachers, he learned valuable lessons from.
He also continues to find new ways to serve his community. He is a member of the town council of Barrington, where he and his family live, and president of the Dundee Teachers Association. “I think the skills you learn from studying history apply to both roles and have helped me be successful in them,” he said.
Yarrington continues to be passionate about his chosen profession. “It’s just fun and rarely ever feels like work,” he said.