Bill Gates named Tacoma teacher Nathan Gibbs-Bowling as one of five favorite fanatics for 2016 on Tuesday.
The Microsoft founder and world’s richest person according to Forbes defines “fanatic” as someone obsessed with their field of endeavor, as he was in his 20s and 30s.
“By ‘fanatical’ I mean that I was so focused on my vision of putting a computer on every desk and in every home that I gave up a normal existence,” Gates said.
In a blog post Tuesday, Gates ranked Gibbs-Bowling as number two, just behind former President Jimmy Carter. Gates labeled the Lincoln High School teacher as a “nerd farmer.” It’s a term that Gibbs-Bowling uses himself.
Gates quoted Gibbs-Bowling: “I joke about being a nerd farmer. I’m trying to cultivate a kind of scholarship in students and a passion for learning. So I bring passion to the classroom, and they see that and rise to the occasion.”
Gates said Gibbs-Bowling and the others on his list are teaching him.
“Being able to learn about their work and help them realize their dreams has opened up an amazing new chapter in my life,” Gates said.
Gates met Gibbs-Bowling, the Washington State Teacher of the Year, earlier this year.
Gibbs-Bowling teaches Advanced Placement Government and AP Human Geography at Lincoln. Gates cited the school’s high graduation rate and number of students taking AP classes.
“Nate is a great example of what it takes to be an effective teacher,” Gates wrote. “He works hard at his craft, always searching for ways to make a subject relevant for his students. For example, he uses Star Wars to help explain Civil Rights. It’s pretty amazing.”