Ben Herrington was born in Rapid City, SD, in 1982. He grew up on the prairie outside of the city, spending his time outside of school exploring the grasslands, practicing jujitsu, and playing music. Through school he always did very well in all of his classes, but did best in math. All through high school he played the saxophone in both the symphonic and jazz bands, participated in drama, and enjoyed going to concerts, but the constant was always martial arts.
He achieved the rank of black belt in jujitsu at the age of 13 and continues to practice whenever possible to this day. Although he always enjoyed teaching jujitsu, he never had any interest in becoming a school teacher. When Ben graduated from high school his plan was to become a computer programmer and make video games, so this was his first path as he went to college at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. However, after two years of sitting in front of a computer screen for hours on end, he realized that this was not the path for him. So, since he had always enjoyed it and done well, he changed his major to mathematics, and graduated from SDSM&T in 2006 with a degree in Applied and Computational Mathematics. He still had no interest in becoming a teacher.
In the fall of 2006 Ben moved to Livingston, MT, to pursue new opportunities and to spend time in the mountains. He became a paraeducator working with high needs special education students during the school year, and spent his summers doing trail and cabin maintenance for the US Forest Service. He also opened his own dojo, Dynamic Martial Arts, in Livingston. He greatly enjoyed all of these jobs and loved living in Montana. It was in Livingston that he also eventually met his future wife, Rachel Hoover, who was going to school to become a History/Social Studies teacher, and became a Christian. They were married April 1st, 2010. Ben still had no interest in becoming a teacher.
After one more year in Montana, Ben and Rachel moved to Alaska to pursue more opportunities. Ben was offered a job working with the Forest Service doing developed recreation maintenance in the Chugach National Forest, based out of Moose Pass, which is just a few miles north of Seward, AK, on the Kenai Peninsula. It was here, unfortunately, that he realized he did not want to continue working for the USFS, and so he began seeking out other opportunities. It was during that spring that Ben finally decided to pursue a teaching career. He and Rachel both accepted positions teaching in Crooked Creek, AK, a small fly-in-only Alaska Native village in the western interior of Alaska.
Ben began working on his Master of Arts in Teaching Secondary degree as they began teaching in Crooked Creek, and he and Rachel loved living and teaching in the village. Ben taught K-12 math and science and also worked in a number of other positions as one of the two teachers in the village. However, as much as they enjoyed being there, Ben and Rachel were eventually prompted to return to Montana when their daughter Abigail was born in January of 2014. Ben accepted a job teaching middle school math in Red Lodge, MT, and they headed south again.
Ben loved teaching math in Red Lodge, and loved the place that they were settling into when they returned to Montana. However, unfortunately things were not working out as he and Rachel hoped, so after a year they began once more pursuing other opportunities. After one year in Red Lodge, Ben accepted a job in Laurel teaching 8th-grade math, and this was a great opportunity for him to develop as a teacher. He learned a number of things about both teaching and himself, which is what prompted him to apply for the job in Joliet when it opened. Ben and Rachel had been unable to find a house to buy in Laurel as they were seeking to move, but had eventually found a house in Joliet that they could not pass up. So, not only was Joliet’s the type of school that Ben knew he would prefer to teach at (one where he would both teach multiple classes and get to teach a group of students for a number of years), but it would also allow him to spend much less time driving and more time with his family. He eagerly accepted the job teaching 7th-grade math through geometry.
Ben is excited to be a part of the school, to develop more as a teacher, to build relationships with the youth, and to watch his family plant roots and grow in the community of Joliet this next year.